Stress

When I absorb (i.e. actually notice such that it sinks in!) new information, I re-evaluate things. If necessary, I try and take measures to change my actions as a result.
Also when I actually commit to doing something, I generally follow through. My latest such project is related to cleaning up my lifestyle, having learned last weekend about the endocrine system. This, for the uneducated (which was me a week ago) refers to the system that controls our hormones. It’s kind of like a complementary version of the nervous system. Long story short, it can get out of whack due to stress, toxic chemicals, and poor food choices.
Most of us, including me until pretty recently, live life at high alert. High stress levels combined with chronic lack of sleep and often poor diet choices and insufficient exercise put our adrenals on high alert. The physiological reason for this is survival: when surviving a lion attack you need to be on high alert to make sure she’s not coming after you again, and to warn everyone else. But this wasn’t designed for long periods of time. You can feel it (or at least I can), when you’re under stress.  
After prolonged periods, bad things happen: our bodies cannot absorb nutrients or repair properly, and consequently we get run down, sick, pre-mature aging occurs. In combination with other stressors we pre-dispose ourselves to such wonderful things as diabetes, cancer, depression, etc. Obvious, yes, but sometimes we miss the obvious. Like you hear all the time about people with thyroid malfunction or adrenal fatigue. Why do these things occur? Stress, diet, toxic chemicals. Yes, we all know this. Yes, it’s like the sugar you know is bad for you but you put in your coffee anyway … we mostly just stick our heads under the sand like ostriches supposedly do (they don’t, by the way. At least I don’t think they do).
We take on stress from all sorts of places. Our boss. Our family. Our subordinates. Ourselves. Somehow, don’t ask me how, I’ve gotten out of that high stress state. Not sure when exactly … sometime in October or November is all I know. Not that I don’t still feel periods of stress and tension but there is a difference between periods and a continuous state.
My diet has been pretty good, but I have neglected the toxic chemicals in things like soap, shampoo, sunscreen, dish detergent (sorry but Grapple cream and New Skin are going to have to stick in my regimen … hand rips are no fun, and having them healed sooner than later is worth a few toxic chemicals). I recently started taking zeolite in high enough doses to feel and taste the results of the detox: heavy metals on my tongue. It is hectic. I can only imagine how much garbage is in my system. Some of it (car fumes) is unavoidable. Some of it (second-hand smoke) we can largely avoid through choices. Some of it (what we choose to eat and wash with, etc.) is wholly within our control most of the time.
So having learned a few things (including that progestin is not progesterone and that I need to unwind some old hormonal damage), I’ve decided to go on a strict detox from January (so timed just because it’s pretty well impossible not to drink on New Year’s). Hopefully I emerge in February lighter, cleaner, and healthier. At least that’s the idea. But the thing about a detox that’s also quite cool is that cheating is not an option.
“I won’t work with unmotivated people.” – Pierre
Imagine how your stress levels would look if everyone around you actually did what they said they would do, on time and at a high level of quality? The interesting challenge for 2012 is how to achieve that for ourselves and for the people we work with. I’ve been doing a great job of saying no, recently, as a way to make sure I don’t over-commit. My adrenals thank me.
Been busy prioritising sleep and mobility work over blog writing, hence the lack of posts. What have I kept myself busy with? All the ex post facto stalkers want to know I’m sure. Well here goes:
  • Thursday made myself stupid sore with ring dips (thanks to Chris for explaining the actual ending position of the ring dip and thereby causing me to miss about 5 reps and not finish the workout in the time cap and get extremely sore. And no, I’m not being facetious – these things are important. If you’re not training proper range of motion, it won’t help you in competition).
  • Braai with Nick and the Heart Capital team at Peter & Mandy’s. Definitely always sad to see Nick leave.
  • Cool and fun talk on innovation (ideation!) in the last Friday Fika of 2011 at Hub Cape Town.
  • Terrible form & extreme weakness on deadlifts Friday, followed by dinner & 9 hours of sleep with a very sleepy Mona.
  • Open gym at which I tried to do a strength workout but my body would NOT co-operate (sad, I could barely manage 10kg less than my 1 rep max on press), so I called it a day, ate at the market and went off to my workshop.
  • Shopping at Constantia Village then got back to my car, turned on the radio, and heard Jeremy Loops. Too freaking cool.
  • Dinner with some American friends of Chad & Kathryn’s (tried Café Roux, but then moved to Beluga where the waiters are not allowed to bring jugs of water to the table. Next time I’m bringing my water bottle). Did not go to Trinity, but rather to sleep.
  • Mobility work, Wellness Warehouse shopping trip, lunch with Mona at Sandbar, a poor attempt at paleo gingerbread cookies, some dual N-back, and sleep.
  • Worked on the web site. A lot. Learning WordPress. Weird how some things are so easy and some things that should be easy aren’t controlled by this specific theme and must be done in RSS. Weird.
  • CCF added a new Fundamentals class on Monday nights where you go back to basics. Since I wanted to do this anyway and since the workout was power snatch & a barbell complex I did the class and it was awesome. Jobst made a complete correction to my starting position for the snatch (which will apply to the clean as well), and I actually finally took the time to get my hand positioning right on the bar.
  • Dinner with Kerry, where she pointed me at some resources I can use in my efforts to take over the world.
  • Another day, another dawn at the office. Then after a productive day my co-worker stole and hid my protein shake. Actually, I felt like a kid again. It was quite cool.
  • My body is just not the same. It’ll be back but I’m fighting not to be frustrated. Not only am I weak on the press but I’ve lost major strength on the pullup (my weighted strict pullup was at least 5kgs less than my PR), and then I was really struggling to string together pullups on the workout. I guess I did do a total of 72 so it’s all relative I suppose.
A final word: ownership changes everything. You take on something, you own it, you commit to it, you make it happen. When we work on things we don’t really care for and don’t take ownership, or half-ass something, that’s when shit doesn’t go down. Sorry Ellie & Hector. I’ll have my shit together in 2012.
  • “When you fish, it’s not like hunting. You are trying to catch something you can’t see.” – Taurai
  • “Cheater!!” – Jon (well, I deserved this on about the 10x that I got it…)
  • “When you see something you don’t like in other people, it’s usually something you really don’t like in yourself, right?” – Hollie
  • “You’ve done good work.” – Debbie
  • “I’m not the sort of person who could make a lot of money and be driving a Jaguar and then completely ignore the guy knocking on my window asking for money. I’m just not that sort of person.” – Anton
  • “It couldn’t have gone any better.” – Peter
  • “Smoking is really really really really inconsiderate.” – Robyn (yes, she really said really four times)
  • “Coconut milk makes everything better.” – Mona
  • “The problem with rock stars is they’re high maintenance.” – Pierre
  • “When push comes to shove, most people crumble.” – Pierre
  • “You do all these healthy things for your body. All I do is smoke and drink.” – Lilian
  • “No alcohol for FOUR WEEKS? How are you going to survive?” – Jon
  • “Is it easy?” “It’s never easy.” – Roxanne & Ellie
  • “Can I ask you something? That’s not related to quantum physics??” – Kerry
  • “Will it hurt?” “Yes.” “Awesome. Let’s do it.” “God, I love CrossFit.” – Andrew & Ellie

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