Are You Paying Attention?

Are you paying attention?

If you’ve been a member here for more than a week, I’ve probably asked you “how are you doing/feeling/etc?” a handful of times.  I don’t mean the “hey, how’s it going?” welcome greeting, I mean the one where we actually have a conversation about your current status.  It’s usually a 5 minute conversation where we talk about things like soreness, fatigue, performance, results, health, goals, etc.  It’s an extremely unscientific way for me to keep a pulse on the gym and see how everyone is doing.  

Usually, in these 5 minute chats of ours, if someone replies with “I’ve been really tired”, “I feel sluggish”, “my ____ hurts”, or something of that nature, in only a few tries we can usually trace it back to a pretty obvious reason.  Almost universally, when someone is consistently not feeling their best, it is linked to sleep, stress, or diet.  Every once in a while, it is a medical issue, and although it’s not fun to find out about, it’s good to catch it as early as possible.  

The same is true for the opposite end of the spectrum, and when people say “I feel great!”, “I have a ton of energy” or “I feel like I’m getting much stronger/faster/better!”  We can usually trace back the change that created these new feelings pretty quick.  It’s strange how these improvements are almost always related to sleep, stress or diet.  Weird huh?

So what if you we’re to actually pay extremely close attention to your habits throughout the week.  I’m talking about taking an inventory of everything you eat, how many hours you sleep, how often you work out, and how you feel throughout the day.  Can you imagine what you might learn?  You could, and probably would dramatically change your life almost immediately.  You could probably solve a litany of things that you most likely have come to believe are just normal.   Things like: afternoon sluggishness, waking up tired, headaches, weight gain/loss, frequency of illness, crabbiness, foggy-headedness, gas, indigestion, depression, insomnia, etc.  The list could go on forever.

The drug industry wants you to believe that the only way to solve those issues is with a pill.  Sure, sometimes that is the case, but what if it’s just a small change in your daily habits that could make all the difference in the world.  Maybe you’re allergic to eggs, maybe you’re not sleeping enough, maybe the quality of your sleep isn’t great, maybe you’re working out too much, maybe you hate your job/spouse/life and it’s causing horrendous turmoil within your body.    How would you know?  

My suggestion/homework assignment to you is to make a log of your life for 3-7 days.  Log everything you eat, how much water you drink, how often you’re working out, how you feel during those workouts, how many hours you sleep, how you feel when you wake up, how you feel throughout the day, aches and pains, your overall mood, etc.  You can even include things like how much tv you watched, how many hours you were outside, your stress level at work, and more if you want.  You can use whatever scale, units of measurement you want that you will understand.  The easiest way for most people who don’t have food scales is to do portion size in relation to your closed fist.  Happiness is easily expressed in happy/sad/angry/barfing faces.  Sleep should be measured in hours and should include sleeping and waking times.  If you need a tool or suggestion on how to do this, you can use Beyond the Whiteboard, you can use a small notebook that you can carry around, any of the hundreds of apps designed for such a thing, any of the pages that come up when you google “diet log”, or I can even print one off for you here.

I bet you will learn a lot.  If you would like some insight, I would be more than happy to meet with you and talk about it*. 

*I still don’t want to hear about your morning wood.*