Giving Yourself Grace on Your Wellness Journey
At twenty-three-years-old, I entered the corporate world as a new, highly-motivated professional. I volunteered for overtime and extra training in an effort to stand out from my peers. My work ethic propelled me into leadership positions, special assignments, and recognition from management. My career was perfect. However, my previously athletic frame found itself in a not-so-perfect place. The start of my professional career marked the start of my personal wellness struggles.
Some might say that long days and sleepless nights are a rite of passage for young professionals. Now add military spouse to the mix. Deployments, FRG meetings, schedule changes, and PCSes on top of a demanding career. I was left exhausted, drained, and heavier than I had ever been in my life. Self-care was a fantasy and I found myself placing my needs behind everyone and everything else. I fell into a place of depression and sadness.
I spent over five years pursuing my career and supporting my spouse while neglecting myself. The turning point for me was being thirty years old and having my hormonal panels come back irregular. The stress of work and relationship coupled with life had caught up with me. I would look in the mirror, questioning how I let my 125-pound athletic shape put on 25 pounds without having a child. I had tried my share of quick fix diets and extreme workouts hoping to stop the weight gain. But every mistake I made, I resolved with ice cream.
It wasn’t until I did two things, that my wellness journey took a turn in the right direction: 1) I decided to focus on overall health. 2) I learned to give myself grace.
The scale had served as a source of stress. I would go on diets that left me hungry, resulting in binge eating. Letting go of the scale allowed me to explore overall health and balance. Instead of feeling guilty about having a full-fat latte, I begin to pay attention to the amount of sleep I was getting at night. Realizing that the way my clothes fit mattered more than the number on the scale, I learned to apply grace to my wellness journey.
Grace, understanding, and forgiveness are basic tenets we are taught to give others freely, but so often we don’t offer the same consideration to ourselves. When your girlfriend cheats on her diet you will say, “Don’t worry Susie, tomorrow is a new day.” When you cheat on your diet, you likely have moments of guilt and disappointment. I realized that by punishing myself for every misstep, I was sabotaging myself and my overall health. Today, I continue to set goals for myself, eat well, rest, spend time with family, and stay active. When I falter -- and I do falter -- instead of shame or frustration, I see an opportunity to reevaluate the plan and realign my goals. I take my wellness journey one day at a time.
How does one implement grace in a wellness journey? It starts with recognizing the beauty in imperfection. You are perfectly imperfect, and you are worthy of the grace that you grant others. Every day that you wake up striving to be better than you were yesterday is a good day. It is okay to start over and it is okay to make mistakes, as long as you don’t give up.
Tatiana Mone, owner of Tatiana Mone Fitness, is a certified health coach and personal trainer with an MBA and experience working in corporate America. Tatiana works with busy, everyday women, and specializes in prenatal and postpartum wellness. Her passion is helping women develop a plan that fits their goals and lifestyles. Tatiana doesn’t believe in fad diets or extremes. The goal is sustainability.