I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Self-Love’

Rest of the Year: Thermometer.

I had resolved to set the so-called temperature with my attitude rather than respond to what is going around me. If I have succeeded this year, I honestly cannot recall. I do remember several times feeling like I should just walk in front of the oncoming semi and put myself out of my misery. 

Writing that upsets me because I know how blessed I am. When I come upon such strong emotions, feeling like I cannot do anything correct, like I am a mediocre waste of space, I do my best to shield others from my self-loathing. In a sense, that effort in and of itself is a win; I never want to bring anyone “down” where I am. 

Of course, these emotions are most likely to arise when I am premenstrual, which makes the situation all the more frustrating. I’ve had my period for damn near 20 years now and I STILL can’t seem to figure out why I live in a fog for a few days a month. I thank God that I tend not to act rashly (wait until the truck passes, Joan, it might turn out okay), but I need to be able to combat these hormonal forces better. I want to be a person people want to be around because of my sharing the truth with them, the truth being that they have something to offer, that they are worthy of love. Hard to do when I feel like this guy: 

  
Am I ugly? Am I talented? Am I athletic? Am I going to be a good wife? 

Even when I cannot bring myself to answer those questions, I always can say God loves me and others so I should continue doing the best I can and trying to get better. Maybe the answers to the other questions don’t really matter as much as being a loving person. Perhaps the key to being a thermostat is to stop asking and to start doing. Dammit. ❤️

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Is It Really Possible to Find Love at The Gym?

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Yes. Yes, it is.

When I started strength training last January, I was not doing so with the intent to build any relationships. “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to maximize my fineness.” This is not to say that I am standoffish person; au contraire, I’m generally sociable and smiley, tee hee. It’s simply that I do things with specific intent – relationships are generally secondary to whatever agenda I have in mind, for better or worse.

However, my gym has the friendliest bullies in town.

I say this because at every turn, its fearless leader was trying to pull me in. To a race. To its Facebook page. To some team-building event. I would politely decline unless I felt something suited my personal agenda. While I dislike disappointing people, I like doing what I want when I want to even more. 🙂 That being said, I feel the tagline of the group really should be “Where no means ‘not yet.'” Everyone gets sucked in on some level, and I am
not immune. It is what it is.

Little did I know what would come of this.

About a year after I initially joined the gym, I was on the Facebook page (bear in mind, I had no Facebook account at all the year before) and I found myself saying something encouraging to someone I didn’t know very well. I had seen her IRL perhaps twice up to that point. Nonetheless, from what I could tell, she oozed positivity. You’d kinda have to be a complete asshole pretty misguided not to be attracted to her energy.

Pretty soon, the two of us were talking often. I realized that often had become daily, to the point where – at least, for me, if I haven’t spoken with her just to say “sup!” something feels off. This may not seem like a big deal for some, but for me it’s freaking huge. I had thought the close friend making phase of my life was over. I hadn’t had a spontaneous relationship generate like that in several years, since I was in graduate school. I simply had figured, “well, people are getting married and making babies, buying houses, getting divorced, and dying.” No time to make new friends. I’ve cherished the relationships I have and work to consistently nurture them. I’m more than elated to report that there’s a new recruit on my bestie roster.

I really trust this woman. She motivates me to be my best, to try things that I ordinarily would not. I feel compelled to write this today because yet again, during boot camp this morning, when we partnered up (for the first time, yay, she is popular) I was able to do something that I’ve been unable to do for MONTHS. Bloody deck squats. She helped me with my first sub 9 minute mile not too long ago. With her in my life, I am stronger, braver, and probably gentler.

To Michele – I’m so thankful that God has brought you into my life! Thank you for sharing you with me. I know I speak for many when I say that you are truly a remarkable woman whose presence makes the world a better place. I love you!

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Jesus and Triathlon keep me off the streets.

And out of my fridge.

All kidding aside, there are times I must simply marvel at the things I do or don’t do. It’s so awesome that I know I didn’t do it by myself. In Him alone am I strong.

I last wrote that I’ve not been training how I like. This means I’ve had some extra time for which I did not plan. How’s the saying go again – idle hands are a fat ass’s workshop? I’m living proof. I’ve definitely been humbled these past few days, in that I was pleased that I had stopped thinking working out gives me the right to eat whatever I want. Turns out I’m even more twisted than that. I figure – I’m not working out. What else is there to do but eat. Why should I bother eating healthily? It’s not as though, oh, the 14-15 hours I’m awake and not training are worth fueling well.

I KNOW that some of my anxiety to get back to training has to do with the fact that I’m concerned about regaining the weight I’ve lost. I genuinely do miss the rush and endorphins that training brings. I love that I have reached a point where not training feels unnatural. However, eating right for the sake of doing so – just because it’s good for me – is still very foreign to me. It’s as though the muscle memory of my previously unhealthy lifestyle wants to kick in and I feel too tired to fight it.

Incidentally, triathlon actually keeps me on the streets via bike and run. Maybe this was not an aptly chosen title. Pray for me, y’all.

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My Cheeks Hurt.

And it’s not from being in the saddle too bloody long.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that occasionally, there are people whose actions make me want to react like this:

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I posted earlier that I am working on not resenting the fact that I need other people not only to thrive but to survive. There’s simply no escaping it. I think the principal reason that my preference is to not deal with people is because I am an extremely sensitive person. When hurt, my sadness often turns to anger. Fine.

But then my anger morphs into unforgiveness. Apparently, Christ takes issue with this:

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Okay, God. So what you’re saying is that not only do I need to forgive these clowns, but I also need to LOVE them? Like this:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (I Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV)

Like that? But eye for an eye is so much more kickass! Look, Lord, I don’t even need that joker’s eye. Just lemme walk away. Can’t you and I be close without me having to worry about all these LOSERS tryna mess up my flow?

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14, 15 NKJV)

Cold as ice.

Real talk, nothing anyone has ever done to me has nailed me to a cross. #nonSaviorproblems, right? Yeah, I’ve been hurt, but at the moment I have to search my heart pretty hard for any bitterness I’ve been harboring toward anyone. Oh wait, there’s that one chick. The one who is ultimately responsible for every problem I’ve ever had.

Me.

See, no one could have ever hurt me had I not allowed him or her to do so. I should have known better. I should have seen it coming. I should have protected myself. But – I didn’t. So any pain I got, I had coming to me. I’m such a bitch.

What if I am my greatest enemy? Moreover, if I’m the one responsible for all my pain, how the hell do I turn the cheek to myself? Do I keep taking more of my mess? I’ve tried to run from myself before – that didn’t end well.

Perhaps this is the reason the command to love our neighbor proceeds the assumed notion that we love ourselves. Indeed, we are stuck with ourselves and must learn to forgive within for mistakes that have repercussions outside ourselves. Just as we may ask those we love to adjust their behavior for our sake, all we can do is the same. Otherwise, what hope is there for the clowns that walk among us?

Too Young For This Kind of Memory Loss: On Nutrition

“Why are you acting like you are going to prison?”

Such was the reaction of my mother last night as she saw me eat a dinner of a raspberry napoleon, two croissants (one with tuna and boursin cheese, the other with grape jelly and butter), and a Ritter Sport Hazelnut and Raisin Chocolate Bar. Indeed, I don’t normally eat like that – anymore, anyhow. Today marked the beginning of a challenge at my boot camp where we’re supposed to tighten up for six weeks. I almost dread challenges like this because I have not yet reached a point of maturity where I am able to not make the upcoming days like bloody Mardi Gras. “Oh, gonna be good starting next week? Imma go buck wild until then!”

As this is not the first time I have challenged myself, it frustrates me that I still face the same temptations. You should see me walk down the fancy candy aisle and look stare LEER at the chocolate. If chocolate and I were co-workers it would have complained to our boss about harassment long ago. As I know not to cross that line, I keep it moving. Why do I act like I am depriving myself when I know that eating chocolate the way I may like to is not good for me?

Because being bad feels good.

Was my dinner from last night really that amazing? No. Well, don’t get it twisted, it was a lot of fun, but the fun was less in the taste and more in the fact that I knew I shouldn’t be doing it and was doing it anyway. Why eat food that I don’t normally eat simply because I can? Paul writes about it more eloquently and succinctly than I could in Romans 7:9-10:

Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life, 10 and I died.

The Law referenced above concerns the Ten Commandments, but in this context it applies to my nutrition plan. My eating wasn’t terrible prior to receiving this plan, but now I get the plan and it’s like, damn, I need to do better. So I’m going to rebel and do the complete opposite until I absolutely have to start. Let me revel in my badness before I have to deal with it. My fear of failure – of not meeting the requirements of the law/meal plan/whatever – has been enough in the past to keep me from trying my best. What could be worse than trying and failing? Womp womp. But clearly, I have met success in this endeavor. Quite a bit. So why the hell was I still acting a fool yesterday? Why, today, was I looking at the lunches of my colleagues with envy when I know what the result will be of my plan?

Memory. Loss.

I know how this works. I lost 50 pounds participating in plans like this one.  In truth, I am looking forward to eating better for the next several weeks. Not only will I feel better from giving my body the fuel it needs and deserves, but I will get to eat food that I enjoy. Nobody has forced me to participate in this challenge, and it’s not prison! Maybe more like rehab 🙂

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You may think that you have a special relationship with food, but this girl? I don’t need a birthday crown to get it with a cupcake like that. Anywhere, anytime, any (good quality!) food – I’m pretty indiscriminate. If you ask me what my favorite food is, you will invariably be met with silence. I haven’t met a cuisine of that cannot delight me. I am not above singing or dancing while I eat because good food just makes me that happy. Even a discussion about food can raise my heart rate.

The only thing that pleases me more than food is knowing that I am making good decisions for myself. ❤

This time feels different. It better be, man.

Yesterday marked a significant milestone for me in my fitness journey. I knew it was coming, but I wasn’t sure when and I certainly wasn’t expecting it when I got it. My scale displayed a number 50 pounds lower than it had 15 months ago.

Big. Freaking. Whoop.

You see, I’ve done this before. Twice. Once at age 20 and once more at 25. Any joker can lose weight. How am I going to avoid taking this journey again? Why is this different?

Round 3 of major weight loss began much in the same way as rounds 1 and 2 had. I found a Groupon for a 3 week boot camp in December 2012, got one for my mother and I, and started showing up at 6 in the morning 3x a week for various forms of torture in January 2013. I started for the same reasons I had wanted to lose weight before – I was feeling uncomfortable in my skin, my weight was medically unhealthy, I knew I could look better, bla bla bla. Did I really think I was going to succeed? Nope. And even if I did, I knew my history. It was just going to come back anyway. Why did I bother? I supposed that trying and failing would give me a better story than just continuing to neglect my body. So what the hell.

3 weeks end, Lady J is 11 pounds down. What next? As I wrote in my first blog post, I began training for my first 5k. Again, what the hell. 8 weeks go by, I slim down some more. Cool. But that finish line? Ooooooo, baby, that was the tops! I signed up for a 10k as soon as I got home and found a training plan. Called the extraordinarily encouraging and enthusiastic woman who runs the boot camp to start going back. Finished the 10k, dusted off my Murray from Christmas 1994 and trained for a duathlon. They got me.

And thank God that they did.

Previously, when I set goals to lose weight, I would think to myself, “Okay, I’m going to lose X amount of weight.” And then I would proceed to do it. That’s how I roll. But that’s all I did. I had never asked myself, “what now?” Or “what next?” Which is exactly why I found myself in the same position as I had before. Racing has distracted me from all the BS noise that’s heard in weight loss culture. “Get ready for spring break!” “Abs for the beach!” “Impress yo’ boo!” I’ve gone from dieting and exercising to eating to fuel my body for all the things I want it to do. It’s a much more holistic approach, at least for me. I know that if I eat crap, I will not only run like crap but teach like crap, Beethoven like crap, and love like crap. That’s not what I want. The weight loss, instead of being the end (that led back to the beginning anyway), is now the means to the end of living this new life.

As I realize this, I already am asking myself what will I do if I fail again. The teacher in me kicks in, calming myself with the fact that as long as there’s another day in the marking period, there’s another chance for success. I hope I have surrounded myself with people who will lovingly redirect my path should they see me acting a fool with a fork and slacking on my training. I understand now that life will happen and not all is going to go well all of the time. Dammit, life is too short not to enjoy all the good food out there. But it’s crazy long to live it unhealthily with regret, wondering what you could have done had you believed in yourself.

That's how they try to trick you! You're never done! LOL

That’s how they try to trick you! You’re never done! LOL

Breaking News!!

I am beautiful.

Some may read that and think that it is a conceited statement. Others whom I’ve heard describe me as such may think it is an obvious statement. However, for me to say this is a big deal. It means that I am finally starting to acknowledge my victories and embrace the good about me.

This realization came about as I was posting about my Raceaversary and I looked through pictures of my physical transformation that has occurred over the past year. As I looked over my first blog post, I studied the picture of my first race more closely. I don’t think I could have been smiling any harder. It may help to understand that I’ve struggled with body image most of my adult life, irrespective of weighing 135 or 215. Over time, this manifested itself in hating pictures. The fact that I was SO excited for this picture to be taken is mindblowing to me. I felt it essential to capture the moments just after my first finish line. I could look through photos spanning several years and it would be difficult to find one where I appear more excited and proud to be in front of the camera.  So what has got full-figured LadyJ so amped?

Remember when I italicized physical in the previous paragraph? The pictures document an outward transformation but highlight an inward realization. The big girl was willing to take a risk. THERE is where the beauty lie all along. All the time I was living unhealthily, I was allowing my strength to idle. Perhaps that was the real source of my shame in front of the camera.

So yes, this risk taking, resourceful, resilient woman not only is beautiful, but HAD been beautiful the whole time. Here is to breaking free from the fears of failure that so frequently keep us from harnessing our strength.

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