Setbacks: Find Out Why You Need Them To Succeed
Warning: Adult language
Please do not read any further if you are offended by adult language.
I used to let failures and setbacks ruin me.
It took me a long time to realize that failures are an important part of the journey. They are signs that something needs tweaked and changed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’ve been doing is wrong, sometimes it just means that you need to do something different now. If it does turn out that you've been doing something wrong, the setback is a blessing in disguise. It gives you an opportunity to nip the problem in the bud before you waste anymore time and effort going in the wrong direction.
We learn from obstacles and when we overcome them, they make us stronger… and smarter. We become more durable, more seasoned, and more equipped to deal with the next challenge.
If you really think about it, it is absolutely impossible to travel through any kind of physical and mental journey without hitting hiccups. Hell, you can’t even go through a drive-thru without hitting a hiccup. So, what makes you think you can make a complete life transformation without roadblocks? (BTW, you better be just getting salads and grilled chicken sandwiches in that drive-thru ;)
It is completely unrealistic to think it will be smooth sailing the entire time. Where would the mental and personal growth come in if it did?
If that‘s how it went down, everybody would be lean, mean machines and sporting giant smiles all day, every day. You don’t learn anything from a cake walk. Not only is the physical end of your journey difficult, but the emotional part of it can be downright brutal. It’s no easy task to dig deep inside of yourself and start pulling out all the junk you’ve been stuffing down for years and years. This shit is no joke. You are pushing your body to physical limits it's probably never before been asked to go to. You’re working out, sweating, and getting your blood pumping everyday. You’re making time to eat right with all the food shopping and prep that goes along with that part. On top of all these changes and all this strenuous work, you’re asking your mind to puke up everything it has tried to hide from you for a very long time.
If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that a weight loss journey has very little to do with losing weight. It might start out that way but if you’re on the journey for any length of time at all, it starts to be abundantly clear that the size of your ass is the least of your troubles. It’s what has been lurking on the inside that has made you feel bad about yourself, made you feel so ugly. The weight is just a cover for what’s really going on.
When you take all of this into account, I mean really think about it, you have to admit that you’re putting yourself through a whole hell of a lot. I mean who the hell would put themselves through this? Not a lot of people. That’s why almost everybody who starts a journey, doesn’t ever finish it. And that’s why you’re a bad ass, because you’re still here, still pushing yourself.
It’s unfair to blame yourself when setbacks happen. They’re suppose to happen. Even if your setback is happening because you are doing something wrong, so what? You’re not expected to know everything.
You’re not supposed to know all the ins and outs of this process. If you did, you’d already be done with your journey (not that we truly ever are). If you find you’re doing something wrong, fix it and move on. Pick yourself up, know in your heart you are doing your best, and keep pluggin’ away. You will prevail in the end.
It is so frustrating to try so hard day after day and yet still run into problems. At times it makes you want to quit. Other times it makes you angry. I found myself over the course of my weight loss journey, especially in the beginning, feeling that way quite a bit. Then once the intensity of my emotions lessened a bit, the sadness would show up. And I'm not gonna lie, sometimes it stuck around for a while. I took all of those bumps in the road and I internalized them. I blamed myself and would start up a punishing internal dialog with myself. It took me 14 months into my journey to realize that there was a lesson in the sadness. Why was I so sad? Because I wanted to succeed. I wanted it so damn bad. After 14 months, I still had the fire in my belly. I still had the motivation and drive. I never put it together that the setbacks enraged me because I felt like they meant I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was taking them as a personal failure.
Then one morning I woke up and it hit me. This shit is not easy. I mean, we all know losing weight and getting fit isn't easy but I never really thought about it that much. On this particular morning that I had my revelation, I really, REALLY thought about it. The light bulb just went off and all of a sudden there was peace. Of course this isn't easy, it's hard as hell. And over a year into my journey, I was still plugging away and putting in the work. Why in the world have I been scolding myself? I should be praising myself. I asked myself one question:
What if it were not me who had been going through this journey, but someone I love?
What if it was them, for over a year now, who was the one working out every single day, spending countless hours preparing healthy foods, and willfully not giving into temptation at all the picnics, parties, and holiday gatherings. I would be praising them constantly. I would be in awe of that dedication and determination. I wouldn’t be telling them they weren’t working hard enough or degrading them when they hit an obstacle. I would be proud.
Not only had I not taken time to be proud of myself, instead I treated myself horribly. I would hit a snag and start telling myself I hadn't made enough progress because I wasn't working hard enough or because I must be doing something wrong. No, I hit a snag because this is life. Life is full of snags. I was putting the work in, my eating was on point, and I pushed myself further every day. Sometimes snags happen. In rare cases, sometimes there's absolutely no reason for them at all, or at least you'll never figure the reason out. But most of the time there is a reason... And it's a valuable lesson. If you learn to look at the snags as clues, it makes you smarter.
Instead of getting frustrated and mad, take the time to try to listen to your body. Your body is an amazing machine. It knows far more about itself than you’ll ever know. But it will try to give you clues. I swear to God if I would have listened hard enough at times, I probably would've heard my body actually saying the words, 'Hey dumbass, look at the serving size, you can't eat your weight in almonds just because they're healthy.' Or 'Hey, Swifty, you haven't had a good night sleep in over a month, take a few days off and let me catch up on some repairing. You want me to drop some weight? How about giving me a damn break?'
Ya, sometimes the body really does know more than you. A lot of my setbacks, and what I thought at the time were failures, were later explained. And guess what? Most of them weren’t my fault. It simply was a place in time where I needed to make some changes or tweak what I was doing. If you have been finding success and all of a sudden it just stops, there’s a very good reason for it. You need to work on figuring it out and no matter what, don't give up! It's going to be okay. Setbacks are an opportunity to learn.
I was on my weight loss journey for two years. I didn't have this epiphany until half way in. Let me tell you, the second half of my journey was SO much easier because of it. I also had a lot more success in my second half because I didn't sulk over hurdles anymore. I figured it out and moved on. No feeling sorry for myself, no walking around in a bad mood being angry, and no wasting time. Most importantly I wasn't bashing and belittling myself anymore. I reminded myself often that I was one tough bitch and that if I made it this far, no one was going to take the finish line away from me, especially me.
All of these trials and tribulations, when it’s all said and done, are gonna make you one gorgeous, resilient, unstoppable, tough, BAMF. So when you get knocked down, you gotta stand up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward.
Go forth and make yourself epic.
*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.
NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.