Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Some people are poison. Beneath the fake smiles and the feigned interest, they really just want to talk about themselves and, if possible, drag down your own feeling of self-worth. I've been involved in a struggle (friendship?) with someone like this for almost a year. It hurts because I once considered her a close friend. But, then she tried to get me fired from my job (which I love), and I started to realize that I was really nothing more than a listener in the relationship.
I felt bad every time we got together. She brought out old, hateful feelings that I thought I had conquered long ago. It's a toxic relationship.
I tried forgiving her. Forgiveness seems like the best policy, but honestly it's not. I can understand her issues (she has a ton), but I can't fix any of them. And, I can't let her use me to make herself feel better. I knew who I was before we met. I knew my desires and goals. Everything somehow got jumbled up when we became friends, and it has taken me this long to sort things out.
I don't wish her ill. I hope she is happy and fulfilled in life, but I just can't take the hits anymore. My self-esteem is fragile enough. I am mean enough to myself without needing help from an external force. What I need from the outside is support, and I am focusing on the friends who love me for me and support my dreams and goals. I feel like I'm coming up for air after a long, long time under water.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Just trying is a success.
Failure is a chance to grow, a chance to learn, and a chance to improve.
Okay, this week has been rough. Really, really rough. Like the kind of week that would normally send me into a serious pity party/ binge fest.
Not this time.
I'm going for a more positive outlook on life, so here is a list of 10 things I never thought I could do.
1. RUN - even when I played sports in high school, I didn't really run. I thought I couldn't. That's such b.s. Anyone can do it. Trust me, if I can, you can. I've got several 5ks under my belt now, finished my second 10k last weekend (and cut some serious time off last year), and I've got the half marathon in my sights. I love running. I miss it when I don't do it, and my favorite thing right now is speed training. I love sprinting. Who knew?
2. Group Exercise - It was my worst nightmare at one point. The idea of people seeing me flopping around and sweating, looking gross and fat, it was a nightmare. I was convinced that everyone would judge me, and judge me as harshly as I judge myself. I still consider my first Zumba class one of the bravest steps I've taken in this journey. I almost didn't go. I almost missed out on a healthy future because I was afraid. It changed my entire life. I gained confidence, met some great people, and was open to many more activities. I couldn't live without my Pilates class or kickboxing or Zumba now. I love the group atmosphere, and I feel more accountable. If I don't go, I know someone is going to mention it next class, and that keeps me motivated.
3. Dance again- I started ballet when I was 3. It was love at first plie. I was never the best. Extreme shyness and nerves kept me from doing my best, and being short and curvy doesn't help. Still, the love of dance has always been in me, and when I stopped dancing, I missed it. I got fatter and fatter and was convinced I would never dance again. Losing weight has given me the confidence to do it again. Not ballet. I save that for at home with my daughter. But, Zumba has me shaking it like I never would have dared to before, and I recently did some choreography for the high school's musical. It was wonderful.
4. Work with a trainer - Terrifying. That's how I used to view working with a trainer. The idea of someone super fit and healthy screaming in my face was enough to send my straight to the fridge. I had an opportunity to try a boot camp last summer, and though I was petrified, I signed up. Twice a week at 5:30 in the morning, we sprinted, lunged, and did plyometrics along with tons of crazy things that the trainer came up with - sometimes before the sun had even come up! I discovered that I loved sprinting. I loved all of it. And I met an awesome trainer. I now work with her twice a week, and she has taken my fitness to a whole new level. At my last 10k, she joined me for the last mile, and though I thought I didn't have anything left, I found myself sprinting over the finish line. That kind of support is just amazing.
5. Lift Weights- I always thought lifting weights was for boys. I thought I was too weak. I thought my 5lb hand weights were doing enough. WRONG. I lift once a week with my trainer. We alternate four weeks of heavy lifting and four weeks of superset. It is my favorite day of the week. If I have to miss it, I am irritated. I love it! I love feeling strong. I love seeing students walk by the weight room and seeing us two ladies lifting more than some of the guys. I am amazed by how much my body is capable of. Heavy lifting is my favorite. I was so scared to try it. I was so sure that I was still weak. It changed my entire perception of myself and my abilities.
6. Eat Veggies - This may seem dumb to all those veggie lovers out there, but this was a big one for me. I was the kid who only ate cucumbers, corn, and potatoes. Not exactly the healthiest veggie choices. I knew I needed to eat more veggies, but I thought I hated them. That was my first tiny step to weight loss. I made myself eat bell peppers every day. They were a veggie I could tolerate, and I knew that over time it would help me eat more veggies. Now, I can't go a day without them. I eat all kinds of vegetables now, and I am willing to try anything.
7. Not Binge - My solution to stress, pain, emotions, etc has always been to eat, and eat, and eat some more. Eat until I am too full to move. Eat until I throw up. Not a pretty picture, is it? It was a nightly ritual for over a decade. And I piled on the pounds. This habit has been my biggest struggle. Only in the last month have I started to see serious changes in my reactions to stress, boredom, etc. This week has been a real test, and I passed with flying colors. Not a binge all week! This makes me feel better than any number on a scale could ever do. It shows me that I have changed my lifestyle, and it's something I can stick with.
8. Facing Failure Without Fear - this one isn't an easy one, either. I have always been terrified of failing. So terrified that I never tried anything new. As I said before, trying is a success. Nothing can happen, nothing will change, unless you try. So, I've been facing my fears and trying new things. My latest endeavor being to teach adult Zumba classes. Yeah, that's not going so well. But, I am not bothered by this failure. I am simply reassessing my life, my goals, and discovering what I truly want. It may not be teaching Zumba, but that's okay. I know it now, because I tried.
9. Lose Weight - I seriously didn't think I could. I thought I'd stop after a month or so, regain the 20 lbs and more, and continue my sedentary, unhappy life. When got into month 2, I was still waiting for the end to come, but I kept it up. I started to wonder how long I could go. Well, so far I've been living a healthier life for 3 years, and I am down 81lbs. And I am never, ever going back. Living feels too good.
10. Being A Role Model - I started this weight loss journey when my daughter was 2 and my son had just been born. I wanted to be able to play with them. I didn't want them to be ashamed of me. I wanted them to be healthier than I had been. I have achieved that. They're active, love healthy foods, and know how to make healthy food choices (even if they sometimes opt for the brownie). They come to training with me and try to do what I do. I love it. The thing that took me by surprise has been the outside world. I work with middle school students, and I have recently begin incorporating yoga into my theater warm ups. My students now talk about downward dog and the pigeon and some of them really love it. I went to the annual Girls On The Run 5k this year to support some of my students and had a blast, but I still didn't see it. Then came the 10k. The GOTR girls were handing out water as we all ran by, and some of them were cheering me on as I passed. I started to realize that I was setting an example for more than just my own kids. It kept me motivated. It kept me running when I wanted to walk. When I crossed the finish line, a group of them were screaming my name and cheering, and I have never experienced anything like it before. I felt incredibly proud.
There's my 10. Thanks for letting me toot my own horn for a bit. Sometimes we need to celebrate ourselves, and I am learning that it's totally acceptable to do so. This list could have been longer. I could add run up stairs, carry both my kids and run, laugh and mean it, love myself and mean it, the list goes on and on. Every moment of the last 3 years has been completely worth it, and I am so looking forward to the rest of my life.
Monday, June 06, 2011
I hate the expression "grow a thicker skin". I'll be the first one to admit that I am overly sensitive. I take things too personally. I let things bother me for too long. Every time I find myself in a bad place emotionally, someone tells me to grow a thicker skin. Really? And how exactly am I supposed to do that? That's what I want to know. I would love to not react the way I do. I would love to have nasty comments blow by me without even noticing. I'd love to not waste half a day worrying because a complete stranger just had to tell me how much she hated my Zumba class (this morning's gem).
I am getting better at sorting out my feelings. A half a day is a lot better than a week, or a month, like it used to be. Still, that phrase drives me nuts. Yes, I should be less sensitive. I would LOVE that. But, changing my personality is not that easy. It takes a lot of work. It's very nice that others have the ability to not care. I want that ability, too, but please don't act like it's an easy transition. It just makes me feel worse.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I'm training for a half marathon. It's not until October, so I haven't started doing anything too intense, but I have been trying to get in one long run every weekend. It had been going pretty well until this weekend. I decided earlier in the week that Saturday would be my long run day because we had a birthday party and other plans for Sunday.
So, when Saturday came, and the rain had actually stopped, I should have been ready to go, go, go - but I wasn't. In fact, running seemed like the thing I least wanted to do. I was tired, unmotivated, and just feeling blah, but I told myself to push through, that I would be fine once I got started.
It was not meant to be.
About a mile in I started getting cramps and a stitch in my side that never really went away. I had an encounter with a stange man on a secluded part of the trail which made me nervous and broke my focus at around 5 miles, and I never really got back into it. So, I started walking. I was feeling pretty bad about myself (and everything else) as I plodded along, but I finally convinced myself that even if I walked the rest of the 10 miles, it was still building endurance and would help me later on. I kept walking.
Around mile 7, my ankles started to hurt. They were rubbing against my shoes and making every step very uncomfortable, but I was too far from home to turn back. My husband and kids were meeting me at a friend's house, and I knew I had no choice but to keep going.
The last mile to my friend's house is uphill, and I really questioned if I would make it. I did, and I collapsed on their porch after down a glass of ice cold water way too fast. The world was spinning for a while, and I ate an apple to get my blood sugar back up. It was a very strange feeling. When I finally felt right, I took off my shoes and found them filled with blood. My ankles were raw and very, very painful.
They still are three days later.
The biggest issue? I have a 10k race this Sunday.
If I learned anything from my long trek, it is to listen to myself. I knew I wasn't in the right head space to run, and I hit a wall. I kept going when I should have stopped, and I hurt myself, ensuring a much more uncomfortable run this weekend when it really counts.
The strange thing is that I am still proud to have gone so far, to have pushed so hard. I have become someone who challenges herself and doesn't let anything stop her. It's worth a little blood and painful ankles to know that I am capable, strong, and no longer afraid to try. Talk about a change of perception.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I had a major turning point this week. Like a lightbulb going on over my head, I suddenly understood (really, deep down in my heart understood) that the number on my scale doesn't matter. I stopped weighing myself everyday about 2 weeks ago, and it was hard to handle at first. I didn't know what my weight was doing, and it scared me. It seems silly for a grown woman to be scared by that, but it really bugged me. I've been stuck on a plateau for over 6 months, and I was frustrated, desperate, and bummed out.
It was hard, but I waited. I ate well, exercised my little butt off, and tried to ignore the worry of what number would be waiting for me at the end of the week. I felt pretty good, and on Saturday I was down a pound.
Okay. That's good. I can deal with this.
Week 2 I found that I didn't think about my weight very often. I enjoyed not having the stress of weighing myself every morning, and I felt great from eating well and exercising. I stuck with my plan, and it felt amazing.
I have to admit that I didn't make it through this week. I weighed myself yesterday, but it was more out of curiosity than desperation. I promised myself beforehand that I would not beat myself up, no matter what the number was.
I'm down 3lbs!
Whoa. After 6 months of not budging (or worse - going up) this was amazing.
But the thing that was the most amazing was that it didn't really matter. The number means a lot less than the fact that I finished my 4 weeks of heavy strength training, and my trainer switched me to super setting earlier than planned because heavy had become too easy.
I can squat 140lbs! Now, that is a number!
Watching my kids try to lift weights, do Zumba, and run makes me happier than any number on the scale could. My daughter is only four, but we just finished our second 5k together. She sprinted and walked, and when the finish was in sight she ran like crazy to her dad and brother. That's more important than any number.
I'll keep weighing myself. I want to stay on track and get to my goal weight, and I know I need to check it every week to get there, bug my focus has changed. I am strong. I am healthy. I am going to avoid the health problems my family has and live for a long time. I feel great about myself, which is something I would not have believed possible a few years ago.
That's what matters.
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