I think this post is an appropriate follow up to Lily’s post about her (not so) big 31st birthday and the coming year. 2017 has been a game changer for me. I have distanced myself from some toxic relationships, gone all in with some amazing ones, started grad school, and made some mental shifts to love myself in a variety of states. I started a new job Oct 2016 and due to that, my commute has gone from a 25 minute drive to an hour plus commute that includes driving, riding the metro, and walking. In an effort to not fall asleep on the train I started listening to podcasts. I am a sucker for some goofy trashy podcasts (hello Off The Vine and Mouthing off with Olivia), however; the bulk of my listening falls with some badass men and women who are all about self love, fueling for health, staying active to feel strong, and surrounding yourself by other badasses.
My current favorites are:
I also occasionally listen to Bucci Radio. As with all podcasts, not all the information is relevant to me but in general I love these. They all offer some really interesting points of views that have really helped mold a shift in my thinking of health and fitness. Heck, I was in the middle of a 10 mile run listening to an episode of Well-Fed Women and something they said made me go “I don’t want to train for a marathon anymore”. I realized I felt like I needed to prove to others and myself I could do a sub 4 marathon (I got injured before the first one I did and took it at an easy pace and finished a bit over 4 hours), NEWS ALERT – no one gives a flying F how fast I can run 26.2 miles. So I stopped and walked back home.
I find that a good number of people view eating and exercising as a battle that they are fighting to try to achieve their “dream” body. Admittedly I did this for years! Before my wedding last year I dropped to a pretty low weight for my body and it just wasn’t sustainable, from there I put on some weight over the course of the next year, and the last 6 months has been the art of learning a lot about food, learning about how my body responds to various exercises, how my mind responds to both food and eating, and losing some unhealthy feelings towards food and exercise in general. The insane diet crazed culture we live in and how the media is constantly playing on our insecurities, especially women, it is almost impossible not to compare yourself to others or to “idols” that you aspire to be. I love seeing the body positive movement taking off and some prominent influencers share their struggles and how they were finally able to find a good homeostasis place.
With all that being said, I have a few lessons learned I wanted to share in this space:
- Your body is never working against you. Our bodies are incredible, if you think about how much they are doing to keep us alive and well all day every day, you can’t help but be thankful. They are adaptive to whatever we throw their way. treat your body with kindness, food should never be used as a punishment or reward and neither should exercise.
- Food is rarely scarce. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are spending some of your leisure time reading this blog that you are in a position to purchase food regularly. I find that reminding myself that food is not scarce has wildly changed how I approach food. Have you sat down to eat and been all “OMG this is amazing, I must eat more” then you feel sick because more was not needed… I have a few foods like this that when they used to be around they would not last long. Once I remind myself, “hey remember that last time you ate WAY too much of this food? Maybe lets eat a normal amount this time and enjoy a normal amount again tomorrow, or the next day, or the next holiday.”
- Only do activities that bring you joy. I decided to try and start training for a marathon earlier this year and found that A) my normal life was becoming less enjoyable because my knee was inflamed and B) I didn’t look forward to running. I now run 0-1x times a week and only if I want to. It is never “scheduled” into my week. I find JOY in weekend morning runs between 40-50 minutes; therefore, I run on the weekends when I want to for 40-50 minutes. I LOVE lifting weights, I look forward to the gym every day; however, there are some days that when I get going I can tell I may not be fully recovered from the last session and I will adapt my work out to make me feel accomplished (lower weights + higher reps/ TRX/ walk on the treadmill + listen to a podcast) and leave the gym happy. I never force myself to do anything I don’t want to any more, it is pretty liberating. It also can shift how you think about a particular activity – for example I worked on pull ups for a long time to work up to a handful of unbroken, then I stopped and once I started again I hated them because I had lost my ability to complete the movement as well as before. Instead of feeling like I have to do the skill work because I “lost” it, I choose to because I want to gain that skill back.
- Sleep all the sleep, drink all the water. For about 2 years I was getting up at 4:10am to get to the gym by 4:30am. This worked great until it didn’t. I would start to feel anxious around 8pm if my husband asked me if I wanted to watch a show, I would feel anxious committing to something during the week after work that would put me arriving home around 8pm, etc. Being a bundled of nerves is not conducive to sleep : ) While I loved getting in my work out first thing in the morning I realized that in order for me to be more engaged in my home and social life I needed to learn the art of flexibility. I now go to bed sometimes between 9:30pm-11:00pm and wake up between 6am-7am. Sleep has been a game changer for my overall happiness. As for water, DRINK IT. It’s like a free magic potion, I could go on and on and on about the benefits of water but just drink it, like all of it.
- Consistency beats perfection every time. It is easy to get hung up on numbers, how many times did I work out this week? How much do I weigh? How many grams of protein/fat/carbs did I eat today? How many hours did I sleep? While I 100% acknowledge the benefits of statistics and LOVE spreadsheets and playing with numbers (like love love spreadsheets), I have also learned that consistently making choices that support my mental and physical well being is far superior than hitting XXX grams of carbs a day.
My 2018 aspirations: Move, rest, and eat in a way that supports whatever my current health and fitness goals are; most of the time. Surround myself with people I love and support me, while supporting them in doing all the things that bring them joy.
Q: What are somethings you have learned in 2017?
Q: What do you want to accomplish in 2018?