A week before my forty-eighth birthday I removed my rose colored glasses and looked myself in the eye. My upbeat and positive attitudes are a natural extension of the way I see the world and choose to live my life. Most of the time. I met my reflection in the mirror with a sigh. My journey to self-love would not have been possible without a conscious effort to release negative habits of self-sabotage or beating up on myself. Yet, as I squinted at myself in the glare of the overhead bathroom light I admitted that some of those old habits had slipped back into my life. Sigh. Once an emotional overeater always an emotional overeater. Releasing pounds and incorporating exercise didn’t magically erase that tendency in me. There’s no cure only free will. It’s a choice I make every day. Every meal. Every hour. Every minute. And as my commitment to myself slipped so did my decisions. They were apparent in the scale and my lethargy and apathy—I was going through the motions of fitness. That’s all.
I’ve been a CrossFit athlete for a year as of April and I gave myself permission to eat more and move less because I had worked so hard and I deserved a break and my muscles were so sore I could hardly squat to sit on the couch without being a drama queen—ooooowwww! And forget getting up and using my quads or glutes until I was direly close to peeing my pants! I never combined my CrossFit workouts with healthy eating and balanced activity the rest of the week. I did the workouts. I did not quit. I am stronger. I did not gain twenty pounds because I was doing CrossFit three times a week. I did gain ten, and no they are not muscles. I’d have to grow Mr. Universe type muscles to account for a weight gain from muscle mass! A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same but muscles take up less space, a lot less space under your skin. This is why muscles make your body look toned and firm instead of jiggly. I'm stronger but I'm still jiggly!
The decision I made staring at my hopeful face was that I was done with being stuck; stuck in the cycle of feeling negative and eating to feel better and feeling worse and eating some more to feel better. It. Doesn’t. Work. I was done with being stuck and choosing to move forward. Again. Yes, again. And instead of seeing the negative aspects of starting again I chose to celebrate any step forward I was willing to make to get out of the quagmire. Serendipitously the timing of my self-talk coincided with the release a week later of ActiveLink from Weight Watchers. I don’t depend entirely on external motivators to nudge or lead me back on course because internal data is more vital to me: how I feel, my happiness quota, an increased energy level, craving protein instead of carbs! But I was excited by the challenge this tool represented and intrigued to see if it tracked as lauded. (We’ve been employee guinea pigs, reporting our experiences before it becomes available to our members.)
After an eight day assessment Active Link labeled me an ‘occasional athlete’ and encouraged me to move more consistently throughout my day. I don’t earn activity points only for ‘workouts’ but for all my activity combined all day by using a technology similar to that used in a Wii controller to track movement. Cool, eh? The ActiveLink graphs show my activity each hour (and minute if I want that much detail!) and I saw that when I was immersed in work on the computer I could sit for several hours without moving or being in the green (the darker the green the more intense the activity). Fascinating! It took me a week to get the hang of being active consistently instead of long periods of sitting. I was determined to meet the daily challenge of four activity points which would slowly increase to five over the twelve week challenge. Now I’m setting my timer for fifty minutes of work and then I row for five or walk for ten or perform home-caring tasks like vacuuming or sweeping. In the evening if my hubby and I watch a movie I jump on the treadmill for a couple miles while I’m watching and the miles fly by.
After almost a month I’m grinning in the mirror and cheering, I did it! I’m halfway to releasing those extra ten pounds! Woohoo! I am finding balance in CrossFit workouts, swimming, walking, and biking. Summer weather has encouraged us as a family to dive into a friend’s pool to stay active and we are swimming three to four days a week. My husband has a knee injury but found that swimming has helped strengthen his legs so he’s able to walk a little further a little faster each time we walk. My husband and our daughter have been my tireless cheerleaders and I am so blessed to have their love and support and for all of us to be committed to our best health and wellness.
Yes, I started again. I’m happily moving forward again, but it’s still not all downhill and those uphill days are tough but I have tools and accountability in place to help me succeed. Do I think for a nanosecond this will be the last time I start again? No. No way! As long as life keeps gifting me with opportunities I will keep practicing free will and will stop and start again as many times as it takes to continue this journey. Sharing with you dear reader was another start: starting to write again and showing up to the page. Authentically. Consistently. Wholeheartedly. And I have you to thank for the gift of that opportunity—thank you for starting with me each time you read my words.
I’d be honored to hear what you’ve stopped in your life and what or who was a mirror for you to get you started…again.