As I sit to write this post, I find that I have so many things that I want to say, that starting this topic seems overwhelming and slightly daunting. But it is for that reason alone that I think it is important that I, as a fitness professional, and we, as a fitness community, address it. Because there is not a single person who does not struggle with forgiveness in some shape or form.
The type of forgiveness I want to address today is that of self-forgiveness. I can't tell you how many times I hear my clients, my friends, or my family (and I will include myself in this list because I am just as guilty as the next person) mentally beating themselves up about food choices they made, or their lack of drive to get to the gym, or the cheat meal that turned into a cheat week. The reality is we are all human, and we all are going to have our slip ups... especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Unfortunately, the road to success is never a straight shot. It is a curving, winding path that has pitfalls and death traps around a few corners, but there are also spectacular views and breathtaking moments of beauty and grace that remind you of why you decided to go down this road in the first place.
And for you visual learners out there… here is a picture which sums up everything I just said.
Just recently one of my favorite clients came into the gym and was extremely down. She started confessing to me about how the night before she had decided to have a cookie. But that single cookie turned into two cookies, which quickly turned into four cookies and before she knew it she was embarking on a full blown eating frenzy. She felt awful and guilty about it, not to mention physically sick to her stomach. She felt like all her hard work was ruined and just wanted to quit.
While not all of our diet slip-ups may be as extreme as cleaning out your entire pantry in one sitting, the most important thing to do after you have a slip up is to FORGIVE YOURSELF. Yes, you made a mistake. But there is nothing you can do about it now because it is in the past. You are not going to do yourself any favors by spending more time fretting about it. FORGIVE YOURSELF. It was one slip, and you have got to stop beating yourself up. You are human and YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES! But the key to getting through them and moving on, is to accept it. Yes, you may have eaten more cookies and chips then you wanted, but that was last night. Forgive yourself and know that today is a new day. You have the opportunity to make new and healthy choices. So FORGET ABOUT IT!! It's over, and you shouldn't be wasting time thinking about it anymore. Instead, spend time thinking about the positive and good choices you are going to make today, and tomorrow, and in the future. That's a much better use of your mental capacity. In addition, cool it with the dramatics. You didn't ruin your entire diet and you haven't lost all the muscular gains you've been making in the past months. While you may feel bloated and sick because of your slip, your body will level out in a few days and you will be right on track again.
So if you take anything away from this post, give yourself permission to make mistakes, forgive yourself, and move on.