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November 22, 2016

What I Learned when I Bailed on my No Pain, No Gain Mentality.

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I am not a quitter, but sometimes we need to give up.

Before you hit the x button, stay with me and allow me to explain.

A few years ago when I first started writing and attempting to inspire people through my own fitness journey, I was pretty consistent. I achieved the goals that I set; physically I was in the best shape of my life, but mentally I wasn’t really healthy.

I kept chasing the next five pounds I needed to lose. I focused so much on the areas I thought needed more work…like my thunder thighs. I was never fully content with my reflection, regardless of how much I accomplished. I used it as an escape, instead of being fully present.

I seldom appreciated what I had accomplished. I think we all take things for granted once in a while; we just don’t realize it as it happens. Like when there is a death, suddenly there is an outpouring of love and appreciation for the person. It’s not that the love didn’t exist earlier; it just wasn’t fully expressed.

Being that I was once 240 pounds, you would think I would really try to hold on to my newly petite muscular frame. Once I reached my peak physically, it became a task that I crossed off the list. I didn’t realize it then, but I gave up.

Life, work and stress took command. My priorities changed.

As a result I wasn’t keeping up with the lifestyle I worked so hard to create. The exercise regimen was strenuous and time consuming, the diet was strict. I didn’t have much of a social life. I let go. I started eating again…all the things I deprived myself of in those two years.

In retrospect I am so grateful for the experience and the people who supported me to achieve my goals at that time. I respect their dedication.

Little did I know that something bigger was about to take place. I gained about 50 pounds in less than nine months. Some of that due to Hypothyroidism, Hashimotos specifically and a surgery confirming endometriosis. I stopped working out for a while.

I truly believe that in life everything happens for a reason. Once I was cleared for workouts, I attempted to give it another try with a different approach. Instead of beating myself up about where I was and focusing on the things I disliked about myself, I decided to embrace it. Slowly peeling away my layers. Of course I had some resistance, I still have bad days where I look in the mirror solely focusing on the things I wanted to change.

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Here are a few of the many lessons I learned throught this experience:

Not to take other people’s criticism to heart.

This was a tough one. When I first gained weight I was in hiding. I was ashamed that I allowed myself to spiral out of control. People can be harsh, but what I realized is that the only reason it affected me was because of the way I was feeling about myself. That’s what I needed to focus on, me being happy now.

Frankly, people criticized me when I was in tip-top shape too. It’s not about them, because there will always be a rainbow of opinions and I am not a chameleon.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

To love myself while I was working toward my goals.

We all say we love ourselves, but it’s easy to love ourselves when we look and feel good and everything is great. How much do we love ourselves when it’s not? Sometimes there is a condition to this self love.

I am always quick to say encouraging words to loved ones, but what about to myself? Was I always as kind? I started to catch myself when my mind would wander into negative thought patterns. Like whenever I was in a fitting room trying something on, when it was a little too tight or didn’t fit at all. I acknowledged, that I am a loving, beautiful woman with so much to offer. Affirmations are also helpful; I love to read them. I know there are some that preach from the benefits of talking in the mirror, but for me it felt a bit silly. Maybe I am missing something.

“There is no wrong way to be a woman.” ~ Denise Bidot

To be grateful for all I have.

There are a million things that could be worse than gaining a few pounds, being too skinny or fat. Now, I set aside a moment each day to say thank you and appreciate what I do have. “Thank you for my thunder thighs, they take me where I need to go.” Some people wish they had what we complain about.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

To Trust.

When things happen to us there is a lesson to be learned. I know it’s cliched but i’ve seen it first hand. Even if we do not understand it at that moment, just trust! What impedes us from receiving our lessons from life is our resistance to what is happening. If we just stop and ask ourselves what we are meant to learn from this, or just let it be, instead of fighting it, the lesson usually presents itself.

I’ve come to realize that my soul was thirsty for more than the aesthetics, it wanted me to realize that my beauty is complete regardless of what I see in the mirror in front of me. Everything that happened seemed like a curse at the time, but if it wasn’t for all of that adversity, I wouldn’t be sharing this message with you today.

I’ve accomplished it before. I can do it again, but this time with some mindfulness.

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.” ~ Mandy Hale

 

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Author: Jaquí Rodriguez

Image: Author’s Own

Editor: Travis May

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