I’m not superwoman. And neither are you. Sorry to burst your bubble. I know, I know... you want to be able to do it ALL. Get it ALL done. Be EVERYTHING to ALL people. Be the BEST partner, mom, daughter, sister, friend, employee, boss lady, money-maker, etc. Be able to eat ANYTHING and still feel great. Do minimum physical activity and still be strong and invincible. Go to bed at night without taking off your makeup and still have glowing perfect skin. Flat abs, no gas and shit roses. I get it.
But a recent camping trip reminded me that not only am I NOT superwoman, which is a total farce by the way, I’m actually quite fragile. As a human being, I have physical, emotional and mental reactions and I’m not impervious to the usual traps. No one is.
I practice what I preach - I live as “clean” as I possibly can in this unfortunately toxic world (more on that in future articles). I eat foods that are good for my unique body, I’ve done a lot of work on my health over the years and have come a long long way. Naturally I feel a million times better than I did when I wasn’t doing these things and I forget how awful it can feel to slip back into that space. That’s potential trap number 1.
It’s easy to look at other people and question why they can take part in many of these things and be fine - you know who I’m talking about. Your friend who goes out during the workweek, drinks like a fish, eats gluten and cake, smokes a pack a day and still looks thin, good skin and functions normally. We can slowly roll back into the mindset of “why me” or “if they can do it, i can this time - no biggie right?” Socially, it can be really. freakin’. hard. Not to mention the peer pressure!! I thought that was over after high school... Herein lies potential trap numero 2.
Let’s take a closer look at these traps and what to do to avoid or deal.
Trap #1: “I’ve been doing a great job of ‘being healthy’ for a while now and I feel great - so a little alcohol/sugar/dairy/insert kryptonite here won’t hurt. Plus I deserve it. Hmmph.”
You can cultivate health by consistently nourishing yourself with good habits and practices, but that does not mean that you’re suddenly immune to your known poisons. I walked right into this one during my camping trip (and I’m a health coach!), deciding that a drink here, fried food + buttermilk pancakes there, would be fine. Coupled with cat hair on the bed sheets, dehydration and missing my regular supplements - hello fatigue, sinus attack, acne and digestive issues that would last over a week after I got back home.
How to deal: You’ve been feeling great for a reason. “Sticking with it” is a process, practice and mindset. Nobody's perfect. Know that we build resilience every time we fall and get back up - it’s all part of the journey of wellness. Know what you’re getting into when you make a decision that is not aligned with how you want to feel - that means not lying to yourself. You don’t deserve to feel like crap. You deserve to feel amazing - and deep inside you always know what will help you do that.
After my years of self-experimentation and healing, I’ve been able to identify most of the things that are not good for me and what can be big triggers in my life. Things like dairy, processed foods, sugar, cat hair (SADFACE), toxic people + relationships, engaged in activities that suck the soul out of me, etc etc. Simply staying clear of these things is the 20% that yields 80% of my results. Find your 20%, write a list and commit to staying clear - you’ll probably feel better than you have in ages.
Trap #2: “It’s not fair. If they can do it, why can’t I... just a little bit? It sucks being me. How am I supposed to have a social life?!”
How to deal: Everyone has different “poisons.” And everyone reacts differently at the biochemical and physiological level. She may eat like crap and not gain weight, but that doesn’t mean there’s a healthy body on the inside... “skinny fat” anyone? Size doesn’t matter as long as you are truly healthy inside-out. Speaking of making assumptions, you might assume that a person’s life is “better” than yours because they look a certain way. Everyone has their own demons, struggles and challenges. I can’t tell you how many women I have worked with that appear “happy, beautiful, fit, perfect” on the outside, but whose lives are filled with struggle, pain and chaos. As my 8th grade teacher would say: Don’t assume or you’ll make an ASS out of U and ME.
Now, let’s say your friend not only eats like crap, has many vices and looks amazing, feels great, lives her passion and is in perfect health despite all of her hedonism..... I say go ‘head with yo bad self!! I believe this world needs more love & celebration, less judgement, worry & hate.
Result: Peer pressure becomes powerless, our internal GPS is amplified and it suddenly becomes so much easier to do the things that are totally aligned with how you want to feel.
Now let’s talk about my favorite R word that is at the crux of the matter.
Resilience. This is a word that I often throw around with clients, but it can easily be received as a “buzz word.” Like “toxic,” “gluten-free”, or “super-food”, folks get the idea but eyes will start to glaze over from the ubiquity and generic use. What’s resilience got to do with anything?
Everything! Resilience comes from the latin root re- + salire meaning to jump, leap, dance. Ah the dance of life... it’s much like actual dancing. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dancing with a wonderful partner, then you know there are a few things that happen to make it a magical experience: you’re in-tune, flexible, connected, in flow and rhythm, recover quickly from a misstep and effortlessly turn it into a new move that not only surprises you but looks great! You have to be ready and anticipate moves, but not set rigid expectations. The point is to HAVE FUN and not take yourself seriously. When you’re resilient, you can bounce back from difficulty or set back. When our bodies are resilient, we can withstand degrees of “straying off the path”.
For those of us who are chronically ill, this may mean starting off with less resiliency and slowly building it up as we heal. Embrace this dance of life, be kind to yourself as you build your resilience and have some fun doing it.
I want to hear from you! Do you ever fall into these traps? What are some other ones that you struggle with? Please let us know in the comments below!
We learn from each other, so share your wisdom and light.