First off, I would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who read my first blog post. I am proud to say it was read around the world and I received a lot of wonderful feedback from you. I am so grateful for your love and support.
Since the last post, things have seemed a little brighter, and I’ve been paying attention as to why so I could share my progress with you. Recently, a big cloud of negativity was removed from my life – I left my job. Of course it was scary, awkward and intimidating. And, of course all of the typical thoughts rushed through my mind: how will I support my son Christian and I, where do I spend my time, what’s next and how do I get there? But, for a moment, I decided to put all of those thoughts aside and focused on the positive: I had made a big change in my life, something I had wanted for a long time. Once I made that mental shift, I was surprised at how my overall outlook and attitude changed. Sometimes when the clouds of negativity have shadowed you for so long, you forget what the warm sunshine feels like. Negative clouds, as we’ll call them, come in all different shapes and sizes: toxic relationships, self-criticism, or an unsatisfying job. Once we can identify these negative influences and are able to remove them, the sky opens up, the birds start singing and the things that used to bother you seem much less daunting.
This past Monday was my first day without a job. I had a window of freedom and I was ready to hit the ground running! I dressed in my finest workout clothes, dropped Christian off at school, ate my favorite breakfast (egg whites and oatmeal) and was off to the gym. I was feeling so pumped with my new sense of freedom that I decided to run there. The sun was shining on my face, there was a breeze keeping me cool, and I was ready to get after my workout!
I walked in to the gym like I owned the place and went up to the counter to check in. The man sitting behind the desk looks up my account, and much to my surprise, slams his hands down on the counter and says, “You haven’t been to the gym in over a 150 days!???” Yes, it’s true. I must confess… I haven’t worked out in months. So, before you start asking questions, let me tell you why. Remember that “negative cloud”? That played a significant role in fogging what was most important to me, I was neglecting my authentic self.
In the beginning of this foggy phase, I felt guilty about missing my workouts and I would get down on myself for it. But, I got to the point where I said, “Look B, you can either make excuses, feel guilty, or understand that where you are is temporary and be easy on yourself”. I chose to be easy on myself and let go of the pressure to get to the gym. However, that didn’t mean I had to let everything go, I knew I still had enough control to keep clean eating habits, and this could be my temporary compromise to myself.
After sharing the moment of surprise with the guy at the gym, he added, “Well you look awesome!” I smiled, thought of my personal compromise, and responded, “Thank you, I eat clean!”
I wanted to start off my journey back to the gym on the right foot; I called my coach and asked for a check-in session. I needed to have accountability, to be able to track my progress and see how much work I would have to do to get my body back to where it was when I had left off. When he pulled up my file, the last time I had checked-in was exactly one year ago to the day. We both looked at each other and were like “Whoa, that’s crazy!” I then stepped on the scale, and weighed the exact same amount as I did a year ago. I was expecting my weight to be way off from my last check-in. So needless to say I was pretty excited! I asked him how that could be possible knowing I had lost muscle, hadn’t been working out or following my program at 100%. He said because I continued with my healthy eating habits, even though I wasn’t working out, it was enough to maintain my weight. So although I lost six pounds of muscle during the gym drought, I did what I could and it paid off.
The point of my story is that negative clouds can move in and out of our lives from time to time. When the skies clear, your perspective changes, and the bad doesn’t seem so bad. However, the inverse is true; when the clouds move in and skies grow dark, we find it hard to remember what’s important to us, almost as if we’re tripping in the dark. It is during these times that you have the opportunity to find the one thing you can maintain. Find that one thing and do it to the best of your ability. It will pay off for you, just the way eating clean paid off for me in the long run. Tell yourself that the clouds are temporary, because they are. When the breeze blows and the skies clear, the one thing you held on to will be there to help you get back to your authentic self. Whether it’s nutrition, religion, an old friendship, whatever. Nurture it and hold on to it until the sun shines through.