February 20, 2019

 

What is IT Band Syndrome? Glad you asked!

The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of fascia that runs from your pelvis to the outside of your knee. Repetitive bending and straightening of the knee while running can cause constant rubbing of the IT band over the bony parts of your knee. This constant friction can cause the IT band to become irritated and eventually inflamed resulting in pain. The pain is often described as sharp. It’s typically outside the knee but can sometimes can radiate into the outer thigh or calf. Runners will usually notice more pain running downhill or during longer distance runs.

 

 

 

How do you treat IT Band Syndrome?

 

REST! The most important treatment tip is to modify your activity levels. IT band pain will not settle if you continue to run. The tissue needs a break from the friction caused by bending and extending activities in order to settle the irritation and inflammation along the outside of the knee. While resting you can cross train but you need to avoid similar activities. For example swimming is usually fine but cycling will likely just irritate the band.

Trail Run: When you’re ready, try trail running as opposed to treadmill or road running. Running on flat surfaces causes your leg to bend and extend the exact same way over and over again. Running on a varied surface mixes things up decreasing the repetitive movements at the knee.

Glute Strengthening: Make sure your glutes are strong! If your glutes are not functioning properly, your IT band may be compensating. (See my previous running blog on how to know if your glutes are weak and how to strengthen them 🙂

Foam Rolling: Try foam rolling the lateral aspect of your thigh. The IT band is not actually a muscle. It’s fascia which means it does not contract and relax. Therefore foam rolling and trying to stretch the IT band itself doesn’t actually “lengthen” the band of tissue. But rolling the outside of the thigh can get the lateral quad muscles which can definitely be tight.

TFL Release: Your tensor fascia lata is a muscle on the outside of your hip that helps stabilize your hip and knee. You can release your TFL either in lying as shown below or (if this exercise is too intense) against a wall.

 

If after attempting these tips you still have pain, you may need to book an appointment with a physiotherapist (Hi!) who can do a one on one assessment searching for and addressing any muscle imbalances you may have. You should also have your running form assessed! Modalities such as acupuncture, cupping and taping can also speed healing along nicely.

As always, if you have any questions at all make sure you send me an email at richelle.wholetherapy@gmail.com. I am always happy to help other runners run faster and be pain free!

November 30, 2018

Trying to motivate yourself to run throughout the winter months can be a struggle, but trying to stay injury free while you run throughout the winter months can be even more of a challenge! Check out these winter running tips that should help keep you running consistently all year long without pesky injuries slowing you down!

 

Temporarily reduce your weekly mileage with the first snowfall.

When you are running on snow as opposed to a hard, slip free surface you are using stabilizing muscles you haven’t used in a long time. This places you at increased risk of injury. Week 1 run 50% of your normal weekly mileage. Week 2 increase to 75%. By week 3 you should be able to return to your normal weekly mileage.

Avoid switching to the treadmill for 100% of your winter running.

First of all running on a flat uniform surface involves repeating the exact same movement over and over again which increases your risk of repetitive strain injuries like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.  Second of all when the snow melts and you switch back to running outdoors you will have to drastically decrease your mileage or you’ll risk injury. Running on the treadmill does not mimic running outside! The impact force from running outside is much greater than on the treadmill. Also on the treadmill you are trying to keep up with the track as it glides under your feet, whereas outside you actually have to propel yourself forward. It’s very different therefore your body needs to be allowed the time to adjust!

Make sure your important stabilizing muscles are strong!

Running on the snow and ice demands more muscle effort than running on the treadmill or outdoors on dry pavement. Especially from the glutes and core. (See previous glute strengthening blog!)

Wear the proper footwear!

Yaktrax

Either wear sneakers that are meant for winter running and have soles with studs or spikes, or purchase an ice traction device such as Yaktrax that fit over your sneakers.

Warm up!

Warming up is more important during the cold winter months. If you are standing in a parking lot waiting for others in your group to show and you are shivering and chilly, your muscles are tight and cold as you start to run which can put you at increased risk of injury. Jog on the spot, do high knees or bum kicks, or wait in your car with your heat blasting!

Ignore the pace on your watch!

Focus on effort level as opposed to pace if you are used to running with a running watch. You will run slower in the winter months. If you try to maintain the same pace you did on the clear dry pavement you could end up with an injury. Use the rate of perceived exertion scale. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel your body is working. These feelings are not objective like monitoring your heart rate, but they can give an estimate of your heart rate and your exercise intensity zone.

 

 

 

Try snowshoe running!

It’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the snow covered trails. You have to make some small technique adjustments such as running with a slightly wider stance and lifting your feet higher. This will challenge your hip abductors such as your glute med and min and your hip flexors so make sure you ease into snowshoe running gradually. It is much slower than road/trail running so don’t focus on pace. Again use the rate of perceived exertion scale above! Also, purchasing snowshoes that are designed for running such as the Atlas snowshoes shown below can definitely improve your comfort level and speed while snowshoe running.

 

August 24, 2015

Husband Jamie and I took the kids wilderness camping at Algonquin Park a few weekends ago; it was their first time, and they loved it.

Gorgeous weather as we set out. What's not to love?

Gorgeous weather as we set out. What’s not to love?

When camping, one has a singular purpose: to survive.  There’s no luxury to camping in the wilderness, save for a decadent square of dark chocolate at the end of the evening, or a luxuriously dry pair of socks when your body is damp to the bone.

We pushed on, canoed until our arms and shoulders ached, carried our canoes and packs on our tired backs, found a place to rest, set up camp and made food to fuel us.  We slept when it darkened.  Then we woke up and did it again.  In between, we swam and laughed, interacted with each other (without the distraction of electronic devices), made up stories, sang songs, and observed the wonder of nature.  It was amazing.

Yes, the pack IS as heavy as it looks.

Yes, the pack IS as heavy as it looks.

The rhythm of camping and portaging is simple, satisfying.  I felt better about myself camping (dirty, calloused and aching) than usual, and I didn’t touch a phone or look into a mirror in over 72 hours.

That’s not an accident.

I was able to really feel my body on our trip. I felt the strength in my legs and back as I hefted my 65-pound pack (and added Little One’s pack to it as well, when she tired).  I felt my hunger rise up as we finished setting up tents: a natural reminder to eat for fuel rather than out of habit or boredom.  And I sank into sleep each night, sardined in with Middle and Oldest, I felt heavy and worked, and grateful to be lying down, and even though a thermarest is hardly a plush mattress, I slept like the dead.

If only life were so simple, I thought as we travelled – a clear purpose, a drive and need to succeed.

Reflecting on life in my journal.

Reflecting on life in my journal.

But life is so many shades of camping – not quite urgent, or so much more so, not quite survival, but living “to the fullest” – whatever that means.

Everything in nature does its best to adapt.  Not like humans, who try and shape the world around us to fit our own needs.  In nature, even an acorn blown by mistake to the edge of a cliff will grow sideways and thrive as it reaches for the sun.

img_0198school

We need to learn to grow sideways.

 

In this way, the simplicity of the wild is so much more advanced than our technologically brilliant society; we, in the acorn’s position, would look for a better, more advantageous spot to grow, and though we may grow straighter, taller, we would miss out on that amazing view. Not to mention, we would miss finding out what we are made of.

I thought about that acorn, and survival, a lot on our trip.  Obviously we were close enough to civilization that most emergencies could be easily rectified.  But most of our creature comforts were taken away: no couch to laze on. No phone to surf Facebook.  No coffee maker, no takeout, nothing quick. If I wanted a meal I had to work for it. If I wanted to be entertained I had to use my imagination.

Little One hams it up in the tent.

Little One hams it up in the tent.

There was no passivity, no boredom.  Only a deep sense of appreciation for the skills and strength I possess, my family, and all the beauty nature has to offer.

And now that we’re home, and continuing our journey here, I’m more than content with some wine, some good conversation, and a sunset.  More rolling with the punches, less trying to shape the world to my whims.

I want to see the view from the side of the cliff.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

July 22, 2015

Got my red belt in karate this weekend. My first coloured belt; I’m no longer the lowest on the totem pole! My gi has pizzazz now: and I’m proud fit to burst.

Celebrate!

Celebrate!

So often, in the dojo and out in the world, I see people brushing off their achievements.

“Yeah, I just ran a 10k, but it’s not like it’s a marathon or anything.”

“I did just work for 5 years to lose that weight, but it’s no big deal; I really shouldn’t have been fat in the first place.”

“I got my red belt, but it’s just red – I have a long way to go before my black belt.”

Seriously. Can we cut out the false modesty?

Seriously.

Seriously. Cut it out.

Achieving things makes me happy and fulfilled.  As it should.  I work deliberately to get things done. I’m not the kind of person to whom things come naturally.

My fitness level? Worked my ass off (literally) to get here. I still work extremely hard; if I didn’t, I would be much weaker and flabbier.  My pear-shaped body likes to be softer; I was never the skinny kid, and I never will be able to just eat whatever and not gain weight.

So I take pride in completed workouts in which I did my best.

My business? I went through a lot of change and learning to open it.  Then a lot more to transition it to something I truly believed in.  It’s been tough – rewarding, but really tough.  Some days it stresses me out, and other days I revel in the smoothness of operations. But it’s never easy.

So I take pride in the new things I learn and the firm decisions I make.

And now, my red belt. In March, I had never done karate before. 4 months later and I’m committed to weekly (or more) classes in the dojo, and practice with Sensei Jamie outside of that. You’ll often find me brushing my teeth in shiko dachi, a wide-legged stance.  I have to repeat movements about a million times before I’m even serviceable at them (choreography of any kind is not my friend). I love every minute of each comfort-zone-pushing class.

karate red belt

It’s NOT just a red belt! It’s the culmination of my hard work so far. 🙂

So you’d better believe I’m not brushing these successes off.  You shouldn’t brush yours off, either!

Little triumphs can make the difference between a fulfilled life and an unfulfilled one.  If I work hard, I celebrate. I don’t need to win a gold medal in the Olympics to be proud of myself.

It’s not, contrary to popular opinion, arrogant or overconfident to celebrate your achievements, rather it’s a necessary component of living a happy life.

Did you exercise today? Pat yourself on the back.  Did you check any items off your to-do list? High five! Notice I didn’t ask you if you’ve hit your goal weight or completed your to-do list; those are bigger celebrations.  The little ones count too, though, and should be recognized.

Whether it’s a belt in karate, getting my shopping done, eating well today, or something else, I’m going to continue to live deliberately, working towards and celebrating the milestones, whether they are big or small.

Life’s too short: celebrate every bit of this journey.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

June 1, 2015

I’m watching Jessica Kanstrup run a bootcamp class.  At first glance, the 26 year-old is an intimidating figure, even at 5’4”; she paces slowly back and forth across the studio stage in her black tights and red GoodLife Fitness shirt, stopwatch in hand, brow knitted, watching her crew of ladies sweat it out in their circuit.  It’s clear from the stern expression on her face that no one is going to slack off under her watch.  Then suddenly, she looks down at the stopwatch, clicks it, and shouts a command: all of her ladies come to a relieved stop and stare at her with expectant expressions.

Jess’ face breaks into a huge grin and her hands fly into the air in victory.  The rest of her crew does the same; the class is over.  They’ve done it!  The exhausted and relieved expressions on all of their faces say it all: they are both ecstatic to be done and delighted they came.  Jess congratulates each lady in turn as they leave the studio.  It’s evident she is someone who loves her job and cares about her clients. IMG_1423

“Having a trainer is so important for success,” she says as we sit for the interview, “It’s definitely been important for me [training for this fitness competition].  My first show, Chris [a male colleague] trained me, then I trained myself for the second one, and this time I wanted a female perspective.  We correspond every week, and I see her once a month so she can measure me and take my body fat, and take a look at me to see how my body is coming along. It’s been great so far.”

I believe her.  Training for a fitness competition is definitely hard work, but this beautiful blonde hardbody seems to have it all together.  What’s her secret?

“Not a lot of cardio!”  She laughs.  Jess is weeks away from her third fitness competition.  Last summer, she competed for the first time in SAF (Serious About Fitness), as well as in Physique Canada.  She took home first place in both shows, blowing her competition out of the water with her balanced physique and elegant stage presence.

“It was the most IMG_1431exciting day of my life,” she says, “I discovered my passion for competing and pushing myself to the limits to be the best I can be.  I competed again in the SAF Elite Pro Championship last October, and also placed first again with Physique Canada and became a Tier 1 Pro.  It’s been a whirlwind.”

A whirlwind to say the least, but Jess is used to a lot of activity.  “Growing up,” she says, “I was always an active kid that loved to be outside and moving around. I never played any specific sports, [but] I took acting classes and loved to sing and dance and be in front of the camera.”

Jess is definitely great in front of the camera.  From her pictures, it seems as though she was born to be in the spotlight.  Is it hard for her to stay grounded in such a vain industry?  “It’s hard sometimes.  It crossed my mind, getting implants, but it was more just a thought.  I compete naturally in an industry full of enhancement – drugs and plastic surgery – and while that’s fine for those competitors, I realized it’s not my style.  So I enter natural competitions so I can compete on more of a level playing field.”

And what led her to a career in fitness in the first place? “I come from a family with a history of alcoholism and drug addiction; my family has suffered a lot of loss and tragedy.  As I grew up, I realized I never wanted to end up down that path, like my two half-sisters who I have lost.IMG_1420

“In grade 11 I discovered weight lifting and fell in love with fitness.  I realized I wanted to help others discover this love for fitness and decided to pursue a career as a personal trainer.  I attended Algonquin College in the Fitness and Health Promotion program and then started working at GoodLife when I was 18.”

With ssidebar jessuch a demanding schedule (she works 7am to 7pm at the gym, plus works out five days a week), how does Jess
find time to unwind? “Wellness for me is taking time for myself to rest; I’ve been doing yoga once a week, and I always try and get enough sleep.  In this sport, recovery is almost more important than the workout.  It’s a little extreme, so you need to make sure you balance the hard stuff with enough rest.  The team at Whole Therapy have helped me as well; I see [Jen] for massages as often as I can.”IMG_1425

In light of her success thus far on stage, I wondered if modelling was in Jess’ future career plans.  “I’m not sure if I could or would make modeling my entire career.  Right now it’s something I do on the side that compliments my training.  In the future I’d love to do more of it, and get into coaching other competitors as well.”

Look for Jessica Kanstrup at next weekend’s SAF and Physique Canada shows, taking place Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13 at the Canadian Museum of History.  Get tickets to the show here.

Interested in knowing more about Jess?  Check her out on twitter @JessikaCan and her website http://www.jessikafitness.com/

 

Know someone who would be great in the Wellness Spotlight?  Send us an email! info.wholetherapy@gmail.com 

 

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

 

 

May 11, 2015

I’m on a mission to “create space” in my head.  That was part of my homework when I had my nutritional consult with Karen, and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

Meditation is the obvious choice for opening the mind, but meditation, it should be said, is like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork is not really my thing.  I can’t picture myself sitting cross-legged doing nothing but contemplating for any length of time.  Actually, thinking about it now makes me laugh – my three year-old, Molly, would be like, “Cool! Mum’s a jungle gym!” in about five seconds.  Plus my mind wanders incessantly, and my inner monologue would no doubt have a field day: Why are you doing this? This is boring.  This is stupid. You have an itchy leg. What’s that noise outside? I wonder if that laundry’s done.  What is Molly up to? Is she colouring on the wall again… and so on.

So no meditation.  But space is still the objective.  Running helps, but I need something more.

A few weeks ago, our family joined a local dojo.  Husband Jamie has studied martial arts since he was six years old, and his old Sensei practices nearby.  He thought it would be a good experience for all of us to join together.  So off we went.

karatemolly

I was nervous at first.  Even with all of my fitness experience, I have never delved into the world of martial arts.  It was an entirely unexplored arena for me; a thought that both terrified and excited me.

My first few classes, I followed along tentatively as we punched, kicked, and learned the white-belt katas.  My choreography skills and spatial perception are crap, let’s just get that out of the way. It’s a wonder I can tie my shoes in the morning. Thank goodness I don’t operate heavy machinery for a living.

Sweat, eyebrows scrunched up in concentration, more sweat, repeat this move, repeat that move. And again. And again.

Soon, I realize, I’m starting to get it.  I’m moving in the right direction! I can high block and low block and even kick a bit without falling over.  It isn’t pretty yet… but I’m realizing that it won’t be unless I repeat those movements thousands of times over.

I watch Sensei Jamie in his black-belted magnificence, doing the same movements as I am, yet with an assured confidence, and an air of absolute mastery around him.  He has practiced these moves for thirty years. I’ve been practicing them for thirty minutes.

Still, I see what is possible, watching him.  The katas are beautiful, thirteen ways to artfully kick your opponent to the curb.  When I practice, I see each movement as it comes, and I struggle to remember how to execute the next one.  When Sensei Jamie practices, I see no struggle behind his eyes: just a space in his mind that is both peaceful and full of warriorship.

I want to get to that place.

And so I go to class. I practice at home. I’m dreaming about karate, and my body is learning and adapting to new movements and mindsets.  I never would have dreamed I would love it so much in such a short time, but I do.

As the journey continues, I for once am not focussed on the end result. I don’t really care to get a higher belt, or more recognition, or really ever lay a hand on an enemy for real.  I’m focussed on getting to that place of serenity that repetition brings; that bubble of nothingness that I’m on the edge of grasping.  I’m almost there.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

April 20, 2015

I’m staring at my feet.  I’ve been staring at my feet for the last two minutes, trying not to distract myself.  My feet are planted into my vibrant purple yoga mat.  My knees are bent just a little, and my upper body is flopped over, my arms hanging down by my feet.

Context starts to creep in: wow, I really need a pedicure.  How long have I been in this pose? Sounds like that baby outside is pretty unhappy…

No.  I give my head a teeny shake to empty my mind of chatter. I focus on the exquisite sensation in the back of my legs. Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.  I repeat this breathing pattern until I feel the rigidity in my hamstrings start to slacken. Ahhh.  But I still need a pedicure.

Becoming a yoga instructor was not something I thought would ever happen, but here I am, three days into Yin training, learning the (y)ins and outs of poses such as Rag Doll, Hero, and Smiling Cow Face (yes, seriously).

smiling_cow

“This grass is udderly delightful”

 

Why am I here?  The first time I tried Yin yoga was during my first foray into running, and my hips were tighter than the lid of a pickle jar.  I sought relief from the discomfort in my body.  Now, almost ten years later, I seek relief from the discomfort in my mind.

Like many people I know, I’ve gotten used to being distracted by the context – while driving to work I seek distraction from the radio.  While waiting for anything (even sometimes a pot of water to boil) I seek distraction in my phone, with texting, emails, or social media.

I’ve forgotten how to focus on what my Instructor calls The Essence.

When we allow our minds to focus inward, we are able to listen to the language our body is speaking to us.  A tight muscle here, a wayward emotion there, maybe even a genius idea budding in the corner of our mind.  If we are constantly entertaining ourselves with outside noise, we miss all of the wonderful things our insides are trying to tell us.

So I’m feeling the feelings.  Tension is melting away at the base of my neck as my head hangs upside down.  My chest and stomach feel wonderfully heavy against my thighs now, when at minute one my hips resisted that position.  Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.

Will I ever be able to be fully mindful and poised? I have my doubts.  But I’m open to learning.  In the meantime, I’m using my body to train my mind, and I’m open to possibility.

The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

April 8, 2015
lovin' the new kicks.

lovin’ the new kicks.

Last night, I laced up my new sneakers and went for my first run of the season.  Here’s a snippet of my inner monologue:

Oh wow. Amazing. These shoes feel so comfy; I can’t wait to tackle this run!

Ugh. Definitely not moving as well as I did the last time I ran. It’s ok. Keep on trucking. It’ll improve.

Ok I have a cramp. It’s probably time to take a br- what? It’s only been 3 minutes?  Gah…

The cramp is gone but I can feel my belly shaking. This is both motivating and extremely depressing.  Go away, flab! Go away!  I’ll bet my butt is jiggling too…

Oh I love running.  It’s been 12 minutes and I’m starting to settle in. I’m getting that good running feeling! I can still feel that cramp.  Shut up, head, enjoy this. Oh I love running!

…and on it went for 30 minutes until I was a sweaty, happy, smiling mess.

Although it may not seem like it from my inner monologue, running has been my mental health savior these past few years.  I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can  remember, and when I discovered running, I opened the door to a remedy that could never be found in a pill bottle.

As a kid and teenager I was a total running failure. I would be the one walking around the track as the others sprinted effortlessly.  I would hide behind the portables on track and field day.  I avoided team sports and gym.  I wasn’t built to be a runner: at 5’ tall and 25 lbs overweight, I was stocky, pear-shaped, and completely unsuited to the activity.

Fast-forward a few years. I’m about to turn 21, living on my own for the first time, in a sucky relationship, and have a new job as a Personal Trainer. I’m still overweight (although strong and generally healthy), and I’m feeling self-conscious about being unable to run in my current position as a health role-model.

I decided to train for a sprint triathlon.

While the odds were against me, I toiled and sweated and inner-monologued myself to the edge over three months of intense training.  I learned that running was a place to sort out my problems.  I learned about my body’s language, and began to appreciate how my body worked for me when I fed it running fuel and stretched after my runs.

I lost weight. The months leading up to that initial triathlon saw me drop 10 % body fat.  I no longer felt like a fat Personal Trainer. I felt like a good, healthy role model for my clients.

My first triathlon.  I did it!

My first triathlon. I did it!

Fast forward another few years.  Running has given rise to peace from anxiety attacks, quality time for self-reflection, and accomplishment from achievements.  I started with 5k and progressed to half marathons.  I got my Mum involved in running, too (she now puts me to shame and runs at least two full marathons a year).

I use running to both escape and connect.  When I had a miscarriage a few years ago, running helped me get through it.  Running has allowed me to evolve as a businesswoman and make better, more solid decisions for my team.

I will lace up my sneakers again tomorrow, and venture out again.  Eventually, I know that my inner monologue will quiet down and let me enjoy a peaceful silence in my mind.

Until then, I’m embracing the journey.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

March 23, 2015

I’m healing this week, from a bit of a wounded pride.  I have tried and failed to do at least 4 fitness shows.  I did succeeded once, but in hindsight, I feel like I might have only succeeded at the hands of Trainer Jamie, who basically pulled me along and made decisions for me.  This time, with only me at the helm, I failed.

Or did I?

FullSizeRender (4)

At the beginning of this fitness journey, I told the world my plans to keep me accountable and on an even keel.  And it worked, to some extent:  It helped to know there were people cheering me on.  But in the end, my decision to stop all of this made me feel both empowered and lost.  Was it the right thing to do?

Right or wrong, this humble-pie eating experience has taught me a few things:

Failing is really, really, normal. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10, 000 ways that won’t work.” My track record is one win for five “losses”, so I suppose I’m doing alright.  The wins in life are remarkable; failure is easy to come by.  If we just press on knowing that failure is inevitable, I feel like success might come faster.

Failing is really, really subjective.  “A failure,” says B.F. Skinner, “is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.  The real mistake is to stop trying.” Ah, there is my perspective: I did the best I could do, and I didn’t make the stage, but that doesn’t mean I failed.  In the eyes of others, I won: I whipped my body into excellent shape. I had dedication. I still want to stay in great shape and have dedication.  True failure here would be to throw in the towel, stop exercising, and eat a vat of ice cream.  Not happening.

Failing serves a higher purpose.  I’m not religious, nor am I superstitious.  But things happen for a reason, and maybe in the depths of our despair we are too short-sighted to see what those reasons are. “The season for failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” – Paramahansa Yogananda.  We can learn a whole lot from a failure.  Once I started to dig myself out of my pity-hole, I saw that I had indeed been on the wrong track.  For me, sowing the seeds of success looks like developing better long-term eating habits and practicing self-love and self-acceptance.  Maybe the universe has bigger plans for me on this path.

So let me see how this sounds: I didn’t fail.  I won.

I have this body that is so awesome.  It works.  My body lifts heavy weights. It massages people.  It made a really amazing little person whom I love to bits.  My body does all of these things for me every day, and what did I do for it? I fed it boring food and berated it for not being perfect enough.

If I soften the light I’ve shone on myself, I might notice that I’m human, just like the rest of the world.  I look fine.  And why, honestly, do I care so much?  Maybe I should focus on the inside stuff more.  Maybe a little external disconnect would do my soul some good.

The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

March 16, 2015

This diet thing isn’t working. It’s making me miserable, in fact.  Not in the overt, I’m-so-hungry-shoot-me-now way that it did last time.  This time it’s a slow and subtle road to miserable.  I’m munchy, not hungry, all the time. I don’t feel like my body is crazily burning fuel like before. It sucks.

In some ways I have more discipline than last time: when there are sweets and treats around, I seldom want any and can avoid them without having Trainer Jamie talk me off the ledge.  In others, I feel like I have so much less: breakfasting with the kids when there are pancakes or sausages or even fruit salad on the table makes me feel achy and empty that I can’t partake.

Part of me processes this information and thinks, Get a grip.  You can still hang out with the kids without eating sausages.  But the other part of me wonders, Well what are you doing this for, anyway?

And that part of me, the questioning side, got my attention this weekend.

What am I doing this show for?  I don’t know.  It started out as a way to push us all forward. Ana needed a driving force. Bailey wanted a new journey. I needed to focus and train hard.  But we are doing all of that. And I realize that the only part of this I’m dreading is the initial goal I set for myself of getting on stage.

Weird how that happens…

Getting on stage and doing a fitness show means that I’m focussed on the end result. I have tried to focus on the steps of the journey, but it’s legitimately stressing me out.  Do I simply not have what it takes anymore?

This weekend I decided to eat “whatever I wanted” within the calorie count that I was given.  I still aimed for the proper proteins, carbs, and fats, but I allowed myself to have yogurt, bread, popcorn with butter, and even a glass of wine.  I made sure I stuck with the right calories, and had tons of veggies and lean proteins and water as well.

And do you know what happened? Nothing.  The world didn’t end. I wasn’t bloated, or hungry, or stressed out, or hating myself. Amazing.

I had a great weekend with the kids and Husband Jamie, and I had no guilty feelings about show prep or anything.  I realized that I really, really like raw oats with yogurt and almonds.  I had forgotten!  I was also able to sit down with the family and eat what they ate; a very liberating and relaxing experience.

Oats, yogurt and fruit. Amazing.

Oats, yogurt and fruit. Amazing.

The tranquility in my mind was the best part, however.  I had given myself permission to eat “whatever,” and it was as if a huge weight was lifted; I realized that I had been really stressed without even knowing it.  Probably part of the reason my diet “wasn’t working”.

The strangest part was that giving myself permission to eat made the foods I shouldn’t eat less appealing, not more.  I didn’t want a huge piece of cake. Or ten sandwiches. Or chocolate. I just wanted to eat what I wanted to eat, and paying attention to my body while eating what I wanted led to eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied, and greater satisfaction overall.

So what now?  I’m not sure.  Without a stage to step on, new goals should be hashed out.  New plans laid.  I don’t operate well without a formula, and I know I need to make sure I keep tracking my food so that I don’t go overboard.

But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my breakfast.  It’s going to be a good day.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen