I traveled two weekends in a row and when I returned, I honestly didn’t feel very good. I felt bloated and lethargic and very blah. I started to wonder if my body had turned on me and was gaining weight from just a few unintentional weekends. I started to wonder if, after all this time, it could still get away from me. It was a little scary. My pants were ridiculously tight. Thank God for yoga pants and a job where I can wear them.
My mind started going. You know those anxious thoughts. Those self abusing thoughts. They started going a mile a minute. Never good enough, never good enough. Fat, ugly, disgusting. I was spinning on the self loathing merry go round and felt stuck.
WAIT A SECOND! I know this. I’ve been through this before, many times. I need Love to come. I need to flood these thoughts with Love. Holy Spirit come! I ask, “What is the truth?”
The truth is I ate some crazy stuff while traveling and I was feeling the effects of that. My body was feeling it, but so were my mind and my emotions and my soul. I know when I don’t eat clean and exercise consistently I start sinking quickly. Depression and darkness start creeping in like clouds from an impending storm.
Exercise and clean eating are not optional for me, and they are not all about calories.
For me, it is about staying in the light. It is about keeping those brain chemicals balanced. It is about feeling good about myself. It is the only thing I have ever found that works, but I have to do it. A week, for me, is too long to go without a good hard work out and my regular way of eating.
So I got moving.
Step 1: Grocery Store
None of my strategies work if I don’t have a kitchen stocked with all the right stuff. Chicken, salmon, lettuce, cucumber, onion, sweet potato, broccoli, cabbage, granola, almond milk.
Step 2: Food Prep
Chopped veggies, cucumber salad, homemade slaw, baked sweet potatoes, grilled chicken all prepared and ready to go. It’s the only way I make healthy choices. I must have it on hand and ready to eat.
Step 3: Lift
I knew it was going to be hard, but I had to get back to lifting right away. The ways I make myself do that is to sign up for either a class or a training session. So that’s what I did. My arms are still sore, but it feels great.
Step 4: Hydrate
I started seriously pounding water. I knew if I was bloated from salt, water would reverse the effects. I stopped sipping and started chugging big glasses at one time.
Step 5: Cardio
Time in my appropriate heart rate zone is an absolute healing miracle. The moment I stepped on that treadmill, I could feel the joy coming back. For every drop of sweat, I felt better and better about myself. By the time I was done with that first workout, I couldn’t wait to get home and schedule my walks with you all. My motivation was on fire.
You know, our heart rate monitors give some pretty interesting stats at the end of each workout. I love that, because there is a lot of science behind working out in your zone. One of our walks looked like this:
Time: one hour 12 minutes
Average HR: 128
Max HR: 154
Time in Zone: 50 minutes
But those stats don’t tell the whole story. What the heart rate monitor won’t tell you, but would benefit each of us to remember every time we walk, is this:
Brain: chemistry in balance, happiness quotient very high
Pancreas: insulin system working well, risk of Diabetes very low
Metabolism: radically boosted
Hormones: perfectly balanced
Self acceptance: off the charts
Inner light: shining like crazy
Points of awesomeness: 1,000+
Yes. In addition to all the physiological stats, I believe we should get points of awesomeness from our fitbits, pedometers and heart rate monitors. Because it’s not about the calories. It is about knowing that life is good and precious and worth living well. It is about knowing that you are good enough and loveable at any size, shape, weight or whatever. It is knowing that you are empowered to make a choice at any moment that makes you feel good about yourself and that you are responsible for doing so. It’s letting your inner light shine, accepting yourself, and knowing what steps to take to get there if you feel lost. Those are stats I like to see and they are a gift available to each and every one of us.