Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Better Today

As an adult, there are few moments when we can truly be proud of ourselves.  Don't get me wrong, I have many proud mama and proud wife moments.  Even lots of proud sister, proud aunt, and proud daughter moments.  But how often do we really get to feel pride in our own accomplishments, in our own abilities?

In case you were curious, I Googled 'pride' and came up with a bunch rainbows.
I do love my gay pals, but that's not the object of this particular post.
I'm excited to say that, at this moment, I feel proud of myself.  I am officially down 80 lbs.  I don't know many people who can say that (I am aware of the negative connotations of this; namely that I allowed myself to become obese thereby gaining the need to lose a large amount of weight).  I began this journey at 257 and am now down to 177.  I am getting closer and closer to my finish-line goal of 150.  When I step on the scale, I can hardly believe what it's telling me.  When I put on my formerly tight clothes, I am shocked that they now hang on me.  When I look in the mirror, I sometimes have a hard time recognizing my face.  I feel like I am finally able to see my leaner self for what it is, but my brain is having a hard time registering that it's actually me.

There are things that are different about being 80 lbs smaller.  For example, when squeezing through a small space, I always feel panic that there won't be enough room for me.  When polishing my toes, I still assume it will be difficult and the task will make me become out of breath.  I brace myself to bend down to pick up an item off of the floor, because I still feel like it will be difficult.  Upon approaching an upward flight of stairs, there is always a fleeting moment of dread and panic.  The good thing is that I generally have a sense of relief when I find that I can more easily squeeze through a small space, self-pedicures are a delight, and I can get up a flight of stairs in nothing flat.  It's just taking time to get used to my new energy levels, my new abilities, my smaller body.

Sometimes I like to get in touch with my
inner rock star when I work out.
I have had a few other moments of pride recently.  For my son's 2nd birthday party, I bought a party sized bag of M&Ms.  I was using the red, green, and yellow candies to create a stoplight-inspired treat to serve alongside his Radiator Springs cake.  Because I tend to over-prepare for things, I sorted the entire bag of M&Ms into two groups: red, green, and yellow; and blue, orange, and brown.  The prideful moment came when I closed both containers and realized that I hadn't eaten a single piece.  This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but this was a giant accomplishment for me.

What you need to understand is that there were times in the past that I probably would have eaten the entire giant bag of candy (resulting in a second purchase of M&Ms or altogether foregoing stoplight treats).  The difference with this moment was that I didn't feel like I was withholding anything from myself.  I didn't feel deprived.  I felt okay with not having any chocolate.  In fact, the sorted M&Ms sat on my counter for several days and went untouched (by me, at least... my husband's sweet tooth is a whole other story) until it was time to make the treats (I didn't indulge at that point either).  I allowed myself a small amount of dessert the day of the party, and I felt satisfied.

There was a time that my sugar cravings were so intense,
I would turn into a wretched beast until I had something sweet.
My participation in the CrossFit program at my gym has also given me many moments of feeling proud.  A month ago, I couldn't run for more than a minute (or at the very most, two) at a time -- you may even remember me saying that if you ever see me running, you should run too, or call the police.  But last Friday, I ran a mile.  A MILE!  It was split in half by a fairly intense 21-15-9 formatted (towel rows, push-ups, and sit ups) workout.  But I ran, nonstop, for a half mile at a time.  This is a big deal for me.  I still don't love running, but I feel proud that I can run.

Our CrossFit coach is continually pushing us to work harder, to challenge ourselves, to get stronger.  I appreciate that, and with the encouragement from him and my CF sisters, I feel like I am able to work harder, to challenge myself more each day, and I am definitely getting stronger.  I will admit, many of our workouts make me cuss.  I generally try to watch my mouth, but I turn into a sailor during our workouts of the day (WODs).

Today's workout pushed me to my physical limit.  After a physically intense warm-up, our workout today was 'Karen'.  Karen consists of 150 wall ball shots.  I hate wall ball shots with an intense passion that burns deep in my core (not only do you have to get the weighted ball all the way up to the 90 foot ceiling <I might be exaggerating>, you have to squat down until your booty hits a marker set by our coach, who believes in my squatting abilities much more than I do).  I nearly quit.  At about 25, I had myself convinced I was pregnant and that I needed to stop this workout immediately (it was too much in my delicate condition).  For the record I am not pregnant (I picked up an EPT on the way home).  At 50, the ball hit me in the face.  At 75, I thought I was going to die.  At 100, I started to cry (seriously) and almost walked away.  At 125, I was sure I was going to die (and told everyone "'Karen' is a b*%!@" -- I told you, CrossFit makes me have a potty mouth).  The other girls finished minutes before me and I told myself that I should just give up.  But that was my former fat girl talking to me.  My CF sisters and coach cheered me on, counted with me and helped me get to the end.  I completed the workout.  I could barely walk and it took me 10 minutes 58 seconds, but I finished nonetheless.  I was exhausted, I was wobbly, I was drenched in smelly sweat; but I was proud.

This is not me.  My squat marker was MUCH
lower than where she's squatting.
I might be exaggerating.
I guess the point I'm getting at is that it feels amazing to be able to say: "I did that."  It feels amazing to be able to be proud of yourself.  You don't have to do an extreme workout to feel this way, you just have to be able to say: "I tried hard, and I am better today than I was yesterday."

Be healthy.  Challenge yourself.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.

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