Do you know the #1 killer of fat loss progress and motivation?
Being busy seems to be the ‘new black’ and it never goes out of style.
I love when I read articles or posts that are catered to the ‘busy mom’ or ‘busy women’ because I can’t help but think- are there any UN-busy moms/women out there? If there are I want to meet these women- they are mythical creatures to me. They probably will look like they just stepped out of an herbal essence commercial, riding a unicorn.
Seriously though, what woman is not currently juggling a wild to-do list? The amount of things I need to keep organized in my head, while caring for the needs of the masses, is impressive. This also causes some pretty intense feelings of exhaustion.
Once we hit this critical level of fatigue, even the simplest act of brushing our teeth can feel daunting.
This is where I feel like the break down is happening for women when it comes to adopting healthier lifestyle habits.
We WANT to feel better, eat better, exercise more- but seriously- we haven’t slept more than 4 hours and we have got nothing left to give.
Unfortunately, that means grabbing food that is quick and easy and skipping workouts so we can try to rest.
I don’t believe you can ‘muscle’ through chronic fatigue, in fact, that only makes things much much worse. You may be able to temporarily push through, but your stress hormones are going completely through the roof. Your adrenal glands are constantly pumping more cortisol out to keep you going and all your bodily functioning is quietly going haywire. I say quietly because although all the warning signs are quite visible (exhaustion, fat gain, mood swings, fertility problems) we have come to just brush those off as side effects of a busy life-like they are no big deal, just part of living.
But I have to tell you- I AM FED UP with that mindset. I am tired of the pressure put on women to keep pushing themselves to the point of physical breakdown. Especially women who are desperately wanting to loose weight and told to keep trying to push harder. I feel like it is a form of shaming, one that no one talks about!
Well, I want to tell you that all of the advice you’ve been given to push harder, cut out all types of foods, and ‘just loose some weight’ has all been crap. The advice to just wake up at 5am and push through a workout is not going to get you the results you want if you are burning the candle at both ends.
It is the reason I have made peace with skipping workouts, moving them to times of day where I FEEL the best to do them, and burning the dieting ‘rule’ book.
Now, unfortunately I don’t believe we can actually just create a ‘stress free’ life because that would take a ton of work and probably a move to a tropical island. But I do think we can learn to GUARD OUR ENERGY and set up BOUNDARIES that allow us to feel more human again.
I am currently working on putting these boundaries up in my own life, amongst on-going sleep deprivation thanks to my toddler, but want to share with you three tips I have found to be effective in restoring some sanity:
1) SLEEP– But not ‘just go to bed earlier’ type of advice, because that is just not realistic. `If you have kids or if you are just a poor sleeper- you have come to learn that you have to function on less than 4 hours of sleep sometimes. Trying to get enough sleep can turn into a three ring circus sometimes and when my doctor asked me my average hours of sleep a night, I started laughing. How does 4 sound, buddy? That’s a good night to me now-a-days. As a former “I must have 9 hours of sleep a night” girl, this is a big shift. What this means is that I 9 times out of 10 forgo a morning workout to sleep in. I used to beat myself up for this, but now, I just trust I need the sleep. I also know that means I have to fit my workout in on days and times that I have backup and a good amount of sleep (Saturday, Sunday work for me). If you are over tired all the time, you will have ZERO WILLPOWER. You can not beat out your physiology on this, no matter how strong you think you are. If you are tired, you will cave. So guard your sleep, allow yourself to nap, and ask for help when you need it.
2) DO NOT STARVE- You are way to tired to be hungry. If you are dieting down and cutting calories, you are going to be grouchy. If you are just eating a salad to be healthy then coming home and chowing down all night on ‘snacks’ or ‘bites’ of your kids good all night, you are not giving your body the food it needs to push through fatigue. Instead, opt to sit down and have a full meal a few times a day. Pick times that work for you. Focus on protein and healthy fats at every meal, and then add complex carbs in the form of veggies and whole grains. Your body will use these for fuel much longer than a quick sugar packed granola bar or yogurt. You want to keep your blood sugar stable so that you have energy to push through and not send your body into a state of stress- otherwise known as “OMG I HAVE TO EAT THE ENTIRE KITCHEN RIGHT NOW OR ILL DIE” feeling.
3) INSANITY IS INSANITY- If you are trying to build in a new workout habit, starting out with a super intense workout (like insanity or other high speed programs that are 6 days a week) is just asking for trouble. Know that you do not have the energy for that craziness if you are already suffering with fatigue and stress. If you are like me, you will start it and probably quit by day 3 when the alarm goes off at 5am. Don’t worry, it isn’t because you suck. You just will not have the energy to recover from these workouts and you will more than likely compensate by stuffing your face with carbs later in the day. Instead, opt for a 30-60 min brisk walk several times a week as a starting point. You will feel less intimidated by walking, which means you are far more likely to keep up with it. Plus walking is a good family friendly workout, so you can take the kids with you and kill two birds with one stone. No need for a sitter or nap time. Just bundle up and hit the road. If you life in a cold climate and can’t walk, head out to the mall or the stores. You can walk the isles of Target or do laps around the mall. Walking is walking!
Setting boundaries can be really challenging for so many of us, especially because we have all become so accustomed to putting the needs and well being of others ahead of our own. If I can share only one piece of powerful, life changing advice when it comes to your health and happiness it would be to guard your energy and get comfortable with the word “No” when it comes to things that do not rebuild your energy reserves. Be open and honest with yourself and your friends/family. Let them know you need time to reboot. It is okay to need to ask for things to slow down in your life.
Does this resonate with you? Do you feel like you struggle with Chronic Fatigue symptoms?