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!

A nice audible fart…

Following my run in with the Snickers on Friday, I proceeded to eat two donuts and an entire personal sized pizza. After which I cried my eyes out and fell asleep on my couch shortly after 6:30 p.m.

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When I saw my coach on Saturday morning, he knew something was wrong and after I fumbled my way through my workout, we had a long conversation where I admitted my food defeat and confessed that I didn’t think I was mentally strong enough to do this. Talking to him made me feel much better. It’s going to be a long journey. Not only do I need to get my body looking good enough to go on stage, I also need to get my mind right.

I’ve talked to a close friend who has been on this journey before. She has been a competitor for several years now and has done more than extremely well. She told me that no one mentions the meltdowns, the doubts, and the back tracks. What we hear about is the sweet taste of success once the chicken and broccoli has been consumed and the sweat has been wiped away.

When I think about it, I’ve only really been at it for sixteen days. Sixteen days. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a long time. Sure, it feels long because I want to eat what I want to eat instead of sticking to my meal plan. And my muscles are sore allllll the time. But, is sixteen days really enough to change my body inside and out? Clearly not. It’s going to take a lot longer so I must be prepared.

On a lighter note, I cried like a little bitch during my workout yesterday. It’s been a long time since that has happened. My mind kept saying that I could keep going but my quads said otherwise.

Oh, and I farted during my ab workout. A nice audible fart. Twice. That was fun.

It was nice of the coach and my training partner to pretend they didn’t hear it.

Guess nobody mentions that either.

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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.

My First Crossfit-iversary!

I would always drive by local Crossfit gyms and marvel at what I saw. Strong, beautiful bodies picking mass amounts of weight. Climbing ropes. Swinging kettle bells. They had their own language. Their own lingo. They wore knee-high socks.

I tried a few different locations and was always intimidated. I didn’t know what it meant when I saw DU on the board. Or HSPU. And, I never felt comfortable enough to ask…paired with the fact that the coaches at these locations never bothered to explain properly or ask if I needed modifications. Plus, my squat form just plain sucked, so instead of embarrass myself, I’d just go back to the “regular” gym with the “regular” equipment that I was familiar and comfortable with.

At the end of 2013 however, I was at a turning point in my life…I could actually feel it at the time, but I didn’t truly realize how much my life was about to change. I was talking to a friend and she mentioned her Crossfit gym. I remember telling her that I wasn’t really interested because other places had given me a “bad taste” in my mouth. She assured me that it would not be the case here and offered me a free one month membership.

How could I pass that up?

A year ago today I walked into Crossfit Navigate and it literally changed every aspect of my life. Not only do I have a spectacular assortment of knee-high socks…I can now honestly say that I am an athlete. A year ago I couldn’t even jump rope. Honest to God. I looked like a Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail and I dorked it up even more by getting the rope caught in my pony tail nine times out of ten. Who does that? Most of my lack of ability came from the fact that I never, ever did anything remotely athletic in my life prior to the age of 25. Scary, I know.

It may not be a lot, but now I can do at least three double unders in a row…and, because I now know the lingo, I can confidently call them dubs. It took me almost a full year to accomplish that, but I did it. Not only that, but there are countless other things that I can do now that I never, ever thought I could do. And that is such an unbelievable feeling.

The past year has brought a ton of blood, sweat and lots of tears (and that’s not a compliant). I have met some of the most unbelievable people I could ever ask for. The support and the patience of the coaches and members are the biggest blessing in my life. When I have wanted to give up, they have lifted me up. When I have doubted, they have believed. When I have improved, they have given me recognition. I can not imagine a life without Crossfit or without the extraordinary friends that I have made there. Life isn’t always perfect or just the way you want it, but when you walk through those doors, the outside world doesn’t matter. It’s only you, your goals, and your dedication to be the best person that you can be.

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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.

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.