Daily Nutrition Target: 3/7 (All days were below maintenance but only 3 at the 500-calorie deficit I set) Daily Step Target (10,000 per day): Averaged 12,740 each day Weekly Runs: 4 Resistance Training Sessions: 2 Home Workouts - 2 Gym sessions Weight: -0.9kg This week I finished my 5k a day challenge I set myself during lockdown to raise money for The ME Association (Thank you to everyone who donated, I met my target of £260 and I couldn't have done that without your generosity).
It was great waking up Thursday morning and not having to take myself outside to run in the pouring rain, but despite everything I know about the body, recovery and how important self-compassion is, I experienced a sense of guilt about not running. Guilt because I wasn't doing the same amount of exercise that I had been doing and that thought of 'Maria you really should do something today to make up for not doing a run.'
'I should exercise more'
'I should eat healthier'
'I should be doing more work'
It implies you're doing something wrong when you don't do the thing on your mind and brings a sense of shame with it, like you're not quite good enough and then the guilt creeps in.
Of course, there are things we should do. I believe we should be kind, do our best, be loyal, compassionate and help others - If you feel guilty because you should have let that old lady at Aldi have the last trolley, you're right, you should have.
But if you feel shame and guilt because you didn't do a workout or went over your calories, then we need to talk about that. Because who you are as a person is not linked to your food choices or how much activity you do each day. And more importantly if you are trying to make a change, being cruel to yourself and trying to do so from a place of shame and guilt won't get you results.
The evidence shows us successful dieters, who maintain their weight loss after 5 years, will avoid dichotomous thinking and practise methods to improve their self-compassion.
Have you ever had a slice of cake and felt bad about it because you told yourself you were going to be 'good'? Then continue to tell yourself how useless you are at dieting and everything else you attempt and end up eating even more when you're not even hungry but because 'why not' you're not worthy of change anyway?
Or skipped a workout and because you wouldn't get in the number of workouts you originally planned thought you had ruined it and didn't do anything else for the rest of week?
Imagine if your child came to you after passing a test, they had worked so hard and got 80% of the questions right. But because they got 20% wrong told you they wanted to drop that subject because they didn't get 100%... I'm sure you would tell them that was silly. That they did so much right and to focus on the positives and try harder next time if they want the 100%.
So why don't we think like this when it comes to our diet and activity?
You had the slice of cake. Instead of berating yourself, take a minute. 'I am human, cake is delicious, I enjoyed that slice and what I eat doesn't define who I am as a person. I am doing my best; I am allowed to eat cake. I will have a dinner filled with more nutrient dense foods so my body still gets everything it needs today.'
Everything is linked.
Our mindset and the way we speak to ourselves can change how much we enjoy a process and determine if we reach a goal.
When I noticed a sense of guilt about not running, I took a deep breath, imagined what I would say to a friend or client if they felt that way. I certainly wouldn't have told them they were lazy or shouldn't have a rest day. I also text one of my best friends who confirmed laying on the sofa all afternoon was absolutely allowed.
This is something you can practise too, a method to help you improve your self-compassion.
Would I say these things to my best friend, my mum or my daughter? No. Then you shouldn't be saying them to yourself.
Other practical methods I recommend you try are:
affirmations- based around truth 'I am doing my best' 'I am capable' 'I am making improvements'
noticing your emotions
You can't separate your mind and your body. A healthy body isn't possible without a healthy mind. If you are also on a weight loss plan or any fitness or health goal you are working towards its important to remember health isn't just physical. Its mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Don't let anyone trick you into thinking health is eating salads and having abs - It couldn't be further from the truth. If you want some support, I have space for up to 10 women to start 1:1 online coaching in January. Get in touch. As always have a great week, Maria x www.mooremovementofficial.com