When I was 15, I was diagnosed as bipolar with extreme mania. I took medication for a time until I realized that living in the middle sucked so much worse than the way I had been functioning. While I’m certainly not offering any opinion on what others with the disorder should do, I know for me that living life in the middle seemed to be something to be avoided like carbs. Now, most of the women I work with and am friends with are on some kind of mood stabilizing medication because life in the middle seems a safer, calmer, more lovely place to live. No judgement. We all do what works for us but I know that is something that I don’t want in any part of my life….bring on the crazy, the moody, the screaming and yelling, and crying because I know that it comes with snorting laughter, the shit eater grin, the uncontrollable dancing in the kitchen, and the running through the rain with your arms outstretched and I don’t want to miss a moment of any of that.
Life is filled with highs and lows and ultimately if you average them out, well, you end up average…which I guess is still a central tendency of being in the middle. Yes, while the lows suck, they make you appreciate the highs so much more that it tends to skew the average a little higher. Recently, my marriage has been all about getting the “d” (no, not that “d”), the D.I.V.O.R.C.E. The last month has been the worst of our 12 years of marriage and of our 19 years of living together. And while I did briefly contemplate his murder in the last month (I may need to chill out on the crime TV) and I’m sure he did the same, when we came out of this low time, the feelings between us are now stronger than they have been in a decade. Almost losing him, being at my lowest point, made me hyper aware of how lucky I am to have him and how deep my love for this man that I picked is. You know when you have a cold and you think to yourself- “Man I miss being able to breathe freely” and then the first day you start to feel better and you actually appreciate the ability to breathe…something you never even gave a passing thought to….that’s what riding the highs and lows gives you that life in the middle doesn’t.
So how does all of this relate to fitness and weight loss…I think it’s pretty clear. There have been moments on my journey in this last year where I’ve been on a euphoric high, my weight was down, my body was morphing into something more pleasant, my husband couldn’t keep his hands off me….and then the low would strike…out of no where…all that progress would stop or even GASP go in the opposite direction. And because I embraced these highs and lows, because I knew the lows would pass, because I was seeking them out, I didn’t give up…I didn’t stop…I didn’t say “Fuck it bring on the brownies”. Instead I fought to get back to the highs…I used the lows as a step to get out of my rut and try something new. I hadn’t lost any weight in the last 6 months so I tried a variety of things (some successful and some not so much) to step out of my lows. I fasted, went to the gym 3 times a day, sucked down more apple cider vinegar than my body could handle, returned to some bad habits, yet nothing worked…but I wanted that high again so badly, I refused to give up. So my final step was getting a personal trainer… and while you’ll see me limping around, things have started to turn around and I’m heading to the high again.
The most valuable thing I’ve learned from my trainer thus far also relates to highs and lows. I spent the majority of my time with weights doing the same weights for the same number of reps….I thought that worked…not so much apparently. Like life, your muscles need to have highs and lows, they need to experience variety, times of high and low stress to stretch and grow…you see the analogy there, right?
While living life in extremes is not a life approach that works for everyone, I challenge you to taste it briefly and see if it doesn’t make you love deeper, your life feel more rewarding, and your ass look even more spectacular. Hey, highs and lows don’t just work for squats ;).