I never did like roller coasters

In 27 days I will walk across the stage as a first time NPC bikini competitor. At times, the days seem to drag and other times I can’t believe that I’m almost there. And, at times, I am beyond excited about the entire experience and at other times I am 100% miserable.

Quite honestly I can’t wait for it to be over. It has become something that has consumed my entire being. I am no longer who I was back in January. Am I better off? Of that I’m not sure. At 18 pounds lost to date, I am a shell of the person I was, not only physically but mentally as well.

If I could relate it to anything, I would imagine that it’s kind of like being brain washed at my own free will. I’ve become obsessed with food, on a totally different level. I’ve become obsessed with my body, on a totally different level. I’ve become obsessed with perfection, on a totally different level. And in the past week I’ve noticed that my hands shake. I’m pretty sure it’s due to nerves and being overly anxious.

My dad, who is my very best friend and tells me like it is, has handed me my ass on a plate when I discussed this with him. He reminded me that I started this journey to have fun and that if I’m no longer having fun, I either shouldn’t do it or change my prospective. He reminded me that no one is perfect and that this is not my job, so taking it too seriously is unnecessary. To quote him, “If eating a hamburger is going to stop you from being emotional, then go eat a hamburger!”

I’m an emotional eater and because I can’t eat my emotions right now, I am forced to feel them. It is causing me to burn bridges with people. It is causing me to have frequent break downs and mood swings. It’s as though I am no longer in control of myself.

I can stand in front of my mirror at home and think “Holy cow! I’m lean!” and then 30 minutes later, I can be at the gym with my peers and think I’m the fattest girl in the room. I can put on a pair of pants when getting ready for work and stand there shocked that they are literally falling off of me, and then at the same time feel bloated.

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What good has this done? What good is being “skinny” or “fit” or “pretty” when your mind is so screwed up that no one wants to be around you? Sure, I’ll look good in a bikini, but I’ll be standing alone.

As far as I can tell, the things that I’ve lost are not worth the things I’ve gained. I may have a different thought on April 25th, but today I feel like I am none the better for doing this.

My dad told me that, as a little girl, I was pretty level-headed. So why, as an adult, can I not get it together? I’m pretty embarrassed and ashamed. At 39 years old, I should have myself figured out…shouldn’t I?

At the same time, I have numerous people telling me that I’m too hard on myself. That I don’t give myself credit for my accomplishments. This is true. Oh, so very true.

Where is the middle ground?

Hold the salt, please

After the frustration I experienced with my monster PMS and the terrible cold, I was more than a tad concerned that I may have gotten off track. My coach assured me that I would be fine and still able to do the April 25th show. Yet I still had doubt…and then I took some progress pictures.

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I am shocked and amazed at what my body is capable of doing. I have never seen myself look this way before and it’s a relief that my hard work is paying off.

Truth be told, I’ve had my fair share of cheats and treats. I’ve stuck to my diet 90% of the time, but I have indulged more than a few times. I’m now seven weeks out and have promised myself that there will be no more cheats (except for my birthday this week).

I know that eating like this won’t be forever and that, if I choose, I can go “back to normal” on April 26th. However I have a feeling that I will want to continue competing. I’m loving all of what I’m learning and experiencing. It’s empowering to know that I can do this despite the fact that depression still looms in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for a weak moment to attack and settle in close to me, preventing me from having the drive to carry on.

I have proven to myself that I have strength beyond physical abilities. And, right now, mental strength is harder to obtain than the physical.

On another note…I had dinner with my family the other night. I didn’t want to order from the restaurant because I haven’t “eaten out” since I started prepping. I talked myself into it and ordered something very simple…beef, raw spinach, and avocado. As I was eating it, I knew it tasted too good to be plainly prepared. The flavor was just too good!

When I woke up the next morning I knew that the sodium content was off the charts because I looked like this

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 I’ve been lucky enough to have this happen to me before and I know that salt is the cause. Not a pretty sight! Not only were my eyes almost swollen shut, but my abs were also extremely puffy. The puffiness around my eyes has gone down, but I’m still feeling bloated. Yikes! No more restaurant food for a while! Hold the salt, please!

Snickers really satisfies?

I’m eating a Snickers. Right now. This very minute. And as I take bite after bite and hear the crunch of my jaw I feel more and more guilty for doing so. I’m so mad at myself. I have no self-control.

I’ve been soooo very good for 10 days…so why ruin my hard work now? Welllll, becccccause…I’m grumpy. I’m cranky. I’m bloated. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m sore. I’m frustrated. I’m hungry. So, of course, the most sensible thing to do is to eat something full of carbs, salt and sugar. Makes complete sense, doesn’t it?

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Ugh. I regret it. If I’m going to cheat, I’d rather order a pizza and go for it. But, now, after eating that Snickers, I’m even more bloated than I was before I started shoving it in my mouth. Seriously, do my pants even fit right now? And, today was going to be my rest day, but now I think I need to go to the gym despite my sore and overly tired body and mind.

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I guess I have to prepare for days like these. I hardly slept last night. Bad dreams and stress about work kept me up. I trained with two other girls yesterday and I felt weaker and older than them and that does a number on my self-confidence. I got so frustrated this morning that I stood in my closet and started to cry because I felt like a giant, fat elephant. I’ve been beat up at work this week. And I’m beginning to wonder if I actually will see enough of a change in my body to actually succeed in this.

I realize that it’s only been 10 days, but I want results now. I want to be as fit as I think I am. But today I don’t feel like I am…and I don’t think I have what it takes to do this.

Changes in Latitudes. Changes in Attitudes.

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Today marks one week since I’ve started serious training and dieting towards my goal to compete in my first bikini competition. Quite honestly, I’m extremely impressed with myself. I have not once cheated, unless of course you count the apple I ate last Wednesday or the scoops of almond butter I had over the weekend. I haven’t had a pretzel in a week. Or pineapple (my faaaaavorite). Or wine. Or cheese. And trust me, I want pizza.

There have been plenty of times that I have wanted to cheat, but I’d only be cheating myself out of the money that I’ve already spent to hire a trainer and I’d be cheating myself out of my commitment. And that is, finally, enough for me to stay focused.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I started to notice a change in my stomach. Not only do I not have a constant bloated feeling, but it’s flatter and I can already see more definition. I suppose that, and my arms, will be the easiest, quickest places to see a change. My backside, however, will take a lot more time and effort. As will my inner and outer thighs.

When I think of how, just twenty days ago, I was a mess. How I was held captive by my emotions. How I was paralyzed by my personal situation. How I had no desire to live. How I felt I had no purpose. It’s amazing and I am relieved that I have found something that I can focus full force on. I have no time to be depressed. I have no one to worry about other than me.

This is taking time. This is taking discipline. This is taking dedication. This is proving to me that I can finally do something for myself. And I love it. My body is sore, everywhere. I’m tired. Oh, so tired. I’m overwhelmed by the food prep. I’m always doing dishes. It’s expensive. I’m hungry more often than I used to be. I have over cooked my rice and burnt my chicken (seriously, it could’ve been mistaken for sawdust when I finally managed to cut it open), but I ate it anyway. The workouts suck and are fun all at the same time. And… I. Am. Happy.

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.

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.