Strive for Progress, Not Perfection

Strive for Progress, Not Perfection

By: Maria L. Merritt

On a routine annual physical exam my doctor uttered the words, “you need to lose weight.”  My first thought was, “who is he talking to?  He couldn’t be referring to me.”  Those thought crossed my mind because I thought I was just “thick” and I was completely satisfied with the shape I was in. However, in the back of my mind I knew that I had not exercised on a regular basis for at least 4 years, I ate what I wanted, and even when I had time to work out, I still came up with excuses.  I was living a sedentary lifestyle full of immediate gratifications. But the consequences of my action were those indulgences were beginning to affect my health.  When that realization finally set it, I was not satisfied with reaching the heaviest weight I had been in my lifetime, wearing bigger clothes, and ultimately being frightened of stepping on the scale to face how unhealthy I had let myself become.

Needless to say, I had to get a grip on my health and lifestyle and I had to grab them with both hands.  The sense of urgency came from the fact that I come from an active family and I saw with my great-grandmother live to the age of 96 years old with very little health issues because she lived an active lifestyle.  As well as an Uncle that was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, fight that cancer off through being physically active, eating well and making health and wellness a priority throughout his life.  On the other hand, I witnessed a cousin pass away at the age of 40 which was greatly attributed to living an unhealthy lifestyle in his short adult years.  Those are a few of the many examples I had in my own family that motivated me to start my journey; a journey for health, wellness, and longevity.  I knew that my health had to be a priority from that day forward. I was not making any more excuses and I was going to strive for progress and not perfection.

    Now that my mental state was in the right place, I had to get my physical state to follow.  My quest for a better me, lead me to a little gem of a boxing gym that was tucked off, hidden from the hustle and bustle of the city named Decatur Boxing Club.  There was something special about the energy of the gym as a whole.  The members were welcoming, the jazz music that was played was soothing, and there was an awareness that the members were there to reach a goal, whether it was fitness goals or the goal becoming a world champion.  I knew I was in the right place because I had gym memberships before and I had never felt the feeling of inclusion that I felt at Decatur Boxing Club; it is a club in every sense of the word.  I knew that I had found the right gym, with the right people to start my journey.

Maria sparring at Decatur Boxing Club

Fast forward almost three and a half years later.  I am down thirty pounds, in the best shape of my life, and grateful for the decision to finally make a sustainable lifestyle change and not go on yet another fad diet.  When I went back to the doctor the following year for my annual physical, the doctor looked at my chart and immediately asked, “What are you doing?”  At that point I was down 23 pounds and still determined to see more progress on my quest to live a healthy, active lifestyle.  I explained to him my new fitness regimen and I could not have been any more proud of myself for making a decision and sticking to it.

Now that I have reached my fitness goals and exceeded them, my new goal is to help others reach theirs. This means coming to the realization that we are in control of our minds and bodies and this quest for wellness is a marathon and not a sprint.  There are no magic pills, quick-fixes, or shortcuts to achieve the final goal, just commitment, determination, and consistency. There has to be a change in one’s mind that the process will not be easy but it will be worth it.  If we do not have health this directly affects the quality of life that we live.  With this realization also come with another which is no one is perfect.  There will be many days that you fall off the wagon and a cheat meal turns into a cheat week; good intentions to go to the gym turn binge watching your favorite TV show on the couch for hours.  But for those moments, we pick ourselves back, stop negative self-talk, get back on the wagon and understand that no one is perfect.  This is a process that has its ups and down. But as long as the goals that are set are reasonable and are consistent in those actions, anything is possible. Everyone is capable of living their best life through a healthy eating and an active lifestyle as long as we remember that we are striving for progress and not perfection.

Maria’s “Fight Like A Girl” class

Maria “Fight Like A Girl” classes are held on Saturdays at 9am at Decatur Boxing Club, 137 New St, Decatur, GA.

IG: @cincykid7

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