Friday, March 19, 2010

I CrossFit

A couple of weeks ago I dragged myself to CrossFit in an angry mood. I had been going for 2 months and I just wasn't losing weight fast enough. Kelsi, one of the coaches, cornered me and asked about my attitude problem. I started crying about being fat and not fit enough. She reminded me that in 8 short weeks I had made some great progress. "I know, I know!" I sobbed. "But I'm still so fat! I can't do things that the other girls can do!" She started laughing at me, in a kind way, and suggested that maybe I needed to be a bit more patient. Then she gave me the standard litany of weight-loss truths: you're gaining muscle at the same time, so you won't see big drops on the scale, losing weight in a safe and sustainable manner means only 1-2 lbs. a week, and I could achieve more rapid weight loss if I was willing to eat an extreme diet. Yeah, yeah. I know all those things. I'm doing it the right way, but it's the slow way. If I'm working this hard, I want some big results. Anyway, I wiped my face and went in for the WOD (workout of the day).

Unfortunately it was a series of heavy lifts. I am super competitive with the lifts. I don't try to keep up with anyone when we run, but if it's dead lifts, watch out. Well Cheryl was in my group. Cheryl is my height, half my weight, and it's all muscle. I did my best to keep up with her and in the process truly hurt myself. I wasn't able to workout for the rest of the week. Brilliant.

Well, that was 2 weeks ago. In the interim, I've been going regularly, doing the WODs, and trying to have a good attitude. Of course, I only lost 2 lbs. in those 2 weeks, and that's not good enough for me. Then yesterday, a miracle occurred. "Karen" came up in the rotation. Karen is 150 wall balls for time. Brutal, but a workout that I had done before. It was the first opportunity to actually measure myself against an earlier version of myself. I was ecstatic.

10 weeks ago, my very first workout on my very first day with CrossFit, I did Karen. I think I wrote about it here. It took me 19 minutes and I was blubbering through it. I was so angry and sad that I had let my body get so out of shape. Yesterday, I did Karen again. My time was 10 minutes! In 10 weeks I had shaved off 47%! Holy shit! That's unbelievable! Suddenly, being fat doesn't matter. I can do 150 wall balls in 10 minutes. My skinny-ass sister could not do that.

I am strong. I am getting stronger. I will reach my appearance goals eventually, but they are not so important to me today. I am getting fit. I am changing my body. I don't need to be patient for results, I just need to change what I am measuring. Monday, I ran a 5k. The last one was in January. I improved my time by 2 minutes. That's real progress that I can see and feel.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm gonna start with this story because it's lighthearted. I used to play bingo sorta regularly... maybe 3-4 times a year? Ok, I wasn't one of the diehard, blue-haired ladies who are there every Friday night, but I knew what I was doing. I keep daubers in my glove box. I think that makes me a bingo player. I typically go alone because I don't know anybody else who enjoys it. I have a whole routine: the number of cards that I play, what food I'm going to order at which intermission, which special games I'll splurge on. It's like an entertainment ritual.

A couple of weeks ago I was bored on a Saturday night and decided to go drop $40 on a night of bingo. First of all, I didn't order my pre-game appetizer of goopy nachos and Pepsi. This time I just brought my bottle of water. Everything else was typical though... alone, 18 cards, and some specials. The first set had me feeling a little weird. I chalked it up to being out of practice cause it's been a while. At the first intermission, I skipped my typical meal of crispy, deep-friend corn dog, fries, and another Pepsi. (I'm going to leave that typo because I think it was a Freudian slip.) I stuck with the water. During the second part I found my mind wandering all over the place. I couldn't focus and I was having a hard time keeping up with my cards. I was bored! In the second intermission, I went without the usual hot fudge sundae. And it began to dawn on me that something was definitely wrong. I was not having fun.

Here are my conclusions... First of all, I actually think the lack of sugar, coupled with it being late at night, slowed down my brain. I think the carbs usually give me that jittery energy that lets me play 18 cards at once. So I was stressed that I couldn't keep up. Secondly, I'm not sure it's the bingo that I enjoyed in the first place. I think it was just an excuse to eat what I call "carnival food." And I don't mean that in a nasty way. Carnival food is my particular kryptonite. Real deep-fried foods like corn dogs, french fries, funnel cake, elephant ears, on and on, washed down by the sweet nectar of Pepsi (which I was drinking before water) is my idea of manna from Heaven. I seriously will go to any event where there will be fried-food vendors: home shows, auto shows, the county fair, the flea market, any sporting event, and, apparently, bingo.

This is probably going to get a big "duh" from all of you, but this night of bingo was the moment I realized that food is fun! And I don't mean enjoyable. It's a form of entertainment for me. Yes, food brings pleasure such as satisfaction, comfort, indulgence, memories, and more. But I mean food as literal entertainment: a thing that diverts or amuses or stimulates. And without the food, sitting there, stamping a sheet of numbers over and over, all alone, was really depressing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life Is Not A Sprint

Alright, I'm ready to get back to this project. Lots of things have happened in the past month. I guess I was feeling stagnant before because I was examining each individual day. When you step back for a few weeks and look at the big picture, there is momentum. I have a long list of blog posts that I want to write in the next week or so. Here's the list as it stands right now:

First, I did go to Texas for 10 days to work on my friendship with Robert. I had a weirdly self-revelatory experience playing bingo recently. Crossfit is going well even though I had a meltdown last week and accidently splattered Kelsi with a crying fit. My grad school application was rejected, which lead to a series of "what-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up" internal conversations. I'm reading a new book that has me questioning all of the food politics that I thought I clearly understood. I got another tattoo. I've lost 3.5 more pounds since I last posted (Texas kinda slowed my progress for February).

So there's lots to talk about. I just need to get down to it...

I will tell you right now that I'm good, I'm happy, and I'm healthier every day. This is a slow journey that is pushing me to new levels of patience and acceptance of my own strengths and weaknesses. I know it's corny, and I'm the first one to roll my eyes, but I really do feel like I'm transforming into a better, more centered, stronger woman.