Renew and Restore

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As a fitness instructor and someone whose life has been changed by a deep connection to a gym, I truly do believe pushing yourself hard and getting in shape is a wonderful process, and that goals are usually worth striving for. Today’s post isn’t about that, though.

Today’s post is about embracing rest.

I set goals a while back – probably around January, as it happens. I set a goal weight, and a plan for meeting that goal: I would reduce my sugar intake to less than 40g added sugar per day, and I would add three more cardio workouts to my regimen before going to work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I’m still struggling with the sugar intake – it’s everywhere, in everything, and it’s my go-to ingredient when I’m reaching mindlessly for food. I think “mindlessly” is the key, here, though. So I refuse to punish myself. Instead, I’m trying to understand what is really going on. When I take a moment to ask myself that and take a few deep breaths, I realize, okay, Marian, there’s a lot going on, and this Nutty Bar isn’t going to help. Much.

So … That’s one thing. Sticking to my workout, though, has been near impossible. I have probably averaged one week of meeting my workout goals out of every month. Usually I don’t have the energy to get out of bed on time, and when I do, I feel tired and sluggish, and my workout – instead of feeling energizing – just makes me want to go back to bed even more.

In a woman’s magazine, this would be the point of the article: How to get back on the horse? How to motivate yourself to shed those unwanted pounds? How to look good in a bathing suit?

Sigh. Doesn’t it make you tired just to think about it?

My perspective is a bit different. My body and mind are most nourished by exercise when it’s what I really need. In the dark of winter, exercise is something I crave. It keeps my energy up and helps me stay warm. So, even when I am feeling sluggish, I can usually find it somewhere in me to go work out.

What I’ve been feeling the last few months is different. I just don’t want to go to the gym. My body craves deep rest, and I honor it by lingering in bed for a few minutes, or sometimes by starting the day with a hot bath, or a quick shower followed by a gentle yoga session. Instead of berating myself for not meeting arbitrary written goals (which usually leads to a cycle of guilt-eat-more guilt-more eating), I follow my intuition from day to day, moment to moment, and do what feels right: what feels most nourishing, restorative, healing.

This works for me. I am less stressed, snack less, and have fewer cravings.

Some days you just need to rest. Try it. Your body will thank you.

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