Fear of My Inner Fat Kid

ronda_rousey

You know what scares me?  The notion that a year from now I could end up right back where I was four months ago, overweight and miserable and hating myself for it.

If I’m being truthful, it freaking terrifies me.  Every day I’m working so hard to make lasting lifestyle changes that will stick with me for the long run.  Every day I’m battling demons who want me to eat a family sized box of Mac and Cheese for dinner or drink a bottle of wine just because it’s Tuesday.  More often than not, I’m winning.  Actually, if I’m being completely honest, I am winning 100% of the time outside of planned cheat meals.

But there’s this part of me that chides me.  That whispers in my ear that I can’t be perfect forever.  That some day I will go out to dinner and just order the burger and fries, and that will lead to a slippery slope of stuffing my pie hole until my size 14 jeans don’t fit me anymore… again.

Two days in a row of posting about confidence and self love and I still have these fears and doubts.  I still worry that this time won’t be any different than any other yo-yo I’ve done.

But then I think about all the times I HAVE made the right choice.  Just tonight I went to the grocery store after the gym starving and really craving some soup.  What I wanted was the Publix Chicken and Dumplings, loaded with creamy biscuity goodness.  What I bought was fresh carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach, a can of diced tomatoes and a big box of veggie broth and came home and made my own concoction.  With scrambled eggs.  Because for some reason that sounded good.

I recognized the craving, but once I was in the store I was on autopiolot.  That, friends, is a lifestyle change.  And one I hope will stick with me for the long haul.

The title of this blog is “Not the Fat Kid in Gym Class Anymore,” but really I think I just need to realize that regardless of what I look like on the outside, mentally I need to not be that kid anymore.

So with all that, look for a bit of a blog redesign soon.  I’ve been thinking about doing it for some time and the urge has finally struck me.  We’ll have a new name, a new mantra, and a new layout, but the same great shit you’ve come to expect from me.

Now, tell me your demons.  I’ll reassure you that you’re not alone.  And heck, might crack a pewp joke or two for good measure.

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Who’s your daddy? Mine’s the one who is pretty awesome.

I have a pretty great dad.  I have more than my fair share of memories of happy times growing up, and while he’s always been goofy and a little bit off, he’s always been everything he knew how to be as a father.

I don’t plan on having children of my own, and because of that I recognize I will never know the joy and hardship that is parenting.  I likely will never understand my dad the way that he perhaps understood his later in life, but I will always appreciate his hand in raising me, as I know I wasn’t exactly an easy kid to parent.

I really wanted to post some funny dad stories to honor him a bit for this weekend’s holiday, but as I sat down get this out on paper, I realized, I can sum up the entirety of who my dad is to me by just telling this one story.

I broke my ankle two weeks before my wedding day.  I had been on crutches and in one of those fancy Velcro boots, staying completely off of my foot leading up to the big day.  The doctor had recognized how important it was to me to be able to walk down the aisle and dance my first dance, and the day before the wedding cleared me to do so without the boot.  He also gave us the warning that someone needed to be holding on to me at all times so that I did not support my entire weight on my foot if at all possible.

Needless to say, it was a stressful few weeks leading up to the wedding.

In addition to all that, my mom had decided to do the wedding on a budget, and was pretty much the planning and executor for every piece of it.  When the big day finally came, tensions were running high as the entire wedding party decorated the hall, set up the furniture, even laid out the “aisle” on the beach, and constructed the gazebo where we would say our vows.

By the time the ceremony was set to begin, pretty much everyone was chewing each others faces off, including my soon to be husband and I.

In hindsight I realize, you can only juggle so many family members and personalities before something has to give. 

We each went to get ready in our respective areas, and as I put on my dress and made finishing touches to my make up, I was near panic attack.  My amazing sister, bless her heart, was fanning me head to toe and trying to talk me down, assuring me that everything would work out and no one would kill each other in the 30 minutes it took me to get ready.

When my dad opened the door to lead me down the aisle, I just wasn’t ready.  Between the pain, the fear of faceplanting while walking down the aisle in front of a camera, and the fact that the last things the groom and I said to each other were bickering words, I didn’t want to do it.

My dad took one look at me and knew it was up to him to parent me one more time.

He linked his arm in mine and pulled me into a corner.  No one could see us, no one could hear us.  He gave me a hug and with tears in his eyes told me how absolutely beautiful I look.

And then, he said something to me I will never forget.  He said, “Nikki, if this isn’t exactly what you want, tell me now.  I will carry you out the door, load you up in my car, and drive away.  For the next 30 seconds I’m still your dad and I will take care of you if that’s what you need me to do.”

That was the turning point.  That was the moment I was absolutely certain that I was going to walk down that aisle and marry the only person who had ever loved me more than my daddy.

I hugged him, took a deep breath, and told him I was ready.

As we walked down the aisle linked arm and arm I whispered to him, “don’t worry, even once he signs the ownership papers, you’ll always be my dad.”

We arrived at the alter laughing and crying, and happier than I had ever been in my entire life.

So thanks Dad, for always seeming to find a way to say exactly what I need to hear.  Especially at the most important moments.

Believe it or not, I’m not awesome at everything

bad friend

Have you ever met someone new, and as a result are firmly smacked in the face with a memory of someone you already know?

Last night I made a super cool new cycling friend, but as a result of this, I have someone on my mind today.

I admit, I’m a horrible long distance friend.  I will keep in touch through facebook and maybe an occasional text message, but I always just assume that people are just as busy as me and don’t really have time for lengthy phone conversations to catch up.

Well that, and I despise talking on the phone.

So as a result, I have a handful of people who I love very much, who are incredibly special to me, but that I don’t really talk to much.  It’s crappy, I know, but it’s who I am.

I always just assume these people know that I love them, but I’m now realizing that might not be the case.  Not everyone is as devoid of real human emotion as I am, and my neglected friends might think I’ve just forgotten about them.

After meeting super cool new cycling friend last night, I really want to reach out to his doppelgänger who is so much like him they even share the same NAME today, and I’m not sure how.  That simple fact right there tells me, I’ve kind of dropped the ball on being this guy’s friend.

What’s worse?  When I decided that a quick post to his facebook wall would be the least awkward way to say hi and potentially get a conversation rolling… I discovered that I have now been moved to some sort of friends list of his that can’t even post on his wall.  I am officially in the this-person-doesn’t-get-to-see-or-comment-on-my-life group.  And I didn’t even realize when I stopped seeing his updates.

My point to myself is simply this… everyone is busy.  But it’s my own responsibility to make sure that the people I care about know it.  That they know that every time I think of them I smile, and that countless things throughout the week remind me of some memory we’ve shared.

Basically, I need to stop being such a schmuck.

Anxiety schmangxiety

fear

It’s been awhile since I’ve had Crossfit anxiety, but I’m experiencing it in full force today. Tomorrow we’re doing repeat “fitness testing,” running the same tests that we did back in February that actually inspired my first blog post and the beginning of chronicling this journey.

I admit it. I’m terrified I’m going to discover I haven’t improved… or worse, that I’ve LOST fitness.

And yes, I realize that’s irrational. Never said I was sane kids.

As if that wasn’t enough to cause a slightly neurotic freak out, I also know that we are doing a Memorial Day Murph on Monday. There are two classes in the morning, which means I will be doing this super ridiculously hard workout outside of the comfort of my 6 a.m. peeps who are used to my sex noises and death rattles.

Though there is something different about the anxiety this time.

When I first started Crossfit I would freak out that I couldn’t do a workout, or that I would not be able to finish. I was constantly worried that I would be last, and everyone would be standing around thinking, “good God what makes this fat chick think she should be doing this?”

Obviously, that never happened. And while there were certainly workouts along the way that challenged me nearly to my breaking point, I never emerged from the box feeling unsuccessful.

Come to think of it, the “anxiety” this time may not actually be anxiety at all… it might just be *gasp*… excitement?

Sure there’s a chance my fitness tests won’t show improvement. I’m injured, I took 3 weeks off, I’m in my first week back and I’m so sore that breathing should be considered my WOD for the day as far as I’m concerned.

But let’s face it, that’s unlikely. And deep down, I think I’m excited to see just how much I have improved even with all those things listed above.

And Murph? Well duh, I know I am not yet able to Rx it. Obviously, since I don’t have pull ups yet. But my coaches are awesome, there will be scaling, and my pain tolerance is pretty darn high. So come hell or high water I will drag myself through the running and the reps and over the “finish line” for that hero, who I know would be right there next to the rest of the awesome people at my box cheering me on if he could.

I’m excited to see my progress.
I’m excited to test my fitness and my limits.
I’m excited to Crossfit.

Excited and nervous feel so much the same, but in the end, knowing I WILL succeed rather than fearing I won’t are what separates the two.

I want to scream and cry and throw things

The fact that this morning I was unable to move much less get out of bed has me a little terrified.  I went to bed last night with a really sore low back and hip, and woke up this morning in a world of hurt.  Actually, I woke up this morning whimpering pathetically and begging my husband to bring me Advil, but we’ll pretend like I was more of a trooper than that.

Obviously, I have a doctor’s appointment as soon as they could fit me in, tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

Texted my coach to let him know what’s going on and he thinks it’s muscular.   I’m hoping that he’s right, though I’m having trouble believing that this is simple muscle soreness.  At best I believe I have an injury and have pulled or torn something, at worse I’m concerned about a herniated disc.

The thing that has me the most terrified is that I cannot point out to you where it hurts.  My lower back is screaming and every time I move or even breathe it’s painful, but I can’t rub on the sore spot.  The pain is also radiating into my left hip, and as the day goes on, down my leg.

I’m certain the fact that I’m absolutely freaking out isn’t doing anything to help with my perceived level of pain either.

I’ve spent the better part of the day worrying about what will happen if I can’t do Crossfit or cycle, how I will continue to lose weight, and a million other things.

Luckily, every time I get too far into my headspace I get the urge to move, which promptly makes me feel like I am going to cry or vomit or both, so I’m not going too crazy.

For now, everyone cross fingers that this is something that is easily healed and overcome.  If not, stay tuned for the contingency plan because I WILL heal and I will not lose any momentum on my goals.

Before and After… and panic attacks

hope

A new addition to my Crossfit box is the “Before and After” display.  A few members have posted photos of themselves pre-Crossfit, and then next to them their current photos looking ripped and healthy and amazing.

These transformations are truly jaw dropping.

My super smoking hot idol girl-coach this morning pointed out the board and let the 6 a.m. class know that anyone was welcome to bring in before and after pics of themselves to add to it.  She said that she’s really proud of many of us, and some of us have seen some great changes, and then promptly made eye contact with me.

I have no idea what face I made in that moment, but I can tell you that what flew through my mind was, there is NO FREAKING WAY I’m going to put a “before” picture of myself on that wall.  There were fat rolls in places that just shouldn’t jiggle.  No one should have to consider wearing different pants because they make everything right down to your kneecaps look fat, ok people?

Clearly, that thought was reflected on my face, because the next words out of her mouth inspired me so much that I actually felt like I might cry.  She said:

“If you’re not comfortable yet, that’s ok.  One day you will have come so far that those before pictures won’t matter to you anymore and you won’t mind sharing them.”

I know she wasn’t necessarily talking to me, but man, was she talking to me.

The truth is, there is still a tiny part of me that is scared that this isn’t permanent.  I am terrified to put a “before” picture of me out there and hear the comments about how much better I look now and how much fatter I was then.

What if someday I go back to making poor nutrition choices and stop exercising?  What if one day I look in the mirror and see that “before” picture again staring right back at me?

I know that I have left that girl behind, and I’ve made changes in my life that have made me so much better, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.  I won’t go back there, but that fear and uncertainty still exists.

However, just hearing those words of wisdom from my coach helps me realize that I am not alone in that fear.  That she could recognize it in me means she has seen it in countless others, and she knows like them, I’m in it for the long haul.

So who knows, maybe I will post my before picture where I have more rolls than a walrus up there on that wall.  Maybe I will traumatize small children and make people question how it’s possible to store fat there.  Or maybe, for now, I will just keep making choices every single day that place that girl firmly in the past.

Because this girl, she’s pretty awesome.

The only thing to fear is… running out of bacon

Bacon

Wayne Gretzky once said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

He was a cool dude.

Fear is a funny thing.  It presents really differently in people, and effects everyone in different ways.  I see fear driving people to success daily, it’s the force that pushes them to be more than they thought they could and achieve great things.  The fear of failure is a powerful motivator to a lot of people, and the constant drive to rise above that is inspiring.

However, I am someone who falls on what I would consider the opposite end of the fear spectrum.  I am one who is paralyzed by fear.  For much of my life, fear has stopped me in my tracks when considering things that I might want to do.

Even sadder, is that I didn’t realize this about myself until my early 20s.  I had spent a quarter century of my life doing things that came easily, things that came naturally, and falling into patterns that were comfortable and not always healthy.  When I ran across something that would push me out of that pattern, I would shut down, not act, and sometimes find myself in situations where I was trapped and unhappy, but too afraid to try to break the cycle.

Once I realized I was this type of person, my life slowly started to change.

I’m not going to say that BAM I was suddenly a new person with great habits and lived a fearless lifestyle, because that would be a lie.  But I did realize that challenging myself with positive things, while terrifying at times, wasn’t usually bad.

Did I fail at times?  Sure.  Did I do things that in hindsight I wish I hadn’t?  Absolutely.  But I had some really great experiences and have grown a lot as well.

I still struggle with fear limiting my life.  I joined my current company back in October and from day 1 wanted to cycle with our group here.  Because I was out of shape, hadn’t been on my bike in some time, and wasn’t confident in my group riding skills, I came up with excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t.  For three months.  Over three months actually.

In February the gang of cheerleaders here, who despite my protests could tell that deep down inside I really REALLY wanted to become a cyclist again, got me on the road.  I was terrified.  The first ride I did with the group I was shaking so hard when we went to push off I almost couldn’t move.  The fear very nearly paralyzed me not only metaphorically, but physically as well.

And within 5 minutes, it was gone.

Now I’m a cycling disaster.  I fall over at stop signs.  I sometimes forget to unclip.  I get random flat tires for no apparent reason, and drop my chain regularly because my shifting leaves a lot to be desired.  And you know what?  My group hasn’t kicked me out yet.  They still wait for me to figure my stuff out, and come back for me if I fall too far behind.

Nothing about cycling is worth the amount of fear that I was allowing in my mind.

The same can be said for most every fear I’ve faced.  I challenge myself every day when I am afraid, when I decide I don’t want to even attempt something because I’m not sure that I can, to recognize if it’s fear that is driving me.  Granted, that does not always mean that I can shake it off and take action, but just realizing what is happening is a step in the right direction.

I am the only person who can empower myself to be great.  My greatness won’t come from sitting on the sidelines too scared to live life, try new things, and achieve everything that I’m capable of.