How Striving for Healthy Left Me Exhausted

For the first ten years of my health and wellness journey, I have been driven and motivated to the point of driving almost myself crazy. I prided myself on never missing a workout, building training schedules weeks in advance, putting everything on my calendar and letting very little get in the way of the plan. Even though agility is a quality that I pride myself on in my professional life, this did not translate to my health and well being. There are countless times that I can remember setting my alarm for an early morning workout class even when that would mean getting less than six hours of sleep. I prided myself on following through on the commitment to myself and upholding my reputation of being a “devoted morning workout person” who preferred breaking a sweat before work than after work.  There were days when I had accomplished so much before starting work at 8 AM that I would find myself exhausted and worn out.  While friends and colleagues would comment in awe at my commitment to my health, deep down I was feeling anything but healthy.

For years, I pushed these feelings down and told myself that it was weakness that I should ignore while I continued pushing through any exhaustion.

A few weeks ago, I had a breakthrough of sorts which helped me realize that my body and mind needed a rest. It wasn’t a dramatic family intervention or Jessie Spanno like breakdown that caused this revelation. Instead, it was one 48-hour period in particular when I happened to enjoy a combination of the following:

  • No evening work, blog, workout or social commitments
  • Seven hours of sleep
  • A morning workout that took place at 7 AM instead of 6 AM

Typically, I schedule every moment of my day to ensure I am being efficient and productive. However, during these two days my evenings were completely unscheduled – including only home cooked meals and time on the couch.  I felt relaxed instead of exhausted when I walked upstairs at night. I woke up refreshed and finished my workout excited for the day versus already feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Over dinner the following night, I explained this feeling to Bo and told him how amazing it felt. He smiled, and told me that for years he and my parents have been trying to help me see things from their perspective and hoping that eventually I would slow down.  Over the years, my quest to be healthy had actually negatively impacted my mind, emotional health and mental well being.  I took the next few weeks off from training and took a step back from the rigid workout schedules, social calendar and activity planning that had ruled my life for the past ten years. I allowed my body to sleep until it woke up on the weekend, enjoyed morning coffee while reading the paper and said no to social invitations. I didn’t do this to be rude or to become a hermit. I did this for me. I did this as an experiment.  I went from a place of feeling overwhelmed but empty to a place of living a fulfilling life that was filled with things that nourished my mind and body versus commitments that lacked reason, rationale or benefit.

source

Now that a few months have passed, I am slowly emerging. I referenced it in an earlier post this month, but found that my body and mind needed this month to ease into things.  But now, I am ready.  I miss having a training plan and workout dates. I miss the rush of endorphins that make me smile throughout the day. I miss the sweat and hard work that leads to race PRs or new achievements and milestones in workout classes. But, since I know I am a person of extremes, I don’t want to fall back into my non-stop lifestyle. I want to workout and complete my Fall half marathons feeling strong. I want to lose a few pounds, but do so in a smart way versus a quick, extreme fix. I want to continue focusing as much on my emotional and mental health as I have my physical health.

Here are the goals that I have for myself to help guide me in the right direction.

  • Seven hours of sleep at least six days per week.
  • Enjoy 15-30 minutes of reading before bed each night instead of television or social media.
  • Only one 6 AM workout per week unless my work schedule requires differently.
  • At least two weeknights without plans.
  • Lace up my shoes for three runs per week.
  • Workout with a friend at least two times per week.

The items on this list have brought me happiness over the past few months and allow me to feel like my healthiest self. It may not be easy, but I have shared these goals with Bo and with you guys in hopes of staying accountable.

Your turn: Can you relate? If so, what are your tips for ensuring  you don’t end each week exhausted and overwhelmed? 

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Starting Monday Feeling Refreshed

Brooklyn Brownstones Happy Monday gang!

I hope you guys had a wonderful weekend. We stayed local this weekend, enjoying a relaxing few days in Brooklyn with Bo’s parents. They decided to stop here for a few days on their way to Maine, the next stop on their road trip. A weekend in town was just what I needed after last week’s work travel.  Even though we had visitors, our weekend was still very relaxing. Since our parents visit us in Brooklyn frequently, we can spend the time grilling and exploring the neighborhood versus rushing to tourist attractions. It sure felt nice to wake up this morning feeling refreshed instead of exhausted!

Like most of the United States, Brooklyn was under the heat dome and daily temperatures were in the mid-90’s before the heat index! When Bo’s mom is in town she and I often start the day with a long walk. We stuck to Brooklyn’s tree-lined streets and the waterfront for each of our five mile walks this weekend.  Yesterday I found myself craving a run, even though it was already 90 degrees at 2pm.  By keeping the pace slower than normal and running in the shade, I actually enjoyed this hot run. This green juice tasted amazing at the end of the sweaty run!

juice press

We spent a lot of time in the kitchen and backyard this weekend cooking and grilling together.  Thursday night we had grilled swordfish, asparagus and green beans. Friday night we grilled Branzino for the first time – a fun and delicious challenge. Saturday night we spent longer in the kitchen getting creative with a tuna tartare appetizer, sweet onion and peach chutney to serve with the pork chop, corn sautee and finally the most delicious oatmeal cookie recipe. Last but not least, Sunday night we made rosemary chimichurri  and char-grilled baby eggplants – yum!
Tuna tartare

oatmeal cookies

flank steak

My goal for this week is to stick with my workout plan as I am craving endorphins in a big way.  I haven’t locked into any specific workouts other than tonight’s Bar Method class and tomorrow morning’s 6 mile run with Katie as I am giving myself a bit of leeway in regards to the workouts as long as I enjoy a solid workout six days this week.

Your turn: What is your goal this week? 

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Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie & Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie
After hot, sweaty Summer runs the only thing I crave is a smoothie. Most morning’s I will walk directly to the kitchen following a run to whip up a breakfast smoothie bowl even before taking a shower. Recovery from both the heat and the workout happen much faster if I eat something with carbohydrates and protein within thirty minutes of completing a workout.

Bob's Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder

When the teams at Fit Approach and Bob’s Red Mill challenged me to showcase how their protein powders help me find balance among the summer chaos, I knew a quick, delicious and refreshing smoothie would be the perfect recipe to share with you guys. Since this smoothie takes just a few minutes to make from start to finish, it’s easy to make for breakfast, an afternoon snack or as a post-workout powerhouse. The box I received from Bob’s Red Mill included protein powder (chocolate, vanilla and chai) as well as a protein & fiber nutritional booster.  Each flavor of protein powder is plant based, gluten free, vegan and includes not only powder but also chia seeds, probiotics and amino acids.  The nutritional stats for the vanilla protein powder. which I used in this recipe. are quite impressive – 180 calories, 20 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and only 3 grams of sugar.

Smoothie Bowl

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh (pitted) cherries
  • 1/4 cup ice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk or your choice of liquid (milk, water, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein powder
  • 1 scoop Vital Proteins or other collagen peptides
  • Optional toppings – goji berries, shredded coconut, granola or cherries

Directions

    • Add first eight items to blender and pulse or blend until you reach desired consistency.
    • Pour into bowl
    • Top with your favorite optional toppings. I suggest some dried goji berries and Purely Elizabeth granola.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill and FitApproach for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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