Monday, September 19, 2016

To work out or not work out, that is the question.

Prior to today, I have had the opportunity to work out at FXB a total of 224 days since January 1st. Note: this is days and not workouts, so doubles and FIT Kicks are not included (but I will note that I’ve attended nearly all the FIT Kicks offered this year). Of those 224 days, I have worked out 217 days. Just in case you need help with this complicated math, that’s only 7 days I’ve missed since the start of the year.

Today was #8.

Before I get into why I missed today, I wanted to answer the question I’m often asked: “How do you attend so many days?”

Well, for starters, I don’t travel much. Of the 7 days I missed (prior to today), 3 were for vacation and I worked out in the hotel fitness room each day. Of the remaining 4 days missed: I was in Indy for 2 of the days over New Year’s, another was a Saturday when I had an author fair to attend in Madison, and the last was the day after my daughter had nine 10-year-olds sleep over for her birthday. It’s also important to note I haven’t trained for anything else. No triathlons or half-marathons or extreme obstacle course races. I don’t run or bike on the side. Basically, all my workouts are at FXB and that means I don’t need to keep any reserves in the tank for other activities.

Even so, how do I do it? How do I motivate myself to work out so often? Simple—from my first day at FXB I’ve had one condition:

If I wouldn’t miss work for it, I can’t miss my workout for it.

When I worked outside the home, I was a pretty dependable employee. I rarely missed a day of work, so I figured this would be a good metric for my workouts. As you can see by my numbers, it has served me well. It has forced me to stop and think each time I want to skip a workout. Because there are days I want to skip. I am human, after all. But the expectation I placed on myself since day one makes me stop and consider why I want to miss the workout and if it’s really worth it. It forces me to question whether or not it benefits my long-term goal. If you’ve been around my blog awhile, then you know that a key part of my long-term goal is being able to sustain over time. I knew I needed to draw a line I could stick to for when I could miss a workout. Otherwise, I’d find an excuse to skip every time my eye twitched.

The need to have a sustainable plan is what drove me to skip the workout today. Basically, I needed to acknowledge that my body needed a break. More specifically, my knee needed a break. I might be too stubborn to learn a lesson when I need to sometimes, but at least I’m quick to learn not to make the same mistake a second time. Last year I tried to keep pushing when I hurt my foot, thinking I could just ‘go easy’ during the workouts. That resulted in me having to sit out completely (from everything) for about two weeks. I know my bum knee well enough to know if I push it too hard I’ll be out for a lot longer than just two weeks.

I had to listen to my body and pay attention to the signs. When I had to leave the mat during FIT Kick this past Saturday, I knew it was time to stop being stubborn. So today made day #8 missed during 2016. I also adjusted a few things around the house. For example, I’ve stopped chasing our new puppy up and down the stairs several times a day. Now I just close all the bedroom doors and call to her from downstairs. It’s a good opportunity for me to work on some of her behavioral commands. It also helps that she is now almost fully potty-trained, and I don’t have to worry about her making a mess upstairs without my knowledge.

If you’re struggling with finding the motivation to work out on a regular basis, then here’s my advice:
  1. Understand your long-term goal.
  2. Acknowledge your weaknesses.
  3. Establish a set of realistic expectations to help you achieve your long-term goal.
  4. Commit.

Sounds pretty basic, right? Well, I’ve been around this fitness thing long enough to know it sounds a lot easier than it is. Most of us understand we need to eat healthy and work out regularly to maintain a healthy life-style. But that’s easy to forget when we hit a bump in the road. The bumps that say, “It’s OK to miss the workout, right? It won’t hurt anything will it?” Having a line drawn that’s built around your long-term goal and your weaknesses will help you determine if it is OK (or even necessary) to skip the workout. And do it now. Don’t wait for next week or tomorrow. Draw your line now and get to work.

Oh, if it helps you can adopt a motto. Personal mottos are always motivating.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The importance of having a fitness family.

Left: September 13, 2014
Right: September 13, 2016

Over the years, I’ve participated in many different workout programs. I’ve done solo workouts in the home, one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer, and classes at the local gym. Two years ago to the day, I joined Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (FXB). It was a nerve-wracking day for me, and you can read about it here if you haven’t already. Despite my nerves, from that very first day I knew FXB would be like nothing I had experienced before. These were not people who simply worked out together. No, they were much more than that.

They were a family.

In the two years I’ve been at FXB, I’ve learned that having a fitness family is one of the most critical components of being able to sustain progress. Here are just a few resons why I’m so thankful for my FXB family.

They share my sense of fashion.
FXB is the one place where I can feel good about wearing my Spandex. I may not like that it shows off every bump and lump, but wearing it says I came to work. The fact that the vast majority of everyone else is wearing it too makes it even easier.

Beyond the active wear, we also share the same love of accessories—from the headbands to the Fitbits. Oh, and the sweat. Can’t forget about the sweat. At FXB sweat is the new black, and I rock it during every workout!

They speak my language.
It’s important to have someone who you can confide in for all aspects of your life. My non-FXB friends don’t understand my love/hate relationship with Sally. Or why I’m toast after 45 minutes of straight density sets. But my FXB family gets it. They share my lingo. And my pain.

They hug me even when I stink.
I often see a friend as I’m leaving the mat, getting ready to hit their own workout. It always amazes me when they are willing to give me a hug even though every square inch of me is dripping in Liquid Awesome. And to be clear, my form of Liquid Awesome does not smell like roses. My husband and daughter won’t even come within 50 feet of me when I get back from the gym. But my FXB family is willing to get up close and personal even when I’ve got my stink on. Now that’s #Friendship.

They know when to call bullshit.
I may think I’m too tired to push harder. I may think I’m too weak to do my push-ups from my toes. I may not think I can run the rest of the way in. But my FXB family knows better. They know when to call bullshit. And they know how to give me the right kind of motivation to tell my inner voice to shut it.

They always have my back.
No matter what, I know my FXB family will be there to support me. Time and time again, they have shown me they will not let me travel on this journey alone. They help pick me up when I fall down. They keep me focused on what’s important. They give me unconditional support and a never-ending stream of encouragement. I can only hope I am repaying them in kind.

So here’s to you, my wonderful FXB family. I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Operation Breaking Binge: Accepting my Journey

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know I have finally accepted that I have Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and that it will always be a factor in my life. However, accepting the existence of something in my life does not mean I have to accept its control over my life.

I had to find a way to control it. Things were really bad for me at the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. I was binging, on average, every three days. I was miserable—physically and emotionally. My number one priority this year has been finding a way to control my binges, and so I started ‘Operation Breaking Binge’.

Back in March, I posted Operation Breaking Binge: Just the beginning. I told you a little about what it was like to experience one of my cravings. Then I told you how I stumbled across a Pinterest article about curbing sugar cravings (or I should say the article found me because I do believe in such things). I took a break from the blog to focus on controlling those binges, primarily because opening up about something so personal turned out to be a big trigger for my binges.

I think I am finally ready to jump back in and start sharing. I’ve realized that part of the reason I’ve been given this journey is because I need to share my story. I know others have found solace in my words, knowing they were not alone. Others have found inspiration to face their own monster. Others have found a way to better understand someone in their life who suffers from similar challenges.

And I’ve learned that I can’t go through this journey alone.

It’s been almost two years exactly since I had my orientation at Farrel’s Extreme Bodyshaping (FXB) and started blogging about my journey. Do you remember the title of my very first post? If not, that’s okay. It was:

In that post, I talked about how my journey was about learning to love myself no matter what. It was learning to stop defining myself based on my weight. I had made huge progress toward that mindset in the year before I joined FXB, and in the two years since I have only grown stronger in that mindset.

However, what I couldn’t accept two years ago was that my statement “it’s not about losing weight” also encompassed my BED. While I had been able to start separating my weight from my personal worth, I had not considered that I had to separate it from my eating habits as well. I fully believed that if I found a nutrition program I could stick with, then I would lose weight and my binging would just ‘go away.’

I often have people ask me, “Is the program still working for you?” In most cases, I know the real question is, “Are you still losing weight?” Yet, I refuse to answer with pounds lost. Yes, I am losing weight. Yes, I hope to lose more weight because I know that is what is healthy for my body. And, yes, I will soon be posting about the weight loss part of my journey. But weight loss is not what is most important for me at this point in time.

As I stated back in my very first post, what’s important is loving myself no matter what the scale says. After two years at FXB, I can now say what is also important is to not base my worth/success on what I put in my mouth.

I’m still a work in progress. An example is something that happened to me just now while writing this post. You see, I have this bracelet I wear.

I purchased the locket and charms from Origami Owl and made the beaded strands. I’m a visual person, so a long time ago I decided to make this bracelet as a reminder of my progress. The charms signify aspects of my journey: continuous change (infinity symbol) and ultimate transformation (butterfly). The third charm was because I thought it needed some color :) The beaded strands represent pounds lost. One strand for every ten pounds.

I had first made this bracelet before I joined FXB. I had lost about 50 lbs on a different program, only to gain it all back quickly. When I joined FXB, I removed all the strands and started over. I’m now up to four strands (I’ll let you do the math...).

As I sat here typing out the words above about weight not being my primary focus, I looked at my bracelet. I realized it was unintentionally keeping me tethered to weight as my primary success metric. I LOVE adding a new strand to this bracelet. I love wearing it because it reminds me how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am. But I just realized the strands should not represent pounds lost. It should represent months of no binging.

It’s time to add two more strands.

So, back to that question above: Is the program still working for me? More than I ever could have hoped.