Interesting Observation

Sometimes, it’s all about the subtleties. Names and labels matter. This whole time, I’ve been referring to myself as Member of the Month… but that’s not accurate. The actual title is Athlete of the Month. Hmmm… puts a whole different connotation on it… an emotional association wholly different than “member.” It’s interesting that I had no realization that I’d internally changed “Athlete” to “Member.” Let’s get real. At no point in my life have I been anything remotely associated with “Athlete.” However, I’m changing inside. I’ve spent the last nearly-a-year changing into the person I want to be.

So, what’s an “Athlete?” My online dictionary says an Athlete is a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or a game requiring physical skill.

Hmmmm… but I don’t look like an athlete. In my head I am NOT an athlete. Referring to myself in the same sentence as the word “Athlete” feels very, very wrong. I don’t know if I’ll ever *be* an athlete in the traditional sense of the word. However, I can keep traveling the path that I’m on… keep changing my mindset, and maybe one day, I can be a sort of real life athlete. It’s certainly something that I’ve never considered and it sounds like a pretty good goal to me.

I had to do a write-up about being Athlete of the Month and I didn’t post it here. I was thinking I would save the summarizing for my official one year CrossFit-versary. But why wait… so here’s what I sent in to my Box:

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CrossFit is changing my life… and we all say that… but I mean it quite literally. CrossFit is extending my life and making living it much, much better. Just a few weeks ago, I climbed a rock wall and rode an elephant… unthinkable a year ago!

It’s been nearly a year since I walked into the doors, scared to death that I’d humiliate myself and leave defeated, once again. My last two children, the twins, had just gone to kindergarten and I’d dubbed the year, The Year of Me. It was time to swing the focus from 100% kids/family to spending time focused on me… during the hours of 8:15am-2:50pm, at least. Lol! I’d looked into CrossFit for well over a year and finally, the time was right. My goal in the beginning was to show up and do what the coaches told me to do. It still is my goal.

A few months into my Year of Me, I added Paleo to my routine. There have been lots of ups and downs, I’m still trying, but when added to CrossFit, even my feeble Paleo attempts have yielded amazing results. I may not always feel like my outside shows much of a change, but there’s no doubt my blood chemistry has been radically and totally transformed.

My A1c, the diagnostic test for Diabetes, has gone from the being in the Diabetic range to completely normal. I am no longer a diabetic. I’m not even borderline. I’m normal. For the first time in 7 years, I don’t have to take shots every single day of my life… no more needles!

My ALT, the test for fatty livers, has gone from being significantly elevated to completely normal. I no longer have a fatty liver. I’m not even borderline here as well. I’m normal. I’ve had a fatty liver for most of my adult life and now, my liver has completely healed. I also have a hormone imbalance called PCOS and I’m nearly symptom free because of the changes in my body chemistry. It’s truly amazing.

There have been amazing changes in my body and what it can do. My stamina and my endurance have greatly improved. I can lift heavy things. My back squat and my dead lift are currently 235#. I can do a 125# thruster from a rack and I’ve benched 125#. Yesterday, I power cleaned 125#. I’m excited by how strong and capable I’m becoming. My lifelong fear of running is still alive and well, but I’m actually running short distances now and even completed Jerry in about 36 minutes… shocking!

My entire life I have been known as the girl who avoided physical activity. My childhood friends are amazed that I do CrossFit and remind me that I was the girl who didn’t play flag football because I might get dirty or out of breath. It’s true… but something happened when I turned 40 and the last of the five kids went to school. I looked into the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. My outsides didn’t match my insides and just maybe there was something I could do about it. My outsides still don’t match my insides, but they’re closer. I’ve lost nearly three pants sizes and my stomach is much smaller than it was.

It’s a daily struggle… changing my life… trying to be Paleo and faithfully making my CrossFit class. I have so far left to go. I’m still usually the biggest and slowest person in the room… but struggle or not, I’m doing it because it’s making my life so much more liveable. It’s making my life fulfilling. For me, CrossFit is not about being a size 6. It’s about having enough energy to do the things I want to do… ride more roller coasters without worrying about fitting into the seats… riding an elephant… climbing a rock wall… playing soccer with the kids… hiking up a mountain… learning to ski… and anything else that comes up. CrossFit is changing me, slowly and steadily; it’s giving me my life back.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We’ll start with The Ugly… In my heart, I’m a therapist (yes, really… the degree is somewhere in my basement, nicely framed… thanks, Mom! I should probably hang that up, huh?) So, being a therapist, sometimes it’s really, really hard to look at myself objectively… and sometimes, it’s shockingly easy. When something is going really, really well, there’s a part of me that is hell bent on sabotaging it. I suppose there is that part in all of us, but in me, it’s centered squarely around getting healthy. Knowing that with every success comes a bit of sabotage, it should be easy to avoid… but it’s not. It’s really, really difficult. I’ve been working on the “why” and it’s a slow-going process with many ups and down.

Somewhere deep inside, there’s a part of me that feels undeserving. I see it mostly in the gym. It often manifests itself in fears that I really don’t belong there, that I’m a “poser,” and I can’t hang with the Big Kids. I find myself wondering if I’m lifting hard enough… am I spending too much time talking… am I taking too many breaks between lifts… am I that person in the gym who talks a good talk but when it comes down to it, spends 20 minutes putting chalk on her hands and 20 minutes talking before doing a second set.

This also manifests itself in my eating. (We’re on to The Bad now) It hasn’t been horrible… but it hasn’t been as clean as it was in the last few months. It shows. It shows in my lack of weight loss. I’m working my patootie in the gym three days a week and a fourth at home, and I am once again sabotaging myself by not eating as clean as I need to be to get the results I want. I’m maintaining. I don’t want to maintain. I want to look as healthy on the outside as I am becoming on the inside.

There’s no doubt food is my coping mechanism and Fall has thrown me for a loop. Monday is my only weekday day without after school activities and some days have two. Things are BUSY! I cope with an extra bite of this or that… an extra date lunch with the Hubs… a bag of chips between cubscout popcorn sales and the grocery store… making mashed potatoes for dinner “for the kids” and then eating them too… there have even been a few… cookies! Sometimes I think it would be easier if I could just have a cigarette and be one of those skinny chicks who smokes like a fiend and never eats. Difficult encounters with my teen girl would be easier if I could just have a relaxing cigarette instead of tearing the kitchen apart to find something carby to numb my agitation. Going for a 10 minute walk in the middle of after school activities/dinner/homework/bath/bed routines just isn’t feasible. Of course I’m NOT going to smoke… because I’m deathly allergic and would probably set myself on fire, klutz that I am, or something… lol… so I’m left with continuing to try to figure it out. I’m left with trying to address the agitation… the craziness… the constant demands for my attention… the never-ending NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW with something instantaneous and something OTHER than food! Any ideas??? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been interrupted while trying to write this last paragraph. It’s laughable.

And finally… The Good. My gym… which is one of my favorite places to be… has named me Member of the Month for October! WooHoo!!! It’s based on all of the progress I’ve made over the last year… the huge improvements in my blood work… the pant sizes that have decreased…. the increase in the weights I can lift… and my meds being dropped off the table like crazy. I’m beyond excited about this… and I’m also struggling NOT to sabotage it. I’m struggling to enjoy it and not think about how maybe I really don’t deserve it because I haven’t lifted hard enough… or eaten clean enough… or really, it all boils down to… just not being good enough. The old tapes in my head, created by me, are not so easily silenced. It’s a struggle… but no way am I throwing in the towel. I’m making progress. Could I be doing better… sure. But isn’t that always the case, with everything. I’m doing what I can sustainably do. It might not be 100% of my focus 100% of the time… I have a full life… but I am making progress and I am doing the best that I can… and even as I write that the tapes in my head are asking, “Are you? Are you REALLY doing the best that you can?” It’s a balancing act… taking care of my own needs and taking care of my family… and yes… I do think that overall, I really am doing the best that I can.

See… psychoanalyzing yourself is the pits sometimes. Anyone remember the old Saturday Night Live skit… Stuart Smalley. “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!

CrossFit is Not About Weightlifting

For me… it really isn’t about the lifting, for me. Oh, I do LOVE the lifting part, but that’s not my endgame. For me, it’s about becoming strong enough to live my life the way I want to live it. It’s about facing my fears and giving them an honest-to-goodness try. It’s about my weight not holding me back anymore. So… this weekend… this happened:

Climbing

And then this was ridden…

Elephant

And it was one of the best weekends ever!

So, speaking of facing my fears, there’s this little matter of me signing up for a scaled CrossFit competition in October, called Festivus. Why not? Why not for once in my life compete in something physical. It’s going to be a first. I’m scared as heck and already feel like throwing up… but I’m going to do it because it’s exiting… and life should be EXCITING!!! Now that the kids are a little older, it’s time to chase some excitement!!! Wish me luck!