Advice to My Younger Self

I was listening to a podcast just now on regaining weight after losing it. The host asked the guest, if she could go back to a certain age to give advice…. when would she go back to and what advice would she give her younger self… This got me thinking.

I have been overweight since elementary school and have been dieting since that time. That’s one of the “perks” of having older sisters. I was reading Self magazine and admiring tall, thin and lithe bodies like Gabrielle Reese or Veronica Webb since before puberty. I never once thought that I couldn’t look like that if I followed a 1200 calorie plan. I have never liked the way that I look. Never. I have been comparing myself to celebrities and models since the start. When I got my first real crush in college, I started running because I thought that my weight was the only thing holding me back from him liking me. I started running around the track, lost the weight and started putting myself in his line of sight. We never dated. Then I would drink excessively to relax and be more sociable, because men would screw any girl that was there, right? You could blame 90210 and Melrose Place for those ideas. So now, not only was I a problem drinker, but I was eating like crazy to deal with loneliness and shame from drunken escapades. It’s just been a constant cycle of binging and abstinence, never any type of moderation with food or alcohol.

I love to dance which is why I am becoming a certified instructor and teach on the weekends at a church. Dancing allows me to workout every week to stay in some sort of shape and help others stay motivated and in shape. I really don’t like Crossfit, but I like challenging myself. I joined Crossfit to literally whip my body into shape. I loved the results but after being sidelined, I gained some weight back and have been binging ever since. Everything that I do to my body has been to modify the emotions with a substance, get it thinner by starving, making crazy eating rules or exercising until I get injured. I’ve never just loved it for still fucking working. Appreciate it for what it is because it’s as perfect as I’ve allowed it to be. And I should be grateful and I am in this moment.

I have these affirmations on my wall in my kitchen and bathroom that say:

  • I am beautiful
  • I love my body
  • I care about what goes into my body
  • I love myself
  • I care about my body

Is it normal to have to remind yourself of that? Why is my self esteem and self image so distorted? There is no one to blame at this point, but how can I rectify it? I know that finding the answer to this question is the only way to reach a stable and healthy weight. I aspire to love myself and treat my body with TLC. I think it’s time to put my scale away. That’s step #1 for damn sure.

12 week life makeover

I have been slacking off. In regards to my eating, working out and life in general. It’s all been cumulating over the past 2 weeks, and the final kicker was my ankle injury last week. Ever since then, I’ve been unable to stop eating and I am currently downward spiraling. As we speak. Adding to that, the non fitness parts of my life aren’t great, so I am on track to gaining all the weight back that I lost.

I can’t figure out what is wrong. I know when I’m at work, I’m miserable and don’t want to be there, but that hasn’t changed in the past 5 yrs. I have been doing more towards my fitness career, so perhaps that is putting a spotlight on the fact that my 9-5 job is energy draining… I have this knee issue that I feel all the time, that bothers me…. I signed up for Match, but don’t think I would actually date anyone because I don’t feel good about myself…. I just need a break from it all and I need to do better.

I signed up for a 12 week career bootcamp. I know that my job is just an external issue, so in theory fixing that might not fix the internal issues. My mom always says “Wherever you go, there you are.” If you hate yourself or are depressed, that will make you even more so. But I’m also  working on the internal stuff as well. The job is just such a major factor in my mood and life, I know that things will change once I get a new job so I decided to get some outside help in the job hunting department. It’s a 12 week program that provides resources, coaching, resume and linkedin help… so it seems pretty good.

I also signed up for my AFAA certification course to be a certified fitness instructor, so I can study for that in these 12 weeks. Plus I want to do an elimination diet,  so no alcohol, sugar (!!!), soy and gluten. The major thing I want to eliminate is the alcohol and the sugar because I am addicted to sugar and alcohol just wastes my time.  I want to focus on exercise, physical therapy, recovery and getting healthy. With each day, I see more concerning behavior, like buying Baskin Robbins 3 times in the past 2 weeks, and getting 3 scoops each time. If I had a therapist, I would ask how someone could fall so far from grace in 3 weeks… But I’m reading the signals and am changing things up NOW.

The bootcamp starts on Sunday, but I’m starting immediately.

Phase 1- Week 1-2

  • No alcohol (!)
  • No sugar (!!)
  • 8 glasses of water per day
  • At least 7 hrs of sleep per night
  • Daily meditation and affirmations.- I realize that my job isn’t great, but it pays my bills, so I’m grateful
  • Daily physical therapy exercises
  • Crossfit or fitness class 4x per week
  • Daily blog posts
  • Participating in the Career Bootcamp and the meditation programs that I signed up for

I want a life makeover, but no one is going to do it for me. I need to do it for myself. I can be better and reach my weight, fitness and professional goals. 2018 will be the year.

Namaste

1st Injury

Ok. So technically I wasn’t injured doing Crossfit, but I was injured doing a HIIT class at the Crossfit box. I sprained my ankle, mildly, but it got me thinking about what is important in my life. I wasn’t able to teach my dance class on Saturday because I have pain when I put my full weight on my foot. It’s improving with each day and I will be back to 100% by next Saturday.  I fell so deep into the Crossfit and gym buddy culture and mindset, that it’s nice to get a little reprieve, a break from working out. I have been going there  3-5 times per week, and at times taking 2 classes back to back. It was bound to happen.

I got injured in a class that is taught by a coach that isn’t my favorite. Coaches have different personalities and motivation strategies, but this one seems to think that if you say you can’t do it or are struggling, you just aren’t pushing yourself enough. Which is ironic because I usually am out of breath in his class, which is 100% plyometrics, ladder drills and sprints. Plus I paid $225 per month to be there and am taking 7-8 classes per week, believe me I’m trying.

They also all assume that you are trying to get in shape for “the summer” when I’m just trying to get in shape for life. They don’t know that I’ve lost 44lbs so far, so yes I am one of the largest folks in there at a size 14, but I’ve come a distance. Some also don’t pay attention to limitations. But in the end, if you get injured, it’s your fault. Even though folks are screaming at you to go harder, you are supposed to ignore it or tell them that you are having pain. So with that realization…… I’m going to start running my own race and paying attention to what I can and can’t do. I also will only listen to the trainers that I trust. Some trainers see when you are having difficulty and tell you to modify, others tell you to push harder. I’m going to stick to the former teachers from now on.

Can we also talk about peer pressure and gym buddies for a minute? In my previous post, I said you are who you hang out with, BUT if your gym buddy wants to work out 6 days per week, you have to just say no if your body can’t handle it. I’m going back to 4 days a week (S,M,W,TH) and my gym buddies can go together on the days that I can’t.

I started the post saying that I know what is most important now and it’s not working out at the Crossfit gym, it’s my dance class. They were unable to find a substitute for my dance class on Saturday, so due to my decision to take a HIIT class, they were teacherless. The site manager sent me a pic of the ladies dancing to a video of me that one of them recorded in order to practice at home. I am making a difference in these women’s lives, I feel it, and I don’t want to spoil that trying to do suicides sprints and box jumps. This internship, which is over in maybe 3 months, is the top priority for me now and I really need to take care of my body and add more rest to the mix. So I made a new rule, no more HIIT training on Fridays at all so I can be 100% on Saturday.

If I feel OK for the rest of the day, I will return to “the box” tomorrow morning, then rest on Tuesday and then do a double on Wednesday. If my gym buddy says anything, I will just tell her to kick rocks… in the sweetest way possible.

You Become Who You Hang Out With

I had a bad week. Everything that I could’ve done wrong last week, I did. I had take out, twice a day, everyday, and the scale is 5lbs greater than the week prior . I’m at the point of existence, where I know what I should be doing, but I allow a crazy work day to cause me to tailspin. Please note that I said allow because I’m not a victim here. My favorite line from Ferris Bueller’s day off is “Sooner or later everyone goes to the zoo.” It was as if I fell down, couldn’t regain my balance and everything that I reached for pulled me back down.

The week started off bad with an interaction with my boss that pretty much happens multiple times per day. He refuses to see a patient that was referred to see him, sometimes for a good reason and other times not so straightforward, and I have to relay the message to an angry person that yells at me or vents their frustrations about the process. This makes me, and many of my coworkers, turn to food.  Some days I am better able to deal with the complaints but last Monday it put a spotlight on what is wrong with my job. No one, not even my administrative manager, cares about the position that this puts us in. Or the stress that this has on my mental health and my body so after 5 and a half years, I’m done. I looked at my previous weight logs and it’s the same cycle, I lose weight, gain it back plus 15, lose weight and gain it back plus 20. I won’t do it again so I made the decision to quit and actually move forward with it. I’m giving myself until August to get a job in the public health/wellness field or save enough to quit. I’m also planning to apply for a Masters program. Luckily I missed the application deadline for the program this year, so I don’t have to use the excuse of tuition reimbursement to stay at my job. I will pay for each credit out of pocket just to quit my job.

But how did I get out of my downward spiral of french fries and veggie burgers? I went to dinner and happy hour with two of my Crossfit friends and it really opened my eyes to what is possible. One woman quit her 200K job due to her mental health and has multiple job offers coming in. The other woman is the creative type that just got her first paid role in a play, she has a successful podcast and constantly has meetings in her craft.  She asked me what I wanted to do and at first I was hesitant but I said.. “I want to help people lose weight but I know that there isn’t much money in that.” She got excited and said “Wow you have so many options, you can open a studio, do coaching, there aren’t a lot of black women that are losing weight doing this. People would follow that, let me know if I could ever help you”. I woke up on Saturday with a whole new attitude. I was positive and didn’t feel hopeless. Which brings me to the title of this post.

I have told that dream to other folks but no one has had that reaction that it was actually possible or that I had options. Her reaction literally made me excited and I started planning what to do. They say that you are the sum total of who you hang out with, whether it’s weight, salary, or attitude. This is reason number 1736 that I am glad that I joined this gym. The soon to be employed lady is encouraging me to go to grad school and the creative one is someone that I can sound off ideas to. Yes, in the perfect world I should be able to be self motivated all the time, but it’s not always the case so now I have friends to keep me accountable and motivated, not just in the gym but outside.

Current mood: Grateful, motivated and positive AF