How Do You USE This Thing?

So admittedly…it’s been FOREVER since I’ve written something.

And I’ve wanted to – no really, I’ve wanted to write something…I just didn’t have the words. To be honest, I still don’t have the words. But I figured, even if I don’t have the best things or the “right” things to say, that in this space…saying something is better than saying nothing at all. Who knows, there may be a person or two out there who can identify with what I’m going through.

So what am I going through, exactly?

Well…in short…I’m comparing who I am to who I used to be. I used to be a solid 60lbs lighter. I used to be a person who ran at least 15 miles per week. I used to be someone who had a BOOKED running schedule. I used to be a regular(ish) blogger.

And I miss that person. No, if I’m going to be honest, I miss the way that person looked. I loved running, hell I STILL love running. I went for a run this morning and felt that familiar glow and sparkle…that feeling of peace and the satisfaction of completing a run. But my eating habits have changed along with a number of things…and yes I have gained that weight back, but with it I have gained a couple of other things.

…like muscle and strength

…like a love and appreciation for the power of the female body

…like the ability to see in myself, even my heavier self, an athlete

…like an appreciation for and a commitment to regular physical activity

…like the ability to cook real meals (versus those pre-packaged messes I used to eat)

It’s a journey they say – one filled with ups and downs. So this might be a down swing for me…and I’m trying my best to fight my way through it. Someone close to me told me to focus on appreciating me NOW and not looking back on the me THEN. And that’s been good to reflect upon. We never really stop and admire who we are – when I look back even to my smallest days I know this to be true. I remember being happy with my progress, and feeling great – but not really being full on satisfied. I still wanted and tried to push for more. Looking at those old pictures now though? Man…I was FINE! And I still am. *smile* but I want better. Not to chase an image, but to chase a feeling.

That feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing the person you believe yourself to be reflected back to you. I had that at one point. I am working on finding her again. And as I continue that search for her, I will try to share my story along the way. Inch by inch. Mile by mile.

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From the Heart

Fair warning, this will more than likely be a stream of thoughts that may or may not be coherent.

Fitness is not easy. For many reasons. Sometimes it’s he goal that is he issue and the unrealistic expectations we place on reaching those goals. I find myself lookin back at who I was and what I looked like when I used to run and I lament when it takes me seemingly forever to run the same trails I used to run with ease.

Looking back is a bitch. Looking back at what I thought was a peak. Looking back and measuring myself against that old me. But Storme…it’s the old you silly rabbit. And that is where I find myself trying to find my peace. I love running for its mental benefits. Running or walking, just being outdoors is its own kind of meditation for me. Zen in the forest? Sure! But where I once was someone who would love to run for hours…the woman I am now would rather be lifting. 

Running used to push my boundaries. Lifting does that for me now. And I love both for different reasons. And I need to stop looking back at who I was and trying to reconcile it to who I am now. It’s gonna mess up what I’m trying to become. Which is just a better version of myself.

So I ran this morning and it was cool. Then I walked some and that was great, lol. But it didn’t make my heart sing in the same way it used to. And what I am trying to constantly impart upon myself is that IT’S OK. I’m not who I used to be. I am something else. Stronger. Heavier. But healthy still. 

The Nose, The Tongue, and Me

I’ve been on travel for work for the past 3 weeks and somewhere along the line I got this lovely little cold. But for the first time ever, I lost my sense of smell AND taste…for a foodie like myself this was hell. Not to mention the last leg of the trip was in New Orleans…my favorite city…land of beignets and etouffee. *sigh* Yea, so my tastebuds wound up kicking in after about 2 weeks of bland land and I could enjoy my jambalaya in piece, but I’m not here to talk about that.

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Sorry, lol.

But seriously, a funny thing happened when I lost the sense of taste and smell. My entire relationship to food changed. At first I went through denial and tried my best to find the enjoyment of some of my favorite foods, but it was no use. I couldn’t taste a damn thing. And then I got angry because I found the whole point of eating to be an exercise in futility. For someone like myself, eating is an experience. It’s the look, the smell, the taste…all of that. Part of being a foodie I guess. But with 2/3 of those vital elements out of order all I could do was look at food. I quickly lost interest in eating. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t starve myself nor did I stop eating, but eating was really just something to do to keep my stomach from growling. It messed with me mentally. Eating without tasting…and all I could rely on was texture, which wasn’t SO bad, but it’s not the same.

I got to thinking…and noticing…that it’s super easy to allow your body to tell you when you are ACTUALLY hungry when you can’t smell or taste a thing. It’s crazy, but the nose plays a pretty big role in how we taste food…and when combined with taste the two can play a doozy on how you interpret hunger or desire for food. I was just kinda “over” eating just to eat, because I couldn’t really get any enjoyment out of it, lol. It was boring and pointless. I got over my resentment in time, and now that I’m close to being normal in that department again I’m trying to allow my stomach to speak for itself. Hopefully, this will mean some additional weightloss in the near-ish future.

Have you guys ever lost the sense of taste? How’d you deal with it?

Dear New Years Resolutioners….And Gym Regulars

Welcome to a new year of fitness. I see you in the gym, working out hard every day (sometimes several times a day), trying new classes, and searching for a healthier and fitter version of yourself.

To the gym regulars…I see you too. The look of annoyance and utter disdain…the side glances at gym newbies…the audible displeasure at how crowded the gym floor or locker room may be.

The gym is a place for all people, of all shapes, sizes, and athletic ability. It’s where folks go to sweat, do good work, and push through plateaus. It’s hard enough in a world of fast food convenience and sedentary complacency to make your way to the gym. Whether you’re a noob or a vet, there’s a place at the gym for everyone. What bothers me most about this time of year is the way some, and I will say some, gym regulars make comments aloud – either on the gym floor or in the locker room regarding noobs. Hey, if someone decided that 2015 was the year for them to lose that last 20 lbs, or to gain a little more energy, or to try yoga – CHEERS TO THEM!!! It’s not your place, vet, to make someone who’s probably already nervous as hell that much more uncomfortable. It’s mean, rude, and really…really annoying.

To my newbies, I hope this year you find yourself getting ever the more closer to your goal of a healthier you. Workout out, eat well, hydrate, rest, and repeat. Have fun with it, make new friends. In no time you’ll know the lay of the land at your local gym, which instructors you like, and which trainers are really cool (et ehm…ME). 😉 But most of all never forget, no matter how long you’ve been a member at a gym, everyone was new once. So be nice to one another, aight?

Now go be active. 😀

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Why Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Last night was kinda tough on me. It was my last night as a member of the CrossFit box that I’ve been a part of for the past year. Now, people leave gyms and stuff all the time. You relocate, get a new job, find another gym, stop working out all together…etc. But this was different for me.

A year ago I decided I wanted to get into CrossFit in spite of all the negative articles and crazy videos out there that spoke to the high injury rate. I took the plunge, and literally on a whim decided to join this particular box with a friend. It was the best decision I could have made. At my box I found something more than CrossFit.

I found community.

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My team from our Battle of the Box

 

Here were a group of people, of all fitness levels and abilities, willing to come together and push their boundaries. We sweat, suffered, cursed, and cheered one another through wod after wod. We encouraged one another to push ourselves further and congratulated one another as we hit new individual milestones. I made some good friends here – coaches and athletes alike.

Coach Bobby. 'Nuff said.

Coach Bobby. ‘Nuff said.

It was at this box that I saw that CrossFit is MORE than the wod – it’s the entire experience. From the moment you walk through the door, to the moment you leave at the end of a workout…it’s this strange euphoria. I’ve learned a lot from the coaches at this box…the importance of mobilizing, how to properly prep your body to do physical work, knowing when and how to scale a workout down, and knowing when to check your ego/expectations when you need to drop the weights down a bit.

When I think about the lessons that I’ve learned, just in a short year, that knowledge and experience has proven to be invaluable to me. Even as I prepared for my NASM personal trainer certification, the practical experiences, conversations, and explanations of the human body and how/why it works the way it does – all things I learned from working out with the stellar coaches of CrossFit Praxis, made me feel that much more confident and prepared to take one of the toughest and most highly recognized personal training certifications in the nation.

It was also during my time at Praxis that I fell in love with the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. I never saw myself as a lifter, let alone an athlete, but…in time that self-perception changed.

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All these things and more I got from just 12 months at a CrossFit box. No…not, just a CrossFit box, an amazing CrossFit box. So, naturally the decision to leave was a tough one. And what it all came down to was finding the best fit for me in light of switching jobs and locations. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed at least a single tough girl tear as I walked out of Praxis as an official member for the last time.

And perhaps I was a little off with my original statement about breaking up, because it’s more like – wod ya later. 😉

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Fitness = Bubble Butt + Thigh Gap + Body Shaming?

I was on Pinterest this evening, looking for some worthy motivational and inspiration messages to both share with you all and to keep in my personal collection. It’s been awhile since I’d been on the site, but I happened to type in “Fitness” as my search term and these were some of the top images that popped up:

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Nitpicking…dissecting…and shaming of the female body as a way to inspire fitness? Is that really the way we want to go? Is this truly inspirational, or are we playing on the fears and worries of many women who may already have a number of body issues. Is it not enough that we are bombarded daily with society’s standards of what beauty is? So now we have brought that same comparison and shame to the world of fitness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I recognize that you can tag a photo with as many keywords as you’d like and perhaps I just got the unluck of the draw this evening, but as I’ve been observing the fitness movement that is sweeping the nation, I can’t help but think that there is a bigger issue that we are just NOT addressing.

If we’re going to talk about physical fitness, we are going to also have to talk about health – mental and emotional. Shame and fear are both terrible motivators. Health, true and lasting health, should come from a place of love and understanding. You want to be a better, healthier person because you love yourself and perhaps even because the love you have for those closest to you motivates you to take certain steps to ensure you can maximize the time you are able to spend with them. Understanding comes in as you recognize that there may be ebb and flow in your day to day healthy living, but that these changes are natural and a part of life. Personally, I do not think that chasing after an ideal body part(s) or running from the fear of cellulite is a way to have sustainable and healthy weight loss and fitness goals.

And what really gets me in the midst of all of this – is that all of these “fitness motivation” imagery is more or less targeted at women with a very distinct message..

“Who you are isn’t good enough. You need to have these physical qualities to be considered healthy/fit/sexy.”

*yawn*

*yawn* …riiiight.

The feminist in me isn’t buying that one bit. And while I know from a professional and personal standpoint, that naturally as you reduce caloric intake and increase calories burned (aka good eating and exercise habits) you will see a physical change in your body – depending on HOW you’re exercising and WHAT you’re eating, results WILL vary. And that’s not even getting into what kind of body type you may be. Fit looks different on every…body. Why then, do we insist upon driving home such a narrow and frankly superficial view of what fitness is. And further more…who the HELL are you to tell me what’s wrong with my butt/hips/thighs? I really…REALLY wish that society would spend LESS time concerned with the female body and MORE time focused on promoting holistically healthy imagery, guidance, and examples of the multiple avenues to fitness.

Which brings me to yet another question…what is fitness anyway? What does it mean to be fit? These are questions I’m posing to myself and you as well. What are the goals that you’ve set for yourself? And why? What is your motivation? What drives you to get up in the early morning or go out after a long day at work and put in some time at gym? I hope, that after some thought and reflection, that the answers you come up with are ones that make you happy and will do no harm in the long run. I want everyone to reach their highest self, to be the best they can possibly be. Fitness looks and feels like whatever works best for YOU. Perhaps isn’t thigh gap, or super chiseled muscles. Maybe it’s a dress size or two less coupled with the ability to run around with your dog or kids a little more. Maybe it’s reducing the number of medications you need to take. Or being able to walk or run up a flight of stairs without losing your breath. It could be something as simple as being able to bend over and touch your toes.

It could be any of those things.

It could be all of those things.

But it’s YOUR choice…and you have the power to decide what fitness feels like for yourself. Please, don’t let society or family and friends try to define your personal goals and aspirations for you. You’re the architect here. Make sure you are building on a solid foundation.

Does anyone even hear me out there? Am I the only one who’s kinda over it? What do you all think?

Find Your Fit

My mind has been all over the place lately. I’ve had so many things I want to say/write about and yet, I don’t know how to start or where to begin.

This blog is changing. If I’m honest, it’s changed and has been changing over the past year or so. It’s changing because I’m changing. I’ve changed. I’ve grown.

When I started writing, it was about running. How to do it. Why to do it. The reasons I love doing it. I was an absolutist. If it wasn’t running or yoga…meh, not interested. 

Then came CrossFit…and you saw so many posts about that. Lifting heavy things. Double unders. Squats. I was, ever so briefly, a CF fanatic. 

Any then I found my way to olympic lifting – or oly for short. I love it. But I’ve learned something along my journey.

There’s more to life, to fitness, to wellness than being crazy about any ONE exercise routine. Being healthy…now that’s the goal. That’s MY goal.

I don’t want to be a runner girl, a crossfit girl, a yoga girl, or even an Oly girl. I want to be fit. And fit by my own standards, not anyone else’s. What that looks like? Well, I’m not sure…and I’m not in a hurry to define it. There is no ideal weight or physical form that I am pursuing. I am doing things I love to do, and enjoying the physical progression of the experience. I’m finding my fit.

That’s what life is for me. Finding my fit. Be it hiking, biking, lifting, running…I’m on a quest for self. 

So this blog is going to have to be a reflection of that quest. It’s only my hope, that through finding my own fit, someone out there may be inspired to find theirs.

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