The Struggle

Hey folks!

Welcome to near the end of the week (for most of us at least). Today I have one thing that I am truly trying to accomplish: BE REAL.

It has come to my attention that there truly isn’t enough real in the world today, especially the world of fitness. I’m attempting to change that and in the spirit of Ghandi….I’ll be the change I wish to see in the world :)

As many of you may know, I have a BRAND NEW project launching in just DAYS! Stress is becoming a daily part of my life and if I’m being real then you must be told that I don’t deal well with stress. This is real life people.

commercial prep

In the midst of filming for the launch of the new membership site (full deets next week…and it’s SUPER awesome), getting all the content done and trying to keep up with training clients, I had a few other things on my plate as well.

I am the mother of a 15-year-old driver. He is an excellent driver, but if I were to tell you that my heart doesn’t skip a beat thinking about all that is to come, I wouldn’t be very real. I celebrated my 16 year anniversary with the best gift God ever gave me, my sweet and supportive husband. School ended for my kids, which any mom can tell you means that the activities have only just begun. There was also a mission trip and ongoing missions in between all of that. Compiled with all of that, I began having major health issues that rendered me bed-ridden and about 15 pounds heavier than I was in May.

sick days

Why do you need to know any of this? Well, I think we can ALL fall into the false lie that people actually have it all together. I spent a lot of my sick time scrolling through Instagram (as Facebook just tends to upset me) and comparing my couch potato existence to the active lives of seemingly perfect and awesome people. One incredibly important note here is that I have overworked my body into a state of chronic inflammation (which I talk about often) and stress compiled through my overwhelming thoughts and feelings simply makes it worse.

So, what has been happening that has me down? I’ve been listening intently to the wrong voices in my head. I sat yesterday to create a cool little promo video for the new site and I automatically regretted that decision. I looked up pictures of myself just a few months ago and almost felt shame that I wasn’t “as good” as I was then. It’s a slippery slope to get caught up in, and I dove in like a cool pool of water on a hot Summer’s day! By now you would think I know better. I mean, I work in health and have counseled many people off the edge, but I still have very little patience with myself. I keep thinking my body should just comply….is that just too much to ask?

I started to lose who I was, as I think many of us do. I began to think “IF ONLY”. You know the thoughts I’m talking about:

  • If only I had more control over my body.
  • If only I could just get over it.
  • If only I could bring myself to work harder.
  • If only I could go back to where I was then.

The list can go on and on, but you get the point. It’s a pity party without any favors. While the inflammation makes its happy home in the nooks and crannies of my 36-year-old body, I feel swollen, fatigued, and flat-out washed out. So, I decided to take a break…. Now, I have taken breaks before, sometimes up to 3 days! Shocking. You see, I fall into the same assumptions many of you can be prey to as well. I think I have to do it all…or suffer the dire consequences. I have vowed that this break will be different. For starters, it will last MUCH longer. I’m kind of thinking all Summer long really. I want to drop all overbearing expectations of my body (I mean, I’m not competing and my 15-year-old son would be MORTIFIED if I wore a bikini anyways, so no time like the present!) and focus more on the ENJOYMENT factor of life. Who cares if I don’t have cellulite if I’m still NOT happy with what I do have people?????

So, what will this break look like?

  1. YOGA. Yep, every single day. Sometimes it will bust a sweat, sometimes I’ll just put my legs up a wall and breathe….either way, it works.
  2. Taking the time to thank my body for WHAT it does, not HOW it looks.
  3. Nourishing my body: no potions, powders or pills for the next few months…just whole foods and plenty of water.
  4. Weekly date nights. We can stay in our room or go out on the town, just so long as I reconnect him weekly away from work and future plans.
  5. New fitness adventures (but staying pretty safe). I want to face some fears (my bestie wants me to try roller derby…I’m thinking there is no time like the present!) and try some things I’ve put off (HOT YOGA) due to my social issues.
  6. Daily journaling. I still have quiet time everyday, but I want to take the time to journal and get some thoughts OUT of my head before they can take root and cause problems.
  7. PLAY. Whether it be in the kitchen with my kids or on the rink with my bestie, I need to bring an element of play back into my life.

date night

One great thing of being couch ridden is that you can take the needed to evaluate what it is you truly WANT to do (I fully encourage you to do this same thing, sans the sickness) and it has led to some changes for me. I have 2 things I not only love to do, but also fully and completely believe in: FOOD and YOGA. These 2 things can change a life. So, I’m going to be doing more of them during this off time.

What’s my challenge to you then?

  • Take a little time to re-evaluate your own life. Yes, it can be scary to think about, but it can also be very rewarding in the end.
  • Instead of adding more to your plate to try to make life better, try taking some away.
  • Sit in silence with just yourself for a little while and imagine the life you want to live and leave behind.
  • Try breathing deeply for 3-5 FULL minutes.
  • Let go of expectation and live in the now.
  • PLAY.

Life only comes around once. Some get a second chance through life altering circumstances such as illness or even the death of a loved one…the good news is you need not wait for a grand life-altering occasion; you can change your life for the better starting today.

Until next week,

Michelle

yoga glow

 

Don’t Forget to Play

This morning as I ambled onto my yoga mat set up in my bedroom, I decided to do things a little different. I threw away any pre-conceived “stuff” that had to be accomplished during this time and I threw on some Lorde (always good for yoga, in my opinion). Then, I just let go. I began to move through the stiff joints and muscles caused by teaching high impact classes and I began to feel invigorated and much freer than if I had just focused on flattening my abs or burning what I was about to eat for breakfast. There was an element of play involved in the process.

meghan yoga

Yoga helps many athletes to find balance within life. While life will never be completely balanced, yoga helps us find that internal balance that can lead to more focus and less freaking out. I find that this is better accomplished through a sense of play. In the world of fitness that I reside in (that would be weight loss), there seem to be more rules than actual fact. There are always new diets promising big results, but only if you follow their rules. There are workouts promising the body you always wanted, but only if you follow their rules. It gets to the point where many seeking weight loss do begin to take things too seriously and feel as though they must be told how to eat and move on a daily basis. Welcome to the land of crazy…

Without an element of play, we can begin to feel stifled by the very thing that we are working so very hard to obtain. If we feel as though it is always against the “rules” to eat the cake, then we feel guilty if we eat our own birthday cake. Life itself demands a certain amount of enjoyment and rules for the sake of rules can leach that enjoyment away over time. Then we are left with possibly smaller waistlines and a feeling of want all over.

sadie yoga

So now you’re probably thinking, “Cool, so I need to add yoga to my list of things I must do right?”

Well, personally I think we could all benefit from a bit more yoga :) I know my family enjoys it when I’m doing a lot of yoga, as it calms me down quite a bit. The Super Bowl XLVIII Champs the Seattle Seahawks incorporate it into their training regimen. So yes, if you want to be a winner, do more yoga…. I kid! What I do suggest is finding the fun in life again. The worst feeling in the world is to be so very devoted to your workouts that you don’t have the time and energy left over to play. So, in the spirit of play, try a lightening up a little with these ideas:

  • Host a fitness party. These can be super cheap or super expensive and it’s really your call. You can hire a personal trainer to come put you and your friends through your paces, but make sure they know it’s in good fun. My favorite way to have some fitness fun? Have everybody bring a healthy dish and an exercise DVD. Then pick 1-2 from the pile to do together (clear the living room!). When it’s time to go home, have a DVD exchange so people can leave with a new workout…bonus points if people bring Tae Bo :)
  • Get off the track. If you meet for walks or runs at the same track everyday, switch it up. Walk in the grass sometimes, head to your local beach or take a hike. A change of scenery is good for the senses.
  • Try a new class. We are now in an age where there is almost no limit to workout classes. We have pole dancing classes, hip hop, salsa, kickboxing blended with Pilates, Pilates blended with yoga and yoga blended with cycling….and that’s just the short list. Contact your local gym or studio and see if they’ll let you try one on for free.
  • Get out of your food rut. Are you tired of chicken, tuna and green beans yet? As Winter gives way to Spring, more brightly colored food is becoming available in the grocers produce section and NOW is a great time to take advantage of it. The brighter the food, the more vitamins and minerals available for you. Play around with salad ingredients: try adding berries to your salads and topping it off with the juice of an orange mixed with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (CRAZY! I know, but so very good). Try lightening up your meats in favor of fish that you can either grill, skewer or make into yummy tacos. Ask your fit friends for ideas on new recipes or host a recipe swap to get you over your food rut.
  • Ditch sugars for a while. Over time, too much of a good thing leaves us feeling foggy and constantly craving more of that good thing. Sugar is one of those “foods” that causes more and more cravings as we take it in. So, ditch the sugars (both real and fake) for a week to reset your system back to normal. Need more of a challenge? Ditch it for a month then :) but 1 week has been shown to suffice in breaking the sugar cycle.
  • Do a gut check. Make sure your intestines are running smoothly as we enter into a new season. How is this playing? Oh, it’s not. I don’t play around with gut health :) But really, the healthier the gut, the healthier you will be and the more attuned you’ll be to playing, PLUS you’ll be able to handle stress better.
  • Get away. It doesn’t have to take all of your savings to get away from it all for a while. In today’s world, you may suffice by taking a staycation that involves turning off the ringer and NOT checking statuses on Facebook. Choose a weekend to chill out and turn off. Tell everybody you’re going away and be unattainable for a weekend. Take a long soak in the tub, do a sugar scrub, relax, etc. Hey, you could even rub on a little tanner so they think you really did go somewhere :) Often times what we need to get away from is our own expectations of life, so chill and let it go.

These should get you started towards a more playful time. Remember, you can’t control everything…most of the time you can only control your reaction to things :)

Lots of peace and playful thoughts,

Michelle