Me? Selfish? Ok, if I must

For the last seven years, at least, I have wanted to compete in a bikini competition…but my excuses have always prevented me from attaining this goal. However, now that I have made this commitment to myself, excuses are a thing of the past…sooooo, yesterday I hired a coach and tomorrow I will begin training for my first competition!

Honestly, I have never been so ready for this in my entire life. Sure, I’ve wanted to do it, but I wasn’t ready. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve discovered the true meaning of not being able to control anything or anyone other than myself. Being a control freak, it’s no wonder that it has taken me so long to figure that out.

And, honestly, I have never been so scared about this in my entire life…because I actually think I can do this. Usually, when I put my heart and soul into accomplishing something, I succeed beyond my expectations. I drive full force into it. I feel that happening with this. The feeling is amazing and there’s no looking back.

However, I’m also scared because I. LOVE. FOOD. Almost as much as I love breathing. Most days, as I’m making my morning coffee, I think of all the yummy things I’ll eat that day. I, by no means, eat poorly on a regular basis, but I do like to eat a lot of food. I haaaaate being hungry. So, I worry about the diet portion of this adventure. And, as with so many people, I eat my emotions, so I’m going to have to keep those bitches in check.

I took charge of my Stressor on Thursday and have changed the dynamics of the relationship. I’m hoping that this proactive move will eliminate the reason why I’ve been so emotional the past four months. I’ve also made the choice to share the decision to compete with a small circle of friends/family; sharing it with only those who I know support me regardless of what I do. I don’t want too many people making judgements or sharing their opinions about this with me. I’m not doing this for the benefit or acceptance of anyone else. I want to do it for me. Due to the fact that I have decided to do this, I need to have the least amount of outside stress as possible. I need to be selfish. And I’m not very good at that. But, I’ll learn.

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All excuses aside…my umbrella is too small for the rain

I have, over the past 10 years, used a variety of excuses as to why I haven’t met my fitness goals. Including, but not limited to the list below:

  1. I work a lot.
  2. My husband and I just got separated.
  3. I wasn’t athletic as a child.
  4. I never played sports.
  5. My hips are tight.
  6. I’m going through a divorce.
  7. I have an injury.

However, I’ve never been one to say:

  • It’s too hard.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’ll start tomorrow.
  • I don’t have the time.

I’ve always considered my excuses legit…but, really, isn’t that what everyone thinks of their own excuses? Thinking back, I wonder if the above excuses actually were legit, or if I was just being lazy, or scared. I wonder this today not because I don’t want to go to the gym because the workout is hard or because I don’t have the time; it’s because the number one Stressor I have in my life right now is making me want to run home straight after work, take a Tylenol PM, jump in the shower, and hide under the covers. Which, by the way, is how I spent most of October, November, and December 2014.

That’s the thing about suffering from depression; sometimes you don’t have a choice no matter how hard you try. Years ago, when my ex husband was diagnosed with bipolar depression, I thought that he was just lazy and that he lacked proper coping skills. He was an introvert as it was and I thought that this was all just part of his personality. Now, however, as I force myself to figure out how I ended up this way, I now understand that, depression is debilitating.

When I started taking antidepressants in December, I was reluctant. I don’t like to put chemicals in my body. I suffered from some major side effects and decided to go off of them. Yesterday was my first full day with out them and I felt just fine…great even. I felt strong after my workout and had accomplished all my fitness and nutrition goals for the day. I went to bed, in my bed instead of the on the couch, at a reasonable time and slept through most of the night. I even woke up early today and had extra time to enjoy drinking my coffee. Things were looking up.

But then something happened…

I couldn’t figure out what to wear. Not really a big deal. Most women have this problem, so I should be used to it.

But I couldn’t figure out what to wear because I felt fat.

I felt fat because I haven’t been able to stick to my routine because of my depression.

I got mad at myself for not sticking with my routine..and then I remembered I needed gas…and then, as a result, I was late to work.

As I drove frantically to work, I thought of the reason for my depression and it made me want to take the steps towards eliminating that factor in my life.

Which made me want to contact my Stressor so that I could tell him that we can’t continue to have the relationship that we currently do.

And then I did.

He agreed to meet with me, but said he wasn’t free until “sometime next week”.

And that I took personally…as if I’m not important.

And all of this makes me want to hide in my bed until I hear from him that he is available.

So, that one little thing caused me to spiral into the state that I’m currently in. And that’s the thing about depression. It’s like having an umbrella that is too small in the middle of a thunderstorm. All of these things are pouring down around you and you don’t have the tools to help yourself survive.

I will go to the gym today. I might not make it to my second workout, but I will do something. Even though I don’t want to.

But, I don’t want to stand in the rain either.

How do you do a squat again?

When you’re motivated, it is possible to accomplish things…we all know that. So yesterday I did both things that I wanted to do, I saw my nephew and I went to the gym… and, as a bonus, I also managed to impress myself in the process.

Walking into the gym yesterday, I have to admit, I was very nervous. As with all others, Crossfit is the kind of sport where you have to keep showing up and build on your skills. I hadn’t been there in eleven days. That’s a long ass time. And I was scared that my body wouldn’t recall what it once knew. The workout of the day was as follows:

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Rowing for that distance? I’m going to die. Is there enough oxygen on Earth to help me through this?

Snatches? Ugh…my upper body is weak…or maybe my head is weak and I’m just afraid of a little iron bar with rubber weights.

Back squats? I looooove squats…but after eleven days? How do you do a squat again? I’d better stand over here in the corner and practice.

As I sat on the rower, my heart began to beat faster before I even strapped my feet in. I overheard the girl next to me tell the coach that she wanted to finish within 8 minutes. Oh my god! What? First of all, I have to do this for eight minutes (and then some) AND there is NO WAY I’m doing this under fifteen, for God’s sake.

I’ve always wanted to believe that I wasn’t competitive with anyone other than myself. That I only wanted to beat myself…blah, blah, blah. With this “I’ll finish under eight minutes” girl next to me I was damned if I was going to go down without a fight, so as the clock began to tick I found myself pull for pull with her. Every so often I’d glance at her screen to see that she was only a few meters ahead of me. My legs were burning and as I saw my meters count down I thought of how badly I wanted to quit…but was I even working as hard as I could?…I should just be proud of the fact I showed up today…can I keep up with her?…why am I breathing so loud?…good thing the music is turned up so no one can hear these awful noises I’m making…200 meters to go and she’s still pulling her rower too…I’m going to do this…no, I’m going to die…50 more…she’s done…wait, wait…I’m done!

I finished at 9:06…30 seconds after her. And later, when I checked my performance next to the other women that day, I was number six on the board and she was first. The fact that she was next to me made all the difference in the world.

On to Snatches. The last time I did these I struggled with weight so, although I prefer Snatches to Cleans, I was not looking forward to completing this move. I told myself to focus on form, because, after all, that is one of my overall goals. And when all was said and done, I was pleased with a 65# Snatch on the board.

So, two out of three were complete, and now to the squats. Despite the fact that I am dissatisfied with the overall shape of my legs, I know that they are strong. And with work on proper form and more flexibility, I know they will get stronger. However, I had an expectation that I was afraid I was going to be unable to accomplish. When I looked at my previous Back Squat performance it estimated that I should be able to do a 150# Back Squat. Well hell, I’m not so sure about that today. I mean, I wasn’t even going to come. Just a few hours ago I wanted to get into my pjs and crawl into bed to avoid all of this. And, wait, maybe I should just practice getting below parallel without any weight at all…yeah, yeah…that way I can remind my body how to squat…good idea. No, I’m here, so I might as well do it…and if I don’t manage to get that weight, well who’s going to notice other than me?

As with most things that happen with me and my lack of confidence, I surprised myself and I actually did a 150# Back Squat. Two sets of three. I could have probably done more even, but let’s not get carried away. I ended up in third overall in Back Squat performance and THAT made me proud.

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But trust me people, the struggle is real. The. Struggle. IS. Real.

Facial expressions don’t lie…neither do the loud grunts that I made that echoed in the gym. And thank God for my coach for the support!

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Something stinks

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~John Lennon

One of my favorite quotes…and oh so true. On January 2nd, my sister was admitted to the hospital to be induced with her first child. The first child in the family…so of course there was a dire need for all immediate family members to stay put in the waiting room until this child was born. All other responsibilities went out the window as we all awaited his arrival. And of course, what does one do when one waits…or is bored…or is anxious? One eats. Crap.

As I munched on cookies, pretzels, and various other unfortunate things, I thought to myself that I was never going to escape the dreadful thing called ‘life’. That in which makes us unable to accomplish our goals. That in which makes us choose one thing over another thing. But, when will I ever get the chance again to welcome the first baby into our family? Never. And so, let them eat cake…and popcorn, and chips, and whatever else the vending machine has to offer.

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During the moments that I first held my nephew, I didn’t once think about stronger quads or defined biceps, or how many bad carbs I had consumed in the past 24 hours. I instead thought of all the possibilities that lay ahead for this little one. How, at that moment, life was perfect for him. If we’re lucky, we come into the world this way…and then ‘life’ happens. So it got me thinking more…

When did I start thinking that I needed to be better?

When did I decide that I had to be perfect?

When did it become ok for me to settle for less?

When did I put aside my priorities to appease others?

It’s so confusing…on one end I want to build a stronger body and prove to myself that I can do this, but on the other hand who really cares? I guess the reason lays in why I’m doing this? And that is what I need to figure out. If the driving force behind this is to be perfect, then I shouldn’t be doing it. Perfection only comes in those first days of existence when we’re all bundled up with a knitted hat on. At this point in my life, I am far from perfect…just like everyone else.

And so today I struggle with spending the precious few hours after work, before the dust hits my eyes and I’m down for the count, at the hospital visiting the only person I know who is perfect at the moment or do I go to the gym, as I planned, and work out for two and a half hours? How do you make a choice like that? Is it selfish if I don’t go? Am I being lazy if I do go? Could I force myself to do both and cut my gym time in half?

Right now I’d just prefer to go home and get in my comfy pjs and sleep until tomorrow morning…but it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon. I can smell avoidance in the air…and it stinks.

All I want is Six Things

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ~Alexander Pope

We are taught that expectations lead to let downs. We should take things as they come and be happy with what we have to avoid suffering. This is a mixed message when we hear things like, “Just Do It!” and “Don’t give up!” So what are we supposed to do? Putting all else aside, I don’t care what other people say right now…I’m expecting more of myself because I know I can give more. I’m demanding more because I want to prove, to myself, that I can.

So often, through my fitness journey, I have felt the need to make excuses or explain my limitations. I felt like I had to tell people why I couldn’t run faster or lift heavier…”I have an injury” or “I’m going through some personal stuff”. When it all comes down to it, those people probably didn’t notice that I was slower that day or that I couldn’t do a pull up…it was ME that I was making the excuse for. I was disappointed in myself.

That leads me to what I expect of myself now:

1. I want to get more confident in my athletic abilities.

2. I want to see more definition in my quads and arms and less roundness in my inner and outer thighs.

3. I want to let go of the fear I have of rope climbs, box jumps, hand stands, and doing heavy cleans.

4. I want to improve on my form in the gym and work on proper squats.

5. I want to reduce the dimples on my butt that have haunted me for years, making me think that it looks like I’m carrying a bag full of rocks behind me.

6. I want to eliminate the factors in my life that are causing my depression; i.e pining after a fairy tale relationship with an emotionally unavailable man.

Six things? Surely that shouldn’t be hard to do…I’m determined to find out.

Day one of my commitment sojourn…

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Now, how will I get the things I want? I will start today with changing my eating habits and getting back to a more consistent gym schedule. Crossfit 4-5 times per week, yoga at least 3 times per week, and I’m going to attempt to spin 2 times per week pending the PCL injury to my left knee.

Truth be told, at least three times today I’ve wanted to give up…yes, only hours into my sojourn and I already want to quit. My excuses are plentiful, of course. I think that the one obstacle that I’m going to have to overcome through all of this is the desire to eat my feelings. THAT is truly my biggest issue. I don’t want to use food as a drug anymore, but the doesn’t change the fact that it is still what I want to turn to when I’m depressed.

The decision to commit

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions so I won’t call it that. I will call this my decision to commit. In the past I have often said that I would love to see what my body could do, what it was capable of. This has gone on for years, however something has always stood in the way of my success.
When I first made this decision, I intended it to be one of a fitness path, but now as I embark on the journey, I realize that it can be so much more.
Last month I began taking meds to help deal with depression. I’ve been in a very dark place for several months, had given up on myself and lost who I was. Perhaps this new journey that I plan to take will not only bring strength to my body but will also bring strength to my mind.

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Today I plan to go grocery shopping, clean out all the “bad” things in my kitchen, and then eat the hell out of something naughty to say goodbye to old habits. Tomorrow I will welcome the new challenges that I will face and prove to myself that I can do this. Not because it’s a new year, but because it’s time.