Everyone has fat days
Everyone has fat days, regardless of your actual weight, size, or how far you’ve come down the path of changing your life for the better.
I’m having one today, actually, which prompted me to write this. I’m hormonal, feel fat and frumpy, and my whole body aches like I’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. I just want to retire to bed for the rest of the week with a bag of lollies. Even Miranda Kerr has fat days.
You may scoff and laugh, but think about it for a minute – how you feel is usually completely disconnected from reality, at least the reality as others see it – so why isn’t it plausible that the likes of Miranda Kerr can also experience this complete disconnection from reality?
Here’s a reality check I’m giving myself today: I am NOT fat, but I am tired and sore and a bit discouraged. I think it helps to just step back a little to try and differentiate the real problem from the story that can otherwise quite quickly start to play in my head.
Some myth busting on fat days
Here’s a little list of myths and facts that I hope might resonate with you:
Myth: I’m tired and sore and everything sucks. I’m never going to reach my goal.
Fact: You’re tired and sore because you’ve been working hard lately. You need to rest your body and fuel it with good food. Everything does not suck – you have come so far and have as much chance of reaching your goal as anyone else.
Myth: I’m fat and pathetic and I’ll never have the perfect body that I desire.
Fact: You are most definitely NOT fat or pathetic and your body is already perfect because of how much it can now do. Were you climbing mountains [insert relevant physical achievement here] 12 months ago?
Myth: I’m so sick of not being able to eat or do whatever I want.
Fact: That’s BS. This isn’t about food. You might think you want chocolate cake whereas in fact what you want is to feel full and satisfied and comfortable and a bit rebellious. A bowl of vegetable curry sounds pretty awesome right now, doesn’t it?
Sometimes I just want to say “oh f*ck it” and go and eat something that is deliberately ‘naughty’ and ‘wicked’ and self-sabotaging, just to prove I’m not a slave to this. If possible, run through the options and choose something that is naughty and self-indulgent enough without seriously setting yourself back. And if that’s not possible, and only chocolate cake is going to do the job, see number 8 below 😉
Some useful strategies to beat fat days
Some strategies that I find sometimes useful:
1. Remember that this feeling will pass. Feelings are as fleeting and unreliable as each other. Tomorrow you’ll very likely be feeling fit and feisty and on top of the world again.
2. Eat something bulky, but if possible, healthy. Sometimes I feel that eating a lot of small meals means I rarely actually feel full anymore, and sometimes you actually just want that heavy, satisfied feeling at the end of a meal.
3. Look at the people around you. Take note of their small physical imperfections, and compliment them anyway in your head. I do this often. For example my inner dialogue might go something like this: “look at that woman, she has gorgeous hair, and I LOVE that dress. And she’s got that round little pot-belly, so cute and feminine. Definitely pear-shaped, but it so just doesn’t matter, and definitely doesn’t detract from how lovely she looks”.
4. Dress to accentuate your positives. If you’re feeling fat and frumpy, try to find an outfit that is going to hide the bits you’re self-conscious about, and show off the bits that ‘feel’ thin.
I’ll try to wear a loose top for example that shows off my shoulders and collarbones and wear my hair loose because it feels more feminine. Sometimes you might have a day where EVERYTHING feels wrong – hair, clothes, skin, weight – and on those days I would prescribe just not fighting it. Allow yourself to feel crap and know that tomorrow is a new day.
5. Speak to yourself the way you would to a friend. Our negative self-talk sets us up as the worst of bullies. I would never DREAM of speaking to anyone else the way I speak to myself sometimes. If a friend started moaning to me about being fat and frumpy and useless, what would I say to her?
6. Do some exercise. Force yourself out the door for a walk, and have a little faith that sometimes all it takes to turn the mood around is a bit of positive distraction and physical movement.
7. Remind yourself that you’re only ever one step away from regaining control. We are not powerless victims in this. If I really want something badly enough, I can do it. There’s very little mystery about what we’re doing in this change process – we’re eating well and exercising, 90% of the time. It’s a simple recipe. Nothing is forcing us in any other direction.
8. Cut yourself some slack and just have the bad day. Give in, indulge, whatever you need to do, but don’t let that day spiral into another. Sometimes if all I want to go is skip the gym and go home and lie on the couch eating crap, then I’ll do it, on the proviso that I’m going to ENJOY it (total waste if you lie there feeling guilty and regretful, isn’t it?) and it ends at midnight.
It’s important to be realistic about your goals, and more importantly, the process it will take to get there. Nothing in our lives is ever really linear. Did you consistently perform at a high level throughout high school, or University? Probably not, unless you’re superhuman. Have you ever tried to quit smoking, or any other addiction? It takes years sometimes, of constant attempts and ‘failures’ to finally succeed. The process is actually far more likely to look like this:
Note: if you’re feeling low on energy or mood and the feeling lasts, don’t ignore it. Seek a doctor’s advice. It’s possible that there’s some nutritional or other deficiency that is easily fixed and will also improve your mood. You don’t need to suffer for this.