Use it or Lose It

Hey everyone! For a few weeks I had been letting my at-home morning workouts slide. Doing constant push-ups on the counter started giving me a repetitive strain injury in my elbows (ouch), my babe was (and still is) teething his molars, and a thousand and one other things got in the way. So frustrating! I love working out, but sometimes you just can’t seem to make it happen.

But I noticed something interesting. My coffee intake massively increased, my general interest level started dropping and my energy levels plummeted.

Hunh?

Hunh?

You would think that since I wasn’t pushing myself super hard every day I would have more energy! My body wouldn’t be using up all it’s energy healing itself, I would have more time… But no. The exact opposite happened. My body started shutting down.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Use it or Lose It

I’ve talked about this before: We are living in the 21st century walking around in bodies designed for cavemen. We pack on the pounds quicker and easier than we lose them, we instinctively check our surroundings every 7 minutes give or take (start watching for it!), and we are designed to move. Our bodies start to hate us after a while if we don’t let them loose! Basically: Our bodies are hyper active puppies. If we don’t take them out for daily walks and let them run around and smell the trees, they get depressed.

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

In order to keep your body in peak physical form, you do need to use it. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago called Abs are Made in the Kitchen. This is very true, you can’t have a great body with a bad diet (unless you’re a kid running around at level 11 all day every day) but you also won’t have a happy body unless you allow it to move.

Exercise works wonders on our bodies and our minds. By pushing our bodies to move faster, lift heavier, breathe harder; we’re allowing our bodies to do what they were designed to do. We were not designed to sit in front of a computer all day. We were designed to run, lift, carry and jump for hours on end on very little food. Obviously I’m not saying starve yourself, but I am saying our bodies are starving for action.

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

If you compare our western cultures to those on the other side of the globe, you will see a very noticeable difference. Here, we’re suffering from an obesity epidemic. Illnesses due to poor diets and lack of exercise are greatly on the rise. When I went to community college, it was cheaper to get a heaping plate of fries drowned in gravy than it was to get a small plate of vegetables. And when you do get vegetables, it’s cheaper to get the ones dosed in toxic chemicals. Then you look at Eastern cultures… Children in China eat cucumbers as a tasty snack as opposed to Twinkies. Look at their sidewalk vendors: Where we have hotdogs, they have corn on the cob. Even people in their 80s are still running marathons!

Yes. This is real. Photo Credit: @LoneCaravan

Yes. This is real. Photo Credit: @LoneCaravan

It is possible to stay healthy and full of energy until long after we’ve typically given up in the west, but it does require some work. We need to give our bodies a purpose; a challenge. Those days when you feel the most like giving up are the days you need to push yourself harder.

Perfect example! I used to get sick. A lot. The last couple winters before I met my manfriend I had no less than 5 colds per winter. No joke. No exaggeration. Within 4 months I had 5 colds. Probably even 6. Know why? Because the second I felt that little tickle in my throat, I gave up. “Oh woe is me! I’m getting the sniffles! Better lay down.”

Pathetic.

In the four years we’ve been together I have had one cold. Total. Maybe two at most. Because I stopped giving in at the first sign of trouble and started fighting. Plus, I became a mother, and as we all know moms don’t get sick days. So now when I feel a throat tickle coming on I take 6 1000 mg Vitamin C capsules with an Emergen-C drink, I sleep a little more, and I work a little harder.

Much harder to do when there's a baby screaming for you and a kitchen that needs cleaning and supper that needs to be prepped... Someone pass me the Vitamin C, I'm going in!

Much harder to do when there’s a baby screaming for you and a kitchen that needs cleaning and supper that needs to be prepped… Someone pass me the Vitamin C, I’m going in!

Yes you read that right, I work HARDER. Working less does nothing but give your body less incentive to work more. The less you work, the less you want to work, so the less you work, and down the spiral you go.

Our bodies are designed beautifully, this is very true. But there is one major flaw:

The less you use it, the more you lose it.

It is actually a brilliant survival technique. What we don’t need, we shed. Did you know that when astronauts arrive in space, their first pee is chock-full of calcium? Gross, but also fascinating! Due to the lack of gravity, the lack of constant pressure on their bones, they don’t need all that bone mass so they start shedding it to be more energy efficient.

So long bone density! Hello moon walking. Level: expert

So long bone density! Hello moon walking. Level: Expert

The same thing happens across the board. What we don’t use, we inevitably lose. Muscles get weaker over time, bone density goes away, connective tissue weakens… Slowly our bodies start to fall apart and weaken if we stop using them.

So stop letting your body waste away long before its time! There is absolutely no excuse. I am insanely busy, and I still make time to work out every morning. I often joke that I have an entire day long before noon. Designate a corner to be your workout area, set up some of those baby play mats from Walmart, and get to it! The hardest part is getting up to the point where you’re about to start. Once you get started, your body takes over. Because your body wants to workout! It’s your brain that gets in the way. Now that I’ve been back on my workout schedule for the last two weeks, I feel amazing! I’m drinking less coffee, I’m sleeping better, I’m getting more done in the run of the day, and I am all around more interested and more happy. Plus I’m getting my muscle definition back again, always a fantastic feeling. What more could you ask for?

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

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2 thoughts on “Use it or Lose It

  1. Sorry everyone for some reason WordPress has decided that paragraphs need not be separated… This is a nightmare to read. I’m working on it!

  2. Well I just tried the only thing I could think of and that didn’t work… Sorry folks! Hopefully next week will be more legible. If anyone out there is a tech genius, or just better at this than me (not hard to do) please let me know if you can think of why on God’s green earth this happened. And a solution would be most excellent. Thanks!

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