Last week, I had what I call a “Middle of the Night” (MOTN) moment. You know those. When something seems so big and stressful in that moment, in the dark and quiet, like it’s the most important thing in the world. You get an adrenaline rush, brain buzzing, stressing-the-hell-out in that moment. Then, you wake up the next morning, and it doesn’t seem nearly as earth shattering? It’s back to being all good.
Usually it’s some work-related stress or email you forgot to return or need to write, or a bill that you forgot to pay, or some admin task.
Or, maybe it’s a freak out associated with your love handles…
I woke up last week in the middle of the night to pee, and turned on the light in the bathroom, which I usually don’t. Perhaps a little TMI, but I sleep nekkid, so I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Holy shit. For some reason—middle of the night, no contacts in, blurry vision, whatever—I was convinced I was the fattest person on earth and my love handles were growing by the second. I didn’t seem to recognize myself.
I quickly turned out the light, jumped back under the covers and had a huge WTF moment as my brained buzzed. WTF? Was I kidding myself that I’d been maintaining my weight when I was actually getting fatter? I freaked out and vowed right then to clean up my diet even more, up my cardio and basically go back on a competition diet.
What the hell?
So … see if you can keep up. I’ve been on an effortless maintenance nutrition plan for the last couple years, doing a moderate diet, sustainable exercise plan and not overindulging and definitely not binging, but also not eating super-duper competition-clean either. I’ve toted this lifestyle on the JillFit blog over and over. It works, it makes me feel good. It isn’t distracting. It’s easy, automatic. And I get to maintain my weight without stress.
And now here I am, in the darkness of 3am vowing to go back on a competition diet? The exact thing I think is bullshit? Basically a crash diet? Something I know for a fact doesn’t work long term?
As I said, W.T.F. I couldn’t believe I felt like I had to start dieting again.
Then something happened… I woke up and it was morning once more.
I got up and went to check myself out in the mirror. I put my glasses on, and something unexpected happened. I recognized myself again. I looked the same as I remembered from the morning before. And I was absolutely fine. I adjusted my mindset, looked objectively and said what I always tell other people to say when looking in the mirror: “I’m ok.” My response is simply a choice.
And just to reassure myself, I weighed and took my waist circumference, something I do every 3-4 weeks. And there they were. Still, the same as they’d been last month.
Can you relate? Middle of the night freak out? Vow to “diet” harder? Do more cardio? Get leaner? These things in and of themselves are not evil. Certainly good intentions. Except for when they take over your life, which I absolutely refuse to let them do again.
In the light of the morning, it was all good. I’m the same as I’ve always been. I made the CHOICE to talk myself off the ledge, realize I am still fine, I am still worthy, I am still me.
And I am fairly lean. Could I be leaner? Sure. But is it worth going back to the old way, the competition dieting up and down to the point of complete obsession? No, absolutely not. Easy decision.
So next time you find yourself having a middle-of-the-night moment, stay aware in that moment. Ask yourself, is this real or is this a MOTN freak out? And make the choice to be ok. And even if it is real, that doesn’t mean you need to punish yourself for it, the way I was toying with. Besides, what are you going to do? Jump out of bed and start running on the treadmill at 3am?? Maintain perspective, reassure yourself that no matter what, you are still worthy and you always have a choice.
You are always one meal away from being in fat-burning mode.
Fat loss is a spectrum. The more good choices you make, the more you move yourself up the fat loss ladder. The more poor choices you make, the further you move down that ladder. Your physique is in your hands, every moment of the day. The foods you choose, the workouts do you (or don’t), the way you sleep, the way you stress and all the choices you make in between.
I am grateful for my MOTN freak out. Just because I’ve had success and I know a lot about this stuff doesn’t mean I don’t have my own moments of insecurity. I still get them, but they are certainly less frequent and the turn-around is faster. But I am still always appreciative for opportunities like this that challenge me and give me opportunities for growth. Could you be grateful for the chance to practice your mindset stuff during a MOTN moment? You can never get better without the struggle, yes?
So watch out for those MOTN moments when you aren’t thinking clearly and your self-worth takes a nose dive. In the brightness of the morning, you are still you. Awesome, fit, healthy and beautiful. Don’t forget to see yourself clearly even when lights go out :) Ox, Jill