Trust The Process

When I think about things to share on my blog I often think about things I want other people to hear. Other times, like today, it’s more of a reminder to myself to practice what I preach. All too often I forget where I was when I first started on this journey. Chronically tired, out of shape, embarrassed, overwhelmed. I’ve come so far in the last 4 1/2 years. But I obviously didn’t start where I am today. It has been a process, a journey.

I started walking. Then walking alternated with running. When I started I could barely run 30 seconds at a time. Then I got the crazy idea to run a marathon. And I did it. I followed a training plan and I trusted the process.

I ended up being able to run far, not fast, but far. I went from an 18-20 minute walking/jogging mile to an average 12-13 minute mile. From barely going 1 mile to over 20 miles.  This took time. It was a process. Then I started CrossFit. And I’m pretty sure I was at a deficet when it came to strength. I couldn’t hold myself up on the pull up bar at all. I could barely navigate the use of the barbell. I still remember the first time I clean and jerked 95lbs as my 1 rep max. Just last month I did that 30 times in under 4 minutes for the workout “Grace”

For months I struggled every single workout. Burpees brought me to tears. My mindset going into every workout was “just keep moving. just survive” – I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea of doing well. It was more like “don’t die” than trying to kill a workout.

Eventually I started to get stronger, faster, more confident. I just kept doing it day after day and I got better. This year I decided I wanted to train for an Olympic Lifting competition. So I followed a specific Olympic Lifting program. I got stronger in my Snatch and Clean & Jerk. I entered, and won, my first Olympic Lifting Competition.

And now here I am. After having major {elective} surgery with my abdominoplasty/skin removal and finding myself frustrated with my current performance. Not only was my body put through some major trauma with this surgery, but I was also out of the box completely for 6 weeks, and really out of my normal level of intensity for about 10 weeks. I knew I would be weaker coming back, I just didn’t imagine it would bother me as much as it does. The most frustrating part is knowing how hard I worked for the progress I had and watching how easily it slipped away. I mean, I had struggled and struggled for years to get a rope climb. It was just recently this year that I finally got that rope climb. Now I can’t even get in one good pull on the rope. It feels like I’m lightyears away from where I want to/think I should be. I just have to keep reminding myself to trust the process. It took time to get there the first time, It will take time to get there again. And it will take even more time to progress beyond that. I know CrossFit works. I know how to get stronger. I just have to put in the work. Show up, do the work. That is how you see the results. It is a process. Embrace it. You won’t always be where you currently are if you put in the work. I want to be stronger, faster, better. So I will put my nose to the grindstone and do the work I know it takes to get there. Every damn day. Because I’m worth it. My dreams and goals are worth it.

Have you ever had to remind yourself to trust the process?

I’m Done Coasting

Today is 12 weeks, or 3 months, since my Abdominoplasty/Skin Removal. I knew going into it that I wanted to take it easy for the first 3 months. Like I said in my last post, I just wanted to coast through recovery to give my body time to heal. I had to prepare myself mentally to scale back on workouts and I wanted to give my mind a break when it came to eating. The first 6 weeks were hard, I hated not working out. Then when I got back in the gym it was tough to get my head in the game because I felt so weak when I started back. Over the last 6 weeks I was trying to build my base back up. I was enjoying my new body, not being strict on foods, and just giving my best in the workouts.

Now that I’ve made it to the 3 month mark I’m done coasting. I don’t want to lose any momentum. I’m ready to see what this newly revealed body is capable of. This means starting a focused training program. I’ll be switching to afternoon workouts for the first time in yeeeeaaaars. It should be interesting. (Sidenote: A common misconception about running a gym/box is that you can workout whenever you want. False! You have to put your clients training above your own… that means you workout whenever you can!) I also need to start paying more attention to my food. I just got a new meal plan set up from Precision Fitness STL and I’m going to stick as close to it as I can while maintaining my sanity. If I want to go further than I’ve ever gone I’m going to have to get a little more uncomfortable. If you want to grow you have to go outside your comfort zone!

There is always the temptation to just stay here for awhile. To keep coasting. I’ve come so far. It would be so easy to just stay here. I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m happy. Isn’t that good enough? Well, yes. And no. I could very easily stay here. Here isn’t a bad place. But every single part of my journey to fitness has made me push myself beyond just good enough. I know I have so much more to give. My body is capable of SO much more. Are there going to be days I mess up? Yup. Do I want to go to that “crazy” place of obsessing over food and working myself to death? Not at all. My short term focus goal right now is the CrossFit Open coming in the Spring. I want to confidently walk into it knowing that I can do at least one of whatever movements they throw out there. I want to be strong. I want to see more of my muscles pop out. Like I said in my post last week, I’m learning to be ok with the number on the scale… that Isn’t my main focus here. I want to have performance based goals. I want to fuel my body for performance. I want to keep growing as an athlete and a coach. I can’t wait to see what this body is capable of!

What have you done outside your comfort zone?

This is Not What I expected

When I went in for surgery I knew my recovery would take about 3 months, minimum. My plan was to just take it easy, mentally and physically. Obviously I would be out of the gym completely for 6 weeks, but even when I got released to workout I knew I wanted to take it easy and let my body fully recover. I didn’t want to stress out over workouts or food choices for those first 3 months. Basically, I just wanted to coast through recovery. Next monday I’ll hit that 3 month mark.

It’s weird now, though. When I first started losing weight I was so focused on the number on the scale. If I’m being totally honest, that number still hangs in my head. I wanted so badly to weigh 175lbs. I don’t know why. The stupid BMI scale says I should weigh 130, which is a joke. I guess I thought 175lbs seemed like an easier goal to achieve than 130 when I started out at 260ish lbs. When I started CrossFit the first few months the pounds fell off. And for the last few years they have gone up and down. The lowest I’ve been was close to this time last year, I was around 183. The highest I’ve been? This week. 199. I stepped on that scale, saw that number and it I know I’m leaner than I’ve ever been. So why does being so close to 200lbs scare me so much? Because I instantly flash back to that girl floating somewhere in the 200’s – afraid to really know for sure how much I weighed. I know I’m not the same person I was then. My lifestyle is completly different. My body is completely different. But that number still bothered me. I feel like I have conflicting desires. Because I want to be strong. But at what point does weight matter when you want to be strong? I want to be good at CrossFit – as a woman doing pull ups at 200lbs is hard. No, it’s not impossible… but it’s harder for me than someone who weighs 150. Yea, I may be able to squat more than some of those girls, but not all of them. So when does weight start to matter? I don’t know.

Anyway, after weighing in at 199 that morning I had an appointment to check in with my nutrition coach I worked with over the past year. It was my first appointment with him since my surgery. While I did freak out a bit about the weight on the scale I was feeling far leaner than I ever have before. After some measurements and pinches he told me my results…

The left side is my before… the right side my current. I’ve gone down 13mm in pinches, up 11lbs in lean body mass, and down 3.5% in body fat. Out of my 199 lbs on the scale approximently 166 of those are lean muscle. Uhm, what? I’m just under 19% body fat?! Are you serious? I was close to 50% body fat several years ago when I got a DEXA. Of course I know results from a pinch test are going to be different than a DEXA but still… It blew my mind being anywhere in that ball park.

I had a hard time reconciling the idea that I had such high muscle mass. I thought of that 135lb “suggested weight” on the BMI chart. I’d have to lose at least 30lbs of muscle to get there? No thanks. I even thought of that 175 “goal weight” and realized if I want to be there I’m either going to have to be super lean or lose some muscle.

I’m not unhappy with my body. Actually, I’m pretty damn proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud of the quad muscles I see popping out. I’m proud of my newly revealed flat tummy that had been hiding under loose skin for the last year. Proud of my baby traps. It’s just when I think about being anywhere near 18-19% body fat this is not what I expected. I’m still technically plus size in size 14 jeans. I’m still close to 200lbs. But I’m strong. And I’m fit. And I’m healthy. And I’m happy. It’s just so hard to reconcile all these things in my little brain.

When it comes to weight loss, I’m finally in a place where I’m not all “I need to lose xxlbs” or whatever. I mean sure, I want to grow my muscles, but overall I don’t feel unhappy with my body. And I guess there is a part of me that almost feels guilty for NOT feeling like I have to change something about my body. I mean, growing up obese means I’ve basically been told all my life that my body and/or weight isn’t acceptable. That being a 200lb woman isn’t acceptable. So now that I’m at a place where I’m at peace with my body, yes even close to 200lbs, I almost feel guilty for that, like I should want to change something.  (Sidenote: I know some of you will say of course you feel that way you just had plastic surgery, of course you’re at peace with your body… but that was just the final step after years of work in the kitchen and the gym!) It just feels so foreign to actually embrace my body for where it is. To be clear I’ve never hated my body. I didn’t bask in my self-loathing thoughts, I just knew I was not in a healthy place with my body composition. At 5’3 and 250lbs and close to 50% body fat I knew I needed to change something.

I know in our minds we all have some idea of what our ideal body/weight/composition is and how it would look on us. I know I did. And I guess all I’m saying is that my reality is different from that picture I had in my head. It’s not disappointing and I’m not upset about it. It’s not that one is good and one is bad… it’s just not what I expected. I guess I just have to learn to adjust my expectations. Cause I sure as heck don’t want to lose my hard earned muscle!

Do you (or did you) have different expectations about your before/after?