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My client began our training session this week in tears. She was furious at herself for falling off the bandwagon and gaining a few kilos.
This is a woman who has lost an incredible amount of weight over the past few years. On top of training really hard, she’s done the tough emotional work to understand why she always struggled with her weight — and has now completely changed her lifestyle.
She has accomplished something many people would never have the balls to even try.
Yet here she was, sitting on the gym floor with tears in her eyes because she’d “failed”. Oh yeah, and it was her birthday.
Another client can’t stand her body and desperately wants to increase her fitness, even though she’s fitter and leaner than me — and I’m a personal trainer.
The worst bit is, this isn’t unusual. Almost every day I have to listen to incredible women berating themselves in the most nuclear way for being ‘weak’, or ‘dumb’, or just ‘not good enough’. Can’t do 10 chin-ups the first time they ever try — ‘useless’. Went out on the weekend and drank too much wine — ‘why do I even bother trying to be healthy at all?’
And on it goes. So many of us are trapped on a pendulum with perfectionism. I mean, if we can’t exercise, parent, eat or clean our homes perfectly, why even give it a shot?
Should you push through pain?
When you’re working out your bound to experience some niggling aches or pains. But if we stop working out at the first sight of discomfort, we’d probably never do any exercise at all. So when should you keep going and when should you rest?
Because we think near enough is never good enough, we often swing in the complete opposite direction, where we do things like binge-eat rubbish and stop exercising altogether.
We just can’t seem to understand that there’s a middle ground and that’s where human beings hang out.
My best friend and I have this long-running joke about all the things we’re currently “workshopping” about ourselves — and our lists are long. Every time we talk we slap on another few bullet points. But that’s just it with us. We’re always being workshopped, because there’s always something to improve on, to do better, to learn.
My lifelong struggle with anxiety is number one on my list. And, boy, don’t I get very anxious that I haven’t workshopped that issue into oblivion. I must be doing something wrong. Better add that to the list: workshop not being anxious about being anxious that I haven’t cured my anxiety yet. (I know how that sounds.)
My BF’s been keeping a gratitude journal where each day she writes down one thing she accomplished that day she’s proud of. One accomplishment last week was that she managed to go for a walk without stressing that she wasn’t walking fast enough…