The 5 Stages of Bettering Yourself

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My schedule has been so grueling lately that there are times that I wonder why I agreed to put myself through this in the first place. Then, in the same moment I’ll envision where all of this hard work will get me and how I will feel when I’m done with the task at hand.  That’s when I decide that all of the work is worth it and I get that extra boost of motivation to carry on as best as I can.

Any time that I really push myself, whether physically or mentally, I go through the same process…

Stage 1- “I can do this!”

Stage 2- “Oh shit, this is hard!”

Stage 3- “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Stage 4- “Why did I do this to myself?”

Stage 5- “Yay! I did it… What’s next?”

Apparently, I’m addicted to this process. I felt the same way during my undergrad years, I feel like this during a tough workout and sometimes I just feel like this about life in general. But the feeling you get when you push through a tough process and make it to the other side is priceless.

There was a time when I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to even get my bachelor’s degree. Knowing that I was smart enough to accomplish great things but wouldn’t get the opportunity to utilize my skills was stifling. Now, I’m almost done with my master’s degree and as nerdy as it sounds. It’s a dream come true!

That being said, I’m pretty sure the only muscle I’ve been exercising is my brain.

I can feel my body turning to mush and all of the hard work I put into building a strong capable body is slipping away.

I complained about this to my husband as I went over our schedule again to try to figure out a time to fit in some exercise. Brent’s a fire fighter and he relies on his body to get him out of sticky situations so he always gets priority for choosing workout times. Then I have to contend with the girl’s schedules.  I mentioned leaving Penelope at daycare while I worked out after school but Brent pointed out that I would be leaving Penelope with the babysitter for 11 hours if I did that.

“Besides, you look fine. In fact, I think you’ve even lost weight.”

I wanted to hug him and punch him at the same time.

When I weighed myself this morning I weighed 187.2. I’ve lost muscle mass and the only reason I look like I’ve lost weight is because I wear flattering clothes and get dressed up on a daily basis. Besides, it’s not about how much I weigh, it’s about how I feel. I felt ten times better when I weighed 200 pounds but was in good shape. Plus, my mental health needs exercise just as much as my body needs it. Some of my most genius ideas hit me during the throes of a good endorphin boost. But most importantly, I miss it. I need it!

Yesterday, a group of my friends were lifting together at Crossfit Bodywerx in the woman’s strength training class. This is a group of amazing, encouraging, strong women. This class is like a good ladies night out but instead of bonding over wine you’re bonding over your squat technique. The wine comes later. Oh how I wanted to go!

However, both of my girls were sick so I stayed home like a good mother should and tended to them instead.

I spent the day in my pajamas and could feel the walls of my house closing in on me. When I took a break between loads of laundry I looked outside and saw the sun shining for the first time in days. We had the kind of week where you couldn’t step foot outdoors without the inside of your nose freezing instantaneously. Therefore, the  sun was a welcome visitor, even if it was accompanied by a bitter breeze. I looked out the window longingly, I would have given anything to run through that cold breeze letting it sting my face. Brent was at work and my little running partner was drowning in her snot. So if I had tried to strap her in the jogging stroller she would have ended up looking like Dumb and Dumber.

dum and dumber

When I turned away from the window I could feel the crazy starting to set in. I had this uncontrollable urge to climb a tree or do a cart wheel so I settled with turning up the music and having a dance party while I cleaned. Bridget looked up at me from her perch on the couch with blurry eyes like I was an idiot but Penelope joined in.

In that moment I decided that I was tired of simply surviving it was time to start thriving!

Within an hour my house was clean and my toddler was worn out and fast asleep. While she napped I took the chance to curl up with a good book and a hot mug of tea to spend a moment with myself.

This upcoming week isn’t going to get any easier and I realize that I’ve been wasting my days waiting for this particular time to pass. I’ve been waiting until I’m done with my student teaching. I’ve been waiting for Winter to shift to another side of the planet. What a waist of life!

I’ve come to the realization that I’m going to have to push through and make the best of where I’m at. Before I know it the time will have passed and I will have graduated from graduate school. I’ll be able to celebrate by going on barefoot bike rides with my family and tending my garden while Bridget reads in the hammock and Penelope digs for worms. In the mean time I’m just going to have to tuck my chin and trudge on.

I just have to keep my eye on the prize…

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***Do you ever feel like you are just waiting for a certain time in your life to be over before you can actually start living? What do you do to get out of that rut?***

Truffle My Shuffle

Today I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and that annoying woodpecker pecking away at another metal object. Seriously, what is wrong with that guy?

I didn’t really mind because the sun was just rising and it was absolutely beautiful outside. Once I went downstairs I realized that I had run out of dish detergent so I made an early morning trip to the store. When I turned the corner off of my street I saw 5 hot air balloons floating in the air.

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I always think of hot air balloons as a sign of good things to come.

The combination of the weather and the hot air balloons got me all giddy and I could feel the excitement bubbling up for summer.

I CAN’T WAIT!!!

I’m so excited for long morning runs, days by the pool, hiking in the foothills, outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets, outdoor movie screenings, cookouts, suntan lotions that smell like coconut, watermelons (spiked with vodka), backyard campouts, playing in the sprinklers, the scent of cotton wood trees, roasted marshmallows, flip-flop tan lines… I could keep going but I won’t.

I’ve got this rejuvenated feeling now that the weather has miraculously turned warm. It has also lit a fire under my butt as far as motivation is concerned. It’s almost bathingsuit time! So I met up with my friend Corene at Crossfit Bodywerx to do some werk on this physique.

Brent ran us through an awesome workout that had my arms shaking and my mouth grinning by the end of it. It was pretty fun actually.

Here it is… I couldn’t think of a clever name so we’ll just skip that part.

Warmup:

Toy Soldiers and Spiderman Lunges

Lifting:

We worked on our Snatch lifting technique…

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 “Hey look at my snatch!”

Haha… I crack myself up! That joke never gets old… or maybe it does and I just don’t care.

We also worked on our Clean lifting technique

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I had to get serious and keep a straight face… lifting is important business folks and you’re only doing it right if you have a mega double chin. (I tell myself these things.)

After we finished that Brent decided to work on our grip so that we can progressively get better with olympic lifting. So he put wide grips on the weights and had us do hammer curls and barbel curls to failure three times each.

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The wide grip makes it SO much harder.

After we did that little doozy we did a short metcon workout. I didn’t really know what a metcon was until I googled it. All I knew was that Brent uses the term all of the time. FYI, it just means a short intense circuit style workout.

He set up three cones across the gym. He placed a fairly heavy kettlebell at the center cone and that was where we started. We had to sprint to the cone on the left then all the way to the cone of the far right, then back to the center cone where we had to do 10 russian kettlebell swings as fast as we could.

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My fastest time was 19.5 seconds. I felt pretty awesome. Brent couldn’t get a picture of the actual sprinting because I only had my phone camera with me and it was too slow. But Mark the owner of Crossfit Bodywerx took one and it looked something like this…

Chunk Truffle Shuffle

Fat isn’t supposed to move that fast apparently. But I wasn’t heart broken to have a bad picture taken because after all, I did get a good shot of my snatch… (Haha! There it is again, I’m killing myself!)

Ahem… anyhoo.

I came home and made a yummy post workout meal.

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Grilled chicken salad with yogurt ranch and sweet potato fries.

Penelope is asleep and instead of cleaning my house I plan on putting on my bathing suit to lay out for a while. I’ll show my neighbors just how truffle my shuffle really is.

But one thing is for certain I will NOT be tanning my backside in this chair…yogatan

I’m gonna have to do a little more yoga before I try to pull that one off.

Haus

therapy

If you’ve been reading long enough you know that I have a flair for the dramatic.

I was super bummed on Friday when I gained weight instead of losing it. I’ve fluctuated several times but this time was a big deal because I was SO close to getting out of the 200 weight zone.

I don’t want to weigh more than 200 pounds any more… it hurts my feelings.

Over the weekend I trudged on per usual. Then this morning I stepped on the scale again just to check to see if the damage had gone away yet. That’s when I saw that I weighed 203.

I came downstairs wearing my frowny face. Brent asked me what was wrong and I cried. Brent pointed out how stupid I was being. He reminded me that I shouldn’t let the scale dictate how I felt about myself. He was right, and the fact that he was right made me even angrier.

Why did he have to be right? I just wanted to be mad and feel sorry for myself for a minute.

“Besides, you’re probably about to start your period or something. That makes you retain water weight, right? You can’t rely on the scale.”

*Note: If you are a man and your wife/girlfriend/daughter is acting crazy never tell her she’s about to start her period… even if she is about to start her period.

Brent doesn’t sugar coat anything. I’ve always weighed more than the average woman. He always points out that I’m just a big woman… as you can imagine this never really goes over so well.

But once again he’s right. I’m a big Scandinavian woman… I’ve got some crazy viking blood running through my veins and I was never meant to be a waif. I will never be able to feint weakness because I was made to throw cows over my shoulder and drop kick people who piss me off.

I would have never made it as a princess.

I’ve always been this way. Back in highschool when I played competitive soccer the boys called me “haus” because I was stronger than they were. (This was early in highschool when puberty wasn’t an equal opportunity event). They had little chicken legs and I had muscular legs.

I didn’t want to have bigger legs than the boys!

I was so embarrassed and I thought they were making fun of me when they called me “haus”. I would be in the weight room and my coach would tell me to lift more and I wouldn’t for fear of getting even stronger. I thought that meant I would blow up and look like a man.

roid rage

What I didn’t know was that this look is impossible achieve without the use of steroids… or a penis.

I had no idea that being strong could be so beautiful until I started crossfit.

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In this new world I found that being called a “beast” was actually a good thing.

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I learned to quit fighting my natural inclination for strength and instead to embrace it.

So that is why I should feel really stupid for getting pouty over a number on the scale. It really doesn’t matter.

When I first started this journey I couldn’t stand the way I felt in my own skin. That icky feeling of wearing layers of fat that didn’t belong to me prompted me to take action.

These days I’m walking around the house in my booty shorts and flexing my muscles every time I walk past a mirror. When I move I feel strong and capable. There isn’t anything that I’m afraid to do in the gym.

If I had no idea how much I weighed then I would feel really freaking awesome. Unfortunately, that ignorant insecure fifteen year old girl still resides in me and every now and then she pops up and freaks out when she sees an arbitrary number on the scale.

After Brent and I had our little discussion he reminded me of how strong I am and how strong I am capable of being. I went to the gym and did my thing and felt better instantly.

By the way, while writing this blog post I looked up the definition for “haus” and I found the following…

Haus

     1) Something supremely awesome.

     2) A term given to a person who is amazing in all aspects of life.

     3) To be ridiculously good at something. 

Synonym: beast

Why didn’t I know about this earlier?!

P.S. After promising myself I would only use the scale for official weigh-ins I took one last peek and weighed in at 200.8… water weight is such a bitch.