Just when I thought I hit a training wall…

Jumping rope.
Jumping rope.

…I prove myself wrong, yet again.

There are some long-term goals at Crossfit that I sometimes think are pipe dreams:

  • Handstand push-ups (or handstands, for that matter)
  • Regular box jumps (14″ or higher)
  • Double unders
  • Unassisted pullups
  • Muscle ups

I’m not sure if there’s much else that I really CAN’T do. Oh…L-sits, I guess, and ring dips, although I’ve been able to do dips on a more stable platform (like bars). Bodyweight movements, I think, will always be difficult for me. Or more so than the average person, who grew up being able to do amazing things with their body and their own weight.

So those movements listed above…yeah, they’d be nice, but it’d also be nice to weigh 120 pounds, but that’ll never happen….

Except…I started thinking, Maybe it could happen.

I’m a pretty strong jumper of the ropes. I can do single unders for days. During the most recent competition, I did 170 single unders unbroken before I tripped. Not bad.

I have tried doing double unders in the past. I tried and tried, and made such excellent swishing sounds as I tried to make that rope go faster and faster. I always thought my issue was not being able to jump high enough. Until I went home and was practicing at CFSWP, and coach Troy was watching me. And what he told me shocked me.

“You’re jumping high enough. You need to have faster wrists.”

“What?! FASTER wrists?”

“Yeah, just channel all your anger and really whip it.”

He proceeded to tell me that perhaps I would never get double unders simply because I am too nice, and that I really have to want to punch something in order to get them.

I tried and tried with the gym’s speed rope, and sometimes I would get one foot under the second whip, but mostly, I just landed on top of the rope.

And then I gave in. I went online, and purchased a jump rope from Rx Jump Ropes, which Shannon had recommended. It had a nice, thick, plush handle, which I loved, along with swivel grips, so the rope didn’t get gnarly like the speed ropes. But what sets this rope apart is that the cables come in four different weights for training. The heavier, the more you can actually feel what’s going on with the rope and what you’re doing wrong. As you improve, you can replace your heavier cable with lighter ones for cheap. It’s also cool to choose colors.

Anyway, I got the rope just in time to test it out for the competition. And the first night I used it? I totally got a few double unders.

Like ten of them! And I’ve gotten them since then, too! I can’t string them together quite yet, and I tend to stop jumping after I get that ONE double under, but now I know exactly what I need to work on. And ALSO that I HAVE DOUBLE UNDERS.

I was shocked.

Really.

I just about shat myself when I got them.

But then.

Yesterday.

I was working on double unders.

And somehow I started chatting with a fellow athlete about handstands and handstand push ups and kicking into a handstand.

And somehow, she was convinced that I could kick up no problem, but am just afraid…or something is holding me back.

I’m not going to argue with that. I hate gymnastics. I hate tumbling. Ever since I was a kid, I could not handle it. I have these horrible visions of me getting upside down, and landing weird on my head, breaking my neck, and then dying. Or something equally horrible and terrifying. I mean, ick!

So we actually pull out a really plush gymnastics pad…she she and two other people try to show me how to do a somersault, just to begin being comfortable upside down. I spent a solid 10 minutes at it, but I ended up actually getting a somersault. I can’t say it was pretty, but I did do it. And then we moved on to kicking to a handstand. And with that big-ass pad, I almost got it. I was definitely less inhibited than I generally am without a pad. I can feel a handstand coming soon!

The moral of this story?

For so long I’ve felt fairly stagnant. Comfortable, but stagnant. I was pretty content where I was with the skills that I had acquired, and a PR was really coming from adding weight to lifts, or something. I am so glad that I finally made that extra push to acquire a new SKILL that had nothing to do with weights. Granted, I’m not good at either, but it’s a step in the right direction.

An exciting one, at that.

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Touched

Joy.
Joy.

Surprisingly, I’m not one of those bloggers who gets tons of fanmail and is too big for her britches. When people write to me or comment on my posts, I take it to heart because, truly, it means a lot to me that someone has taken the time to share their thoughts.

Over the summer, I received an email from someone who had read my blog and wanted to produce a video about me for AMRAP, a new YouTube channel by the publishers of Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, and Prevention magazines. I thought about it, and thought that was pretty rad, so I agreed.

Fast-forward a few months, and we actually made this happen! He and a camera crew spent several hours at Albany Crossfit filming this video about me and my journey over the past two years. Enjoy!

I just wanted to say how profoundly touched I was by this entire experience. It’s not every day that you get to share your story with the world, and I think that they did a really great job. Of course, it’s always nerve-wracking to know that you’re being filmed in spandex when you still have problem areas, but I think this is a good snapshot of who I am and where I’m coming from.

Here’s to another two years of Crossfit magic!

TWO-YEAR CROSSFITAVERSARY!

Well, good lord, this year has gone by awfully fast.

As you’ll be able to see in the table at the end, I’m approaching a pretty humongous weight-loss milestone, so unlike last year, this year’s Crossfitaversary will not include before-and-after photos. I’m saving that for later. 😉

While this year I’ve definitely become more comfortable in my Crossfitting skin, looking back, I’ve made leaps and bounds since last year. It’s pretty amazing, actually. Especially because, when you get comfortable doing something, it’s difficult sometimes to actually see the improvements you’re making.

Let’s take a look at my list of goals from last year:

  • Move up from the 6″ baby box for box jumps
  • Move up from 35# kettlebell for American swings
  • Continue to PR Olympic lifts; get past 220# deadlift
  • Practice the overhead squat; stop falling over with 45#
  • Nail a double-under
  • Do WODs with a band-assisted pull-up
  • Make it a point to attend at least one WOD that includes running

So…what did I do this year?

  • I’m doing box jumps on a 12″ box now
  • I’m still doing most KB WODs with 35#, but I have done a few with 45# (lower volume reps)
  • I have had significant Oly lift PRs, and I hit a new deadlift PR of 235#!
  • I have yet to nail a double-under, but damn that needs to happen soon! I’m constantly doing 100+ single unders unbroken
  • Nobody at our box does band-assisted pull-ups, but I’m werkin’ my ring rows
  • I’ve started running. Period.

And since goals are very important, here are my goals for the next year:

  • Make it to Lifetime at Weight Watchers (yeah, I said it!)
  • Get an unassisted pull-up
  • Nail that damn double-under
  • Work up to the 18″ box for box jumps….
  • Keep on inspiring people

Big goals. But I think I can do it. Right?

Now here’s a little recap of my year in photos:

I spoke at WW Success Stories Live, after getting my 75# ring.

Success stories!
Success stories!

I hiked the Cliffs of Moher!

Atop the Cliffs of Moher
Atop the Cliffs of Moher

I competed—and did awesomely—in a partner competition.

Long live Team Nevernudes!
Long live Team Nevernudes!

I wore a bikini!

Gettin' scandalous on Hampshire Beach.
Gettin’ scandalous on Hampshire Beach.

I ran a 5k!

WHAT IS THIS!?
WHAT IS THIS!?

I ran another 5k!

Color me happy!
Color me happy!

Two years ago, did I ever think I’d be living this life?

Hell no.

Two years ago, did I ever think I’d still be Crossfitting?

Hell no.

But I am. And I’m happy for it. And I’m proud of it. And I’m…

I’m…

I’m…really, really excited. And changed. I’m a changed woman.

And, without further ado, here’s my yearly poll. Please answer it, and let me know what you REALLY think!

Really…I have so much love and appreciation for Crossfit and all the people I’ve met because of it. Thank you so much for being a part of my life, and here’s to another awesome year!

Movement Baseline 2011 2012
General WOD Weight 25# bar 45–55# 60+ (closer to Rx)
Front Squat 75# (5RM, 01/24/11) 110# (5RM, 11/09/11) 135# (1RM, 9/17/12)
Back Squat 1RM=90# 1RM=160#, 10RM=115# 1RM=165#
Overhead Squat 25# 45# 2RM=90# (8/20/12)
Deadlift 1RM=195# (02/23/11) 1RM=210# (10/22/11) 1RM=235# (11/2/12)
Power Clean 45# (01/25/11) 2RM=90# (11/08/11) 2RM=100# (10/18/12)
2k Row DNF at 12:00 Sub-10:00 8:23.1 (11/1/12)
Clean & Jerk 65# 85# (11/15/11) 2RM=100# (11/5/12)
Back Squat 1RM=90# 1RM=160#, 10RM=115# 1RM=165#
5k Run Not performed Not performed 31:28 (8/29/12)
Grace 3:27 @ 45# (02/15/11) 3:10 @ 55# (10/15/11) 4:54 @ 75# (9/21/12)
Diane 5:56 @ 85# (01/21/11) 3:39 @ 85# (11/07/11) 5:53 @ 155# (10/8/12)
Fran 6:52 @ 25# (12/8/10) 4:57 @ 50# (11/18/11) 7:17 @ 65# (8/24/12)
Pull-Ups Jumping Transitioning to black band Ring rows/Blue band
Kettlebell Weights 8kg, period 35# American Swing WOD weight, 45# Russian Swing 35# American Swing WOD weight, 53#+ Russian Swing
Competition Row for the Red Cross 5k Row (03/05/11) Fall Face-Off (10/29/11) Strongman Competition (December 2011), Xs & Ys Garage Games (March 2012)
Attitude “You always have a crappy attitude.” —Dean “STOP SMILING!” —Kevin (11/09/11) “You’re killing it! Bodies everywhere!” —Dean (11/12/12)
Weight Lost 69.8# 96.4#

…and then there was this time I lost 3.4# and cried on the scale

By now, you’re used to my TMI moments.

And by now, you remember that I was SO CLOSE to being under 200, and then sabotaged myself with bacon toffee.

Well. THIS WEEK. THIS happened:

198.4
198.4

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the little Weight Watchers stickers they give you at weigh-in, this is what that means:

  1. Man Wt = Current weight
  2. +/- = Amount weight lost or gained since last weigh-in (for me, that’s last Thursday)
  3. Total = Total weight loss to date
  4. DPT = Daily Points Target (i.e., how much I’m allowed to eat)

Ignore the fact that the total line reads 91 (hooooly shit!), but, um, do you see the number on the Man Wt line?

198.4

I. Am. Under. 200. Pounds.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!doifsdfjsdlfkshgorwhiwr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, not only that…it’s the first time I’ve been under 200 pounds in my ENTIRE ADULT LIFE.

Yup. Now y’all know EXACTLY how much I weigh, but at this point, I don’t really care. (TMI moment brought to you by DK Gets Fit. You’re welcome.)

But, let me backtrack just a bit.

After Bacopalypse (aka, Bacon Toffee Terrorism), I knew something had to change. That’s when I sat down with Dean, and we worked out a new fitness and nutrition plan that I could live with (more on that coming up!!). And when I commit to something, I’m all in. So after a full week on Dean’s plan, I actually gained half a pound, and was piiiiissed. But I stuck with it for another week, and I lost big—to the tune of 3.4#, which rarely happens with me at this point in my weight loss. Now, I know 3.4# probably isn’t a sustainable rate to lose in the long-term, but damn if it didn’t make me happy yesterday.

I knew I had lost some weight, but I wasn’t sure if my scale at home would match up with the scale at the WW center.

So I get to the WW center, and immediately make Jennifer come over and weigh me in. I was trying to decide if I wanted to do the DK sexy striptease at the scale (sometimes, when we get soooooo close to a goal, it’s okay to take off your bra, and maybe your top layer, too…). I decided not to. I had gotten up early to go for a run and get my sweat on pre-weigh-in. So when I got to the center, whatever happened happened, and I knew I had done everything I could have done that week.

I hop on, and the WW scale matched my home scale, and I had a huge smile on my face before Jennifer could even record it (she knew I had stepped on the scale, and kept saying “asshole!” under her breath…I think she wanted it to be a surprise for me, hahaha!). Of course, when I saw that number, I didn’t even realize how much weight I lost that week, but that the number was in the HUNDREDS. There’s a ONE at the beginning of my weight now, not a TWO!

Victory fist pumping ensued.

Then a big hug from Jen, where I started laughing, and then cry-laughing, and then full-on crying.

And then I made all the other receptionists there cry, too.

I did NOT think I would be THAT emotional. Good lord.

But then all through the meeting, all I could really think about was telling Dean how I finally accomplished that goal. I didn’t have his phone number, so I couldn’t text him. And his schedule at ACF on Thursdays was spotty. I took a chance, and went directly from my meeting to ACF to track him down. He was there (thank god!), and I told him and Kevin (who was also there), and we had a mini party in the ACF office. It felt really awesome to share that with him.

And then later that evening….

Gold star!
Gold star!

…and any of you who are part of the ACF Facebook group, now you all know what that gold star was for. 😀

So my next goal is to not gain it back next week. I’m under 200, and I intend to stay there.

Also, 100 is JUST around the corner. So I’m not going to do a before and now retrospective at the moment…gotta save that for NINE MORE POUNDS!!

This one time I made Bacon Toffee; or, This week I gained 3.4 pounds

What kind of baconry is this?!
What kind of baconry is this?!

You guys ready for some massive oversharing? You ready to read your face off? Because this one’s a doozy.

Where do I begin?

So, last week, I reaped major benefits from my new nutrition regime. Recently, I’ve been doing carb-cycling lite. Essentially, that means that I switch high-/moderate-carb days with low-carb days. Every other day is like that. And it works really, really well, but it takes a lot of discipline. The idea is similar to the idea of Crossfit—maximize your benefits by confusing the crap out of your body. Doing this not only kicked me out of a plateau, but it also got me losing at a really satisfying pace.

Anyway, so last Thursday, I go to weigh-in, and I had once again dropped a satisfying amount, bringing me that much closer to my immediate goal. (Here’s where the oversharing comes in: Last week, I got within 2 pounds of being under 200 pounds for the first time in my adult life. Yup, now you know how much I weigh, and if you are sitting there judging me because of that number, go f yourself.) And because I had lost consistently over the last few weeks, my Daily Points Target (i.e., the number of Points I’m allowed to eat each day) lowered by one. Not a huge deal, but enough to notice.

Simultaneously, after three weeks of carb-cycling, I’m supposed to take what is called a “Slingshot” week, during which I eat high/moderate carbs every day, confusing my body further, before getting back on the alternating high- and low-carb days again. This was just perfect because Labor Day weekend was coming up, and I had a lot of fun things planned. (Do you see where this is going?)

I had already planned out my weekend. Sunday would be my cheat day, since I was going to Bacon Fest, and I was 100 percent ready and willing to eat my face off in the name of Pork Belly.

What I hadn’t considered was everything before and after Bacon Fest.

Immediately after weigh-in, knowing that it was a week full of carbs, I decided to kick it off the way any carb-loving lady would: with popcorn and ice cream (duh). The next day, I grabbed lunch with a friend; we had originally planned to go to New World, which I had pretracked a delicious, delicious salad, but the restaurant ended up being closed for lunch. Instead, she took me to the Fountain so she could get a burger. I’m generally pretty good about finding healthy things on menus, but for the life of me…there were NO vegetables on the menu at all! Not to mention the fact that I was hangry, hangry, hangry. So what do I do? Order a pizza, OBVIOUSLY! And then, what? Eat how much? I had a hard time stopping myself at about six pieces. Smallish pieces, but still. Really?!

Then there was Bacon Fest. And granted, as many of us in the area know already, Bacon Fest was pretty much a bust. It would have been a stupendous event, but vendors ran out of bacon by around noon, so I really honestly didn’t eat much there. And I was hanging out with friends, so later on, OF COURSE I’m going to share an appetizer of bone marrow, followed by some tasty, tasty jerk chicken, wine, and then beers around a fire pit. OBVIOUSLY.

And theeeen…and YES, there is ANOTHER then…there was the Labor Day barbecue. Which would have been fine, but…

…I had to bring something, right?…

…and my friend was already bringing a salad, so…

…I had bacon on my mind since I missed out on Bacon Fest…

…and I kinda-sorta…

…decided that making BACON TOFFEE would be a good idea………………………………………..

Yeah.

The recipe for those with strong wills is at the end of this post, but I pretty much immediately regretted this decision as soon as I tasted it.

Because, you see, it’s not a joke when people talk about how the combination of fat and sugar releases the same chemicals as crack in your brain. It’s…addicting.

Now granted, I’m not blaming my poor decision-making skills on some g-d kitchen wizardry or sugar and fat. But it would be a convenient scapegoat.

As soon as I tasted my concoction, I knew I had created a new trigger food. Because I couldn’t get enough of it. And I brought it to the barbecue, and nobody else could get enough of it, either. But unfortunately, there weren’t enough people AT the barbecue to make it immediately disappear. So what happens? I eat more of it, OF COURSE. I eat more of that, and I eat some ribs, and I eat some spider dogs (long story). Oh, and I also eat the salad and my sparkling water (‘cuz I am watching my waistline, after all). And overall, I have a fun time.

Well…next morning is Tuesday, and that’s when I decide it might be a good time to check myself. I hop on the scale, and I almost pass the f out at what I see. I told my leader/friend Jennifer that I had gained five pounds, but in actuality it was 5.8—I was just choosing to round down. She tells me it’s probably mostly salt, and I need to sweat and drink water. Check. I go and work out (and by the by, I never skipped a workout this entire cheat week), followed by walking a 5k (admittedly, stopping halfway for coffee…), and hope for the best. I eat super-duper clean the next two days, and I had definitively decided that I would go to my meeting, but skip weigh-in (OBVIOUSLY).

Then what happens? I wake up on Thursday, and decide to, as my dear bestie Jim would say, nut up, and just weigh in anyway. The bad news was, I gained weight. The good news was, it wasn’t as bad as my check-in on Tuesday morning. This time, the scale indicated I was up by 3.4 pounds. Slingshot week seemed to only slingshot me further away from my little goal, now putting me 5.4 pounds away from it. But I got the sticker, put it on my little weight tracker (yes, I have one), and had my Daily Points Target increased back to what it was the previous week. It was like a punch to my gut.

But I was thinking about it, and this extends far beyond CHEAT WEEK OF DOOOOOOOM, and it extends beyond the pattern of me being pissy every time my Daily Points Target is decreased (historically, every time it is decreased, the next week I gain weight, almost in defiance of the new number, like I’m not ready for it or something, and it’s almost always brought back up for another week or two). And it goes beyond me being irritated that I’m now below 85# net loss (marginally, but still).

This week’s meeting theme was “Believe.” And you know what? I’m not sure where it came from, but I started dropping truth bombs on that meeting, and I almost made myself and Jennifer cry (not because I was bitching anyone out, but because of what I had to say, I guess):

Here’s the thing…I believe I can lose this weight because I’ve already lost a lot. Yeah, that’s not necessarily indicative of the future, but it’s definitely indicative of what I’m capable of, and the fight I have inside of me. So it’s gotta be something else.

Several years ago, I saw a therapist for a few sessions. One of the things we talked about was how I was unhappy being fat, and how I didn’t know the first place to even start because I had so much to lose. We talked for a while about how I should just say no to office treats (this therapist proved to be not very helpful…), but she did ask me one question that’s sort of stuck with me throughout these years: Are you afraid to lose weight?

At the time, I thought to myself, What a seriously stupid and insensitive question. But if it was a stupid question, I wouldn’t still be thinking about it.

My weight, for me, has been used as a shield; it’s always been easiest for me to blame things on my fat.

I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m fat, and all guys like skinny girls. (Or, XXX guy doesn’t like me because I’m fat.)

I don’t like going shopping with friends because none of the clothes fit me, and I don’t want them to go into Lane Bryant with me.

Etc., etc., etc.

Right now, I’m getting to a point where I can’t really blame my fat for the shit that happens in my life. It’s forcing me to deal with things directly, instead of tragically triaging things. It’s requiring me to put on a brave face and pretend to be normal.

And you know what?

I’m fucking scared.

There, I said it.

At the beginning of this post, I said that I’m almost below 200 pounds. Well. Imagine if you had been fat your entire life. The kind of fat where, in grade school, the school uniforms wouldn’t fit me, so I had to get special permission from the principal to shop at a store with similar styles that would fit properly. The kind of fat where you’re given Disney or Nickelodeon workout videos as a kid. The kind of fat where, even at 12 years old, you didn’t want to wear a swimming suit because of the way you thought you looked in it. And the kind of fat where you’ve been over 200 pounds—a lot over 200 pounds—your entire adult life.

I want to put Brave Face on, but let’s be real: I’m scared to be under 200 pounds. I BELIEVE I can get there, but I’m scared to, because I have absolutely NO idea what’s to come after that.

A few years ago, I’d tell people, “Oh yeah, I need to lose weight, but I wouldn’t want to lose THAT much…I think I’d look healthiest as a size 16—12 minimum.”

Well…I’m not a 16 any more, and I’m fitting into 12’s easy peasy. And it’s not good enough.

I’m scared because I have no idea what I’m going to look like and how I’m going to change. I’m only now beginning to know who I am without the extra 85 pounds. Who will I be once I lose another 40? How will I deal with rejection? How will I deal with attention?

And that’s what I dropped on my meeting. I don’t know WHY I said all that stuff, because certainly most of the people there must have been freaked out by my TMI, but it felt right. And it felt good to sort of get it out. It was really emotional, and almost freeing in a way. However, this is still stuff I’m going to have to deal with.

I don’t have a warm-fluffy ending to this blog post, but my point is, I’m scared, and I’m allowed to be scared. What I’m not allowed to do, however, is to sabotage myself, consciously or unconsciously. So I guess that means no more Bacon Toffee….

Bacon Toffee (not for the slight of character)

Ingredients:

• 1 pound (or more) of bacon
• 2 cups butter
• 2 cups white sugar
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 2 cups chocolate chips (or, you know, an entire bag)

Directions:

Cook bacon until it’s crisp. Depending on how bacony you want this toffee, you might want to cook a pound and a half or two pounds. Once it’s cooked and drained, cut or break up into small pieces. Spread pieces of bacon out over a cookie sheet that’s covered in waxed paper.

Next, in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet, covering the delicious and crisp bacon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted.

Place the cookie sheet and toffee in the fridge to set. This might take about 45 minutes to harden. Once it’s hardened, break into pieces, and try to control yourself.

For WW people, don’t even go here. It has a lot of points. Even if you make 32 servings.

Crossfit 101: Don’t cheat on burpees

Nate and I show off our badass muscles.
Nate and I show off our badass muscles.

I’m not sure why they’re choosing now, but lately people have been telling me more than usual either that I’m looking good or that I’ve gotten crazy strong really fast.

Now, as I’ve stated multiple times, I don’t think anything with me or this crazy journey I’m on moves fast. But one thing’s definitely certain: There was definitely a point, and it was kind of recent, when I stopped making excuses for why I had to stick with a 45# weight for most WODs. And then, soon after, I stopped making excuses about why I wouldn’t try something just a little bit heavier.

When friends tell me that I’m really strong, this question normally follows: Where did it come from?

Just because, to them, it came out of nowhere.

I never really had an answer for them.

But now that I’m thinking about it, I guess I do.

It was a long process, and I’ll tell you about each little milestone that ended up being a major milestone.

When I first started Crossfit, I hated burpees. Hell. I still do hate burpees! Buck furpees! But when I first started Crossfit, I would look at the WOD the night before (which I still do, actually), and if the WOD included ANY amount of either burpees or running, I would devoutly SKIP that WOD. Yup. I didn’t care if that meant I came in once or twice a week. I would not—I repeat, WOULD NOT—do burpees and I would not run.

Then, one day I decided that I was sick of skipping WODs. I mean, I was paying for the membership, right? Why should I skip a WOD because of stupid burpees. So I told myself that I’d come in, but I’d scale the burpees. Because I could always scale. And who wanted to do howevermany burpees were on the docket anyway, when it literally takes me twice as long as everyone else to do the movement (this is still the case; back then, it was probably closer to three or four times the average burpee-doer)? Not me.

So I started coming in. And I scaled the shit out of burpees. At first, I would ask if I could scale, and the coach would give me a number to do, and I would begrudgingly do them.

Then came a point where, if I asked if I could scale a movement, I got THE FACE. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that head-tilt/raised-brow/jaw-gaping look that you get when you ask to do something that the coach knows is absolutely stupid, and the answer is an obvious “no.” When it came to that point, I realized that nobody would let me continue to scale burpees. So that meant, either I start skipping WODs again, or take matters into my own hands. And since WHEN am I not stubborn? Obviously, I took matters into my own hands.

I didn’t tell anyone, but I started “scaling” burpees; i.e., I started cheating at burpee WODs. All of a sudden, I was finishing with great times, and I was feeling pretty good about my “scaling.”

(Note: Even though I was indeed cheating myself out of burpees, one good thing that came out of this was that I began to feel more confident in what I COULD do, and my burpee form improved immensely.)

I continued “scaling” burpees probably until mid-January. And then, after finishing a WOD without scaling burpees, I would go up to Dean and proclaim to him, “Guess what?! I DIDN’T CHEAT ON BURPEES!” And he’s like, “You were cheating on burpees? What is WRONG with you?”

But whether I knew it or not, and whether I liked it or not, this seemed to be one of the major catalysts to me making some major progress at the gym. I wasn’t cheating on burpees. I was doing them all. Just like everyone else. It no longer gave me extreme anxiety to come in and do them (I still have anxiety, but not as much as I used to), even if I disliked them. I even came in and tackled the 100 burpee pull-ups, and freaking FINISHED it.

Meanwhile, since I wasn’t scaling burpees anymore, I felt more comfortable trying to go heavier or not scaling other things, either.

Somewhere along the 90-Day Challenge (which I did not participate in, but did do a lot of those benchmark workouts), I did Fran at 55#. And I remember thinking afterward, Boy did that suck, but I totally could have gone heavier. So the next time it came around, I decided to go at, what I have dubbed, half Rx. That’s right—I did 45 thrusters at 65#. And I’m not gonna lie, it kicked my ass. But I did it. I did it, and I didn’t necessarily think that I could, or that I would be able to.

Then, I realized that I shouldn’t be intimidated by WODs that have movements I can’t do, or need to scale. What I was then determined to work on was the movements I could do, and do them well. And try not to scale. Heavy deadlifts? Why SHOULDN’T I go Rx? Give me a reason. If I can lift more than that more than once, why the hell not?

75# sumo deadlift high pulls? Why the hell not? Just the other day I did a bunch of 75# power cleans. (Okay, this logic didn’t really work in my favor, but I still did it.)

You need me to do an AMRAP that has 65# push presses? Why not? I did FRAN—45 THRUSTERS—at 65#. 

It’s like, I did it once, and so I know I can do it, so why not do it again?

And that’s pretty much how it’s been going.

Okay, I can swing a 100# kettlebell Russian-style for 30 seconds without stopping. Why shouldn’t I use the 35# bell for the WOD? It’s only 90 swings!

Okay, I can do 10 lunges at full ROM, why am I telling myself I can’t do 10 sets of those 10? (And just this week, I did 150 full ROM lunges!)

And then all of a sudden, I started getting some crazy PRs. Like, CRAZY PRs. Deadlift PR—check. Running PRs—check. Squatting PRs—check. Rowing PRs—check. The most impressive one? I went from having a 1RM overhead squat of about 55# to having a 3RM overhead squat of 80#.

I have been amazed by what my body can do when I (a) put myself out there, (b) have a little courage, (c) and believe I can do it.

So yes. Lately, I’ve been feeling strong and really, really good about where I am in the gym. Everything seems to be slipping right into place here. And I’m really hoping that this progress will continue. But if I have any advice to anyone who wants to make that leap and get to the next level of their training, it is this:

Don’t cheat on burpees.

Redo: THE Doctor.

Before I begin, just a bit of housekeeping. DK Gets Fit now is on Facebook! Be sure to connect at www.facebook.com/dkgetsfit for new posts, photos, musings, and to connect with other fans!

Happiness radiates...it can't be ingenuine.
Happiness radiates...it can't be ingenuine.

I’ve already shared my “aha” moment with you all, so you’re already familiar with the “Epic Aha,” and how it happened at the doctor’s office. With a person who didn’t know me, or my story—a person who made rash assumptions about me, just by looking at me.

I’m not going to lie: While this experience ultimately drove me to radically change my life, it also did a number on my self-esteem. I mean, think about it. How would you feel if someone whose job is to be supportive, compassionate, and sympathetic, acted like you were a disgusting piece of crap? I’m sorry to say it, but I wasn’t one of those fat girls who didn’t care what people thought. I was really, really good at acting like I didn’t give a crap about what anybody thought, but I’ve always been fairly sensitive deep down. Especially in situations like that. You go around all day thinking that everybody is judging you because you’re fat, that nobody will love you because you’re fat, that you’re ugly because you’re fat, that you’re worthless because you’re fat; it only compounds those self-loathing feelings when they’re essentially confirmed by your doctor.

Needless to say, I’ve avoided the doctor for almost two years. Mostly because the thought of seeing her made me ill and angry. Beyond angry. Filled with rage!

Unfortunately, though, this week I had to go back.

Part of me was relieved and part of me was disappointed when I found out that the doctor I saw last time would be on vacation. (Although I’m mostly filled with rage and have avoided the doctor’s office, a very large part of me wanted her to see me now just so I could wave my middle finger in her face.)

So I went, and I waited, and my name was called.

The experience was initially different because they had just switched into a brand-new building. It wasn’t shoddy and low-rent like the last building, and it definitely didn’t feel like a frickin’ homeless shelter anymore. It now looked and felt like an actual doctor’s office, despite the construction guys still running around and installing wall-mounts for TVs and stuff.

First things first, the nurse brought me to a little alcove, stocked, of course, with a scale. I had a feeling it was coming.

“Go ahead and step up on the scale,” she told me, surprisingly, kindly.

I didn’t even protest like I normally do.

“Do I need to take off my shoes or anything?” My only regret was that I was wearing jeans and had just eaten a yogurt, and was downing water like there was no tomorrow. Anyone who’s gone through Weight Watchers knows how this will affect your weight. Every weigh-in Thursday, I wear the SAME über-lightweight dress, with or without NYLONS (because leggings are too heavy), take off my shoes, wear no jewelry, and don’t do so much as take a sip of water until I go on that scale. I also learned that the scales will register breathing, so a nice breath out will do just perfectly.

I got none of that the other day, but it’s okay. Even after all that, I still weighed a whole helluva lot less than I did last time.

I wasn’t even going to say anything.

I stepped on the scale, and she recorded the number, and she had me take a seat. I waited, and she stared at her computer screen for a second, before turning back to me and saying, “Have you lost a lot of weight recently?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Because it says here, you came in at [insert big number here] pounds back in 2010.”

“Yup.”

“Did you have bariatric surgery, or did you do it by yourself?”

I was kind of surprised at the question, but in retrospect, I really shouldn’t have been. Surgery was something I had thought about multiple times, and it seemed like the “easy” way out (although bariatric surgery isn’t easy, either), but it had never been offered to me, and I doubted my insurance would cover it.

“Um…all by myself.”

“Well good for you!”

Ha! I almost laughed. It’s true. I guess it’s pretty good for me. Although I’m not sure what I expected. For her to broadcast it through the entire building? To have a little parade in my honor? Oh, hey there everyone! This chick lost like 80 pounds! Woo-hoo!

She then took my temperature and my blood pressure. For the first time in a LONG time, the response to the blood pressure was, “That’s very, very good.” HOLLA! (I never had really high blood pressure, but it was never “very, very good,” either…it was usually chocked up to stress.)

And then…she showed me to the exam room.

I was pretty nervous.

And I waited.

And the motion-sensor lights turned off a few times.

And then in walked the doctor.

And…

…she was awesome.

What. A. Change.

Not only was this woman way more personable and much closer to my age, but she knew EXACTLY what I had been through; come to find out, she is currently doing Weight Watchers herself, and she’s even lost 70#. I was floored. I could not believe how this panned out.

We also had a nice chat about my last brush with that office, and she was stunned that anybody treated me the way they did, but understood when I told her who I saw.

Perhaps preemptively, I asked if she would be willing to be my new doctor.

She said yes.

I’m not really sure what the point is in me writing about this, but I thought that it should be shared. I spent MONTHS…okay YEARS…being just pissed off about this one horrible excuse for a human being that it made me afraid of ever going back to the doctor, even when I needed care. Obviously, I’m glad now that I returned, because I was able to connect with someone who understands me infinitely better than the last person I saw.

But more importantly, she didn’t make me feel like crap about myself. Because that’s not what a doctor is supposed to do.

So, I guess, if there’s anyone out there who has been in a similar situation, or has had a bad experience at the doctor—don’t let that stop you from going. See someone else. Try to connect with someone else. Maybe you can get your Epic Aha in a much kinder way.