The story below couldn’t come at a better time not only for me but for everyone at our box. Anyone that has gotten dressed in the morning and thought to themselves “Ughh one day these will be my FAT jeans” or, “What happened to me?”
WELP news FLASH!! Here is the best part about life…READY…You have the power to change it at anytime. Re-write the ending to your story everyday. You aren’t in any contract right now with your body! Yes, it might feel like it sometimes but, you’re not. It’s all changeable. You can change it at any time, for any reason, and for any length of time. All you have to do is decide and commit to it. Why not challenge yourself to 9 weeks of Optimal Health. What is the worst that could happen? You lose pounds of fat, your clothes fit better, you need to go shopping for smaller clothes, you have more energy, and your performance at the box is through the roof, you like yourself again?
We can all make excuses but, why?? As if the excuse you give will really fool the person you’re telling it to or yourself. As if you can justify why you feel or look the way you do. I hope that after reading Tamara’s story a light goes on in your head and you see that you too can have a story just like hers. On April 26, 2010 RL and I re-wrote our story. June 12, 2010 you should re-write yours.
Knockin of every door,
Selfless or Selfish?
“Anybody who’s ever mattered, anybody who’s ever been happy, anybody who’s ever given any gift to the world has been a divinely selfish soul, living for his own best interest, no exceptions.” – Richard Bach
I can’t tell you the number of times I have been called selfish in the last year. I’ve heard it from my husband, my sister, and friends. God knows how many people have said it behind my back. So, when I read this quote – amusingly in an article in Sports Illustrated about Barry Zito – I laughed out loud. “That,” I thought, “is the story of the last year of my life.”
Rewind to March of 2009. I was miserable. Absolutely and completely miserable. It’s a hard feeling to describe to anyone who has never been truly depressed. Anxiety attacks. Crying spells. Hours of contemplating how awful my life was and how I didn’t think it was going to get any better. I think this is the part of the story that most people miss when I talk about how much things have changed since then. They see pictures of my abs. They hear about my WODs. They know that I’m eating bison and asparagus for dinner and not pizza and ice cream. If you knew me a year ago, then it’s impossible to ignore how much I’ve changed physically. But, the real change…the important change…has been mental.
Last spring, I was fortunate to reconnect with a close friend of 20 years, and he was the one who gave me the initial kick in the ass. “Just get back to the gym,” he said. “You’ve always been an athlete, and that is going to make you feel better.” I hemmed and hawed. Here he was, a single male without children, telling me to get back to the gym. “You don’t understand,” I told him. “I have a two year old and a four year old. I am a mother. I don’t have time!” I think I initially told him I could make it to the gym three times a week for 30 minutes. I suppose I was going to ride the elliptical rider or something productive like that. He also told me to take a picture of myself in a bra and underwear and assured me that I never had to show it to anyone. I can really laugh about that now knowing that thousands of people have seen that picture on the internet! However, that picture helped more than anything. I looked at it and thought, “No one would ever see this picture and think that I was an athlete. Nope. Never.”
And, I wasn’t an athlete last spring. After playing soccer for most of my life and always being the uber-competitive personality type who would challenge anyone in any sport any time, I was the queen of excuses. I’m not saying that exercising with young children is easy. I just had different priorities. I had a husband who often worked 80 hours a week as a urology resident, and I juggled working part time with play dates and holistic parenting meetings and nap times. I nursed two kids for a total of 4 years and 9 months. I never left my children for more than an hour with anyone other than my mother. That’s what moms do, isn’t it? We are selfless.
Well, let me tell you where selfless got me. It got me 20 lbs heavier than before I had kids. It got me so out of shape that I couldn’t even do one full pushup. It got me crying every day and hating life and not knowing how to fix things. Screw selfless.
My journey back to the gym led me to running, which led to patella femoral syndrome, which led to personal training, which led to CrossFit, which led to Paleo. It sounds simple when I write it like that. In a lot of ways, it has been. I loved CrossFit from day one. “Here is a barbell. Pick it up.” And, wow, I don’t think I had ever watched anyone deadlift before, and I was certain that I would never, ever be able to do it correctly. That is what got me to come back again because I sure as hell was not going to be bad at something. And, it worked! I was losing weight, and I felt great, and I loved it.
I decided to do 30 days of Paleo because I had read that it was helpful for strength gains. My hamstring definitely needed more strength! To this day, I’m not sure how I flipped the switch in my head so completely and decided to go Paleo. I loved cheese, I drank alcohol almost daily, and I absolutely did not care what Paleolithic man ate. In that 30 day period, I was going to hit my daughter’s birthday, Halloween, and my birthday. No cake? No candy? No beer or wine? Impossible! My husband did not back me at all. There really isn’t any other way to put it. I didn’t cook. I mean, I really didn’t cook. In 2009, I had perhaps cooked dinner three or four times. He did all of the cooking. He said, “I think this is stupid. I am not going to change one thing that I cook because of you. You will have to learn to cook for yourself. I will absolutely not support you in this.” And, he didn’t.
But, I did it anyway. 30 days strict Paleo. No sugar, no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, no caffeine. I started cooking breakfast and lunch for myself every day. I made my own dinner if my husband was cooking something I wouldn’t eat. For the most part, things went smoothly. I think I set a paper towel on fire once. On day 31, I started drinking beer at 10:30 in the morning and ate pizza for dinner. But, it was too late. I planned to drink alcohol again, but food wise I was never going back.
Selfish. Fast forward to today. I spend hours at the gym doing CrossFit and taking private gymnastics lessons. I’m about to travel for a long weekend without my children for my fourth CrossFit competition. I now have a backyard gym with an 8’ pullup bar, a 10’ bar for my rings, and a platform for lifting and other exercises. The basement has a C2 rower, squat stands, a bar, bumper plates, and parallettes. In various spots there is an AbMat, kettlebells, a slam ball, dumbbells, and half a dozen jump ropes. Our refrigerator is stocked with coconut milk, fresh fruit, veggies from the farmers’ market, and literally pounds and pounds of meat. Our cabinets have coconut oil and coconut butter, an assortment of nuts, and bags of dried fruit. And, let’s not even talk about my collection of bikinis, board shorts, knee socks, and Chucks (I’m up to 10 pairs of Chucks, FYI). “Please eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” says my husband. “It is so much cheaper than your organic, grass fed buffalo meat.” If it’s not that, it is, “Please get off the computer. You do not need to update your Facebook page with what happened in the WOD or write in your workout log or watch another CrossFit video or argue with someone on the CrossFit forums about saturated fat. And, no one needs to see another picture of your abs.”
Have I been selfish? Hell yes. Do I regret it? Not for one second. My brother came to visit after I’d been doing CrossFit for several months. He said, “For the last few years, you weren’t doing anything for yourself. I finally feel like you’re back to your old badass self.” Indeed. And, guess what? I am happy. Happy. “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” right? Being selfish has made everyone in my family happier. What fun is it to be around someone who hates life? And, surprise, surprise…my husband now does CrossFit. My daughter takes gymnastics lessons. My kids do pull-ups and fight over the gymnastics rings and eat kale. My son took a bite of cupcake at a birthday party recently and then announced, “Mama, this has too much sugar in it. Can I please have a plate of hummus?” And, as much as my husband hates to admit it, even my pictures of my abs serve a good purpose. People like abs. They want to know how you got your abs. They claim that they will do anything to have abs just like yours. “Okay,” I say. “Get off your ass. Stop eating crap. CrossFit and strict Paleo for 30 days.” And, guess what? A lot of them do. And, that makes me happy.
So, if being selfish leads to happiness, then so be it. Because I certainly don’t want to go back to how I felt a year ago, and I know my family doesn’t want me to do that either.