Hey guys and Happy Friday!
Checking in at the end of the week here and wanted to say hi! How’s your week been? Mine has been just busy and steady enough to keep me moving but not burned out – I love that. 🙂 I’m grateful for clients who, for the most part, want to be training and are doing their best to live well in AND (more importantly!) outside the gym.
And that’s what I’d like to muse about today – about the idea of living sustainably while working towards your health and fitness goals. You guys, I feel like a broken record every time I get on here to post, but I’m so interested in pursuing health in a way that serves me for the long term, and I can’t help but share about it! This stems from me trying to find my “forever plan” when it comes to fitness and nutrition – it’s fun to explore and see what works for me as an individual. As you may remember from recent post, I’ve been tracking my macros (carbs, proteins and fats) lately on My Fitness Pal to see where I’m ending up most days, and while it was good for some time, I found myself getting sucked wanting to see change faster than what’s possibly realistic for me. It didn’t make me obsessive or cause me to restrict my food to create faster change (all you need to do is see my entry for Monday night when I got an impromptu hot fudge sundae from Peter’s Drive-In with Mikey on a whim!), which is great, but I noticed myself getting frustrated that change wasn’t happening simply because I was tracking. Well…what was I expecting? I was eating the same way (not sacrificing or changing up my macros at all), but still getting frustrated that I wasn’t really changing my body. Hmm… Took me a second to realize it, but once I did, I found it interesting to take note of that bigger picture when you pull back a bit.
I recently saw one of my clients’ progress in her weight loss outlined in a graph. It looked a little bit like this:
I was so proud of her, because her change wasn’t static but was up and down (that’s real life!) with (and here’s the key) an overall downward trend. It’s not about the day to day up’s and down’s (especially as women; our hormones sure are crazy!) but rather about the overall movement in our journeys. She is such a great example of consistency and tenacity with her goals while still living life. It reminded me that both fat loss and muscle growth aren’t linear. It doesn’t always seem like that with the “ab’ed up” people around us on Instagram and the fitness models we see in social media, but remember that it’s many of their JOBS to be fit and they dedicate a lot more time than you or I, with our jobs, families, and commitments, ever can to their bodies! Also, some of them are miserable with their routines that they have to keep up to look that way – not everyone, certainly – but many people are because their business is wrapped up in meal prepping, rigidity and never missing a workout.
Please understand that I’m certainly not saying that structure is unhelpful; we actually need to say “no” every once and a while because life isn’t ALL cookies and cakes (or late night sundae runs). But maybe you’ve been trying the restriction thing for a while and it hasn’t worked, because as soon as that 30 or 21 day plan is done, you’re on your own, and you either slip up and you’re back to where you started from or you look for another challenge to complete to keep you on track. I know that as much as I say I’m not pursuing fat loss, I still kind of live like I am. So here’s my question for you: are you tired of being the person who eats carrots at parties? Or the one who passes up social engagements because of your diet? Maybe it works for you, and if it does, more power to you – and I really mean that! But I’m slowly discovering that the ways I live best are less rigid and structured and more in tune with how I’m feeling that day in terms of my eating and movement.
I have been exploring the website (and subsequent podcast) Eat to Perform, and I’m loving the content and concept behind what they stand for – eating for performance-based goals as “normal” people (not necessarily high level athletes but your average person who has a job and family and wants to be healthy). I really enjoyed the podcast below (allow yourself to get into it a bit as the real good meat of the message is part-way through!) and thought I’d embed it here for you to check out in your own time!
So, while I got a bit caught up in not seeing “results” (which for me means less belly bloat and more abs – despite often saying I don’t care about abs – it’s such a process to let certain things go and strive for a realistic, healthy body!), it’s been good for me to refocus on what I really want. Do I want to set my macros and carbs for a certain number or percentage based on fat loss, or performance in the gym and in life? How long will I pursue fat loss in an effort to be lean when really I’m seeking freedom from being limited in that perspective and scope? I eat like I’m really living and move like I’m really living but sometimes my mentality needs to play catch up to where my habits and life are right now, and that’s okay – it’s coming.
So here are a few things I’m dwelling on instead, some of which stemmed from the podcast above!
The bigger picture. Always, always refocusing with the bigger picture of life that is the adventure of loving Jesus and loving others! Life is much bigger than abs – I do truly believe that – even though it sounds like a no-brainer to write out. Checking in with myself and how I’m living, treating others and performing at work and as a human helps me remember that being fit helps me be better: a better wife, daughter, friend, even Christian!
Then there’s the big “F” word: Failure. You’ve got to be willing to risk if you want to see change! Remember the first time you walked into that group fitness class at your gym? You were nervous, not sure what to expect, not sure if you’d be able to do it. Or the first time you decided to bump up your bench press by 5 lbs – you didn’t know if you could actually lift it, right? Well, you’ve got to be willing to fail and, more importantly, get uncomfortable. I did just that when I went for a 20 KG Turkish Get Up this week – I’d never tried more than 16 KG and finally thought, “I want to do it!” I had to catch the kettle bell on the way down but then I did it again and again and nailed it! Next up? 24 KG!
And while you want to risk some failure to move ahead in terms of performance and goals, you also need to ask yourself: What’s truly sustainable? Is this eating plan or workout schedule possible for me to keep up with alongside the demands of my busy life? This is always a question I’m asking myself, and as my good friend Kindal told me recently,
Whatever you can do to take the stresses away in life, go for it. I’m sure you’ve heard it 1000’s of times, but I was thinking about nutrition and you last night (I haven’t been sleeping so hot, lol)…
If you’re on the fence about really sticking to macros or getting feelings of guilt or annoyance with your food… don’t go through with it. I mean don’t go eating sundaes EVERY night (just kidding) but seriously, if it’s stressing you out, you’re beautiful and perfect right now. Remember… are you doing what you need to be doing RIGHT NOW?
Wow. Now that’s a good friend. Think about what’s sustainable and ask yourself if now’s the right time to be focusing on that particular goal.
Lastly, (forgive me for not linking all these thoughts – I’m rambling here!), but I’m continually thinking about that midsection… Are abs all they’re really cracked up to be? What if you feel stronger in the gym and like a more capable human outside the gym when you’re eating more, and training hard without worrying about visible abs? Just a thought. 😉 Noelle Tarr’s “Why I Don’t Want Six-Pack Abs” post really resonated with me when I first read it – and it’s absolutely worth checking out!
Here are some other articles worth checking out:
- “My Habits are Great…But I’m Still Not Losing Weight!” Great thoughts by Sean Flanagan
- Did you catch Kindal and my convo on her podcast last week? It was fun to chat about all things fitness, training and balance in life!
- Love Amanda’s “Confessions” post about healthy habits!
What are you mulling through in terms of the fitness industry and your body these days? Have you reached a happy medium and balance, or are you still finding your way, like me? The good news is that your views can change! Like progress, change isn’t linear and we’re not stuck in it. So, as you can see, it’s a process, and I’m in the midst of it! But I’m growing more every day in the industry I’m in, enjoying my role in helping people on their journey to be their strongest, fittest, happiest selves, and learning what that looks like for me too. Praise God that we don’t have to get it figured out right the first time but that there’s grace for the journey!
Live well & be well friends,