Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love and Crossfit

Just a little over 6 weeks until Todd and I get married. Holy. $hit. I'm not even sure how that happened!

I was going to take the long way around today and write all this crap about my fears and shitty-self-esteem issues, my effing disastrous past relationships, how this all ties into the gym... long long long. I'm too mentally disorganized right now to process all that and have it even make enough sense for anyone else to read it.

Here's what this all boils down to for me: Commitment.

Every success, every failure in life revolves around to how much time and energy you are willing to put into the thing. It has taken me f*%&ing yearsssssssssss at the gym to realize the only way I'm ever going to be the best version of myself is to commit to it and consistently show up. I would say 90% of the time I'm happy with getting up each morning and going to the gym--even if I'm not feeling great at first I always am by the time I leave. I've learned that on the 10% days when I want to stay in bed, I just have to tell myself to keep showing up and then follow through. That's my commitment to myself. I generally like to do everything the hard way, so it took a long time and a lot of failures for me to finally understand that these seemingly small steps equate to big change over time.

This policy transfers to anything in life. Without going into detail, my past relationships = Trainwreck. Foundations built on the wrong things with the wrong people. Houses built on sand in a stage 5 hurricane would have a better chance of survival. Honestly you could've put me into a crowd of accomplished men and 1 loser and he would have been my top choice. I'm no stranger to failure here.

It's different now--I'm committed and I know he is rock solid too, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. We have 4 wonderful-in-their-own-ways-kids in multiple families, with a handful of other parents to contend with, and a TON of things going on. There are days where it's 60/40, 80/20, 100/100... there are days where I want to throat punch him... there are days when he wants to smother me with a pillow because he's tired of my attitude. That's life! But at the end of every one of those days--shitty or awesome, I know that we are going to go to bed at the same time, and he's going to throw his arm over me, and he is not going to leave. 90% of the time I am obnoxiously happy, and on the 10% days I show up anyway because that's what we have committed to each other and our kids. I know that's a lot easier to say after only a year and a half together than it may be after 4, 7, 14 years of putting up with someone's shit day in and day out, but the older I get the more sure I am that relationships aren't about all the butterflies, sunshine and rainbow bullshit so much as they are about committing to see the best and choosing to love someone even on the days you maybe don't like em so much.

No matter which way you frame it, success in anything requires commitment--either you're in or you're out.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ditching the Scale

I have a very "all or nothing" approach to most things in life; it's either 110% balls to the wall or nothing. Sometimes this can work to my advantage, I think it makes me a pretty good friend because I'd do anything for the people I care about, and now that I'm at full-force mentally with giving the right kind of time and attention to the gym it has become second nature. Todd and I are kicking ass on our investment property because we've actually had some time to put into it the past week or so and we're gaining more momentum by the day--those are the times when my 110% mentality works in my favor. But of course the flip side to this (doing nothing) can be incredibly problematic, especially as it applies to my health. Laziness. Fatty McButterpants. It's a road I'm pretty familiar with.

What about when the 110% becomes the problem? Sometimes you get obsessed; I get obsessed. When I first started Crossfit in April of 2011 I was already getting into decent shape using my own hack version of weight watchers points system/clean eating which involved a shitload of BINDING grains (my digestion was a fucking nightmare) and literally working out like 3 hours a day (so dumb). After about a month of coming to the gym I sat down one day with Ash to talk nutrition and she introduced me to the premise of eating Paleo. I decided it was worth a shot because I felt like I needed something to break the plateau I had hit, and started reading up on anything CF/Paleo related that I could find. I discovered an article by Martin Berkhan about Intermittent Fasting and delved into those concepts head first too; by May I was ready to kick ass in the Paleo Challenge. Not only did I make it through the month without cheats (let me tell you about how fun it was watching my friends drink their faces off every weekend and sip my diet dew), but I also incorporated a pretty extreme version of Intermittent Fasting by doing alternate day 24 hr fasts through the week. I ended up cutting a pretty good amount of weight and dropping my body fat several percentage points to about 21%, but I was also hungry and bitchy and ready for a binge.

Thus started the emotional cf/paleo/binge/fail process that I've been cycling through for the better part of 2 years. I've never allowed myself to get to a point where I was super-sized again, but I have stepped my toe in the water plenty of times while basking in the pizza and cookie dough filled glory of a cheat day that turned into a week that turned into two months of "where the fuck is the gym at again?" We've had this discussion people, it's easy for me--maybe easier for me than most. You pile up enough of those "I'll do _________ tomorrow"'s and you end up with a whole lot of empty yesterday's.

The other major paleo-faileo issue I've experimented with was last spring. I was strict with the occasional cheat hour/day and yes, I got results in the form of a good weight loss and body fat drop (again to around 22%), but this is what I would eat on a typical day: Coffee and water til lunch Tuna and almonds for lunch Chicken and broccoli for supper. Maybe some more almonds. Maybe. Really, that's just setting yourself up for failure. I mean I was sub-1000 calories a day, wod'ing and doing man's work for a job. I went through this song and dance again in the fall (after half-assing it all last summer), and did the same thing--major losses, unsustainable eating.

Two major issues with all this-- 1. I'm already an emotional wreck with all the insanity that goes on in my life, and 2. I've been mentally programmed my whole life to self-soothe with food. So the things that needed to happen this time around were to wrangle the emotional aspect of my eating and make it just about fueling myself, and to stop trying to survive on a few leaves of lettuce and the occasional breath of air. I ditched the scale because it makes me crazy and obsessive, and odds are if I stepped on and for some reason was up 1/4 of a pound I would get pissed and rip snort through the first package of oreos I could locate. This time I made it about how I feel physically/mentally/emotionally and how I'm performing at the gym. No more counting my almonds like the Rain Man or obsessing over what my next meal would be or what I'd eat on my cheat day. It hasn't been easy and I've had some shit days but I really feel like I'm getting a grip. For someone like me, that's empowering.

It's been several weeks now and I decided I want to start keeping some kind of measure of my progress from this point forward, so I asked Ash to do a body fat for me today. Honestly I was a little worried, but after the wod I asked her how it all came out and she told me I'm at 18% body fat. Seriously? That's lower than when I was NOT EATING EVERY OTHER DAY. I'm eating way more and I'm doing way less (at least when it comes to physical labor), and I'm not hangry (hungry+angry). And you know what else? Sometimes I eat a shitload of almond butter with half an apple or a whole stinkin banana! *Not often, but sometimes* I wouldn't even look at fruit before!

I still don't know what the number on the scale said today when she had to weigh me, and I don't really care. The only numbers I care to worry about now are the weights on the bar, and I want them to go up. I feel good, I'm enjoying going to the gym and doing my best, and sometimes I even feel good when I look in the mirror. That's a big step for me and that's all I need.