Toeing a line between excuse and reality

It’s been exactly one week since I started BFF’s plan. Well…I guess almost a week. Last Friday, I was super pumped up with some music I found on Spotify that I got home and decided to go for a run. Not the best run in the world, but a run nonetheless. And then Saturday was when the real ass-kicking began.

I have vigilantly weighed, measured, and tracked what has gone in my mouth, while continuing to exercise (and not increasing calories by whatever FitBit/MyFitnessPal told me I burned). Then my schedule was thus:

Saturday – 2-mile run with BFF

Sunday – 4(ish)-mile run with BFF

Monday – Couldn’t move, so rest day

Tuesday – Short morning strength session

Wednesday – Short morning strength session + evening Vinyasa (super challenging)

Thursday – Short morning strength session

Friday (today) – rest day + cheat meal

Friday is also my traditional weigh-in day. After all the effort put in this week, I was anxious to hop on the scale. I woke up, emptied out (ahem), and hopped on. And…

What…?

Up 0.6#.

I was both shocked and not at all surprised. I mean, what has been my pattern recently, anyway? Exert effort, body works doubletime to shut it off. What it FEELS like is that I’ve just messed around so long with diet and exercise that now just everything is out of whack and nothing wants to work. The level of frustration just exploded.

And then I had what is most likely my final WW coaching call (I ended up canceling/nonrenewing, effective next week). And while Coach LG was very nice and helpful, her reaction to the weight gain was more of “What could be happening?” than going for “What did you do wrong?”

Which is fine. Which is what they’re supposed to do. But I also feel like the “What could be happening?” question just kind of gives you something to blame the gain on that is not yourself.

For example, last week, I had a tough week and was up 1.5#. I was/am super constipated (TMI, sorry). Coach LG’s suggestion? Well, it’s clearly the constipation, and just keep doing what you’re doing.

Okay!

This week?

Well, you have been exercising a lot more than your body is used to. Your muscles are probably holding on to a lot of water right now. And it’s nearing that time of the month. And you’re still constipated. Keep doing what you’re doing, and I’m sure this is a fluke.

Okay!

But I gotta wonder…does this method totally take all responsibility off me? This week, I tend to agree. I’ve been sore beyond belief and I’ve been drinking a ton of water. And my PMS is in full swing (sorry, The Boy). But if you gain and gain and gain…it can’t always be water weight or PMS.

Really, this method toes the line between reality and excuse.

What is reality?

Well…

  • Even double doses of magnesium isn’t helping my….daily rhythm.
  • My period’s due to start in about 4 days.
  • I have worked out hard 3/7 days, and done strength circuits 3/7 days.
  • I have craved salt.
  • I have tracked food, and stayed within budget, but of course can always measure more carefully.
  • This is the first week since March that I have eaten dinner every night.
  • I had four meals out this week: 2 dinners (Saturday + Sunday) and 2 lunches (Tuesday and Wednesday), plus some soft serve on Saturday, though tracked to the best of my ability.
  • I have not slept well on most nights.

And that’s the god-honest truth. What’s most important right now is being honest with myself. I have even sent nutrition screenshots to BFF to keep me on track.

I hope these are not excuses, and I hope that I AM being honest with myself. But who knows…maybe my muscles ARE being shocked and holding on to a crapton of water. We shall see.

In the mean time, I’m trying not to get wrapped up in fads. Facebook is hard. A few years ago everyone was preaching the virtues of intermittent fasting. And now–surprise, surprise–those same people are preaching the virtues of flexible dieting (i.e., If It Fits Your Macros). These sorts of people and philosophies make me SUPER uncomfortable and self-conscious. Like I’m doing something EXTREMELY wrong, and THIS IS THE ANSWER. I really don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole; while macros are important, I’m not interested in obsessively hitting each goal exactly.

The goal here is to live life, be healthy, look hot, and not obsess/encourage further eating disorders.

Triggers, man.

DK OUT.

PS, have a great and healthy weekend, all! <3

Youch

Now that I think about it, nobody ever said that change was easy.

It wasn’t easy not going to Crossfit, and it certainly isn’t easy coming back into regular exercise. And it’s even worse when you’re PMSing.

Oh god. No, this post can’t go there. (Kinda did though, sorry.)

So by now you all know that I am getting married, and the wedding countdown is on like Donkey Kong. My BFF has thus decided that it would be his duty to get me back on track and look smokin’ for wedding and beyond.

(Does this make me that person whose sole goal is to lose weight for her wedding? Hope not.)

But what I mean to say is, I’m closing out now an entire week of getting my ass kicked.

First thing’s first: We have to deal with the elephant in the room. Say what you might, but I have felt very disparaged by Weight Watchers these days. I have returned twice now, in earnest, and have been unable to lose any weight. Maybe a half pound a month. Maybe. I have a feeling that all the shit I’ve done to my body over the last four years or so has taken its toll, and that WW just has, for all intents and purposes, stopped working. And if something’s not working…why keep doing it?

BFF was the one to put it to me bluntly, though it was really only a matter of admitting it myself. So what then? Calorie counting? MyFitnessPal? Oh god. Okay. I promised him I’d follow whatever programming he’d give me for 30 days, so we will return here then.

But aside from a new way of keeping a food diary (which I am obviously still skeptical of, but we’ll see), there’s now a no-excuses exercise regimen.

His theory being that LAST TIME around, I just plain-old didn’t get enough cardio. The HIIT that Crossfit offers is great. Springs are great! But even the burner workouts just didn’t happen enough and didn’t provide the cardio conditioning needed to continue losing weight. Case in point: A few years ago, when I was able to push myself below 200#, the only way I got there was when I added running into my workout regimen. The other problem was that certain movements have caused me injury over and over again. We know where my problem areas are, and now we need to create a program around it, in a way that will minimize the risk of further injury. My neck, back, and shoulders (especially) are an extremely problematic and vulnerable area. So we’re not in any rush to do burpees. We will be engaging in very controlled, very modified push-ups, and other (light) weight-bearing, strength-oriented exercises. This was another area that really smacked my ego down, but for the better ultimately. My upper-body strength has always been ridiculously awful, and I’ve just always pushed through, trying to jerk more than 100#, which is light weight for a lot of people, but heavy as fuck for me, and it’s just ended in injury. It’s been humbling lifting 3# and 5# this week in a beginning attempt to build my shoulder/arm/upper body strength in a slow and lasting way. (The other thing I want to note is that I recently read an article about some of the dangers of Crossfit exercise. I’m not bashing Crossfit, because it’s something I used to love, but we should be aware of some of the risks undertaken when programming isn’t deliberate. The combination of high-repetition barbell/heavy movements with bodyweight or gymnastics movements encourages poor form and fatigue, two things we are actively now trying to avoid…hence the lack of burpees at the moment. Slow and deliberate!)

Point being, more cardio, less super heavy, more conscious movements and eating.

Oh yeah, and accountability. Because it’s been awfully easy for me to say screw it at 4 p.m. because I’m too tired.

We have a deal. Weights three days a week. One cardio day by myself. Saturday and Sunday are owned by him.

And after a week of doing this…I want to die.

We are working on running. And it is well-documented that I hate running, despite its efficacy. So what does BFF do? BFF decides that we are going to go running for like 3 miles (though Fitbit said it was closer to 5….) in the hilly terrain of Greenwich. OH MY GOD. Talk about painful. Up and down up and down…uphill both ways. Come Monday, I couldn’t walk.

I think I will always hate running no matter what, but my hope is that going with him will make it bearable at least. Because I will say, having someone at my side, pacing my stride and by breath is so much better than by myself. Also…I’m much more apt to turn around by myself, but there is absolutely no turning around with him. He doesn’t let me.

Let’s revisit at the end of his 30 days.

What I’m hoping is that I stick with it (in the last week, I have run 4 times, done weights 3 times, and yoga once), eat cleanly but not restrictively, and to be able to actually run up some of these hills without extreme pain.

What do you think?

If I’m not a Crossfitter, who am I?

It’s a long, long story, and I’d rather not get into the particulars, but it’s been nearly a year since I’ve been to a Crossfit, and because of this aforementioned unbearable amount of guilt and shame, I’m not sure I could possibly go back.

It’s the same thing as feeling guilty about not eating CLEAN and organic food.

It really seems counterintuitive–you’d go to a gym to become fitter and achieve those physical goals. But there’s a huge piece of humiliation that goes along with returning to a community that already knows you, and you appear totally different, now looking different and losing lots of strength and stamina.

So even IF my schedule aligned with class schedules, and even IF I could afford a membership, would I return?

I’m not sure.

And that’s kind of sad and scary to admit, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately, and I think it’s true.

Would it be easier if I conveniently made it to a place where nobody–not even the coaches–knew me, so I’d literally be starting at Ground Zero? Maybe. But history has shown that my ego has almost always gotten the better of me, and I’d immediately try to impossibly PR lifts, and just as sure injure myself…once again.

What is the answer for me? What to do?

Again, I’m not sure.

It’s a question I’ve been grappling with for some time.

For what seemed like so long, my identity was intrinsically tied into Crossfit. When someone asked me my hobbies, No. 1 was always “Crossfit.” When someone asked me to tell about myself, I always began with, “I Crossfit” or “I’m a Crossfitter.”

So what happens when I really can no longer say that? Who am I without Crossfit? Lost and kind of alone. Secluded even further and confused about my identity.

I know it sounds silly, to be confused about WHO I AM–who YOU are–but it’s absolutely true. Who am I without the label of “Crossfit”? Well, I guess I’m a lady. I’m engaged, and I love my fiancé. I enjoy coffee. I like to snuggle. I love the beach, and I have bunions. I’m a gardener with a very brown thumb. I’m really good at hiding vegetables in food. I’m a friend, a lover, a daughter, a sister, a peacemaker, and I know too much about too many random things. I like whiskey. I love traveling. I like holding hands and laying on The Boy’s chest.

But a Crossfitter? Maybe not. And I’m ready right now to let go of the anxiety and bitterness that has come along with that separation. Time to move on, and take care of myself, not my false sense of identity.

(And in that vein, it was time to change the skin of my blog. I hope you find it easier to read now.)

Food and guilt

I’d be surprised if I haven’t written about food and guilt before. I mean, an ENORMOUS part of any sort of weight-loss journey is dealing with a relationship with food. Even more so when you throw in disordered or compulsive/addictive eating. And yes, even more so when you throw in Catholic guilt, regardless of my practicing status.

I’m still in the throes of stepping back and observing the last 18 months or so and the processes that have led me to where I am right now, and I have to admit that there were a lot of things at play, many of which I have already glossed over (HUGE life changes–one right after the other, a separation from the Crossfit community, etc., etc.). But I think that one of the things that has seriously messed with my head is/was food.

Throughout my time writing for DK Gets Fit, I think I’ve been able to stay fairly neutral about food choices. Weight Watchers being pretty flexible about what types of food you eat, and incorporating aspects of Paleo into my diet (lower carbs, higher protein!).

Then life threw me a curveball, and I discovered, definitively, that I have food allergies. Namely, wheat, milk protein, bananas, macadamias, sesame seeds, and a mild allergy to egg whites (which I still consume because it’s just so hard to get around). I continued attending Weight Watchers meetings, this time at work, and I felt SO isolated. Nobody, not even the leader, could grasp what it is like to all of a sudden not be able to eat SO many of the foods that Weight Watchers preaches. The actual nutrition approach for WW encourages nonfat dairy products (I am currently OK with higher-fat dairy, such as butter, ghee, and some cheeses, but generally avoid anything high in whey or casein), whole grains (certainly including wheat), egg whites by the cartonful, and of course bananas up the ying yang (ditto that with Paleo). I didn’t know what to do, so out of frustration I eventually quit.

AND THEN, I decided to see a dietitian, who really was awesome, emphasizing types of foods instead of tracking, HOWEVER, it became pretty evident PRETTY quickly that someone who has issues with food really does need to track, no matter what KINDS of foods you’re eating. ESPECIALLY because maybe you want to have a cheat meal–or weekend–at some point, and you need to be correctly equipped on how to deal with this. I gained weight doing this.

I also gained something else.

The Boy would argue that I also developed a (mild) case of orthorexia. With the food allergies and the new recommendations from the dietitian, AND all of a sudden really being able to get enough protein from meat sources (since egg whites and dairy were out), I started to be afraid of anything that wasn’t organic/pastured/local food. I guess it’s not a horrible way to live, but it’s certainly not inexpensive.

Again, I gained weight this way.

Then, after spiraling and free-falling for a few months, depressed, miserable, and stuck, I knew I had to do something.

I rejoined Weight Watchers. And I’ve been pretty vigilant about tracking everything, since the end of January, and I’ve lost a mere 8 pounds. Since January. Though this is also with weird food allergies that literally nobody seems to understand. Once again, I felt othered during meetings, and decided to move out of meetings, and instead to personal coaching, which I haven’t yet decided if I like or not (I get a 15-minute check in, but there really isn’t any particular theme of the week, etc.).

But, and here’s where the guilt part of this post comes in, soon after I started my new job, The Boy lost his. And all of a sudden we are paying for groceries with a set amount of cash. And all of a sudden I’m finding that my lunches are filled with rice and beans. My vegetables are no longer only organic. There’s no more Whole Foods, and we haven’t been able to afford our local farm for what seems like forever.

And I shouldn’t feel awful admitting that, but I do. I SO do.

I feel so GUILTY that I actually cannot afford, at the moment, to purchase those foods that I know to be healthiest and most nutritionally dense. And I feel GUILTY that, after an entire year almost completely grain free, I’m back to eating grains on a regular basis. I feel GUILTY.

See why The Boy thinks it’s orthorexia?

My first go-around a few years ago, I regularly ate grains and did really well. Where along this road did I decide that they just flat-out are not okay at all? And when did I start shaming myself so badly for eating REAL, ONE-INGREDIENT, WHOLE FOODS just because they don’t fit into the Paleo paradigm?

It’s really messed up! Yes, I KNOW!

So I guess that’s one of many things I’m working on right now. Doing the best I can, but more importantly KNOWING that I AM doing the best I can.

Once again, here I am. Let’s try to take the guilt out of eating, and associating eating with guilt. Because, can we all just admit that we’d be a lot happier if we did?

Just breathe

Last week, I happened upon this story about the “After Myth,” and it resonated with me. It resonated enough for me to get back on WordPress and actually write something.

I’m not sure what I’m going to write, but here it is. And I’ve just got to breathe.

A few years ago when I was at my peak fitness thus far, I was always hesitant to consider myself an “after.” I’d not hit my goal weight, but I was looking and feeling good, and after the infamous video came out, I was all of a sudden catapulted into this position of being inspiration extraordinaire.

Excuse me, me? No, no, no, you must be mistaken. I’m just a normal gal.

And if I learned one thing about myself, it’s this: I don’t do well with pressure. And all of a sudden, there was just a ton on me.

Long story short, I don’t feel like an inspiration anymore, and certainly not to myself. But guess what? It’s still not “after.” You know?

Lots of people have asked “Well, where is she now?”

I’m here to tell you, I’m still here! It’s still me.

But my life does look quite different.

What did it look like last time you saw me?

Wake up at 7:30, gym at 9, work at 11, school at 4, home by 7. The same the next day, but no class. My schedule was fairly flexible, and while a PhD program is absolutely no joke, it was much easier to work it “me” time.

And then what?

Well, then, I left school, and life was like this:

Wake up at 6:45, leave for work at 8, work from 9-5, work second job from 5:30-9, go home, sleep.

That part of my life lasted about a year, wasn’t very pretty, and is not something I’d like to relive. Can I just say that this time, I was overworked, underpaid, underslept, and really just confused about newfound food allergies and how to work exercise into my routine without sacrificing sleep (which I obviously need). It didn’t work out very well. I floundered, and I was deeply depressed between a soul-sucking, dead-end job and not being able to manage my weight. No matter what I did, it was never enough, and I found myself reverting to poor food habits.

And then what?

Then, I got REALLY, really lucky and landed a new job–one that I absolutely love, has a direction, and feels meaningful. And for once–and probably the first time in my entire life–I have one job! It’s amazing.

Wake up at 6, leave for work at 7:30, work from 8-4:30. And…?

The intention, originally, was to return to the gym. But I’ve discovered very quickly how difficult this is! Oh my gosh! By the time 4:30 rolls around, I am utterly exhausted. How do people do this?

Regardless, being happy has done a whole lot for my health, including beginning to turn around some of the damage done over the past year.

And then what?

And then, in March, I got engaged! Yay! We’re getting married next summer and we are very excited.

And then what?

And then, The Boy lost his job and started his own business, putting us into a really strange financially unknown situation. So…while just getting the hang of things once again, have found myself, weirdly, reincorporating grains and legumes into my diet just because, well, they’re filling and inexpensive. Quinoa and beans, people!

And then what?

And now…

I FEEL LIKE A TOTAL HACK.

Who am I? I’m just a normal person trying to make it work day to day.

And now, apparently, to fit into a wedding dress (which is totally terrifying).

But really, my soul has longed for writing, to just pour it all out.

So just breathe.

And tell it like it is.

So here goes.

There is no such thing as after, because the struggle is never over; it only gets harder.