I started using the gym to Punish myself not Push myself...
Today as I write this it is Monday. As I got up and got ready for the gym this morning, I felt the weight of the weekend on me. I felt sluggish, heavy, and full. Over the weekend we had a family pizza night, tacos, and more tacos. All. The. Tacos. We had dinner and drinks with friends and while it was all super fun and much needed, I could tell this morning I had overdone it. None of these things are necessarily bad, but what is bad, is this: I was emotional all weekend. My heart was heavy so I ate and drank my feelings and in doing that, I over did it! Walking into the gym this morning was pretty much the same as it is every morning, but today I had the added pressure of knowing that I over snacked, over dipped and over sipped all weekend, and that pressure was telling me that I needed to work harder, run faster and basically punish myself for my bad decision making. But that’s not the relationship I want to have with the gym.
Punishing my body doesn’t sound fun. It sounds hurtful, and full of shame. Here are reasons why I love going to the gym: I have awesome friends that I get to workout with. I can work hard and surprise myself with lifting heavy weights. I am a healthier and fitter me because of the gym. Going to the gym makes me happy, and as the ever famous Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphines, endorphines make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t!” Thank you Legally Blonde for always speaking truth to me!
So as I finished my workout today I thought, “I don't want to punish myself I want to push myself mentally.” How do we as women, moms, wives, and friends combat this feeling of punishment when we know we’ve slipped up?! Well, I am not a fitness blogger, and no one ever comes to me for this sort of advice so I went to someone who is smarter than me. Kelsey Flanagan is kind, wise, helpful and as sweet as can be. She is passionate in helping people in all walks of life to create a happier and healthier versions of themselves.
So here are Kelsey's thoughts below…..
The relationship with most people and gyms can be unhealthy. But we can get in control of that.
How? Think about your relationship with food or anything you cling too. If you want to see a change you will first have to be AWARE of the emotion you have attached to that “thing” whether it’s gym, food, family, drugs, alcohol. The first step is awareness.
Once you have recognized that - you then should ask yourself
“Why?” Why do I do what I do? Why do I love the gym? Why do I go to the gym? Once you have some reason and why you will start to see the pattern. Whether it’s because you feel good when you leave, you want to be stronger, you get the spend time with your friends, you finally get an hour to yourself, or you want to work off the cupcakes you had. All of these reasons are pretty positive except that last one. So now, ask yourself "Why do I do that to myself? What about that action don’t I like?"
It’s the question game. Ask until you finally root to the problem then come up with a solution. I have struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food so this speaks to me. I’ve taken these steps below to step back and recognize what I was actually doing. Try it out and see what you come up with.
Step 1. Awareness (Journal feelings & shifts you’d like to see and notice)
Step 2. Ask yourself open ended questions
Step 3. Recognize the root issues
Step 4. Come up with ideas for a solution
Step 5. Find 1 thing that can make your relationship with the gym just a little bit better.
Whether that is: -Shifting your motivation more positive. -Giving yourself the permission to forget and forgive yourself for your actions. -Working hard everyday at the gym instead of those days you “need” to. -Writing down your reasons why you go to the gym everyday. -Taking the time to be more mindful of the decisions and what caused them.
Understanding your WHY is something we often forget about. I’ve been doing more gratitude and asking myself, "why am I doing what I’m doing", and "how is that working for me?" These 2 questions always lead me back to my Why. My Why is to have the energy to give the help, love, and ears people desire the most. The gym gives me energy it’s my happy place, but hasn’t always been.
Why do you go to the gym everyday or on the days you “should”? An hour to prove to yourself that you are strong, worthy, and amazing... Or. An hour to punish yourself for the decisions you’ve made... When you are aware of the different mindsets you will be able to distinguish a trend and become more aware. Appreciate your hour.
So now here I am really thinking through these things. I love going to the gym, because I know it makes me a healthier mom, a happier mom, but over all a happy and healthier me. I love the way the gym makes me feel. I feel stronger, happier, and even sexier when I go into the gym with the mentality of "getting to go" vs "having to go." I don't NEED to go to the gym, I get to go! I don't NEED to punish my body. My body has already proven itself to me I am stronger than I think both mentally and physically. I like my body and sure I should watch what I eat and treat it kindly but I will now be mindful of my Whys and my actions!
I am just so thankful for Kelsey and her wisdom. She was so kind to sit with me and talk this out. As the weekends come I know that I will be thinking more and more about this and really examining my actions!
Alright friends, go be mindful and think about you WHYS, why are you stuffing that cupcake in your mouth? Why are you drinking that extra glass of wine? What about that extra mile or _____fill in the blank_____. If its not inline with your Why let's ask some of those questions!