Tabitha Sierra's picture

By Tabitha Sierra, Owner, Brick House Bodies

NOTE: This is a multi-page article. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

Most gyms are crowed the first weeks of January with New Year resolutions and then empty out by the beginning of February. As a coach and personal trainer I see it all the time, people hit it hard at first and then give up on their commitment.

Why does this happen?  What causes us to start our own personal quest for fitness with such high hopes only to give up a few weeks later?  I think it is all about mindset and how you handle adversity. There are many days that I do not want to work out.  There are many days that I just want to sit home and eat pizza all day. But those days are fantasy. It would be nice if I could just snap my fingers and get back to reality. It doesn’t work that way. What does work is having tools and strategies to cope with those days. God-given tools are what will get you to the finish line.

What makes some able to stick to their goals no matter what?  They have TOOLS that help them overcome. I’ve identified five ineffective thought patterns (fantasy thinking). More importantly, in this article I give you some tools to combat them and keep you on track.

Continue reading. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

PAGE BREAK

FANTASY #1: IM DRIVEN (BUT THE DRIVE DISTRACTS)

We live in a fast-paced world. Information is coming at us from all directions.  We have social media, TV, Netflix and much more all fighting for our attention.  All of this causes us to be distracted very easily. [The fantasy of hyper-drive can cause us] to lose interest especially if our goals take longer than a week to achieve. How do we combat the noise and stay the course?

TOOL #1: KNOW, STOP, REST

KNOW YOUR WHY - This is huge. Many of us start a fitness plan because we want to lose weight.  I like to take any goal I have and put it to the 5-why test.  That means asking yourself why five times until you get to the real reason you are doing something. Why do you want to lose weight?  Is it to be more attractive to your husband/wife? Why is that important to you? Once you figure out the real why it becomes less about the number on the scale and all about furthering your purpose, being there for your children your church or wherever God wants you. That will keep you focused.

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS - Social media gives you the highlight reel of everyone’s life.  You will never see the real thing.  Stop trying to be like everyone else’s curated perfection and be the person God created you and you alone to be. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

SLOW DOWN AND REST - Just because the world says that we have to GO, GO, GO doesn’t mean we have to do it.  Take time each day to reflect on your ‘why’. Tell God about it and to ask for help to stay focused on it.  For many people the biggest distraction of them all is how busy we are. Chose to stop, be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)

Continue reading. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

PAGE BREAK

FANTASY #2: I CAN ACHIEVE PERFECTION

I am a recovering perfectionist. For most of my life I have strived to do it all and do it all perfectly. I would take pride in my perfection and if it wasn’t perfect then it wasn’t worth doing.  That made for many long days and lots of stress trying to achieve that perfection. It also caused me to walk away from amazing opportunities because I did not want to pursue it if there was a possibility that the outcome would not be perfection.

Many of us do that with our fitness and health goals.  We set this crazy goal like I will lose fifty pounds in a month. Then we give ourselves all of the things to do to get there like:

  • I will workout five days a week for ninety minutes.
  • I will only eat clean food that I make at home.
  • I will get up at 5 a.m. every morning.

This may work for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks.  But there comes a point when we will miss a workout, or have to eat out for a family function or we sleep through our alarm.  If you are a perfectionist you will throw up your hands and say, “I knew it, I couldn’t stick to a plan, this always happens I am going to order a pizza and binge watch Scandal.”

This is self-sabotage. Expecting perfection is fantasy.  We are throwing out the baby with the bath water.  By setting these unrealistic expectations we are just setting ourselves up to fail.  By failing we are confirming all the negative things we thought about ourselves from the beginning.  How do we change this mindset?

TOOL #2: START WITH GRACE

John 1:16 says: And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. God loves us and forgives us no matter what we do.  Why do we find it so hard to give ourselves even a little forgiveness?

When you miss a workout don’t quit the gym or personal training. There is grace and you can start again tomorrow.  When you eat something that is not supportive of your goals instead of binging the rest of the day give yourself grace and get back on track with the next meal.

The grace that he gives us is a blessing.  It is a gift! If you rest in it you will be able to overcome the sabotage of perfection.

Continue reading. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

PAGE BREAK

FANTASY #3: I CAN DO THIS ALONE

I remember training for my one and only half marathon.  The race was in March so I had to do all of my training in the winter.  I live in upstate NY so there were many mornings that I had ice on my hat as I got in my mileage.  What got me through that long cold winter of predawn runs?  It was my training partner and friend.  I had to show up because I knew she would be there waiting.  I remember once when I had to run alone.  It was a short run but it felt like the marathon itself.  It seemed colder than any run I had done with my friend.  I made a point of never running alone again.

Many times we get off track because we get lonely.  Many times when we decide to start a journey towards health our friends and family are not supportive.  It is hard to climb on that treadmill everyday by yourself.  There is no one to support you through the hard days and more importantly celebrate your successes with you.

TOOL #3: STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up  Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Ways to get support:

Take group classes:  there are so many options of group training from CrossFit to Orange Theory Fitness to Spin you can find a way to work out with others instead of running on the tread mill alone, again

Join an online community:  There are a ton of Facebook groups out there; you just need to find them.  It can be as easy as typing fit moms in Hudson Valley to find a group of like-minded people you can connect with.

Do it scared:  Meeting new people is hard but some of my closest friends have been women who I just walked over to and said hi or asked to have a cup of coffee after a class.  Afraid they will say no?  Say hi anyway because they may just say YES!

Continue reading. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

PAGE BREAK

FANTASY #4: IT WORKED FOR ME

You have your routine.  You get to the gym at 5 p.m. and walk over to the treadmill, run as a warm-up for thirty minutes. Then you go over to the machines.  You go through the same five exercises in the same amount of reps as you have done since you started.  The first two weeks you were sore but now you don’t even break a sweat.  You’ve stopped losing weight. Deep down you know you’re getting discouraged but honestly you don’t know how to change things or what to do next. At one time it worked for you but now you’re stuck in a rut.

This happens to many of us about two to three weeks into a new program.  We begin to fall into a routine.  We do the same things that we have always done even though they have stopped giving us results.  The lack of results de-motivates us and we are tempted to miss a day or a week.  Sound familiar?

TOOL #4: AGENTS OF CHANGE – ADVICE, GOALS, CLASSES, FOCUS

God is amazing.  When He created us He made our bodies this perfect machine of adaptation.  We were created to be able to withstand anything the world throws at us, to be able to adapt.  As a result we have been able to survive but sometimes that adaptation is not always a good thing.  When our body begins to adapt to an exercise routine that is our signal to change things up.  God also made us creatures of habit.  As humans we like comfort and for things to be easy so changing things up and making them more difficult is not something that isn’t natural for us.  Thinking that you can do the same thing all the time and continue to grow that is fantasy.

I am sure you have heard the phrase the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.  It’s true.  Doing the same thing all the time and expecting things to change is not going to get you anywhere.  But if you are new to exercise you may not know exactly how to change things up.  Here are some tips on how to take that leap and get unstuck from your rut.

GET EXPERT ADVICEMany large gyms offer complimentary sessions with a personal trainer.  You can use that time to access where you are and to ask questions about how to progress to get closer to your goal.

HAVE A GOAL I find that my clients get the most results when they set small goals for themselves throughout the process.  That could mean getting a pull up, lifting a certain amount of weight or running a specific distance. These types of goals keep them focused on outcomes and push them beyond just putting in time on the treadmill.

TRY NEW CLASSES This goes back to my previous point.  Taking different types of classes not only gets you meeting new people but it gets your body exposed to different stimuli.  I suggest taking a different class every week.  Try signing up for a charity run to give you inspiration to push harder.

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME Whenever I get in a rut I remind myself that it is not about me.  I focus on God and try to be my best to give him glory.  I work hard because He loves me I don’t work hard to impress or earn His love.

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Galatians 6:14

Continue reading. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

PAGE BREAK

FANTASY #5: IT’S ALL GOOD

My fitness journey started as a way for me to feel good about myself. Fitness empowered me to stop smoking and start eating right.  I joined a gym and got a personal trainer and she changed my life. I felt better than I ever had.  I was getting more attention than I ever did before because of the way that I looked.  I even quit my job and became a personal trainer.

Good right? Well, when a good thing turns bad, no. My appearance began to define me.  I missed date nights with my husband because my strict diet didn’t allow me to eat out. I had no energy to play with my daughter because I was spending hours in the gym. My fitness became the center of my world. I had lost objectivity and balance. Working out, eating right and my appearance became my obsession and my idol.

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Luke 16:13

 

Replace money with fitness and there I was. I had lost sight of why I was getting fit. I was seeking my worth in the scale and not in God.

This led to a twenty-year battle with an eating disorder. Losing your identity can happen to anyone, especially if your identity is changed because of losing a large amount of weight.

TOOL #5: FIND DAILY BALANCE AND IDENTITY IN GOD

For me finding balance again meant spending time in the Bible.  By reading my Bible daily I realized who I was to God no matter what I looked like or weighed.  I found my identity in Him and not in my appearance.  I realized that no matter what the world said, my size didn’t matter, God still loved me and always would.

Keeping that obsession at bay is a daily battle. I must always keep my mind focused on God and His purpose for my life. Instead of my workouts being fueled by my need for approval my workouts are fueled by thanksgiving. I am so grateful to God for His love and grace that I want to be my best self for Him.

If you are finding yourself focusing on your appearance or letting your workouts and eating habits take over your life, first pray then speak to someone. Silence will only keep you in darkness longer. Secrets hate the light.

Continue reading – proceed to the final page. Use the numbers below to read all 7 pages.

PAGE BREAK

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT

As you continue with your health and fitness journey check in with yourself each month.  Ask yourself if you have swayed into fantasy thinking and if you need to snap back to reality – God’s truth.  The hard part is that it’s not a “snap”. There are no quick fixes. The amazing part is how much you will learn and grow along the way. When you seek God and let Him change your direction He will also change your destination. That is a reality much greater than any fantasy.

 


QUESTIONS FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND GROUP DISCUSSION:

1. In what ways do you drive yourself too hard? What are the big distractions in your life and how do they keep you from the reality God has for you?

2. Think about a time someone was prideful around you. Describe how that made you feel and how you think it affected that person’s life. How can the pursuit of ‘perfection’ inhibit progress, growth and your personal value? How would you describe God’s grace to someone? How is grace better than perfection?

3. What are the risks of doing things ‘solo’? When is getting alone good and when should you choose to be in the company of others?

4. What are qualities you like in having a routine and what are the most debilitating aspects of a routine? How do you think adaption and change go hand in hand both physically and spiritually? If you could change one thing in your life what would it be? What would it take for God to be the game-changer?

5. Why do some people choose fantasy above reality? What can you do this week to keep it real?


This article appears in the Training Department of the February/March 2017 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine.

Share This Article

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
StumbleUpon icon
Del.icio.us icon
Digg icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon

Facebook comments