Measuring Up

I’ve been feeling a little discouraged about my progress (health-wise) lately. I struggle with my nutrition and I’ve been sick for the last few weeks. It has left me feeling a bit discouraged. It has also got me thinking about how I want to measure my progress. In the past, my goal was only weight loss but this time it’s not. Weight loss is obviously a great side effect and I can’t pretend that I don’t want the number on the scale to go down, but that’s not my focus.

I am measuring success by the number of weight I can lift, by my PRs, and by how much better my body feels. So far I have increased my stamina and endurance. I have successfully conquered my fear of box jumps, started doing burpees correctly, and made exercising a habit.

In the future, I hope to learn to do pull-ups, toe-to-bars, handstands, and Rx a workout.

Today after a hard workout, a fellow CrossFitter told me I am “kicking ass”. I can’t remember the last time I received such a big complement regarding my fitness.

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Two is Hard

two is hard

When I was pregnant with my second, a friend candidly told me how hard two is. Her intent was not to scare me, it was more like a warning that things were going to be hard for a while. I honestly thought things would be different for me. I thought that the reason my first was so good natured and easy was because of my parenting (haha).

Having one kid, piece of cake. My first baby was an angel and such a good sleeper. My second, has thrown me for a loop. With one, I never understood what other parents were going through when they complained about sleep deprivation and needing time alone. My oldest has always been easy going and adaptable. We could take her anywhere, she entertains herself, and we always got a full nights sleep, pretty much from day one.

Times have changed. Pretty much everything about baby #2 has been different. My recovery was much harder and getting her to sleep was (and is!) much harder. It probably didn’t help that we moved across the country when she was 2 months old. And now, I am struggling. Two is very hard. I feel defeated and alone.

There is also a small part of me that is resentful about having to share my body with another little person. I was still nursing #1 when I got pregnant with #2 so for the last 3 years I have had to share myself physically with my girls. I used to love nursing, but lately it’s felt like a chore.

I just want to be able to sleep uninterrupted at night! I want a few nights away from my kids so I can reconnect with my husband. I feel like I have been in survival mode for too long. I want to feel refreshed instead of totally drained.

Excuses

My neck has been so stiff the last few days that I can hardly move. On top of that, I haven’t had a restful night’s sleep for weeks. My 6-month old’s nighttime sleep regresses every few weeks, and this week has been the worst in months. She is up every 3-4 hours and my patience is all but gone.

For some crazy reason, I have also decided to start potty training my two year old. She peed in the toilet for the first time today! Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was a little too much and she promptly stopped midstream and jumped off her little potty. She wouldn’t sit back down to finish and ended up going in her diaper instead. I think I scared her so badly that she will be in diapers forever!

Everyday, it seems I have a really good reason to skip CrossFit. But, surprisingly, my attendance is greater than ever.  Last week I finally got brave enough to attempt a box jump and was successful! It’s wimpy, but I have been so scared of hitting my shins that I haven’t even tried before now. Even though the box was only twelve inches tall, I still feel so proud! I am getting closer and closer to Rx-ing a workout.

CrossFit may just be the only thing keeping me sane.

Addictions

A few months ago, I was chatting with some friends from church and we got on the topic of anti-smoking ads. There were a lot of comments about how someone can keep smoking when they know how bad it is for them. The general sentiment was, the guilt they feel when seeing these anti-smoking commercials should be enough to get them to stop. I was a little shocked that they had so little understanding of what being addicted to something feels like. I must admit, I was also a little jealous too!

I cannot speak for those addicted to cigarettes, as I have never tried one, but I know enough about what addiction to feel great sympathy for those who want to quit but cant. Addicts don’t need a commercial to make them feel guilt. They feel enough from themselves, and this guilt usually drives them right back into the addiction to help them cope.

My addiction is food. I obsess over one treat or meal and the cravings torments me. If I try to resist, I can’t concentrate on anything or feel peace until I give in. If I am able to hold off for a while before I give in, I loose all control and eat myself sick, getting little to no actual enjoyment of the food, just the satisfaction of momentary relief from the constant nagging of temptation. Then I feel shame.

I have tried cutting unhealthy foods out of my diet and on the other side of the spectrum, I have tried eating anything and everything that sounds good to me. In my experience, both extremes yield the same results, binging. I love good food. Now, I know myself well enough to understand that I can’t forbid myself from eating certain foods. I need to find the right balance.

The last few months, my  goal has been to eat balanced meals. I try to make sure that my meals, dinner especially, have protein and vegetables along with my beloved carbs. I have avoided counting calories, because I have found for me, I obsess too much over staying below a certain number and if I mess up then I use that as an excuse to go crazy. Instead, I don’t eat unhealthy foods unless I really enjoy them. For instance, I am not going to eat a store bought cookie, just because it’s there. I don’t like them and then I just feel guilty about the wasted calories later. I indulge in foods I love, but I try to enjoy each bite–quality over quantity.

I try and eat until I feel full, and then stop. I have had a tendency to overeat, to the point of being sick. Being sick was almost comforting. Now, when I don’t listen to my body and I get to the point of feeling sick, it feels bad and I don’t like that feeling anymore. I try to remember that feeling and use it to help myself stop. I want to get to a place where I can enjoy good food but not let it control me. I want to get rid of all the guilt and shame I associate with food.

Exercise helps. Feeling happy and getting enough sleep helps. I turn to food to self-medicate, so when I am taking care of my body I don’t crave unhealthy food as much. The endorphins I feel after a good, sweaty, CrossFit workout make me feel satisfied in a way food cannot. Eating healthy foods makes my body feel better and when combined with exercise I find myself actually craving more nutritious foods.

No amount of exercise will “cure” me of my food addictions but for now, it seems to be a step in the right direction.

Treading Water

Me (one the left) at age 6
Me (on the left) at age 6 with my sister

Puberty was very unkind to me. Seemingly overnight, I effortlessly put on 50 pounds. In Middle School. Since I had always been really scrawny, my mom was worried about me and took me to the doctor. From that moment on, I have been in a constant battle with my weight, and by extension my health.

In High School, I discovered Water Polo and the swim team. I was healthy, fit, and trim, although I still saw myself as overweight.  I began to learn what being overweight actually meant in College when I no longer had my mom’s cooking and sports to keep me fit.  The Freshman 15 was more of a “every-semester-15” for me. Unless I actively fight against it, weight just seems to pile itself on in a never ending stream. A marriage and two babies later and I now understand that I can never stand still on the health front. If I don’t consistently exercise and control my food addictions then I steadily gain weight.

For a while I chose to accept myself as overweight, though truthfully, more than overweight actually, obese. I have recently realized that I am not comfortable with the physical restrictions that come with being heavy. I have a toddler that likes when mom chases her around the house or plays on the playground with her. I enjoy jet skiing and tubing and recently had a experience with two other family members that involved getting tipped off of a jet ski because it couldn’t handle our combined weight. My husband loves to hike and I want to be able to keep up with him.

I want to take my life back but it’s not the initial weight loss that seems the most daunting, although it is daunting,it is the maintaining part that worries me most. I can’t stop and float once I am back to a healthy weight, I must constantly tread water. And that terrifies me.

Smilling

My clothes have started fitting a little better, I have more energy, more patience. Today at CrossFit I discovered I can do a real burpee and successfully stretch my hamstrings without falling over. The exhaustion I feel after the workout is different than the kind of exhaustion I come to class with. It’s better and satisfying in a way I had forgotten.

I told a girl in my class that going to CrossFit was my break. That surprised her. Exercise is one of the few times during my day that is all about me. Apparently, everyone at my CrossFit gym knows me as the girl who is always smiling.

I return home, still smiling, to a relieved husband and a bathtub filled with two little girls. And tonight, putting the kids to bed doesn’t feel like a chore.