According to the Bible, the seven deadly sins are anger, covet/greed, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, and sloth. Regardless of how religious you are, I think it is safe to say that all of these can be considered bad traits.
With a little self-reflection, I believe that all of us are aware of our faults, or sins if you will. While we don’t necessarily want to take responsibility for these negative attributes, they are the very things that, in my opinion, shape our personalities and habits, which in turn influence our behaviors, habits, and attitudes.
The three of the seven that plague me the most are gluttony, sloth, and pride.
(I know this isn’t the sloth I’m talking about, but it’s fun! AND I think it fits!)
It seems self-evident that sloth and gluttony go hand-in-hand with being out of shape and overweight, but there is so much more to it than that. According to dictionary.com, sloth is habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness. I was surprised that my picture was not beside the definition. I don’t enjoy moving any more than is absolutely necessary. I am perfectly happy to practically fuse with my couch on lazy weekends and/or summer days and never move.
Exercise is the antithesis of sloth. It requires motivation and MOVEMENT. Can I just say yuck? I sweat like a beast, turn red, and cuss like an ungodly person at the TV and workout DVDs. I get out of breath and hot because it is WORK, and that goes against my very nature. It is SO MUCH EASIER to lay on my couch and watch Netflix.
Food?!?! I love food!
I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again…. I LOVE TO EAT!!! I can put away massive amounts of food without feeling sick. Chips, candy, refined carbs, HELL YAH! I’ll put it away and go back for more. Of course I know it is uncivilized to eat that much in the presence of other people so I do it in the privacy of my own home or car or classroom. Whatever works, right? I am not one of those people who can eat a couple chips and walk away; I eat the whole freaking bag. I’ve said before that I can consume obscene amount of fast food such as McDonald’s, and regardless of how long I’ve been on the healthy eating wagon, I can still revert to my old habits in a heartbeat.
One of my favorite forms of gluttony this past summer involved consuming lots and lots of alcohol; Miller Lite to be exact. I started drinking on the last day of school in May and drank dang near every day of the summer. I rarely drank to the point of excess, but I drank nonetheless. I knew I was consuming empty calories, but I liked it. Now that school is back in session, I joke that my liver is relieved, but in all fairness, I know my waistline is too.
I have heard in the past that pride is the greatest sin of all, and I’ve always admitted that pride is the worst for me. It has kept me from admitting how far I have let myself go in the past, from acknowledging that my current decisions are not helping me reach my goals (i.e. drinking all summer even though I saw the scale number creeping up and felt my waistbands getting tighter), and from changing my behavior.
My pride has allowed me to make excuses for my appearance even before I was aware of what pride was. Obviously, my weight and level of physical fitness are intertwined entities. They have affected my self-image, my self-esteem, and unfortunately my self-worth my entire life.
I remember being cognizant of the fact that I had very broad shoulders at a young age (10 or 11). I knew that having a broad frame was not considered feminine at that developmental stage, and I knew that that was an area I could not control. I mean, you can’t fight genetics, right? One time while I was in middle school or early high school my brother told me I walked like a marine. God knows that doesn’t bring to mind a delicate, girly image. My pride tells me that my larger frame and almost manly way of presenting myself allows me to carry extra weight. No one knows what my weight really is, so it doesn’t matter. THAT’S what pride tells me.
My pride is so strong that it can overpower my inner voice telling me that I’m making poor choices. It silences the words of reason in regards to not eating three King Sized candy bars, and it tells me that since my curves, which had previously shrunk, are filling out again I look more feminine.
Sometimes the only way I can combat my pride is to beat it down with a metaphorical baseball bat. Comparison pictures did that for me in the middle of August. This is hard to show, but here goes….
January 2013, October 2013, August 2014
I knew I had derailed. I knew the number on the scale was 40 pounds higher than where I was at when I felt amazing. I knew my clothes weren’t fitting right, but like I said, my pride wouldn’t admit it until I saw this comparison. I sat down and cried ugly, messy tears and looked like a train wreck.
But for all it’s negative aspects, my pride wouldn’t allow me to wallow. If my sloth, gluttony, and pride allowed me to embrace my negative tendencies and to gain weight, my pride sure as sh*t could help me combat my sloth and gluttony and get back to good practices.
I know what I need to do to get back to good. I’m diligently counting calories on MFP, and I’m working out religiously again.
In previous blog posts from early this summer, I mentioned doing Turbo Fire and ChaLEAN Extreme. I messed up my ankle in the middle of June, and my pride allowed me to use my injury as an excuse not to workout. Now, even though my ankle still isn’t at 100%, my pride won’t allow me to inactive. I purchased Chalene Johnson’s PiYo program because one of its major selling points is that it is low impact. It is combination of pilates and yoga, and even though it doesn’t provide what I consider traditional cardio, it does provide me with one heck of a workout. I am just starting week 4 of the 8 week program, and I can feel myself getting stronger and microscopically slimmer. And you know what? I take pride in that.
To get myself back on track, I started a fitness/exercise/health group on Facebook with one of my friends. It has the same name as this blog, and the members and I share our sweaty selfies (okay, that’s mostly just me), recipes, workouts, food ideas, etc. We are all there to encourage each other because living a healthy, active lifestyle can be SO HARD for people like me. My pride and vanity want to brag about my efforts. God bless the members of my group for allowing me to do that very thing because it helps me to make better decisions and to stay on track.
Finally, in an effort to hold myself accountable, I publicly post many of my workout pics (usually a combination of sweaty selfies, pics of my HRM, and a pic depicting that day’s workout) on Instagram. (If you want to follow me, my user name is hkmurphy83. I’ll follow you back.) By doing this, in my mind, I am making this extremely difficult process very public. I want people call me out when I’m slipping. I want people to ask why they haven’t seen my workout pics lately. I want to be called to the carpet and forced to admit when I’m slowly letting gluttony and sloth take over once again.
This isn’t easy, but I will get back to where I once was. And if my pride has anything to say about it, I’ll be even better than I was before.