Who's Got Your Back?
I am a trained yoga teacher, a certified personal trainer, a Crossfit coach, a kettle bell specialist, a life coach- and I need help too.
Recently I changed some priorities and focuses in my life that took me from living in a gym or studio 40-60 hours a week, to visiting a gym 2-4 hours a week. (Big changes!)
My sleep schedule changed, my eating patterns changed, and my “accidental exercise” went down by almost 90 percent.
I was so happy with my life choices, but so unhappy in my skin.
It wasn’t the few pounds I had gained, I know that comes and goes; it wasn’t starting my day when I used to take my first break, not seeing the front side of 5am was delicious; it wasn’t misunderstanding my hunger cues, eating is fun and not eating is fine, but… it also wasn’t not those things.
I felt like a stranger in my skin. I was just… off. I didn’t recognize myself in my new life.
So much had shifted that I couldn’t seem to adapt all at once.
What’s a girl to do?
Adapt gradually. That’s all you can do. But as a determined “hard worker” who wants to do it all now, allowing things to shift was a challenge and I needed help.
First, I realized I would go a full day, sometimes more, without having anything but coffee, or I wouldn’t eat all day, then crave a huge, filling dinner leaving me going to bed groggy. I had let my hunger cues slide by because they were different than when I was a competitive athlete or full time trainer. They were still there, but I hadn’t taken the time to notice that they had changed.
So I got some help.
I set myself up with having a breakfast every day that I planned the night before and I checked in with my partner about the challenge I was having so I wasn’t in it alone. In the afternoons he would ask me if I’d eaten and remind me that I needed to. Within a just few days I started to recognize the new hunger cues my body was sending me, and within a few weeks I understood that I didn’t need to eat as much as my 6’4” boyfriend any more and I started to feel better in my body.
But my energy levels were still off.
I used to be the queen of naps. From 3 minutes to 27 minutes I could program my body to take a top notch power nap that would reenergize and reinvigorate my day, sometimes several times a day.
Now that I didn’t have early morning clients I was excited to really get reacquainted with my real sleep pattern! I would sleep until I woke up for as long as it took to really feel great!
Only, as each week wore on, I would sleep later and later and feel more and more tired. What was happening?
I suddenly realized that though I was going to bed around the time I intended, I was taking longer and longer to fall asleep. Which meant I had to sleep later and later in the day to get the 8 hours I really needed.
For me, by not having a time to wake up, I had unmoored my body clock and my sleep schedule was falling apart. So rather than waking up “naturally”, I set my wake up time and allowed myself to go to sleep when I was tired instead. Which, for me, meant actually falling asleep right away and getting the quality sleep I needed. (To see the steps I take to keep blue light from keeping me unnaturally awake, check out this post.)
Last but not least, for years I was getting so much “accidental exercise” from having a job that kept me on my feet and at a low steady (and sometimes not so low and steady) level of activity that I had gotten out of the habit of choosing to exercise.
I know, it sounds crazy, but I was in a gym so much I never had to think about working out! I would get workouts in by testing workouts I made for clients, by leading yoga classes, by teaching fundamental movements all day. Suddenly, I didn’t have all that in my schedule. I actually had to remember to exercise!
No amount of knowledge of what to do, or how, was helping me. I saw my kettle bell sitting in my living room and thought “I should go pick that up” but somehow never found the time.
So I enlisted help.
I paid for a 30 day Unlimited membership to a studio where I had never taught, where no one knew me and I didn’t have the techniques down. I set myself up to be a novice so I would need help and guidance, and scheduled one rest day and one outdoor day a week for those 30 days. All other days I had to reserve my spot in class and show up on time.
It worked. Because I would “lose money” if I didn’t fully take advantage of my 30 days of unlimited classes, because I couldn’t convince myself I could do it at home on my own (then conveniently not find the time), because I had to reserve a spot in class so I couldn’t keep putting it off by 15 minutes or an hour, suddenly I was finding time to exercise. It was always there, I was just letting it go by.
Life changes, and we have to change with it.
Sometimes it easy, sometimes it a grind. That’s okay!
Learning to ask for help has been a long hard lesson for me, but just like everyone else, it turns out I’m better with a little back up.
Who do you reach out to for back up? What tools do you use to help yourself stay committed? How do you re-center when you’re off balance? We all need support from time to time, what’s your system?