I always ask my new clients one question: “What do you think is stopping you from achieving your goals?” Almost all of them start explaining how they do not have enough will or at least they do not demonstrate it when it comes to diet and workouts. One woman told me: “Ines, if it was 10 years ago, I could probably use my will, but now I feel I can’t.”
These words made me smile and unlocked a desire to write something, which has been on my mind for a long time. And you know what? I don’t have will to do what I used to. But actually, things don’t come up to will. Let me tell you. Let me take you on a quick walk through my past. Probably, somewhere you will get to see yourself and then you will realize what has changed about you.
I used to punish myself with workouts every single day – sometimes twice a day. There were days, when I didn’t feel like training, yet I forced myself to do it. There were days, when I was in a lot of pain, yet I didn’t pay attention to it and I still trained with high intensity. Or if the pain used to be unbearable – I took pain killers. I used to silence the pain and fool myself that it is not there, so I could train.
I used to go on diets which forbid me to eat something and deprived me. The period when I didn’t eat any dairy, was the time when a couple table spoons of yogurt used to make me feel like a failure. The time when I didn’t eat carbs, was the time when a small apple, caused a series of negative thoughts and feelings about how I lack will and how I do not want it bad enough.
I used to eat low fat quark, boiled egg whites, chicken breasts and green salads – all week long, just so I do not overeat on the weekend. I was one of those people, who could lie in bed, unable to fall asleep, because I am starving and I haven’t eaten enough through the day, yet I used my will to stay away from eating. I was one of those people who drank coffee after coffee, in order to kill the hunger or I used to chew two packages of gums, so I can have the sweet taste I didn’t have in my meals.
I used to not love myself, I didn’t value and respect myself. I used to punish my body because I felt I wasn’t enough.
A time went by, something in me changed. Now I can’t do this to myself or at least not out of my own will. I know it is the same with you. And you know what? It is great that you can’t use your will, in order to deprive yourself. I am thinking about all the times, when I used to punish my body and I used to think how something inside of me doesn’t allow me to do it. I am thinking how now I value and respect myself and back in the days I didn’t do it.
Not being able to torture your body, as you used to, is not a sign of lack of will, desire or abilities, but a sign of respect and inner knowledge that there is another way, which goes through care, not deprivation. Just think about it!
Why do you need to eat 1000 calories or exhaust yourself with workouts, when you had a sleepless night or a really challenging day or when something hurts? How is this changing your body? Be honest with yourself. Doesn’t it always happen the same way? You deprive yourself. You make the temporary fix in your life and you get the short term results. The moment when you can’t keep up with this, you turn to the other extreme and you go with the flow. You go back where you were or even take one step behind it.
Every time when you gain a couple pounds, it is not because you ate one more handful of rice or another half of steak, right? Every time when you gain weight, it is because after the deprivation, you make up for it with sweets, pizza, muffins and fats and carbs that come from unhealthy sources – those that cause the cellulite, the love handles and the fat on your triceps, that you desperately want to get rid of. Why do you keep on causing this to yourself?
There came a moment, when I realized that every extreme balances itself out with its polarity and that I can keep on depriving myself and then overeat. Then this would take me into the enchanted circle of negative emotions and lack of results or I could look for another way. To stop depriving myself and start taking care for my body. I could give it quality and delicious food – on a daily basis. And you know what happens? You stop starving for crappy foods, because your body receives enough nutrients. Seems like you are eating more, yet your fat is melting away. Because hunger for crappy food is hunger for real food. Because when you do not give your body what it needs, it looks for the quick energy of the unhealthy food, but right after that it needs more and more. You eat, yet your body starves.
Being in shape and healthy doesn’t come up to will and deprivation. It comes up to lifestyle, choices and care. Moving enough and eating healthy is a sign of taking care of your body. But working out when you feel exhausted and when you are in pain; feeling hungry, yet eating just veggies so you can avoid calories is taking you further away from your goals. There isn’t a single thin body, or a small size of jeans that can overshadow the hell that settles in the mind of the person who has lost connection with his body and its needs.
If you are walking in the wrong direction, make an opposite turn and take a different path – the one that will build you, instead of destroy you.