Tuesday, December 11, 2012
*Please note: There are no pictures with my pants around my ankles.*
I reached 66 pounds down this past week, which is about halfway to my goal weight. All of a sudden it seems that a lot of my clothes are way too big. My winter coat is very baggy. I have noticed shirts especially becoming very loose. I decided to go shopping in my own closet. I have a pair of brown corduroy pants that I had been waiting to fit back into. This week I wondered if they fit. I pulled them on, let go, and they fell down around my ankles. They are several sizes too big now. It is amazing how those changes sneak up on us.
It probably isn't so much that the changes are sudden, but rather we just don't notice them right away. Needless to say, it has been fun shopping in my own closet. I know that the general advice is to throw out clothes that don't fit any longer, but I did not throw out my clothes that fit me when I was thinner. I knew I would fit into them again. I am not going to keep the clothes that no longer fit me from being too loose, however. I never plan on fitting into those again.
Workouts have been going well. My body has felt much better since I stopped lifting weights. I've been doing a lot of Pilates, yoga, and body weight exercises. I have been trying to do anywhere from 30-60 minute workouts of Pilates, yoga, and body weight exercises 4-5 days a week. I have been doing kettlebell workouts once or twice a week, and those have felt pretty good. I like that I can get in some resistance training for my lower body with kettlebells. I now know that my body was just not able to recover adequately with doing both weight training and Jiu Jitsu. I feel more energetic during Jiu Jitsu now, although my right shoulder is still healing, so that arm is still fairly weak. Overall though, exercise has been great.
Picture from Jiu Jitsu class Saturday. I am in the gray shirt standing in the back; I was shocked at how lean I look, especially in the upper body. I will post progress pics over the next couple of weeks.
Eating has been going pretty well. I have been less ravenous since cutting out weight lifting. I believe my body is not demanding so much food for muscle recovery now. I have been tracking on most days. Even on days when I haven't been tracking accurately, I no longer go nuts on the food. Actually, my old cravings for foods like pasta, pizza, and other wheat/dairy foods have been virtually non-existent. I worked hard on training my brain that those foods are truly not good for my body and will just cause me to feel like crap. This is not to say that I will never have pizza or wheat pasta ever again, but they have both become very rare treats. I do feel fortunate, however, that dark chocolate is a health food. I have an ounce or 2 every day.
It has taken me over 2 years to lose 66 pounds, a pace that a lot of people would consider to be "too slow" (by the way, that averages to about 0.6 lbs/week, so that is a healthy pace to lose). I'm not living my life for weight loss, I am losing weight because I am finally living my life. Allowing myself to grow as a person and really getting know myself has caused me to lose weight naturally without having to drive myself nuts with "dieting." It truly does not matter how long it takes for me to reach my goal weight. I am already a new person, inside and out.
Thursday, December 06, 2012
My podium gold medal win at Jiu Jitsu competition on 11/17.
November marked one of the most defining moments in my entire life: winning a competition. Not just participating, but winning. If you had asked me a few years ago, when I was still the fat kid in gym class getting bullied about my weight, I would have said that winning a sporting event was out of the question. I still kind of can't believe it. But, the biggest reason that winning was a defining moment was that I proved to myself that I truly can reach my goals. I may have been surprised with my win, but my teammates weren't; most of them simply grinned and said, "I told you so." Ultimately, I have my teammates to thank. I have found that not only do I need to believe in myself, I need to allow others to truly believe in me. Being surrounded by such great support has allowed me to become free. The past year of doing Jiu Jitsu has been the best in my life, and I am so happy to only be at the beginning of this journey.
Overall, workouts have been going better. I never ever thought I would say this, but I need to back off on weight training. Heavy weight training just does not seem to agree with my body and does not seem to be an appropriate form of training for my body. This makes me sad, as I am a big believer in heavy lifting for weight loss. Every time I build up and then go heavy, my joints end up more painful than before and I get injured. It is not an issue of form or programming. The combination of Jiu Jitsu and heavy weight training is too much for my body. My body has been fighting itself; I can do Jiu Jitsu or powerlifting, but not both. Even with rest days incorporated, my body just can't tolerate being worked to failure by both weight training and Jiu Jitsu. So, I need to change up my strength training. I will be sticking primarily with body weight exercises (plyometrics, push-ups, dips, pull-ups, etc.), kettlebells, Pilates, dance/barre work, and yoga. Jiu Jitsu also doubles as strength training. I will need to focus on incorporating some explosive movements in order to gain the strength and power that would be accomplished through heavy weight training. Plus, trying to throw 200 pound dudes during practice certainly doubles as strength training.
My weight has been hovering in the mid-230s for a couple of weeks now, so I made my 60 pound loss official. I have been losing weight a little more steadily over the past month, but only when I am completely diligent about avoiding wheat and dairy. I can't deny my sensitivity to wheat and dairy. I used to think it was just that I would overeat things like pasta and pizza, but I don't lose (or actually gain) if I incorporate more than the occasional morsel of foods containing wheat or dairy. My body and brain are finally learning not to crave wheat and dairy foods so much now that I have made the connection of what it does to my body. As a matter of fact, I know that eating wheat and dairy for more than a couple of days puts on about 7 pounds (and I visibly bloat to boot). I have noticed that after I eat wheat/dairy and then return to my normal eating, I lose 7 pounds within a few days and my belly "deflates" again. I am working on a separate blog about diet.
In any case, I am excited to head towards my 75 pound loss. I remember when I started gaining weight, it was when I got into the 230s that I started to feel really out of shape. That was when my face really puffed out and I grew the spare tire. I am starting to actually feel like I am leaner again. My spare tire is much smaller and my gut doesn't get in the way of movements any more. A few days ago, when I put on my winter coat, I noticed that it was very baggy. After that, I noticed that a lot of the clothes that I have are getting pretty loose. Nothing like getting to shop for new stuff!
Today I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I was laughing, and I noticed that my face is leaning out and my dimples are back. Well, I'm glad for that, because the month of November gave me a lot to smile about.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The end of October marked a year of doing Jiu Jitsu. My journey of Jiu Jitsu started with taking a small chance by trying out 1 class. I kept showing up, trying my best, and worked through the frustrations of the long learning curve of learning a martial art. After a year, I feel like the moves are becoming more intuitive and flowing together naturally.
I won second place in my division at my first Jiu Jitsu tournament in June. Afterwards, I consistently told my coaches that I was going to win first place in my next tournament. Somewhere deep down I thought I could do it, but self-doubt kept bubbling up. Admittedly, I wanted to back out. I tweaked my shoulder last week, and I thought I found my excuse not to compete. But then, I found that I REALLY wanted to do it. I was anxious about it, but I wanted to be challenged. I also had kept envisioning that I was alone there, but then I remembered that several teammates would be there. I babied my shoulder for a couple of days and meditated the night before, focusing on the goal of winning.
I got to the tournament and one of my teammates was there. About 10 people showed up altogether. I went towards the beginning, which was good. I got the take downs and won both of my matches by getting submissions. If you're familiar with the moves, Rear Naked Choke the first match and an arm bar the second. I won the tournament over the other 7 women.
This picture is almost unreal to me. I never thought I would be standing on a podium claiming a gold medal!
And a few hours later (I'm in the purple sweater) with some of the guys, watching UFC (and having a little too much to drink ).
I have found myself through doing Jiu Jitsu. There is something transformative about the raw physical experience of grappling, and in practicing, my true self is emerging. Practicing Jiu Jitsu has taught me to boldly face my fears. The guys at my gym have been telling me since day 1 that they believe in me. Their words have slowly sunken in and helped uncover the champion in me. Winning the tournament was not crossing a goal line, it was a stepping stone. Winning just makes me want to train even harder, work on fine-tuning what I already know, and building up from there. It also made me feel more serious on focusing on losing weight steadily again. The first year was great, but he best is still yet to come.
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