Do you ever wish you were one version of yourself but you just aren’t right now?
Do you ever struggle with guilt or shame from not being the version of you you know you can be?
I’m not talking about debilitating guilt or shame, I'm just talking about this underlying sense of not being good enough to yourself. I think for most of us there is a desire to become our best self. While, I, obviously, think this is a good thing, I think that the desire to be the best version of ourselves means that sometimes we can manipulate the journey and attempt to be further along than we really are or honestly should be.
Do you struggle with the famous, "Be stronger than your excuses"?
In general, I'm a fan of this quote. Excuses typically leave us inactive and justify the reasons why we aren't moving forward. Typically, excuses are made out of fear or complacency.
I've come to learn that an excuse isn't always being made because you are fearful. I think it's important to figure out the underlying reason for your excuse. Why are you choosing not to show up in a certain area of your life?
If it's fear - push through.
If it's complacency - push through.
If it's laziness - push through.
But if you are making an 'excuse' time and time again - you owe it to yourself to just take a deeper look.
Are you trying to be someone others want you to be but you don't want to be
Are you working towards a goal you feel like you "should" be working towards - but really have no buy-in?
Sometimes we make excuses out of fear and we need to push through - but sometimes we make excuses because we aren't authentically aligned with what we are working towards. Or maybe we are making excuses because something feels off.
There are times we need to give ourselves some grace to take a step backward to figure out what's really going on. Unfortunately, though, if you choose to step back and not just grind through any and all "excuses" then you can, and probably will be seen as weak.
I think we need to learn how to discern when we need to give ourselves some grace and when we need to push ourselves harder. Sometimes our excuses illuminate an underlying issue.
This is what happened to me on my health journey this past 18 months.
I grew up as an athlete in high school and college. I loved working out in both of those seasons because I wanted to be the fastest, the strongest, and the best. I was captain throughout all my high school volleyball years and even as a freshman in college and then ultimately ended up playing club at UC and became the president of the team. I was driven by being the best player I could be.
I got married my Junior year of college and the 6 years that followed graduation I was pregnant 5 times and had 4 babies. During those 6 years I stopped working out and just didn’t have the drive to do so. And, I know I hate me, but my metabolism and genetics are pretty good so I really didn’t feel the need to lose weight or whatever else so I just settled into this life of never working out.
I mean I was a teacher and so I was super active. I didn’t have a sedentary job so I felt like I was at least moving.
Well, in the fall of 2018 I was feeling SO weak. I couldn’t open jars or lift things without struggling. I would walk up my steps with a bin of laundry and be completely gassed.
I feel like I had been in a haze of being a mom with an infant, right like that’s a special kind of stage, for 6 years and it was starting to lift and I was genuinely confused as to why I wasn’t strong anymore. It wasn’t like I was 80 and missing the glory days. I was only 6 years removed from being in the best physical shape of my life. But all of a sudden I was like offended and frustrated by how weak I was and it almost became this identity thing because I was an athlete.
So, I did what any logical person would do and joined a cross-fit gym. I love everything about crossfit. I love the variety of the workouts. I loved the intensity. I loved having a coach and feeling like I was a part of a team again.
I’ve done that for the past year. And I still love it but this past December I started really feeling off. I wasn’t really motivated to get to the gym and I didn’t really care to go or to not go. I’m talking I struggled to get there once a week. I always had something that took priority over going to the gym so I just didn’t make it happen as often as I should.
Then the pandemic hit - which didn’t help my desire. My coach from my cross-fit gym is amazing. She modified, modified again, and dare I say she modified my program a third time because I just was not able to prioritize my program or my goals.
What was my deal? I value my health and my fitness but why couldn’t I keep it as one of my top priorities?
I had a desire to be the 22 year old version of me again and not in a weird reliving the glory days kind of way. I just wanted to be strong again. I jumped from level 0 to level 10 physically but stayed at a level 1, 2, or maybe 3 with nutrition and water, etc.
So what I joined to help me was not actually helping me.
High intensity workouts like crossfit raise your cortisol. Which is fine because if you are fueling your body right it’s healthy. When you aren’t fueling your body right, you aren’t drinking water, and you aren’t sleeping enough then what you end up doing is keeping your body in this state of constant high cortisol.
Sidenote: Which do you all know the possible symptoms of chronic high cortisol? It can be a mix of fatigue, irritability, headaches, low libido, weight gain, anxiety, depression, etc. Now, I didn’t experience all of those but I definitely experienced a lot of it. And hear this, I was so confused! Like, people say working out gives you energy...and when you feel tired - a workout can be the answer. Well, that is totally true but if your body isn’t prepared to handle that workout because you haven’t eaten anything nutrient dense… then your body doesn’t feel safe which triggers that cortisol to rise and it won’t lower if you aren’t putting your body in a position to feel safe again.
And listen, I’m not a hormonal health coach but I’m starting to understand more and more the effects of cortisol and it all started to make sense.
So, with conversations with my coach I backed it up to body weight work outs, then again to a single movement and tracking water, sleep, veggies. It seems so not sexy. I see my husband out there doing comp training which is like next level crossfit and here I am going backwards.
This is so frustrating but I need to remember, my husband did not physically carry 5 babies and birth 4 of them in 6 years and nurse for 3.5 of those years. He stayed in the gym. He continued to work out. Not me. That wasn’t my story. I want so badly to be crushing it 5 days a week like him but that’s not my story right now. And, hear me, that’s okay.
Girl this is so hard but I’m learning. Here's 5 things I'm learning:
You have got to respect the journey of your health and where you ACTUALLY are. You cannot jump to level 10 if you are on level 3. Here’s what I mean by that. I went from not working out for 6 years to crossfit. Which is arguably one of the most intense types of work-out regimens out there. It’s why I was drawn in by it. I loved the intensity and the strength and the just all around bad assery - is that a word? But I had no business walking into a crossfit gym when I was living off of half eaten PB&J’s and coffee. Why was this not sustainable for me? Because the workouts were EXHAUSTING to me. I joined to gain energy and I just felt drained afterwards. Why is that? Is it because of crossfit? No. My husband goes and feels amped all day. But he drinks a ton of water and actually eats decently.
For me, I knew I didn’t have the habits or foundation in place to support 4 days a week of crossfit. I could do it for sure. I could physically go through the motions and hang during class.
I started realizing that I needed to change things. I needed better nutrition, I needed to be drinking more water, I needed better sleep, etc. But with everything happening in my life between kids, fostering, business, marriage, friendships, etc. I just chose convenience. Like I said, I’ve been an athlete forever so I could push through workouts but deep down knew something wasn’t right in my soul.
It's important to have people in your life that you trust because it's impossible for us to see our own blindspots. We will either give ourselves way to much grace when we should be pushing through...or we will push ourselves way too hard and never extend grace to ourselves.
Small, consistent things we do daily may seem not sexy. It may seem small. It may seem insignificant - but it’s been proven time and time again that the big things are just the compound effect of the small things we choose to do daily.