I’ve always been a thin guy. I’ve never really had any issues with food (except maybe peas, ugh!), and for the most part I’ve been very active, but skinny. My partner, Rob, on the other hand will tell you that he was a fat kid. He ate anything he could get a hold of and was never much into being active. Becoming an adult changed that for both of us and we can now say, eating right and working out have been an important part of our lives for more than 35 years.
For the past three years, Rob and I have been working for ourselves. We are both Licensed Massage Therapist and Personal Trainers. Rob is a Registered Yoga Teacher who also teaches Meditation and I have a ‘Certificate in Nutrition’ from The American Council on Exercise. We work out with a trainer three times a week and try hard to get in two if not three sessions of cardio each week. Our diets are clean, with no red meat. We buy and eat as much organic foods as possible and we drink a fresh fruit & vegetable juice each day. With us being advocates for “Healthy Living”, we feel it’s necessary for us to walk the walk so as to inspire our clients to incorporate our “talk” into their lives. By being healthy and active people we feel we help our clients be the same.
A little more than two months ago, something shifted. We found ourselves at the gym only twice a week with an occasional visit to the fat-burning cardio machines. While our diet at home remained pretty much the same, we found ourselves skipping meals and eating out more than usual. Snacking on hummus and crackers was almost an everyday thing and we began to ‘treat’ ourselves with a glass of wine or a beer almost every night.
Enabling each other in our “treats” and irregular habits became easy. A typical rational was – “Ok, its 7:30 pm and we’re just finishing up a massage client, I don’t feel like cooking so let’s just go out and grab something. And since we’re out, let’s have a beer with dinner.” One beer easily turns into two, and after a couple of beers and getting home around 10:00 pm – well, now it’s too late to set the alarm for 6:30am to make it to the trainer, so let’s cancel. And the cycle continued.
It’s easy to fall into a cycle that feels good in the moment but is not supporting your overall plan for your life. That is exactly where we found ourselves.
We work mostly from home with our massage clients coming to us. Originally, we were good at keeping up with our meals and our workouts, but as we got busier, scheduling clients started to become a problem. Not a problem in the sense that they were not welcomed and we didn’t appreciate the business (we welcomed all the business) but the problem was in blending the client’s needs and timing with our established healthy habits. Some days, one or two clients would book mid-afternoon and we found ourselves missing lunch or grabbing a handful of nuts. Then, a yoga teacher would call needing a sub for their 5:45pm class. So we’d end up in a restaurant having dinner……and the cycle continued. We began to teach from one side of our mouth while we were eating a grilled turkey sandwich and having a cold beer with the other side. And the pounds started to accumulate.
UGH, did we ever fall off the healthy wagon!
The weight gain was noticeable – especially to us. We knew that something was up but we just didn’t see or feel it at first and then couldn’t stop it. We talked about our lack of attention to our lifestyle and knew that something had to change…but nothing did. We had less energy and doing the things we wanted to do become harder and harder to do. Then one day while preparing for an upcoming retreat that we were hosting, called Personal Training for the Body & Soul – we stopped and said, wait a minute, this is exactly what we need! It made us stop and say; “What in the hell are we doing?” And more than What are we doing, Why are we doing this?
We both knew we were medicating ourselves. There had to be something deeper going on within us. But what? And–where do we go from here?
With our notes for our Retreat in hand we began asking ourselves a few questions. “What is really important to us? What do we value?” We made a list. Then came: “Are we acting in accordance to what we value and deem important?” The answer this time was a resounding, No! Then to bring it back around, we asked ourselves, “What do we need to do to get back on track and get back to our core values?” With new dedication and determination we began the process of getting back on our own wagon – we know what it takes.
We never did come up with a particular “ WHY” we fell from the Healthy Wagon. It is usually a combination of life situations that hit at once. In our case we let ourselves get overwhelmed about our life. Sound familiar?
Life is a spiral and we keep coming back to the same place. The trick is to see this place with new eyes, with a clearer vision because of our past experiences. It is never exactly the same. As with all things in life there is ebb and flow, a crest then a wake. This back and forth, is our True Self seeking balance – a natural process from moving away from center than back again, like walking a tight-rope, or staying grounded and balanced while doing Warrior II in a yoga class. It’s like knowing when to work hard and knowing when you need a vacation. We come and we go, we move this way and that – all in an effort to find our midpoint or quite spot. Falling off the Healthy Wagon and getting back on was part of our evolution. It made us more aware of what is important to us and therefore a little easier this time to climb back up and get back on.
“It is not so much about changing the pace of our life as it is about changing the pace of our mind”, Rob said to me one day!
The mind is a wonderful tool but it can also be a force that pushes you fast and furious off the wagon of your life. Take a little time each day to step back from yourself and take a look at what you are doing. Do you feel good or do you need to make some alterations? Take a look at your daily routine. Are you living according to your values and what is important to you? This self- check in can become a healthy habit which makes staying on track easier.
It’s your life. Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be in love with you!
Steve Bolia & Rob Dorgan