It’s been a while… a long while, since I’ve written a blog. So much has happened since the last one. It’s hard to know where to start, other than “It’s so much better in the rain.” I’d say sunshine, but although it’s June, we’ve had more rain than sunshine lately, including today!
At the beginning of 2010, I ended up with two bulging discs in my low back that derailed my training plans for quite some time. I still have to be careful with some things (like carrying too much weight overhead), but I’m otherwise doing okay there. Then in May, I lost my 8 year old lab suddenly, and that took such an emotional toll on me. Then in August, I hurt my left knee… not bad enough to need surgery, but bad enough that I spent a lot of time babying it and taking time off… Then in January 2011, I ended up having emergency gallbladder surgery, followed by an allergic reaction to contract dye from a CT scan, followed by a nasty, nasty cold that left me completely spent emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I went “down the rabbit hole” in a big way after getting sick… and with each “event” I gained back more and more weight, until I topped out at 207 pounds. I swore I’d never be in the 200s again. I was wrong. I’d perfected emotional eating. I’d taken to eating to make myself feel as bad physically as I did mentally. So not a good thing… I’d lost all confidence, all momentum, all mojo, and all belief in myself.
In April 2011, I started going back to the gym again. Mostly just making it to a training session or two per week with Kurt, my trainer, or a yoga class. I tried a Zumba class or two, which was okay as long as I wore a knee brace for support. But I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t consistent, and I was still very, very, very down emotionally and not pulling out of the tailspin I was in.
In May 2011, I made my goal nothing more than “staying out of the rabbit hole.” I wasn’t going to worry about food, tracking, being consistent. I was just going to try and find ways to be happy. (Kurt threw me a life line, literally… he chucked a braided rope at me and pulled me in before attaching it to the cable cross machine for some arm work! ) Deb (BEACHDREAMS) sent me encouragement and support through SparkPeople and Facebook. My teams, the Hawks and the Crushers, pulled me along.
At the Wells Fargo Pavilion Theatre in Sacramento, there’s a plaque on one of the chairs that reads, “If you’re not having any fun, it’s your own fault.” That was me – I hadn’t had any fun since I’d been Christmas shopping with friends in December. I started making it to more Zumba classes – which are always so fun. I started working harder with my trainer – he had me doing things to strengthen my back, my knee, my core, and I started to feel improvements in my body, my balance, my abilities. I took a long weekend and went down to the Bay Area (where I grew up) and met up with some “old” friends and went to Santa Cruz Boardwalk and to Laguna Seca for the Ferrari race with my cousin. While down there, I went to the local 24 Hr Fitness and blasted away 500 calories on my own. Back home, I went shoe shopping (I love DSW!) and out to dinner with a friend. I walked the dog. I read a book. I started Sparking more again. I even got sick the end of the month and that still didn’t fall back down “the rabbit hole.” I was feeling stronger, more stable, happier, more energetic, more confident, more capable, and most importantly, ready to move forward again.
My SparkClass made a June challenge to track all food, the good, the bad, the ugly! The 30-somethings team started ramping up for BLC 16. The Hawks were there flying with me on the 100+ Club. And I made the decision that I was going to take the bits of momentum I had started growing in May and add to them in June! I’m back to tracking, I’m back to doing more cardio, I’m amped up when I work with Kurt, my back and knee, while aren’t perfect, are cooperating with me again! I’ve got plans to do things with friends that aren’t centered around food! And although my official weigh-in won’t be until tomorrow, I was already back down 3 pounds by yesterday morning! It’s truly amazing what you can do when you get everything working in the right direction… when you start to believe in yourself, in your ability, in your program and your support network.
I reset my goals, I took new photos, I stocked the kitchen. I bought a pair of Vibram FiveFinger shoes that my trainer has been trying to get me to try for months. I went to Zumba this morning and torched over 500 calories. I came home and had a good, well-rounded lunch. I made plans with a friend to make it to U-Jam tomorrow night, and to a Zumba Master Class with Bradley “Crazy Socks” next weekend. I logged my food! I logged my exercise and checked my Body Bugg data! I Sparked!
And I remembered… I remembered what it was like to be 300+ pounds. I remembered what it was like to be in the 150s. And I KNOW where I was happier. I know where I felt better. I know where I was more able. I know where I was stronger. I know where I want to be again.
Towards the end of The Biggest Loser this last season, one of the last images of TBL gym was Bob's quote, "It's not about winning the game. It's about fixing what is broken."
3 years ago, I knew what was broken. Right now, I’m not 100% sure… but I’m 100% committed to finishing what I’ve started. And I’m going to bust through, jump over, or stomp into the ground any obstacles in my way. I will not be perfect. I will not manage to always stay on my feet. I may not even manage to stay completely out of that dang rabbit hole… but I know again, what it’s like to be dancing in the rain – and I’m going to do my best to stay above ground!
A few weekends ago, I went into the gym for a session with Kurt. When I got there, I asked him if he knew what we could do with 50 or 100 pounds... (50 pounds being roughly the amount of weight I've put back on and 100 pounds being roughly the amount of weight that I've still kept off.) My next sentence was, "You know how they have the biggest losers put the weight back on and then shed it again?" and I could see the light bulb go off over his head. He says, "Wait here" and took off.
He came back a few minutes later having retrieved a real military pack from his Jeep. (Let me tell you, these packs are AMAZING! But I digress...) He then took TWO 26lb kettlebells and loaded them into the bottom compartment of the pack. Then he put the pack on me and put on the straps around the front. Then he picked up two more 22lb kettlebells and gave me one for each hand. OMG... it was hard to even breathe! That's 96 pounds total, maybe 2-3 pounds for the pack... maybe 10 pounds less than what I've lost so far... insane. Then we walked into the fitness area and he had me do 20 step-ups onto a 6 inch step. Then we took a lap around the gym... I was sweating... there was no rest from it. I can't seriously believe that I used to just EXIST like that all the time. How did I walk? How did I move? How did I do anything? My knees hurt, my back hurt, my shoulders hurt.... I did 10 more step-ups and then he let me put down the ones I was carrying in my hands... he wanted me to try and do squats, but I could hardly get down! After 10 "best I could dos" he took the pack off and had me hold them "suitcase style" in each hand and I did more squats, and more and more... It's so hard to believe that I've taken that off times 2 and put that back one times 1. It's time to turn that around. It makes such a difference... my workout today was a major eye opener for me. I completely understand why they do this at The Ranch. It takes you back and makes you want to Never, Ever, Never go there again.
So unidentified demons – you are NOT going to drag me back there! I may not make the progress that I want, when I want it, but I’ll get there. I’m more determined ever to do that. I just need to remember that for me, finding balance will probably always be a challenge. I will always have stresses in my life. I’ll probably never get enough sleep. I’ll probably always deal with some ache or pain as I continue to push my body’s limits and bust through them. I’ll probably never have the time to do all the things that I want to do. But I’ll find the time to do the important things. I’ll work hard. I’ll play hard. And I’ll Spark.