Reflections on Ending the Challenge

Today is the wrap -up for the Oak Creek Mayor’s Fitness Challenge. It’s been a transformative experience for me.

Let’s start with what everyone really wants to know:

My bellybutton is still grumpy. No, I am not going to post another picture. I’m still not 100% certain I got all the eyes out last time. (Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed that I don’t ever have to confirm that suspicion via a grisly googlie discovery.)

I lost 14 pounds. I can take my pants off without unzipping them. I guess that means I’m down a size, but I’m not quite ready to resize my wardrobe.

If this were a year ago, or 5 years ago, I would be wrist deep with a tablespoon into a quart of ice cream while the following loop played in my head: “You should have lost more. You suck. You’re no good at this. Might as well just forget it. You should have done better. God, you’re pathetic.”

And on and on. You know that voice. What a jerk.

It’s not a year ago, though. It’s now. And it’s…different. I can still hear that voice, reciting my should’ves, but I don’t care so much. Unlike all the other times before, somewhere during this challenge it stopped being about losing as much weight as possible in order to look a certain way or to define my worth by a size or a number.

I have fitness goals. I miss working out when I skip. I like the way I feel when I’m eating well and exercising. I’ve had enough opportunities to try new things during the challenge that I’m no longer embarrassed or afraid to go try a new workout on my own. I own workout clothes that aren’t pajamas–and I like it. Even with some medical complications thrown in there, I find myself driven to stick with it in whatever capacity I can on any given day, instead of using it as an excuse. I like sweating.

Ok, that sweating thing was a lie. That’s still stupid. I just get a little carried away sometimes. Not seeing fitness as a chore, or something with an expiration date is all new to me. And it’s very exciting.

Trying aerial yoga (and obviously having fun)!

Trying aerial yoga (and obviously having fun)!

I used to live my life saying things like, “When I lose x lbs, things will be better.” “When I wear a size x, I’ll feel confident enough to do y.” Something happened to me during this challenge. I stopped thinking those things so much. I started having fun NOW. Things started being good NOW, at this size, at whatever weight I happen to be. Maybe it’s the exercise endorphins. I don’t know.

I finally stopped putting my life on hold. That is a worthier outcome to me for this challenge than any size pants ever will be. And although the challenge is technically over, for me it was just a beginning.

[Cue incredibly dramatic music for such an epically cheesy final sentiment.]

At my work Holiday Party, feeling lighter (and embracing the jiggle on the dance floor)!

At my work Holiday Party, feeling lighter (and embracing the jiggle on the dance floor)!

***(Extra Super Special Thanks to:

Mayor Steve and Leslie Flynn for all the hard work, for believing in all of us-even if we didn’t always believe in ourselves, and you know– for changing my life and stuff. Oh, and for not kicking me off the track when I showed up dressed like a hot dog (and putting up with my antics in general).

KTT for kicking my ass regularly. KTT can also kick your ass, if you like. Shoot him an email at Kevin.Chow83@yahoo.com for more details on how he can break your will and make you strong like bull.

Zumba Ken and Barbie….erm, I mean Zumba Mike and Vicki. You’ve made Tuesdays fan-ta-ta-shaking-tastic! Anyone who hasn’t checked out Zumba should come make an ass of themselves with me on Tuesday nights (www.zumbamike.com). Wear interesting socks. Embrace the jiggle.

There’s way more people who supported me, but this isn’t a freaking Oscar speech, and half of the readers have already stopped reading once they realized there was no picture of my bellybutton making faces. Hope you can forgive me. <3)***

 

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On nausea and wavering motivation.

I could feel it, the hand of fate upon me. Reaching out, right down my throat, and directly for my gag reflex. With all the dignity a woman about to hurl could muster, I lowered myself from the pullup machine, wiped the clammy sweat from my brow, and smiled weakly at Kevin The Trainer.

“Be right back.” These were the only words I could manage before walking off to the bathroom. I learned it is incredibly difficult to find the perfect speed with which to walk through a crowded gym so as to still appear vaguely composed but to also not vomit all over your shoes.

There, in the Anytime Fitness bathroom, I met my destiny. Twice. This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in this position. I am, as anyone who has ever worked out with me will tell you, A Puker(™). Too much caffeine, not enough water, small lunch,  bad pre-gym snack–the reasons could be many.

But I’d been doing SO good. I’m working out better, and harder, and making progress and everything had just been going SO WELL.

Not this day. This day I left the gym, only 20 minutes into my workout, covered in a cold sweat, and wearing an unmistakable expression of defeat and shame.

I put on my fuzzy robe and prepared to wallow. Since wallowing often requires snacks, I had one moment of good judgement and thought, “No! Let’s just focus on motivation! Let’s make a little collage of motivational quotes to put in front of the treadmill at work! Won’t that be nice?!”

If you’re familiar with the endless pinboards and facebook shares of  motivational pictures, you know what I’m about to find. I don’t always have good ideas.

proud

Only I didn’t stop when I was proud. I stopped when I puked. What now?

(Side note, I bet she never gets googly eyes stuck in her button. )

PS_0333W_PAIN_BODY

Except when it’s vomit. Sometimes it is just pretzels leaving your body at high velocity.

Don’t we still get to be proud? So some of us puke, and some us have bad knees, and some of us are still intimidated by intense workouts. I know we are supposed to only strive to be better than our past selves, and not make comparisons against those who live in beast mode, and talk about doing our workouts for warmups, but that isn’t always easy. Some of us still struggle through “easy” workouts and secretly worry about being judged. Some of us are maybe one more emotional defeat from throwing away the gym bag and another year off our lives.  Not every day is chock full of motivation, and some days the goals seem so very unattainable.

There just aren’t enough posters to keep me going through days like that. So I made a couple of my own. (I bet some of you hilarious and clever people can do even better. If you do, please share!)

Special thanks to 9Round Oak Creek for being the first place I ever saw this quote (I’ve almost puked there lots of times!)