Sunday, August 26, 2012

Letting go

(SYLC 33 & 34)

What is it about we humans that makes us so hard on ourselves? Like most other people I have battled with the internal negative self-talk so familiar to the I'm-not-doing-this-well-enough perfectionist. In the past I've tended to have a kind of all-or-nothing attitude to many aspects of my life - and that includes diet and exercise.

I've not done any 'formal planned' exercise this week. 
Thought = failure. Result =  I stop exercising

I've been 'good' for three days and then scoffed a bunch of Freddo Frogs. 
Thought = failure. Result = I stop eating well.

It doesn't take a psychologist (and I am one) to tell me that this way of thinking is both unhelpful and unnecessary. Beating ourselves up about not being perfect makes us miserable and actually prevents us from moving forward. And as there is no such thing as being perfect it's ultimately empty striving.

At the end of last year when my circumstances changed I decided it was time to let go and be kinder to myself. My approach to life had been neither physically nor emotionally healthy nor sustainable. I can tell you this letting go business after years of self-bashing is not easy. But it does get easier with persistance and it just feels so good.

Those two words 'feels good' have been the key. These days I take alot more notice of my what my body is telling me than ever before. This includes my gut, might right shoulder that gets sore when I get stressed, my head, how I feel when I wake up in the morning and my general energy levels. I observe and I tweak.

I have changed the way I'm eating. I try to steer clear of too many carbohydrates as they make me feel feel sluggish then hungry for more, and grains make me get sinusy. I cut out sugar as an experiment for three months and liked the result so kept it up. I eat whole foods and cook almost everything from scratch. I've cut out almost all processed foods from my diet.

But importantly I'm not nuts about it. If I go out for dinner and there's a beautiful freshly prepared dessert that appeals, I'll order it. If I'm at someone else's place for a meal I eat what I'm given, grateful that someone has cooked for me. If I have a few days where convenience takes over, I be mindful of the situation and recognise that sometimes things have to give. It's just life, not about getting to the end of a marathon ahead of everyone else.

The same goes with exercise. My schedule can be all over the place preventing me from riding to work, and sometimes I just don't feel like going to pilates at the end of the day. I know the importance of exercise and how good it feels to be strong and in this area I push myself a little more as I have a tendency to make excuses. But I don't beat myself up if I don't go. Mindfully I observe why I've not done my ride or gone to a class while realising there will be other opportunities, like the long bike ride I took a couple of Sunday's ago with my friend E.

As Sarah Wilson said in a recent post: Sigs Siga. Slowly, slowly. That's my new way.

Life for me is about living, not being unforgiving.

My zippy folder. [photo by The Dirt Bum]

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