2012 Wrap Up and Stuff

So it’s 2013 and, Happy New Year, yo!

I try not to make too big a deal out of the new year because I want to make sure I remember that really, any day is a fine day for a new start. I used to be one of those peeps to make excuses about “waiting for the new year” just to procrastinate on any given goal I might want to achieve when I was, in fact, perfectly capable of starting to achieve the goal like, right now.

But it’s still true that we just finished a busy holiday season and the calendar change does provide a good opportunity to assess where we were, where we are, and where we want to be. Let the assessment begin!!!

I was just thinking about this today…specifically, where I was a year ago. Between me and you (and the entire interwebs, I guess), the truth is that last January I was inĀ  a very, very dark place. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I wasn’t working, after leaving a job that was a terrible fit. This terrible job was one I took after much deliberation about whether I should leave my previous job that I loved and hated in equal parts. I had no love at all for the terrible job. It sucked in every way possible and was soooooo the wrong place for me. I knew at the time that leaving this awful horrible j-o-b was the right thing to do, but as three months passed with no offers–including a job opportunity for which I put in more than 60 hours of work to prepare a kick-ass presentation, and got the “wink, wink…nudge, nudge” from the selection committee, only to get a big, fat “no thank you” middle finger a week later–I was really started to feel regretful about leaving the first job, and generally worthless for being totally unemployable and a complete loser. It is a horrible, horrible feeling.
  • I had just lost my aunt. On Christmas Day. Enough said.
  • I was turning to food to cope with my grief, sadness, and feelings of worthlessness (see bullet 1). The more I ate, the worse I felt…causing me to eat more. I starting no showing for workouts, making me feel even worse (and subsequently eating more…you get it.) Instead of fulfilling my goal of continuing to lose, I was gaining back. More serious suckage.

So for these crappy reasons, I was in a place where I felt like I was letting everyone down, including myself.

I was failing my family financially.

I was failing my friends by withdrawing.

I was failing myself in pretty much every way I could think of.

No matter what I did, I felt like I couldn’t climb out of the huge hole of sadness and alternating self-pity/loathing I found myself in.

Life sucked a year ago. Or at least, I was making it suck by my pitifulness. (I just made that word up.)

In my case, a year made a huge difference, and I am grateful for the changes I made in that year.

It was a year of hard work, persistence, and focus.

up and over high

Not a year of perfection, by any means, but a year of decent progress on many fronts.

A year where I truly came to appreciate how lucky I am to have amazing, wonderful people in my life to support me and keep me on the straight and narrow.

A year in which we took an amazeballs cruise–paid off completely in advance (a financial goal, MET)–and it was pretty much the best. vacation. ever. With seriously awesome peeps. (Heart.)

disney cruise vacation

Seriously. Amazeballs.

A year in which I landed myself a job that was waaaaaay better than anything I had applied for previously. I just had to wait it out for the opportunity that was juuuust right for me. (The waiting sucks, though.) In this job, I am recognized for my value and in 2013, I am looking at a promotion and a pretty sweet raise. Ka-ching!

2012 was a year where I steamrolled my fear of being seen as the “fat girl on the stage” and did this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaBHAXb2THo

and this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCRTp88YUBs

Word.

So I set some goals, I reached some goals. Others took longer than I expected but I kept the momentum going.

In 2012, I started this blog, and, even though from October on I struggled to find time to keep up with it, I put myself out there, got some interest from all you delightful people, and knew in the back of my mind that I would be back when life calmed down a bit again. (Here I am, and howdy!)

All in all, it’s a year I can be proud of. And I am proud! I rocked a lot of shit this year! (How about you??? What did you rock in 2012? Share in comments or on FB!)

But let us not rest on our laurels. That is so NOT what being a badass is about.

So, the big question is, WHAT NOW? It’s 2013. What’s next? What challenges and goals do we want to rip the heads off of this year?

Honestly, I’ve been struggling to create my goals for this year, so I guess I have to take my own advice and go back to the drawing board. I want them to be specific, and attainable, but still challenging enough to be scary and shove me out of my comfort zone.

So I’ve got some work to do.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, either share your 2013 goals with me and the peeps, or take some time to do your own work on creating badass goals so we can make 2013 as awesome as 2012.

Reflections on Perseverance.

I read a book a couple of years ago about this awesome woman who went from over 300lbs to being a seriously fit and trim marathon runner. It was a pretty inspirational read.

But once I finished it, a couple of things just didn’t ring true to me. I have no doubt that this woman wrote truthfully about her own experiences, but these things just didn’t jive with mine.

Here’s the first thing: She wrote about her “aha” moment, which was cool, and basically woke up the next morning and changed her life. Also cool. She adopted better eating habits and committed to doing some sort of physical activity 30 minutes a day, every single day, even if it meant walking her cul-de-sac at 10:30pm at night…which she says she did a number of times. I had a lot of respect for her commitment.

Then she went on to say things like, “It was so liberating knowing I never had to go back to my old lifestyle,” and “I never missed a day, no matter what it took.” (These are definitely not direct quotes; I am generalizing from a book I read 2 years ago. You know how committed I am to complete and utter accuracy.)

My deal is this: I believe her in fact, but I don’t believe her in my heart. I get what she was saying about her liberating new lifestyle, but it just sounded too easy. Like anyone could just wake up and DO IT (true) and never have a doubt or struggle with it (serious bullshit).

Maybe she did write about struggles, but I don’t remember. They weren’t highlighted enough in her book for them to have stuck with me.

And for me, it’s all about the struggle. I struggle with my journey every single day. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I feel amazing about my fit lifestyle and choices, but just as often I want to eat whatever the hell I want and not have to work my ass off 5+ times a week. I don’t give in to that, but I do want it. A lot.

So how could this chick not miss the chocolate chip cookies that she wrote about baking almost daily before she changed her life? How could she make it sound like a total piece of cake? This is some hard shit to do, people!

I agree with her 100% that anyone can wake up, decide to change their life and DO IT. But…to do it, you have to work your ass off every single day, every single hour, every single minute. Especially when your journey might stretch into years…because that is a LOOOOOONG time to persevere. It’s worth it, but it is seriously friggin hard.

You mess up along the way, you hate the journey sometimes, you have your “screw it” moments, you really REALLY crave a big honkin piece of pepperoni pizza–or two or three or seven–and you might just kill your mother to get it some days (sorry, Mom). That’s the reality of my journey.

Strength and persistence

That’s one of my trainers, Christa Doran, the original Tuff Girl. She is pretty amazing, and is a true testament to the power of perseverance.

So look at the guns on my trainer Christa. And the quads, and the perfect form. She is such a badass, but she will say time and again that achieving this amazing body was not easy. She had to sacrifice again, and again, and again, and again, even when she didn’t want to.

For a full year, she ate clean and worked her ass off, and she’s still doing it to maintain this awesomeness. THAT’S what it takes, and she’s had her share of struggles along the way. But she kept going.

Perseverance pays off.

So back to the book: I mentioned this woman ultimately ran a marathon. But I’m not sure how, because one second she was walking on the treadmill or riding the recumbent bike for a half hour a day, and all of a sudden she said, “oh, and BTW, I ran a marathon, too!” There was like a huge middle piece missing there…and it was the piece I really, really wanted to hear about. THE HARDEST PIECE!

I trained for a sprint triathlon: swim 1/4 mile, bike 12, and run 3.1 miles. My time was god-awful (well over 2 hours) but my goal was to finish, and I did.

Training SUCKED. I hated nearly every minute of it. There were a few seconds of joy, sometimes when I was coasting down a hill on my bike with the wind flying at my face, but mostly, it sucked. I was a big fat girl in a dorky helmet on a bike. Or a big fat girl flopping around in a pool trying desperately to do that breathing thing without panicking. Or a big fat girl clomping around on a treadmill.

During my training, I was exhausted. And discouraged. And terrified. But I kept going. I started it, and I was determined to finish.

I had to drag my kids along most of the time because my husband was on a travel assignment during my 3 months of training. Sometimes they had to sit on the bench in the aquatic center while I swam laps. Sometimes they were sitting in the middle of the track with snacks and toys while I ran/walked laps, and they were not always well behaved (hellooooo, understatement). My son used to sit on the rock wall at the edge of our yard and read his book while I biked the .45 mile circuit that is our block about 20+ times. Once, I fell off my bike for no apparent reason near the corner of a major road, making a complete ass of myself as cars went by. I got back on.

That’s the stuff that I want to hear about, and that’s what I missed from this woman’s story. The nitty gritty. The details. The sweat and tears. The scraped knees and crying kids. The determination that moves you to grind your way past all those things and Just. Keep. Going.

So what are your struggles? Your nitty gritty details? And how do you push through them and persevere?

Remember: Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged people who kept on working.

Keep fighting, peeps! It’s going to be worth it.

Quick Inspiration from My Close Personal Friend, Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey is such a badass.

Okay, so we’re not actually close personal friends. More like acquaintances. Okay, not really even acquaintances. But I DID read her book and obsessively watch 30 Rock and all her SNL shows AND all her movies. So I feel like we’re almost friends. Well, we could be, because I think if she got to know me, she would really like me. And possibly even think I’m somewhat funny. And then maybe I could be like an assistant writer for her or something, and then we’d go get coffees together and laugh about…you know what? Just forget it.

My point is, I love the simplicity of this. We tend to overcomplicate our shit sometimes, don’t we? And the more we think about all our excuses–why we can’t work out, why we SHOULD eat that cookie, why we can’t possibly get out of bed for such an early class, why “just this one time” it won’t matter–the less we get done.

STOP THINKING SO MUCH, and just get it done. Nike got it right, people. Sometimes, you just have to do it, whether you want to or not. Even when it hurts. Even when you’re tired. Even when all the odds are stacked against you.

So, listen to the woman, bitches! (And dudes, too…) Get your stuff done.

This morning, I felt lousy. I heard that annoying voice in my head telling me it was too early, I was still getting over being sick, the workout probably wasn’t a good idea, I could take another day off, blah blah blah. I had to shut it down. I had to stop thinking and just put on my workout gear, stumble downstairs for my coffee and then GO.

So what stuff did you get done today? Tina Fey and I want to know.

Scary Stuff. Or, Get the Hell Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Here’s a secret: I’m terrified of mold. Isn’t that absurd? Me, the girl who bravely faced down a most disgusting shower drain full of mold-covered long girly hair while my college housemates stood a safe distance back, gagging. I pulled that nasty crap out of the drain and was the hero of my house! We didn’t have to shower in ankle deep water anymore! I’m not sure when things changed, but I seriously cannot approach anything that I even think might have mold on it. (That’s what I have a husband for, after all.)

But, this post isn’t about mold. It’s about shit that terrifies me. Here’s something that makes me shake in my boots:

box jumps

I wish this were me! This is a fellow Tuff Girl seriously rocking some up and overs. You can’t actually see me in this picture because I’m curled up the fetal position crying. Not really. But seriously.

Yes, I am afraid of the step. We use them for box jumps, and up and overs, and a bunch of other crazy stuff and I am always shaking in my boots, expecting to go crashing off the side of the step and land on the floor in a big fat heap. Back in the day, I did just such a thing at a step aerobics class. And apparently, I’ve never quite gotten over it.

Here’s the deal, though, peeps: I refuse to let my fear get in my way. Do I let it make me feel like I might vomit? Yes. Do I let it push my heart rate to an even more accelerated level than it would have been from the actual exercise? Absolutely. Do I let the fear make me tinkle just a little bit? Sometimes. (Listen, this stuff happens after you’ve had a few kids. Get over it.)

But I refuse to let the fear stop me anymore. Ever.

Shall I list some more workout related things I am afraid of? Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll be happy to:

  • Pull ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Mountain climbers on disks
  • Mountain climbers on the TRX (are you noticing a pattern here?)
  • Sumo deadlifts
  • Surrenders
  • Ladders, most especially the ascending kind
  • Stair sprints

This could go on for awhile, but I feel as though I’ve made my point aplenty. Basically, there is something in every workout that makes me want to barf just thinking about it. Why do these things make me so skerred? Really, it’s about the potential to fail. The potential to look like an idiot. The potential to make a fool of myself in front of a bunch of other people. Obviously, these are the exercises that are the hardest for me, and so I am afraid to look ridiculous trying to do them.

I do them anyway.

Christa is always telling us that change only happens outside of your comfort zone. Were truer words ever spoken? I had gotten waaaaaay to comfortable with my life before, and I was afraid of EVERYTHING. Of people, of social situations, of exercise, of putting myself out there. You name it, I feared it. It was crippling me in every aspect of my life. My comfort zone was pretty much my house, and it was lonely and sad. Professionally, I was settling.

Since I’ve decided to acknowledge my fear, shake its hand and bid it good morning, and then proceed to steamroll right through it, I’ve done things I’m so proud of, that I never thought I could accomplish. I’ve lifted heavier weights than I thought possible, and pushed through intervals that I thought I could never finish without catching my breath.

In my work life, I walked away from a paying job when we really couldn’t afford for me to because it wasn’t for me. It sucked, actually. Guess what? When I refused to settle, I ultimately found something perfect for me, making way more money.

In my personal life, I have sought out friends and developed an amazing support system of awesome women that I love. My marriage is better than it’s ever been, and I’ve faced penis and vagina and sex talks with my kids head on without batting an eyelash.

Am I still afraid? Hell, yes. I wouldn’t be human if I weren’t afraid of stuff. But I’m not letting the fear stop me…EVER AGAIN.