On October 2nd, I received this email from Isabela. No, it’s not a “happy-praise” email, it’s a “this-sucks” email.
I feel kind of ridiculous emailing you about this, but I don’t really know what else to do. I’m really really struggling with the routine. Not because of the motions, but because I just feel so weak.
I’m a college student and last week I was really sick and overwhelmed with midterms and missed the entire week of doing be.come. Not because I wasn’t motivated, but because I was physically unable/literally had no time. I wasn’t mad at myself, I just figured I’d start doing it again this week — which I did. But about halfway through the routine I just started crying and could not stop. I was just overwhelmingly pissed at my body for not being able to do things it could do 2 weeks ago.
Normally I can blame myself being lazy and choosing not to exercise, but my backsliding just doesn’t feel fair this time. Like I’ve been doing be.come for a few months at this point and feeling proud as I got stronger/more coordinated, and I see all the positive posts about be.come making everyone feel amazing and I just feel more confused/sad at how horrible it made me feel today.
I guess all of that is preamble for me asking — what do you do to mentally/emotionally pick yourself back up after a reversal in progress? Normally I can totally do the ‘celebrate what your body can do’ thing, but it’s really hard when two weeks ago it could do so much more. Even while crying I finished the routine cause I knew I would feel worse about myself if I didn’t, but now I equally don’t and do want to exercise again tomorrow.
Logically I know I need to exercise more to recover lost ground, but emotionally I just hated feeling inadequate. I guess I just really don’t know what to do to make doing the routines feel so fulfilling and stabilizing again.
Here was my response to Isabela
I want to reach out and give you a big hug right now!! I feel you and I hear you.
I think the thing to consider is that our body and strength fluctuates. We believe we are only supposed to get better and stronger, but in reality, we ebb and flow – sometimes we take dips. Think about it, last week you were sick, the Kavanaugh trials were happening AND you had midterms. I would image this week your body was given a new routine and it was like HELLLLLL no. That’s okay. It was just one session.
I want you to know that it happens to all of us. Even me. I’ve been thinking about the word “body positivity” lately and I think we should change that term to “body neutrality” because sometimes, we aren’t happy with our body and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be positive all the time. We can be sad / mad when we feel weak. Then we have to take a moment and ask where does my body need to be, scale back and kiss some shoulders and try again.
What I can promise, is that you’re going to bounce right back. You aren’t starting over. Let’s do an experiment. Do this routine at least four times if you can this week. Even if that means you child’s pose and cry through half of it. Write me at the end of the week and let me know what happened. I have a feeling you’ll be surprised at the strength you end up summoning.
xx – Bethany
And can you guess what happened by the end of the week?
I just finished going through the routine for the 4th time this week! I was super apprehensive going into the routine on Wednesday, I really did not have the energy to cry through another workout. But I re-read your response before starting, and I chose to believe that I would bounce back quickly — and I did (which was a huge relief)! I wanted to email you right then, but I decided to see how the rest of the week would play out first.
I broke less and less as the week went on (still not perfect, but who is?) and just felt so much more ok with my body. I also tried working out in my underwear this week (which is super odd for me) because I noticed how bleh I felt every time I had to readjust my leggings and whenever I caught a glimpse in the mirror I just really found the reflection to be unflattering. All of this is to say I really like exercising in my underwear. I thought it would make me feel more exposed/vulnerable/insecure, but it actually did the opposite, so I’m gonna stick with it for the time being.
The world has certainly not gotten better in the past week, but working through this routine and being able to end the week feeling so much stronger/prouder of myself has made the week slightly better. Thank you again for your words of encouragement, I don’t know how you knew exactly what I needed to hear (maybe it’s just what everyone needs to hear on occasion) but it really really helped.
Just a reminder that sometimes it sucks. Don’t beat yourself up when it does.