When Life Gets Tough, Doesn’t Mean We Give Up!
The hustle and bustle of the day starts the same for so many of us. Starting in a hurry, ending too soon (but the day is SO long) and starting all over again before we’ve even had a chance to get a decent night’s sleep! It’s no wonder between the daily responsibilities we pile on ourselves that “overwhelmed, tired, too busy, stressed, depressed” are answers I hear all too often while talking to clients or potential clients about their training and nutrition woes, or even just the general unhappiness with their life overall. I understand how these people feel! I have a job at my local hospital, I co-own a gym, I am a wife and a mother. I am BUSY, just like you are busy… now before you decide to turn me off for “boasting” about my busy-e-ness, hear me out. I am not telling you all these things to boast about how I manage to fit it all in. It is WORK, it is NOT easy. All of the emotions I mentioned above I feel regularly. What I AM trying to point out is I DO NOT LET THAT STOP ME from pushing towards the goal to be a better person than I was yesterday. Albert Einstein sums it up so well, “In the middle of difficulties lie opportunities.” We have the opportunity to excuse our way out of doing what is best for us or our family or we have the opportunity to STAND and decide that today I WILL overcome the difficulties of the day, I will conquer the day and I will push for the best from myself, for myself and for those that are mine. The excuse I hear most often when I ask people why they aren’t trying to make healthy choices for themselves or their family; is “I don’t have time to eat healthy or workout or cook a meal; there is too much going on!”… First thought that comes to my head after that is “You’ll either find time for health now or sickness later”. It’s like trying to put 87 octane gas in a car that requires 91 (and we are ALL cars that require 91). What’s going to happen? Sure, at first-probably nothing. Over time though, gas mileage goes down, engine performance deteriorates and the car will eventually breakdown from improper care. We won’t get into the cost of repairs…Now apply that same analogy to your body. You get out what you put in and in our fast paced society it is too easy to try and “fuel up” cheaply, quickly and then expect high octane performance. I see it over and over again in clients, patients and in my own circle of family and friends; driving ourselves into the ground with obligations, responsibilities and extra-curricular activities. Am I telling you to sit around and do nothing? Absolutely not! But I am telling you to decide what is REALLY needed in your life and what can go…and let it go.
I can take the stress, tiredness and my feelings of being overwhelmed and choose to let that drive me…right into a depressed state of being OR I can choose to accept the fact that life is NOT easy, responsibilities will ALWAYS be there, the list of “to do” will always grow (even though I check stuff off, darn it!) and the opportunity to use these as excuses to not take care of myself will ALWAYS come. I CHOOSE to not use that opportunity. I decided long ago that I had to decide what was more important; Keeping my health (which is more than just working out and eating well, it starts inside of your mind and in your soul) or keeping my list of “the important things of life according to THEY” checked off and in order? I suggest you make a list of the things that are TRULY important. When it comes down to it, how many things are stressing you out, eating you up or bringing you down that TRULY do not MATTER. Look inside and evaluate. TRULY evaluate. What can you eliminate? Obviously not everything but I bet there is at least one thing that can go. Take the opportunity to say, “no more”.
When everything in life is falling apart, the two things that shouldn’t is your resolve to make the best choices for yourself and your family and it is usually the first thing off the plate when things go south (no pun intended)! Had a long day at work and don’t want to fix dinner? Easy thing to do is go home and order pizza! Who wants to go to the gym or fix a meal, you are TIRED! I understand this! But even if you do go home and order the pizza, does it make you feel any better about your day or does it lead to more negative feelings in the long run (like when you look in the mirror)? Does it lead to more stress because of regrets for “eating badly” or not feeding your family “properly”…again? Don’t get me wrong. My family eats pizza! What I am trying to say is that even though it is the “easier” choice in the moment, you do NOT HAVE TO eat like crap because you are busy and you do not have to be inactive because you are busy. You do not have to NOT take care of yourself because you are busy. WE ARE ALL BUSY…unfortunately. Some might say my priorities are messed up. Everything in my life going crazy? I still get a workout in, even if it’s at home for 20 minutes with my son running around me and the dogs jumping all over me. I GET IT IN. No time to prep healthy food in the day? I STILL eat healthy foods. Having a plan to know that there will be craziness and something is going to try to mess with my plan is has been a huge help for me personally! Having the healthy foods available is a must, that way there is no temptation to go off to the drive thru of the local fast food joint! Ultimately it starts with a plan, taking the opportunity to plan! Another great help for me is learning the balance of compromise. My son loves hamburgers, French fries, PIZZA (he’s 4.. his pallet is extensive. HA!) and candy just as much as the next kid. My husband is the same way! We follow the well-known rule of 80/20. 80% of the time they follow “momma” and we eat balanced, whole and we stay active. The other 20% (school snacks, eating out, treats) I turn my head and I am thankful for the 80%. It doesn’t mean there aren’t sacrifices made. I admit, while our friends are going out to eat or going to a night club we will opt to stay in or go to the gym. Not because we don’t like our friends (don’t want to get that idea started…), but we decided long ago that we think that staying healthy is vitally important to our lives and we prioritize it as such. There are things you refuse to miss (a favorite TV show perhaps?) it is the same thing.
Please don’t read this and think “Well that is nice for you, good for you but that just doesn’t work for me. It’s TOO hard, we are TOO busy, TOO STRESSED”. Read this and take a good look within yourself. If you are already busy and too stressed anyway, why not try to add something that will at least give you some sense of accomplishment and maybe even help you FEEL BETTER, able to handle your stress, the busy-e-ness, the WORK that comes with LIFE-BETTER. Take the chance, the opportunity to step out and step up for YOURSELF. It all starts with one step. It could be as simple as instead of going home after a hard day at work and sitting down feeling bad about the day, GO TO THE GYM-blow off the steam of the day and leave it there-don’t take it home. Go home with a clear head! Or instead of relying on a work cafeteria that you KNOW will have nothing decent to eat, get up 5 minutes earlier and pack a lunch with snacks. Take control of your choices. Have a choice between the elevator or the stairs? Take the opportunity to be ACTIVE (that’s the stairs, by the way). I am firm believer that inactivity and negative thoughts or actions leads to more inactivity, negative thoughts or actions. However, positive actions, thoughts and activity tend to lead to more positive actions, thoughts and activity! So often people think you have to have to all figured out from the get go, you MUST log hour workouts 5 days a week IMMEDIATELY, you MUST eat 6 whole healthy meals a day IMMEDIATELY. That is not realistic and is one of the major mistakes that people make. You do not have to have it all figured out on day one. I know I STILL don’t have it all figured out. But I am striving to LEARN. It starts with a TRUE dedication to believe you ARE worth the time, worth the steps and FAITH that within the difficult parts of life lies opportunity to CHOOSE to live well and it starts with one step.
1. Decide on goals for yourself, write them down.
2. Formulate a plan (i.e. in order to have meals for the week I will bulk cook Sunday afternoons)
3. Understand SOMETHING WILL come up to mess with your plan, DO NOT DEVIATE. Say, “No”. Make your plan your Priority! You ARE WORTH IT!
4. Take that First step!
“Take that first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King Jr.