So, who made an impact this year? FitBloggin is a funny thing in terms of the people, because there are SO many people there that I’d love to see more of, hang with, talk to, laugh with…and there is just not enough time to do it all. I can’t possibly see everyone I want to see, and it’s tough, because I know I miss out on connecting with some people who I really want to see. But every year there are a handful of people who I connect or reconnect with in some deep, meaningful way that carries me through. So here’s an ode to some of those people and to the love they so willingly give me, in no particular order. I know I’ll forget lots of people because there are just too many to list.
Steve: Dude. Just getting to hug you every year is nearly enough. Thank you for being there, for listening, for caring. You make a difference for me, and I know I can count on you to be extra awesome.
Dre: Oh Dre. I was SO happy to see you this year. SO SO happy. Thank you for reminding me that I’m beautiful, and for always making me smile.
Kia: I used to say I wanted to be you when I grew up. Now that I know you better, I’m just really, really proud to call you a friend. You inspire and teach at every opportunity, and you’re my yoga inspiration.
Terry: I can’t decide whether you’re most awesome when you’re wacky, or when you’re serious and deep. In either case, you’re amazing. Thanks for taking pictures that somehow look like the real me.
Thea & Dacia & Christie: TEAM HAMCAT FOR LIFE. You were the best roomies a girl could ask for, and laughing ourselves to sleep will forever be one of my favorite memories from this year. Thanks for all the listening and laughing and just getting me.
Libby: LIBBY! Your first FitBloggin, and you freaking jumped in with both feet. I love your energy, and your leggings, and your yoga. You have an incredible spirit and I can’t wait to get to know you better.
Nellie: I didn’t spend nearly enough time talking to you this year, but when I did, I loved every second. You’re amazing, and I’d really like to know where you get all that energy. Thanks for being the Zumba queen this year, and always having a ready smile.
Liz: Never enough time. NEVER. The tokens you made for everyone were wonderful, and mine gets some attention every day. Thanks for helping me remember my awesome.
Kris: You’re so freaking amazing. I’ve never met a more badass unicorn in my life. Thanks for the hugs and the talks and the continuous awesomesauce.
Dani: Oh my friend. I wish you could see you the way I see you. Full of power and strength, and SO MUCH love to give. Watching you embark on your yoga journey gives me chills and fills me with joy. Thanks for sharing it with me.
Kelly: Kelly! Not enough time with you either, but what time there was felt wonderful. You have such a calming, loving presence. It’s awesome to be around.
Brooke: We finally got a chance to hang some this year, and you’re every bit as awesome as I expected you to be. Thanks for sharing my general love of beer and being so comfortable to be around. I love people who make you feel like you can just do you.
Christine: I don’t even know where to start. We had time to get closer last year, and now I consider you one of my best friends. I don’t stay in touch as well as I’d like to, but I am SO glad to call you a friend. We need more time together.
Pauly: I finally met you for real, and you’re every bit as amazing as I was expecting you to be. You’re sweet and funny and have awesome taste in beer. I hope we get more time next year.
Bang: Oh girl. How have I gone this long without us hanging out? You’re wonderful, so gorgeous, and just give off this incredible vibe. Next year, we hang for sure.
Deanna: Hot momma, FitBloggin wouldn’t be complete without you. You rocked the mic and the dance floor, and you (as always) made me feel incredible about myself and the world. Thanks for always bringing your A game in the friend department.
Gail: I feel SO bad that we missed our annual dinner this year. Next year, we’re roomies for sure, and we’ll get our time. Thank you for being so calm, so much a voice of reason, and so thoroughly circumspect. Your perspective is always just what I need to hear.
I’ve been to FitBloggin every year but one, and I’ve loved every single one. I’m already planning what to pack and who to hug this year, because I know I’ll be surrounded by unconditional, judgement-free love and support.
Because this is also me:
It’s not something I’m supposed to know because it tends to drive me to unhealthy places, but after months and months off the scale, I got curious. And it’s….the biggest number I’ve ever seen.
I don’t think I’m okay.
And it’s not about the weight entirely. It’s also about always, always feeling anxious these days. I don’t sleep enough.
I was meditating this morning, which I’m also being uncharacteristically inconsistent about, and I was prompted to think of my biggest current stressor. And the thing is, its still not my weight. Its job pressure or mom guilt, or a number of other passing stress issues.
So then I was prompted to imagine myself doing something where I felt free from stress, and it’s on my yoga mat. When I’m there, I don’t feel it or think about it or care. Which led to a torrential cry.
The thing is, I’m scared. I’m scared of how I’ll be perceived, or that I’ll spend the weekend feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.
And then? I think about this, and I know everything is going to be just fine:
And if you’re looking for a hug? I’m your girl. I’ll likely be fangirling over some of you, and also bacon.
I’ve got a ton going on right now. I’m in line for my first ever week of three strength workouts, and I’ve done better and better about produce. On the other hand, sugar remains a serious issue and my sleep habits have become downright dismal. I can’t fall asleep, I can’t stay asleep, I wake up exhausted.
Work is getting increasingly busy right now, which is good for the passing of time on my work days, and exciting because it is giving me the chance to stretch my talents. Honestly, I’m loving my job and my team here at work, and it’s exciting to get a feel for where it could go in the long term. I feel like this is definitely the sort of fit in terms of work, team, and management that could easily be long haul. Which is incredible because I never want to apply for another job. The whole process is heinous.
All that is to essentially say that I’m doing well overall, and that my brain is in no state to produce a cohesive story arc here, so instead you’re getting a bit of a brain dump in the form of some pictures I’ve been saving because they spoke to me, and some commentary on those pics.
This one came from my buddy InTheThickOfFit on Instagram, who has been a tremendous inspiration for me in terms of yoga. She’s also equally nerdy, which I love finding out. Essentially, anyone who gets the super nerd reference in my screen name is forever solidified as one of my people in my head.
So on to my thoughts on the pic. It’s been sitting in my email for weeks now… “And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Whew. It’s sort of a loaded one for me. Living here is new. This job is new. A lot of what’s going on in my life right now is new, and the confirmation that I need to relax and trust the process was a good one for me to hear. I’m still feeling a little unsettled about the move, with everything shifting so quickly, and I’ve had a hard time getting into a predictable routine. Routine makes my days easier when Aaron isn’t here to help, so I’m still feeling shaken by everything. I’m working now on trying to breathe more, sleep more. I want to get back into the meditation I was doing pretty regularly in MD, because I was finding it incredibly helpful in centering me, particularly on tired or stressful days.
This one’s from Stephanie, and is another one that hit me hard. There are some obvious connections to parenting here, as my precious infant angel child is seconds away from starting KINDERGARTEN with her pierced ears and fourth grade reading level and lacrosse camp and first pedicure and grown up taste in listening to NPR in the mornings. She’s growing up so fast, and I’m doing everything I can to be as present as possible while that happens. She’s too incredible to miss out on, and she helps me remember what really matters in every day.
It’s about me too though. It’s about making sure I’m taking time for myself, getting down time, getting enough sleep. It’s about allowing myself time for creativity and writing, for pursuing my yoga, for making sure I don’t slack on my strength training. Because NOW is the time, right? NOW is what matters most. It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again, particularly as I have a tendency to worry. I know it doesn’t help, but sometimes I can’t help it. The more I concentrate on right here, right now, the more I benefit from those moments and the less space I have to entertain all the what-ifs and who knows parts of worry.
This one totally came from one of those ridiculous internet quizzes. Which Tarot Card am I? Apparently (or, as the kid would say, apparNENTly) I’m the magician. Hells yes. I see things. I make things happen, impossible things even! And maybe, just maybe I really do.
I’m not even 100% sure why I saved this one, except that at the time that I saw it I felt lit up by it so I filed it away with the other images that I felt connection to.
And now as I’m looking through these three, I’m seeing a continuation of theme. Be here now. Let things happen. Trust in myself, my own particular brand of magic. As my kid continues to remind me, the world IS magical, and it looks like all signs point to me needing to PAY ATTENTION. So now I’ve got my antennae up, and I’m doing what I can to keep my eyes open. There’s something coming, it would seem, and big or small I want to not miss it.
As I sat in the #ToughLove session at FitBloggin, I had a lot of conflicting emotions. I went to the session because I wanted to support Steve & Sue, and I thought it would be interesting. At first, I was feeling pretty resistant. I felt weird, and spent a lot of the session arguing in my own head. I wanted to disagree with what was being said, and at first I did. The more I sat with it, though, the more I wondered if the issue was that I disagreed, or that it was exactly what I needed to hear.
After much thought, I did what I’m finally learning to do well. I reached out to chat it out with a friend. At the risk of looking lazy, I’m just going to paste in the relevant stuff…
H: So now I’m in this spot where I want to do more, get stronger, and specifically clean up my foods…I am an emotional eater from a household of junk food lovers, and I don’t know how to clean up the food. Intellectual arguments don’t seem to work. I know the science. I know the worth of clean foods. I feed them to my daughter. And then I stress eat oatmeal creme pies at work.The session was a struggle for me because I want some accountability, but I’m so damned fragile right now and still trying so hard to figure out what I can do that won’t make me crazy again that I don’t know what help to ask for. Also, I’m afraid of being pushed (either directly or in a reactionary way) right back into the physically and mentally unhealthy things I was doing before.
T: They really ARE out to get us. I know playing the victim card feels like bullshit, but you know what, we’re absolutely the victims here. They are VERY well armed. They have huge budgets, research divisions, behavioral psychologists…you’re targeted SO SPECIFICALLY. (“They” being major food corps)
H: I’m a sugar addict and it scares me. I’m terrified of how much control it has. I’m trying to track my macros now, because I think upping my healthy fat and protein might help curb the cravings.
We talked about how the free snacks at work were a HUGE issue for me, and I got the suggestion to write to HR about it.
T: Talk about the marketing. Talk about the studies. Talk about the snacks that are available. Talk about how much you appreciate the company’s effort to fuel employees through their day, then talk about how TERRIBLE a job they’re doing at it. Then suggest resources that could make it better.
I admitted to being scared to rock the boat, and through a lot more conversation was finally convinced that I’m doing the right thing. By asking for the healthy snacks I need, I’ll be doing a lot of other people favors too because the sugary crap is dragging us all down. We talked more about eating cleaner, about organic foods.
H: I don’t feed my daughter that way. But when something has to give, it’s always me.
The more we talked, the more I realized what a disservice I was doing to myself, and as an extension, to my family too. I’m worth taking good care of. And when did it hit me?
T: If you’re making good choices for your daughter, and shortchanging yourself, she will see that. And children respond to actions over words. Careful you don’t teach her to put herself last.
CAREFUL YOU DON’T TEACH HER TO PUT HERSELF LAST.
Well, fracking frack. If that’s not a crying at work type of statement, then I don’t know what is. Further conversation and some serious workplace meditation (thanks, empty conference room) led to the weird realization that I crave sugar when I’m feeling insecure. Because WHAAAAATTTTT?!? I mean, seriously. Knowledge BOMB right there. So weird. I’m sitting with that in an attempt to recognize it, label it as such, and work from there.
In the end though, the long-azz conversations led to me actually wanting to participation in a #justtrollin post of my own. I’m calling myself out. I’m making it clear what I want and how I’m going to get it, and I’m opening up the doors to all of you to call me out (with love, please) when I’m not following through. I’ve been scared to do this, because I spent so much time away from tracking and weighing and working so hard on getting into the right headspace. Now that I’m there, I’m so scared of losing it that I fought the notion of this post. I felt like if I went back to any old habits (blogging? tracking exercise? measuring progress?) I’d somehow be undoing all the work I did. It took my own personal Badass Buddha to help me realize it would just be the next step to build on that work.
So here’s what I want, some of which was straight up stolen from other people’s #justtrollin posts.
Clean up my social media
Take clear, consistent steps toward cleaner foods
Keep up my strength training plan
Remember how awesome I am
Taking a cue from Thea, I pared down my social media accounts. I combed through my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and got rid of the people I don’t ever interact with. Thea’s right. I can’t have meaningful interactions with the people I actually care about when every feed is cluttered up with hundreds of posts from people who I never have conversations with. Now things are still pretty full, but much cleaner, and it’s easier for me to see the people I care about. Keeping everyone in the loop and staying up to date on their comings and goings helps keep the feeling of community strong, and that community is what helps keep me energized and motivated to make the right choices.
Today at a team lunch I finally realized something EARTH SHATTERING. Something that, in fact, just proves out my theory that this work I’m doing now is building onto the work I’ve done on my mental well-being instead of tearing it down. Ready for it?
It’s not about not having the pizza. See, we sat down to lunch at a reportedly awesome pizza place. I looked at the menu and thought, “I should get the salad.” I thought about it and I realized I had two distinct choices. 1) I could get the salad and feel virtuous. Virtuous, miserable, and unfulfilled as my coworkers ate pizza around me. 2) I could get the pizza, load it with veggies, and really enjoy my lunch. So I did. I got a thin crust personal pizza with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and spinach. It was wonderful, I loved lunch, and I brought half home for dinner. Making the right food choices doesn’t have to be awful and restrictive just because that’s how I did it for so long.
This is also the first week since I started my new job that I haven’t eaten an Oatmeal Crème Pie. I was eating 3-4 a day on some days. It was getting dark. Stepping away from them is step one in my attempts to clean up the food. First up, I’m cutting back my sugar. I’ve stopped putting any in my coffee, opting instead for coconut oil at home and plain half & half when I’m out and don’t have a nondairy option.
The NF eating plan calls for heading in the direction of paleo, but that just doesn’t jive for me so instead I’m focusing on the things I think will help me the most. Sugar is my first concern, and then I want to focus on drastically reducing the amount of processed food I take in every day. As always, I’m much better about it with Evi, but it’s time to make sure I’m taking care of my own needs too. Processed stuff is going to be difficult, as I’ve developed a lifestyle that’s fairly dependent on those “easy” foods, but it’s worth the effort. It might also be an uphill battle with Aaron a little bit, as I’m not sure he’s sold on the value of them, but I think if I can prove that it won’t be a significant price increase then I’ll be able to sell him on it in time.
Just like everything else, this is also about listening to my needs. I got my mom’s trainer to do my macros for me and I was tracking for a while, but in the end it was making me crazy again. I was angry all the time, and it took Aaron calling me out on it to make me see it for what it was. I stopped and was IMMEDIATELY more relaxed. Tracking just doesn’t work for me, and the truth is that if I’m working hard to reduce my sugar and my processed foods and I’m sticking to my planned workouts, I’ll be more than fine.
How you can help
Point me in the direction of easy, cheap recipes using fresh foods.
Share your tips for saving money while still getting fresh, local foods.
Tell me where you shop to save money on fresh, unprocessed foods.
Share ideas on how to make things like lunch snacks for kids that are cheap, easy, and unprocessed.
I’ve done decently well with sticking to the Nerd Fitness workouts so far, and I’ve also been pretty good about cutting myself some slack when life gets in the way instead of declaring myself a FAILURE for veering off the schedule. I’m not loving the workouts, but I’m trying to remember the purpose of them, and I do feel pretty awesome when I’m done. I was amused to discover a fair amount of motivation the other day when the gym was playing American Ninja Warrior during my workout. Turns out that watching people do cool things involving strength is pretty motivating sometimes.
I’ve switched to doing the first level of the bodyweight workout instead of the tutorial workout. I think the bodyweight is meant to be harder, but it was the better workout for me. The tutorial workout left me so painfully sore that I could barely walk or sit down for four days. The bodyweight workout left me feeling distinctly sore, but not in actual pain. Definitely the winner, and I think it won’t be too long before I can move to the second level of the bodyweight workout as long as I’m consistent about working out.
Finding time for the workouts is tough for me because there’s always something else going on. On the 4th I managed to go to the gym while everyone else headed to the pool and meet them later. Where I find issues is around timing. The best plan is for me to workout first thing in the morning, but I like to take my time waking up. Once I wake up and have my coffee, it’s time to get off to whatever our plans for the day are. During the work week I can go at lunch time, but it’s tough to take the time in a very busy new job. In the end though, these are all excuses. Yes, some work days aren’t going to allow the time for workouts. Yes, some weekends are going to be about family time and relaxing instead of working out and sweat in the gym. But most of the time? Most of the time I need to be making the time to workout.
I also can’t forget the importance of conditioning workouts. Walking is something I love and it’s so beneficial. It’s also an easy thing to work in on weekends during family time. Yoga is SO important to me, so necessary to not only my physical health but my mental well-being…and for no reason I can think of, I’ve been letting it slide lately. No more of that.
How you can help:
If I’m not talking about working out, I’m probably not doing it. Call me on that.
Share your ideas, tips, suggestions on how to make time for working out when you’re busy. We’re all busy, and a lot of people are making the time, so tell me how YOU do it.
Share the details about when you choose NOT to make a workout your first priority.
If I go more than 2 days without posting a yoga pic on IG, call me on it.
Find ways to choose joy. I’m awesome. I know that a lot of the time, but I frequently forget it. It’s time to work on keeping my awesomeness in the forefront of my consciousness every day. I’m working hard on it, and it seems to be working right now.
How you can help:
Just keep being YOU. Seriously, I’m so inspired by everyone around me. My FitBloggin peeps and everyone else I’ve come to share this space with. Share your stories.
So we’re in this together, right? And ♪♫everything is awesome when you’re part of a team♫♪ .
I’m home. I’m reasonably settled in too, which is nice. And what’s more? I have SO MUCH to write about. I want to share where I’m at with my Nerd Fitness journey. I want to talk about my experience at FitBloggin this year. I want to write in particular about the Tough Love session and do the “homework” of writing a letter to myself to call me out a bit.
I don’t know if that’s too much for one post…so I’ll just start going and see where I end up.
Nerd Fitness: I’m doing damned well with this. I haven’t gone perfectly as planned, but the whole point this time around is to remember that life is that way. I’m extremely unlikely to ever be able to follow a plan perfectly to the letter. My first week consisted of veggies for lunch OR dinner every day, and veggies for lunch AND dinner four out of seven days. I did the NF workout on Monday, met with my mom’s trainer for a lifting workout on Wednesday to establish my baseline, and then did some easy strength on Friday. I also did Zumba, yoga, and a 5K. I feel really good about the work I did.
This week’s goal is to do three strength workouts, stick with the veggies, and add in another nutrition goal. Originally that was going to be no grains at breakfast, since the nutrition guidelines for NF are headed toward paleo, but after a long conversation I’ll get to more of later, I’ve decided instead that I’ll aim for less sugar. I’ve already started by putting just plain half&half in my coffee, which works alright except that my body is not a dairy fan…so I tried a tablespoon of coconut oil. You do have to BLEND it in. If you stir it, it’s oily and gross. I used my mom’s immersion blender (getting this one soon – that’s an affiliate link) and friends? It’s SO AWESOME. I used coconut oil and coconut coffee and it was great. Smooth, sweet, no need for anything else. I’m also going to be tracking my sugar, aiming for less than 72g a day, which is the seemingly arbitrary number MyFitnessPal sets when you log in.
I was EXHAUSTED yesterday, so I didn’t manage a workout at all, but I hopped over to the gym this afternoon at work and did the first bodyweight workout for NF. Tough, but I liked it. I’ll be sore for sure.
FitBloggin’14: The first day of FitBloggin this year was a little hard for me. With everything going on, having just moved, so much change…I was feeling unsettled and homesick. It’s such an unfamiliar feeling for me when I’m at FitBloggin that I worried something fundamental had changed and I wouldn’t have the same experience this year.
Turns out I just needed to settle in a little bit. I had awesome roommates: Dacia, Andrea, & Angela. Not long after I arrived, I got to finally hug Alan & Christine. Then I saw Karen and Deb and Sam & Matt. The hugs never stopped, and I started to feel more and more at home. FitBloggin really is a chance for me to come home to my people again every year. I missed Jen, Meredith, Carla, and Susan like WHOA, but the chances to connect and reconnect abounded.
So what do we DO at this conference? I think it depends on your focus. This year, I spent more time with friends and a little less in sessions, and I don’t regret it at all. Let’s see. We went on a ghost tour of Savannah. Our guide was totally insane and by the end we were pretty bored, but it was fun to see the city at night.
I skipped Friday morning bootcamp in favor of sleeping, then had a great breakfast. I made it halfway through a workout session before an oncoming migraine got the best of me. Lots of water and a little medicine later and I was bouncing back alright. I missed out on CrossFit to head to a session led by Christine, which was full of some really great thoughts on maintaining weight loss motivation, and then we got a little lunch time visit from Mickey Mouse! runDisney was there to talk about their races, but I couldn’t help focusing on the strength competition at the Wide World of Sports. I can’t get the Disney Fit Challenge out of my head, so it might need some more researching. I spent some time Friday afternoon wandering and relaxing, and had my traditional yearly dinner with Gail. We wrapped up Friday night with a drag show (so awesome) and a lot of dancing. I think I got to bed at 1am.
Saturday I got up for the BEST YOGA EVER with Kia, who I adore. It was well worth getting out of bed even if I was a little hungover. Just a little. After breakfast, I went to Steve & Sue’s session on Tough Love. That one was a tough one for me, and it took me the rest of the weekend to decide whether it was because I disagreed with the idea of calling people out, or because it was exactly what I needed to hear. I decided on the latter, mostly after a long conversation with Terry. I’ll get to more on that in the next section.
I did ZUMBA!!! with Sue & Sam, also known as the only time all year I do any Zumba-ing. I love their class because I sweat, I dance, I laugh. I feel sexy and powerful and amazing, even though dancing usually makes me feel pretty uncoordinated. I had lunch at Moon River with some of my favorite people, including a lovely local beer, and got to say goodbye to Sue, who was already headed out. Le sad.
Saturday night I had an incredible dinner at Alligator Soul. The atmosphere was fancy and fun, and the food was amazing. I had a moonshine flight, mind-blowing shrimp & grits, and was briefly married to Steve. We headed back in time for some truly amazing Ignite presentations. My favorite, and not just because I got a shout out, was Dre & Martinus rapping. I also got the chance to reenact a presentation in the hopes of winning a gift certificate. I HATE speaking in public, but getting the chance for some great yoga gear from be present was too much to pass up, so I bit the bullet and got up there.
I’m SO glad I did. I was so nervous, and so amped. I felt silly and weird, but I also loved it. The energy was amazing, and I had such a good time. I always say I’m going to try to do more with public speaking, so there is FitBloggin yet again helping me achieve a goal. There is nowhere more supportive or fun to be taking those risks.
Awesome new bracelet with green beads, and BRAVE ring from bama + ry
After the Ignite reception wrapped up and I managed to get my hands on some SWEET jewelry there was more fun in store. Side note: I love Jasmine from bama + ry SO FREAKING MUCH. For starters, she’s one of two people who understands my blog reference without me explaining it. Secondly, she makes amazing jewelry that’s breathtakingly beautiful and still affordable. I do need to save up for the Maya Collection though, because it’s incredible and I want every piece. More than that though, Jasmine is just…amazing. She’s got the sweetest smile, this incredible understanding of grief and loss, and she’s just…I don’t have the words. I feel like I’d hang out with her all the time if we lived close. I just realized I never got a pic with her and now I’m mad.
And then…I played Cards Against Humanity. First time ever, and fortunately I was with some awesome people who just laughed at my discomfort. J It was completely hilarious, so much fun, and gave me a chance to get to know some great people even better than before. I went to bed at 2am.
Sunday came too fast, as always, but I got up with Christine and headed out for the 5K. I can’t run it, so I walked with Steve instead and it was a great chance to catch up with him. I really enjoyed our chatting, and got a bonus phone booth photo. I had breakfast, got to have some wrap up conversations with a few awesome people, and made the six hour drive home.
And like that, it was all over… except it wasn’t. So many things still brewing. Emails to HR, food revamp plans…all for another post it seems, as this is long as crap now.
Next year FitBloggin is in Denver, and I WILL BE THERE. With bells on, perhaps. Or maybe not. But there. I will be there! I might even be brewing up a tattoo idea so that I can get one there like Dubyawife did this year.
Thanks in no small part to Mara, I had a total epiphany last night. As I sat on the couch, dreading the workout I was already “a day late” in doing, knowing it wasn’t what I wanted to do AT ALL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES… I thought about it.
I thought about Mara‘s beautiful words, her incredible vision, her tendency to know just what I need to hear. So what was it she said that got me really thinking? What incredible wisdom did she offer that made me finally realize I had an option to choose flexibility instead of declaring failure?
So there it is. Some heavy wisdom, right? And in seeing it, I realized it was high time I do just as she suggested and FRACKING LAY OFF myself already.
I stopped trying to force something that just wasn’t gonna happen. I rethought the plan to jump from all yoga all the time to five days a week of one hour strength/cardio workouts. I rearranged my plan to make a crap ton more sense in terms of my lifestyle and schedule, and I feel SO MUCH more relaxed about the whole damned thing now. So here’s the new version. It still includes all the same workouts, minus one buffer week at the end of the year.
It also means I have the rest of this week to get back to the serious yoga practice my mind and body crave. Fifteen minutes in the morning, or thirty at lunch, or thirty at night, or some combination thereof. Mmmm…Yoga.
And so, I’m ready to be easy with myself. To let the week flow. To stop stressing about stupid things like STICKING TO THE SCHEDULE ZOMG when all I’m really looking for is strength and sweat. If that’s what I really want (and holy moly, I just realized that IS what I’m aiming for) then who cares what schedule I stick to, what workout I do, what “plan” I follow? I’ll get up. I’ll move my body. I’ll sweat it all out. And I’ll do it in a sustainable, non-crazy making way that makes me feel GOOD instead of stressed out.
I’ve been working hard. I’ve been paying attention, making notes, and surrounding myself with inspiration. I’ve been doing my homework, working through exercises, and thinking through my life with a new gentleness.
I’ve been making time for yoga almost every day, taking walks, remembering and honoring the way my body likes to move. I’ve been paying more attention to myself… hair, makeup, a nighttime and morning care ritual that help start and end my day with a focus on me.
I’ve been slowly eradicating the shame, the blame, the constant analysis of perceived faults. I’ve been embracing all that I am, every aspect of mind and body, working hard to get and stay aware and in the moment.
It is a choice, every single day, every hour, every moment. It isn’t second nature and it may never be. I struggled with that at first, feeling irritated that I was signing up for one more lifelong fight. And then I realized I was thinking about it all wrong. It’s not a fight. It’s a chance, EVERY. DAMN. DAY., to remind myself of all I have, all I can offer, and all the beauty and worth I possess by just existing. What more could I want than a reason to wake up every morning with an ode to my thighs, praise for my smile, pride in my big bushy hair? I get the chance to spend every day reveling in my own particular brand of awesome.
And you know what? It’s working. Evi and I fight less (almost never). Aaron says I’m lighter and brighter. I’m more relaxed. I’m certainly more aware.
And that awareness has brought me to the sharp discovery that in one particular space I’m not yet honoring ME.
It’s food. In all I have going on, I’ve turned back to food for comfort without even realizing it, and as my awareness grows I’ve begun to notice the toll it’s taking. All that sugar (my biggest comfort food) is making me tired. I’m not sleeping well, I’m foggy in the mornings, and more often than not my stomach is unhappy at night.
If nothing else, this is an incredibly powerful exercise in the NO BLAME, NO SHAME arena.
I have not failed. I’ve done the best I could in every moment, and in the slow process of discovering and honoring my own needs I’ve made incredible strides. I love myself a little more every day. I’m proud of my mind AND my body. I am stronger than every hardship and surrounded by unending depths of love and support, reflecting back all that I give to others.
And so this is another step on the journey. It’s time to again turn the focus back to nutrition. This isn’t about counting or tracking or weighing. This is about food as energy, as meditation, as another way to show myself love and care. This is about slowing down, being RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW (it always comes back to that…), and jut listening. This is about simplifying my foods, answering my body’s call for clean energy sources, and respecting my right to be the most breathtaking version of myself.
Today I will continue taking my walks. I will make one for my yoga. I will walk my dog and take out the trash and spend time with my beautiful little girl. I will read my book on the train, work hard and maintain focus, smile at myself in the mirror, and meditate on joy.
Today I will listen… to my body’s cues, to the often subtle differences between physical and emotional cravings, to the quiet bliss of a body well fed and needs met more satisfyingly than in the cold of an open fridge door.
Food is a neutral circumstance (thanks Christie and Mara) and it’s time for me to remember that again. It’s time for me to recognize that I AM ENOUGH, all on my own, just as I am in this and every moment… even the dark ones. Food recharges my batteries so that I can go on being enough, and in its best form it is as appealing and delicious as it is restorative and clean. It won’t make things better if I’m sad, and it can’t make me happy either. I’ve got it all inside already, every resource I need to meet those needs.
When I accept that I am enough, that I am whole and unbroken just as I am in this moment, then (ONLY then) I can turn my focus. Then I can shift my relationship with food, learn what resonates with my happiness, and feed myself with all the love I deserve.
I had a really hard time processing everything about my experience at FitBloggin this year. Somehow it was both more awesome and more complex than ever before. Here’s the stream of consciousness I typed out on my phone a day or two after I got home:
Maybe tracking and intuitive self care are not mutually exclusive. Instead, maybe tracking is a guiding tool to help me gauge when I am being more self aware and when something is going awry.
Maybe I’m focusing too much on the actions or methods and not enough on the mindset. If my head’s in the right place tracking will just be another tool instead of a positive or negative.
But the supplements… are not lasting or sustainable for me. In the end, I need to take some advice from Karen and look at the facts instead if what I’m making them mean.
And then today, when I finally dug through the thoughts a little bit, I found a lot more:
Me & Sam
In the moment I was (blissfully, obnoxiously) happy. It wasn’t until I came home and let the analysis begin that I started to struggle with negative fallout. So it wasn’t the experience that was negative, it was how I internalized it when I got some distance from that incredible group of similar souls.
In the midst of FitBloggin I was caught up in the whirlwind beauty of it all, the incredible energy and boundless love. I was inspired and engaged. I was free of food guilt, and moving my body in soul-blossoming ways.
I switched up my social patterns this year, intentionally seeking out new connections and varied companionship, and it paid of enormously. I met incredible new friends like Bonnieand Jen, and I got the chance to make better friends with Steve, Dre, Cynthia, and Deb. Best of all, I spent amazing time with Gail, Susan, and Karen. I buddied up with Thea and Matt for the trampoline workout and it was EPIC.
Me & Christine
I made some soul-deep connections with Christine and Sam. Those two friendships are life changing already and I can’t be more thankful.
So what the hell happened when I got home? It started on my way home actually. Travel had me exhausted and I missed my family, and somewhere in the whole process I lost track of my commitment to loving myself all the time. It’s a constant process, highlighted by an experiment I shared with Sam when I discovered I couldn’t quite manage to say I loved myself during the EFT session. Essentially, I got trapped in the darker parts of my own head.
So… that’s where I’m at right now. I want to take the time to flesh out a lot of this later, but I’m SLAMMED at work thanks to the conference and the holiday and the crud I’m just getting over. There will be more, I swear… I also have a GIVEAWAY planned for whenever I can catch my breath. Hopefully by the end of the week.
First of all, the Orange Rhino is working. I told Evi to say “orange rhino” every time she felt like I was getting too angry, and my promise to her was that I would then be nicer and laugh, even if I didn’t think I was overreacting.
The result? Nearly overnight change. She has ABSOLUTELY called me out at times when I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, but that was the deal, so I backed off when she charged “orange rhino.” And damn if it didn’t work. She’s easier. I’m easier. It’s all… easier. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel lighter.
And then I came across The Fantasy of Being Thin. It’s a great post and one everyone should read, but it struck a particular chord for me. I’m doing a lot of good things when it comes to body acceptance and awareness. I’m making progress. But I’m still struggling with emotional eating (and it’s less friendly cousin, sneak eating) way more than I should be, and it’s frustrating as hell. And then I read this…
I spent ages in the cognitive dissonance phase, thinking it made perfect sense that the OBESITY CRISIS hype was way overblown, and even if it weren’t, dieting doesn’t work anyway — but still wanting to lose weight, still feeling like I, personally, needed to be a size 10, max, before I could really get started on my fat acceptance journey.
Wait, what? Well, crap. That’s me RIGHT THERE. Every body is beautiful (and mine will be too, in fifty fewer pounds). I love myself (almost as much as I love the fantasy of a smaller me). I am worthwhile (but not quite as worthwhile as I will be when the weight is gone). I enjoy my life and am proud of my body (unless, you know, someone is looking at it…). Dieting doesn’t work (except when it does, which is never for long, but hey… if I can just string a bunch together…).
THAT is where my head has been, and I didn’t even know it until I read that post. All of THAT is why I’m still struggling with consistency in my workouts even though I flipping LOVE the workout Deb made for me. THAT is why I’m still bouncing around when it comes to good food choices, and why my trash can at work still sports more than it’s fair share of candy wrappers on any given day.
I’m trying to change it. I’m on a mission to edit my photos less and appear in them (fully) more. I’m also taking on a Militant Baker inspired challenge to conquer a photo of myself doing everything on the list of 25 Thing Fat People Shouldn’t Do. I started with walk through a doorway. I plan to do one every day to help me own my body as it is RIGHT NOW.
I am often critical without intending to be. While paying attention lately I’ve noticed during my commute I have an internal monologue that spends most of it’s time criticizing others – their hair, fashion choices, grooming habits, etc. It’s all appearance based. This morning, as an experiment in LOVE as a life habit, I instead pushed myself to choose one good (honest) thing I could say about each person. A few times I had to reign in my inner critic, but overall it was an absolutely joyous experience and changed the entire vibe of my morning.
As will surprised no one, it made me easier on myself as well. I’m finding more and more lately (often with help from Jen) that once I begin to allow real self-love into my life, it’s spreading like wildfire. Suddenly I’m open to loving others, to seeing the beauty in the neighborhood I love to hate, to spreading kindness (however silent) for everyone I see. Today I feel lighter and brighter.
It’s a FASCINATING effect, and really true. Everything about my morning has been more positive thanks to that tiny shift in outlook. It’s going to take practice to maintain, but it’s well worth the work.
And speaking of work, I’m finding my personal (and sometimes unaware of it) team of self-love gurus is growing. As I seek it out, I’m drawn to more and more helpful souls who are sharing some real magic. I know I shared some of my “team” a few weeks ago, but it’s time to give them some more love.
Emmie, who is inspiring in her giving spirit and makes me envious of her incredible fashion sense.
Katie (Fat Girl PhD), who helps me remember that the scale is stupid.
Heather, who inspired my daily mantra: “My body is not a tool or an object. It is a messenger of love.”
I’m SURE I’m forgetting people, but as it turns out the list is growing every day. There are just so many messengers of LOVE out there. Reach out, open up to the possibility of them, and BOOM! They’ll come at you from all sides, like a whirlwind of long needed hugs.