Earlier this week, we shared some practical tips for cultivating a healthy lifestyle, and today I'm thrilled to introduce a friend and PowerSheets user, Robin Long, to each of you!
Robin lives and works in sunny Santa Barbara, CA. She obtained her comprehensive Pilates certification through Body Arts and Science International and her barre certification through Balanced Body. She is passionate about creating programs that empower, strengthen, restore, and rejuvenate her clients from the inside out. As a mom of two little ones, she knows what it’s like to have very little time for yourself. The Balanced Life was created to help women feel healthy, balanced and strong through at-home Pilates workouts, wellness resources, and a supportive community of like-minded women around the world.
I hope you're as encouraged by Robin's words as I am! Be sure to scroll to the bottom for an invitation to join a free 21-day Pilates Challenge!
Have you ever felt like you needed to go to the gym to work off the big, indulgent dinner you had the night before?
Or, have you ever rewarded yourself with extra sweet treats after a hard workout?
I certainly have. And to be honest, I was trapped in this cycle for a long time. The cycle looked something like this:
- Over-indulge in a cheeseburger, fries, and beer at a restaurant (eating to the point of being way too full)
- Feel guilty, over-stuffed, and bad about myself for not having more self-control
- Exercise as a way to make up for the “damage” I’d done
- Feel proud, accomplished and exhausted from said workout!
- Reward myself with a large, sugar-filled latte with extra whipped cream (I earned it!)
- Feel bad for having such a big treat
- Exercise to make up for it
- You can guess what comes next…
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was trapped in a terrible cycle.
Essentially, exercise had become a form of punishment and indulgent food had become a reward.
I was caught in a cycle that was so mainstream I didn’t even realize it was wrong.
There was a constant battle going on in my head about how I “should” exercise more or I “shouldn’t” have eaten certain foods.
There was no room for mistakes, no room for grace and no room for imperfection.
After years of feeling frustrated and discouraged, I decided enough was enough. Something had to change. I needed to break free. I realized that while there was certainly room for improvement in my diet and exercise routine, it was my MINDSET that needed to change.
My relationship with exercise needed a makeover, and my beliefs about what it meant to be a fit and healthy woman needed an overhaul.
So, I made changes.
And one of the most important things I learned, is the value of embracing imperfection and giving myself grace.
If you can relate to an unhealthy (or simply burdensome) relationship with exercise, I encourage you to explore what it might look like to allow more room for imperfection and grace.
While it might seem counter-intuitive, giving yourself permission to NOT be perfect, to go off-track and to fall behind can (and most likely will) lead to better results.
Because when you embrace imperfection, it’s easier to stay consistent for long periods of time. One bump in the road (skipped workout, extra piece of cake, etc.) will no longer throw you off track. You will look at your progress and see the ways the little by little is adding up instead of the areas where you aren't enough.
This one change has helped me get into the best shape of my life, but more importantly, my healthiest state of mind.
Here are 4 practical ways to embrace imperfection on your fitness journey:
Choose grace over guilt. This has become our unofficial motto in my online community. When you miss a workout, eat more than you need to, or forget to drink water–choose grace over guilt. Wallowing in guilt leads to shame and a cycle of negative self-talk. Sometimes we think that guilt will motivate us to change and while it might work in the short-term, it will NOT work for the long-term. Ditch the guilt, choose grace, and move forward.
Treat every day as a fresh start. Every morning is a fresh start. Don’t worry about what happened yesterday. Just wake up, drink a big glass of water and start another day with the intention to nourish and care for your body the best you possibly can.
Ditch the “all or nothing” mentality. Have you ever skipped a workout because you didn’t have time to complete the whole thing? Me too. Or perhaps you don’t really exercise because you don’t have time for hour-long classes + a daily commute to the gym? As a mom of 2 toddlers who runs a business from home, I get it. Letting go of the “all or nothing” mentality will help you stay consistent and get moving on a daily basis. My daily mantra? Something is always better than nothing.
Embrace short workouts. Everyone can find 10 minutes per day, right? If you don’t have time to spend hours in the gym or train for marathons, try short daily workouts. I teach women to do 10 minutes of Pilates per day and the results are incredible. Why? Because 10 minutes is realistic. And because it’s realistic you can actually stay consistent. And when you’re consistent, you see results.
Changing thought patterns and your relationship with exercise can take time. But one of the best things you can do is learn to embrace imperfection on your journey. Remember that fitness is a long-term pursuit that will ebb and flow. There will be ups, downs, trials and errors. Embracing imperfection will help you release guilt, accept grace and live in freedom.
What is one way you’re going to embrace imperfection when it comes to your fitness routine? Will you be joining Robin's 21-Day Pilate Challenge? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!