Maybe You Just Need a Break (Even More than You Already Know You Need a Break)

How many times have you felt like the pounds just don’t seem to budge? You feel like you are watching your calories, exercising like crazy, and still…no sign of progress on the scale. Now, add the high-stress holiday season. Enter all of the expectations of you. Whether you are aiming to get to every holiday party, attend every school performance, or make sure to visit friends who need company this time of year, there is just so much on your list…in addition to all of the things you already do. Overwhelmed? Welcome to the company of many!


Let me introduce to you “Sally”…


  • Sally has one elementary and one middle school-age kid.
  • She works out hard 4x per week at the local school boot camp.
  • She prides herself that she gets her kids to school every day.
  • She works long hours as a marketing professional for a tech company.
  • She squeezes in juice or a bar for lunch and is ready to eat her fist when she gets home.
  • She stays up late to work on overdue projects.
  • Right now, she is busily scouring websites nightly for:
    • Christmas gifts for her staff, her kids, her aging mother, her boss, the many hostesses for parties she plans to attend, her sisters, and her husband
    • Recipes for “original” cookies she will make for both children’s school holiday party and for her husband’s office
    • How to lose the “muffin top”
    • What is up with friends on social media
  • She gets to bed around 11:30pm.
  • She awakens nightly around 2:30am and stares at the clock wishing she could just go back to sleep.
  • She wakes up at 4:50am to get to a 5:30am boot camp.
  • She struggles with her mid-section and would love to fit into the jeans she wore last year.
  • She feels like she continues to gain weight, despite her efforts at boot camp and eating minimal calories.


Sally is not uncommon.


Sally is a great example of someone who squeezes something into in every minute of the day to “make the most of it.” While all of the action items on Sally’s list seem normal — good, even! — right now is a good time for Sally to give herself a break and actually shrink the “to do” list. Since she knows there is a lot expected of her, in order to keep her stress level down, Sally would benefit from a reset, even if it’s simply to take a short break from whatever she can to gain some stress resilience in her life.


So, what d0 you do? I mean Sally, what does Sally do?


If Sally were a wellness client of mine, these are the three simple steps I’d advise her to practice to regain control:

If she repeatedly awakens at 2:30am, boot camp may not be the best bet. This holiday season, I’d advise Sally to “first, sleep.” Without a consistent 7-7.5 hours of sleep, Sally’s body is starving for sleep. Without it, her body is unable to recuperate from all of the stress she places on herself. And, she is packing on the pounds from a lack of sleep.

If Sally continues to feel like she is not losing weight, yet eating so little, I’d advise Sally to find ways to relieve herself of stress or start to incorporate simple stress resilience practices like 30 seconds of breathing, 5 Minute Flows, walking away from email every 15 minutes, and my “signature car breaths.” The more Sally worries about her diet, the more stress she is placing on her body.

If Sally continues to be on the computer late at night, her brain is wide awake just before she’s asking it to turn inward and go to sleep. I’d advise her to skip the nighttime website searches and carve out time during her workday or – once she gets her 7 hours of sleep – early in the morning. The late “blue light” of her computer, combined with her high level of stress, could be the culprit for Sally not losing the pesky 10 pounds.



Find me at for more info on how to book a Wellness Visit with me. If now is the time to take control of your life and not allow your life to take control of you, email me at

Happy Holidays, Alexandria!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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