Guilt, Shame, and Balance
It's the first day of 2018. Everyone is talking about and making resolutions to lose weight, get healthier, etc. You'll come across numerous marketing tactics aimed at making you feel guilty and shameful about the way you look or the state of your health and will try and sell you some product that probably won't work anyway. Or, you'll jump on board with some new challenge and the second you "fall off the wagon," the guilt and shame cycle begins again.
I'll be honest, the guilt and shame wagon is not easy to get off of because it is so prevalent in our society.
Ate too much over the holidays? Just go work it off at the gym.
Ate a McDonald's Big Mac? Go do ________ burpees to work it off.
The diet starts Monday!!
We've all done it and lived it. Heck, I lived it for years! But what we don't realize is that this guilt and shame cycle has its own nasty impact on our health.
When we do something that causes us to feel guilt or shame (skipping a workout, eating a "bad" food, eating too much, etc), those thoughts that we have surrounding that guilt and shame have a huge impact on our health. Our mental thoughts to ourselves impact our stress levels, inflammation, and emotional well-being. Some of these thoughts are extremely negative and harmful, things that we would NEVER say to another person, but we feel just fine saying to ourselves.
Why is that? Why do we beat ourselves up so much over little things?
So what you missed a workout - move on. You have the rest of the week, month, and the rest of your life to workout.
So what you ate a "bad" food - move on. You don't have to fall into the shame cycle and make it worse. Make a better choice the next time you get the opportunity.
So what you ate too much - move on. There's nothing you can do about it now except learn from the situation and remember it for in the future. Beating yourself up over that action will only take you backwards.
Your body hears what your mind says to it. Your subconscious mind repeats those thoughts over and over throughout your day, even if you don't consciously realize it. It becomes ingrained in your mind.
What we need, myself definitely included, is more balance. Chill the heck out. Don't worry so much. Live your life. Relax. Be lazy (in a good way). The guilt and shame wagon has enough people on it. You don't need it to ruin your life too as you jump on and off of it.
Obviously there are caveats here - if doing or eating something makes you feel sick or could do you serious harm (in the case of an autoimmune condition like Celiac disease), avoid that trigger at all costs. This is true in my own life. There are just certain foods I don't eat (chocolate - trust me, it's so sad) and certain things I don't do (high intensity cardio) because of what they do to my body and my health. However, I can still achieve this balance and freedom from guilt and shame in my life in other ways besides these special instances.
Make 2018 your year to relax and seek that balance. It's not easy, but it is attainable and realistic for us all!