Wellness and Self-Care Calories
I had just finished my 4th round of a pretty intense workout with my personal trainer, and I was feeling strong! I was amazed that I could do the exercises he had given me, including deadlifts, one arm planks in push-up position, hip thrusters with weights, chin up holds and a slow lower, and finally, pulling and pushing a heavy sled. I was intimidated when he showed me each new exercise, but was pleasantly surprised that the workouts I had been doing at home had gotten me to a point where I could successfully tackle this new workout! Then, as I completed the first new exercise in my next set, it hit me.
“Mike, I need a minute.”
I must’ve looked like death in that moment because Mike told me to take my time, to take off my mask if I needed to, and to go sit by the fan. I honestly felt so great until I didn’t anymore, and it didn’t come gradually, it was like a switch that just flipped instantly. It was bad.
Even after a few minutes sitting directly in front of the fan, I didn’t feel better and I thought I was going to be sick. I made my way to the bathroom, and the simple act of walking there, dizzily, made things so much worse. I sat down and then really felt like I was going to puke, but with literally not enough energy to stand up to pull my pants up and turn around so I could be sick in the toilet (listen… if I would’ve been at home, I wouldn’t have cared if my bare bottom was on the floor, but in a public washroom, where my trainer was checking in on me and could see under the stall, this was not an option), I looked around and grabbed the thankfully empty little bag in the mini pads garbage can and had a plan to puke in there if it came to that. The urge to puke passed, and I knew that if I could just get myself to sit on the cold floor, I’d start to feel better. I eventually had enough strength to stand up, but with the sweat coating my entire body (think of that feeling you get right before you’re going to puke your brains out during an intense flu, and that whole body drenched with tiny beads of sweat moment… yeah, that’s where I was at), it took me even more energy to pull up my skin tight leggings. I felt like Ross in Friends with his leather pants and the baby powder scene.
With some struggle, I finally got my pants up and was able to sit on the cold, tiled floor. A few minutes later, I finally started to regain some strength. Although I’m thankful that I didn’t throw up, I’m even more thankful that I didn’t pass out, or worse. Needless to say, I didn’t finish my workout that day, but it made me stronger in different ways.
As I reflect on that experience, I can think of several reasons why this happened. But first, for context, it’s not like I had just hopped into a super challenging workout without a base. I have been running for a few years now and had been really focusing on strength training for 3 months before this workout. What surprised me the most was that I felt great until all of a sudden, I didn’t. I didn’t miss signs that were telling me to slow down, I just hit a wall like no other. But here’s what I realized… my husband and I had been eating clean for several weeks before that workout; nothing processed, whole foods, and although he was more so doing Keto, I wasn’t as strict with my carbs because I had learned after week one that running with next to no carbs in my body made me feel awful. However, once I started wanting to allow myself to have a few treats here and there, I decided to start using My Fitness Pal and tracking my calories… eye opening. As I entered in the food I’d consume in a typical day of clean eating, a warning popped up:
“Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are likely not eating enough. For safe weight loss, the National Institutes of Health recommends no less than 1000-1200 calories for women and 1200-1500 calories for men… Even during weight loss, it’s important to meet your body’s basic nutrient and energy needs. Oven time, not eating enough can lead to nutrient deficiencies, unpleasant side effects & other serious health problems.”
Oops! I never felt hungry, I was simply filling up on lots of veggies and protein throughout the day, but I was apparently starving my body, and didn’t even know it. That is the biggest reason why I believe I crashed and burned during that workout. My body was like… nope, you don’t have any more energy to burn lady, and if you’re not going to stop, I’m going to make you stop.
Noted! I never want to feel like that ever again!
But then it got me thinking about how this relates to so much more than fitness and calories, but particularly to wellness and self-care. Food gives us energy, and without it, we are weak and can’t be our best selves. The same is true with self-care… but I know that it is much easier to neglect self-care than it is to neglect food. The thing is, they’re just as important, but do we prioritize them in the same way? Not even close. But we should, we really should.
We would never go several days without eating. Can you imagine? “Sure Joe, I’ll do this thing you asked me to do during my lunch hour today even though I haven’t eaten since Sunday.” You know where this is going… we are SO quick to put our own wellness to the side and never think twice about it. We need to stop feeling guilty about prioritizing ourselves and making sure that we make time for self-care.
Not sure where to start? I truly appreciated the Roundtable Teachers On Fire episode with host Tim Cavey and panelists, Dan Tricarico, Lindsey Titus, and Dori Katsionis. Dan shared how he encourages us to focus on the 5 Ss: stillness, silence, slowing down, space, and subtraction. These won’t cost us a thing and can easily be infused in our day, even in the shortest amounts of time. Lindsey helped us understand that how we individually define self-care is truly important and that we need to be proactive versus reactive. I also appreciated her 4 As: awareness of where we’re ate, acceptance of the feelings we have, acknowledge of where we want to be/how we want to feel, and action to get there. Dori’s addition of her 3 Ms aligned perfectly: movement, mindset, and meditation. So much food for thought, see what I did there? 🙂
So please, wherever you are right now, prioritize your wellness and self-care so that you don’t end up hitting a wall like I did during my workout. You are important. You are worthy. And we need the best version of you, which can’t happen without enough wellness and self-care calories every single day.