I was going to talk to you about burpees and smoothie recipes, but I’m happy to report you have received a reprieve because I came to the most startling revelation the other day: I have been punishing myself.
Oh, sure, I like to think I’ve actually been lax what with all the things I’ve been eating that I shouldn’t have. Or maybe I think I haven’t pushed myself hard enough with the running since I’m behind on marathon training. In all actuality, I’ve been harsher with myself than I thought.
It all started with a Victoria’s Secret mailing, one of those offers for free panties that you get if you have one of their credit cards. I took a look at it and realized I’ve been missing out on a lot of free panties. Then I thought about how I’d finally gone to Target and bought bras that were a size or two bigger. Why did I go to Target? Why did I avoid Vicki’s Hush Hush? Because I didn’t think I deserved a nice bra or panties. Why not? Because I’d had the audacity to gain weight.
Same thing happened with pants. I started outgrowing my pants and what did I do? I went to Goodwill. Now, sure, part of the reason I went to Goodwill is because I’m cheap—er, frugal. (#FrugalIsSexy) The other reason I went to Goodwill, though, was because I didn’t think I should spend money on pants that should be too big just as soon as I lost some weight.
At this point, you may be thinking there’s nothing wrong with my approach to clothes shopping. You may be thinking I should woman up and find my will power and lost that weight and then go buy myself something nice. There are a few problems with that way of thinking: 1) I gained the weight due to a dastardly combination of medication change and stress eating from edits on first and second books, 2) I apparently have a vitamin D deficiency that’s been robbing me of energy and doing goodness only knows what else, and 3) I’ve been battling a plantar fasciitis injury that had me out of commission exercise-wise. I grant you I should have done something about the poor eating habits, but the others are not moral failings on my part. More importantly, I was talking with my therapist the other day, and she pointed out that rewards work better than negative consequences.
Again it hit me like an anvil on the head of a Looney Tunes character: I’ve been using all negative consequences.
When I do set up rewards for myself they require such herculean effort that I never actually reach my goal.
The combination of punitive measures and unattainable rewards mean I am constantly undermining myself and/or rebelling. In yoga class, the instructor said we have to keep breathing for our bodies to trust us. I think we have to be nicer to ourselves for our minds to trust us.
So now what?
First, I went to Victoria’s Secret and bought myself a couple of new bras. Ahhhhh. Life is too short for cheap scratchy bras. You may quote me on that.
Second, I bought myself a 32 oz Contigo so I could measure the amount of water I was drinking each day using a container that will not spill if, nay when, the cat knocks it over.
Next step will be to come up with doable rewards for doable goals. It never ceases to amaze me how I know I ought to break my fitness down into small steps just as I often break my writing tasks down into smaller steps, and yet here I am.
Finally, I need to take a good hard look at what I can do and what I can’t do physically speaking. Maybe—per usual—I’m expecting too much.
I’m going to get to those burpees and smoothies (spoiler alert: avoid brown rice protein powder), but, in the meantime, how do you punish yourself or treat yourself? No matter what your situation, today I give you permission to Treat. Yo. Self.—just make sure that it’s something good for you.
– Sally Kilpatrick