I love the beginning of a new year. Similar to the beginning of a new week, I feel recharged and refocused on new challenges ahead. The past two months, I have really enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing. Less cooking, less cleaning, more playing, more asking for help.
“Can you please pick up dinner?”
“Can you please babysit, so my husband and I can have a date night?”
“Can you please come clean my house twice a month, instead of once?”
“No, I don’t want to go there.”
“No, we don’t make plans on Sundays. They are ‘family days.'”
“No, I’m not available.”
As a result of more asking for help and declining things that don’t give me joy, I feel refreshed and renewed. I was almost getting borderline complacent as well which was a new feeling for me. Last fall was extremely taxing on me, mentally and physically. Training for my first bikini competition was so challenging and mentally draining that I just really needed time to rest. I reduced my gym time from 12 hours a week to 6. I reduced my cooking time from 5 hours a week to about 2. I ate out several times a week, enjoying lots of chicken and steak kabobs from Zoe’s Kitchen and salads from Panera Bread – a few more burgers too. I put my food scale away completely for 6 weeks. I ate cookies after lunch some days. I never turned down seconds. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted, whenever I felt like it. It was amazing. I still ended up choosing healthy foods most of the time, because I prefer the way they make me feel, but I had a lot more treats over the holidays. I avoided the bathroom scale too. I got on every once in a while, only for a good laugh. I honestly didn’t care what it said. I knew I would get back to work in 2017, but the end of 2016, I just said “f*ck it.”
So when I took my first set of photos for my coach this week and finally stepped on the scale after a weekend of eating a burger, french fries, wings and some homemade chocolate chip cookies (my last “hurrah”), I was curious as to what he might say to my 6 pound weight gain. When I started training for my show last July, I weighed 135 most days. When I stepped on stage in October I weighed 129. When I stepped on the scale on Monday, I weighed 141. Hot damn, I guess I ate a lot more cookies than I thought.
I pressed send on my email with my photos, and I waited. I checked my email about 20 times in the hour it took him to respond with my plan. What was my penance for said cookies? The email came through, and I held my breath as I opened it. The result: a shit ton of cardio (plus my normal weight training 5 times a week). For a split second, I regretted all of the delicious chocolate chips and endless scoops of peanut butter and mounds of buttered bread. How was I going to do ALL THAT CARDIO?
I took it one day at a time.
Day 1 – 60 minutes of weights then 75 minutes of cardio
Day 2 – 60 minutes of weights then 40 minutes of cardio
Day 3…I stepped on the scale again. 136 pounds. Say what? Did I really lose 5 “pounds” in 2 days? I was in disbelief. Maybe they were never “real pounds” anyways but water weight?
Day 4…I stepped on the scale again. 136 pounds. Seriously?!
I texted my coach the results of crushing 2 days of work and a killer diet, and his response: LESS CARDIO.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because sometimes the body just needs to rest. It needs a break from being “on” all the time. It needs help. It needs to lean on family and friends and the nice salad maker at the restaurant across the street. It needs to stop thinking about goals and putting pressure on itself to be everything for everyone and it just needs to take care of itself.
As a result of the rest, I gained 1 real pound. That’s about 1,000 chocolate chips and they were all delicious. They say that chocolate is good for the soul, and I believe it.
This spring I’ll be back on stage again competing in two local shows, one in April and one in May. I won’t be eating too many chocolate chips over this 4 months, but I will still be doing less and asking for help more. In 2017, I hope you’ll join me on this journey. Give your body what it needs. Be kind to yourself. But never EVER stop chasing your dreams.