return of the blog: 6 weeks to an #optimalbod

9 months: that’s how long since i’ve given my blog any love. since we launched our app back in february. just as one might plan their triumphant return to any such activity that one has dismissed for far too long, i too have contemplated just how i would leap back into the blogosphere. cape flying behind me in a wonder woman-esque style, i wanted to wow you, to return with a bang…to knock your fit little socks off. and rather, my not-so-triumphant return is much less self-serving, much more humble, and rather than a superhero-like debut, i’m coming back wounded, (literally) limping a little, with my cape tucked beneath my tail rather than flailing in the wind.

okay, i’m fine, exaggerating because that’s what i do. but in all seriousness, the reason for my return to blogging is because after years (read: MANY years) of pushing myself to exhaustion to achieve often times unachievable goals, my body finally went kaput and the resulting injuries are just too painful to push through anymore. i also realized that i may be setting myself up for a few hip replacements and back surgery before i hit 40 if i continue at this rate. and that is no bueno.

so how did i reach this humbling conclusion? when the following things started happening i knew something was up: i was exercising 6-7 days a week, sometimes twice a day, eating clean (most of the time) but always hungry, started having extreme pains that i would just push through (performis, psoas, hips, knees), and even gaining weight unexpectedly. it wasn’t until my dear friend (and fitness guru) erica ziel told me what a lot of people have been telling me for a long time: “you exercise too much.” *gulp*

“who, me? no, no no no. this is what i do…i live life fit!”

me+erica

so as i tuck away my cape, i’m humbling myself to heal my body over the next 6 weeks. i’mliterally letting erica tell me exactly what to eat, when and how to exercise, and what to do. and so begins: 6 weeks to an #optimalbod.

and the reason i blog through it is two-fold:

  • sanity: the mental part of this is going to be 10 times hard than the physical. exercising intensely 6 days a week? THAT’S my comfort zone. but reducing exercise? not so much.
  • i’m not alone: in this performance-driven, body-obsessed culture of ours, so many people (myself included) often buy into the “more is more” and so i have a slight feeling i’m not the only one who pushes themselves to exhaustion, asks more of their bodies than they should, and in turn is doing themselves more harm than good. and still not getting the results they want!

erica promises me this: “if you do what i say for 6 weeks you will NOT gain weight, and in fact you will probably lose weight.” now, disclaimer: my goal is not weight-loss, it’s to be pain-free. but i wouldn’t shed a tear if a few of the aforementioned pounds would flee in the process. (hey, i’m just bein’ real.) the philosophy is this: if you exercise too much and don’t eat enough, your body will store those calories as fat and hold onto whatever you feed it, resulting in a slower metabolism and higher body fat. i know this theory to be true; however, somehow i can’t wrap my little brain around it applying to me. so i’m pulling in the pros! and i’m paranoid.

THE PHYSICAL
the goal: cut intense workouts that are causing pain and worsening injury. i’m calling it operation NO’MO [no more over-exercising].

weekly:

  • 30min swim [2x per week]
  • 30min active release work [a.k.a. physical therapy (torture) session with erica’s pointy little elbows]
  • chiropractor [2x per week]
  • 1 hour yoga
  • 1 hour pilates
  • strength training [2x: 1 upper + 1 lower body day, but no heavy weights]
  • orangetheory: high-intensity class i’m obsessed with [she’s letting me continue to do this class...but NO running - incline walking only!]
  • NO running for at least 2 weeks, maybe more depending on how i progress. #notahappygirl #loverunning

daily:

  • release work with foam roller + therapy balls [literally added to my calendar so i remember to do this after dinner!]
  • journal food (duh.)

which leads me to the next part of this little human experiment: she wants me to follow a specific eating plan for the next 6 weeks to reduce inflammation. apparently i’ve got some crazy levels of inflammation in my bod that i swore to her was just pockets of body fat, but she begs to differ and who am i to argue. yeah, um…my booty is “inflamed” – that’s what it is. ha! but she knows her stuff and i’m gonna listen.

THE GRUB
the goal: reduce inflammation in my body by cutting out certain foods just to see how my body responds. also, as i’m cutting back my exercise, it’s important to be even more diligent with watching my food intake.

  • no dairy [except for a little cream in my coffee, thank the Lord!]
  • no added sugars [so naturally occurring sugars like fruit is fine, but even then she wants me to cut this]
  • no WINE! [what? this is not cool erica. ha! but to her point: wine packs in sugar like crazy so she wants me to cut this for a few weeks at least. fine!]
  • no gluten [yep, i’m going gluten-free…but note that doesn’t mean i’ll be just eating gluten-free breads + cookies. remember: gluten-free does not mean calorie-free!]
  • limit grains [even gluten-free grains like brown rice and quinoa…she wants me cut these significantly to 1-2 servings max per day]
  • write everything down [perfect timing as we’re doing a 6-week beta test with fibook lite, so i can journal my way through the tough days…and i’ll be texting her pics of my food log daily. how’s that for accountability? yipes.]

i’m not skeptical, because erica knows her stuff, but i literally was just trying to find some ammo as to why i should be able to drink my wine (in moderation), so i did my research. but the truth is, to heal your body, sometimes you have to go all in to see the results.

  • what is inflammation? “inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens – and begin the healing process.”
  • why does inflammation cause pain? “inflammation primarily causes pain because the swelling pushes against the sensitive nerve endings, which send pain signals to the brain.”
  • what foods cause inflammation? here’s a list of the 9 worst foods for inflammation, including everything she’s having me eliminate: sugar (#2),  alcohol (#5) milk (#7) and gluten (#9).

dang it. but i can tell you this: i’d rather be pain-free than indulge in a warm piece of bread with a glass of wine (actually that sounds really good about right now)…or have my body functioning optimally than treat myself to froyo (oh man, froyo…dairy and sugar!).

my thoughts/fears/feelings:
i am all or nothing. making this decision to cut back on exercising might be the most difficult  program i’ve ever undergone. because it’s mental. i can do the physical. i can out-work, out-train, out-sweat just about anyone – or at least die trying. heck, i can even give up all those foods – i’ve done it before (circa 2009: figure competition - the sparkly pink bikini days).  but asking me to stop working out like a crazy woman? yeah, not so easy. so, rather than feel sorry for myself, i’m gonna attack this like a bat (woman) outta you-know-where. i’m going after this like a champ and gonna do exactly what i’m told, partly because i’m truly in that much pain and sick of it, but also because i know there are a LOT of people out there just like me: type-a, #cantstopwontstop, over-achievers who kill their bods in the gym and don’t actually take the time to listen to the pain. and the problem with that is at some point you’re actually causing it harm and not setting yourself up for a lifetime of health. at some point there are diminishing returns to scale, and unfortunately this little wonder woman got her cape handed to her.

[read the following in the a monotone, late-night attorney advertisement type voice]

“if you or someone you know is experiencing extreme amounts of pain, is or has been accused of over-exercising, and wants to fight off nasty inflammation, you may be a perfect subject for this class-action 6-week program to get your bod back to optimal performance.”

in closing, this super-heroine-esque endeavor is going to be a bit mentally strenuous, hence the return to the blog. hold me accountable as i blog my thoughts weekly over the next 6 weeks. and if you’ve never read my blog before, welcome to my mini novelettes, short stories if you will. and if you’re a loyal reader, i’m baa-aaack!

wonder-woman in progress,
angela-sig

 



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