The other day I felt fat and flabby. I was having a “fat” day. My stomach felt bigger than normal, and I felt puffy. My legs jiggled and seemed to spread to the corners of the earth when I sat down. I must have eaten too much or exercised too little. I must have been having a hormonal moment. Discipline must have failed me. I felt like my work wasn’t working. I must be losing my focus. Oh no, I’ll never get fit. Why keep trying?
But wait! I hadn’t lost focus, except in my mind’s eye. My mind was playing a trick on me. I couldn’t see the strong me that I usually see looking back from the mirror. My mind was showing me a flabby, ugly, fat woman. What a dirty trick. But haven’t we all felt that way before? Haven’t we all felt the futility of our efforts and questioned the point of keeping on?
Here is what I have learned. No matter how much we exercise and no matter how well we eat, every once in a while we will feel fat and flabby. That magician in our minds – our emotions – waves a mean, magic wand, making us see things that aren’t really there. Our bodies don’t have issues, our minds do. The truth is that yesterday’s exercises worked and tomorrow’s will too.
Easy to say, hard to believe, right? I struggle to keep my mind’s eye focused. I struggle to respect and acknowledge my emotions without letting them get in the way of my daily life. I struggle to interpret them realistically and struggle to avoid seeing my emotions as a fat and flabby mind instead of as a fat and flabby body. When my mind’s eye gets blurry, I know it’s time to step away from the mirror. It is time to separate mind from body. It is time to sort out the emotions that are manifesting themselves as rotten feelings about my body. It is time to go to my journal. I try to be honest and gutsy as I write down my thoughts and describe my feelings. Wow! I am always surprised when I’m able to come around to the realization that my feelings of “yuckiness” have nothing to do with my body. Being honest with myself allows me to correctly classify my feelings as frustration, worry, or sadness, instead of disguising them as jiggles and rolls. I’m able to admit that my physical efforts are good ones. From journaling to jumping jacks, they are all good efforts.
The bottom line is that nobody is perfect all the time. The goal is to continue to strive toward our own personal “perfection. ” I always tell you to listen to your body, and I now want to encourage you to add a filter to that. When you feel fat, flabby, or jiggly, use that filter to separate the emotionally charged feelings from your truly physical instincts. Best wishes for good feelings of strength and beauty.
Molly Setnick graduated from Baylor University with a BS in Health/Fitness Studies. She is certified as a Physical Fitness Specialist through The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas and is AFAA certified to teach aerobics. She co-writes a weekly column for the Texas Jewish Post with Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD called “Making Fitness Fit”. She can be reached at www.FitInFitness.com .
Copyright © 2004 Molly Setnick. Permission is granted to reprint this article in non-commercial publications so long as the bio paragraph and this notice is included. All other rights reserved. Inquiries may be made at www.FitInFitness.com