I was feeling down about myself and my progress today.
For the past few months, ever since my triathlon, I’ve been focusing on strength training. I’ve been working on lifting heavy weights and eating more than I normally would to build muscle (I’ll share the method I’ve been using as well as before and after pictures soon). I have definitely noticed an increase in the amount of weight I can lift and some definition in my arms and legs. I felt like my fitness was at an all-time high. Then today happened…
I decided to take advantage of some of the classes at my gym. I’ve never done Zumba but it sounded like fun…I am terrible at it! I grew up not dancing so my rhythm and ability to pick up steps are severely lacking. I felt like I spent most of the class just trying to figure out which foot should be up and which should be down. But I worked up a sweat.
After Zumba was a BodyPump class that utilized low weights and high repetitions to tone the body. There were several older women who had attended Zumba and were staying for the second class. I thought surely I could keep up with them so I stayed for the second class. As they gathered their weights, I thought “I’ve been lifting, I should be getting heavier weights than them.” These women were deceptively strong. I was disappointed in my inability to keep up with the class.
I left feeling like I had a good workout but disappointed with my progress. My body has not changed as much as I want it to, cardio wise I don’t have good stamina, my weight is more than I’d like, I haven’t perfected my diet, I’ve missed days with my smoothies, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing in the weight room or in the gym in general.
Then I realized I’m holding myself to an unrealistic standard and I’m focusing on the wrong endpoints. A few short years ago I was so fatigued that I could barely function, much less exercise. I fell asleep the moment I stopped moving, I had joint pain that kept me from texting or petting my dog, I couldn’t cook for myself, etc.
Now I work out 5-6 times per week for at least an hour, I cook (most days), I can sit and read without falling asleep, I play with my dog, I dance around the house as I clean. I feel great and that is something to celebrate. I will never stop working to better myself and work towards fitness and health goals but I need to recognize and be grateful for how far I’ve come.
Once I received my lupus diagnosis, I changed my diet to a whole-food, plant-based, vegan, gluten-free diet. It sounds extreme, I know. But I looked back at this list of things that had improved after I changed my diet and the results are extreme and totally worth the improvement in my nutrition. I have only improved in the past several months and feel better than I have in years! I am not perfect but that is part of the journey, and it is worth it, friends and I need to remember to celebrate that!
This is the list I made when I first changed my diet 2 years ago.
Since starting this diet:
- I don’t sit/sleep in my car once I get home
- I go on walks
- I’m not dependent on coffee
- I don’t fall asleep driving
- I don’t fall asleep in meetings
- I don’t fall asleep in waiting rooms
- I think more clearly
- I’m not dizzy
- It’s not a struggle to listen to someone
- I haven’t had anxiety attacks
- I haven’t felt depressed
- I’ve lost weight
- I sleep better
- I haven’t had issues with allergies and haven’t needed to take allergy medication
- My rosacea is better
- I can focus better
- I can remember things better
- I’ve been more adventurous and willing to go out and do things
- I clean the kitchen
- I have the energy to cook
- I make smoothies in the mornings
- I can use whatever finger I’d like to turn off my alarm in the morning
- It doesn’t hurt to text
- I don’t have headaches nearly as often
- I don’t have chest pain nearly as often
- My joint pain is much much less
- My nails are growing faster
- BMs are easier
- I can pet my dog in the mornings without pain
- Not taking Aleve every day
- I have hope that things can get better.