I heard this quote from one of my favorite people in the entertainment world, Fearne Cotton, while she was being interviewed by one of my favorite people in the fitness world, Joe Wicks, on his podcast. And isn’t it just one of the truest things you’ve ever heard?
We talk a lot about ‘consistency’, ‘habits’, and ‘sustainable choices’. And by and large I believe those things are the keys to long term wellness, when it comes to fitness and nutrition.
But… you ever just have a DAY? Or a WEEK? Hell, even a MONTH? Something big happens. Either to you, or close enough to you, to rattle you. To throw you off your A-game. You know what? It happens. It’s happened to me, so I’m willing to bet it’s happened to you. You know what doesn’t help a damn thing? Guilting or shaming yourself about it. Beating yourself up about how your choices in this difficult time aren’t your most fitspo.
Wellness includes mental and emotional wellness. And sometimes, when something bad, or sad, or disappointing, or scary, or insert-less-than-ideal-adjective-here happens in life, I need a minute. And maybe some ice cream. And that minute might go on for a couple of days. And it might require macarons. Or a lunch of chips and guac. Or family meals constructed exclusively from what I can find in the freezer until I can get my head together. Because I am distracted. I am not in a thriving, nutritious-meal-planning zone. I am not blooming. I’m nurturing a part of me that just needs a bit of care and grace for a minute.
But Jen…when does it end? I hear you say. Well, that’s the tricky part to articulate. Inherently – if you’re listening to your body – you will know it’s time to get back to your normal patterns of healthy, consistent lifestyle choices. It’s like at the end of a nice long vacation, when you’ve blissed out and enjoyed lots of rest, decadent meals, and lazy days. You get to the end of it and you just CRAVE a nice fresh salad, or some steamed green vegetables. You feel the need to break a sweat. Get back to routine.
But when you’ve been conditioned to strict regimens of diet and exercise, you’re used to rules. End dates. Start dates. Begin again dates. And it can be a bit scary to just leave this ‘nurture yourself’ phase open ended. Will I ‘fall off the wagon?’ Will I gain weight? Will I lose motivation? Will I ever get back to my ‘goals’? The honest answer? You might gain some weight. You may have to push yourself to get motivation back and get into a routine. But if your fundamental attitude to fitness is that it’s for the long haul rather than a date circled on a calendar, these are not catastrophic impacts. So you don’t panic. You just accept where you are and start moving toward where you want to be, and you gain momentum in the process.
When you consider that your fitness includes your wellness, and your wellness includes being kind to your mind and soul, as much as your body, you’re no further forward or behind. (Besides, it won’t be the first time that you’ve started and stopped a fitness regime, amiright?) But the difference is, we’re just removing the guilt, the shame, the punishment for your actions. Allow yourself the space to nurture, heal, and grow. And then take small, consistent steps to get back in the game.
There’s more blooming coming for you, babe.