You're the architect of your life (FREE workout enclosed!). 👊❤
Following on the heels of our last juicy chat, let’s expand a little, shall we?
Let’s talk about how we create our lives and how we can harness this power to achieve the body changes we’re after.
For some of us, peace, happiness, and stress relief mean lifting or some other type of fitness (my personal favorite, and, rest assured, friends who are here for the iron, there is a challenge at the end of this email). For others of us, that means something entirely different, usually based in rest.
There’s room for both. And, in fact, they’re both vital to our success.
We are the architects of our lives. We get to construct what we want, every single moment of every single day. We don’t have to give our power away, believing that happiness comes when we get the perfect partner, the perfect job, the perfect home, or the perfect body. We can choose happy – we can choose to be grateful, to be joyful, to be loving – and shift the space in which we find ourselves, even if not a single circumstance has changed. The fascinating part of the Law of Attraction/the Secret/whatever you’d like to call it, is when we act as if we already have what we want, we begin to take the actions that lead us to our end goals, believing that we’re worthy of receiving them (spoiler: you are.).
So, that dream job? Dream life? Dream body? You got it, dude.
Happiness and body peace begin with understanding.
We can use biofeedback techniques to figure out what’s going on on a moment-to-moment, day-to-day basis in our own bodies. No one knows your own body like you do, and you know when something isn’t normal. Using your feelings, your hunger, your energy levels, and your cravings to assess how your food and workouts are affecting your body will help you on your detective mission to discover what’s working for you and what isn’t. They’re subjective measures, of course, but they’re pretty reliable indicators of how you’re balancing, if you know what to listen for. I’m gonna drop a few possibilities, with a few names of hormones that you can look up for further research, but the basics are as follows:
Often, I find those of us that become stalled in any sort of body change mission are over-stressed. Stress skyrockets our cortisol levels, in general, keeping us in fight-or-flight mode pretty much all the time. Good for when we’re avoiding being eaten by bears. Bad for when our largest threat to survival is a delayed train home.
The extra kicker is that often, when we’re trying to change our bodies, the stress of the diet itself kicks our hormones into a frenzy, and we end up overeating. So, things that soothe us are important, and where we see the biggest bang for our buck is not mashed potatoes, but leisure activities. Rest-based camp above, you’re winning here.
If you’re super ultra hungry and can’t figure out why, there are usually two possibilities: either your leptin and insulin have dropped too low due to long-term food restriction, or they’ve risen too high because you’ve been eating too much of the wrong types of food. Solution? Both hormones can be controlled and regulated back to baseline by eating foods that are high in protein, fiber, and water. Behavioral hunger (eating for the sake of eating…we’ve all done it.) can be controlled by any number of mechanisms, but my favorites are to engage in an activity incongruous with eating (go for a walk, read a book, etc.) or to drink extra water and/or eat water-based, low-calorie foods (cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers are some of my favorites).
If your energy levels are off, this can be any number of hormones (as they all affect your energy level, in one way or another), but the heavy hitters here are insulin and cortisol (as they dramatically impact blood sugar levels). Low/unpredictable energy levels typically mean we are either eating too little and exercising too much (particularly if what we’ve cut out the most is protein: a common problem amongst women especially), or relying on stimulants to get us through the day (caffeine masks symptoms of greater problems by giving you false energy and can also, if abused long term, lead to metabolic damage). Our energy levels can also be low if we’ve cut carbs or fats too low. Carbs are usually the first to go in fat loss diet protocols, but if we cut too much too soon, our blood sugar (and, therefore, energy) will suffer.
Our cravings are influenced by cortisol (so, stress and behavior. Earth-shattering information I just gave you, I know.). Lowering our stress will directly decrease our cravings. If you find you have an insatiable appetite for something specific, add rest and relaxation into your life: bubble baths, long walks, hanging out with your pets (I can loan you two dogs, if you need), yoga/stretching, massage, music, sex… you name it, if it lowers your stress, it will lower your cravings. Think about what you need (relaxation? Stress relief?), and then think about how you’re going about it (is that ice cream *really* going to reduce your stress, long term? In the end, that’s adding stress, really.). Hack it: do something for you that isn’t going to add stress later. If I, lover of all comfort food, can do this, so can you. You got this. And feel free to reply for more specific suggestions.
We get the opportunity, every day, minute by minute, to create our own relaxation, our own happiness, our own realities. Why not spend it actively constructing our lives? #WonderWomanLoading has evolved to mean quite a few things, not the least of which is expansion by design. We’re the architects here; we get to choose.
If, like me, you enter your most meditative state through lifting, I’ve attached a full-body barbell workout that I love. The challenge comes from the following:
TAKE THE REST.
Yep, you read that right. Many of us, when doing a different program or doing something not super heavy, don’t take enough rest between sets. This is hindering our gains, people! Rest is important: we’re clearing out the lactic acid in our muscles; we’re resetting our minds; we’re refreshing the breakdown in our form for the opportunity to try again. I struggle with this, but #BignessProject taught me the importance of the rest: enough to keep the pump, not too much that we’re cold.
Enjoy & let me know how it goes!