Living with Intention
We are a product of our own choices and decisions. I repeat, we are a product of OUR OWN CHOICES AND DECISIONS! These words are written in all capital letters on the inside of my husband’s notebook. It’s a reminder that we all need to hear daily. So often we are faced with life’s stressors and we cope with those stressors by resorting to poor lifestyle decisions. Then, when things don’t work out like we want, we blame everything but ourselves. The purpose of this blog is to share how important lifestyle is when it comes to happiness, pain, and success. I am going to share how Kevin and I both learned the importance of living with intention and how it bleeds over into every aspect of our lives and how you can do the same. When I say lifestyle I am referring to our daily nutrition, activity level, sleep, alcohol consumption, and who and what we surround ourselves with throughout the day. Lifestyle is something that is way too often overlooked in doctor’s offices and among health care practitioners such as myself. The truth is, if we don’t address lifestyle factors then we are doing a huge injustice to our patients. Lifestyle choices influence how we perceive pain, how our bodies heal, how prone we are to future injuries and how we are going to respond to various treatments. It simply cannot be ignored. So I’m here to address the elephant in the room and to remove the stigma of discussing lifestyle choices because, guess what, WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH MAKING HEALTHY CHOICES!
Lets start with Kevin’s story because it’s a lot easier than putting myself out there! All joking aside, Kevin’s decision to make radical lifestyle changes have had a profound impact on his mental health and has motivated me to be better as well. A few years ago my sweet husband was depressed, overweight and in pain all the time. It took his good friend, Darren Reavis, THREE TIMES asking him to try gymnastics strength training before he gave in and gave it a shot. He knew he had to make a change so Kevin finally gave in and began a new regimen of gymnastics strength training five days a week with Darren, gymnast friend and owner of Louisiana Gymnastics, and powerlifting on Saturdays. Kevin did this pretty consistently for 6 months without making any other lifestyle changes. He continued to consume alcohol on a regular basis, fuel himself with unhealthy food, and he failed to prioritize sleep. His poor lifestyle choices definitely made themselves evident in the gym. He would often skip days (usually leg day ), give up early on sets, and his progress was slow. But, he continued to show up and he was slowly starting to feel the positive impact regular exercise had on his health. He also kept his overall goal in mind, which, in Kevin’s words was “to be an overall strong and pliable motherf***er”.
The guys that worked out with Kevin in the morning had a significant influence on his health. He started to notice how alcohol and unhealthy food made him feel and he started eliminating those things. He started practicing intermittent fasting and played around with the Keto and Paleo diets. He eventually found what worked best for him, which is moderation and balance, and he currently sticks to a 3:1 good day to bad day of eating. He cut refined sugars and sticks to a high protein, low carb diet. The change in the quality of his food had a huge impact on his performance in the gym. He began making significant progress and was motivated to follow through with his exercise day in and day out. Slowly but surely Kevin began eliminating the unhealthy choices that were having a negative impact on his life. The impacts these choices have made on him have been incredible. He has more energy, more confidence and more motivation. He rarely deals with pain any more. He chooses to consume only positive information. He listens to personal development podcasts as well as motivating and inspiring audiobooks. He surrounds himself with people who are disciplined and motivated and also making healthy lifestyle choices. There is no turning back for Kevin now that he realizes how amazing his life can be when he ives with intention.
My story is a little bit different than Kevin’s. Prior to having kids I was very active. I ran regularly and was a college athlete. At one point in my life I was so obsessed with being skinny that I developed an eating disorder. I struggled with over exercising and limiting my calories to the point of unhealthiness. Fortunately, I was able to overcome that on my own but I continue to have a difficult relationship with food. Once I started having kids everything changed for me. I stopped exercising regularly about halfway through my first pregnancy. Two kids and 3 years later I was still struggling to exercise regularly, I was stressed all the time, and I felt like I had lost my identity. When I would try to start running again I would get so upset with how out of shape I was that it would take me several days or even weeks to try it again. I felt constantly anxious, irritable and stuck. One day I made a decision. Stop making excuses and get your butt out there and run everyday until you feel better. And that’s what I did. I would drop the boys off at daycare bring my work scrubs in the car and stop at the sports complex on my way to work. I would run 3 miles, change into my scrubs in the car and then go see my home health patient’s. One mile at a time I began to feel like myself again. Running has always been a time of self reflection for me. It’s the only part of my day when my inner voice has center stage. I work through a lot of my problems when Im on a run. I was feeling great but I still felt like I needed something more. I wanted to be pushed outside of my comfort zone so I did something I had always wanted to do. I joined a Crossfit gym and started working out there 3 days a week. To make this work for me I have to wake up at 3:50 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and leave my sleeping little ones in bed so I can hit the gym for a 5:00am class and I know that nothing will get in the way of that. I had to trust that my husband was going to be able to handle my boys if they wake up. It felt selfish at first, but, then I realized what a better mother and wife I was when I took this time to exercise regularly. Crossfit for me is more than just a workout. I’m constantly pushing myself to achieve things that I couldn’t do before. When I achieve something new in the gym it gives me confidence in myself and this confidence bleeds over into every aspect of my life. As someone who lacks confidence and self esteem this is a game changer for me. I know that I have to push myself physically every day in order to fuel the confidence that I need to run a business and to make the most out of everyday God gives me.
The other game changers for me I have only recently started implementing in my life. Latte’s and wine. Latte’s and red wine are my biggest vices. So much so that anytime my husband mentioned that I cut them out I was personally offended. My inner dialogue immediately resorts to every reason why I need these things in my life. I’m an overstressed working middle class mom coffee and wine are what keep me going! In reality, I use these things to run away from my problems. Recently, I decided to make a huge change. I no longer get latte’s in the morning on my way to work (this is more of a budget decision) and I only partake in drinking red wine on the weekends. At first this was hard for me but then I began to realize that I was using these things for comfort and as a distraction from the things that were stressing me out in life. Now that I’m forced to deal with things head on I realize that actually dealing with my problems instead of numbing them actually alleviates the stress instead of adding to it! I started doing intermittent fasting and I only eat between 11am and 7pm. That means black coffee, tea and water only between the hours of 7pm and 11am. The amount of mental clarity and and energy this has given me is incredible. I am a lot more conscious about what I do put in my body during my non-fasting hours and I find that in addition to fueling myself better I have practically eliminated all of the unconscious snacking that I used to do. I realize too that I am able to me more present when I am around my kids and I know that my healthy lifestyle choices have an impact on them and the choices they will make in the future and this motivates me beyond everything else.
Take Home Message
We wanted to share our personal struggles with you so that you can see that everyone struggles with making healthy choices. We also want to share with the world how empowering it can be when you take ownership of your life and decide to start living with intention. Recently, Kevin and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. As we sat across from each other at dinner that night and reflected on where we have come and the changes that we made it hit me that Kevin and I are the happiest and most at peace we have ever been together. This is especially poignant to me because we should be under a lot of stress based on where we are at with growing our business and achieving our financial goals. The personal development that we each have achieved individually has 100% had a positive impact on our relationship and our happiness together. That being said, I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and start challenging yourself. In a world that is seemingly obsessed with comfort and ease I think that it is essential that we become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Take an honest look at your current lifestyle choices and the repercussions that these choices have on your life and happiness. Im not talking about the immediate satisfaction you may get from a glass of wine or a cheeseburger but the satisfaction that comes when you wake up with a clear head or when you finally lose those 10lbs. The satisfaction that comes after you make it through a tough work out or land a new contract or achieve something you never thought possible. Nothing compares to that satisfaction and once you realize what you are capable of there’s no stopping you.
Being human we do need to constantly keep ourselves motivated to make the best choices day in and day out. Kevin and I do this by surrounding ourselves with like-minded people and by consuming books and podcasts by motivating and inspiring people that keep us on the right path of personal development. I have complied a list of some of the most impactful podcasts and books that we continue to consume to stay on the right path. If you have any recommendations for us based on what keeps you motivated we would love to hear them! We are constantly on the look out for more motivating and inspiring information to help us along our path of personal development.
Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine
Tao Te Ching by Lae Tzu
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson
The 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Rise by Rachel Hollis
Kwik Brain with Jim Kwick
The Joe Rogan Experience
Earn Your Happy by Lori Harder
Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu
I would like to reiterate how CRUCIAL it is to surround yourself by like-minded people. People who are disciplined and dedicated to leading a healthy lifestyle. These people will motivate you and keep you from straying. Kevin’s workout friends will often text each other to get each other at the gym and to keep each other accountable. You are who you surround yourself with. Remember that.