My Own Worst Critic: Check!

I am seriously privileged to work out with some amazing women. Last Friday morning, during the stretch after a workout, I had a very sweaty conversation with one such amazing woman. She told me how much she was enjoying the blog. (As have many others; I am truly grateful for all the positive feedback and honored that so many folks are reading. THANK YOU!)

But she did tell me one other thing (well, actually two…) She said she didn’t like the name of the blog, and that she thought I was way too hard on myself.

Okay, okay. I plead guilty to beating myself up on a regular basis.

Just to be clear, I am creating a sort of semi-humorous self-deprecating persona on this blog. But, to be even clearer, that’s pretty much who I am. I make jokes–often at my own expense–when I am nervous or out of my comfort zone. (Sometimes it’s just because I’m hilarious, but you get the idea.) As for the name, “Fit Fat Girl” is kinda catchy, and it will transition perfectly into “Fit (Formerly) Fat Girl” at some point in the future.

But overall, yeah, this friend is right. I am definitely my own worst critic. In my own mind, much of the time I’m not smart enough, strong enough, funny enough, cool enough, ANYTHING enough.

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I’m not really sure this fits what I’m saying, but it had to be included. For obvious reasons.

I do have my moments when I realize I am all those things, but they are precarious moments for sure, and they can be blown over by the slightest wind. Or even a tiny hiccup.

Take today, for instance. I just came off a truly amazing weekend. I watched people I love absolutely CRUSH the Fugitive Mud Run. (Completing a mud run was not my goal this year–I just don’t feel like I can afford to split my focus; I have to be 100% focused on my body transformation goals. Next year, watch out, mud runs!)

Afterward, we celebrated with a legit scheduled cheat meal, and then on Sunday we spent more time with great people. Oh, and I worked out about a million times. Five tough workouts in a row is no joke, but I finished it strong this morning. And all week, I’ve been getting such awesome feedback on the blog. I felt EVERYTHING enough, and more.

And then.

I let one comment from one person knock me down. Well, maybe two comments from two people. No need to get into the deets, but basically I had my efforts ignored by one person and sort of belittled by another. Aaaaaaand, despite dozens of compliments and empowering moments in the last week, I have been completely deflated, miserable, self-loathing, throw-myself-a-pity-party discouraged. Lame. I am so freakin lame.

Why am I lame? Because: I. LET. THIS. HAPPEN.

Yes, I know you’re all hearing Eleanor Roosevelt in your heads along with me. (Aren’t you? Am I the only one who hears her?)

ImageThe point is, whether you can hear Eleanor in your head or not, whether the two people noted above were uncool or not, this is MY fault. My deal. My hangup. I let it get to me; I allowed myself to be made to feel less than I am. Shame on me.

That shit’s gonna stop.

So these are now new goals for me: to be kinder to myself. To try to focus more on how far I’ve come instead of how far I still have to go. To surround myself with people who build me up, and tune out those who might be insensitive, thoughtless, or looking to cut me down.

Don’t get me wrong–I still plan to kick my own ass on a regular basis. There will be no getting complacent over here, and that’s the flip side of being too hard on myself…the good that comes of being my own worst critic: I keep pushing. I keep working. I always look for the next challenge, the next goal, the next step forward. How much better can I be? How much faster can I go? How much more can I lift? How much more can I give?

So even though I’m discouraged TODAY, even though I let stupid crap get to me TODAY, I’m still moving forward. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will wake up and be awesome. Like, Chewbacca on the drums awesome.

How about you?

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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.