- Coming Clean -

COMING CLEAN: Change of Plans

This week didn’t go quite as planned. Let’s accept this and move on. There’s a weekend ahead, after all.

This week didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. Thank the Virgo in me that has to plan everything out (work out at least three times this week, schedule meals and times to eat, and so on). And thank the perfectionist in me that gets super bummed out when my plans fall apart.

Sunday into Monday I started to feel achy, foggy, and extremely fatigued, and when I awoke on Monday, I had the chills. I could tell I was fighting something, so I quarantined myself to the home office, rested when it was needed, and ate lots of chicken wild rice soup.

Here’s where I need to give a shout out to my immune system: I was feeling better by Tuesday, so many thanks for vanquishing whatever was attempting to take me out. Kudos, body, kudos.

Both Wednesday and Thursday were busy, full workdays, and by the day’s end, I was wiped. Surely my low-energy weekday start required more rest, but yesterday’s 9-to-9 day (Did you see us at the Esprit de She race last night?) reminded me of how tricky it can be to find work-life balance. Sure, I work hard, and sometimes those days are long, but I’m lucky to have a job where I can (and am encouraged to) take breaks frequently — good for my body and my mind. (Read why here.)


The other contributor to my bummer feeling this week: Making the decision to not participate in the Esprit de She last night. I felt great about my walk-run-walk in the July 5K (see how happy at right, after I finished with my best time of 45 minutes — read the full report in our Unedited blog here), but really wanted to shave off some time for this race.

Welllllll, I haven’t really been training, per se. I’ve been walking a bit. That’s been nice. But working up to running? Not so much.

And in my past blog post, I said I would be running more.

Come on, Courtney! What gives?

Life coach Lauren called me out, too. “What’s going on? What’s your emotional connection to the food you’ve been eating? Why are you pulling back from your workouts? If you can answer that, you can start to get back on track. But you need to understand what’s driving the resistance. You seem to be having an emotional mental block. And you’re cheating on yourself.”

She’s right. I am cheating on myself, which I’m sure is part of the seduction and disappointment. There’s also that fear of success, which may sound silly to some save for those who remember George Costanza’s outcomes in “The Opposite” episode (consider it theorist Viktor Frankl’s paradoxical intention, in which your conscious mind overcomes the unconscious fear by fully submersing yourself in said fear). It’s exciting to think of what my life will be like when I reach my goal, but it’s also terrifying.

Will I have so much energy that I start to take on more and more work/social activities/volunteerism that I eventually burn out or fall flat? It’s happened to me before. What if I can’t be satisfied and celebrate once I reach my goal? Will I truly be happy? What will that reveal about myself? What if my life changes too dramatically, or heads in an unexpected and unwelcome direction?

Of course, playing the “what-if” game is an old, bad habit (and it’s our human nature), and it has held me up from making progress in the past.

I have to hold tight to the fact that so much goodness has come from my work to get healthier and lose weight: I’ve formed deeper connections with friends and family, I’ve heard from our terrific readers, and I’ve met new people (many thanks to both bloggers David Piken, who mentioned my story here, and Sarah Morrison, who I recently dined with while she was passing through town on her healthy-living journey across the nation).

Maybe the better thought is to realize — and embrace — that there is no endpoint while we are alive. This life is a continuing work in progress. That’s why we call it living, after all. To quote Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Recently, I’ve also had some amazing and emotional conversations with people who are near the end of their life. There wasn’t a sense of regret, only extreme gratitude for all the gifts and sweet memories they’ve been afforded all these years. I found them to be so brave and exhibit such grace. Looking at old photos, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve been wasting time, hemming and hawing over when I’ll do my next workout instead of just doing my workout. This is it, this is the one life we are blessed with, and I too hope to look back with such similar pride. And oh, if I’m ever so lucky, I’ll have the same special moments with those I love to share with them all I’ve learned, and to tell them that I cherish them so.

So in the interest of paradoxical intention, I’m fully immersing myself in activity and play and all goods things health this weekend. Get busy living.

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