In my last post I was talking about the sort of “endurance” mindset I had fallen into, and how it was slowly sucking all the joy out of my life. I have spent the past few days both examining the problem and trying to start taking steps to change it. You always hear people say “Things change…” but in my experience, they don’t change for the better on their own. That takes work.
I spent some time looking at how this way of thinking had affected my workouts and diet. What I noticed about my workouts was that I have an attitude of “Just get through it.” This might have been useful when I was just getting started, but now it completely precludes actually enjoying any part of the workout. To see what would happen I have begun to try and stay very present during each exercise I am doing, paying attention to what is working better than it used to and asking questions about what I am experiencing and how I can improve. I am also trying to smile and let go at the end of each exercise as well as at the end of the workout. My body, my mind and my spirit can get balled up like a fist during a challenging exercise or workout. The act of releasing the tension has allowed me to go into the next exercise a little more evenly, making the workout as a whole a better experience. By recognizing my progress while I am actually doing the exercise, I really get a better sense of how far I’ve come.
Talking to my instructors (Lee & Elisabeth at RedBird Pilates) has been a great help as well. I forget to ask questions, just assuming that what I am experiencing is right or normal… Once I started talking to them I was able to get some insight on the things that are normal and the things I need to address. Knowledge is freedom, and no question is too small to ask. The more I know, the better I feel about what I am doing.
The endurance mindset has taken a toll on my eating habits as well. By sanding off all the joy in other parts of my life, it has ramped up my desire to find comfort in food. I had stopped logging my food in MyFitnessPal and my diet was starting to wobble a bit. But more importantly, I was beginning to have to fight the constant compulsion to eat again. That struggle went away for the first 6-7 months of this journey, but it has been back in force the last few weeks. It is a fight I cannot win and I know it.
To address this I have to first admit it is happening. I am back to logging my food every day (You can follow me on MyFitnessPal if you like – my username is chrisgates61). But more importantly I have made a commitment to two new ideas. First, I am praying for the courage to do the smallest of things right. I am pretty good at the big stuff. I don’t eat an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting anymore. Where I need attention is the small stuff. Small snacks that I can do without. Going to bed earlier so that I’m asleep when the late night cravings show up. Simple stuff. Small actions that I am positive will make a big difference.
I am also trying to have more fun. Fun (capitol F) and fun (small f). I’ve started making plans to get together with some friends and play some music, which is something that I have needed to do for a while now. But I have also started trying to apply the same approach to the everyday moments of my life that I am applying to exercise. I am making a point to pause and smile a LOT. I am consciously deciding to enjoy my interactions with people. Surprisingly, that really works! I am working to bring small moments of fun and joy into my day whenever and wherever possible.
I know that I am in a transitional period right now. Something new is coming. A new freedom, a new happiness. Hoping for the best is not a plan for living. My job is to stay awake, and to keep asking questions. This right here – this is the only life I get, so wasting any of it is unacceptable.