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.

_________________________________________________

I’ve changed platforms. You can find my new blog at ——->  Around Your Way Fitness

I will post on the two platforms for a few more posts before heading over there completely. Follow me there

1st Injury and Recovery

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

What Is Self Care To You?

I read an interesting, and controversial, article on self care. The author said that it is not all salt baths and eating cake —> Article . I agree with her completely. We should all strive to have a life that we don’t need to escape from. Isn’t that the point? Self care to me used to be having a glass (or four) of wine per night to recover from a hellish job and sad, single existence. But for the past 7 weeks I have been doing crossfit and working out a lot. I made some friends and realized that I can’t workout in the morning if I am hungover… so I no longer drink the night before I exercise.

My job is no longer my top priority, but I am still there. And now I’m sitting in the uncomfortableness with no mental escape. I know I will get to the point where I can no longer take it and will hand in my notice. But until then…

Self Care to me is:

  • Preparing to leave my job by job hunting, saving money and controlling my spending
  • Paying down my loans and credit card debt
  • Continuing to exercise and do Crossfit; push past my limits and challenge myself
  • Not drinking excessively
  • Playing with Pixie, my cat
  • Learning to love and accept myself as I am
  • Getting 7-8 hours of sleep, drinking as much water as possible and eating my veggies
  • Listening to motivational podcasts and reading self help books
  • Putting myself first and surrounding myself with people that make my feel good

Crossfit has kind of taken over my life, but in a good way. I  have no idea what made my sign up for the 6 week challenge. When I went for the “interview”, which was just a facility tour and explanation of the challenge,  I thought it was HIIT. I was in a plateau and saw an ad on Instagram. I went there, signed up, and the rest is history. I have done more exercise in the past 7 weeks than I have in the past 6 months. After my 6 week intro package, my new friends and I signed up for 6 months. I definitely know that it was the right thing to do. My life was a mess and now I have some structure. I have pushed myself harder than I ever thought possible and lifted, safely, more than I thought I ever could. Most importantly, I have cleaned up my life tremendously. Like I mentioned before, I drink a lot less, at most 1 day per week, I’ve been reading more, sleep 7 hours per night and I just feel more balanced and in tune with my body. My self confidence has increased and now I’m trying to improve my self esteem.

I also want to figure out what challenge I can do next.

 

Making Moves

On Saturday I taught my first cardio dance class and I can honestly say that it was the best day of my life. To think that I could create an hours worth of choreography and teach it to people in order for them to get in shape is amazing. It really put a lot of things in perspective, including my j-o-b. (I call it a j-o-b because it’s not my career and it finances my life)

My j-o-b eats at my core. The interactions that I have with patients affects me in such a way that it’s not healthy. The conversations stay with me, the complaints, the annoyances. No one is ever happy because they are in pain and I’m tired of dealing with them. All of the office managers in my practice feel the same way, but unlike others I no longer want to push down my emotions. That’s how I got to 234 lbs.  I’m taking some steps to go forward in my health professional journey, this job is bound to limit me by chipping away at my life force. I’m not going to share my plans with a lot of people because I don’t want anyone to talk me out of it. Sometimes when you tell coworkers that you want to leave, they try to convince you because they don’t want to be alone. In August I will have been there for 6 years at a job I dislike. Of course there are good aspects of it, mostly the money and coworkers, but it’s not worth it anymore.

My ideal outcome for 6 months- By August 1

  • Get a new full time j-o-b to pay the bills (hopefully it will be in the health industry so it could be a step towards a career)
  • Continue to improve as a fitness instructor, have a booming class and get Zumba certified
  • Reach my goal weight
  • Get a boyfriend (I had to throw that in there. I can’t be too career focused)
  • Get paid as a health coach by at least 2 clients
  • Start a meetup group

I created a private group on Facebook where I’m going to post motivational posts, diet advice and vegan inspiration. Once I get more posts up I plan to start telling people in my class. I’m REALLY excited about the future and I haven’t felt this way in awhile.

I hope everyone is doing well.

 

 

Getting a Punching Bag

One of my goals next year is to deal with stress and frustration in a… healthier manner. One that doesn’t involve me gaining weight, feeling lethargic and having any regrets. So I’m buying a punching bag. Work is super stressful, and so is adulting. The first thing I realized when I became an adult, even before I knew how hard it would be to get a job, was that no one cared how much or how often you drank. As long as you fulfilled your duties, you could buy it at ANY TIME. Which I did! I went to work everyday, socialized, occasionally drank too much at happy hours yet most people liked me. But life isn’t supposed to be about surviving, it’s supposed to be about flourising. To be perfectly honest, and no one knows this, there were full YEARS, when I was still living with a roommate and miserable, that I would go to work, come home and drink beers and cranberry vodkas, get drunk, go to sleep and start over again the next day. Could you imagine?  I had weeks of abstinence, even got help including AA and outpatient rehab treatment, and I somehow got it under control, but I never stopped for longer than 30 days. I think if more people knew that about me, they would understand why I am the way I am… 34, single, introverted and all that jazz. I am probably not someone that should be drinking given my history and that is something that I am eliminating ASAP. But anyway…

I took my second boxing class this week and I realized I love the punching bag. I imagine it’s my boss (I really don’t hate him). I imagine it’s my fears. I imagine it’s all my self-anger and my frustrations and I beat it until I’ m done. Unfortunately in classes they only let you go for 2 sets of 3 mins… so I’m getting my own. That way after work, instead of the occasional, or not so occasional drink that I was having towards the end of this year, I will beat the crap out of it.  And also tone my upper body while I do it. I have some rage in me and I’m tired of complaining all day to coworkers and myself. I don’t want to hear it so I will just beat the bag and call it a night. I really want to be myself and authentic. I feel like alcohol and depression pushes everything down to where you are drinking your sorrows and  pretending everything is OK and then repeating it the next day. I don’t want to bite my tongue anymore. I want to be proud of myself and help others. So here is the bag I bought:

61aVvIQj3+L._SL1500_

I’m Back!!

Whew… Where have I been? Well I have been a mad woman these past few weeks, literally. Things are looking up, yet staying the same. I’m trying to navigate the waters and trying to decide what is the next step.

Fitness Instructor Training– The program was successfully completed this past Tuesday! I had a final last week which included teaching a class and multiple choice test. I was a nervous wreck. Over the past few months, I’ve really learned a lot about myself. I don’t handle stress too well. It affects my sleeping, I drink more and I am constantly on edge, probably due to the drinking and sleeping less. I get it done in the end but everything suffers, including my appearance. I passed the class, so I am officially in a 6 month internship starting in Jan/Feb. I will be teaching a class every Saturday which will be great for me because it will limit Friday night happy hours. I have my playlist down and about 75% done. I need to just fine tune it and clean it up but I still have…

Statistics– Yes. This beast is still on my back and I’m taking the final on Dec 17. I want to get a A- in the class, however to qualify for tuition reimbursement I think I need a C. I’m currently at B level if I get EVERY QUESTION RIGHT on the exam. I started studying. I’m giving myself more time to prepare than the midterm which should be better because I won’t have to prepare an exercise routine that’s due at the same time. It’s just a hard class for me, the theories seem convoluted, the class is online, but I need to focus. This is my last class in my program, I need to pull through and like Tim Gunn says.. Make it Work. Tomorrow is my job’s holiday party. After that, I’m not drinking until after the final so my mind is clear and all the wires are firing at 100%. I’m making cheat sheets as we speak and rereading all of the information.

Weight Loss– I’ve plateaued. I made a friend in my instructor training course and we have been working out a lot. I started taking dance classes, like Samba and belly dancing. I don’t think I’m overcompensating with calories by eating, but I’ve (honestly) increased my alcohol intake which was at zero when I was losing weight the fastest. I also stopped the extra lunch time cardio I was doing during my lunch hour because work became a mess. I just feel burnt out. I constantly feel in a state of mild exhaustion. When I don’t focus, I say stupid things, like the wrong day or that I don’t understand what reproachful means, or I’m smart enough to figure it out from the context.<—– see brains. I know it’s my fault because my self care has gone out the window. I need to focus on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water.

Work– Work, work work. What is there to say. My job is one that I can do and as of right now there is some level of security, but I dislike it a lot. I asked for an increase in bonus and my boss said yes. It was a crazy year with the drama with the hiring and firing of the assistant. This job is just so not what I want to do long term, if at all. I loved being in the instructor training program. Being with folks that cared about fitness, discussing it. I realized that even though I sound like an idiot sometimes at work, when it comes to fitness and exercising I am an encyclopedia. I love making up dances and teaching it and will definitely make that a side job once I get certified. But what about the full time job… I have a wellness job search going and I get notices when positions open up and there are so many great jobs out there. I think once I get my Public health certificate and start teaching, I can put that on my resume. That way employers can see that I am serious about this. The end goal of course is to be a Health Coach and helping people lose weight.

The struggle is real. I won’t even get into dating now. That will be a post for another day…

So my plan until next week to get back track is to

  1. Drink 11 glasses of water per day (it’s recommended that we drink half of our body weight in ounces per day. Since I am 185, that is 92.5 ounces which is 11.56 glasses. I rounded down for sanity purposes).
  2. 7 hours of sleep. At the beginning of the semester I was in bed at 10-10:30. Now it’s 11-12. I need to get up at 6am to have a productive day so I need to start getting ready for bed at 9:45 pm. Have my Epsom salt bath (I will do a post on this soon) at 10 pm, and lights out by 10:30 pm.
  3. Limit TV. Not sure how I found the time, but I’ve made it through 7 seasons of Criminal Minds this semester…. From now on I can only watch TV, movies or frivolous YouTube videos when I am beautifying myself or cooking, because if I’m not multitasking, I’m really wasting time. Plus it might give me some inspiration to paint my nails or twist my hair more often.
  4. Stick to my exercise and food plan. Studies show that deviating from a plan lowers yourself esteem and your ability to follow through in the future. Which is why missing 1 gym class in a week, can lead to missing 4 classes, or is that just me? They say it’s better to aim low and achieve it, than aim high and miss it.

So those are my 4 goals for next week really, but I’m starting now, because I don’t believe in waiting for tomorrow or Monday. I always say, when you decide to start something, start immediately at the next meal or even the next bite!

Happy Friday!!