lisa~ By Lisa Siefert

How many articles have you read in your lifetime on fitness and weight-loss? I’m 41 and have been reading women’s fashion and fitness magazines since I was ten. After three decades of being constantly bombarded with tips, tricks and fitness plans, I can confirm that to this day, I have not been able to consistently follow any of those helpful habits. Not one.

Sometimes, I manage to get in one or two here or there but have I ever managed to eat 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies everyday followed by a 20-minute cardio session at 60 percent of my target max heart rate? Um, no.

And I’m here to tell you, that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. Life happens, deadlines pop up or even better, sometimes you just don’t feel like it. The key isn’t admonishing your shortfalls with some mean girl inner dialogue bullying and then promising yourself that you’ll do better the next day. The answer is learning to forgive and let go. The media already places a tremendous amount of body shaming on us to last a few lifetimes. Why add to it? According to Dove, there were over 5 million negative body image tweets last year alone.

As appalled as we all are at outrageous statements like the CEO of Lululemon, the popular fitness clothing brand, declaring that women’s inner thighs shouldn’t touch, I bet the things we say to ourselves are far worse. I’m here to declare a Fitness Forgiveness Revolution. Accept where you are, love the person and the body you have today because I can guarantee that hating yourself towards being more fit and healthy does not work.

We all need to be kinder to ourselves when it comes to a missed workout or overindulging in a treat here and there. Life is meant for living and not for punishing ourselves over imperfections. That means, not punishing yourself by signing up for a Juice Cleanse as a quick-fix to the extra dessert you indulged in yesterday. Or declaring that you need to do 2 hours on the treadmill today to make up for yesterday’s missed workout. And most of all, not missing out on life because you don’t think you’re thin enough, fit enough or skinny enough to be seen at an event, in public or at the beach. Be nicer to yourself.

Everyday for me isn’t perfect but I’m still trying. I’m not beating myself up over it. I simply wake up the next day and decide tomorrow will be another opportunity to try it again. I think too many of us, especially women, label ourselves as failures for not being perfect in our fitness endeavors, how our bodies look and well, pretty much everything else. And that’s really the #1 reason adopting new, healthier fitness habits fail. We’re too busy punishing ourselves to focus on the small achievements we do accomplish. Instead, declare that tomorrow is another day and another chance to try it again.

Don’t give up! Keep going because everyday is a fresh opportunity to try it all over again.

Lisa is an aspiring contemporary romance writer in San Diego, CA. She has been teaching group exercise classes since college and wants to share her love of health and fitness with other writers over at Fit & Wordy Girl. (Coming August 2015)

RWA 2015 Annual Conference: Join her for your early morning workouts in New York. She will be teaching Pilates each day at 6:30am. All fitness levels welcome!