In my mid thirties, I began to notice that I was fighting a losing battle. Despite going to the gym and trying to “eat right,” I was not losing weight, and had in fact gained weight. My energy level was horrible. When I finished work for the day, it was hard to stay awake when I arrived home. I had hit a new stage of life which caused my hormones to be out of whack, causing everything to spiral.
This downward spiral caused me to sink into a depression. Thankfully, I did not settle into that state. I realized that if the steps I was taking were not helping, I was going to need to get a different game plan to overcome this fiasco. I declared that this was not going to be where I wave my flag and accept my current condition. I needed to find answers.
Though long ago I had significantly reduced processed foods and was always a proactive water drinker, I had to figure out a new method to my madness.
What did I do?
- REST. I rested. Yes, it seems simple. Yes, I already mentioned being tired so much and having a lack of energy. I recognized that I never got adequate sleep. I realized that though a hormonal issue was likely impacting my body’s energy level, it didn’t change the fact that my body was sleep deprived for years and if I was going to be living my second half, best half life, I needed to start taking care of myself, and this starts with getting a good night’s rest.
- CHANGE. I exercised differently. Killing myself at the gym wasn’t working. Cardio wasn’t cutting it. Calories are better burned with strength training. I spent hours and hours at the gym getting all sweaty, and though I felt good when I left, I never saw many results. I was fighting a losing battle. I was prone to injury too, which always provides an excuse to stop altogether. That is, until I started grabbing weights and doing strength training, or using my own body and doing functional strength training. This isn’t an easy fix, but as you feed your muscles with a great routine, you feel good and you see results. When you stop the training, calories are still being burned. When your body feels stronger, you feel better. Plus, rather than spending an hour doing cardio, I was getting more results with only 10-20 minutes of strength training. I found myself more time in the day to do other things.
- PERSIST. I completely changed my food intake. This was a hard one, but a necessary one. I grew up with food being a comfort item. I was called garbage gut. I was considered a garbage disposal for seconds or thirds. I accepted it. I knew I had a problem with self control and it was a battle for half my life. I would never deny it. Food controlled me. I lived for food. Knowing that my self control with food is dreadful, I considered how I can help myself stay on target. I tried the fasting diet, a low carb diet, meal supplement shakes, pills, etc. But at this point in my life, I was going to persist. I considered the foods that I needed to supply myself with good nutrients, the protein I needed, and how I could accomplish my goals and be happy with my consumption. This caused me to change my meals to two meals of homemade shakes, and one standard typical meal that I prepare. The key is that the shakes are made of organic fruits and vegetables and include proteins that are not foods I’m intolerant of and not foods that negatively impact my health conditions. These shakes provide my body with great clean food packed with lots of vitamins. I sought out what was best for me. Additionally, the meal I prepare is top notch. I specifically seek out a meal that would be pleasing and made of good ingredients. I have taken time to experiment with recipes, to fan the flame of my love of cooking. With this new way of life (note I didn’t say diet because this is in fact a way of life), I have tried my attempt at making homemade chicken parmesan, I have used my creativity of plating meals, and I find that my taste buds are well pleased with the new way of life. Instead of stuffing my face until I feel nauseated and hate to look in the mirror, I enjoy a nice “fancy” meal that makes me feel like I am in a nice restaurant each day. Theses meals have reminded me of the blessing of food, whereby redeeming the food itself. No longer does it control me. But still, it can be enjoyed.
These three changes have helped greatly with my energy level. Yes, I take some supplements too, but that’s for another discussion. These three steps have helped greatly to steer me in the right direction. I’ve lost 35 pounds and counting! Plus, I don’t fall asleep on the recliner after work.
If you are struggling with energy issues, weight loss issues, food issues, I hope this inspires you to keep pressing forward. Talk to your medical professional. Get to know your body better. Make note of what helps and hurts you on your journey so that you can make good choices. Look fat your habits, your routines, your responses. Are you getting enough rest? Are you taking steps to strengthen your body? Are you giving your body what it needs? Are you making note of what you are lacking and how you can make progress? If you want the second half to be the best half, being intentional will help you get there. You can do this! One step at a time!!