It has been a long summer. I’ve had some great times, with family and friends. I’ve also (like many others) had the challenge of balancing work and childcare commitments. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, with ups, downs and surprises around every corner! As we approach September, this has made me think about my health and fitness mindset.
Facing the same situation, female friends and clients have said to me that they have been “bad”. They said that they have drunk a bit too much or not moved as much as they should. They feel annoyed with themselves and have already begun to beat themselves up about it.
What I said in response is that THIS IS LIFE.
This rollercoaster ride is all part of living a healthy, happy life. We should try to embrace it. We certainly shouldn’t beat ourselves up for it. That just leads to negative behaviour and self-criticism. It doesn’t do us any favours physically or mentally, and ultimately it lowers our self-esteem.
So, how do we embrace a more future-focused and positive mindset at this time of year?
Here are three tips:
Accept that what is done, is done. You’ve enjoyed yourself, now move on. Yes, make some tweaks and changes moving forwards. But don’t hang on to any self-hate.
Recognise that ‘healthy living’ is not, for most people, a linear path where you never eat chocolate or drink alcohol again. If you are like me, sometimes you’ll be exercising loads and eating lots of nutritious foods. Sometimes, it will tip the other way, for whatever reason. Accept that this is part of a balanced relationship with food and exercise, and you’ll find you’re much less likely to get into extreme patterns of behaviour (which are more damaging, in the long term).
Put it in perspective – there will be a lot of positive experiences that you’ve had this summer that will have had a fabulous impact on your mental and physical health. As we go into September, remember those moments. Looking back, I bet things will balance out nicely.
Now don’t get me wrong, as the children go back to school, I will sharpen my focus on moving more and ensuring that the food I eat agrees with me, giving me energy not zapping it.
But I won’t be going on a restrictive diet and a gruelling fitness programme.
I now want the balance to tip me more towards feeling physically strong and mentally focused. I have a lot I want to achieve over the next few months, so the best thing I can do is look after myself.
In doing this, I’ll also do my best to remember the big picture and keep a grounded, confident sense of balance.
I hope this will keep going, at least, until Xmas, when the focus is likely to tip the other way again!