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?

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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!

We need to break-up

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have a very serious, unhealthy relationship in my life. I knew it all along, but this week it became painfully obvious. I need to find a way to break-up…with food.

I’m obsessed with it. It’s all I think about. It’s the only thing that is standing in the way of 100% success in my prep. I need to get a handle on it, or I will not be able to do my best on April 25.

And although I knew that food was an issue for me, truth be told, this true realization came during a very unfortunate experience. I had a cheat meal. An entire pizza. It’s not because I ate the pizza that made me realize this, it’s the fact that I ate the whole thing. It was almost like I stopped breathing. Nothing else mattered in the entire world. Just me, that cheese, the sauce, and the crispy crust. I had to have it. All of it. And nothing was going to stand in my way. Five minutes after my last slice, I was in the bathroom. My stomach was ripped apart because I was not used to eating this way anymore. I was miserable for the rest of the night as I made frequent trips to the bathroom. And in-between my tears, I realized that this could be avoided if I regained control of myself and ended this unhealthy obsession.

The most difficult thing is going to be during the three to four days that I have PMS. I turn to food because it tends to be the only thing that can calm me down. I’m lucky enough to be cramp free and pain-free during this time, and I don’t even have my period for very long…two to three days at the most. But the cravings and the emotions that I experience make me feel like a troll living under a bridge waiting for the next Billy Goat to cross over it so I can rip him apart with my teeth.

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I will have PMS two more times before my show. The second time will the week of my show. That will really prove how strong I am.

I’m going to do it.

I have to do it.

9 more weeks…

DontGiveUp

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.

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.

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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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.