Now that I am Getting "Me" Back, I have been much more mindful of the concept of balance in my life. For many years, I have grappled with the age old question "Can we really have it all?" While I tend to believe that we can, in fact, have it all, I don't necessarily think we can have it all in total balance all the time. In other words, sometimes something has to be focused on a little less so that our other needs can be addressed. Recently I was reminded via Timehop of how important tracking my macros used to be to me from a physical standpoint and I realized that macros are a great metaphor to how to balance life.
So, what are macros?
I'm sure there is a scientific explanation for macros but you won't find it here. In my experience, macros are components of nutrition - namely carbs, proteins and fats. They are elements that make up the food we eat. Our body needs carbs, proteins and fats each day to help it function at its best. When I was working out 12+ hours/week, my body always functioned best when my average daily intake of food was 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein. Other people's ideal macros may be different. It took some trial and error and experimentation to determine what was best for me. Was I perfect every day? Hell, no. But, it sure felt good when my pretty little macro pie chart was perfect. There was no denying that everything just clicked when those three elements were balanced in the way that worked for me.
So, how does this relate to life? Easy. What are your life macros? What are the components of your life that each are good in their own way but need to be balanced in order for you to function at your best? In other words, what makes up YOU?
My macros include my various roles in life: psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, professor, mother, wife, friend, healthy woman and pet owner (perhaps pet collector?). Are all of my roles equally balanced each day? Hell, no! Are there areas which need to take more of my attention or fill my life more than others in order for me to feel whole? Absolutely!
Are you ready for a small homework assignment? (Sorry, sometimes my CBT and professor sides start to show). Grab a writing utensil and piece of paper. Or, open up a new document on your computer.
1. Make a list of your life macros. Who are you? What is important to you? What are your various roles? What makes you YOU? Write those down.
2. Assign a percentage to each of your life macros. How much of your attention and focus each week gets directed at each macro? Be honest. This should be how things get distributed on average each week, not how you want them to be distributed. Don't forget about your elementary math skills - these percentages need to add up to 100%
3. Are there things that are missing from your list? Things that make you YOU but you are not giving attention to right now? Add those to your list and write "0%" beside them.
4. Draw a pretty little pie chart of your life macros so that it reflects the assigned percentages.
5. Take some time to reflect on your chart. How does it feel? Is it accurate? Are you proud of it? Do you wish it were different? If your pie chart is perfect and you feel totally balanced, bravo! Store that chart somewhere handy and refer to it regularly to make sure you are keeping your life macros in balance. If not, read on...
6. After you have spent some real time reflecting on your macro distribution and chart, make a new one - one that reflects your ideal life macros. What would your ideal life macros be and how much attention would they receive?
7. Now it's time to create an action plan. What would it take to be able to shift your current life macro chart to your ideal one? What small things can you do today to help get your macros moving in a way that works better for you?
Spend some time evaluating your life macros and seeing how making some adjustments might move your life to a more balanced and satisfying state.
For more blog articles on self-care, click on the links below.
Shake Day 4
No movement in the scale which was a huge victory for me. I had been expecting to gain all the weight back once I started back on shakes and food. I found I felt great throughout the day. Things that typically annoy me didn't seem to bother me so much and I was craving a good workout. After work I went home and did 30 minutes of Zumba to my Zumba playlist and felt great. This was probably the first time I had worked out in all of 2017.
Because I wasn't sure how I would feel working out, I prepped myself one of the Isagenix AMPed hydrate drinks for after my workout. The packets made two servings so I left one in the fridge. When my husband came home from his run, he looked and felt awful. He pushed himself and felt shakey and nauseous. I offered him the other serving of the Hydrate and it totally did the trick. He wants me to buy him some of it now :)
Shake Day 5
Still no movement on the scale. But, it's ok. I woke up in another great mood, feeling good about myself and finding my clothes feeling better. Since I am on spring break from teaching this week and didn't need to leave at the crack of dawn for work, my husband and I decided to have a breakfast date after the kids went to school. This would be my fork and knife meal for the day. I had a veggie omelette made with egg whites and swiss cheese with a side of has browns and bacon. Let me tell you, I felt awful for the next 6 hours. Truly awful. I don't know if it was the size of the meal, the cheese, the white potatoes or the bacon but my stomach was not happy. I felt full and bloated and gross.
I once again felt like working out after work so I did a 30 minute circuit routine of upper body, lower body and ab work. Felt great.
I felt pretty awful again from about 90 minutes after my workout until I went to bed. I don't know if it was the breakfast still, the workout, too few calories, the fact I sat in a building where people clearly smoke cigarettes for over an hour or a combination of all of the above but I did not feel good. I felt sick, tired and run down. I realized it was the first time I had felt like that in over a week.
Week 1 Results
My scale was up a bit this morning - 0.8 pounds. Honestly, based on how I was feeling during the day yesterday, I was expecting it to be up more like 2 pounds. Prior to Isagenix, my weight would easily fluctuate about 2-3 pounds/day. I also realized this morning that I am about midway through my lady cycle and I usually tend to bloat and gain weight around now. So, I don't feel discouraged by this morning's loss.
So, after one week with Isagenix, I have had the following results:
If you are interested in learning more about Isagenix, now might be a great time to give it a try as they are offering $30 off for new customers. Feel free to leave a comment, send me an email or visit http://jennibrennan.isagenix.com/ for more info.
Other articles you may be interested in reading:
This blog is a hard one for me to write. It feels like defeat. It feels like failure. It feels like I am opening myself up to some pretty harsh criticism. But, I am writing it because it is helpful for me and, perhaps, may be helpful for someone else too.
When my second son was born, I reached my all time high - on the scale. It was a shocking number which I will not share here. But, it was huge. Needless to say, it motivated me to lose the weight and over the course of the first 6 months or so, I dropped a significant amount of weight by following Weight Watchers. But, then I plateaued.
Still determined to find a healthier me, I changed my perspective, began counting calories and really looking at the quality of the foods I was eating. I also found Zumba. Then I found Bodypump. Then I found Spin. Then I found running. I essentially moved into the gym. I was there for at least 2 hours daily at least 6 days each week. Sometimes I would find myself having done 8 or 9 solid days in a row without a break. I was addicted. But, I had lost over 150 pounds since my youngest son was born. 150 pounds. That's a whole person!
Yet, it took it's toll. At different times along the way, I developed tendonitis in my calf, re-injured my knee and injured both my wrist and my elbow. I developed some neurological concerns which required me to halt my exercise for a few months. In addition to the exercise taking its toll on my body, it also took its toll on my children as they often would tag along with me and spend those 2 hours each day in the child care room. They were bored and frustrated. I often missed their sports practices and sometimes missed part or the entirety of their games so that I could get my workouts in.
In finding a healthier me, I lost sight of myself as a mother. I hadn't found balance.
It was too much. But, that was depressing. I had made a life for myself at the gym and connected with some wonderful people. I missed them. I felt left out. I l felt like a loser. I felt judged. So, I comforted myself with food. I cut back on my at-home workouts. Quite quickly my bad habits came back. Over the course of two years, I gained back nearly 50 pounds.
Even when I was able to exercise again, I couldn't turn back to the gym with the same fervor I once did. Eventually I came to accept that and began to view the ability to spend more time with my children as a gift. Besides, I knew that my greatest weight loss always came when I was eating clean - no gluten, limited dairy, no processed foods, no added sugar. I knew what I had to do but I just couldn't make it work.
Over the past few months, I could feel myself needing another change in perspective. I knew my body needed a reset. I could feel it. I needed a do over. I needed to get back to being me. And, I needed to do it without marrying the gym and causing myself more harm. I needed to respect my physical limits. I needed to find a way to be me - physically, emotionally, professionally and as a mother.
So, I have decided to give Isagenix a try. Even just typing it out feels like a dirty secret. Yes, I opted for a program with protein shakes and supplements and days of fasting/cleansing. Yes, it costs a lot of money but really no more than I was spending already on take out and fast food. Plus, shakes are hugely convenient for me as I work somewhere different each day and have only a few minutes to eat in between classes or patients. Plus, it feels like what I need.
I decided to invest in myself this month and see what happens.
My goal with Isagenix is to reset my body and to unlearn my bad habits. My hope is to balance out my hormones so that I can delay that hysterectomy looming over my head. I would love for my joint and muscle pains to get better so that I can get back to heavy lifting and do more than the 5 and 10 pound weights I have at home. I would love improved sleep as well as improved mood. Ultimately, I want "me" back.
It's not going to be easy. It means a big change and it means trying something new. it means being judged by people who think I should "just eat real food" or "just work out." It means owning that those things aren't working for me now and that is ok. What I need is more important than how some people may view me.
As I move through these first 30 days, I will be blogging about my experience, the challenges I face and, hopefully, my successes. I have spent time researching the program and have been connected with what feels like a good support system. I have taken my measurements and submitted my before photos. I am ready to hit reset on me.
Here goes nothing.
UPDATE (CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW OF ISAGENIX WEEK 1)
Those of you who know me have probably heard me mention the use of essential oils in our household. There are multilevel marketing companies selling quality essential oils, therapists and doctors diffusing essential oils in their waiting rooms and more mainstreet retailers are now carrying essential oils in their stores.
But, if you are anything like I was a couple of years ago, you likely are overwhelmed and confused by all of the essential oil options and uses today. Here are the top 7 ways my family uses essential oils in our home:
My oldest son gets migraines fairly often and I am frequently hit with tension headaches. Essential oils have done wonders for our headaches. I prefer to use the straight Peppermint Essential Oil while my son prefers to use Head Ease Essential Oil Blend. As with all essential oils, they can be diffused with water in an essential oil diffuser (see the end of this post for a link to some of my favorite diffusers) or diluted with a Carrier Oil and then applied directly onto the skin. When it comes to headaches, essential oil applied to the temples can knock a headache away in just a few minutes.
Do you ever have those nights where you just can't relax and calm down? Those nights where you stare at the clock and watch your sleep opportunity literally tick away? Those are the nights we find ourselves turning to either pure Lavendar Essential Oil or Good Night Essential Oil Blend. As with the oils for headaches, these can be diffused or mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the temples.
3. Colds and Respiratory Viruses
When you have kids, there will inevitably be times where you feel like you are living in a germ factory and few things are worse than the discomfort brought about by a head cold. We love to diffuse Eucalyptus Essential Oil or Breathe Easier Essential Oil Blend. When my boys have a cold, I'm extremely generous with the oils, I belnd them with a carrier oil, apply to their chest, back and even the bottoms of their feet AND I diffuse the oils. I don't know that it shortens the illness, but it certainly makes it easier to sleep.
We've all done it. Despite frequent re-application of sunscreen, wearing gigantic beach hats and triyng to hide under rash guards and giant umbrellas, we all have come home with a sunburn on ourselves and our children. While I am always partial to pure aloe to help the sunburn heal, my children have become very fond of how it feels to have a blend of carrier oil and Peppermint Essential Oil applied to their skin before bed after a sunburn.
5. Food Smells
I love cooking but I HATE the way my hands and my kitchen smell after working with garlic and onions. A good Lemon Essential Oil or Simply Citrus Essential Oil Blend mixed in with a carrier oil can cut through the most offensive food odors. Diffusing these in the kitchen also tends to freshen the air without overpowering the scent of whatever is cooking.
6. Stinky Shoes
You know that horrid smell when your children wear their shoes outside in the wet, rainy weather or, worse yet, when they decide to wear their shoes without socks? You know that smell. The one that kicks you in the stomach and makes you want to burn the shoes. Before you burn them, buy yourself a bottle of Four Thieves Essential Oil. Now, be forewarned. This stuff smells awful. But, it works. When you have a foul smelling sneaker or trashcan problem, put some of this oil on a cotton ball and leave it overnight in the shoe or in the trash can. Somehow it absorbs the terrible odors. It has also been said that diffusing this essential oil can build up immunity and ward off illnesses. I cannot get past the smell to try to diffuse it. Let me know if it works for you.
As I revealed in my blog, Raising Aliens, I am raising stinky alien-like boys. Sometimes these aliens make our house smell very unhuman-like. During times like these, I love to diffuse some nice essential oils throughout my house. My favorite is Hope Essential Oil but Eden's Garden sells a wide variety of very pleasant smelling essential oil blends and sets like this one.
While there are countless companies that sell essential oils these days, I prefer the Eden's Garden product line as their oils are affordable, reliable, consistent and ship super fast through Amazon. The last few sets that I purchased from Eden's Garden came with a detailed booklet with over 100 ways to use essential oils. It's been a great resource!
To view a variety of different diffuser options, please visit the link below:
To see more of my family's favorite essential oils, visit my store. Go ahead and try a few oils and let me know what you and your family think.
About Changing Perspectives
I often find myself encouraging people to consider changing their perspective or reframe the way in which they view things. This blog is an extension of that practice and is also an opportunity for me to write from a number of different perspectives including clinician, educator, mother, friend and supervisor. Blog topics are also quite varied and changeable. Topics explored include, but are certainly not limited to, grief, parenting, health and wellness and relationships. Join me and explore a number of changing perspectives!