We spent last weekend trying to tame this empty neglected lot and one of my jobs was to pressure wash the last few years of lake slime off the dock. What I thought would be a quick 30-minute task turned into a three hour one that ended up being just what my soul needed. My days lately have been filled with long work hours at the office, training, responding to client emails, and then a sudden family tragedy. My cousin who I had just joked with a few days prior had a sudden heart attack at home and passed away. All these life stresses had been building up inside of me and losing my cousin left me feeling overwhelmed. Having those few hours to myself pressure washing the dock ended up being a moment of clarity. I had so many thoughts scrambling around that I could finally take the time to sort out and the one major one that I could no longer ignore was about the one thing I coach people on, flexible eating.
As coaches, we put this pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We have a ton of people coming to us for our wisdom and knowledge and putting their trust in us and that rocks! It excites me because being able to help others reach their goals is what lights the fire inside me. Most of my clients I’ve never met in the flesh so asking for their complete trust in me and this process is asking a lot. This in itself makes me want to be the best “living example” of everything I coach. I can’t have off days of tracking and definitely not a bad attitude about it. If I’m asking clients to hit their targets and stay on track, adhere to the plan, then I most definitely must do that myself because I want to lead by example. But the truth is we are human, we are not perfect and I don’t expect perfection from anyone, so why do I hold myself to an unreachable standard?
My cousin passing away left me thinking what is this life about? How do I want to spend my days? In the end what is going to matter most? Am I going to look back and think, thank god I stuck to my plan down to the exact macro? Standing there on this beautiful lake with the sun beaming down I let go of the ego and got real. I realized I had been obsessing over how I was going to stick to my plan and was ruining my good time before it even happened. We usually boat all day and then come back to camp for BBQ’s and games, bonfires and beer. Thinking of the events that would take place this coming weekend I was already scolding myself for “mistakes” that hadn’t occurred. “No mimosas for you, they’re too high carb! No s’mores when everyone else around you is making them. No unlogged nibbles of ANYTHING and absolutely no fun”. I could try programming all those things in, sure, but thinking practically, while camping I didn’t want to spend most of my time obsessing over my phone using my fitness pal trying to track the perfect macros while everyone else is playing corn hole outside. The talk that was going on in my head before any of this had even occurred is what shocked me the most. Eating a s’more is not a mistake or something I should feel guilty about. This is not what life should be like and definitely not what flexible eating is all about. It is all about balance!
I train 5 days a week because I like to feel strong and want to stay healthy. I have been involved with CrossFit for over 5 years and it’s taken consistency and time to be able to lift the weights I do now. Do I beat myself up if I miss one class a week because life got busy? Heck no! Missing one class or even a couple days of training isn’t going to make my progress backslide to 5 years ago. All the sweat and energy I put in to building strong muscles is not lost because I took a vacation. Could I have made some progress if I hadn’t missed those days? Sure, but the gym will still be waiting for me when I return and I can guarantee I’ll come back into the gym refreshed and ready to kick butt because I just fed my soul a whole lotta love on a vacation with people I love. I’m saying all of this because this is exactly the same when it comes to tracking and flexible eating. We start this journey because we have a goal in mind that we are working towards and yes, it takes commitment, consistency and time. Having one off day is not going to erase the last 3 months of progress. If we set our standards to perfection, we are setting ourselves up for misery and failure. It’s okay to not be on point 100% of the time. I’m a little OCD so realizing all of this was huge for me. I’m going to stick to my plan and continue tracking my macros because I love the “freedom” that comes along with that and I have specific goals in mind but I’m also going to give myself a break about trying to be perfect. I’ve been tracking long enough to have a good idea of what foods fit within my daily targets and I’m going to make smart choices while camping. I think being aware of the choices you make and the foods you put in your mouth is still serving its purpose towards your goals. I’ll mainly stick to lean proteins and fill up on lots of veggies (because I love them!) but I’m absolutely not going to have the negative self-talk if I end up indulging with a s’more. I’m not going to binge and eat everything in sight but I’m allowing room for balance.
Not sticking to my macros perfectly every single day of my life does not define me as a failure. I’ve finally realized that I can work towards my goals but still live my life. Instead of allowing the negative thoughts to creep in when I don’t fulfill the expectations I set for myself, I’m really focusing on practicing self-love and allowing room for imperfection because life is about balance. I see this happening a lot amongst my peers, people at my office, in the gym, my closest friends, everywhere and I guess the point to writing this is to hopefully start some reflection within yourselves. Instead of waking up each morning and thinking about the wrongs from the day before or the things you need to change and fix, I want you to think about 2 solid things you value about yourself in this present moment. We are not our failures, we are worthy of greatness and love and no better place to start than within ourselves.