Thursday, July 21, 2011

Find the Fun

This is my motto.  I try to find the fun in the every day, the routine, the challenges, the frustrations, you name it.  I'm even learning to find the fun in my training hiatus. 

If you haven't noticed, I haven't been training much.  I've pretty much been in full-on training mode for five years or better.  I used to get extremely anxious if I went even a week without exercise.  Well, aside from some sporadic running and body weight circuits, I have gone the better part of two months without training.

I'm running an experiment.  Actually, I'm running a couple of experiments.  Let me elaborate.

Experiment #1 - Manage Anxiety  

I'm seeing how well I've learned to manage my anxiety related to training.  I used to believe that I would instantly gain back the 30 pounds I've lost if I stopped training for awhile.  The only way to quench that fear was to get back to exercising ASAP.

Through the Gym Movement protocols, I've learned that doing what my body wants me to do will eliminate anxiety.  My body is really enjoying the break from training.  Nothing tests well.  In fact, when I think about swinging a kettlebell or going for a run, I get anxious.  So, I don't do what makes my body react negatively.

I've applied this to every aspect of my life.  I've taken a long break from work as well.  I've just been focusing on my family, home, and relationships.  I get lots of sleep and lots of home grown fruits and veggies. And, I've spent many hours with great friends relaxing and laughing.

As a result, I find myself looking forward to a new semester at my college.  I'm recharged.  I'm ready to get back after my professional endeavors.  In addition, I'm looking forward to new physical endeavors.  I'm finding a lot of fun and joy in this anticipation.

Here's the lesson from my experiment:  I know without a doubt that I will be better - no, I am better - after this summer training break.  It has refueled my fires - both physical and mental.  I've learned that my well-being is as much mental as it is physical.

Experiment #2 - Manage My Weight  

Along with my fear of gaining weight from lack of exercise, I have had a fear of gaining weight from eating certain foods.  For the past year, I've been eating what I want without guilt.

How have I done this?  Well, I use intermittent fasting to boost my fat burning.  Mike T Nelson introduced me to Brad Pilon and his theories regarding fasting.  Since then, I have been using the "Eat, Stop, Eat" protocol.

Every time I fast, I learn a little more about my relationship with food.  I also learn that I can manage my weight without starving or limiting my food choices.  I eat bread, cereal, tortilla chips, crackers, and all other sort of carbohydrate.

I used to be deathly afraid of carbs.  I felt horribly guilty and anxious every time I ate carbs.  How ridiculous.  Calories in.  Calories out.

I test my food (not faithfully, however) and eat what tests well.  Simple.  No guilt.  No anxiety.  Just pure enjoyment every time I eat.

Here's the lesson learned from this experiment:  Food doesn't have to control me.  My associations with food are more harmful than the foods themselves.  Eliminate the negative associations; test food and eat accordingly; fast once a week; maintain/lose weight.

A wise man once told me - Stop obsessing over your food.  Fast once a week and enjoy eating.  When he told me that, I thought "Yeah, right.  Me?  That will never happen."  Look at me now.

(Thanks Mike!) 

So, there you have it.  My journey to find the fun this summer break.  I feel pretty positive about my results.  I've learned some important elements I can take with me.  Have you learned anything?  Drop me a line with your thoughts.  I love hearing from you!

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