“I’m not doing that because as soon as the Challenge is over I’ll gain back all the weight I lost.”
An actual quote, from a real live person, and an opportunity for education.
I was having a conversation with someone about a Nutritional Challenge I was running and I asked if she had planned to join. Her response smacked me in the face. Why? Because there is still so much misinformation being circulated about how health and wellness work within the real world.
It’s about education, not perfection. If you hang out with me for any length of time, you’ll hear me say that over and over again. Life is not perfect. It’s messy, complicated, fast paced, and beautiful all at once. That doesn’t mean that we cannot lead healthy, well balanced lives while raising intelligent and well rounded families. I’m asking that you reject the notion that Health = Perfection. This is a falsehood. Health and wellness are a journey; a process. That process ebbs and flows and looks differently for each person. And just like things in nature, life is made up of seasons; and seasons vary from person to person.
Seasonal adherence does not mean failure. In fact, I’d argue that being skilled in seasonal adherence makes you more successful over the long run, because again… THIS IS A PROCESS. January turns to March and then before you know it, it’s July and you’re headed to the beach for some fun and sun. You don’t have to completely give up on your goals for the year because you have plans.
Take an inventory of the year. What do you have on your calendar? Big trips, exams, holidays, presentations? Find a couple times throughout the year that feel like you are mentally capable of tackling a period of strict adherence. If we can make health and fitness a part of our routine when we’re feeling good, then it is easier to stick to when we’re stressed and busier. Being in a mental state composed enough to tackle a season of strict adherence; we are continuing a healthy habit versus creating a dreaded chore. I don’t recommend trying to cram for your finals/presentation while trying to track your macros, or stay in a season of strict compliance. Why? Because then it becomes stress. This is a lifestyle – it should not be stressful. Feeling stressed makes it difficult to maintain a healthy eating pattern and hormone balance.
When we feel stressed or anxious our body is triggered to release a higher level of the hormone called Cortisol. Consistently elevated levels of Cortisol can cause flushing of the face, rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen, high blood pressure, increased thirst and frequent urination. Bad news all the way around. Just like we aim to keep our insulin levels nice and even throughout the day, we should aim to keep our cortisol levels even (aside from natural fluctuations varied by time of day) as well. Keep a handle on your stress, friends.
Aim to set aside two to three small “seasons” to strictly dial in your nutrition. Make sure these periods align with your plans. Don’t overload yourself. Adding undue stress to your already full agenda will only create further stress.
Will your weight/muscle/fat fluctuate throughout the year? YES! That is okay! Hear me when I say, everyone goes through this. Seasonal adherence is normal and healthy. Our bodies and minds need a reset.
LIVE YOUR LIFE!
You heard me. Live your life. This is a lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that you have to put your life on hold to maintain it. This is what you do, not who you are.
Wife, mother, coach, and busy professional. Firm believer that creating a positive impact in people’s lives through health and wellness leads to healthier individuals, families and communities. Head of Corporate Wellness at CrossFit 926.