Uninformed & Unsupported

I used to be very black and white in ALL of my thinking. A Psychologist friend of mine calls it, a fixed mindset. Whatever it is, I had no room to challenge the way I thought about anything.

There was ONE way to parent my kids.

Only ONE way will get to the next spiritual level

We may have 2 political parties, but really truly, there is only ONE to vote for.

I receive love in this ONE way, so it is the only way I will show it to others.

Looking back, I see how I alienated people and limited myself from so many beautiful experiences. Yes, I was protecting myself, but that is a subject for another time.

Black & white thinking took over my health & fitness as well.

- I would workout 5/week and eat between 1200 - 1400 calories (in my 20s!!!)

- I had no clue how much protein I was eating. I didn't think about the workouts I was doing and which energy pathway I was using. In other words, I didn't know if my work out was fueled by fats or carbohydrates.

- I had no clue how to maximize my effort with a recovery shake, instead I would try to postpone eating as long as possible after a workout.

-Whenever I found myself elbow deep in a bag of chocolate chips, I assumed I was weak and needed more disciplined eating habits and you better believe I was in the gym for an extra 30 minutes the next day.

- I didn't have any evidence to back up my actions. I just "knew" that as long as I stayed under the set amount of calories I could get into my skinniest jeans.

I remember....

- getting light headed throughout the day and especially during workouts

- migraines

- low sex drive

- inconsistent periods

- having a SUPER short fuse with my kids, or anyone really.

I had to come to grips with the fact that my body was in a constant state of STRESS. Under-eating and over-working causes our bodies to rely on our stress hormones for the fuel to get through our day. They should be fueled by food, but our bodies are SMART and they want us to survive the (self-induced) famine. This results in an imbalance of hormones. Which is a major bummer if you are trying to get pregnant. Or lose weight. Or sleep through the night. Or compete in a sport. Or live a happy and healthy life.

When we are in the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight, Flight or Freeze) we are only thinking of our survival. Our bodies do not care about digestion or reproduction. Simply survival.

In order to fully digest a meal, have a chance at getting pregnant, lose weight, gain muscle, live a long, healthy life ... we need to stay in our Parasympathetic Nervous System (Food and F*ck).

I did not realize that my black & white fitness philosophy was inhibiting my chance for more babies. I needed to educate myself and take a realistic look at what I was currently doing that was getting in the way of my goal.

What exactly did I learn?

1. I had been UNDER-fueling my body. When I look back at my 27 year old self as if I was my own client. Knowing that she worked out 5/week, had a stressful entrepreneurial job, and a crazy sweet tooth, I would have reversed her diet and added more overall calories. S l o w l y. My goal over a few months, would be to raise her calories by 600-700, adding in around 40% more. I would prescribe that 35% of her calories need to come from healthy fats (essential to hormone health) and then monitor how that amount affected her menstrual cycle, sex drive, digestion, energy and hunger levels. I'd set her protein to 1g per 1lb bodyweight, to keep up with her weight lifting.

2. I had to change my habits.

Isn't that the truth with everything? If we want a new outcome, we have to change what we are currently doing. Beginning with the end in mind, this is a question of alignment with our values...

Do we want to have a better relationship with our bodies? Then we better change the way we view them, speak to them and about them. We better start treating them with the respect and care we show our loved ones.

Do we want to live a long and healthy life? Then processed foods are out and it is time to learn ways to manage stress that aren't purely zen-ing out into Zinfandel

3I needed a team. 

- I hired a Nutritionist who finally showed me the biological realities I had been blind to and fighting against. I remember in that very first meeting, she gave me a snack because I was showing signs of low-blood sugar - right there in her office!!

- I took the advice of my counselor and added stress-reducing practices - the biggest help was quieting the critical voice within my own head.

- I got my hormones checked regularly by a fertility specialist.

- I joined a supportive group of beautiful women who all felt that ache for a child. This provided a safe place to hurt, heal and feel like I wasn't the only one suffering.

- I asked friends and family to support me and cheer me on.

The pain of wanting another baby and not knowing if it would happen, literally broke me open. I wanted this SO badly that I was able to let go of my own rigid ways of thinking and look for help in places I never thought I would. I began to meditate, deep breathe, eat healthy fats in copious amounts and began the awkward process of speaking loving words to my own body. Believe me, after decades of shaming my body from the inside, this takes practice!

Here's what I'm trying to say:

- Getting a handle on health and wellness requires accurate information about how your individual body works and paying attention to what you eat. I know that's not fun, sexy or easy, but there's way around it.

- If you want to make changes in your body - hell, if you want to make changes in your LIFE - you will have to change your habits. You will have to change the way you think. And you will have to dare to let go of what you currently "know". This may be the way you eat, the way you think, or relationships you keep. Black & white thinking will not produce a colorful and vibrant life.

Its OK to not have all the answers on your own. Release the need to BE the expert. There's help out there. Go get it!

Michelle Meeks