Let me preface this by saying that I’m so over the whole ‘my journey’ line when it comes to making a lifestyle change BUT, I still use it from time to time. It’s a constant learning process, full of ups and downs and never ending, really. I don’t know though, ‘my journey’ just seems a bit dramatic, don’t you think? I digress.
I want to talk about grace and how it’s been such an integral part of my health and fitness journey because I feel like the majority of people struggle with this mentality at some point. If you’re reading something of mine for the first time (hi! and welcome) you need to know that I’m not some eloquent writer. I type too fast and I’m very SQUIRREL!! which means there are probably mistakes but as long as you get my point, I’m not worried about it. 😉 All right, back to what’s really on my heart today:
For reference, this is the definition of grace that I’m referring to:
(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
a divinely given talent or blessing.plural noun: graces“the graces of the Holy Spirit”
Grace is something I have only recently come to know. I’m a self professed hard ass who is so unreasonably hard on myself, it’s unhealthy. And don’t get me started on the standards I upheld for others. It’s embarrassing really, because I am SO far from perfect I can’t even see the horizon.
When I started ‘my journey’ in 2013 I had the all or nothing mentality like so many people do. If I can’t get it ALL right, screw it. That meant (at the time) counting calories to the nth degree and losing my shit if I went over because I just KNEW I was going to gain weight. It meant I never.missed.a.workout (which isn’t always bad) to the point of missing out on social events, alienating friends and family and not resting (over training). Y’all, I would legit avoid social events because I knew I would A) be tempted to go off plan (which really wasn’t a plan at all, more of an avoidance of things which is stupid) and B) I wouldn’t be able to accurately track the food in Myfitnesspal. YIKES. I look back at that now and laugh a little but it helps me remember how easy it is to get caught up in that mentality. If you are in that place right now, you are NOT alone. I’m telling you right now, it is NOT the way to live and I will happily help you overcome that so you too can lead a healthy BALANCED lifestyle. <3 You can be healthy, feel and look great even if you aren’t at your goal while still enjoying life.
In addition to being so hard on myself, I had unrealistic expectations for my customers (remember early on I was heavily involved in running Challenge/Accountability Groups through Beachbody). I knew what it meant to have a goal, to stick to the plan and to get results. Why was that so hard for everyone else to get? If they just did what I told them to they’d get results. Ugh. Talk about setting them up for failure. I was a SAHM at the time so my schedule was MUCH more forgiving than those with full time jobs AND juggling families. I just couldn’t wrap my head around why everyone would fall off the wagon so often. If I could do it, so could they. I see now how flawed my thinking was. While it’s true that ANYONE can do anything they put their mind too, we all have different things that drive us, different demands placed on us, curveballs and generally rough seasons. It wasn’t fair for me to expect perfection of others. I remember being of the all or nothing mindset and impressing that upon my challengers too. Honestly? It worked for a little bit too. People were drawn to my no excuses attitude because they saw the results I was getting and loved having their own personal cheerleader. They were getting results, feeling better, looking better, sleeping better, eating better, etc until BAM, life would throw a curveball as it always does. That’s when things would crumble and that was my fault.
I wasn’t teaching a balanced lifestyle. I was teaching the all or nothing approach and again, it can definitely be the way to go when you have some serious goals but you still need that foundation and I was sorely lacking in that department.
Fast forward to me educating myself more on nutrition and goal setting and things really started to sink in which meant I could relax a little. But I was still crazy hard on myself. Hi! Type A personality over here! It’s a blessing and a curse.
A couple of years ago I was doing a Bible Study with my group (called Redeemed) and we were finishing one up and trying to choose the next. I remember going to Lifeway and perusing the Bible Study section and picking up a copy, skimming the back cover and saying ‘sure, sounds good!’ Ha! I have no doubt it was HIS doing. I had my own spiritual issues I was working through (I’ll spare you those details) but it was through that study that I truly learned and accepted what God’s Grace meant in my life.
I am not a cryer (hi, type A, keep it all in) but I ugly cried with that study quite a few times. He knew what I needed.
Truly knowing and understanding what Grace meant for ME has been life changing for my coaching/training business. Through injuries, illness, loss and heartache, grace has been my well, saving grace.
I’ve learned that it’s NOT an all or nothing approach. It’s an ebb and flow. You SHOULD give it your all each every day with all you do but you also need to understand that life is never going to go exactly the way you want it. There will be peaks and valleys and set backs and triumphs. The key is to find the positive in every situation or at the very least, learn something from one of those setbacks. There is always something to be learned. Always.
Giving yourself grace in this journey will make it much more bearable. I don’t sugar coat things and always tell my clients that there will be periods where you’ll rock it and others that just plain suck. Embrace the suck, acknowledge the failure, learn and grow from it and move forward.
Grace will carry you through a lifestyle change too. There will be days when you rock it. Your workouts and macros will be on point, you FEEL amazing and life is grand. The next day you get a call from the school nurse, you’re stuck at home with a clingy sick kiddo, didn’t have time to make a good dinner let alone shower that day so you end up eating cookies or fast food for dinner. Y’all. That.is.life. It’s OKAY. Beating yourself up over it will do NOTHING. Acknowledge it. See if there is something you can learn from it, like maybe you make sure to have a healthy freezer/crockpot meal on hand for those days. Whatever it is, give yourself some grace and try again tomorrow.
Here’s the other thing with grace, the more able you are to grant it to yourself, the more you’re able to give it to those around you. Or the flip side…maybe you’re like me and can freely give it to others but when it comes to yourself you’re like, No ma’am! That doesn’t apply to me. I’m telling you right now, it does.
I’ll leave you with this: Learn from my mistakes. Leading a healthy lifestyle is NOT about perfection. It’s about balance, growth and grace. It’s why I’m such a huge proponent of small changes for my peeps. But that’s a topic for another day.