It's sometimes tough to know if our body is holding us back or if a lack of motivation and discipline is all in our heads. We often talk about intuitive movement and eating at Restoration Fitness, and while we firmly believe that it is possible to get to a point where you can deeply check in with your body's needs and intuitively know exactly what to give it at any moment for nourishment and love- many of us are not able to get a good reading on this because our body's signals are compromised. And we won't go into how it can become compromised, but suffice it to say, if you struggle to stay in motion and have trouble eating well, it is quite possible that your biochemistry is off.
Your body is undergoing chemical reactions constantly including using hormones (which tell you when and how much to eat), digestion and assimilation of food, and the utilization of amino acids and micronutrients, to name a few. If you don't have a balance hormonal system, or you can't absorb your food and convert it to energy properly, or you have a deficit in the nutrients you need- your body will not be able to keep up. When this happens, our body can either shut down leading to fatigue and a sluggish overall system, or it will work so hard to do it's best to keep up that systems will begin to fail. Ever wonder why no matter what you do to avoid eating chocolate or to force yourself out of bed in the morning isn't working? It likely isn't all in your head- it might just have more to do with an imbalance biochemisty in your system.
On the other hand, once we have a few exercise sessions where we feel defeated, it becomes easier and easier to loose our mental edge and we therefore end up giving in too easily to defeat. A recent study in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal showed that positive self talk reduced RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and increased time-to-exhaustion by around 18% during high-intensity cycling exercise. This shows that, at least in recreational athletes, we really can talk ourselves into working harder if we keep a positive "I can do this" attitude throughout our workout. So what we think about ourselves during a workout, or during a time where we are avoiding overeating really does matter.
So what is to blame for those times you just can't get out of your rut and get your butt in gear to move and eat healthfully? Your body or your will power?
First of all, take a deep breath and remember that your body is an amazing miracle that is doing the best it can to keep up with all that is going in your world.
Secondly, take another deep breath and remember that you are not crazy or weird or stupid or too much or at fault for being human.
Nothing is to blame. In fact, if anything, there is so much to be grateful for because our body does such a great job of giving us signals and helping itself to heal when we take baby steps toward nourishing and respecting it's needs. The hardest part for all of us to swallow, is that it will take patience, and it might be a little out of your comfort zone at first to figure out what to tackle in the body-mind mix to help you get well and feel more empowered and energized in your health and fitness. Here are the first steps to take should you feel sluggish, discouraged, or unmotivated:
1) Get your hormones checked with a reputable naturopath or physician.
2) Reduce the sugar (particularly the fructose) in your diet and choose protein instead. Protein takes more energy to digest and it provides you with the building blocks that support elevated brain function and muscle growth and repair. Often when we crave sugar, we are actually low on the amino acids that keep our brain happy, and eating protein helps give us the boost we need.
3) Drink tons of clean water. Water makes up 60% of your body. If you aren't hydrated, your body will fatigue.
4) Surround yourself with positive people you admire. The only caveat here, is that this is not meant to become a comparison game. Use their positive action and energy as a catalyst for your own growth.
Reach out to us if you are struggling with your motivation for a pep talk! We are also connected to quite a few practitioners in the area who would be happy to help you out. All it takes is knowing that something needs to change and asking for the help you need.