Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Trouble with Rest Days and I Hop on a Soap Box

According to those who supposedly know a thing or two about fitness, you should not workout every single day.  At least once a week should be a rest day, where you really do nothing at all.  Maybe a walk, maybe some stretching, but that's it.

I am not good with rest days.  First, in my world, no calorie burn = eating like a bird.  And I hate eating like a bird.  No treats, no drinks, just 3 small meals and a couple of small snacks. Not fun.

Next, if I don't workout, I can't sleep.  I can't fall asleep or I wake up at 2 am, for the day. I'm also very cranky if I don't work out.

Finally, the worst part, the day AFTER the rest day.  Rest day is awful, but for some reason, once I get past that one day off, my mind says, "hey, I like this lazy stuff.  Let's not work out today either".  I tell that little voice to shut up.  I can handle the "lets be lazy" argument.  So the little voice comes back with "well, you really should jut say home, because you are going to suck".  And for some unfathomable reason, I start to buy into this one.

Yes.  That's right, I get convinced some how that one day off means my muscles have atrophied, my resting heart rate has headed to the 80s and I'm going to need my inhaler every five minutes.

This makes absolutely no sense, but it's powerful.  It opens the door to many of my old excuses (you suck is always #1, sad, I know), like:

 "the house is a mess, you need to stay home and clean up!"
 "your kids need you, you work full time and THEN have the audacity to workout 7 hours a week,  how dare you!   If they are delinquents, it's all because you left them to workout",

"your husband needs help.  He works all day and then you leave him to care for kids/make dinner/pick up? How much of that is he going to take before he packs his bags?,

and the most ridiculous,  "you still have thank you cards to write from Mack being born! How can you think of working out?".  (Honestly, I am three years behind in thank you notes! I need to just let it go.)
My point is, after over four months of working out consistently, that self defeating voice is still there.  It almost makes me wonder how I ever got out the door in the first place?  Then I remember why I got out the door in the first place...for my kids and my husband.

I had cancer at 21.  My mom has had it three times (3 different cancers) and her mother died of cancer in her 50's. My husband had cancer at 33. 

It's not just cancer.  My dad had a heart attack at 55. His mom died of an  aneurysm her 50s.

Add that I didn't start having kids until my mid 30's, and you might see the issue. Simply put, I am not leaving my husband a widow or my kids orphans.  And if that means a messy house, quick dinners and a few hours away from them, so be it. 

My point is, I think I may never completely eradicate the self defeating voices in my head, but with every workout, I get stronger and I'm not talking muscle stronger, I mean emotionally stronger.  It takes less and less to overcome that voice, still, it's important that I always to remember why I started this and why I need to continue.  Really important.  In fact, I always had those thoughts in the back of my head, the thoughts that I need to take care of me for them, but until I actually said it. Until I wrote it down, shared that thought with others and repeated it to my self over and over, I didn't buy in 100%.  

I am sympathetic to those who are where I was four months ago.  Getting started is so hard. I was scared, intimidated and very unsure of myself.  But once I started, each workout was easier to start.  The self doubting voice gets quieter and weaker. Remember, you deserve this.  You deserve to be healthy, to feel good, to look good and to be proud of yourself.  You deserve the extra energy for now and the extra years you are giving to yourself and your family.  

Probably the biggest revelation was this: it's alright to care about myself more than anyone else. That is shocking, isn't it? A mother or a wife is not supposed to say she loves herself at least as much as she loves her family, but shouldn't she? Doesn't everyone benefit from a mother or wife who takes care of herself? What I am saying that it is alright to put yourself first when it matters.  It's not selfish to put my needs first.  If I don't take care of me, no one will.  In fact, I am doing a disservice to my family if I do not, first and foremost take care of me.

I'm not saying I go around and do whatever I want.  I am not talking wants or desires, but needs.  Time to myself is a need.  Exercise is a need.  Healthy eating is a need. I not only have a right to address my needs, but an obligation.

Don't get me wrong, I'd take a bullet for my kids, without a second thought.  But that doesn't mean I'll be fat, unhealthy, miserable and sloppy when I do it. 

What do you think of my position? Agree? Disagree?
What are the biggest challenges to you getting out the door? 
Why are you getting fit/being healthy/want to change? What's your motivation? 

And I hope you enjoyed the randomly placed pictures of my motivation!

1 comment:

  1. Heather, this is so true. I had to share on Facebook! Hope you don't mind. And hope you really don't think you suck... you're working harder than anyone I know! And I do agree with you. I sometimes still feel like I'm selfish for wanting to take the time to take care of myself... But that's a terrible way to think. Whenever those thoughts come, I think about all the benefits exercise add to my health, and all the ways my family needs me, and it's a no-brainer.