Coping with seasonal weight, stress | VailDaily.com

Coping with seasonal weight, stress

Rod Connolly
Dogma Athletica
Dogma Athletica's Live It Group Training looks to help people in a fitness rut or dealing with a nagging injury.The six-week program focuses on fitness, psychological motivation and nutrition.
Jack Affleck | Special to the Daily

The holidays are upon us. How does this make you feel? Many Vail locals indicate their stress levels are at their highest. Work and social commitments are heavy. There is the hustle to generate money during the busy season. The shorter daylight and longer evenings all contribute to six weeks of unhealthy habits. The result is unhappy living and the frequently heard phrase, “I’m just trying to survive the holidays.”

I can relate. I am known to employ a Grinch attitude toward the holidays in past editions. Not this year. I am all in on an attitude of gratitude. I know the secret for me to thrive and not just survive. It’s being at my best: physically, mentally and philosophically. It means engaging in a process of discipline. When I do this, I can do anything.

It’s not about the 10 pounds. When I do lose 10 pounds that would put me at my cycling racing weight and body composition from long ago. And it’s not really about being at racing weight. It’s about being fully committed to a process of regular action to help me be my sharpest self. The disciplined practice of the healthy actions is what hones me. It mitigates stress. It allows me to be my best for my family. It puts me in a better place to generate revenue for my businesses. It gives me clarity of path in the face of hectic days. The process is the gift.

This is not something I am taking lightly. All the external circumstances are stacked against the outcome. My racing days were 25 years ago. Dogma Athletica is launching its new Live It Group Fitness Studio the week after Thanksgiving. I am general contracting the construction of this new space — something I have no experience doing. I am responsible for three businesses. My holiday event commitment calendar is getting the typical bombardment. My daughters will be home and I want to spend quality time with them and my lovely wife. I will be teaching 20 groups a week to help those students be their best. My plate is full. I am sure many readers can relate. Why would I choose now to engage in challenging personal physical change? It goes against all intuitive feeling, “I will wait until things quiet down and then I will take care of myself when I can find time.”

When is the last time things actually quieted down for you? We don’t find time; we make time.

Complex situations can either be tagged as opportunities or threats. It’s our choice of how we want to perceive them. I’m choosing opportunity and the actions that come with it. I already know the alternative. If you want to be fully alive and your best self for this holiday season I will share some tips on how to approach this endeavor.

What do you really want?

A clear sense of purpose will compel you into action and fuel your bravery to overcome any size obstacle. Get crystal clear about why it is so important for you to pursue your vision for success and achieve your goals. When you really know your why and its significance, you can stay the course and dance with fear when the inevitable challenges present. Fear will arise. You are stating something that is important to you, and you are going after it. But an important “why” will trump the fear. Don’t capitulate when fear rears its head. The process will get you through.

It starts with language

Become very aware of your language. Language shapes your thoughts, which dictates your actions. You are going to be busy. This is a fact. If you walk around and say, “I have to do this,” or “I need to be there,” you are already setting the table for not being in control of your process. You choose to go or do anything. Or you choose not to. Your health and happiness is a direct result of your string of choices.

I have been in the health/fitness and coaching industry for 30 years. I have heard every conceivable reason of why someone can’t engage in a regular healthy lifestyle. Those of us that are attached to our excuses get to keep them.

We live who we believe we are

We all have an internal storyline about ourselves. This shapes our identity. We act consistently with the identity we frame in our minds. What is the one concise sentence you would use to describe yourself? What are your standards for yourself?

Your health and body are a direct result of your standards. Not your goals. Not your aspirations. If you have created an identity riddled with limitations, you will consistently run into that glass ceiling. If you raise your self-standards and embody the identity that goes with them, you will gravitate toward actions that support these higher standards. An athlete has high standards for their health and fitness. They wouldn’t dare allow external circumstances get in the way of the practices they need to do to be fit enough to perform. High standards equals consistent healthy actions equals fit and hopefully happy person.

Rod Connolly is an exercise physiologist and owner of Dogma Athletica and Live It Group Training. He uses pragmatic philosophical practices to help his clients create positive change. Rod can be reached at Dogma Athletica at 970-688-4433