If you have read my previous blog posts you know my near-constant struggle with body image, weight and balancing all the demands in the life of a busy mom and entrepreneur. Writing about it can feel cathartic (and hopefully is encouraging to others), but it does not magically resolve the struggle. Back in August, my blog post “Fit in Your Forties” talked about my journey to getting fit. The unfortunate reality is you just can’t get to a state of being fit and then forget about all the great habits you have established – you have to keep those habits up and make them a central part of your life. I am also 100% convinced that when a certain diet and exercise program works for one person, it won’t necessarily work for another. In my blog tag line, I say I am a diet schizophrenic. I say this because I have spent my entire life thus far searching for the magic bullet to becoming skinny, healthy, and beautiful. You name it and I have tried it: powders, potions, wraps, pills, shakes and prepared meals. Well, in my teens, twenties and thirties it was all about skinny. In my forties I like to say it’s all about health. But like a scandalous social media post, those voices in your head never get completely erased. It may seem like they’ve been erased, but they pop up just when you feel like you can rest easy.
Out of everything I tried, my best solution was CrossFit coupled with a strict paleo diet. It was not easy and was not a magic bullet – it took significant time, perseverance, and hard work. But at the time, my head was in the game and I did realize the importance of health rather than being “skinny.” That went well for me for quite some time, but then I found a roadblock … Fear. Fear can derail us so easily, and in my case I allowed it room to undo much of my progress. When I learned I had to have abdominal surgery (without which I would likely cause myself serious injury in my workouts), my brain started to spiral out of the healthy workout and clean eating habits I had established and back into the “I have to be skinny.” The fear of not being able to work out and all the muscle I had worked so hard to build, turning to flab was too much. I had been approached about a year earlier by a shake company, promising me both optimum nutrition and a skinny body if I drank these shakes and had a healthy dinner, lean with greens. The ugliness of fear got to me and I jumped on the shake band wagon. Yes, I got skinnier, but the regimen of fasting and the shakes was wearying … and my kids hated me not eating. They would groan and mope. Over time I would say, “Oh I’m just having a shake” or “it’s my fasting day.” But I got tired of feeling like it was not sustainable, emotionally or financially. I decided to try another shake company: their pitch was just one shake a day and then some healthy food, along with their prescribed workouts. This was fine, but hauling out the blender every time I had to make a smoothie (just adding water it was not too tasty) was a hassle, and I felt like I was eating a lot of food (their plan had me adding some grains back in after 4 years of paleo). So that one was not the magic bullet. A few more supplement companies … a few more shake companies … each lasted about a couple of months. So as October of this year drew to a close, I was exhausted and heavier than I have ever been before.
So, having spent the last year searching for the magic bullet and wrecking my metabolism in the process, what do I do? Sit here and sulk, eat a bucket of Halloween Candy coupled with a good Pinot. I may have done that for a minute. But I am going back to square one: healthy clean eating, meaning lean protein, veggies, fruit, and healthy fat. Minimal sugar and – you guessed it – I am cutting out the wine (except for special occasions). I know, I know … the horror! I know some people would rather give up than cut out the wine. For some people it doesn’t affect them, for me wine converts to fat, just like sugar (which is pretty much its chemistry). I get this feeling in my body when I have gained weight (even if it is a small amount): my mind notices every spot on my body that my clothes are fitting differently, like I can feel a slight budge under my bra strap, I can feel my waistband feels a little tighter or the muffin top feels like it hanging over a little more, the sleeve on my upper arm feels tighter. You get the picture. Bottom line: I hate that feeling and when I feel it, it ruins my day … so I am giving up wine for a while.
It took longer than I expected for my core to be ready to resume CrossFit (thank you Laura for all that Pilates-based PT!), but eventually I got there. I started back in August, and while it’s a whole different attitude now for me, re-engaging my body in CrossFit is so the right thing for me. The difference is the mindset: rather than gunning a new personal record on a particular lift or workout, I’m just wanting to move, to be alive, to enjoy the burn of the exercise.
In addition to my going back to clean eating and CrossFit, I am adding in a run/walk days on my non CF days – one of CF’s principles is variety in exercise domains, so cardio is making a comeback. It’s back to basics, no more supplements and shakes. I will do a good fish oil (that’s important on several levels), but other than that just good clean food. As for that bad social media post creeping around in my head, the only way to combat those lies are with truth and daily reminding myself of what is true. God created me for a purpose. He has plans for me for good and not for harm. He knows every hair on my head and I am perfect in His sight. I must take care of my body, so I am healthy for the work before me and keeping up with my three kids.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. I would love to hear your comments or answer your questions below. Please subscribe and share this blog with friends. The next two post will be decoration your Hoilday table and How to memorialize your lost love ones during the hard/ happy holidays! You don’t want to miss those posts!