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 in  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.

I’m Avenged…Barely.

This is a quick hit and run post, but I had to share this struggle of a morning. The workout was the Avenger…40 second intervals with alternating strength and cardio. We like to call it “super hero training”!

Usually, I love this workout; it’s fun and challenging. Today, it was challenging and miserable and I barely made it through. It was frustrating and I was so angry about it. What the hell? How can I be struggling this much when I’m working so hard, especially coming off a rest day? Even the stations that I typically hit like a rock star posed a serious challenge.

But I gave what I had and then, afterward, I came across this message:

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So, in the spirit of my new outlook to focus on the positive, here are some good things I am taking away from my workout struggle this morning:

  • I dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 4:42am and actually WENT to this workout
  • I did both 40 second rounds of power jacks without stopping
  • I hefted two 35# dumbbells during split jerk intervals (not gonna lie…those bitches were HEAVY!!!)
  • I (mostly) kept up with my very fast and agile partner during the ladder runs

These are all things I couldn’t do a month or so ago (well, except for the first one). And I did them today.

I wonder what I’ll be able to do by next month?

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.

Dear Me, Stop Eating Crap.

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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.