Over the last 15 years, I have done an incredible job getting to know myself. Knowing my body, what it responds best to, what causes pain in my body, what makes me feel triggered and angry, how frustration develops, digging into what my cravings really meant, and what my body was actually telling me I needed, understanding what causes me to be fatigued and moody, what sparks my motivation to do anything. I don't say all of this to toot my own horn or brag, I just want you to know what is possible - you do not have to accept feeling like trash, having raging cravings, feeling frustrated about your dieting and lack of results, and anything else that you might be going through.
When I start to create a program, I get deep into it. I use myself as the experiment if I have to. I don't ever want to tell you that you can or can't do something if I don't know for sure if it really is or isn't possible. Now I know I'm not you, we have different bodies, a different life, different living environments, different family life - but - I'm not special, I am human just like you. We are in the human experience together, so several things will apply to both of us, we may just go about it in our own ways.
I set out to do an experiment for two weeks. Fortunately, I know the answers to many of the issues we as women struggle with. So I decided to do the complete opposite of what I do in my daily life so I could see what it feels like on the flip side. I wanted to physically, mentally, and emotionally put myself as close as I could to where my clients meet me when we start working together.
Typically my clients feel:
tired frequently, have little to no energy
digestive issues including bloating, gas, constipation
feeling hungry all of the time, even if they just ate 30 minutes ago
snappy, annoyed, and reactive with their kids, spouse, and/or people they come in contact with (online and in real life)
frustrated because they have dieted most of their adult life and feel like nothing they do is sustainable or easily maintained
low self-esteem and little to no self-confidence
uncomfortable seeing themselves in photos or standing in front of the mirror
So if any of these sound familiar, keep reading!
I wanted to kick it off with a bang and do something I KNEW was going to have a huge impact. Low-quality sleep. I ate right before heading to bed, went to bed much later than I normally do, slept in a warmer room, and didn't do anything I include in my usual nightly bedtime routine. As you can see from the screenshots below, these behaviors CRUSHED the ability of my body to recover. It's not always about the hours of sleep as it is the quality of your sleep.
Another thing I did during this experiment was no workouts. Now, I did teach my classes, but truthfully I didn't have the energy to do anything other than the minimal effort. In listening to my clients, many believe they have to do soul-crushing workouts, hours of cardio, and avoid heavy lifting in order to see results. Movement is medicine, ever heard this before? It's so true, but your movement gets to be something you enjoy and makes you feel good. Doing something you hate, dread having to do a particular workout, or if it's a box you feel like you have to check off - this is NOT good for your physical or mental health. As you can see from the screenshot, my strain was fairly low, higher on the days I teach class and coach volleyball because not showing up isn't an option.
I didn't do what you probably expect me to say, which would be to eat all the things. I didn't overindulge in sweets, go crazy eating everything in sight, and use this as an opportunity to eat things I normally chose not to eat. My nutrition during this experiment was about 95% of what I would normally eat. I haven't dieted in over 15 years with the exception of when I was doing bodybuilding competitions. I don't believe in diets, they set you up for failure on so many levels. This is one of the most eye-opening things for my clients, I don't put them on a diet to follow and they freak out! Most have been dieting the majority of their adult life and don't know how to not diet. They have no clue what makes them feel good, or what might be causing their bloating and discomfort.
The hardest part for me was the cravings that seemed to come out of nowhere. Fortunately, I knew to expect them because of the habits and practices I was doing during this experiment. Mentally I was able to distinguish that these cravings were not actually what my body really needed, so I didn't give into them.
To say I felt like shit would be an understatement. I was dragging ass, felt so tired, and was getting very snappy and irritated by silly things my kids did or said. I was irritable they noticed and even called me out because I was acting so out of character. This was one of the biggest reasons I ended the experiment early. They had no idea I was doing this experiment and as much as I tried to stop myself before becoming reactive, it was hard several times. They don't deserve that, especially because they know this is not how I normally handle these situations.
The biggest reason why I stopped early was that the pain in my neck, shoulder, and a little in my low back came out. It's almost been a year since I had my breast implants removed and since the day I woke up from surgery, the pain I had for over 5 years was gone and has not come back. I still have two herniated discs in my neck, so allowing pain to come back into my body is absolutely not something I am willing to play with. After ending the experiment early and returning to my normal habits, the pain disappeared as fast as it came on. This reinforced to me that the habits I have incorporated into my life do in fact work for me.
Something unexpected happened during this experiment, which is what I am so excited to share with you!
Around three days into the experiment, I got some pretty insane gas cramps and pain. Without even thinking, I began massaging my stomach, more specifically my colon. I've been a massage therapist for over 20 years, it's a natural reaction to digestion issues. Within minutes, the gas was released and the cramping and pain subsided. Now, I share this technique with others when they ask if I can help, I even had several yoga classes where eliminating gas and stimulating bowel movements were the focus because it was asked for.
This was a light bulb moment for me. I'd be willing to bet most people don't know how to do this or that it's even an option. We've been so conditioned to think a pill can fix anything, but the reality is, when given the proper tools and conditions, our body is quite capable of healing itself. This light bulb moment led me to think more about what we think being healthy is. Spoiler alert - you've been lied to. A lot. I've been inspired to create a Masterclass Miniseries to share how to identify what's going on in your body and give you tools or actionable steps you can take to feel better.
Just for reference, I want to show you the screenshots of what happened when I went back to my normal habits. I would also like to add that having a wearable is not a requirement. I am a data nerd and these are just tools. This experiment was conducted on creating certain habits to make me FEEL a certain way. My wearable just shows a visual and confirms with biometrics what was happening in my body to confirm the feelings and symptoms I was experiencing did in fact come from reactions of my nervous system.
To listen to the corresponding podcast episode for this post, click HERE