Friday, June 28, 2013

How Fruit Saved my Life (or at least my day)

"You ate raisins? You're goin' to hell."

I was telling the girls last night about how I had eaten some apple slices and raisins with sunflower butter in a desperate attempt to keep myself from destroying half a bag of chocolate chips that I found in the cupboard yesterday (which incidentally worked, but I felt guilty for even eating the fruit). It was a joke, but that's how obsessive I can become over what I can and cannot eat when I'm really focused on cutting weight and strict paleo. Which is also probably 50% of the reason why I tend to struggle with staying "on the wagon" so to speak for more than a couple weeks/months at a time. Here's how it usually goes:

Kickass, get tired, struggle, struggle, hate everyone and be a hag, start to feel better, get more energy, feel like a beast. I get myself convinced that I can live on mostly two meals--tuna with almonds or chicken breast with broccoli. Maybe throw in some occasional variations that include eggs and other meat, but for the most part I would eat just twice a day and those would be my meals. Avoid fruit like the GD plague. Cut weight fast. I feel a sin coming on... Inevitable Binge. Get sick, writhe, wish for death. Drink a shit-ton of water. Tell myself tomorrow will be better, possibly get back on the wagon (or maybe not), and then probably binge again because the first few days after you have mad sugar cravings. Then I hide out for awhile eating what I know to be half-ass paleo sprinkled with pizza and ice cream until I realize I'm starting to get fluffy again. Rinse and repeat.

Like I said before, nothing changes if nothing changes. I have realized this time around that something has to change in the way I'm doing things. DL made a good point the other day in commenting on one of my posts when he likened it to the definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I believe wholeheartedly in keeping it simple as it applies to your diet because food is supposed to be fuel, not a reward or a security blanket to cover up with while you *unsuccessfully* eat your feelings away. But at the same time, the idea of consuming fruit shouldn't be scary. I shouldn't recoil when I look at a mini box of raisins. Seriously.

This doesn't mean that I change my stance that eating a shit-ton of fruit isn't really necessary (and may actually be a hindrance) when trying to cut some weight, but it does mean that I should stop agonizing over the fact that I ate some fucking apple slices and raisins. I mean really, if I hadn't gone in that direction last night I probably woulda killed those chocolate chips and topped it off with whatever else I could find. Maybe even gone out to pick up some ice cream. Then I would have skipped the gym this morning and probably ended up sitting here at my desk with a candy bar in my hand, debating on which shitty fast food restaurant I was going to hit up for lunch. That's the cold hard truth folks. Instead I'm feeling victorious for avoiding my destructive eating habits and for doing all but two of my 95# squat cleans this morning in true "squat clean" form, rather than cleaning the bar and then squatting with it, which is what I had to do the last time they were in a WOD. I'm all for progress!

Figuring out how to do things differently so that I can have continued success isn't an overnight deal, but I'm doing whatever I can to break the cycle of my fluctuating weight. After losing roughly 110 lbs you'd think this last 25 or so would be a breeze, but it just isn't. There's always some struggle involved but I know from experience that the tough times make you that much more grateful when you get to that light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Case of the Monday's

My Monday was the Monday to top all effing Monday's. I didn't make it in to the gym in the morning because I hit snooze too many times and I knew it wasn't getting done in the evening because the boys had a baseball game, so that turned out to be the slippery slope that sent my day into a tailspin. You know how sometimes you're just so frustrated and done with everything that you can literally feel the ball of anger sitting in the pit of your stomach? That's where I feel like I live lately. We couldn't have more shit going on if we tried--kids going in different directions, a house to flip, a business to run, Todd coaching ACME... the list goes on. Our time is never our own and it feels like we are constantly running on someone else's agenda because unfortunately all of our kids belong (at least halfway) to other people. One day I just want to get my hair cut or take the kids to the pool, but at the moment that just feels like a pipe dream.

As outspoken as I may be in certain scenarios, I tend to try and be a peacekeeper in my interpersonal relationships. That may be hard for you to believe based on what you see at the gym or read here but I will truly do anything to avoid conflict with the people who directly affect my life, and sometimes that comes back to bite me in the ass. It probably isn't healthy to bottle up so much negativity, sometimes I get so beside myself that I'm half-expecting my head to just spin off. I feel like I do so much to be accommodating and all I get back is a shitty look and a proverbial middle finger; no graciousness, no respect. Just "thanks for taking care of everything when it was convenient and I needed you to--your parting gift is a big fuck you."

I sacrifice my own inner peace and sanity to maintain it for other people, but I tell ya it's starting to get old. Sadly, my sense of self worth has always been tied to my utility to other people. I'm like a damn dog--I'll do anything for a little scrap of praise and a pat on the head because that's the only way I can bolster myself; kick me 99 times and I will still come back the 100th time to be your loyal companion. I'm incredibly lucky to have Todd who appreciates me and doesn't take advantage of that or write off my feelings like most of the d-bags I chose to date in the past, but unfortunately there are still an assortment of assholes in my life and I just have to find a way to keep them from getting me down.

I realize that I'm luckier than most in a lot of ways--great family, kids and fiancé (still a weird word), a roof over our heads, cars to drive, and we always have enough of whatever we need to suffice. But my network of friends that have stemmed from the gym have truly been a God-send. Without calling anyone out by name, there are some specific traits that I notice and really admire from some of my favorite people at the gym:
A positive attitude, no matter what the wod or time of day
Another whom I admire for knowing exactly who she is and not letting anyone else tell her otherwise; she has a fuck 'em attitude that I'm totally jealous of
One of the newbies that I've caught smiling during burpees on more than one occasion
The total transformation in not only body, but attitude, that I've personally witnessed in another member
Confidence in me and my abilities, often more than I have in myself

Everyone has something to offer even it's just a lesson in what not to be. Look around and be inspired today, and for God sakes don't let the sucky people take up too much space in your head.

Friday, June 21, 2013


There's a blog post from The Practice that I referenced the other day in my writing. It's called "Sabotage," and it reads like the story of my life. Here's the link if you're interested =>

I've talked about my issues with food countless times; it makes me feel like a drug addict. The unfortunate thing about food is that you can't just give it up like cigarettes, pills or drugs--those things can't be "used responsibly" under any circumstances. Food is inevitable. And it is, without a doubt, my drug of choice. I stress about it, think about it, fight off the urge to eat like shit. Food shouldn't have to be a constant battle, but it is for me. I can go days, weeks, sometimes months and maintain good habits. I can take the boys out for ice cream and just sit there and watch them eat it without even flinching. On those days it feels like will-power is my middle name; I can flex it like a muscle and show it off to the world. But it only takes one moment of weakness, one lick of a Snickers bar is enough to send me careening headfirst over the edge where I wake up in a pile of wrappers with no recollection of how I got there or why the fuck I did that. And every time I get mad, and my clothes don't fit right, and I'm puffy, and I feel ashamed, and I hate myself, and I have to start all over again.

I just get so tired of the internal battle. I work so hard, and even though things may be changing on the outside I still feel the same on the inside so I start thinking "what the hell is the point." For once in my life I want to wake up, look in the mirror, and feel good about what I see for more than just a moment before I start judging. I want to be proud of myself for how far I've come instead of comparing my journey to someone else's. I want to see the positive changes instead of overanalyzing every flaw. I want a healthy mental image instead of continuing to see myself as my former fat self, and I wonder after almost 3 years now if that will ever happen. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to stop being so self-conscious that I critique myself 12 times every time I see a mirror and gauge every single fucking outfit based on "how fat I look." I want to believe the things I tell Brittany about having a positive self image. I want to stop having days where I wonder why my fiancé is even with me. I want to see myself the way so many other people seem to, but to be quite frank I just don't know how anyone can like me when I'm not even happy with myself about 95% of the time. I have deemed myself unworthy far more times than anyone else has counted me out. How can you even begin to succeed when your own worst enemy is yourself?

At this point the only solution I can come up with is as simple as just keep trying. Again, I defer to the post about self-sabotage, and how at the root it is all about the identity we are most comfortable with. Once I stripped away over 100 lbs I lost my shield; somehow (without gaining the weight back) I've managed to continue to use food as my comfort and my crutch, and that addiction is still the reason why I am not yet who I want to be. It gives me something else to blame besides myself for my imperfections. I don't know if any amount of weight lost would necessarily make me happier. In reality I don't think it has anything to do with the number on the scale. I think the issue is mental and emotional, and maybe I'm just afraid that no matter what I do it isn't going to be enough. It's like JB says,
"Familiar discomfort is better than the possibility of unknown pain. Even though that pain may never come."

But nothing changes if nothing changes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Respect the Coach

Athletics have been an integral part of my life as far back as I can remember. My dad started coaching high school basketball in the MAC when I was just 3 or so, and there have only been a handful of seasons since that he hasn't done so. Growing up I watched he and my uncles coach my brother and cousins through youth baseball, soccer, basketball. This summer is my second year starring in the new role of baseball widow. I absolutely love it all, but you get the drift... I'm seasoned. My dad logged a LOT of hours in the gym when we were growing up (sometimes with us in tow) and for the past two summers I have watched Todd do the same thing, but the frustrating part isn't the time devoted to coaching and subsequent added responsibility for me at home.

No, believe it or not the really irksome thing about the job isn't having 20some baseball games in 30 days or the time and energy and money spent attending; it isn't the nail-biters lost in overtime or the crappy officials that you inevitable run across from time to time. Let me tell you the most embittering thing I've seen from my years in the business: coaching takes an infinite supply of passion, and it can be a really thankless fucking job. Countless hours are devoted to teaching and encouraging, talking to players and parent and other coaches. "In season" doesn't mean a anything, the truth is the season never ends. Open gyms, batting practice, scouting other teams, learning new methods. Finding out who your athletes are and how they respond and the best way to handle 20+ different personalities. And still people bitch and moan, blame the coach for their poor performance, complain about playing time, or talk about what a better job they could do. To say that this makes me salty would be a gross understatement.

This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a couple days a week helping with a beginners class at the gym, comprised mostly of teachers who are looking to join the Crossfit community. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I have been over the past several weeks. They ask questions, they have a real desire to be there and to improve every day, they appreciate the directives we give them and want honest feedback on their technique. Teachers have a unique understanding of the plight of the coach because what they do every day is essentially the same thing. I've learned some new things that have made me (I think) a more coachable cf'er since I've been helping--like how it's hard to watch someone make the same mistake over and over, especially after you feel that you've cued them a handful of times (sooo guilty), that you can't let the fear of failure/novelty keep you from trying, and that you don't have to be the best at something to have a good attitude about it. The feeling of investment as a coach is incredibly high, but the payoff is huge if the people you're teaching care even half as much as you do.

Coaches put so much of themselves into their athletes. Please respect their time, their passion, and the fact that they care enough to devote such energy into YOU--energy that they are diverting away from their own families and interests to make your life better.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recommended Daily

It's been a long time since I found made time to write. The past year has been a whirlwind, lot's of change (mostly for the better) but as we all know I have a tendency to let even the most minimal things sidetrack me from my routine. I think I've found a healthy balance now between my mom/wife-to-be/household-running/family business related responsibilities and the gym and I'm really thankful for that because they're both very powerful in maintaining my mental health and balance. If you think I'm a peach at the 5 am gym class, just wait til you see me after a few weeks of no gym time and eating like garbage... it does NOT paint a pretty picture.

This summer has found me re-energized with the gym. Ash K has graciously allowed me to come and help with her beginners class a couple times a week, I'm getting in WOD's 5-6 days, and I'm even throwing in some goat work at home on running and double unders and the whole plethora of things I suck at. It's rewarding and frustrating as hell at the same time, because I know that if I had been committed enough to keep showing up every day and not peter out every couple weeks/months I'd be so much further right now. Not that I'm not thrilled with my progress and abilities, but I know what I'm capable of, and my friends know what I'm capable of, and at some point it just becomes shameful to have to walk back in there and be like "yeah, I'm back, sorry guys I sucked again."

Not that anyone else should care whether I'm there or not. Ultimately you have to make the decision that you're going to keep working at it and doing your best and just fucking showing up (especially on the days you don't want to) for yourself and NO ONE ELSE. So I guess at the same time that I'm mad at myself, I feel like hey at least I keep showing back up. It's really hard to beat a person who won't give up. Staying motivated seems to be about 95% of the battle for me, so I've been trying to come up with ways to keep myself on the straight-and-narrow this time around. If it helps me maybe it'll help someone else, so here ya go:

Immersion in all things Crossfit.
When I'm bored I watch videos on YouTube about Oly lifts, sometimes I make notes. My form isn't nearly as good as it should be because I spent too much time in the beginning trying to be the fastest instead of trying to do it right. BUT I've learned a lot, and it's definitely getting a lot better! Crossfit blogs are pretty awesome too--The Practice in Troy and Crossfit Lisbeth both have badass posts all the time, serving up a daily dose of awesomeness. There's one post in particular that I read all the time at called "Sabotage" (probably because it feels like I could have written it word. for. word.) Check em out, it's a good read!

Don't be Afraid to Suck.
Some days at the gym, I feel like I just suck at everything. Oly lifts are my favorite because I can move heavy weight, but who cares if you can deadlift a bear if you can't even do a handstand or a pull-up. I mean I suck at so many simple, body-weight movements that it's overwhelming to even list them all! So instead of letting it drive me crazy I started working on a different one every week. And there's no shame in asking for help. You come into this group of people who look more like gods than humans and it's really intimidating, even for someone like me who has been in the fold for a long time. I let my fear of trying and sucking keep me from actually DOING a lot of things for a long time (in the gym and my personal life), but here's the harsh reality of the situation: Either you embrace the suck, or you grow stagnant. End of story, simple as that. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

Get Involved!
Do stuff! Show up to class every day, go out running or practice things at home, see how the things you do at the gym transfer over to your life outside in the world and at home. I do box jumps on the brick patio wall outside my house or hurl my boys around above my head every night at bedtime. Signing up for Crossfit competitions (BATR is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, hands down), or other physical tests as simple as a 5k can show you just how far you've come in your health and it gives you added motivation to stay the course because you're always preparing for the next big thing.

The truth is, I don't have all the answers. What I have learned has generally always been a result of trial and error (and error, and error, and error, and error....etc... you get the picture). Some days, especially during those first few weeks back, I literally had to tell myself every morning to just keep showing up. It isn't always easy.. sometimes I'm tired or I ate like shit the day before or I just have a piss-poor attitude, but I know that if I can convince myself in that 15 second window to haul my ass out of bed and get ready for the gym then my day, and ultimately my life, is going to get that much better.