Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rock Your Body

Three months ago, I went to He-who-trains and told him that I had three months to be bikini ready, since my motivational cheerleader of a cousin issued the decree that this was the year where I was no longer allowed to hide.  We changed some things around with my workouts and eating.  And I have been busting it.  But just because my spirit has a time table does not mean my body is interested.  I've been stuck for three months, at least pound wise.  (And though the same dress size, I'm starting to see some new definition.)

It's been bumming me out for a while-- and now I'm coming up on my deadline. I'm definitely not where I want to be, or where I realistically thought I'd be by now.  So I had a decision to make: give it another year, or do what the Black Eyed Peas suggest and "Rock That Body."  (Yeah, yeah... I know I'm not exactly talking about the same kind of uhem... rocking.)  I've had some great people that have given me some courage including a gym friend who told me to "Wear the Bikini.  Let's face it, you'll look better than 80% of the people who decided to wear their bikinis that day." And my workout partner is awesome-- she has mad ignoring skills when I'm having my own whiny pity parties, but more than that, she won't let me get discouraged or give up. The people in the gym affectionally whistle and tell me that I look great, because they remember where I started.

It's awesome to have people like that, and they've made all the difference.  But at the end of the day, it's not about them.  It's about me, and how I feel in my skin-- even in this body.  It's been a summer of firsts for me.  I purchased my first pair of not-running-shorts in over a decade.  I've hung out at the pool, and it wasn't a thing. I've worn strappy sundresses and sleeveless shirts. When my picture-loving cousins demand selfies, I'm gonna smile broadly and with pride.  And soon, I'm gonna unapologetically put a bikini on this body.  I'm gonna rock my body.

I know I said it wasn't about anyone else's thoughts about me, but it was pretty much awesome today when the tiny, sweet, nonagenarian of a church matriarch was trying to get me eat at the fellowship luncheon (that was mostly sacrificed long ago), and I said "I'm going to the beach soon and I'm going to wear a bikini" and she got a huge grin on her face and enthusiastically said "Good for you! You go girl!" Yeah, that's a win.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Childishness and a kick in the pants...

I knew today was going to be bad, ever since He-who-trains came to me a few days ago and said it was time.  Time to do the God-forsaken, horrible, no good thing: the fat pinchy thing.  (Err.. skin fold analysis.) That's worse than being weighed in the doctor's office.  For a long time, he insisted that we'd wait until I was lower in weight because it might discourage me.  I told him I was in and that I'd be fine and to quit protecting me from myself. But that was before I was in this body funk.  Funk or no, he was fat pinching a few other people, so it was my lucky day too.

It was horrible, though maybe differently horrible than I imagined.  And I did not love wearing shorts in public-- which I'm not sure I've done since at least my first year in college. (Umm... the fact that I wear spandex to the gym now so I can see my trouble spots notwithstanding. Seeing my legs was more than I could handle!)   After he'd been working with me only a few weeks, my self-confidence experienced a major boost.  But today, for maybe the first time since those first horrible weeks, I felt just like I did then.  Nervous and clammy.  Worse, childish and whiny.  Like I would rather be anywhere but there... like I really just wanted to tell him I'd changed my mind (and that he'd lost his!).  One of the things I most appreciated about He-who-trains the very first time he trained me was that he didn't give me room to whine or make excuses or tell him I wouldn't. He walked in, told me what I was going to do, and helped me learn how to do it, and that was the end of that.  And he didn't give me that space today. Too his credit, he also did not say that I was being a childish brat.

I told him I didn't want to know the results, and I wasn't kidding.  Yup, I was a child about the whole process.  But he knows that I'm in a bad body place.  He knows that I'm struggling.  And he's brilliant enough to let my body give me the lecture he didn't the other day.   I don't like the number he gave me, but it was lower than I thought it would be. (And wow... for the record... I can't imagine how high the percentage must've been all those pounds ago.)

So... my motivation was flagging.  Now I'm having the opposite problem, which has happened before.  I get hit by the stupid branch and want to go drastic and not eat and workout six times a day and run until my knees fall off.  I won't.  Because at least now I realize it's stupid and that it will only hinder my achievements, which is progress I think. So really, I won't  But the thought process is there.   But maybe it is the kick in the pants I need, because the only way I've been able to make today ok is to tell myself that today was the worst it will ever be.  I asked him what percentage of fat he thinks I'll have at my goal weight, and I was about to see what my body role model's is, but I realized I don't care right now.  What I do care about is my number and watching it shrivel.

When the awful part was done, and I was ready to start my workout,  He-who-trains said something I don't remember hearing him say: "Get after it."  Even if I had heard it, it took on a different meaning today. Yeah, I can do that.  I can get after it-- and stay after it.  In other words, Motivation: found.

(And I suspect He-who-trains knew that would happen, which is exactly why now, right in the midst of my pity party, is why it was really time.  Seriously, the stuff just got real...)

Friday, June 13, 2014

On Pudginess and Perseverance

The Pudgy Parson has been quiet lately.  Not due to busyness.  Not due to lack of desire.  But something much worse, lack of noticeable progress.  Which is making me the perfectly pouty Pudgy Parson.

Two months ago, I went to He-who-trains and explained that I was three months away from a beach trip and that I expected to be in a bikini.  He amped up my workout routine.  He changed my meal plan.  He gave me what I wanted, but more importantly, what I needed to achieve my goal.  Only my body and my fat have become really good friends after such a long time together, and they are having a really tough time parting ways.  There's been some two year old worthy temper tantrum throwing on the part of my body, which is ardently refusing to come on board with the bikini or bust plan. 

I've been busting it.  I've been eating well.  And I weigh exactly what I did two months ago.  My body is the same size and shape it was two months ago.  I'm seem to be throwing myself a pity party. There's a mean, but right convincing, voice in my head that says "It doesn't matter what you eat, so you might as well have fun."  I've shut her up so far, but for the first time in months, it's a struggle.  I'm just plain discouraged.  I'm angry that I am nowhere near where I thought I'd be, and that once again, I'm gonna want to hide my body at the beach. (But there is a cousin and a workout partner and others who keep telling me to wear the bikini proudly.  We'll see.) I wasn't expecting perfection, but I was expecting progress. 

I whined to He-who-trains about my flagging motivation.  I was almost hoping for a lecture because maybe that would wake me up.  And when this has happened before,  I've gotten an ear full about how he can't make me want this and how that has to come from me. His certification says "Master Trainer", but it doesn't mention that he is also a master lecturer.   But this time was different.  We both know how badly I want this, and how hard I'm willing to work to get there.  He came up with a new attack plan to see if my body will respond better, and he did gently remind me that I'll never be a body builder if I can't stay on myself even in the plateaus.  (As a side note, I give He-who-trains a lot of grief, both in person and on this blog because he is always challenging me and making me challenge myself.  But the truth is that I really have no idea how people do this without a He-who-trains. When something isn't working, I'm lucky enough to have someone who can figure out the problem and keep changing things until a solution is found.  If you've ever wondered, yeah, it's worth it. Having a trainer is the best investment I could make in myself.) But he said something that I really needed to hear: Remember how far you've come and focus on that right now.

I was digging around on my computer, and I found some pictures of me at my heaviest that I didn't remember existed.  (As a rule, I pretty much avoided the camera.) So beside the picture of fitness supermodel Jamie Eason that is on my refrigerator, I'm putting these:

Apparently, losing 80lbs makes a difference.  I'm not where I want to be.  But I am definitely not where I was. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

What Would Jamie Do?

I admit it.  I was whining.  And I ought to know by now that that never goes as well as I think it will. He-who-trains decided I wasn't having enough fun throughout the week, so he added in another workout: 3 minutes flat-out cardio then Ab exercise.  Repeat til you puke... or something like that.  I told him I would start it today, but then woke up this morning crazy tired-- like can't peel myself off the couch, like taking a shower seemed like a monumental effort.  (Uh, not too much effort mind you.)  So I sent him a text telling him I'd do this fun thing next week.  His response: "wimp".   He KNOWS that that is not a name I appreciate being called.  Then he sent another one asking "WWJD?"  Sacrilege aside, the question was intended to ask what Jamie Eason-- fitness model and bodybuilder (whose picture lives on my desktop wallpaper, phone wallpaper, refrigerator and bathroom mirror, to remind me of my goal) would do.  It was a guilt trip extraordinare, no doubt.

The problem is that that stuff works on me.  I spent a while trying to eat and nap and psych myself up and make myself go.  But the more I thought I about it, I realized the answer to "What Would Jamie Do?" isn't what I would've thought it was.  You look at a body like hers, and you think "of course she would go and push herself."  Wrong.  If she has a body like that, by now she has learned to listen to it.  Of course, she goes hard.  But when her body says, and means, "Sit yo behind down today before you have to sit yo behind down for several days" that is surely what she does.

So that's what I'm doing.  I'm day offing-- and only a little embarrased to admit that it's 2:30 in the afternoon and I am in my pjs.  And I might just stay that way for the rest of the day.

Besides, tomorrow is death-by-leg-day, which He-who-trains has been making a big deal about for now over a week.  If I bail on that, I will. never. hear. the. end. of. it.   I might have to crawl out, but I'd better at least show up.  And I'd like to make it more than three minutes.  So yeah, I can park it today, and make sure I've had enough to drink and actually rest.  Because tomorrow when the question "What Would Jamie Do?" comes to my mind, the answer will be "Wear it out.  Give it more than you have. Go home proud."

Oh and just for fun: for anyone who loves leg day as much as I do.  I'm just saying...

Monday, May 5, 2014

I don't do mediocre

Looking at pictures of the past is an act of bravery I think.  I was looking through some things the other day, and found a boatload of them-- mostly from when I was in high school.  Truth be told, they were my "Maybe One Day" inspiration as far as my body goes.  But I did observe some other things.
1) I've had really bad posture for a really long time.  All the pictures from the side view show me slouching in the most attrocious sorts of ways. I will not be pointing this out to He-who-trains, who stays on me about slouching.
2) I saw where it was that I really began getting heavy-- clearly, for me it was not the freshman fifteen-- it had to have been at least the freshman twenty five (or more.)  I don't remember that-- I guess I didn't have access to a scale, but I don't remember having to buy new clothes.  But the pictures between my senior prom and the end of my freshman year in college are pretty revealing.

And the best observation (which makes the picture looking totally worth it)
I've surpassed all but one of my "maybe one day" inspiration pics.  I always looked at those pictures, and thought how skinny I looked.  And I did, compared to the beluga whale person I let myself become.

When He-who-trains asked me about my fitness goals and my ideal body weight when I first started training with him, I gave him the weight I was in high school.  (I'm 5-10 lbs away from that, depending on how grouchy the scale is on a particular day, but I'm smaller.  So yeah, about that "Muscle takes up less space than fat"...) I considered myself ok in high school...  I wasn't the skinny girl that's for sure.  But I thought I was maybe on the heavy end of normal.

And now that I am where I am, I realize I was willing to settle for mediocre when I set my goals. I'm still thirty-ish pounds away from even being a healthy weight, much less being a competitive bodybuilder.  There was a time when I would've been happy here.

I guess this is on my mind because I see this attitude happening in so many places around me-- where average is good enough, so long as it doesn't require the extra work of being excellent. Settling is so much easier than being serious.  If there's anything I've learned in this process, it's that change takes a lot of busting it.  Overcoming habits and comfort zones and self limiting, or worse, self destructive behavior is a brutal business.

I made a decision a few weeks ago that I struggle with every time I go to the gym.  I've started wearing spandex and sleeveless shirts to the gym-- even though I'm pretty certain that just because something will physically go on a body doesn't mean it should be worn by every body.  I'm fairly certain I'm not in a body that should be out in spandex. But I make the intentional choice not to hide my body, so that I have to deal with what I see.  And well... bless anyone who happens to be in there.  But frankly, I don't much care what they think... I'm not there for them. I can see what has improved. (And apparently others notice too-- and they're awesome with comments.  I even got a left-handed compliment from He-who-trains who said as I was doing incline pushups "I can see a tricep there for the first time ever." So there's that.)  But more importantly, I have to deal with all the places that still have a long way to go.  I have to take stock every time I'm in there.  It'd be a lot easier to hide, but I see every lump and jiggle, and notice every time my under arm fat keeps waving long after I've stopped.   I keep reminding myself that I don't do mediocre.

Life lesson, methinks.
Sophomore prom...pretty close to this size and shape now, but I think I'm currently still a little bit chunkier.  Also, clearly, not terribly excited by my prom date!  

Yeah, pretty sure that was the last time I wore shorts.  I told myself that if my legs ever got that skinny again, I'd wear them.  Think I set that bar too low.

Death by Leg Day

Thou shalt not call thy trainer "old", lest you shall surely die.

I think my exact words were "you do alright for an old guy".  Only he didn't seem to take it as a complement.  Odd.

But to be fair, I was already on his list.  I'm the trouble stirrer-upper who invited another client of his and my workout partner out for girls night.  He did make some comment about "as long as I'm your trainer, that ain't happening."  When I innocently asked to what he was referring, he said me drinking margaritas.   The truth is-- drinking has pretty much lost its appeal to me since He-who-trains retold me a very well timed story about letting things get in my way.  And I didn't drink.  Nor did I eat anything that wasn't on my meal plan.  But apparently I'm guilty by association.  Actually, the Margarita Amigas are apparently all guilty.  (Though what happens at Girls Night Out stays at Girls Night Out, all of us were well behaved.)

We've however all been instructed to attend death by leg day.  I've been told that he expects me to last 17 minutes. (Last time I was invited to such a fun event, I made it 22 minutes.  And couldn't walk for a very long time.)

Praying the addage is true: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Oy! To my congregation who will have to see me on Sunday, I apologize in advance for any whining, wincing, or awkward walking.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Saying No... So I can say Yes.

My friend posted this (heavenly, delightful, inappropriate noise inducing) picture on Facebook.  I was being playful when I made my comment "When in doubt, say 'yes.'  And because I know that he takes good care of himself, I know he was also playing when he made his response.

But it got me thinking.  I say no a lot more than I used to.  I say no a lot more than I say yes.

Here are my no's:
No to gluten
No to mindless eating
No to sugary things (unless its a preworkout snack or I'm in desperate need of quick carbs)
No to social eating
No to drinking (except very rarely)
No to outside forces dictating my schedule
No to not giving my best
No to fried things
No to "trigger foods"
No to unplanned food
No to playing games

Don't misunderstand.  I don't feel cheated or deprived.  And I joked with my friend without even drooling...or sniffing the screen.  (And for the record, I cheat occasionally.)

But I've realized I say no because it enables me to say bigger yeses:
Yes to feeling better
Yes to feeling better in my skin
Yes to new confidence
Yes to very huge, but very doable goals.

Besides, when He-who trains isn't oinking at me, he has given me a very helpful motto:  Fat lasts a lot longer than flavor.