Giving Yourself Credit
We all do it. Compare ourselves to other people, knit pick about the things about our body we wish were smaller/more toned, expect results instantly, and more often than not, fail to give ourselves credit for just how far we've come, whether it's been 1 week or 7 years. And it doesn't help that we live in a society that pushes instant results (fitness related or otherwise) and that there is only one definition, one look that represents what being "fit" or "in shape" looks like. And if you don't fit that look, and you're really into working out/self-improvement then that's the look you should be striving for. So where am I going with this, well let's see. I'm human, so just like anyone else I've found myself falling into the trap of comparing myself, my body, my fitness abilities, etc. to not only other people, but where I've been at in the past. In some instances, this can serve to motivate you, to push yourself harder in the gym. However, it can also cause you to focus so much on where you want to be, that you lose sight of enjoying the process, and more importantly, noticing all the small changes/victories along the way.
For instance, how often do you find yourself comparing where you're at (say your chapter 7) with where someone else is at in their fitness journey (like their chapter 27)? I know I do this way, way too often. And it's so silly to think this is a logical comparison. As human we are all so different genetically, that to say, "I want to look exactly like person X, and if I do Y I will get there." No, that is for sure the wrong mindset to use in setting realistic fitness goals. It's true what they say, it really is like comparing apples to oranges. It makes a lot more sense (at least to me) to instead say, "Wow I am really inspired my the progress that person X has made in regards to their fitness, if they can do it so can I and maybe I'll even ask them for some advice." I feel like taking this approach allows you to set realistic goals/expectations that suit where you are at right now in your journey. Oh, and in regards to asking other people for advice because you find their dedication/progress/athletic ability inspiring, do it!! Don't feel intimidated or embarrassed to ask someone who clearly knows what they're doing for a little help. They'll more than likely take it as a compliment that you think so highly of them that you'd ask for their input and in the end it will only help you get closer to reaching you're goals. Sidenote: I feel like rule number one for embarking on a fitness journey should be learn to love/deal with being uncomfortable.
Recently, I have been that person who looks back at their senior pictures and is all like "Ohhhh girl you were so skinny, I can't believe you thought you were fat back then." And then naturally I compare myself today to where I was at back then. And I'm not going to lie, part of me would like nothing better than to go back to being the skinny girl, even if it means being exhausted all the time, having literally no ass, having way less strength overall, and overall being obsessed with eating as little as possible. But then, I remember how great it feels be able to get up at 4:20 a.m. with no problems, leg press 320lbs, and go on long runs outside without having to worry about whether or not I'll have the energy/strength for it. I remember what it's like to be called anorexic, by people who don't even know the numerous diagnostic criteria that someone has to meet in order to be diagnosed with an eating disorder. Ultimately, I know that it was the right decision for me to take the time to focus on developing a better relationship with food/working out, and to make gaining strength a priority. When I started school this fall I decided I was ready to start cutting/leaning out, so once again I've had to convince myself that No I don't want to be that super skinny girl. And it's definitely been tough, but worth it!
So, finally getting to the title of this post, actually taking the time to give yourself credit when you're making progress; whether it be hitting a PR, your clothes fitting loser, or just being able to look in the mirror and see the changes. I am so, so incredibly bad at this. Like I've noticed since losing around 10 lbs that yes some of my clothes fit loser, and yes I see progress when I look in the mirror (because I force myself to lift in a sports bra when I'm in my dorm room), but sometimes that still doesn't feel good enough. I tell myself that I should be making progress faster or that I'm just not putting enough effort (which is obviously bs). I tell myself that if you aren't running x miles at y pace just because your hips messed up, that's a shitty excuse. And I am so over feeling like I'm not good enough because I'm not a size two with a six pack. I am a work in progress, just like everyone else. And have come way too far to not take credit for how much progress I have made since my freshman year of high school. I'm a completely different freaking person.
When you stop nitpicking over everything you wish you could change/every not so perfect workout and start giving each day/week/month everything you've got, change comes. Yes, my running has been far from ideal since I've gotten back to doing the majority of my runs on a treadmill. I haven't been going nearly as fast/far as I'm used to or would like. My hip and god knows what else is messed up and I do not plan on getting it checked out unless it gets bad enough that I can't run at all without pain. Why? Because I don't want to take a break from running. This is so weird to say, considering that 7 years ago I would have done anything to get out of running just one mile. And now I can run 8 miles at a fucking 9:44 pace. That's such a huge change, and it didn't happen overnight. And the shitty runs I've been having lately won't get better overnight either. So, I take things one run at a time, and give myself credit each time I make it at least 2-3 miles sometimes more, despite being in pain, despite hating the treadmill, and despite every single person who didn't think I could do it; keep the weight off, be a runner, be as strong as I am right now. Because here I am, day after day, proving them and myself wrong. Boom.
Get out there, give every workout 100%. And give yourself credit for doing more than just showing up, for being more than average. Be stronger, better than you were yesterday. 💪👊👍