I sent this out to my email subscribers earlier, but felt that it needed to reach a larger audience, so here goes…
I remember it clearly. For weeks leading up to my 33rd birthday, I had been noticing some pain in my hip and groin. I blew it off as normal soreness and kept running and exercising.
During this time, I was also realizing that I couldn’t stay married to my husband anymore. It was one of those things that I had known for a long time, but chose to ignore.
So, to deal with the emotional turmoil of leaving a 10-year relationship, I ran and took spin classes. A lot.
This in and of itself isn’t terrible, but I also wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping and generally felt like crap.
But exercise was my outlet, and it gave me a high, that, while short-lived, I couldn’t get anywhere else.
Then the nagging pain started. Then the nagging pain turned into more constant, consistent pain until finally I was out on a run, and could barely even walk back home…the pain was excruciating.
On my 33rd birthday, I found out that I had a pretty dangerous fracture in my hip. One that might require surgery to insert a metal pin to fix. What? Happy birthday to me!
I opted not to go the surgery route, but that meant NOT exercising AT ALL for at least 12 weeks. I was on crutches, in pain, and devastated.
Exercise was the only way I knew how to deal with the mental anguish I was going through. Without it, I was a mess.
I wish I could say that during my recovery I had an ephiphany or that I was grateful for the struggle or that I felt like a warm light came over and surrounded me with healing.
Mainly, I was pissed off and bitter. I was depressed and relied heavily on pain meds to keep me from feeling not only the physical pain, but the emotional as well.
It was the longest 12 weeks of my life. And you’d think I’d have learned a lesson or two during that time, but no.
I got back into running hard and heavy, much much too soon. My eating was still crappy, and I was still stressed with dealing with my divorce.
For the next 7 years, I suffered AT LEAST one fracture per year – some minor ones in my feet, others more serious, including another one in my hip and the one that FINALLY caused my epiphany in 2009. That one was a near full break of my heel bone that landed me in a bright green cast for 8 weeks.
It’s really hard for me to even write this, because I can see so clearly now how messed up it was.
But thing is, I just didn’t have the mental tools available at the time to deal with my underlying problems.
Exercise was the only way I knew how to deal with them. It was also the only thing I thought dictated my self-worth. People saw me as “badass” because of all the exercise I did. Boy, if they only knew how much I was struggling inside.
The reason I share this with you is that I get emails all the time from people who are struggling with the same things. On the surface they realize they have used exercise as their outlet, and have become addicted to that. They ask me for step by step plans and programs on how to break the cycle. Just tell me what to eat and how to exercise, Tara, they say.
And I want to help them, I really do – but here’s the thing…there is no program or plan I can give them that will help break the cycle unless their mind is ready. It has to come from within. It has to start with mindset. And they have to be ready to deal with ups and downs and the fact that the shift is more like a squiggly line than a straight-upward climb.
So how did that happen for me? Like I said, that last fracture in 2009 was my breaking point (no pun intended). I knew I needed to change, and for the first time, I really wanted to change. My mind was where it needed to be.
I have my workout partner, mentor and friend, Jill Coleman, to thank for providing me with both the mental and physical tools over these past 6 years to make the shift.
Did it happen overnight? Hell no! There were times when I’d have some stress, and I’d go back to that place of not eating and exercising like crazy. But it was short-lived, very short-lived. Because once you have the mental tools, you learn to recognize patterns – and you can break them sooner.
Jill is a master at mindset. Yes, she is an amazing trainer who provides amazing workouts. But it’s her success mindset tools that are the most life-changing. We’ve been hanging out together this past week in Cali, and while we’ve had some great workouts, the most fun has been just chilling out, drinking wine (duh!) and talking about the power of the mind.
If you are you interested in the tools to lead a more balanced, sane existence, then you should give Jill’s Total Training Experience program a look. You’ll need to do it before tomorrow, as that is when it closes, and won’t be offered again for a year. Yes, I am biased, but her content will rock your world – physically and mentally. You’ll see what I mean when you check it out.
If any of this resonates with you, let me know. I love to hear from you! You can also check out my latest Periscopes on cardio obsession and other juicy stuff here.