Becoming OK with Weight Gain and the Scale

I have gained twenty pounds since I moved to Colorado three years ago. 2-0. The weight of a small child has slathered itself across my body. I’d like to say it’s all muscle, but it’s not. When I moved here I was partying too much, eating too little, all while running a ton of mileage while training for half marathons.

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

When I got my mind right and healthy eating on track, my body put on more than just muscle to reach it’s happy place. Unfortunately, it took some time for me to be okay with that happy place. When there is no mirror in front of me and I’m doing something I’d proud of, like CrossFit, I feel like I’m the baddest thing to walk this earth. Most days I can look in the mirror and be more than happy with what I see. But some times that urge to step on the scale overpowers me and, when I do, it shatters that confident image of myself

I was talking to some girls at my box a couple weeks ago about how crazy it is how those little numbers on a screen can make or break you day. No matter how much I preach, and usually tend to believe, that you should value performance over looks, it’s hard not to have a little part of you that still wants to be at that magical number that you have in your head that is your “thin/sexy/hot/goal” weight. I went out to dinner a couple weeks ago with my non CrossFit friend and she was telling me about her struggles to loose weight. She told me that no matter what, her body just stays at her current weight. I told her it had probably just reached a healthy homeostasis and she said “Yeah, probably…. I just wish my natural weight were 5 pounds lighter”. What is it about NUMBERS that can drive us crazy? She is absolutely gorgeous, but somehow 5 lbs that no one else would notice is the difference between a good body and a “bad” body.

scale

I was talking (well, annoyingly whining) to my boyfriend about how I felt big the other day and he told me I need to delete all my instagram “fitness” accounts because they are giving me unrealistic expectations of what girls should look like. I know this, I wrote a blog post about this, but I still tried to justify it with “No, it doesn’t, it motivates me to work out”. He responded “No, it makes you feel bad and guilty about yourself, so you go to work out”. He then proceeded to give me a long talk about valuing performance over looks, that society has constructed the idea that women shouldn’t have muscle but there is nothing sexier than a girl busting her ass to give it her all (He’s pretty great, huh?::sigh::). He then made me read the article “I became awesome, not skinny“, which every female athlete should read.

thunder thighs

So I deleted all the instagram fitness accounts I followed, but I still couldn’t get out of my funk. That is, until this past weekend at the Tuff Luv CrossFit Competition. I was suddenly surrounded by some bad ass women, in all shapes and sizes, with no make up, hair in messy ponytails with enough confidence to fill a football stadium. I was overwhelmed with love for the human body and what it can do. I was reminded, once again, of my goals, which don’t involve dieting back down to a size 2. If my body is making gains and lifting heavier weight at this size, then this is the size that I need to be. Because, in the end, being able to clean and jerk 195lb like the woman did this weekend is gonna make me a hell of a lot more ecstatic and memorable than fitting in to my old jeans.

 

Can the scale still make or break your day?

How do you plan on getting over that? Or how did you?

Advertisements

Yes, I’m Alive!

Does anyone else ever wonder if something horrible has happened to a blogger if they don’t write for a long time? Is that just me? Well, I can assure you that I am A-okay, if not a bit too full from Christmas cookies and a bit sore from this mornings WOD. After my finals were over I had 4 days before I took off to go home for the holidays. Although some of those days were in the negatives, I tried to take full advantage of my freedom by getting to the mountains for some snowboarding.  The first day was amazing, perfect blue skies, warm and I ended up sounding like a little kid just repeating “again, again, again” until  it was time to go home.

Image

The second time it was very cold, snowing and I wanted nothing more than to get off the mountain. In that hurry, we ended up heading down a black diamond.  I pretty much road the brakes the whole time while yelling at my boyfriend for leading me down here (sorry babe). I did get a nice cuddle buddy for the ride home, though, which gave it a happy ending.

Image

Then I came home to the east coast for the holidays. I spent three days at CrossFit City Line (box review here) and definitely enjoyed myself. They had a “12 Days of Crossmas” WOD, which kicked my ass. I was inspired, however, to write a “Twas the Night Before Crossmas” rendition, for all you CrossFit nerds out there (there have to be more like me…).  I plan on checking out the Reebok sponsored Reebok CrossFit Back Bay tomorrow to see how fancy schmancy that one is.

Christmas morning started with a very cold 4 mile run. My hands froze after the first 10 minutes and I had to run awkwardly with them balled up under my armpits.

Image

Santa was very nice with some cross fit themed shirts this year. Does anyone else LOVE the themed shirts? They just make me chuckle.

Image

I also got some help opening presents from my lovely pup. That present happened to be for him, which is why he was so excited for me to open it.

Image

How were your holidays? Were you able to get any workouts in or did you simply relax? What was your favorite present?

A look back on May Goals and mental barriers

I realize it’s half way through June, but I thought I’d look back to see how I did on May goals. I’ll be honest, I only made half of them. I got my running a bit more on track, able to do the 8 min miles again. I still need to bring it down to 7:30, which used to be my “norm” for 4-6 mile runs. One step at a time though

. I also managed to finally gain enough muscle in my back to successful do unassisted, no kipping pull up. My back/arms have always been my “trouble spots”, so I’m excited to finally see some change.

Image

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my clean to 110lbs. I did a lot more combination sets (clean, to front squat, to push press) so it was more cardio focused and not as heavy weight. I’ll just recycle that goal again for this month and hopefully will be able to achieve it.

Image

I also wasn’t able to get to 135lb squat without the assistance of chains. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting over the mental blocks and forcing yourself to believe you can do it. I think that I have a lot of trouble with immediately thinking “Oh, I can’t do that” when things get difficult or I try something new. I have to work harder to push through that mental barrier. Once I do that, I am sure I will be able to achieve my goals.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments when, during my saturday training session, I was told to do plank push-ups. That’s where one person planks, while the other person uses their body to do elevated push ups. The idea sounded crazy and impossible, as the person planking has to resist the pressure of the push-up and just because I suck at push-ups. My partner was a girl who I work out with every Saturday who always pushes me to my limits. I truly enjoy the challenge and fun of our weekly workouts. I didn’t want to let her down, so I had to try it. Turns out I didn’t collapse onto the ground and we made it through three rounds, with each round both of us planking and doing the pushups. Just goes to show that the body can achieve more than the mind realizes.

Did you have May goals?

What were they and how did you do?

Do you ever find yourself fighting mental barriers?

Phoenix Rising

On March 23, 2012 I broke my ankle. Breaking a bone seems like a pretty standard event, a couple months of inconvenience and then you’re back in the game. But, in my case, the experience changed my life. Not the way it happened (it involved some high heels and too much alcohol…) but the series of events after that lead to surgery, paralysis and finally recovery.

I had been in Los Angeles visiting a friend for her birthday. The morning after I broke it, I located some crutches and headed out to Joshua Tree National Park for a camping trip.  I didn’t bother wrapping my ankle, I didn’t elevate it, I didn’t even ice it.  I just thought it was a bad sprain and didn’t want to ruin the fun trip I had planned by causing a scene.

Image(Crutches on sand is not so fun)

When I finally went to the doctor almost a week later it turned out I had broken my ankle in two places. I had two options: I could cross my fingers and hope it healed, with a possibility of it healing improperly and a risk of developing arthritis early, or I could have surgery to install a plate and screws.

Prior to the break, I’d been training for my “summer of halfs”. I had registered for five half marathons, with the goal of finally breaking a 1:45 time. I wanted to get back to running and training as soon as possible, so without doing any research or asking for a second opinion I opted for the surgery.

Image(Post-surgery X-ray)

The surgery was relatively easy. To the disappointment of my friends, I came out of anesthesia without any “David After Dentist” type moments.  I had no doubt in my mind I was on the fast track to recovery.

Then, two weeks later I woke up to the scariest moment of my life.

I couldn’t wiggle my toes.

I couldn’t feel myself touching my toes. Or my foot. Or my calf.  The next week was a blur of trips to my surgeon and two neurologist, all of whom told me the same thing.

Somehow, I had nerve damage and had been left paralyzed from the knee down.  No one could give me answers as to how it had happened. No one could tell me if I would ever regain feeling or movement again.  Without the ability to flex your foot or lift it up so that your toes clear the ground, it is impossible to walk unassisted.

So began the hardest four months of my life. I’m currently a law school student, and I found out about the paralysis about  three weeks before my final exams. Somehow I managed to make it through them, smile on my face, while secretly lying awake at night thinking of all the things I might not ever be able to do again. Run. Hike.  Dance. Climb. Walk.

I went to physical therapy four times a week to receive electroshock therapy. My therapist would send shocks through my leg, watching my toes curl and foot twitch before my eyes as I felt nothing.  I remember sitting in the physical therapy room, tears streaming down my face as I watched a girl running on the treadmill in the gym just outside the office.

Image(The Neuromuscular Stimulator)

My surgeon recommended I get fit for a special brace that fits under your foot and runs up the back of your calf. It was smaller than the boot that I had been wearing, and would allow me to walk. If my nerves never came back, I would have to wear it everyday for the rest of my life. The man who took the mold for my leg and foot told me that he had never seen someone come back nerve damage after this long.  He told me it was a lost cause.

Image(Muscle loss after only 6 weeks)

The day after I got fitted for that brace, I was at physical therapy doing an exercise that involved watching myself in the mirror as I wiggled the toes on my good foot, then tried to wiggle them on the paralyzed foot. The level of frustration was high as time and time again I tried to lift my big toe and nothing happened.

Then, finally. It did.  My toe twitched.

My therapist screamed in excitement and I just stood, staring at my toe lifting about two centimeters off the ground.  With new motivation, I started practicing my PT exercises at home constantly. Within two weeks, I could wiggle all my toes and I could feel my finger touching the top of my foot, even though it was a bit tingley. Within three weeks, I had about 40% of the flexibility in my ankle back.  Within a month I went on my first run.

Five months after the initial break, I stepped on the treadmill hoping to make it a quarter mile. I made it three.  I barely made it out the door of the gym before I burst into tears. I went home and lay on my floor, sobbing with relief, and joy. I hadn’t realized just how terrified I had been at the possibility of paralysis.

photo-3

(First run in 5 months post paralysis)

The weeks and months immediately following were life changing.  I had always considered myself an athlete and a go-getter. I had moved from Los Angeles to Colorado a year earlier with hopes of living the true “Colorado Active Lifestyle”, and escaping the cliché LA life I had been involved in. I had wanted to go hiking, learn to snowboard, run marathons, triathlons, try CrossFit. But I hadn’t. I was still drinking too much, eating a diet of “low-fat-highly-processed” foods that didn’t nourish my body and  I wasn’t pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I wasn’t committing myself fully to physical things I wanted to achieve. And I had almost lost the chance to ever achieve them.

So I decided to change.

With the help of Chef Katelyn (chefkatelyn.com), I became inspired to try the Paleo Diet. I cut out all processed foods, and began learning what to feed myself to reach my full potential.  I got an amazing trainer and started training harder than ever before, incorporating lost of weigh lifting, HIIT exercises and long distance cardio.  I learned to climb. And snowboard.  I stopped talking about it, and finally decided to BE ABOUT IT.  And now, I couldn’t be happier.