On Failure

Yesterday, I went backcountry skiing with my husband and friend. What started as a cloudy day, turned into blue skies once we were above 9,000 feet. Skiing above the clouds was amazing. The sky was piercingly blue, and the snow was so bright that I couldn’t take off my sunglasses.

The trail we were taking was a 16 mile loop, but at mile 4, disaster struck. One of the bindings on my husband’s skis broke. Thirty minutes later, disaster struck again, when our friend’s binding also broke. Without the tools necessary to fix them, we had to turn back

At this point, we all agreed that turning around was the best option. With two pairs of busted skis, there was no way we’d ever make it to the summit. It’s moments like these that make it hard not to get discouraged. But that’s life. Unexpected events happen, and turn our plans into failures. Sometimes failure is completely out of our hands. You can’t predict everything that will go wrong, and you have to roll with the punches.

So at mile 4 on our 16 mile journey, we headed back home. As discouraging as it was, it will also make success that much sweeter. We plan to return to the mountains this weekend, with working skis, and summit. With failure already behind us, there is only one way we can move, and that is forward, towards success.

To Fitbit or not to…

I’ve been thinking lately that I might purchase a Fitbit. My problem is I don’t know which one to get. There are so many to choose from: Zip, One, Flex, Charge, Charge HR, Surge. Which one do I buy?! Right now I’m leaning towards the Zip. Namely because it’s small, cheap, and basic.

Does anyone have experience with these products? If so, I’d love your input.

2.6 lbs and counting…

I’ve gained…2.6 lbs! And I feel horrible. I deserve it because of all my recent diet cheats. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating. After being good for a month and a half, I slip up, and suddenly I’ve gained back 2.6 pounds of the 8 pounds I lost. Yes, this feels like failure and loss of control. There are days when I really just hate my body. I hate the way my fat curls over the top of my jeans; I hate how flabby my arms are; I hate my baby cheeks; I hate my tree trunk legs. Everything in the mirror disgusts me. I feel trapped inside this body suit, unable to get free and unable to change my appearance.

Admittedly, I’m being a tad dramatic, but I’m not alone in hating my body. Recently there has been a huge movement towards body acceptance, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. I’m not sure how others get there, but if you now their secrets, please share.

That aside, I know I’m not alone in body hatred. Let’s hear from several other women, interviewed in the UK about their bodies.

“When I skip a meal, I’m proud of myself. I wish I could keep that feeling. So that’s my anorexia problem: the fact that I can’t be anorexic.” Anonymous 12-year-old girl

“Dear body, You are the first thing on my mind as soon as I wake, in my thoughts every minute of the day, and I stress about you as I go to sleep. In fact, my dreams often revolve around you and changing your shape and size. Why can’t you get rid of all the bits I hate? Why can’t I learn to love you?” Lynsey Bowes, 29,

“This morning I looked in the mirror again and saw a 69-year-old, 20-stone woman looking back. Who is she? Please don’t say I am that Fat Old Woman. But of course it is me, it was me yesterday, and the day before. It will still be me tomorrow.” Delyse Phillips, 69

These excerpts are brought to you by the Daily Mail’s article: “Why can’t we love our bodies? Nine women reveal how they REALLY feel about their figures.” (Click here for the article.) This gives you a snippet into this growing disease. A disease that destroys happiness and keeps people self-centered. That’s what hating my body really boils down to: my inability to think of others instead of myself. If I’m honest, thoughts about myself occupy probably 85% of my brain space. That’s a lot of “me-time.”

I might not be able to change how I feel about my body, but maybe I can change how much I think about my body. By focusing on those around me, maybe I can shift the focus from my body towards something more positive. Maybe this way, I can make a difference. I’m a long way from body-acceptance, but maybe I can start with body-forgetfulness?

Poker Run

Yesterday, my town hosted its annual Poker Run. Mostly, it’s just an excuse for people to get very drunk, but I saw it as an opportunity to get fit. The Poker Run is a cross-country ski route. They start by driving you up into the mountains, and then you ski your way back into town. When we arrived, it was snowing, hard. Big fat flakes were coming down so fast, it was hard to see. I was nervous because there was so many people I didn’t know or recognize. Thankfully, I was with my husband and 3 other friends.

We started skiing around 10:30 that morning and weren’t back in town till 3:00. It was a tiring four and a half hours with the temperature steadily dropping into the teens.  As it got colder, it got harder. At one point, we even dug a truck out of the snow. However, my teammates kept my spirits up, and before long we were at the finish line.

Despite wiping out twice and feeling kind of sore today, it was an awesome adventure. I encourage you to get out there. See what local events your town is hosting and sign up. Not only can it be a great way to meet people, but it can also be a great way to get fit.

Am I a Fake?

Today, I am starting over and need so much grace. I promised that I would be as honest about my failures as my successes. I didn’t realize how hard that would be. Feelings of embarrassment, failure, and pride are creeping in, and making me feel like a charlatan. Maybe I’m just one big fake, that has all these ambitions to lose weight and get healthy, but will never actually succeed. Those are the thoughts running through my head. Let me tell you what happened.

Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling good. I threw up in the morning (sorry for the details) and continued to be sniffly and nauseous all day. Despite feeling sick, when my husband was done with work, we went cross-country skiing. It was dark and cold. Five minutes into our ski, I felt horrible. I was short of breath and super woozy. However, that didn’t stop me. Two hours later, we were headed back home, and I was feeling much worse.

On the way home, we stopped to get food. This is where my body went from feeling worse to feeling horrible. I hadn’t eaten for hours, and after exercising hard for two hours I was famished. Without a second thought, I ordered a burrito and ate the whole thing. When I got home, I also proceeded to eat an entire bag of frozen fruit. While fruit might be on the diet, I’m fairly certain eating an entire bag is not.

Not only were these things not on my diet, but I still feel full! I can hardly believe I ate that wretched burrito and bag of fruit, 14 hours ago. This was such a major screw-up,  four days into the program, that I’ve decided to start again. After all, today is a new day.

Pushing negativity and embarrassment aside, I’m beginning my 31 Days to Freedom all over again. I’m back on track and have learned some valuable lessons.

  1. Don’t exercise when you’re sick.
  2. Eat enough before you exercise.
  3. Always, take your own food.
  4. Today is a new day.

I’ll leave you with two more thoughts. First, a negative mind will never give you a positive life. All my thoughts of being a fake aren’t going to get me anywhere. I have to think positively. I can do this. Second, you have to fight through some bad days, to earn the best days of your life. In other words, this Whole30 challenge is going to be tough, and I’m going to have more bad days. If I give into those bad days, however, I will never see the best days of my life. The fight is real, and it is 100% worth it.

Going to the Gym

I hate it. Going to the gym is one of my biggest fears. I always feel out-of-place and out-of-sorts. I didn’t wear the right outfit. I forgot my water bottle. I ate too much before I came. I don’t know how to use this machine. That’s right, I’m stuck on myself. Just look at the number of “I’s” used in the last couple of sentences. This is a problem. So here is my gym survival guide.

What to Wear: Dress comfortably, not too loose but not too tight. On the one hand, you don’t want your pants falling off while doing a squat. On the other hand, you don’t want your shirt so tight that you can’t lift your arms. It’s all about finding a happy medium. Also, avoid cotton. Instead, opt for wicking materials that will keep you cool and dry. Personally, I love Lululemon but you can also find great deals at Target.

Don’t Forget the Shoes A good pair of gym shoes is going to be your best friend. Happy feet make for a happy workout. Do some research and find the right pair for your needs. Click here for some advice from a Boston Marathoner on choosing the right shoe.

What to Bring My three essentials are music, food, and water. Sometimes I don’t like what’s playing in the gym, so having a pair of headphones gives you the freedom to choose your own jams. Just be aware of those around you. (Don’t play your music so loud that you can’t hear someone asking if your done with that machine). Food is also  important. I’ve had to stop workouts early because I haven’t fueled my body properly. For that reason, bring some snacks to the gym (but don’t make a mess). Just as important as food is water. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Need I say more?

What to Do First off, be aware of gym etiquette. If you don’t know how a machine works, ask someone. It’s better than hurting yourself, trust me. Second, put the equipment back where you found it. Third, if someone is using a machine you need, ask them if you can have a turn in between their breaks. Fourth, be polite. It’s that simple!

Have a sense of humor Realize that if you think you’re doing it wrong, you probably are. But don’t take yourself too seriously. Everybody in that gym had to go through learning these things, so don’t be ashamed. Bring your smile and your sense of humor, and I bet you’ll be ok. In fact, you might even have a good time.

So my challenge to you is to get dressed, pack your bag, and get a gym membership. Remember, you’ve got this.

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Triggering Statements

I’m surrounded by people who love, respect, and support me. That being said, sometimes they can say things that really hurt. Even though they might not mean it to be hurtful, it doesn’t matter. It can still sabotage you. Here are a few of my experiences.

  1. “You should stop using the stair stepper. Your legs are the size of tree trunks!” Ouch! This one really hurt. I had been working out for weeks, and was proud of the muscle I was building. All it took was this simple statement, and I immediately curled up into a ball of self-consciousness. It’s been hard to overcome this. To this day, I won’t use the stair stepper. I’m petrified of having large tree-trunk legs.
  2. “Are you a size large? You look like a size large.” At the time, I was wearing mediums. I was thrilled with how I looked and happy with who I was. After hearing this, I felt like a failure. Here I was trying to be healthy, and it seemed as if all my efforts were wasted. Sure I was wearing mediums, but I looked like a large?!
  3. “Why are you eating that?” I’m naturally self-conscious when I eat. That being said, I occasionally overindulge. Some days I want a bloody bowl of ice-cream with all the toppings or a burger and fries. The day someone asked me this, “Why are you eating that?” I felt horrible guilty. They didn’t realize I had been eating well for months, and this was a special treat that I was allowing myself to have. As soon as they said that, the food didn’t taste as good. I could no longer enjoy this little freedom I had given myself. I felt defeated.
  4. “You look so good!” Now this might not seem like a triggering statement, but at the time it was said I was in high school and severely underweight. My body image was completely skewed. This person had also never told me that I looked good when I was at a healthy weight. So being told this when I was unhealthy, only served to reinforce my skewed body image.
  5. Self-Sabatogue This last one is the hardest to deal with. It sneaks up on you. For example, you’ve been eating healthy for weeks, but the scale is just not moving. What do you do? Self-sabatogue. You give up on your diet completely (after all it clearly isn’t working). Another example, you’re doing great on your diet and losing weight, when suddenly you eat a huge bowl of pasta with buttery garlic bread. It’s clearly not on your diet, but you do it anyway. Next thing you know you’re having a second helping along with dessert (after all, you’ve already ruined your diet, why not really ruin it?)

In the end, everyone has their struggles, whether it’s other people or yourself. As I have reflected over these statements and my own self-sabatogue, I realize that despite everything I’ve grown stronger. Everyone needs a thick skin in this world, and instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. Even better, turn those negatives into positives. My challenge to you is to be gracious when people hurt you but also have the guts to speak up. What I should have done, instead of wallowing in self-pity, is stand proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished. If someone is triggering you, don’t be afraid to let them gently know. Show them how their wrong. My legs don’t look like tree trunks, they are strong and beautiful.