By Michele Zehr
I had a big realization this week. I am afraid of hurting myself, getting sick, or basically harming my physical body in any way that might derail the momentum I have going now. It’s been 1 month this week that I’ve been reclaiming my physical health, and they say it takes 21 days to create a habit. I’ll be totally honest here. If someone said to me, “Michele, you’ve done all the work you need to do, and your health will automatically fix itself from here on out,” I’d probably stop exercising. I think my friends and partner who are witnessing this process are under the impression that this whole “changing my habits” thing has been easy, because they see me get up every day with a good attitude and run and exercise (15 miles this week BABY!!). The truth is that every day, I have to have a conversation (or 3 or 4) with myself and say, “Ok, you’re doing this. I know you’d rather just lay around, and I know you are sore and this is painful, but no excuses….you’re doing this right now because it is what most supports your evolution.”
I can’t say that exercising feels like a habit yet, but I can say that it is slightly easier to stick to Mo’s plan than it was in the beginning for sure. I’m gaining confidence that I actually CAN do this! The reason I’m fearful of set-backs is because I’m afraid if something happens that forces me to stop my routine, that I’ll never get the momentum up to start again. Of course, this “fear” is based 110% in the future, does not reflect my current reality, and is just my monkey-mind creating cutesy little stories about the unknown future that cause me unnecessary stress. I realize all of this too, which is why I’m not taking the bait. The truth is that I have a minor hamstring pull in my right leg still. These things take a long time to heal. It is affecting my jogs and exercises, but Mo is teaching me how to work around it. If I didn’t have a trainer, I’d choose to stop exercising completely out of fear of further injuring myself. In fact, the old me would have said, “See…there’s the proof you can’t do this, you just injured yourself, so why keep trying?”
Part of the solution to remaining active with a minor injury, along with the fact that he doesn’t want me outside jogging in dangerous winter/icy conditions, is he asked me to buy an indoor exercise bike. I can still get good cardio in but not tax my hamstring like running does. Boy did his suggestion trigger all sorts of interesting inner dialogues. “Are you kidding me? You’re going to join the club of 1,000’s of people who buy exercise equipment that just sits there and doesn’t get used.” “Where are you going to put it?” “You don’t have $1000 to buy a bike!” I actually had to giggle at all of the creative responses my mind had to his request. I actually found an awesome dual bike/Nordic trainer for a mere $248 with free shipping from Wayfair.com. Mo was so excited about this great deal, so he started texting other clients to check out the website because they have awesome deals. My bike should be here today and I will admit to being excited about not always having to go outside in the sub-freezing temps to jog. (Did I mention I’m a cold weenie too?)
So……numbers. Every 30 days Mo measures my body, weighs again, and measures BMI. Yes, according to these external numbers, I’ve made great progress, but he still honors my philosophy that it’s not about any number, it’s about how I feel. This all led to a conversation about how a certain weight (achieved through good nutrition and exercise) is not the same as weighing that much because I found out I can’t eat gluten for example. Last year, which is really what catapulted me into paying more attention to my body, I discovered that gluten and I don’t agree. When I cut it out, I dropped 15 lbs pretty quickly and my acid reflux was gone almost overnight as were other symptoms (like an annoying skin rash that wouldn’t go away and extreme bloating after meals). Over the course of the year, however, my eating habits were so far removed from “healthy” that I gained 15lbs, and I could feel it happening. So I can compare how I feel at “this number” now that I’m back down there by virtue of healthy habits, to how I felt at “this number” just because I cut out gluten. It’s actually very different. I can now feel a core inside of my body that is getting strong and solid. I feel tighter (not as much stuff flopping around I guess! hee hee), and more fit in my skin. Some of the exercises he had me doing the first week, which I could barely do, I can now get through with much better form, because my core is stronger. This is a very different experience than when I cut out gluten. Mo said this is really important to keep paying attention to, because he agrees, numbers are subjective to a certain extent and don’t always reflect the quality of fitness.
And finally….it happened. I barfed in one of my session with Mo! If you could see the crazy stuff he has me doing, like getting in the push-up “up” position and dragging (only with my hands) my body forward/backward across my living room which is then followed by push-ups (this is still not very pretty, but it’s getting better!). He has me balancing on one leg doing bicep curls and shoulder presses with 15lb weights in each hand, and he doesn’t allow much time for rest between exercises (but he does allow time for water and for me to quickly catch my breath again).
So you might think it was one of these intense exercises that finally pushed me over the edge….but nope. It was YOGA!! (I’m still laughing about this). It wasn’t “be the light and relax into your Being” yoga, but it was holding certain horizontal poses and adding a few exercises in there, so it was more of an isometric workout which means I was holding positions for a long time. When I finally stood up (thanking the Universe the torture was over!), I felt really weird. I saw a few sparkles and suddenly felt very nauseated. We went outside so I could get some cold air, but it didn’t matter. I had to excuse myself, and Mo’s response was, “Go ahead. I’ve seen this plenty times before. I’ll just be out here emailing some folks, and don’t forget to brush your teeth!” Hey, he openly admits that he’s not all “touchy feely” and he’ll tell you he’s a hard trainer, and I respect that about him. His experience serves him well and he knew this was nothing to worry about as did I. If there is one thing I can say about his training style, it’s that yes he really pushes me, but he is 150% committed to helping me reclaim my physical health and he knows I can do this even when I don’t believe I can sometimes. I couldn’t imagine taking this journey with a different trainer in fact.
All in all, I have to say that I am really proud of myself. I feel stronger, fitter, healthier, and the psychological benefits can’t be measured. I just feel really good, despite the fact that some part of my body is always really sore, but I choose to see that in a positive light too. Every time I move and feel a sore muscle, it’s my body’s way of saying “thank you for loving me and working me out, I really needed this to be healthy.” I’m now getting a massage twice a month to help support my body with this, as I think it is clearly shell-shocked. One more week of healthy habits in the bag!
P.S. If you decide to sign up with Mo because of this blog, please mention you heard about him because of Michele’s Blog. Mo offers every customer a free session for each referral, so I’d appreciate it greatly. Thank you.