Something that has come up a lot both in my life and in conversations with the women around me is the struggle of getting your body to do what you know it should do, but can’t. When I say can’t I am referring to things like injuries, pains, illness, c-section recovery, and even energy issues.
This topic has been of high interest for me as of lately because well, I am in a place of can’t right now. The knee and shoulder issues have just started the rehabbing process and as a result I can’t do my usual routines. I am also undergoing treatment for adrenal fatigue, which I plan to share a lot more about with all of you. The changes in my life have had a profound impact on my mood, my confidence, and my overall energy levels.
For someone who has always enjoyed exercises, being stuck has been tough. I have lost muscle mass, I have lost functionality, I have lost strength and flexibility. Most importantly, I lost a feeling of ‘control’ in my space and body.
What makes this that much more powerful is that when all of those things start to dissipate, so does motivation to start again. In fact, I look at other ‘fit’ people and think yea it is so easy to work out when your body doesn’t hurt all over the place. Can any of you relate? It starts to feel like a mountain that is impossible to climb. I feel like saying, “how the heck am I supposed to keep up with that?”
But that is where your mindset needs to come into play. You have two choices when you are experiencing an issue that is holding you back.
1- Stay stuck, be the victim of the circumstances, and give up
2- Begin searching for a new way to do things
What will you choose?
I have chosen number two. I have chosen to begin searching for new ways to love and respect my body for where it is at. I have found new ways to move my body, new places I can do it, new times I can do it, as well as ways to heal the issues I have going on.
At first, I started with seeing Orthopedic doctors and physical therapist, but quickly realized they weren’t listening to my issue. They did help me identify some of the issue, but they didn’t teach me what to do about it.
I could have accepted that there was no solution.
But I didn’t
I researched and found a strength and conditioning coach who specializes in restoring functional movement, strength, and healing. We began working together because I was brave enough to ask. This has been empowering and eye opening. I am learning how to move my body safely, how to warm it up, how to stretch it, and how to focus on form rather than aesthetics or weight. But more importantly, I am not focusing on a number. I am looking at my body from the perspective of what it can do- walk up and down stairs, bike, move things in my house.
After having my daughter, my Diastasis could have stopped me. Held me back in fear of causing more injury. My doctors told me it was no big deal. But I knew I felt something was wrong. Rather than accepting ‘no’ from them. I Instead began researching ways to heal, to restore then strengthen my core so that future pregnancies would be safe. So that I would keep building rather than breaking down.
Now I have an entire post-natal core and restore series I am developing that I would never have had to share with you all, if I gave up.
Finally, my hormones have gone off the rails causing some major health issues. I didn’t know that was what the issue was at first. All I knew was that I was exhausted all the time, I couldn’t muscle through my workouts, my weight was plummeting and my motivation to do just about anything was pretty much zero. What this ended in was a week long stay in the hospital due to a severe health crisis. For a long while, I hide this truth from my family and friends. Put on a smile, and pretended that I was superwoman. Except I was miserable and even though my words wouldn’t show it, my body was showing it all over the place.
I could have accepted this new mental and physical fog as the end of the line for me. But instead, I found other women who described feeling these same symptoms. I contacted my internal medicine doctor and began working with them to run blood labs and decipher what was going on with my only 29 year old body.
What we found was that I needed to slow down. It was time to stop trying to control everything and instead let life be. To exercise, but not train to be the baddest chick in the weight room. To eat well, but not like I was doing a figure competition. What I learned was that we all have our own healthy middle ground. But it takes the willingness to reexamine the old way to create a new way.
My point here is that injuries happen. Life happens and unforeseen changes happen. We are not 19 anymore and our bodies don’t move or recover like they once did. They are more sensitive to sleep deprivation and stress, probably because we are pushing the limits of these two things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to just throw in the pity party towel. I have learned in the time after having my daughter, that movement can take so many different forms. There is no one perfect way to exercise and you do not have to follow a ‘perfect plan’ to see results. The plan doesn’t have to be so intense or promise quick results. The plan doesn’t have to feel hopeless. Sometimes the plan is that you rest.
Instead of giving up because you’re battling XYZ, I want you to look at this as an opportunity for massive, earth shattering growth. You can begin to seek out other ways of doing your life. Ways that may make you 1000 percent happier and more fulfilled. For me, it mean that it was time for me to go back to the basics, actually STOP exercising for a period of time, and focus on literally healing my mind, body, and hormones.
So how can you choose to grow?
To Start, You Can Focus on These Four Pillars of Perseverance
- Ask questions- Be your own advocate, research, network, and seek out alternative methods. Eastern medicine and western medicine both have incredible success stories. If you can’t walk, bike. If you can’t get off the couch, do arm circles.
- Change your expectations– start slow, don’t worry about weight loss, worry about functional skills. Be able to be strong enough to walk up the stairs, open a jar of peanut butter, or move a piece of furniture without help. If you don’t lose weight, no big deal. If you gain weight, trust it will come off when you’re ready.
- Move every day- Movement can be gentle and still powerful. Walk at lunch, take the stairs, watch netflix on the treadmill before the kids get up. Swimming is a great low impact activity, same with biking. Resistance bands can be gentle and easy to take with you when you are on the go. Movement reduces stress, we want less stress. But if you are over training, movement can cause stress. The goal here- Find the minimum amount of exercise that gives you the most bang for your buck.
- Don’t give up on yourself- you need to have a clear and strong mind. The amount of responsibilities you have every day and the energy you need to keep up is higher than high. You need to be in a place that matches that need or you will spiral into a place of anxiety, depression, and negativity. Your family needs you to be happy, your children need you to be able to move with them, and your partner needs you around for the long haul. But most importantly you have to live in your own body for the rest of your life, so make it a place that you want to be in.