My mother and I used to brag that we worked out 365 days a year and unless we were vomiting or had a high fever we were going to "push through" and get our workouts in.

There were mornings I'd wake up while pregnant with Emery and literally drag myself out of bed, not because I was tired from pregnancy, but out of OBLIGATION to fitness expectations!  
Expectations I had set for myself through the positive feedback of others.

I was the girl at the gym who went hard.  I was the girl at the gym who always "killed it."  I was the girl who lifted heavy, cardio'd fast, and made every workout count.

How could I take a day off?  What would it say about me to skip a day simply to sleep in?  What would others think of me if I rested instead of worked out?  How many haters out there would be excited that my journey was really just a "temporary stop" at being lean and strong and would rejoice that I was going backwards instead of forwards?

ALL OF THOSE THOUGHTS, no matter how silly they may sound to you, were REAL WORRIES that I experienced often...before pregnancy with Emery and definitely post pregnancy.  

How insane is the pressure to get back to your pre-baby weight now-a-days!?!?  

I talk a lot about mindset in terms of food on Sweat Unfiltered, but over exercising, over reaching, and over training is an EVERY DAY prevalent mindset I have to strive to correct at Sweat.  

I'm passionate about it b/c I have lived the "over doing it" hard core mentality to it's very extreme.  I not only thought I had to live that way in order to get results, but also felt a need to do the most.  In truth, I not only loved the attention of being seen as hard core but I also let that become a scale by which to measure my self worth.

Eventually, this role was one I could not keep up with and SHOULD NEVER HAVE driven myself to.  It was detrimental physically and mentally.

While there were many red flags my "light bulb" moment came when my daughter was playing in the bath tub at about 9-11 months old.  She was busy splashing around while I was busy pinching my belly fat with my usual look of disgust in the mirror.  

At one point, I managed to pull my attention away from the body part I loathed the most and caught Emery's reflection in the mirror.  She had stopped playing.  She was watching me.  She was studying me.  She was learning from me.  SHE WAS LEARNING TO HATE HER BODY FROM ME!  I was petrified of the consequences and ashamed of what I'd become.  

But I got it.  At THAT very moment my baby girl taught me the importance of what it means to lovingly accept yourself.  I lost the desire to be seen as 'HARD CORE' b/c I would be broken if my daughter learned to hate herself the way I had been doing for years.

I was letting fitness ideals break me down instead of build me up!  

I believed I had to workout harder, longer, faster, heavier b/c I literally feared the consequences of not behaving that way.
* the fear of gaining weight b/c of ONE workout
* the fear of what randoms think of me
* the fear of the downward spiral
* the fear that I'm not pushing myself hard enough

But with my daughter watching me, I felt the importance to lead by example and allow my actions to reflect confidence and trust.  

It's been a process but I learned that
* scaling down did not mean I was weak
* doing less didn't add on pounds
* one workout means NOTHING.
* what randoms think means NOTHING.
* one bag of chips means NOTHING.  

I EVOLVED a trust mindset with time and made sure my actions were brought on with the right intentions.  

This is when I began to implement deeper  reflection into my diet and exercise habits.  

This is what I advocate for you!!!

WHY? and HOW? are the two most important questions you need to ask yourself when your behavior around food and exercise is out of control.    

Why am I repeating this behavior?  Why is this a habit?  Why am I acting in a way I do not like?

Then keep asking the why...b/c I guarantee you your answer probably is full of LAYERS.

You think I exercised like a maniac just b/c I enjoyed working out?  You think the answer is just that simple?  

I did, of course, love to workout and still do, but in essence I'm one of those people who thrives off a pat on the back.  I repeat behaviors where I get positive feedback.  I thrive off a "great job!"  

People at the gym complimented me on my weight loss and muscle gain so I repeated but then exaggerated habits... eventually to extremes.  
To get to the core of how to stop myself from overtraining, I needed to understand that the "great job", "you killed it" needed to COME FROM ME.  I needed to be happy with me!  

I needed to know that despite any shortcomings as a mom, as a teacher, as a wife, as an athlete that I had done the best damn job I could.  I needed to pat ME on the back and not wait for anyone else to do it for me.  

My worth is mine.  I own it.  You cannot give it to me.  You cannot take it from me.  

So maybe you think I'm hard core or a complete softy.  Either way, I'm cool with that.  

I've stopped exercising when I have a low grade fever, I can sleep in without feeling guilty, I can wear a two piece and let my imperfect belly with stretched skin finally the tan it deserves! 

That's the only kind of mentality I believe in promoting and advocating for anymore and if you know anyone out there who may need to hear this story I'd be honored if you shared it with them.

Keep journaling guys.  Keep asking the why's and how's?  We'll talk habit loops on Thursday.