Sorting through the bad stuff.

Written last night, published today:

So here I am today, minding my own business, and, BAM! I find this post in my inbox.

Since starting my blog, it’s been fun to get acquainted with other writers out there.  I’ve been following uberbeastmode for a couple of months now and have especially enjoyed Colin’s posts Grunting and Dropping Weights and Don’t be that guy!, which made me smile. The post published today, We Fall and We Get Back Up, had me feeling a bit differently.

It not that I wasn’t smiling…it was just more of a serious smile of understanding.

I’ve been thinking about writing a post that addresses some harder feelings I’ve been facing lately, and maybe now’s the time.

About two weeks ago, I hit about as rock bottom as I’ve been in a while.  As mentioned before, I finished my first sixteen-week session in early February.  I was 25 pounds lighter then I had been in October (and, really, since 2011), I had my maintenance plan in hand, and a goal to lose 4 more pounds and be under 190 for my next session with Tate.

The first week was great, the second week got a little worse, then I got sick, and everything went downhill.  Two weeks ago, I knew I was making bad choices and I could feel the weight coming back on but I couldn’t seem to stop.  I couldn’t figure out how to catch myself or, more so, I didn’t really care to.

Because in the moment I want to be more fit, I want to be more fit.  But the moment I want a bacon cheeseburger, I WANT a bacon cheeseburger.  Sometimes I hate that I can’t just naturally be thinner, have higher metabolism, more energy, or less cravings.  Once and awhile at the gym I think: this is what it’s going to have to be like for the rest of my life if I want to stay fit. And sometimes that thought disappoints me.

I don’t know if I always want to lift weights three times a week for the rest of my life to stay strong, or record my food intake to make sure I’m eating properly, or have to maintain a certain level of cardio.  When I think of this, my life stretches out before me in an impossible tangle of dieting, boring gym visits, and impossible achievements.

And then I think of my weight history, of how I’ve been thin, then gained some, lost it, and gained a little more, lost that, and then gained even more…and so on.  I think, “I wonder how big I’m going to get the next time?” Already assuming that there will be a next time that I “let it all go.”

These are the scary and hard thoughts. And they’re there.  I guess it would be worse to deny their presence.

It’s a fight and a struggle every day.  I guess what I liked about Colin’s post is that it made me feel less alone.

From the post: “It really goes to show that we are ALL human…even elite fitness buffs struggle from time to time…you don’t have to be perfect to get results, it’s not an all or nothing game.”

I think everyone struggles, to different degrees, but it’s hard to remember that you’re not alone.  Maybe it’s enough that I’m conscious of my areas of needed improvement and they’re always in the front of my mind. Maybe it’s not so bad that I’m constantly challenged.  I’m reminded of a piece of advice by Dr. Cox on an episode of Scrubs that was essentially: “Hate your body, because if you’re never satisfied, you’ll always be trying to improve.” (Not that I support this way of thinking, but it did make me laugh.) Sometimes I think that if I was one of those people who didn’t have to work out to maintain a healthy weight, I would be missing an opportunity to better myself.  Maybe I have a weaker cardio system, and was meant to have these struggles so that it’s necessary for me to work regularly out because, if I didn’t, I would have a heart attack at an early age.  Is that a weird thought? It was weird to write it, an “it’s bigger than myself” thought.

In the end, it’s an inescapable fact: anyone who wants to reach a higher level of fitness will have to work on them over our entire lives. There is no end point in this journey.  To be the person I want to be, I’ll always have to work on it.

I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes the thought is exhausting.

But sometimes it’s also very exciting, because if you think of it as a constant journey, there is no wrong turn.

From the post: “Learning from our mistakes and our failures is what helps us grow as individuals.  How you react to your failures is critical…Failing is not falling down, it’s falling down and not getting back up again.”

Feather PenIt doesn’t matter that I got up to 217, or that this Monday I was back to 201, or that, one day I might be even higher.  It dosen’t matter that sometimes I hate running, or that I may not want to lift weights my entire life, or that sometimes I’m on the top and sometimes I hit rock bottom. What matters is that, if I find myself down, I don’t ever stop getting back up.

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7 responses to “Sorting through the bad stuff.

  1. I’m very happy that my post helped you! What you are going through is very common. It can definitely be overwhelming to think about the fact that you need to do this stuff the rest of your life, which is absolutely true. One of the things I try to preach over and over is that it’s so incredibly important to fall in love with the process, and not just your goals and what you wish you could be. It’s not until you start enjoying what it takes to get you there that you’ll truly have great success.

    Don’t think that you’ll never get there either, it just takes time. Results are an amazing thing and when you start getting sustainable results, that gets the ball rolling on enjoying it. How good you feel (and look) eventually so much more than makes up for what you are “missing out on” with everything else in life. It’s about finding your balance and what works for you. It doesn’t mean you can never enjoy the foods you like ever again. It just means you need to learn to find a way to be able to fit them in your life. For a lot of people when they start seeing really good results, they no longer want those things anyway. It just doesn’t seem worth it. Or it’s maybe a cheat meal or two or a week. There are no rules to this.

    I’ve actually written several articles about this stuff that if you are interested you can find them under the “Lifestyle and Strength Articles” tab on my blog. I’m not trying to sell myself or anything, I hope you don’t think that! I just really love helping people and I think they could possibly help you. I could be more specific if you’d ever like.

    Anyways sorry to be so long winded. I wish nothing but the best for you and look forward to following you on your journey. Remember success is a journey, not a destination. 🙂

    Anyway keep on keeping on and you are right as long as you never give up you’ll be okay!

    • Colin – thank you so much for the thoughtful reply! I really appreciate your encouragement and feedback and will be sure to check out the articles you mentioned. It’s hard to admit sometimes that these thoughts come up, but I’m not the type of person to try and pretend it’s all unicorns and rainbows. Overall, I know I want to reach these goals, but I also struggle with feeling that life is too short to deny those things I really enjoy (like sweets!!) and I’ve always said I’d rather be ..ahem…”Fat and happy” instead of dieting and grumpy.

      That being said, I know that what I need to do is find a balance. Like you mentioned, there are no rules and my life will be full of times where I’m training for something and being more disciplined and times when I’m burnt out and relax a bit, the key is to find that balance that’s right for me. And find inspiration where I can 🙂 That’s where people like you come in.

      Thanks for reading! I hope to have a great year ahead!

      • Thanks, you too! You will find your balance, it just takes time to put it all together. But if it’s important to you you’ll make it happen! Dieting doesn’t need to make you grumpy, and you are right life is too short. No need to shorten it more by not being healthy right? 😉 It’s also good you don’t hide those emotions, that won’t get you anywhere. Best to have them and deal with them head on! Good luck!

  2. I’m glad you are not beating yourself up too much-that is one thing you will have to learn in order to remain practicing good eating and health habits. You notice I didn’t say DIET. Diet always sounds like something you will eventually get off of. You are training your mind and body to think in another way about food. Yes, to remain fit, you will have to think about everything you eat until the day you die. Folks tell me “Oh, you can eat more-you’re so thin. Nobody thinks about how did I get this way, though. If I didn’t always analyze what I’m putting into body, I WOULD be over weight. As a child I was pretty pudgy and just a few years ago when I was my dad’s primary caregiver, I added on a lot of weight(something a lot of caregivers go through). Having maintained a healthy weight for many years, it took me a while to accknowledge that I had gained too much weight.(I could not fit into a lot of my clothes). One big thing that helped was getting onto antidepressants. I did not know that depression can cause you to feel tired and sick–which is something I was feeling all the time. How could I work out when I was too tired to do so? They helped a lot. Also, instead of trying to force myself to do hard excersize, I did a lot of walking around the running track at the Center for Personal fitness. THAT was something I liked doing–which is very important–you won’t do something you don’t like. As months went by, I noticed results. Now my body is hungry for excersize. Disipline is necessary in maintaining good health and weight, BUT you have to find a way that you enjoy working with. Joy must accompany discipline. Hope his helps.

    Lita

    • Lita, thank you so much for sharing your story. I think many times people will look at a thin/fit person and not realize how much work and discipline it took for them to get where they are. It’s important to remember that very few people can just eat whatever they want, and most of the time that behavior will eventually catch up to them. When we live in a world of plenty, it’s pretty amazing how much we have to resist temptation just to stay healthy.

      I agree that it’s key to find something you enjoy to work out, or it will seem like an endless life of boring activities. Like Colin mentioned in his reply, gotta love the process. If you don’t, the chances of reaching the goals are slim to none. For me, it’s riding and getting ready for showing. It’s all worth it to improve my ability. HOWEVER, I think one of the main reasons I’ve been down lately is because this winter seems to be never-ending! I’m ready to start riding more, but the temps and snow put a hitch into what I can do. Soon…soon…I just have to be patient!

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