Caron's Journey - Part 4
I am sure most of us have a night or 2 without sleep. How did you feel? Tired? Trouble concentrating? Moody?
Somewhere at about 3 weeks of insomnia I had a complete and utter meltdown. Leaving for work in the morning I made it out to my car and I started to cry. Not just cry but body heaving, cannot breathe, gut wrenching sobs. I made my way back in the house and for about an hour and a half I cried. Clutching my partners arms felt like the only thing holding me up and keeping me from drowning. I don’t remember the last time I had really cried before this. It had been years. When it was over I slept.
For the following 3 days I did absolutely nothing. Off sick from work, my cell phone turned off, I finally did what my coaches have been asking of me for the past 4 years. I took time off. I had no choice in the matter really. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t think anymore. I sought medical help.
I won’t go into my poor experience I had with the standard medical system but I will say I found myself a fantastic Naturopathic Doctor (our very own Alana just had to go have a baby and wasn’t an option!). She listened. She explained things that were not new to me. Hormones. Stress. Recovery. All the things I learned in my Precision Nutrition course that I just did not think applied to me. Cortisol. HPA-Axis. Metabolic damage. Sex hormone imbalances. I was/am the poster child.
So I started to apply my own nutrition knowledge and the advice of fabulous MadLab coaches. Breathwork and mobility instead of lifting if I haven’t slept. Skipping the conditioning portion of DP when Tom sends me home early on Wednesday nights. I don’t shadow Andy in the mornings if I haven’t slept. Hugs from Sheppy and crying on the couch with Andy have both been therapeutic.
My competition on February 3rd went ok. I did just that…ok. Next up was BC Masters Provincials on March 9th. I figured a short reverse diet for a few weeks and then if I needed to I could do a couple weeks mini cut to make weight. I slowly added calories, mostly healthy carbs. Whole foods like pinto beans and yams, especially at night before dinner. I ate more fruit, more potatoes. And guess what happened. I started to sleep more. And my weight? It stayed the same.
And you know that woo woo hippy stuff that the Whole Life Challenge gets you to do? Journal? Meditate? Practice gratitude? Those are now daily practices that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. Identifying and writing down my feelings, learning to express my anger, fear and sadness in healthy way so it can move through me and I can deal with life on the other side, has been a game changer.
So, on March 9th at the BC Masters Championships, despite a lot less training and a lot more eating – I weighed in less than my February competition. I went 6 for 6 on the platform for the first time, set new competition PR’s on both lifts, won the gold and set a new Provincial record for my group in the snatch. I was well rested, well fed and had learned some great ways to manage my stress and anxiety.
So why am I telling you all this deeply personal stuff?
First of all to be a cautionary story to all of you Type A, high achieving perfectionists out there. Heed your coach’s advice, listen to your own bodies biofeedback. Rest and recover. Take time to do nothing. As Andy once told me, don’t think of it as a wasted workout if it’s what your body needs.
Secondly, I want you all to know what motivates me to do what I am doing. Everyone needs a coach. Coaches need coaches. It doesn’t matter how smart you are we all need help from time to time. I am still healing. I am in recovery. It will take time to repair the damage I have done. And I want to help you. The rest of the MadLab coaches want to help you. It is why we do what we do.
Finally, I want you all to know that we are now offering MadLab Nutrition Coaching. We have different packages available depending on your needs. This isn’t about handing out meal plans and sending you on your way. It’s working together in an environment of compassion, understanding and empathy. If you want to do a bodybuilding or physique competition then I am probably not the coach for you. If you or anyone you know are interested in a collaborative effort in developing good habits, making smart choices, lose some weight (yes, it is ok if you want to walk this earth on a lighter frame and I can help you do that the right way!) and learning to eat for health and hunger, then speak to me or your coach or Dash. (firstname.lastname@example.org)