I belong to a private group on Facebook for people trying to lose weight. These folks are super encouraging and supportive to each other, regardless of what is going on. If someone has a bad day or gains back any weight or eats a bowl of junk cereal, they encourage the other person to keep going and tell that person how great they are. But that same person will get down on themselves for the same thing. (This is not ONE person; it is most of them.)
Here's the thing: I really DID quit yesterday. I was really going to just give up and eat myself into an early grave. I posted my post here last night after my workout, and linked it on my wall like always, and guess what? People have been VERY encouraging to me, saying kind things to me, and being very supportive in this journey. But some of those same people messaging me or whatever are being hard on themselves for a bad day, or have been seriously down on themselves in the past for the same.
What is the difference? I QUIT. I really did. I GAVE UP. I had no intention of ever setting foot in a gym ever again. Never working out again. Eating whatever I want whenever I want, all the better if it's fat and sugar laden. Why encourage me after that?
I think we can be much too hard on ourselves. The saying that we are our own worst critic is sadly all too true. I can sit here and catalog every single thing I did wrong yesterday, from the ice cream I had at lunch to the text I sent to Carlos, and I did just that in my head. But what on earth is the point of tearing myself down? I am choosing instead to focus on the positive -- not to be Pollyanna or unrealistic or lie to myself about my weaknesses, but even though I quit and didn't want to go to the gym, I did it anyway, with some encouragement. I was hungry when I got home and had a protein shake and a small bowl of healthy cereal, and at that point my brain said, "Go eat some more ice cream! You earned it!" But my stomach was satisfied and so I talked with the husband a bit, then cleaned up (I was gross after my workout, ugh) and went to bed instead. That is a success! That is a GOOD thing! Was yesterday perfect? Not by half. But it was a good day anyway. For me, telling my brain and emotions NO! about the ice cream last night? That was almost as amazing as working out for 90 minutes. 90 minutes! Lifting weights, doing squats and lunges, running up and down a hall, using the rowing machine, doing wall squats in the dry sauna!
Here is my challenge to you: If you are having an off day, take a moment and be kind to yourself. Think of the things you did right, not wrong. Think of how great it feels to overcome one little thing or make a better choice than gorging on ice cream. And if you aren't having an off day, be kind to yourself anyway and think about the good things you are doing for yourself. You are worth giving yourself the same kindness you show to others.