Even if you are not predisposed to depression, you are going to hit a point in this fitness journey where you begin to wonder why you should even bother.
You’re going to put on a pair of shorts from last summer and they’ll still feel snug.
You’ll lose 10 pounds in the first two months and the scale will stick for the next 10 months. (Hint, stay off the scale.)
Your co-worker is going to come in and find you sobbing at your desk and when she asks what’s wrong you’re going to tell her, through hiccups and snot, that you just can’t look at one. more. piece. of. grilled. chicken. (Or broccoli, carrots, hummus, cottage cheese…)
At some point, you’re going to look in the mirror, not like what you see, and begin to feel like nothing matters. I know, it sounds like I’m writing to you from the pit of hell, but I’m actually just in my home office listening to America on vinyl. (Depending on your musical tastes, that is the pit of hell).
Mostly I’m writing to you from a place of experience. I allude to my struggles with depression often here, but that’s because that battle is as much a part of me as my Western Pennsylvania roots. And when it comes to depression, apathy is the number one enemy.
YOU ARE THE POINT
I had a client ask me this a few weeks ago. She’s lost a lot of weight but has been at a plateau for a few months. It’s a very difficult question to answer- but the best I could offer is you. You are the point. You are the reason. You’re getting healthier for you. You’re getting healthier because you walked in here a year ago and said you did not want to have a heart attack at 52 years old. You walked in here determined to get off of that blood pressure medication.
You are the point.
HONOR THAT SPACE
It’s going to sound strange, but when I’m in a place of not giving a flying squirrel, I have to honor that space. I have to respect how I feel and find ways to work with it. And in doing so, I adjust expectations of myself.
The phrase I often use with clients is to keep their toe in the water. Over these past few months when everything has felt harder to me, I’ve reduced my strength training to twice a week. Some weeks I can mix in a few extra runs in here and there, but all I’m asking of myself is two workouts per week. If you’re finding it difficult to get to the gym or out the door for a run, adjust your expectations. You might be surprised to find that committing yourself to 20 minutes suddenly turns into 40.
GRAB A BUDDY
I usually prefer to work out alone, but over the past month, Amy has been my workout buddy. She’s the only reason I hit two workouts last week. She walked into the office, pointed to my gym bag and said let’s go. So we did. We know that part of the success of Crossfit and Zumba is finding a community of like-minded people and those people are most helpful when you're just not feeling it. This work is too hard and the journey too long to constantly be doing it by yourself.
Don't be afraid to reach out if you're struggling with that plateau or that apathy. Sometimes it's helpful just to say it aloud to someone else. We can't always fix it, but we can certainly listen.
And maybe put on a little Whitney Houston.
Because Whitney fixes everything.