The Horse’s Mouth, Apple Carts, and Other Stupid Metaphors

Well, hey there. Life has taken a bit of a hectic turn–as it tends to do just when things start to feel like smooth sailing–and we’re in a period of transition over here as my husband settles into his great new job with the not-so-great commute. Of course, more commute time=a much longer day for him, and a lot of added stress on both of us as I have to man the ship here at home and do all the kid-related running around, most of the cooking, etc. Like so many worthwhile things in life, this new job for him has given us new challenges, but it’s worth it.

And as you know from my last few posts, I’m not quitting, but I am struggling to find a balance between the hectic-ness and continuing my forward motion on this journey into badassery.

I’ve written about 10 blog posts (in my head, of course, where they’re not as interesting to you) but by the time I get a minute to sit down in front of the computer, I draw a blank. What was that fabulous phrase I had in mind while I was driving to class at 5:20 the other morning? Or the gem I came up with just before I drifted off to a dead sleep last Tuesday night?

So I came up with a fairly brilliant idea and started using the voice recorder on my phone. It helps while I’m driving, as I usually tend to be the most inspired on my way to or from workouts. I’ve had this one recording I thought had some good ideas in it for about three days and kept trying to get to working it into a post. And it just hasn’t happened.

So then I came up with a possibly even more brilliant idea but semi-terrifying idea to just give you the straight recording…why don’t I just transcribe that shit for you so you can get the crazy thoughts straight from the horse’s–er, my–mouth? I’m not going to edit it or try to make it make sense. I’m just going to give it to you. Talk about getting real. I am not thrilled about doing this but it’s in line with my stepping further and further out of my comfort zone, and giving you a birds’ eye view into my struggles.

Here goes (please let me type fast):

“I’ve been trying to figure things out. I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem is…why my attitude is so bad…(insert sound of blinker clicking…) I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so grouchy when a couple of weeks ago I was so excited about what I was doing and how I was progressing. My progress didn’t stop. So what was the problem? Why did I lost my excitement for my journey, including writing in the blog?

I was waiting. I was waiting for…no, I wasn’t waiting. That’s bullshit. Let’s be honest. I was putting off. I was putting off writing another post until I had it all figured out. Ha! Yeah, right.

And then I remembered. People that read this blog…that like to read this blog…don’t need me to have it all figured out. Part of what I wanted to do on this blog was share my ‘figuring out’ process. I definitely don’t have it figured out yet, but here is what I know:

  • I like waking up at 4:30am. I like sipping my coffee and having some quiet time in the morning.
  • What I like even better is going to the gym after my coffee-sipping, working my ass off and coming out feeling like a f**king rock star.

But after that morning high, why am I so up and down throughout the day? That’s what I don’t know. Why do I let the fact that we’re in a time of transition affect me so much?

Because I’m a human being, that’s why. Duh.

So here we are in another time of transition and uncertainty, and I’m worrying. About a lot of things. I’m worrying about my family, I’m worrying about money, I’m worrying about…why am I worrying so much? What are my expectations? What am I trying to make happen that I can’t control? Because that’s what makes me worry. When I can’t control stuff.

Here’s another thing I know…what I can control is my own choices. And when I start to feel out of control with other things in my life, I start to let control of my food go. That’s stupid! That’s counterintuitive. Why would I do that? Why wouldn’t I take control over the things I CAN control? I don’t know. Human nature? At least, my human nature.

So you see I’m still figuring it out, but I have to hold onto the things I know.

  • When things feel out of control, I can control my own choices.
  • Endorphins are good, and I especially love them after morning workouts.
  • When I eat a brownie that I mixed out of a box, it tastes like shit, and gives me a headache later on. And doing that is f**king stupid.

The end.”

(At this point, I had turned off the recorder and kept driving. Then, I had some more thoughts pop into my head and turned it back on.)

“You know what? Maybe, maybe what I’m rebelling against is expectations. My own expectations of myself–which we all know are ridiculously high–everyone else’s expectations of me, YOUR expectations of me…my readers. Maybe even though I love hearing positive feedback (who doesn’t?) it puts additional pressure on me to meet those expectations, to be who everyone thinks I am.

What if I’m not that person? (pause) Am I really that person? (longer pause) I want to be that person. (REALLLLLLLLY long pause).

This is what happens when my apple cart gets upset. Everything in my life that I’ve ordered so nicely gets turned over. And I have to reshuffle it. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe there’s something really cool at the bottom of the apple cart and I never would have known it was there if it didn’t get turned over.

That’s the f***ing stupidest metaphor I’ve ever heard. Seriously lame. (longest pause ever).

Okay. That’s it.”

So, okay, there you go. And this reminds me of a quote that I have on my personal FB page and try to live by:

This “transition time” is not just something to be gotten through. Life is a series of transitions, and I’m going to keep working to figure it out, control what I can, and, in the meantime, enjoy the ride as much as possible.

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Three questions to change your life. Part two.

So after reading yesterday’s post about figuring out exactly what you want, and setting your goals in clear, specific and certain terms, you want to know what the next question is. Right on. But buckle yourself in, because it’s a tough one:

What are you willing to do to get what you want?

Let me ask this one in a bunch of different ways: What are you willing to sacrifice? How hard are you willing to work? What are you willing to commit to in order to make your goals a reality?

And there’s the rub, peeps. This is it. The sticking point. Where the rubber meets the road. Where the shit hits the fan. Where the chicken meets the egg. Or whatever.

Despite the mixed metaphors, you get my point: this is the place where most people fall down, and here’s why: yesterday, it might have taken you a little while to really dig deep inside and figure out exactly what you want, but then all you had to do was write it down or say it out loud.

Goals

Today, today…I’m telling you that you need to determine–honestly–what you need to do to get it, and to admit to yourself–honestly–if you’re willing to take the needed actions.

Notice I didn’t say “able” to take the needed actions; I said “willing.” This is not a question of “Can I do it?” It’s a question of “Will I do it?” (Because I know you can do it.)

Frankly, this is the point where most people piss me off, usually by saying stuff that annoys the crap out of me. Like this:

  • Where do you find the time to do all those workouts?
  • Oh, I could never do the kinds of things you do.
  • I’m not sure I could stick to clean eating; I love chocolate/cupcakes/pizza/whatever too much

Wait. Let me be more precise. It’s not people saying these things that pisses me off; it’s when they combine them with phrases like, “I wish I could do what you do. I wish I could lose weight. I just can’t because…(insert 50 lameass excuses here.)”

My answer to those people? “It’s not that you can’t, it’s just that you haven’t decided you WANT to.”

I mean, really. Do these people think I have more hours in the day than them? Some special gift that makes this shit easier for me? HELLOOO!! I’m just an average person, working my ass off to reach my goals, and it is HARD.

I legit find it insulting when people say this kind of crap, like I am somehow privileged or lucky to be reaching my goals. Nope, sorry. It’s hard work and dedication (bordering on obsession, yes. I acknowledge that. But that’s what I need to do to get there.)

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying everyone should have the same exact goals as me, fitness or otherwise, because we each have our own path to follow.  Hopefully you’ve defined that for yourself a bit better by figuring out what you want.

But don’t SAY you want something, and then give a bunch of reasons why you can’t get it. If that’s what’s happening, YOU DON’T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH! (Yes, I yelled at you. But you needed it, and I did it out of love. Now go take it off your list of things you want, or stop making excuses and DO IT.)

If you want it bad enough, there’s nothing you won’t do to get it. No sacrifice you won’t make, no challenge you won’t overcome. You’ll have to make hard choices and do hard work. I know you are able; are you willing?

hard work

So let’s talk sacrifices and hard work in terms of my personal goals. Here’s what I, personally, have committed to:

  • 5 or 6 seriously tough workouts a week, usually at 5:30 or 6am
  • clean eating, 90% of the time
  • a monthly financial investment in my health
  • continuing at a job I like a lot, but don’t love…and putting in extra hours on my own to work towards my bigger career goals (perfect example: I’m typing this on my lunch break!)

What am I sacrificing? A lot.

  • my warm, snuggly bed at 4:45am (this is a muuuuuuch bigger sacrifice in the winter months!)
  • endless slices of cake/pizza, cookies, cheeseburgers, and other delicious foods I love on a regular basis (in fact, at a recent birthday party, I had to turn down a slice of a-mah-zing looking cake THREE TIMES!)
  • a new car to replace my nearly 10 year old banged up old Jetta–which does not have a radio, and is generally embarrassing to drive–because it gets me from A to B at this point and to afford the new car, I’d have to cut back on my fitness costs (right now, NOT an option)
  • family time on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings

There’s definitely more to this list; these are just what immediately come to mind.

The list above also represents things I want, but I have judged that something else is more important. What is  most important to you? How will you prioritize your fitness goals with your career goals and your family goals, etc. etc.? The answers to those questions make up YOUR journey, not mine, and you get to decide.

But do decide; don’t just slop around like a lazy ass and “wish” that you could make your life better. DECIDE, and DO.

Here’s an example: Imagine you came up to me right now and said, “Hey, Nash, I freakin’ LOVE cake. I am going to eat it every day because this is my life and I choose to live it with cake. If that means I am going to have a muffin top/fat ass/thunder thighs/floppy back-of-arm jiggle for the rest of my life, SO BE IT. I will have CAKE, and it is worth it!”

chocolate cake

Come to me, my delicious friend. (No, I definitely did NOT just lick the screen. Shut up.)

That would be hilarious, but then you know what? I would high-five you and be like, “Word. Way to own your choices! Have some cake for me, and make sure you cross ‘rock-hard abs’ off of your list of goals and replace it with ‘eat cake daily.’ And rock on!”

As amazing as cake is, as much as I want a piece like RIGHT NOW, I can’t let anything take my focus away from my current top priority goal.

Oh look, a little quote image that sums up my meaning. You know how much I love those!

what you want most

(I really want a new car NOW. Sigh.)

Okay, that’s it. You know what you need to do. Work it out: review those goals, and figure out what lengths you are willing to go to so you can achieve each of them. Maybe some of them invite a more cautious, long-term approach, and others are so important that you need to jump on them with every fiber of your being (we’ll talk about that another day).

But today, YOU get to decide. So do it, and get to work.

Christa Doran: Mom, Entrepreneur, Athlete, Trainer, BADASS.

christa doran reason for your challenges

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I saw Christa. To set the appropriate context, you should know that it was May 2010, and I was over 250 lbs –at my heaviest and my unhappiest, knowing I had to make changes but having no idea where to start or how to find something I could stick with. After hearing about Tuff Girl Fitness “boot camps” from a friend who was already taking them, I had set up my first complimentary class. I drove to East Rock Park, where classes used to be held in the old days, and sat in my car for over 10 minutes trying to work up the courage to get out. I was terrified.

When I finally did start making my way to the class, I immediately picked Christa out. She was wearing a sweet pair of Top Gun-ish aviator sunglasses, and I was totally intimidated, not gonna lie. But as soon as she saw me, her face opened up into a huge warm smile, and she came right over to me. “You must be Stephanie! I’m Christa. I’m so glad you’re here!” While I can’t say this welcome put me completely at ease (since I was still crapping myself about the workout) it lessened my anxiety and reassured me I was in the right place.

I feel like this first meeting perfectly demonstrates who Christa is. She can seem intimidating–she is, after all, a determined, driven, totally kickass strong woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals–but she is also a warm, compassionate person and a fierce advocate for and supporter of the women she trains. It is my privilege to share her badass story with you.

About Christa

Christa is a dedicated mom to two adorable girls: Liv, 3 years, and Lea, 14 months. She and her husband Mike are co-owners of Bodyology Fitness Studio in Hamden, CT. Bodyology is the home of Tuff Girl Fitness (Christa’s original classes for women only) and Bodyology Co-Ed Group Performance Training. Although she has always been fit and committed to living healthfully, Christa recently undertook a no-excuses journey to earn her best body and has reached a level of fitness awesomeness that most women would call “impossible.” But that’s Christa for you–tell her it’s impossible and she’ll work her ass off to prove you wrong.

What Makes Her a Badass

This is sort of ridiculous when it comes to Christa, because everything about her screams “badass.” She pretty much defines the term as I perceive it. In fact, so overwhelming is her badassery that I have to split it up into several different categories.

Badass Athlete

Christa credits much of her determination to her high school basketball coach. He was the first person who really pushed her beyond her limits, who broke her down and then built her back up again. Ever since then, she’s been through many different levels of fitness, pushing herself to get faster, get stronger. She was an avid runner in her 20’s, often running 6+ miles almost daily.

While she was always “fit,” Christa wasn’t getting the results she wanted. Over the years, she refined her training, gradually moving away from running and into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and lifting progressively heavier weights. She got real with herself about her food and eating habits, and committed to eating clean and cutting the crap. Over the 2+ years that I’ve known and trained with her, she’s continued to tweak her eating habits to best fuel her body, build serious muscle, and lean up.

Have a look at this progression, and notice that in none of these photos would you say Christa was heavy or out of shape, but DAMN! You can definitely see the amazing results in physique that come from dedication to clean eating and training hard:

before photo

fitness photos

And here’s what Christa looks like now, after a year of focused dedication to hard work and clean eating, 95% of the time:

fitness photos back

fitness photos shoulders

I know exactly what you’re thinking, and “Holy Shit!” about sums it up. Christa set a goal, worked her ass off, and crushed it.

Badass Mom

Some idiot doctor told Christa she would never be tough enough to have an unmedicated vaginal delivery. (Pause for laughter. Seriously. What a moron.) As with all her other goals and decisions, Christa knew what she wanted to do, and opposition that she faced only strengthened her resolve.

She gave birth to her daughter Liv in January of 2009, an unmedicated water birth. Just over two years later, little Lea was born the same way:

unmedicated water birth

If you can look at this picture and not shed a tear or at least catch your breath, check your pulse. You might be dead. Or maybe you’re a Vulcan. Seriously.

After Lea was born, Christa set out to prove that having a baby (or two) doesn’t mean a woman has lost her ability to have an amazing body and, most especially, cut up abs. And as much as I love words, I’m going to let these photos speak for themselves:

post-pregnancy abs

post-pregnancy abs

post-pregnancy abs

And, the finished product:

Beyond her dedication to being a role model of healthy, fit living for her 2 daughters, Christa has just about perfected the art of the work/family balance. She created the life and livelihood she dreamed of so she could be be there for her children and not have to compromise her family OR her passion for training. And speaking of her as a trainer…

Badass Business Owner

Badasses are huge risk-takers. They know that unless they’re willing to put faith in their awesomeness and make some scary leaps, they’ll never get the huge rewards, and instead will end up living humdrum mediocre lives. Unless you’ve been asleep for the last 900 or so words, you know that’s not how Christa rolls.

She started out as an Occupational Therapist, helping kids with varied issues and disabilities rehabilitate. When the bureaucracy of the job began to get in the way of her actually helping kids, Christa left. She worked in pharmaceutical sales next–a job that she hated, but it paid good money so she stuck it out for awhile. This is where she met her husband, Mike.

Christa was always training clients on the side, doing in-home boot camps on nights and weekends, driving all over hell and creation because her clients were so widely dispersed throughout Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. That all changed when Liv was born, and she left her job in pharma for good.

In May 2009, Christa took a leap and started Tuff Girl Fitness with just 5 clients who met up in the park. Her plan was to grow the business over time, and eventually get her own studio once her kids were in school. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

What happened next was truly amazing, and I credit Christa’s passion, dedication, and hard work 100%. Her business exploded, pretty much all through word-of-mouth. When I started with her in May 2010, I’d say there were maybe 30-50 women attending classes regularly…I don’t know, maybe it was closer to 100 at that point? I’m not sure. (Stop badgering me about it! You know I’m not good with numbers!!!) She added a few more classes. They got more crowded as more and more women kept showing up at the park to work their asses off with Christa.

In early November 2010, with Liv not quite 2 years old and Christa just a few months pregnant with Lea, Bodyology Fitness Studio–home of Tuff Girl Fitness–opened.

I just want to make sure you caught that: Christa opened her own fitness home for a huge group of clients that she attracted with her passion and awesomeness, all while she had a toddler at home AND was pregnant with another baby. A. MAZ. ING.

fitness studio

Christa at the opening celebration for the studio

The cycle continued. More classes added, followed by a part time trainer, the also-awesome Karin Christley. Annnnnnd, more growth. Classes got fuller and fuller as the word continued to spread about the fitness family Christa had created.

Just before Lea was born in the spring of 2011, Christa and Mike took a SERIOUS leap, the one that completely awes and inspires me. Mike left his secure, very-well-paying, benefitted job in medical sales to come on board full time at Bodyology as well. (And Mike is pretty awesome, too…check it out:)

deadlift form

Mike, demonstrating good form on deadlifts

trainer TRX

Mike coaching a client on the TRX

Now, they had a family business that they were putting everything into. Is the idea of both earning spouses walking away from steady paychecks and benefits as terrifying to any of you as it is to me? Terrifying! REALLY!

But Christa’s doubts were few and far between. As she told me, she was never afraid of failure; that wasn’t even an option. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to balance her passion for training and empowering women with her role as mom; she didn’t want her kids to lose out if her attention was divided. Her other fear was that, in trying to accommodate the overwhelming growth of the business, they would have to compromise the integrity of their program.

I’m here to tell you that her fear was completely baseless. She and Mike–and Karin, who came on full time in June to accommodate ever MORE growth–are all conscientious and relentless trainers, completely focused on driving each of us to give our best and nothing less in a safe and motivating environment. Just look at how badass they all are:

fitness trainers

I can only imagine how amazing it is for Christa to see what she has grown from her own hard work and passion, to know that she has not only taken huge risks for huge professional payoffs, but that she has also done it in such a way that doesn’t compromise her family or her integrity. Talk about inspiring.

IN HER OWN WORDS

What have been your biggest challenges along the way?

The challenge for me has always been finding time for myself and my family. The lines were becoming really blurred for awhile, so I had to work to set some clear boundaries between work and home life. For example, I won’t answer emails after 2pm on a Saturday. Saturday afternoon, and through the day Sunday is our time for our family. I want to be there 100% with my family, just like I’m there 100% with my classes, with my own training–with whatever I’m doing!–and setting those kinds of boundaries lets me do that.

What are your proudest moments?

“[As a Mom], my proudest moments were the birth of my two daughters, and having a natural and unmedicated birth for both of them. I am also extremely proud that I am raising respectful, kind, polite kids.

[As a trainer], I receive 3-4 emails a week from women thanking me for helping them, and these are all proud moments. Sometimes, it’s as simple as doing a box jump or a deadlift–an exercise they were afraid of–and my encouragement helped them do it. But it goes beyond that…I am so proud to empower women with fitness. I’ve had clients who have found the courage to leave abusive relationships because of the empowerment they felt during our workouts, and I am so proud and so honored to be a part of that moment when women conquer things they are afraid of and overcome their challenges.”

What advice would you give to all of us on a fitness (or other) journey into badassery?

“Hard work pays off. If you’re not willing to work, don’t expect to get it. The best things in life take time and patience. All of my accomplishments didn’t happen overnight; I saw every day as an opportunity for growth and used it to get to where I am. You’re stronger than you think you are, and you don’t know what you’re capable of until you put yourself out there and go after what you really want.”

With this long of a post, there’s really only one thing left to say: Christa Doran is a total BADASS, and I am so lucky to have been able to share her story with you.

Hey Steph, What is Clean Eating?

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a personal trainer. I am only sharing the practices I am adopting at the advice of nutritionists and trainers to lose fat, become more fit, and feel healthy, and it’s working. Do your own research and consult your own peeps if you want to undertake a similar journey.

Disclaimer #2: What I write below is what I am aim to eat MOST OF THE TIME. It is not easy, and I struggle with it just about every friggin day. I don’t always get it right, but I keep coming back to it because, when I stick with it, it works for me.

So, I’ve written a few posts and talked a lot about clean eating but never really explained it. I’m sure there is a fancy pants explanation for it somewhere, but I’m going to give it to you in Steph-Talk. Clean eating is not eating crap: not processed crap, not sugary crap, not fake-food crap. Eating real friggin’ foods. Something that grew from the ground or used to make noises like “moo” or “cluck” or “glub” (that’s a FISH, for Pete’s sake! Don’t judge my animal noises!!!)

My diet consists of mainly lean, high quality meats (I shop largely at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and buy meats without antibiotics, hormones, etc.), fresh fruits and veggies (organic and/or local whenever possible), legumes, and whole grains.These shopping choices support both my nutritional and environmental goals.

I am fairly judicious about my grains: I hardly ever eat pasta, even the whole wheat kind, which is very sad, but ultimately more doable than I imagined it would be. I eat sprouted grain bread (the brand name is Ezekiel bread), quinoa, and whole grain rice.

I don’t eat a whole lot of dairy, with the exception of Fage 2% greek yogurt, which I eat every day mixed with peanut butter.

CUT THE SUGAR, PEOPLE!!! By and large, sugar is the root of all diet evil. Read labels–so many things have sugar that you would not even expect. I don’t use or add sugar to anything, and I only eat 1 fruit per day because, even though fruit is delicious and packed with vitamins, it still contains sugar. Since I still have much fat to lose, I choose to cut my sugar down to the bare minimum. I don’t use sugar in my coffee. I don’t eat “no fat” foods because there is always something chemical-y added in to make up for the taste, and lots of times it’s sugar…which is FAR worse than fat. Lollipops are fat free, dammit, and we sure as hell shouldn’t be eating those!!!

I have two different “phases” of clean eating. Sometimes–especially after a week like this–I will go super strict for a week or two. No alcohol, no cheese, no splurges whatsoever. It hurts for a day or two, but it’s worth it to kick my sorry ass back into clean eating shape. Generally speaking, though, I allow myself a beer or glass of wine twice a week, and I have an itty-bitty serving of cheese twice a week.

But cheese is technically clean, Steph! Yes, I know it is, as long as it’s not one of the not-of-this-earth low-fat or fat-free varieties. However, cheese is also calorie dense and happens to be one of the most delicious foods ever to get in my gut. This presents a huge problem for me, because I will go cheese-crazy if given the opportunity. So, not only do I try to limit it to keep my cals in check, but I limit it because I know my weaknesses.

I also aim for one splurge meal a week, which (when I’m on my best behavior), I plan in advance and try to coordinate with birthdays, celebrations, other food-eating extravaganzas that appear on my calendar. In this meal, I eat pretty much anything I want. And then I’m done. Theoretically speaking.

Sometimes, the calendar screws with me and I have to make choices. Will I splurge at this party or that one? Sometimes, I fall of the wagon completely. As you know if you’ve read any other blogs or if you’ve read about me, you know I believe that it’s not the falling down but the staying down that makes us fail. So I keep climbing back on.

I haven’t mentioned portions yet, and I should because they’ll get ya every time. I have been amazed at how small I can make my portions and still feel satisfied. Note: I did not say “feel full”–I said, “feel satisfied.” This is a key difference, because I think many of us have gotten very used to feeling that we’re not done eating until we’re “full.” Not true. Eat enough to not feel hungry anymore. You have to do it to know the difference.

So, I usually start with about a 1 cup serving–no need to go crazy measuring, but measure once so you get a good idea of what a cup serving looks like in your bowl or on your plate and can eyeball it from there–and then I wait a few minutes. I drink some water. I wait a little longer. 90% of the time, I’m fine. But sometimes, when I’ve worked out very hard and my metabolism is firing like crazy, I’ll need another half cup or so to feel satisfied. I realize that in the past, even when I was eating clean foods, I was eating about twice as much as my body actually needed.

Here’s a sample daily menu:

Breakfast:

  • Ezekiel bread with peanut butter (natural, no sugar or other crap added…ingredients only read “peanuts, salt”) and 1/2 sliced banana

Mid-morning snack:

  • 2% Fage greek yogurt (about 3/4c) with one tbsp dollop peanut butter mixed in

Lunch

  • 1 cup serving leftover chicken sausage, beans, and broccoli rabe

Afternoon Snack

  • raw carrots
  • about 1/4c raw organic almonds

Dinner

  • marinated grilled chicken breast with grilled veggies and a baked sweet potato

Regarding Beverages:

  • So many people drink their calories without even realizing it. Make sure you’re not unwittingly doing this. When there’s whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or vanilla syrup in it, it doesn’t STOP being full of sugar because it’s a drink! You might as well be eating a big honkin’ piece of red velvet cake.
  • I aim to drink a gallon of water or more a day. The rule of thumb I’ve heard from my trainers is to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water a day.
  • I also drink coffee with half and half in it, and nothing else. And I’m a girl who used to muck up her coffee with FIVE SPLENDA PACKETS (really!). So don’t go saying, “I could NEVER have my coffee with no sugar!” Because you could, if you decided you wanted to. And if you do want to, I suggest gradually cutting back the sugar, one teaspoon or packetful a week. It took me a little over a month to go from that much sweetener to none.
  • Sometimes I’ll have unsweetened iced green tea with dinner, or get myself an unsweetened iced passion tea from Starbuck’s. SOOOO good.

It’s a pretty common sense approach to eating. No measuring, no counting points or calories, no weird food combinations or whatever. Just eating real food in small portions to fuel your body right. Of all people, I know it’s easier said than done, but my point is that it’s not knowing what to eat that’s difficult; it’s actually eating that stuff–and that stuff only–most of the time.

Dear Me, Stop Eating Crap.

Image

Oh look, it’s been like a month since my last post. Here’s the deal:

I. Am. An. Idiot.

There are no excuses. I was too busy to post for the first three weeks, and I was too ashamed to post last week. Because I’ve been eating like crap. One splurge led to another, then to another…until it was a complete free for all.

I stumbled at first, and then I pitched head long over the cliff. And now, I’m sick as a dog. Fever, chills, achy-ness all through my body, and it is 100% my fault.

A little more than midway through my eating spree this week, I started feeling lethargic and miserable. Tired, cranky, and so not awesome. I complained to my husband, who said, very simply and reasonably, “It’s your food, babe. We know that. It’s always the food.” I wanted to slap him, because I knew he was right. But let’s face it, I really wanted to slap myself.

Eating clean is hard. Eating clean forever is harder. Sometimes it feels really easy, but when there’s picnic after picnic, get togethers with friends, work-provided lunches and ice cream and cake, and everyone else is eating the good stuff, it gets easy to tell myself that it’s no big deal if I splurge (AGAIN. and AGAIN. and AGAIN.) And that’s just exactly what happened.

When I look back on the last week and what drove me to this most excruciating form of self-sabotage, I do realize that there was some stress with a few personal things happening, but nothing major. It came to this: I was 12 weeks in, feeling great, fitting into smaller clothes and realizing I could no longer wear other clothes that were ridiculously too big, BUT NO ONE WAS NOTICING!

I’ll tell you what people were noticing: my husband. Now, let me  give him his due. He looks AMAZING. He’s getting super jacked, and since he only had a few pounds of fat to lose before leaning up, it’s more immediately noticeable. Rationally, I understand this. I have far more fat to lose so it is not as obvious. I got fat, and he didn’t.

But on an emotional level, I feel like it is so much harder for me given my relationship with food, and so easy for him. And when I know that I’ve lost much more than him, but his victories are so much more obvious.

Whine, whine, whine. Why is the validation of others so important to me? Well, it just is. It’s a nice reward for hard work, but I should know better than to let that control my actions. But I did.

I got discouraged. I got angry. I turned into a big, fat, stupid baby and fell back into my old “screw it” mentality. Screw it! I’ll eat some nachos. Screw it! I’ll eat some cheese. And some more cheese. Screw it! Here come the chips. Screw it! Now it’s the cookies.

I told you I’m an idiot.

And here’s the funny thing: just as I did this, during my week of disgusting loathesomeness, I had two genuine compliments come in from friends I really respect. One friend, who came into a 6am workout class behind me said that she barely recognized me from behind. She said that I looked amazing and like a completely different person. The second came from another friend who pulled me aside after my workout and told me I looked great and that it was obvious my hard work was paying off.

I felt like such an ass. Let’s face it, I am an ass.

So here I am. I fell off, and now it’s time to get back on. I’m sick, I’m tired, I’m miserable and I’m hating myself, and it’s all because of crappy food.

How many times do I have to learn this lesson? How many times am I going to let stupid excuses and feelings get in my way? It is my fault I look like this, and no amount of rationalizations is going to change that. Even when it feels like everyone else is going to 10 parties a week, and eating whatever they want, I know I can’t get away with that. I feel like crap when I do–it actually makes my physiologically sick–and I know what it feels like to be eating clean and firing on all cylinders, and I love it.

Today, I move on. Today, I stop the vicious misery cycle I’ve been on for a week (loathe self, eat, loathe self more, eat more, loathe self to a disgusting level, eat to a disgusting level….you get it) and keep pushing forward.