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Sunday's Thoughts: Balanced Discipline

The word discipline popped in my head this morning and I decided to blog about it. First, let’s define discipline, according to Oxford Language discipline is defined as:

~the practice of training people to obey rules or code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

Now Webster’s definition:

~control gained by enforcing obedience or order: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.: self-control.

Looking at these definitions, I can see how discipline has so much control in the health and fitness arena. To achieve your goals, you must have discipline to some degree, but can there be too much of it? As someone who has been in this field for over 12 years, I think so.

I remember the sayings “no pain, no gains,” “you must earn______,” “nothing feels good as skinny feels.” These statements I believe give you a false sense of what being disciplined is. When I was heavy in my discipline era, I wasn’t living life. I couldn’t enjoy a random ice cream date with my daughter or allowing myself to sleep in on a workout day. Where do you draw the line?

As I’ve healed from diet culture and now desiring to lose some of the weight that came with it, I’m trying to define what I would call “balanced discipline.” Here’s my new approach to balanced discipline:

1. Defining my goals and making sure they are realistic. Trying to go back to my 27-year-old body as I approach 37 is not realistic. Losing 20 pounds is more realistic since I can’t go back in time. Also, to achieve that body took a lot away from myself, my family, and the life I wanted to live.

2. Being ok when my discipline depletes. Discipline levels in the beginning of most journeys are high but as time goes on it can deplete. As a trainer, I’m aware of this and I need to make sure I’m operating not only from a place of discipline but also awareness. This doesn’t mean I just give up; it means I might have to adjust my approach to keep my eyes focused on my goals, while recognizing that my level of discipline might not be as strong.

3. Allowing more time to reach my goals. When I lost 114 pounds it took 2 years, and now 12 years later I need to be more realistic with any time restraints that I might have. I’m not in a rush so why must I put a time limit that doesn’t fit my current lifestyle as a goal. So, instead of trying to lose 20 pounds in three months, I can realistically say losing 20 pounds in 5-6 months fits my current lifestyle.

4. Finding things outside of discipline to feed me. What are my goals outside of the physical weight loss? I know I want to get back into teaching fitness classes, and with the weight that I’ve gained I am not as confident as I was. One could say weight loss would solve that but being confident in my fitness abilities is what I’m looking for. To build my confidence, I need my current workout routine to match the classes that I will be teaching. This will help me build the stamina while improving my confidence.

5. Lastly, giving myself grace. I’ve learned over the last 12 years that grace isn’t taught in the weight loss world. It’s either get it done now or suffer later. When we don’t leave room for grace, we tend to create a stop and start over cycle. This creates nothing but yo-yo dieting which is more harmful to your health than taking a slow approach. So, while discipline is needed to achieve your goals, make sure you leave room for grace. We all need it.

Balanced discipline will be my new approach to achieving any goals that I set for myself. What are your thoughts? Please leave comments below.

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