No Pain, No Gain - At What Cost?

Several years ago, I joined an MLM and I worked out hard every day and ran on top of that. I ate in restricted amounts, using colorful containers to portion my food. I didn’t consume fewer calories than I do now, but I ate only the “good, clean” foods. I wasn’t necessarily more active then than I am now, but my mindset was completely different with regards to exercise and wellness.

Back then, I had this “I’ll rest when I’m dead, no pain; no gain” mentality. Foods were literally placed in compartments and on lists. “Good fats, bad fats, clean food, junk food,” etc.

Rest days involved some sort of physical activity & I considered myself lazy if I were sitting around.

As I was gaining muscle tone and trimming up, I was also at war with myself and my body and didn’t even know it until one day I woke up and my body didn’t feel good and I really didn’t want to work out. I felt like if I had to eat another container of greens, I’d rather die. Working out became another chore I had to check off to feel like I was worthy and food…well, I lost connection with it.

All that no pain; no gain stuff cost me my peace.

Let me be clear.

Working out is great.

Watching portions is great.

Eating fresh foods is great.

All of that is great.

So long as it all comes from a place of self-love and compassion, not a place of self-abuse where you feel like you have to do it to be okay, or to be worthy.

You are okay. You are more than okay! You are beautifully made and a unique and exquisite light in this world. Just as you are; right here, right now.

I’m not here to tell you to do as I do. I don’t want you to follow my feet. I do, however encourage you to turn inward and get honest and real with yourself. Do you love yourself?

I hope you do!

If this is difficult for you, pretend your someone else meeting you for the first time. Whats cool about you? What makes you unique? What brings you joy? What/who do you love? Tap into these things and love yourself for them.

You are so worthy of love.

Forgive yourself for buying into the notion that you have to be, do, believe, say, buy, etc, ANYTHING to be worthy of love.

And then take that love and forgiveness and share it with others.

It’s hard sometimes. I didn’t realize how much I disliked myself and how much I really believed I had to earn my space in this world, until I sat down and took a long, hard look at myself. I stopped working out for a year and I stopped watching what I ate. As a matter of fact, for about a year, I indulged! know what? While it felt damn good for a while to feel so rebellious, ultimately I found my way to myself and am living life on my terms, not some arbitrary bullshit that society tries to convince me I should live up to. I am here and it feels good.

I screw up on the daily, but the cool thing is, I approach things with self-compassion these days. And the best part? All that ”no pain; no gain” BS is out of my life. I’m all about “no strain; no pain,“ both on and off the mat.

My takeaways over the last couple of decades of messy progress:

No foods are bad, so long as I’m not allergic.

No drinks are bad, so long as they are enjoyed in moderation.

Water is my BFF.

Exercise is good in moderation.

Mindset is everything.

Rest days are for REST and rest is vital to overall health. Resting is not laziness.

If something costs you your peace, it’s too damn expensive. Use your boots for walking, my friend and walk on by. You are too precious a treasure to suffer at the hands of society’s ridiculous and fickle standards for beauty & worthiness. Wrap those eagle arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug, and then spread those wings and soar!



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