Feeling the same downers as I did after a big show. You prep and prep, live the goal day by day, chip away at everything that is a distraction, until the big event comes. For me, it was always dance shows. This last time, it was the end of the Oxygen Magazine 90 day challenge and the hope of making the top 20, maybe even the cover. I didn’t make the top 20, by the way, but I am kind of glad. I needed a break from everything. Although, if I had made the top 20, I would have embraced it. Either way, It’s ALL GOOD.
I had knee issues crop up, and I was just plain tired after waking up at 4 am 5 days a week and busting my ass in the gym. I pushed hard, I didn’t miss one workout the whole 90 days. My meals and macros were on point pretty much the whole time. I didn’t drink alcohol for the last 5-6 weeks. I felt amazing the last official workout before I took my AFTER photos. That expression is PRIDE, pride in myself for seeing it through, for giving it my all, for committing FULLY to myself and my goal. No excuses, to me or anyone else.
So, NOW WHAT??!!!
I think of doing a competition, and it’s exciting. I love the life, having a plan and sticking to it.
I love working on something similar day in and day out and noticing the changes in myself from day to day, week to week. When you do an activity regularly, you become more aware of how every part of your life affects your health. Then, my knees start talking. My adrenals start talking. Both are telling me to lay off of them a bit.
I started this so I could get stronger for dance, aerial, yoga, acroyoga, etc. YET, I didn’t make time for much of those. I got stiff because I didn’t stretch enough….huh. I haven’t started my Integrative Medicine Fellowship, but I am signed up. So much to do, so little desire to commit to anything right now.
Last night, I watched an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. Lots of things hit me, but what really stuck was when she talks about the “shit sandwich.” There is often the desire to do something grand with our passions. As young’uns, we think we want to “be” so many things, and then we go to college and realize we have to work at it.
It’s not fun all the time.
Liz talked about the shit sandwich that every endeavor has. If you keep doing an activity despite the shit sandwich, then it’s worth continuing for you. For dance, I sacrificed so much every day, but the joy of dance made ALL of it worth it. What are you willing to put up with to do what makes your heart sing? If it makes your heart sing, does it matter?
It made me remember that dance is the one thing I am willing to put up with just about anything to have it in my life, so I am not sure why I am not doing it more. For now, I am just going to start there. I got stronger, I accomplished my first goal, now it’s time to figure out the next part.
I don’t need to decide right now what the next thing is. I just need to allow it to percolate. I will be drawn to what is right for me, bit by bit. Having that trust is hard, but it pays off every time!
I am deeply protective of my ME time, in a way I never knew before. I don’t think it came so much out of a conscious decision to protect my time. Rather, it came out of an intense desire to focus on a personal goal and to pay attention to my physical and emotional needs on a daily basis.
I recently spent about 4 months diving into a fitness challenge/contest, where the grand prize was to be on the cover of Oxygen magazine. While I wasn’t dead set on getting on the cover, I was going to make sure I put in the work to give myself every possibility. The caveat was that I wanted to do it in a healthy way, with balance and attention to my energy levels and daily needs.
I have had adrenal fatigue and am still not over that hurdle. I may never be fully free of adrenal fatigue, and that’s probably a good thing. I have a habit (I won’t say it’s good or bad) of diving in to something I am passionate about and pushing my limits. My body has finally learned to tell me when to slow down. Or, perhaps, I just finally learned to listen.
During the course of restructuring my life to incorporate 5am workouts, mealprep at least twice a week, learning new recipes and new workouts, and then actually putting it all into action, I became a bit of a home body. I knew I had to get up at 4am, so I didn’t go out often. I wanted to eat the right things, so I didn’t go out to eat. I was tired at night from getting up early and working my ass off, so I didn’t go to fun happenings like West Coast Swing, which would have kept me out until 10:30 on a week night. I didn’t plan things on Saturday morning because I wanted to be able to sleep as late as noon or 1 if I needed to. (If you want to see my healthy obsession with the process and the learning, check out my IG page @amyrxbaker)
While some of this may seem extreme, it was so good for me to be able to say yes to what I was doing and no to distraction, to know that I was making the decision to honor the commitment I had made for 3 short months. I needed that.
Yesterday, I realized that I am feeling lonely, but then I don’t make an effort to go out and be with people. At first, that felt so contradictory, but I really don’t want to go to the effort of being with people just because I am lonely. I want to reach out to people from a good space, not a space of lack.
I am getting to know myself. I am giving myself the space for creativity, allowing the space to try new things, revisit the things I love, allow spontaneity and experimentation.
There is a void in my life after the challenge, and nature abhors a vacuum. As long as I allow the void, the goodness will flow in. I don’t need to fill it myself for the sake of filling it. Let nature and inspiration do that!
Part of me thinks I must be mad. I spent many years being busy, busy, active, active. I drove myself and my body….and you know what? After poo-pooing it for so long, and for noting that so much of it was initiated out of, sometimes, a not so healthy place… I am turning full circle. I am entering the Oxygen Ultimate 90 day Challenge. Not only that, I am competing to get on their cover.
I have learned rest, and the value of just BEing. I spent a year working on being easy on myself on my body. And I realized I LOVE being active and healthy. Do I need to watch it and not push too hard? YES.
Recently, I started coffee again..bulletproof coffee to be exact. I quickly gained 4 pounds and was going out dancing a lot. And then, I realized I was worn out. Adrenal fatigue had come to visit me again. I noticed I had a harder time waking up in the morning, and my brain was foggy. The day after I quit coffee, I got up before my alarm. By day 6, I was mentally alert and my energy was more stable. Go figure!
Back to the Challenge.
When I was 27, I worked out 2-3 hours a day, ate 1200 calories, tanned a lot, and looked pretty amazing. I was strong and agile. BUT, it was all based out of my eating disorder. I thought that if I had the perfect ass, my husband would stop seeing other women. I read Oxygen magazine religiously and pictured myself on the cover. A male competitor saw me in the gym one day and said I could be ready for a competition in 6 weeks. I didn’t realize then what a compliment that was!!
After that, I started marathons and triathlons, and got super strong and fit, while eating!
Fast forward a few years… broken pelvis, and resultant adrenal fatigue (with hypothyroidism), plus daily alcohol consumption. Not pretty. I wasn’t heavy, but I wasn’t the tight, strong fit girl I was used to. I was horribly depressed too.
Fast forward a few more years to age 40 (and fabulous).…recovered pelvis with some minor lingering issues, adrenal fatigue if I abuse myself, many months of completed intense therapy resolving my eating disorder issues (at least it feels that way), and a better knowledge of both how to be healthy in mind and body, and the desire to do it right.
WHAM! In comes an invitation to the Oxygen Ultimate Challenge.
July 15- Oct 12 I will be working my butt off eating clean and smart, getting active, disciplined, and healthy. To prove it, I will be posting at least before and after photos. Likely, to stay honest, I will post weekly shots.
OMG! My butt in a bikini for everyone to see….I truly have lost my mind.
I want this. I have so many other things I am focusing on for myself, and this is what I am using to kickstart my discipline and my vitality. I want to be healthy in a way that is sustainable, that I can honestly tell people I feel the best I have in my life by treating my body well.
Follow me on IG @amyrxbaker
The winner of the cover contest will be chosen BY THE PUBLIC from 20 finalists. I would be ecstatic to even make the finals, but I will shoot for the gusto!