It had been a very difficult day for me back in January. My divorce was about to be final, and the whirlwind of emotions continuously punched me in the chest every time I switched the music channels on my Sirius XM. Apparently satellite radio decided that I needed a good cry on that particular day because she sure as hell provided the right music to achieve the crying feat while I sobbed my way home after coaching my evening strength class. Every. Single. Channel. I cried.
I intended to drive home to start dinner and settle in for the night, but my Wrangler instead turned into my neighborhood drugstore where I proceeded to pick up a large bag of my favorite Easter candy (side note: they make a Christmas version which basically means that this hellish candy is available year round to us. You’re welcome).
I sat mindlessly in front of my TV that evening and ate the entire big bag of milk chocolate crisp candy eggs for dinner. What I did next was pretty pivotal: I didn’t applaud myself, and I also didn’t shame myself. In my moment of sadness and brokenness I ACKNOWLEGED what I was doing, I SAT WITH my sadness, I HELD SPACE for how I was handling it, I chugged a large bottle of water, and then cried myself to sleep that evening. Y'all, it was a hard time.
This is not a “woe is me” offering. This is a LIFE-IS-HARD-AND-SOME-OLD-HABITS-DIE-HARD offering. There are circumstances in life that are bigger than us that feel like they’ll never end, and this moment was exactly that for me. If you’ve read any of my beginning blogs you understand that I come from a childhood that dealt with overeating, obesity, food addiction, shame, and everything else in between. Throughout the second half of 2016 I found myself back in this particular place of coping with food, but the way I handled these episodes were completely different now than how I handled them at age 12, age 19, age 27, age 30.
Here’s where things were different at this stage in my life:
- I never stopped lifting weights. There WERE days that I opted for a walk instead of a workout, but 90% of the time I let lifting heavy weights be the constant in my life while going through a difficult life situation. When life deals you heavy shiz, pick it up.
- I fought like hell not to allow these episodes to happen back-to-back. I kept my “you're one meal away from getting back on the track” rule. I never said, “screw it”. I never let my coping with food episode knock the domino down next to it. I may not have lived by my normal 80/20 rule, but 70/30 was still a really good attempt during a challenging life situation.
- I kept my intention of drinking water and I stayed hydrated.
- I forgave myself, rather than shaming myself for how I was handling this habit that I “shouldn't” have anymore.
- I KNEW and continuously reminded myself that this would be short term. I have the necessary tools, habits, and intentions to refocus. THIS is why establishing habits will get you to safety every time – not just moving on to the next “quick fix”.
I own a gym now. I’m a personal trainer. I’m a voice for nutrition and mindset and strength and movement to my clients. But I also practice authenticity and vulnerability – and I am always reminding them that we are not striving for perfection. Life is full of ebb and flow and ups and downs and fastballs and curveballs. As I coach them through a current nutritional challenge, I am revisited by the intentions that I lean on every single day. I don’t get it right 12 months out of the year, but 10 or 11 outta the year ain’t so bad, AMIRIGHT?
It didn’t take long for me to find my way back to a better place emotionally AND physically. Once I grabbed the teaching moment, (that’s a really important part of working through any difficult situation – what is your teaching moment?) I quickly found myself back to my normal 80/20, back to eliminating cravings, back to less bloat, and back to ME – back to essentially what I’ve established as my NORM. Other than my jeans fitting a tad tighter during that challenging time BECAUSE BLOAT (and I’m sure the scale changed but you know I don’t step on that thing), nothing else happened. My jeans are back to good, btw.
These changes didn’t happen overnight. These home base habits didn’t come easy either. It has taken consistency, trial and error, and MANY bags of Easter candy and other useless calories were consumed in the process.
I started to understand a long time ago that if we lose the shame portion of our mishaps, we can hold space for ourselves to ACKNOWLEDGE what is happening, we can strive to CHANGE what is happening, and then we can always (ALWAYS) find our way back home. And for me, home feels so good.
I wanted to open up about this post today to remind you that so many of us share the same struggles day in and day out. I never want to be the coach that pretends to be perfect because I'M SO FAR FROM IT. What I DO have are the tools that again and again have helped me find my way back home when a life sitch has led me astray. These same tools allowed me to stop by the store on my way home from the airport (just flew in from the Girls Gone Strong Women's Strength and Empowerment Seattle trip YAY-UHHH!) to grab a small, single serving bag of those devilish chocolate eggs. I'm not using them to cope, but simply enjoying a moderate amount of chocolate on Easter Sunday.
Identify the things that pull you back to shore, and lean on those when life feels hard.
P.S. I'm off to water my grass because of what I talked about in the e-mail that went out to my The Roster newsletter this morning. This is where some of my best stuff is going. Make sure you subscribe today!