I took a VERY long hiatus from blogging. Life became downright crazy for me and something had to give—so blogging took the back burner which afforded me the opportunity to focus on other areas of my life that desperately needed attention. I’ve had some dark days lately. Days that felt like no matter what I did or how hard I tried, progress seemed impossible; in many ways I felt like my legs had been cut from beneath me. It became evident that I did not have the time or energy to do all that I would typically accomplish. I needed to be still.
For some during seasons of high stress it can be easy to delve into the tasks at hand, as they provide a distraction from feeling overwhelmed or out of control. For others, doing even the most medial task feels like conquering a mountain because there is so much to process and work though. Either scenario is an extreme that does not allow for optimal healing and processing. There are days when we need to slow down, feel what we are feeling, process those feelings and work through them and then there are days when we need to acknowledge the feelings, but keep moving forward. It truly is a balance.
If you are struggling to figure out how to walk through stressful situations in your life try asking yourself: “What is best for me today; is it best to be still; is it best for me to get up and do something; what do I really need today?” Being mindful of what you need will help you get there.
Today I was reminded that there are times when we have to call our own BS. I have had countless conversations with clients about using the BS detector to help keep them honest. I am not talking about yelling BS out loud, although that could be necessary at times. We all have moments where we have thought “that thought didn’t just happen”, “don’t feel that way” or “just ignore that feeling”. The reality is, when we ‘ignore’ feelings and thoughts they don’t just magically go away; they hide out and then they come back…kind of like the monster under your bed as a kid. You could tell yourself the monster wasn’t there over and over again, but until you checked or screamed for a parent to come check, you were consumed with the monster.
So sometimes you have to say “bull s*#@” —this IS what I am feeling or this IS what I am thinking, so what do I need to do about it??? Soaking it up, really paying attention to it and then taking care of it is the only way to change that particular response. For example, if you think “I am fat today” and you know that this could very easily become an unhealthy line of thinking, then just ignoring that thought will only invite more thoughts. Instead you can provide evidence for or against the thought (how is this true, or how is this not true), provide an alternative or balanced (rational) thought (just because I didn’t work out today doesn’t make me fat) and utilize a coping skill (bubble bath, journal, listen to music, or go for a run). This gives yourself the opportunity to gain some control over the thought and ultimately gives you the reality check that we all need from time to time.
What BS do you need to start calling on yourself? I always loved that card game….
As we approach the holiday season it is easy to fall prey to the “oh come on, it’s Christmastime,” “One cookie never killed anyone,” “Don’t you want to try my homemade banana bread?” It is incredibly hard when family and friends take your positive food choice as a personal rejection. When the polite “No thank you,” does not seem to quiet the groaning, how do you maintain appropriate compassion while maintaining a healthy boundary that you’ve set for yourself?
Oftentimes, that banana bread was not JUST a baked good, but an expression of love and so a person may feel hurt when you decide to make a choice not to indulge. Rejection never feels good. It hurts. Just think about it.
Affirming their feelings and acknowledge that your choice may in fact “hurt” their feelings, apologizing for any hurt feelings and continuing to politely decline is the best tactic. It may sound a little cheeseball but a little word love goes a long way with people! It is okay if someone feels whatever they are feeling (it is a feeling), that doesn’t mean that you have to cave in to their demand because their thoughts and feelings are different from yours.
So a conversation could go a little something like this:
Mom: Sweetie, aren’t you going to have some of my banana bread? It was always your favorite.
You: No thank you mom.
Mom: (Sad look on her face) Oh, okay. Are you sure? It is Christmas. A little indulgence never hurt anyone.
You: Mom, I can tell that you are disappointed. I am so sorry to disappoint you, I love you very much and I am happy to spend this time of year with you. I enjoy so many things about this season.
I admit I am really bad at creating random dialogue….I will stick to my day job and not pursue a career as a screenwriter. Stick to what you feel is best, even when it may seem like the unpopular choice!
Sometimes when we think of our health and well being we need to break it down into something simple. Today let’s talk about healthy deficits and excesses.
Deficits – NOT ENOUGH—pretty simple, huh? What are key functional, behavioral or even mental habits that are missing from your lifestyle?? Are you getting enough protein, water, exercise, rest, sleep? Maybe there is not enough positive. So ask yourself this question: what are things that are clearly missing that I could focus on to improve my overall health?
Excesses- TOO MUCH—this could be too much of a good thing or too much of a bad thing. What are some components of your lifestyle that are hindering you from making progress?? How much alcohol are you drinking, caffeine, sugar, how much time do you spend worrying each day?? How full is your schedule? Do you have down time each day to re-charge? Ask yourself to identify the excess!
Now go and change all these things and life will be perfect! Okay, okay…that is terrible advice. Pick one thing you feel greatly impacts your life at this moment and set a goal around making a positive change. Add more of the not enough or cut down the too much! Now go make a healthy choice today!
The word deprivation has a terrible connotation…well and denotation for that matter. When do you ever hear that word and think of something positive? Sleep deprivation, emotional deprivation, sensory deprivation, deprivation of liberty…..none of these things are positive. In fact, one could accurately label them as not only negative but even harmful. Why then is it any surprise at all that when someone goes on a diet and they start listing off the “no-no’s”, then they feel deprived and eventually fall off the bandwagon?? If deprivation is bad and I am feeling deprived, then the logical thought would be I need to stop doing whatever it is I am doing. To me, especially as a therapist, it would make perfect sense for someone to eventually give up on anything if their mentality or perspective is that they are feeling deprived. No one likes to feel deprived—it is pretty uncomfortable.
So if a diet is merely deprivation of all things that taste good and look good, then failure is an inevitable path. Clearly I have conjured up much scientific evidence to support my opinions here today….are you liking all my links to outside resources?? Ha! Seriously, back to the meat here….if diets = deprivation then diets are stupid. Diets are stupid. Don’t diet, just make healthy choices!
If we are wanting to be successful in our healthy eating endeavors then we need to keep our perspective or “filter” in check. Instead of looking at food or beverages as Yes or No, start using filters like “what is best for me today”, “which will make me feel better” or “what does my body need” — Not only are these filters more positive in general, you are increasing your own self-awareness with regard to your food intake. If I look at a cookie and think “No, you can’t have that cookie.” then the rebellious side of me would want the cookie even more….but if I look at a cookie and think “does my body need this?”, then I can easily answer that question (No) and move on. We have to find a system of filters that work best, to help us reach our unique goals as individuals. If you are running around, eating clean and constantly wishing that you could swing through your favorite fast food joint and munch down on a burger and french fries then you may need to change your filter. Don’t let your feelings of “deprivation” be the thing that keeps you from consistently making healthy choices. Changing your filter, changes your habits, which can change your life!
I have been working on a post about pain vs. injury and was hoping to finish it up this morning. That is SO not happening today!
Instead I will provide this little tidbit:
“You feel the way you think; you think the way you believe. Beliefs are the primary source of your attitudes, reactions, feelings and behavior…your beliefs often determine the score of your life. You have no beliefs in your heart that you did not put there, either of your own volition or by inheritance from your family or by absorbing them from your culture.” Dr. Gary Smalley
What do you believe? How do these beliefs impact your life?
Identify a problem that you would like to change or address.
Write down your goal (this could require multiple steps).
Set a time to begin.
Identify problems that could interfere with meeting your goal.
Develop strategies for coping with the problems if they should arise.
Keep track of your progress in a journal.
Most like you are reading this because you have some piece of advanced technology sitting in front of you, a phone, computer, tablet or something of that nature. This alone might put you in the category of “rich”. One could argue that there are varying definitions of the word rich, but I am not talking about Tom Cruise rich, rather you are rich when considering the standard that most live in across the world. According to research done by the World Bank if you make over $10,000 a year, by the world’s standard you live rich among the top 15% of the world. We rarely think about where our food came from or how water came to our faucet. We live in a vacuum. We are constantly striving for more. Sometimes we need a little perspective. Sometimes we need to remember that there really are starving children in Africa. Finding a non-profit to support is one way you can help those who are less privileged. We should all be doing more to give back. This is an organization that I support, that does so much to be a part of the solution: EMPOWER SUDAN. They are awesome and do amazing work. I am not saying you need to stop and send them money right now, but you should check them out! Be grateful, be giving, be generous. You are rich.
Results take time. We live in a society where convenience is expected, where speed is everything because no one has “time”. Logically we can look at several different things in life that take time. Not many things happen overnight, sometimes not even overnight deliveries! Yet, we expect instantaneous gratification and even more so results. We workout hard for a month and expect to see big results. We eat clean for a week and expect to feel awesome. I know this is not profound but some things, most things, that are worth your investment take time. The results may show a little more each day but we cannot expect to climb the whole mountain in one day, when we just learned how to hike the day before.
Having realistic expectations around our results helps us keep a healthy perspective on our progress. Not only will stressing out about not losing enough weight quick enough potentially mess up your cortisol levels, which inevitably could hinder your progress, but focusing so much energy on one facet of your life could make it harder to reach that goal. Stay with me. I know that this may seem counter-intuitive. But let’s think about it from the perspective of someone trying to get pregnant. Don’t worry I’m not going to get detailed about baby making…..Someone is super high strung about getting pregnant. They map their ovulation, have sex on peak days and EVERYTHING becomes about making a baby (thoughts, conversations, behaviors, focus). Stress obviously affects this situation, but our bodies response is important (hormones and the brain). This person could very well not conceive, choose to adopt and once they have a bundle of joy, pregnancy happens out of nowhere. I have heard a rendition of this story countless times. When things come to that level of “obsession” — completely consuming our world—we often impede our own progress. Having healthy timelines, reasonable expectations, and remembering that results take time, can often be a key to seeing changes. This is not relinquishing you of your responsibility to work toward goals, but a reminder that perspective and balance are critical to your well being. Relax, take a deep breath, and focus on that next step and not the mountain.
Why on Earth would someone want to willingly engage in an activity where you would never be considered a master?? Where you would be constantly working hard to achieve essentially the unachievable? Are we just plain crazy?? (No, I am not speaking of my many selves by saying we…I meant we as a people…otherwise I would be answering my own question).
In many ways, CrossFit is just that….a never ending journey. CrossFit is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. It is a sport where every year someone is given the title the fittest on Earth, but it does not simply end. There is always room for improvement, always room to grow. Greg Glassman (the founder of CF) says “Our specialty is not specializing.” Does that mean that you aren’t good at certain things…NOPE….clearly Rich Froning is good at a lot of things or he wouldn’t be the champ. But that is the point, he is just generally good at all skills.
So getting back to why this whole master of none thing is actually appealing….The globo gym experience left me at a Dead. Still. Plateau. I was completely unsatisfied with my workout routine…I was flat out bored and busted my rear everyday without seeing much change. When I found CrossFit two years ago, I found something that challenged all parts of me; obviously physically, but also mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. CrossFit not only broke my plateau, it made me realize that without being incredibly challenged on a daily basis I would not reach my potential. In a way CrossFit leaves me thirsting for more. You get a taste of a PR (personal record), you do a movement well for the first time and then you want to do the movement well 10 times in a row. CrossFit is more than just working out, it is a personal journey…a journey that I have come to love and appreciate. What is your journey? Where do you need to be? How should you be pushing yourself? Do you need to get a little uncomfortable? Whatever path you find yourself on today, embrace the journey.