"I need to get back on track."
"I totally fell off the wagon this weekend."
"I completely blew it and need to restart my diet on Monday."
Sound familiar to you? Me too. For years, this was my mantra. I would restrict all week and exercise until it hurt, then the second I enjoyed myself on the weekend, my brain would chant these phrases over and over. I see and hear them everywhere: the gym, the office, and especially on social media.
We are trained to think that when we enjoy ourselves, we're being mindless and careless towards our bodies. Society has programmed us to believe that indulgences and real *living* must come at a cost. Nothing that good is free, right? To compensate for foods that are not viewed as healthy, alcohol, lack of exercise, or time spent away from the gym, we must put in double the work to pick back up where we left off. This idea used to dominate me. I could never truly enjoy myself without thinking about the consequences of that enjoyment.
Friends, I'm about to let you in on a wonderful, liberating secret: you don't need to get back "on" anything. Not back on track, or not back on the wagon. You didn't "fall off" of anything. You just lived, and you are allowed to give yourself permission to do so. What a revolutionary idea, right?
Our bodies are fluid and dynamic. They are constantly changing with us. We are not meant to be set in one specific type, weight, muscle tone, or size for the rest of eternity. Bodies change over time, and that's ok. They get bigger, softer, smaller, leaner...whatever it is for you. If you constantly believe that you need to make it up to yourself when you spend time NOT thinking about your body or exercise, it will lead you down an unfortunate path.
You are not abandoning your self worth by eating foods outside of what you would normally eat or taking a break from working out. Your decision to simply relax and do (and eat) what feels good does not need to be justified to anyone, especially yourself. Let me tell you something: you will have so much relief going to bed at night knowing you don't have to wake up and punish yourself in the gym or eat unsatisfying foods all day because you were "bad" for having pizza or wine. You'll finally be able to wake up refreshed to start a new, fresh day - free from whatever happened yesterday. This doesn't mean that you can't have a desire to move your body mindfully or nourish it with foods that are healthy and feel good - it just means you'll choose to do it, not force yourself to.
A wonderful warrior that I follow, Dana Suchow, had a graphic that really resonated with me. It said "Get rid of the saying 'Get my body back.' Your body never left," and I think that's a great testament to say that you don't have to fight so hard for an elusive dream body.
You've already got one. Treat it kindly.