Remember the time your best friend came to you crying because she was upset that she had fallen off the wagon with her healthy eating plan- the resolution that was definitely not going to fail this time? She had just stepped on the scale for the 100th time that day and confirmed for sure that she had not lost any weight since January, in fact, she had gained two pounds. Of course you remember that conversation! It was such a sad thing, this beautiful, funny, intelligent, awesome person, completely broken down and beating herself up over something completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.
What was your reaction? Did you call her a disgusting failure and suggest she give up, because after all, this always happens? Did you start listing all her diet transgressions up to that point and remind her of all the missed workouts she let slide by? Did you look at her and think she looked repulsive- and told her as much? Did you serve up some punishment to make her feel even worse about her situation? Did you shove a gallon of Ben & Jerrys in her face since she might as well just give up entirely?
Of course not! You know what you did: You tried desperately to cheer her up. You recounted everything she had already accomplished and told her how proud you are of her success. You probably encouraged her to forget about it and just get back on track, maybe even helped her get there by suggesting a joint trip to the gym to take a fun class together, or a walk to the harbor to buy some new lipstick. That’s what best friends do. Hell, that is was even remote acquaintances do! So, why are you treating yourself in the most horrific way, the way you would not even treat an enemy? In the fitness field here in Baltimore, I constantly hear the saddest stories about why diets and exercise plans have not worked out in the past. They come to Federal Hill Fitness to seek a magic bullet, find that element that will finally help them reach their goals. I always tell them the one secret to success: be your own best friend. Be as supportive in the mirror as you are of your good friends and you will succeed.
Life is too short to consume any part of it on counting calories, committing to endless restrictive (and ridiculous) diet schemes, worrying about what you did or didn’t eat, and exercising in a way that is “certain to drive results” but never does because you really hate it or it kindof hurts. Do the best you can with all the information you have, and celebrate the small victories. Find the class or exercise routine that makes you sweat but also makes you feel good. Keep your goals in perspective and don’t let your fear of failure stop you from continuing on the path to a healthier lifestyle.