You. Are. Awesome
Following a dedicated exercise routine is hard. It takes time and dedication.
Making healthy eating choices is equally as hard, and arguably harder.
It too, takes time and dedication.
And so often, I feel the degree of difficulty in both is easily overlooked.
Today it probably seems like everywhere you turn a seemingly “fit and healthy” eating / exercise expert is telling you all the how to eat better or exercise harder. And, I certainly know that coming onto this blog every other week, and telling you how to make healthy food choices, puts me into this category.
But, you should know that while I’m good at telling you how to be a savvy snacker, or which breakfast cereal is best, the truth is I struggle just like the rest of you. Sure I’ve got a higher degree in nutrition and therefore have an easier time knowing the ‘better’ choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to make that choice…and guess what…I don’t. And that’s OK.
I also wouldn’t be coming clean to you if I didn’t tell you that I sometimes struggle with this. I am guilty, like I’m sure many of you are too, for occasionally beating myself up when I drink a beer and eat nacho’s at 11:30pm, or take a rest day when my running plan told me to run 10miles. And, while I know that what I should be doing is enjoying the very reason that brought me to sitting at a bar with beer and nachos at 11:30pm or be reminding myself that rest days are equally as important as 10 mile days for our bodies, thinking these things (like choosing the side salad versus french fries) can be easier said than done.
When I consciously have these negative thoughts I try and quickly turn them around. I tell myself: I can run 10 miles and I will run 10 miles. I will run it when my body feels like it can, and I’ll feel that much stronger when I do. I tell myself: enjoy that gooey, greasy cheese, then wake up and eat a healthy breakfast. Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll remind myself, just as I’m now reminding you, that it is when we balance the healthy choices with the unhealthy ones that we more easily find appreciation for our actions.
It’s also important to remember that no one exercise, or one healthy-effort is better than another. Every time you consciously make the decision to do something good for your body, whether it’s as simple as adding an extra green vegetable to your day or as big as signing yourself up for a 10k race, you are making your body and mind stronger. And most likely you are not giving yourself enough credit.
Rather than being proud of making a vegetarian meal that was (perhaps surprisingly) yummy are you beating yourself up about the ice cream sandwich you had after it? Instead of feeling strong after running your first 5 miler, are you thinking about how you ran a full minute slower per mile than you’ve ever run before?
It’s so easy to flip our accomplishments – telling ourselves how we could have done more, how we could have been better.
Starting today give yourself, and those who you love, more credit for all they do to make themselves stronger, happier, and healthier.
- Remind your mother, who today isn’t afraid to sign up and run a half marathon all by herself, how far she’s come since her first 10k race 3 years ago – when running 1 mile seemed like a huge daunting task
- Congratulate a friend for starting to train for her first half marathon
- Send your sister a new kale recipe and thank her for introducing you to kale chips
- Applaud your mother-in-law for sticking to a morning routine of going on a 3mile walk every day.
- Plan a tennis date with your grandmother, who at 80 still has a mean tennis swing and loves to golf.
- Tell your brother-in-law that his years of dedication to running keeps you motivated and digging deeper, especially during the weeks when your runs feel like trash.
- Let your husband know how grateful you are for his willingness to try new foods, his genuine interest in your constant food and nutrition talk, and for your shared love for a weekend ‘long-run,’ together
- Most importantly, stop and be proud of yourself: Congratulate you for reaching for a sparkling water instead of a soda. For eating only 1 cookie after dinner. For being OK with a night of pizza and beer. For telling yourself you will exercise for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. And for doing it all because you want to. Because it makes you feel good. Happy. Healthy.
Without knowing it, good or bad, you have the power to influence many people close to you, and they do the same to you.
John sent me this blog post this morning http://flintland.blogspot.com/2012/05/hey-fat-girl.html, which in turn prompted this post. A sentiment shared by my husband, coming from a complete stranger, has snowballed into influencing me, and now hopefully you.
So lets start influencing each other. Lets be proud of each other for all the healthy and positive changes, big or small, we’re making. Lets tell each other “good job” as they start their own personal journey towards better health.
To kick you off I’m here to tell you to: Be proud of who you are. Be proud of what you do. And in words of that incredible story, remember that: You. Are. Awesome.