I met up with a new friend a couple months ago. It was our first time getting to know one another. I bellied up to the bar, and knowing that I work in the fitness industry, the first thing my new friend asks is “So you’re really healthy, huh?” I burst into laughter and said “Not really. I’m fit though!” And then I ordered a whiskey old fashioned.
Just like everyone else, I live in a world filled with temptation, stress, late nights, early mornings, kids, drugs, booze, and a mind full of I-don’t-wannas. In the realm of healthy, I’m probably slightly above average...so I laughed at her question.
To be fair, I’m leagues away from what I used to be, and the process of moving from unhealthy to more healthy was intentional and, in my assessment, slow but permanent. And, in fact, I am still working on creating a healthier way of being as I move through this life. Exercise and play always came naturally to me, so luckily for me, that healthy way of being was built into my DNA. But being healthy is SO much more than exercise.
It wasn’t until after my fitness certification in 2007 that I learned anything about nutrition. I cut out processed foods at that point. I let go of old favorites like hot dogs with Taco Bell sauce. Mmmm...Taco Bell….As I continued to learn more about the functionality of the body and paying attention to how I feel with certain foods, I continued to curate my diet to move toward my intentions.
In 2010 I quit smoking cigarettes. It took me 3 years to actually kick the habit, and took the death of my father to instigate even trying!!
In 2012 I attempted to leave a 6 year relationship that was co-dependent and toxic - for both of us - and in 2014 I finally released it after 2 additional years of going back and “trying again.”
In 2014 I also started to look at my anger and anxiety. My explosive anger had gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years, including run-ins with authorities and physical abuse of my previous partner, not to mention, the verbal, emotional and physical abuse of myself. I am not proud of this part of me and I hid it for a long time. I entered intensive personal growth courses and continue to be involved in them today*. The process of humaning doesn’t go away.
Two years ago, I began meditating and exploring physical modalities that would impact me at the level of the nervous system so that my physical self would integrate with the work that my cognitive self was exploring and discovering**.
And today, THIS VERY WEEK, as I write this blog, I have successfully not smoked marijuana for one full week. I have smoked weed almost daily for somewhere around 15 years, and I started 18 years ago as a junior in college. There! I said it!! I understand this may come as a surprise to many, and admitting to it on this public forum makes me very nervous, especially due to my status in the fitness industry and the status of marijuana in our society today. But I do it because I understand we all have a shadow self that is begging to be looked at and paid attention to. In the world of survival and looking good, however, it can be difficult to admit.
All of this to say I may not fully quit smoking marijuana for my lifetime - the party girl will always be alive in me - but the discoveries I am making from not self-medicating have been life changing. I have discovered the root of my fears and anxiety. I have discovered that I’ve been running my life, my teams, my reputation and my business from a space of desperation and fear. That low-level anxiety just needed to be heard, and it was being stifled by my addiction. I am not sure I was ready for this discovery until now, as I have taken a month “off” several times in the past. I am now so connected to that little scared girl inside, and I can comfort her more fully now.
My journey to health has been a long one, and it is far from over. Unfortunately in my field of expertise I see people getting burned out on being healthy before they really even start! Frequently in the sports and health industry, and our society in general, the “go-hard-or-go-home,” “all-or-nothing” mentality is king, no matter how many professionals tell us not to do that to ourselves.
What would it be like to take on our healthy habits one step at a time? What if we had compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and each other about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going? What if we had support, coaching and a community around all of it??
After a decade of witnessing this defeatism again and again with friends and clients, I created a program that guides people through the tumult and roller coaster of taking on new, healthy lifestyles***. Comfy Fitness, my fitness company, is launching the Comfy Lifestyle program on June 3rd, offering awareness, education and accountability in a non-judgmental, empowering and compassionate context. We believe with the right team, anything is possible.
All it takes is one habit to alter the trajectory of your health, your life and your relationships. No matter where you are on your journey, there’s always room to grow. I still don’t drink enough water, sleep too little, and drink a little too much alcohol and coffee, but the support and compassion I receive from myself and my allies have made all the difference.
*Landmark and the Wright Foundation are great places to start on a cognitive understanding and journey of the self.
***The Comfy Lifestyle is a 12 week program that has its participants walking away with at least one new, healthy HABIT in a way they’ve never experienced before. Through three keystone elements: mindfulness, education and statistics, Comfy Lifestylers get to view themselves, their health and the world of healthy living in a whole new way. Contact Kira at firstname.lastname@example.org