Stop Being A (Self) Hater

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Nobody is perfect. Everybody has ‘off days’. I’m currently sat in bed in my trackies, with a cup of Earl Grey on my side table and ready to open the accompanying packet of Bourbons.

If I had done this a year ago, it probably would have led to a take-away Dominos, a skipped next-day workout & a whole lot of self-loathing. However today, the only price I’ll be paying is the dreaded crumbs-in-the-bed situation that results from such activities.

Motivation is not black and white; and it’s days like these that make me consider how much of an important message that is.

Yes, for the most part, success requires motivation. But happiness shouldn’t be sacrificed along the way. I’m a firm believer of balance & being kind to yourself.

I’ve spent too many years on a roller-coaster lifestyle, hopping from one extreme to another. From working out every day without rest, resulting in over-training, injury and self-obsession; to completely giving up, sometimes eating 3 pizzas in one day and once, not working out for 3 weeks straight. Neither of these behaviours got me anywhere, except deeper into a downward spiral of self-hate and low self-esteem. It might sound like a cliché, but balance really is key.

To move forward and progress, the vast majority of us need to allow ourselves a bit of a break sometimes. If you deliberately reward yourself for your hard work from time-to-time, it should prevent you from breaking down and going overboard on an uncontrolled, over-indulgent and chaotic binge.

If you ever find yourself having a day where you ‘just don’t feel like it’, I want you to stop and ask yourself a few questions before internally berating yourself and/or proceeding to eat the entirety of the dessert section of your local Tesco.

  1.  The first question is to obtain an understanding on the situation: Why do I feel so negative right now?
    • Am I Tired? How has my quality of sleep been over the last few days?
    • What has my nutrition been like over the last few days?
    • Where are my stress levels currently at? When was the last time I had deliberate relaxation time?
    • Has something happened recently to upset me, directly or indirectly?
    • When was the last time I dedicated a whole day to chillin’?
    • Am I currently experiencing any kind of pain anywhere, e.g. back/knee/shoulder pain, muscular soreness, headache?
    • Have I had a rest day from training recently?
    • How much water have I drank today?
  2.  Once you’ve figured out your reasoning for feeling the way that you do, you can decide whether or not you think now is the time for (well-deserved) time-out. Once you have made your decision, the following question is possibly the most important part to this whole practice: How do I feel about what I have decided to do?
    • Relieved, comforted and even a little excited? If it’s this one, you’ve probably really needed this for a while, maybe for a little too long, so try not to overthink it and really let yourself relax.
    • Happy, calm and confident in your decision? This is a pretty great place to be in – enjoy your chillin’ time and congratulate yourself on your well-deserved time-out.
    • Pretty un-phased and not particularly appreciative of the potential break? Maybe you can squeeze one more productive thing into today before you retire to the major chillin’ plan – you want to appreciate it, otherwise it won’t feel like a treat and you may begin to associate this kind of behaviour as normal rather than a time-out.
    • Stressed, anxious, regretful and scared? Woah there! Slow down, take a breath and consider everything that lead you to this decision in the first place. Everybody needs a break sometimes and if you avoid taking one, the outcome can be far worse. Nobody said you had to go on a challenge to see how much you can consume in 12 hours, just do something a little indulgent. Eat 1 Jaffa Cake, I dare you!
  3.  Now that you’re looking at the situation with self-awareness and in a healthy state, it’s time to create a plan of action: What can I do to improve the way I feel, without this turning into a binge-fest/ticket-to-self-hate-land?
    • Decide which aspects of a time-out you require, then make a plan based on these. E.g. a treat meal, spending the afternoon in bed, having a slightly unproductive evening, going to bed early, skipping the day’s workout (shock horror! srsly tho, chill out), opting for a movie instead of answering emails, etc.
    • Plan exactly what you are going to do; This plan should include start & end times, what you are going to do, what you are going to eat & where you are going to draw the line. E.g. Go home, put your trackies on and get into bed with a cup of tea and a packet of bourbons to write a blog post about not being so hard on yourself. By dinner time it’s back to normal with a healthy balanced meal, possibly followed by a little work & I will not be ordering a take-away. Boom.
    • This part is all about control. I am deciding to sit in bed and eat these Bourbons and I know that it’s not the end of the world; I have not failed as a human and my progress is not going to be completely ruined. Above all, today is not a disaster and tomorrow will be exactly the same as I had originally planned.

So there you have it. If you’re feeling like you just can’t, then sometimes, giving your mind and body a break is the answer. If you find yourself regularly feeling like this, you might need to consider if there are any underlying issues, or maybe if you’re constantly pushing yourself a bit too hard. Try to find balance and if you need any health or fitness advice, feel free to get in touch.

What do you do when you’re feeling like this? Leave a comment and share your experience!


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