A Comparison to Six Months Ago
On any adventure, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, and forget just how far you have really come. Particularly in health and fitness, when you look at yourself in the mirror multiple times every day, changes are going to be near impossible to observe. As human beings, our bodies change very slowly over time; healthy fat loss and muscle gain can take months to develop into visible results, even with efficient training and nutrition. This is a key point to remember when trying to make any lifestyle changes.
Throughout the past six months, I have been making an effort to live with this point in mind. Countless times, I have found myself scrutinising over various body parts, pedantically searching for flaws and imperfections. This is an extremely toxic habit; by practising this negative mindset, I have only been building a hateful relationship with how I view my body and, in turn, myself. Though I am a highly self critical person in many aspects of my life, I feel that you too can most likely empathise with this habit- everyone experiences some extent of self criticism, whether that's physically or mentally. Six months ago, it had started to become excessive, to the point where it would be present anywhere I went. For example, I would walk down the street and search in the reflection of a nearby shop window to find some error in my physique that needed rectifying. I would then reinforce this notation by staring at the same part of my body later at home in the mirror, from a left angle, then the right, then from the front, and then the left again, over and over again until I had had enough. This left me with a devastatingly poor self image. In consequence, I would eat meals with intense guilt, and I would overwork my body to a certain point in the gym that would "deserve" food afterwards. At this point in my life, I had already been on my fitness journey for about a year: I was still a beginner who wasn't quite on track yet, but I had made substantial lifestyle changes compared to a year or two prior.
So how did I overcome this? I won't lie to you- I haven't overcome it.
I still catch myself repeating the same unhealthy habits, although they are a lot less controlling than how they used to be. For the last six months, I have managed regain some control. Every now and then, I would take a break from looking at any reflection of my body, this could be for a period of two days or two weeks. By practising a higher level of self discipline (in this case, ignoring my self image), I could allow for some rest. During these periods of time, I was no longer exhausting myself from the captivity of my criticism. I could relax a little. I am only human though; I do still look at my reflection and occasionally pick out an area that "needs improvement". Of course, relapse is common, relapse is human. But every relapse is one more teaching, and with each teaching, I get a little bit wiser. Here's to six more months of self betterment!