Your worst frenemy

S  t  r  e  s  s

We need to admit that stress is a factor in our weight, sleep, and moods. It affects our bodies from the inside out.
I have noticed a huge part of my problem is stress related. I am not sleeping well, I am moody, and I just can’t lose this last bit of weight.
Though I don’t focus my fitness or body love on my weight loss. I would like to finally get back to my pre (3rd) baby weight; Slim these thighs down and lose the muffin top. I have realistic goals. I am not picking a size or a weight anymore. I am measuring fat. Areas that I know have excess, because it didn’t used to be there. I am aware of the unhealthy fat in areas because I tend to get more stress on the joints, especially when I run…funny how quickly you learn about problem areas when you pound pavement. But thinking about it stresses me out. What size pants to wear, will the race shirt fit, can you see my fat flapping through these pants on a run? (I love compression) Stupid right? Women stress over the dumbest things. Or maybe it is just me.

Did you know stress creates a hormone called Cortisol, it is straight up nasty!! It can lower bone density and your immune system, elevates blood pressure and cholesterol. LOOK IT UP! It can even slow fat burning?! Actually it can cause weight gain!!! So you can work out, eat healthy, and still not lose weight. That is why self-care is soooo important and why fitness inspo peeps are constantly craming self-care in your face. Because stress is more than a negative, it actually damages your health! If you want heart health, lower blood pressure, healthy weight, and good sleep you have to curb those stress levels. And I dont mean by killin’ yourself in the gym. Working out in excess can actually create physical stress, so be reasonable, work hard lose the punishment. I know when your adrenaline kicks in and you feel all hulk’ish when you beast it up, but what about when you add fear, or grief, struggling relationships & finances to the mix? When is the fight or flight gonna start usurping your health? and instead of a burst of energy, it becomes stressful. It becomes your frenemy.

Remember loving your body and being healthy isn’t SIZE or performance based, it is care based. It should never become a negative, because you feel the need to love your body in a (cough cough) conceited way. Learning to take care of your body and treat it right can be hard especially when we become goal oriented or for better word OBSESSED.

I am a huge goal getter, but sometimes I put too much on my plate and then burn out when life pelts me with lemons. (Picture me infront of a pitching machine, I swear it feels like that lately) There are healthy and unhealthy goals, and motivation should always be checked and rechecked. Overloading and actually not loading at all (sedentary life) can drag us into unhealthy patterns and create unwanted stress. Sneaky stress too! Where we get so laxidazical that we stress about not getting anything done (me for the last few months) no shame, just being honest. Ruts do that to us. Falling off the wagon can sometimes be a little of a write off and then a habit.I have used it before to excuse myself from being lazy. “Oh dang fell off the wagon again” “Comebacks are cool” mentality can be addicting. Being the comeback kid or the under dog is kinda cool, but not when it becomes attention seeking…am I right?! Eye rolls and head nods, can I get a woot woot though?! I ain’t scared to admit it, that has to count for something. Ok moving on.
In January, I started reevaluating all my goals and motivations. I cut some ridiculous expectations and personal achievements right out of my mind. I am a ritualistic person by nature, it is something I have to mindfully stay out of. I try to do things because I can or have done it that way already, or beating my previous goal (PR). It gets really overwhelming. Especially, when it becomes, everyone else has excelled and I haven’t (“hey competition- YOU SUCK”).

One example, for me is in my running. I used to be all worried about mileage and numeric goals for races…like 30 miles a month or 30 races a year. Last year, I think I totalled out at 33 races… So this year, I cut out race amounts. For one thing I just cant afford it (I dont get paid to blog, I do it for myself) and I have expensive kids (teens) lol. I also got rid of expected miles a week. I figure this year, I will run a race or two a month and run when I feel like running. Trying to be reasonable with myself and setting healthy stress free goals. It just gets to stressful tryna keep up with the Jones or Jones’, or Joneses, or Jonesesees’ (however that works out in grammar). Be you do you, only. I know when I set too many goals and can’t get them done, I get in a funk and down on myself. I try my hardest to be a person of my word, but in reality life really does happen and so do setbacks. Just got to adjust the plan and humbly admit when it isn’t possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have goals and a few big ones, I just prefer to look at them from a different perspective. I want to do them FOR HEALTH, while incorporating a less demanding schedule.

How can that be done?

  1. Eliminate any goals that are people pleasing. Yep, I said it. You read it. Now you can let go of it. People will never 100% validate your work, and that is setting yourself up for failure.
  2. Schedule self-care appointments with yourself and take time every day to destress. It is super important for your heart, mind, and goal achievement.
  3. Evaluate your mindest and behavior. Are you happy in your goals? or do you feel weighed down. Is it creating family issues, financial problems, or edgy moods? Can you be more realistic? Did you just bite someone’s head off because they spoke to you while you were murdering your sets and you had headphones on?!? Lol oops. #gymratproblems
  4.  Ditch weight goals focused on a size or number, preferably both. Putting focus on target areas or well rounded health routines.
  5. Find mental health accountability. I am gonna be honest here, sometimes it is professional help. Mourning, depression, anxiety, and mood disorder can sometimes be the stressor isn’t going away with healthy living. Friends can tell when things aren’t right but they may not want to bring it up to you out of fear of backlash. You have to check yourself. Be accountable to your self. Hurt people hurt people.
  6. Be gentle with yourself. With all of the super woman, warrior, girl power, bad @$$, fierce, and boss babe personas going around it is hard to not get caught up in weakness as a flaw. You are not required to kick butt 24/7 or you’ll lose your strength!! You can be fragile and need help, heck you can even cry and it doesn’t lessen your worth,  drive, or fight. We don’t have to be hard to prove our womanhood! We are women. Born with a uterus (that can carry a baby or not), ovaries (producing or not), breasts (big or small), menstrual cycles, and ability to birth life if it is our calling, no one can take your womanhood. EVER. Don’t give it away trying to prove your not a sissy. Some of the most powerful women I know OWN their gentleness, and some make beauty out of their ashes.

Now that we have established stress is the enemy, we can SLAY it. We can all get that spa day scheduled or plan one at home in our own bathroom. I feel the most powerful and motivated when I take care of myself, when I punch stress in its face and throw lemons at it. Instead of shoving my face with chocolate or punishing my body with a brutal workout that pushes me too far, I can say yah or nah and not feel bad about it. Because sometimes letting go of those negative habits and expectations can really release us to where we get more accomplished and be happier. And who doesn’t want that?! I do, serve it up i am hungry for it.

Sweat ’til You Shine,



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