I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. This is typically a day I hate, however this Valentine's Day wasn't so bad.
I've disliked this holiday since I was old enough to know girls "should" have boyfriends, which was right about the age we stopped giving out our sweet, innocent valentines to everyone in class. This is a common theme with many women, I know I'm not the only one. I've been single more years than I was married and that is a lot of years to HATE.
When I got married I promised myself I would not be one of those women who NEEDED or DEMANDED gifts on this specific day. I always preferred the occasional thoughtful bouquet of flowers because it was the second Thursday in the ninth month of the day he drove by the florist. Meaning, small thoughtful gestures always made me happy and I never needed candy, flowers or gifts. Just time with the person I chose.
I'm single again. I found myself gearing up for another cranky, bitter Valentine's Day. I saw a video on social media by @DerrickJaxn (check him out...very insightful) and he mentioned something about not ruining this holiday for others. It got me thinking. I could be cranky, angry, depressed, lonely AND let everyone know or I could operate like it was any given Wednesday. I chose Wednesday and because I chose Wednesday it was a good day. I helped a co-worker deliver a super cute valentine to her honey and I enjoyed it.
I was busy today, I signed myself up for a lettering class tonight and I enjoyed it. I didn't focus on today being Valentine's Day. I think it just came down to a simple choice.
I didn't find some super cool insight or epiphany. The choice was always there, I just didn't see it. I have not fallen in love with the holiday, I haven't suddenly changed my whole emotional thought process. I still get lonely, I am still delving into my own inner demons and fighting my inner battles and growing. I'm still me. I think it may always be my least favorite day, but today didn't feel as bad. I made a choice. I chose Wednesday.
I chose me.
I feel so grown up!
When is a Coke not a Coke? When is chocolate not chocolate? When is a bowl of pasta not just a bowl of pasta? The answer is when you are using it to fill a gaping hole you feel you have inside.
This was me last week, in the middle of a breakdown, a bad day at work I wanted a can of Coke. That was all I wanted, I knew it would make me feel better, just that sip of Coke would make my day better. I KNEW that Coke would make me emotionally whole again! And it would have for maybe 2 minutes, I could get past my crisis and move on with the work day. But that was a lie, sort of. I'm sure the chemicals in that can of Coke would have adjusted my mood for a bit but at what cost? There are better ways of coping with that kind of stress, something that doesn't mean filling that unhappy hole with food. Coke, chocolate and pasta are my go-to feel good foods. They call it comfort food for a reason right?
I resisted...and resisted ... and resisted and did not reach for the can of Coke. I cried because I was so stressed out. I chanted because I was so stressed out and I made it through the breakdown. I could breathe again. I wondered if this is how addicts feel because it was a physical NEED at the time.
I am an emotional eater. I eat when I am bored. I eat when I'm stressed out. I eat when I'm feeling really, really sad. I eat when I'm lonely. I resisted drinking that can of Coke because I now acknowledge this about myself. It would have made me feel better right away - instant gratification - but it would have put me further from my goals. In that moment my goal was to not let my emotions run me. I'm an adult! (mostly)
I went to the gym that night with my friend RP and had an awesome workout. I felt great!
I was also very proud of myself, still am.
There will come a day when that can of Coke will just be a can of Coke, when that chocolate will simply be a piece of chocolate. I'm not giving any of them up, per se but I am choosing to be aware of what that Coke or chocolate or pasta could represent. Is it something to enjoy or do I NEED it to fill that gaping hole? I had pasta for dinner tonight, loaded with veggies and...it was just pasta. Go me!
I had a really bad day at work today. I had a terrible, no good, very bad day! I even kind of yelled at someone right at the end of the day. I left work almost in tears I was so mad. I needed a drink. I realized I take care of a lot of people, whole groups and departments of people...and who takes care of me? Who has my back? Who takes care of ME? I have some very good people at work who do have my back and always take the time to listen when I have to vent or have a problem I need help solving. This was more about people higher up the food chain than I am.
All I wanted to do was go to the store, buy some easy, not-so-good-for-me food and wine then go home. Of course I looked at the gym bag that was still in my car from the two previous days I didn't go to the gym and sighed. "go to the gym Erin". no. I just want to go drink and eat my feelings.
So I went to the gym. As I parked my car, I heard myself say "you gotta take care of yourself". It almost stopped me in my tracks.
While the thought 'no one at work takes care of me' was new for me in relation to work, the concept itself was certainly not new. I have been lamenting the fact that after only one year of divorce, I still don't have a man to take care of me. I know, I know, I can hear them too - the millions of women crying out "YOU DON'T NEED A MAN TO TAKE CARE OF YOU!" I understand, but that doesn't mean I don't WANT someone to take care of me and to be able to reciprocate for that same someone. My point is the thought always came across in my head relating to a relationship, but looking at it from a work standpoint was a new concept and it brought clarity. So I walked into the gym telling myself "You are the only person that can take care of You". So get on it!
I had skipped the last two weeks and was beating myself up a bit. I shifted my thoughts again. I can actually see my hamstrings a little. My quads feel strong! I love that I can start to see definition in my biceps and triceps. Yay me! I'm not where I need to be, and IMMEDIATELY corrected myself. "I don't NEED to be anywhere. I'm not where I should be. I HATE the word 'should' - its a horrible word. I am exactly where I am, taking care of myself by lifting weights, working on losing fat by creating a calorie deficit and taking my job in my own hands.
As I type this blog, eating my oriental chicken salad with kale AND my glass of red wine (good for the heart right) I feel renewed. I am human and will slide back into that old way of thinking/feeling sooner than I'd prefer, but this time I'm going to try and keep something else in the front of my brain - I'm perfect the way I am! (So are you)
I’ve come across something that has given me pause, something that I couldn’t figure out in my head right away.
I am a firm believer that you are perfect the way you are, right now, in this very moment. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken so you don’t need to be fixed.
There is an online personal trainer by the name of James Smith that I have come to admire. I appreciate his thought process about fitness as well as his no-nonsense communication. (He uses adult language and makes no apology for it, so if you look him up on FB or IG, you’ve been informed)
James wrote an email recently stating “things don’t have to be perfect to work incredibly well." Brilliant! It is also something I believe in whole heartedly, yet in my head I’ve always phrased it, you don’t have to be perfect to start. It was one of the things that got me moving last June and into the gym.
But I found myself struggling with the two concepts. "You are perfect the way you are" and "things don’t have to be perfect to work incredibly well". It sounds like I am saying two very different things yet, I think they are interconnected.
I fundamentally believe that people are perfect, just the mechanics of the human body alone is impressive. We all have a past, some pasts were intense and messed up. Some of us skated through life and some of us survived by the skin of our teeth. We may feel messed up inside have serious stuff to conquer. But with all of that, there is nothing “wrong” with us. Let that sink in, for some this will be a difficult concept to try on.
Then, I say you don’t have to be perfect to start. This thought is more about our ego, our relationship to those things they we know we “should” do or “need” to do to be a better person…blah blah blah (there is nothing wrong with us remember)
But those thoughts can often hinder us when we have goals we want to accomplish. You may want to lose weight, look better naked, have more self confidence in the skin you are in. Most of us know the steps we have to take to get some of that stuff taken care of. Eat right and exercise right? That is the nitty gritty, no nonsense answer - eat right and exercise. It seems to be a pretty simple concept. So, what stops us?
Some of us think we need to buy the right clothes in order to start exercising, or buy all the right groceries to start eating right, or print out all the right recipes. We may think we have to know all the right weights to lift or master all the exercises we need to do before we step foot in a gym. This isn’t just about exercise by the way. How many people think we need just the right notebook or planner before we can get our desk/life organized? (I am guilty of this)
Or that we have to have a list of all the things we want to take into our therapists office before we even call to make an appointment. Maybe its that we feel we need to have just the right thing to say in just the right way before we can post our blog or that I need to complete my personal training certificate before I can start sharing some of my thoughts or things I’ve learned.
Things do not have to be perfect to start. The more I blog the better I’ll get. The more I write down everything I eat the more conscious I’ll be about what goes into my mouth. The more times I go to the gym, the more I’ll learn about my body and what it can do. Going to the gym is something I have to recommit to on a weekly basis (that will be an upcoming blog).
So you are perfect, there is nothing wrong with you. Now stop worrying about having all your ducks in a row before you take that first step, whether it be out your front door with your sneakers on, or into the gym to lift weights, or before you make an appointment with a health professional. I can take that step, post my blog and watch how incredibly well it works out.
The point is to just take that step, then the next. Things do not have to be perfect to work incredibly well.
Thank you James Smith!
2017 ended about the way I expected, alone, lonely, throwing a small pity party. I had options but I let my pity party take over. It got me thinking about the new year and all of the messages of New Year New You!, blah blah blah. It is the new year but its also just the next day. A Monday like every other Monday except I don’t have to work today.
New Year New You…. But I’m not new today. I have work to do, some of the same work I had to do this time last year. I don’t mean to sound like a Negative Nelly, but I’m pretty practical. I think it is a good idea to have this fresh new look on life as the new year dawns. New possibilities, new adventures, new promises - a clean slate. Which, we could do any given day of the year, it is a new day, every 24 hours. We will want to keep this in mind for future reference because we will have some bad days, some great days and all the days in between. Every day could be a new year day.
I started this website because I had a vision. But I wasn’t ready to launch it. I had stuff to do. My vision for this website, for this business, Perfect The Way You Are, personal training for the mind, body & soul is to help others out there realize that there is nothing wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with you! You are perfect the way you are. Do you need to lose weight? Need to - No. Could it be beneficial for your life - Yes. Do you need to move more - No. Could it benefit you - Yes. Do you need to eat better - No. Could it benefit your life - Yes.
In this society we say, “I’m not perfect” or “Nobody is perfect” meaning we all make mistakes, which is true, we do make mistakes. Mistakes help us learn more about who we are. Even as I type this I want to use that phrase to describe how I’ve procrastinated the last 4 months and will most likely not pass my Personal Trainer test this January. However I am perfect the way I am… and I have work to do.
I have plans in 2018. Will I succeed? Yes. Will I fail? Also, yes! That is part of the adventure.
I think this site and future business could really help people. I will share my successes and my mistakes, my goals and losses, but most importantly I promise to be real. I will become a certified personal trainer in order to support people body, mind and soul.
Let me know what you think.