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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You sure do cry a lot

Lately I’ve been learning a lot about myself…some good, some great, and some down right embarrassing stuff…but I’m using these as opportunities to better myself instead of remaining at a stand still.

One thing that has stood out is that I cry a lot. I mean, I kinda already knew this, but it’s become less about the emotions that others have brought out in me and more so to do with the pressure I put on myself to meet my expectations and the determination to overcome my past.

Case in point…this weekend I celebrated my 39th birthday. I woke up early the morning of my birthday and walked to the beach and watched the sun rise. It was spectacular.

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I stood there watching this amazing sight and I cried. I cried because I’m finally beginning to feel happy in my life. I cried because I had felt so much pain in my past. I cried because I was grateful for my parents who gave me life. I cried because I felt blessed enough to witness mother nature at it’s best.

I then cried when my dad, the best dad in the whole world in my opinion, called me at 10:10 a.m; as he does each year because that’s what time I was born. 

Later, after posing practice with a group of girls in their mid-twenties who appeared muuuuuuch leaner than me, I cried because I felt old and because I was feeling unsure about whether or not I’d be ready for the April 25th show.

I cried again when a sweet, sweet friend gave me a birthday present.

I cried yet again later that night when I tried to fall asleep. No explanation. I just did.

When I woke up the next day, I cried because, again, I felt old. 39 is almost 40. How did I become almost 40? I have nothing to show for all this time on Earth. No children. No husband. No home. What a failure…at least that’s how I felt for a few moments.

I cried later that morning when I went beast mode on my workout…it was SO very, very hard and the tears welled up in my eyes as I fought to hold them back.  I made myself proud of my hard work. The feeling of proving to myself that I was strong and determined was awesome.

Yep, I sure do cry a lot. That’s a ton for just one weekend, and I don’t even have PMS. I could make an excuse for myself and blame the new lower carb diet my coach put me on, but truth be told, I cheated quite a bit this weekend.

I’m not sure how long it will take to overcome this little idiosyncrasy or if it will ever change. I suppose the important part is that I’ve become aware of this and I don’t deny that it’s part of my personality. I don’t want to consider myself an emotional wreak, nor do I want to appear to be a basket case, but maybe I am. And maybe that’s ok. I’d rather feel than to be cold-hearted. It’s who I am, and I should embrace it.

 

Give credit where credit is due

It is said that we can be our biggest critics and that it is much easier to see the flaws and faults than it is to see what, perhaps, others see. I have always been critical of myself and have, for most of my life, made the choice to sit back and observe other’s successes rather than fail trying to create my own.

If I did try and didn’t live up to my expectations, I would make an excuse as to why I failed. I would think that others were judging me or that I, somehow, let them down by not being better than I was. I would think that I was going to be disliked and not part of the “in-crowd”.

I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember and in the past it has prevented me from trying new things or going after what I wanted. I mention this today because this morning I woke up knowing that I was going over to my Crossfit gym to do 15.1. And the anxiety I had was unbearable. I didn’t have anxiety about working out, or having my reps counted by a judge, or the pressure of competing with the Crossfit community…I had anxiety over the fact that I was going to have to do the scaled version.

I fretted and paced and visited the bathroom several times before even heading to the gym. Thoughts raced through my mind of not being good enough, not being strong enough. I kept thinking that everyone was going to judge me as weak and less than.

In reality, I felt comfortable with everything except for the Snatches. The RX weight being 75# and the scaled weight being 55#. So, there I was fretting over 20 pounds. Was this really taking over my mind and body? Why yes, it was. I felt sick. I wanted to do RX so bad because I didn’t want the others to think I was weak.

How totally ridiculous!

In the end I did the scaled WOD and, apparently, I killed it. I was able to complete 4 rounds and 22 reps in the 9 minute allotted time. If I would have attempted to do RX, I probably would have failed at my first round of Snatches and frustrated the hell out of myself… and flat out quit.

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As for the second part of the workout, I had 6 minutes to complete a one rep max Clean and Jerk. I knew that in the past I was able to do 95#, so, although I was not mentally sure I could do it today, that was my goal.

My plates kept getting stuck on the bar when I was trying to switch them out and my loud scream of “FUUUUUUUCK” could probably be heard for miles. And when time was called I leaned up against the wall, cradled my head in my arms and tears of anger filled my eyes. I was only able to do 85#.

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And as I reread that, the word “only” sticks out to me. Here in lies the problem…am I really criticizing the fact that today I could “only” pick up 85 pounds off the ground and throw it over my head? I compared myself to my peers who were lifting over 100 pounds and I got down on myself thinking I was so weak.

I want to turn this around and make it more of motivation to keep trying than a deterrent. At times I want to slap myself across the face to make myself wake up. There are people who can’t even get out of bed or walk out the door to do a workout even remotely close to what I did today. Hell, I was one of those people during the months of October through December of 2014.

Give credit where credit is due.

Sure, I have a long way to go, but I need to stop worrying about not being the best, and just try my best. And when my peers cheer me on and say that I “killed it”, I need to, and want to, believe that I actually did.

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…

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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.

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.