It’s time, officially, to give up the cycle. Give up the go-beast-mode-for-2-weeks-then-fail-then-eat-cookies-then-hate-myself. Give up the positive / negative roller coaster. Give up the body hate. Give up the excuses.
I’m so tired of it. Seriously, in looking at my posts on this blog, most of them are about starting over, or refreshing and beginning anew in some way. Most of these I wrote to give myself accountability, and space to breathe and a way to start from scratch so I can go forward. Yet I never went forward. My journey towards health and regaining my fitness (and confidence in my body again) has been a series of false starts and terrible bounce-backs into binge eating and no exercise. I kept waiting for the right moment, when the world could slow down for just a second so that I could start over.
However, I’m slowly learning life doesn’t just stop so you can start from scratch. It’s something so simple, that I’ve known all along, but it didn’t truly resonate with me until the past week, after months of giving up and self-loathing. All the self-hate I could muster won’t make me healthy again, or able to jump like I did in high school, or give me the strength and arm definition I had as a competitive dancer. All the negative thoughts won’t make me stop eating chips and lots of free pizza and too many snacks at work. All the angry words I told myself won’t make me a disciplined yoga student or a faster, more dedicated runner. All the giving up won’t stop the world from turning, just so I could start over.
So here it is: I’m SO tired of starting over. I’m tired of giving up. So, now… I won’t. I won’t give up. I won’t get angry when I falter, I’ll just pick myself up and keep going. I won’t let one bad day ruin weeks or months of progress. I won’t be a part of this healthy-unhealthy cycle anymore. I won’t start over again and again because I won’t give up in the first place.
I WILL be healthy. I WILL be strong in mind while slowly becoming strong in body. I WILL find ways to nourish myself. I WILL be patient, knowing progress isn’t always linear but it’s still happening. I WILL look for inspiration and motivation everywhere.
I WILL go at it with a plan. In an effort to make this change easy, so that it sticks, I’m looking again to my girls at ToneItUp.com — the trainers Karena + Katrina are not only beautiful and strong but extremely encouraging. While they give free workouts on their site multiple times a week, they also know how important nutrition is to get to your health and fitness goals. Plus, they seem really fun and they have a huge community of followers, which means I’m not doing this alone.
So, I’ve signed up for their 8-week Bikini Series challenge. I’m not a member of their Nutrition plan, so I won’t get a specific food plan, but after following their blog (passively) for a few years, I’m pretty familiar with what’s ToneItUp approved — basically whole, non-processed foods. Heavy on the greens. Lean protein is a must. Fruits for your sweet tooth. And yes, the *occasional* indulgence. OK, so I have to re-evaluate what my definition of “occasional” is, but the fact is, I’ve eaten this way before and loved when I did. So this time, I just have to keep at it, and make a plan so that it’s easy to do so. As for not buying their specific nutrition plan, I like looking at recipes for inspiration, but I actually prefer to not be on a set food plan — I don’t want this to feel like a diet, but like a way to guide me towards better eating habits.
The Bikini Series starts next week and goes until the first day of summer, and it’s a fun, TUI community-wide fitness and health challenge to help get beach-ready. It’s just the right amount of structure that I need so I can make fitness a priority. I’m not going to lie, some of my short-term goals are very superficial: I want my stomach and legs to look good when I’m in a bikini on the beach. I don’t want my beast-mode little bro being the only one in the family with a 6-pack this summer. I want to look good in photos again and rock a skimpy dress in a nightclub knowing my arms look stellar. But it’s more than that. I just want to start feeling good about myself again. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin again. And I know what I need to do to make that happen.
So it’s T-10 days until the TUI challenge officially begins. I won’t start over; this time, I’ll just start: start moving my body ever-so-slowly and start to feed myself for all the great things I’m doing. I’ll check in here as often as I can. Eventually my choices will become my behaviors, and my behaviors will become healthy habits. The world won’t wait for me to do anything; it’ll just show up every day and go, like always. And this time, so will I.