“This ain’t no warmup.” That was actually not the statement I heard from Autumn Calabrese today as I approached the end of 9 Week Control Freak’s Phase One.
But I was also sweaty and vaguely impatient with my body’s general struggle with endurance this morning, so I didn’t want to pause and go back. For the record, though, it was something very similar to that message. Something like, “This isn’t your practice life.”
Her comment absolutely wasn’t a new sentiment. Technically, there aren’t a whole lot of new sentiments left in the world of lifestyle changes, ya feel? How many times, for example, have you heard that you only have this one life? That it’s vital to live in the moment? That you gotta take care of yourself, because once your health is gone, it’s gone?
So, hearing this wasn’t new information. But hearing it in that moment today…it was the leap home. The message was Luke’s proton torpedoes, and my deeply ingrained habit of eating a lot at bedtime was the Death Star. Direct hit.
And the reason it hit home was because I had taken a lot of same-message hits in a short amount of time prior to this morning. Between the pandemic, sitting down at home a lot more, and turning 45, I’ve watched with fascination as my stomach has begun to morph into a not-altogether-unpleasant cross between fresh bread dough and a stress ball. I’ve told myself that I’m married, that I’m middle-aged, that I’m pretty content. I’ve gotten more sweats in larger sizes.
So it might not be that the size that my midsection had grown has bothered me as much as the accompanying fog that has settled into every single wrinkle of my brain. As much as waking up and feeling like I used to when I drank every day. (A sugar hangover, turns out, doesn’t feel too different than a booze hangover.) Writing was tougher, at a time when I needed it to be easier because I really, really wanted my small business to support my family. All of these were minor, but relentless, hits to the outside of my Death Star.
Last week, I began to do the eight to 10-minute wind-down stretches that accompanied the Beachbody 9-Week program. I heard that the stretches might help me sleep better, or at least to relax a little and chill. I didn’t think that it would help me not snack. I’ve stretched a lot in my life, but I’ve never stretched snacking out of my system.
But that’s what happened.
In these 8- to 10-minute programs, Autumn Calabrese wears sweatpants-style outfits (but fabulous, because come on), sits on the world’s largest, gorgeous, white, plush, stain-free rug, and speaks gently about the importance of stretching, about the importance of sleep…and about the importance of not snacking or staying on your phone when you need to start mapping your route to Sleepytown.
And for the past few weeks, I’ve been able to gradually reset my mind. To tell myself that bedtime snacking is horrible for so many reasons. And to sleep well. I’ve put my phone down when I go to bed, instead of scrolling until I pass out holding it. Again, none of it was new messaging.
But I was ready to receive it.
There’s something about the new year that makes us want to do better, of course. Especially this year, in the week of an inauguration that peppered us with positivity and firsts, there’s an air of fresh resolve. Of determination.
So today, when “This ain’t no warmup” torpedoed my Death Star, well, I had already basically pulled Luke’s fighter to the location. I was ready. Because I deserve to feel better.
And you deserve to feel better, too. No matter what your struggle, you deserve to conquer it. You deserve to realize that your one life deserves to be your best life, whether it’s in improving your health or your job or your relationships – or all three.
Now let’s go sit on our respective giant white rugs…and stretch that shit out.