The 5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes I’ve Made, and How I’ve Fixed Them For the Better.
What NOT to do if you want to get fit.
I have been blogging and vlogging and talking about my fitness journey online since 2007. And in the past 12 years, I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do that’s for sure.
The truth is, what has become very clear to me recently is that– my massive insecurity about my looks and my body, combined with my incredibly impatient nature, drove me to push way too hard in all areas, with the desire to get fit FASTER.
News Flash: that never happened. What did happen was that I became run down, my workouts suffered, I lost my energy and often my motivation, my inner self-talk went from negative to destructive and my eating practices became obsessive.
It took me doing a lot of introspection to figure this stuff out and I encourage all of you if you can, to get a therapist you can talk to to figure out your inner BAGGAGE that is likely holding you down. If you aren’t ready for that step, start with some personal development/self-help books– they’ve done wonders for me. (HINT: I’ll be sharing a post next week with some of my favorites for you)– and if you are that person who hears the words “personal development” or “self-help” and rolls your eyes with skepticism (I did back in the day)– guess what? You probably need it far more than you think.
Whatever you are most resistant to is likely what you need to pay attention to most in your life.
Example: Are you always worried about money? Freaking out about paying your bills or wondering how you can earn more? You have money issues you need to get to the bottom of– quite often we have these hangups inside of us that affect our behaviors– until you identify them and recognize them when they appear, you can’t change them.
So, when I was finally able to be real with myself, that’s when I could identify all my bad behavioral patterns or thought processes that were becoming huge obstacles for me in my fitness journey. Because what I realized was this: for all my years of working out and dieting– I never once reached my ultimate goal. Never ONCE. I’ve made progress then backslid, then made progress then backslid. It has been a PATTERN of two steps forward then 2 and a half back etc. I’ve LINGERED in the land of “almost there” for so long it’s just sad.
But I am the obstacle. It’s MY behaviors and MY habits that I’ve allowed to remain– I’m still working on figuring out why– why have I self-sabotaged, why have I held myself back? Why do I give 80% and not 100%? Why do I make exceptions? This is the hard part, ladies, the inner work. But it’s the work that matters the most– because I guarantee you this- we ALL KNOW the foundational principles of getting fit. We all know what food is the best choice and what is bad for us. We all know we should work out vs. watching TV or sleeping in every morning. We all KNOW what we SHOULD do to get fit. So the things that propel us toward making bad decisions- that’s the meaty stuff we have to figure out on our own. You can read all the diet books and troll as many fitfam instagram accounts as you want – if you don’t get YOUR MIND right, it won’t matter.
So– as promised then, let me share with you what my biggest MISTAKES have been– the things I’ve cut out of my life now. Then I’ll share what I’ve added IN to my fitness life – and I’ll share how it’s making a difference.
My Top 5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes.
- Setting Unrealistic Expectations: I cannot tell you how many times I would start some DIET or “challenge” program that promised crazy weight loss in x weeks– and even if that was already unrealistic I would make the diet and workouts even more extreme to hurry the process UP! Signing up for any challenge that promises you and anyone else in the world the same results in one or two months– is not realistic in any way. Once you are past the age of 30- you have hormonal issues and stress issues to consider– and each of our unique DNA history will have an effect on our inevitable outcome.
- Working toward completely unrealistic goals: Ladies. I am as curvy as a Kardashian. (Well maybe not as butt-tastic as they are but this girl has boobs and butt and always has) and all of my life I have aimed to look like Jennifer Garner in Alias. That is NEVER going to happen. We have completely different body types and yet, I have measured my success by comparing myself to her physique.
- Thinking that MORE is better. I am so impatient. I want overnight results. And as such, I would take every diet I attempted to participate in and ENHANCE IT. By doing MORE: more restricting, more working out, more of every extreme measure I could. HINT: It never worked.
- Beating myself up. I cannot tell you how much of my adult life has been spent beating myself up emotionally. I mean, picking myself apart for my looks from head to toe. The conversations going on in my head – if you heard how I talked to myself you would be MORTIFIED. I realize now how damaging this has been and it’s a work in progress to fix.
- Aiming for perfection or nothing. I obsessed over every detail for years. I thought I had to be so rigid and compliant with whatever program or diet or challenge I was on that if I slipped with 10 calories, I’d end up bingeing and starting over. To me it was all or nothing. If you messed up one day, the whole week was ruined. STUPID.
The 5 Best Changes I've Made In My Fitness Journey That Are Paying OFF For the Better.
So, what have I done to be “out with the old and in with the new”? Well, the truth is, I absolutely DO focus on that– call it the George Costanza Opposite Approach (if you don’t get my Seinfeld reference shame on you). In other words, I recognize that what I practiced in the past, did NOT work, so it makes sense for me to do the opposite or close to it. Read on for my top 5 new best practices:
- I accept myself as I am. I no longer am striving to look like Jennifer Garner or Ashley Horner, but to become the best, strongest, leanest, healthiest version of ME that I can.
- I cut out the negative self-talk and replace it with self-respect and self-love and ENCOURAGEMENT. I absolutely still catch myself when I see a glimpse of my bad areas- I catch myself slipping into self-loathing but I am now able to stop it for I KNOW HOW DAMAGING IT IS. I move right into telling myself how far I’ve come and how “You’ve so got this Olexa!!” I really do. It works.
- I stopped the obsessing. I no longer obsess about mistakes. I don’t freak out if I hit 120g of carbs on a day that my goal might be 90g of carbs. I don’t FREAK out that the day I had to skip my workout because I was sick is going to ruin everything. I CHILL OUT and am learning to enjoy the process.
- My goals are LONG-TERM without deadlines. I’ll get there when I get there.
- I am LIVING MY LIFE along the way. Before, I thought I could not go to the gym until I was at 20% body fat. I could not go on vacation until I was perfect. I didn’t want to buy a size 10 jeans. I only wanted to wear size 6 so I would never go out until I was perfect. I’ve learned to LIVE my life and buy awesome clothes for my amazing healthy body RIGHT NOW and keep working toward a better version of me every day. But life is for the living!!
Ladies, these changes above have made a huge difference. In my upcoming posts, you will read more detail on each point– from the mistakes list to the great additions list. Be sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss out.
What points hit home for you- the good ones or the bad ones? Let me know in the comments what you struggle with the most.