I had a shitty day yesterday. Actually that’s a bit of a lie; it got better around mid-afternoon, but the morning sucked.
Saturday evening I had contemplated skipping yesterday’s workout. Mother Nature has delivered her monthly gift that I keep telling her I don’t want, and I felt like I could maybe use one extra rest day. I decided to meet myself in the middle by planning to get up for a workout and seeing how I felt then. So Sunday morning rolls around, it’s cold, it’s raining, and I’m tired, but I know if I don’t get that workout in I’ll regret it later. I dragged myself out of bed and started to get ready. But some things happened and the morning didn’t go as planned. I didn’t get to the gym straight away as I had hoped and I wound up irritated and frustrated. Deep down I knew what my options were and that this wasn’t the end of the world but it sure felt like it was. It was one of those “powerless against your emotions” kinda moments; I knew I was being irrational, and yet I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it. I just reminded myself that once I finally made it to the gym and started to get my sweat on I’d feel better.
Around the third rep of my first set of exercises a little voice popped into my head. “You can’t do this today” it said. “This is too hard today”. I knew I could do it, as I had done the exact same routine a week before, but my legs felt like they just didn’t have the power. My frustration grew tenfold, I felt like I wanted to cry, and I thought that if I could just finish that set then I could go home. But then another voice popped into my head. It reminded me of something I read a few days earlier that was written by a well-known fitness competitor I sometimes look to for motivation.
I get tired. I get frustrated. I get nervous. I’m fearful. I am self doubting. I’m strong. I’m dedicated. I will continue to push no matter how difficult.
At that point something changed. It was like all the drive, intensity, and energy inside me came through. That negative voice was still there, but the positive one had grown. “You are stronger than that.” It turns out I was! The rest of my workout I knew things were hard; I didn’t lie to myself about that. But I also knew what I was capable of accomplishing, and damnit I was going to accomplish it! I got sweaty, I got ugly, but I got happy. And at the end I banged out 90 squats at 75lb, and then another 10 at 85lb just for fun. Nobody did that for me. Yeah, that quote gave me a bit of the push I needed, but no one was pushing that leg press except myself. Nobody passed me a lighter weight during split-leg squats. I did it all on my own.
Role models are overrated. I think it’s great to have people to look up to, people that inspire you. But what about YOU? It’s time to become your own inspiration. Take some time to think back to a time where you made it through something difficult. Maybe you survived an awful course in college. Maybe you made it through a personal relationship crisis. Maybe you completely changed the circumstances of your life. You are capable of accomplishing these seemingly difficult tasks and making it through challenging times. We’ve all been in situations where things are hard, but we’ve also survived. Yes you may have been uncomfortable, and yes the situation may not have been enjoyable. But you made it through and became a better person because of it, whether you realize it or not. The people we look up to experience difficulties just as we do, so why should they be a better role model for yourself than you?
The next time something seems to difficult to achieve, think back to that difficult time you made it through. Remind yourself how strong, capable, and powerful you are. Use that power to pull through and rise above the situation. Change is uncomfortable, but when you come out alive you’re going to feel better than ever. I know I’m going to have days like that again, both inside and outside the gym, but I’m going to think of yesterday, of all my previous accomplishments, of all my future ones, and I will use those to motivate me to continue. When you’re looking for motivation, look inside yourself and remember all that you have accomplished. Don’t concern yourself with what others are doing at that moment. It’s all about you. Outside sources of motivation are helpful and even important, but when things get really tough, remind yourself how great you are and what you’ve already accomplished, no matter how big or small it may seem. This never gets easier, you just get better at dealing with it.
Woo. Alright, intensity aside now. I’m on day 2 of a 7 day sugar detox right now, which consists of NO added sugar. I do this every once in awhile to reset my body’s cravings so that I don’t start salivating like a wild animal when I have a piece of bread or chocolate. I admit I botched day 1 within an hour of waking up yesterday. I needed some almond milk for my oatmeal and all I had was sweetened, so about 1/4 of a cup made it into my oats. Sad face. Back on track for the rest of the day though and I plan to continue strong for the week (I have since purchased unsweetened almond milk 🙂 )
So what do I do when those sugar cravings hit me during my time of abstinence? To start with, I eat a lot of fruit. I like fruit that’s high in fiber such as apples and pears and the great potassium provider, bananas. Some advise against avoiding excessive amounts of fruit when you’re trying to lose weight, but I’m not and I enjoy fruit so shove it. This is what works for me. I also have a nice stock of cookie dough tea from David’s Tea. It doesn’t taste like cookie dough, but it smells amazing and works great to beat those late-night cravings. What is probably my most important tactic for beating my sugar addiction is to make sure I eat enough balanced meals throughout the day. Skimping on meals or nutrition for the sake of saving calories will only set you up for disappointment. You’ll become tired and sluggish and more likely to make unhealthy decisions. So eat your breakfast, eat your plants, and get enough protein in!
All of that being said, last night was the kind of night where cookie dough tea and apples just wouldn’t cut it. I wanted ice cream. Not Greek yogurt plopped in a bowl in the freezer. Real ice cream. Enter my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker! I got this puppy for Christmas and hadn’t had a chance to bust it out yet because there are SO many options for homemade ice cream that I get a little bit overwhelmed. So I did some research yesterday and came up with my own protein-filled, added-sugar-free version! The batch made enough for two large servings or three small ones, and after our workout and a three hour walk yesterday my man and I were totally ready for two large portions. Now if you don’t have an ice cream maker don’t fret. While I haven’t tried this method yet, I have found recipes online that recommend sticking your ice cream mixture in a container in the freezer and giving it a good stir every now and then. It will obviously be different than the real thing, but it may be all you need to satisfy your nighttime sweet tooth!
Peanut Butter & Banana Vanilla Protein Ice Cream: Serves 3 small people or 2 normal people. You will need:
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 scoops protein powder of your choice – I used Kaizen Naturals vanilla ice cream; sweetened with stevia instead of sugar!
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
- Mix-ins of your choice – I used cacao nibs and chopped pecans
1. Blend the first four ingredients
2. Pour them into your ice cream maker and follow the directions like you would when making regular ice cream (or put them in a tupperware container and put them in the freezer!)
3. Let it churn until it reaches the consistency you like. I waited 25 minutes which is the minimum time required for it to become ice cream-y. It definitely would have benefited from more time, but I wanted ice cream NOW. After 20 minutes I added the pecans and cacao nibs.
4. Enjoy this treat that will feed your muscles free of guilt
This treat clocks in at around 350 calories and provides 29 grams of protein!! This is definitely something I will be experimenting with more in the future. What do you do to beat sugar cravings???