Fat Chick at a Fitness Conference 

Last week I was on a once in a lifetime trip to New York for the annual Anytime Fitness conference.

I say again, F-I-T-N-E-S-S conference.

Never in my wildest daydreams would I have ever thought that this would be my life. And certainly people who’ve known me a long time would agree. It’s wild times for me, for sure. When I first started this blog in 2013 I was so lost. I had no ideas about where I was headed. All I knew is that I was in pain and writing helped. I knew I needed to change, but I did not know how or where to start.
Fast forward to September 2016, and here is my view from the lodge I stayed at in Lake Placid…as a fitness professional.

What do I want to say about my experience last week?
How do I begin? Where do I start?
Do I start with the amazing and surreal sights and sounds of my 24 hours in New York City, before we headed up state?
Do I dig deep into my wanna-be-writer soul and try to describe how magical and soul stirring it was to be in the Olympic village at Lake Placid, where our conference was held? In the actual ice rink where the “miracle on ice” happened in 1980, one of the biggest sports upsets of all time?
Do I start with the intense gratitude I have for my boss’s, my team, my gym members, my friends, my family, my babies and my husband??? For everything everyone’s done to provide for me, inspire me, push me and encourage me to get to this awesome point in time of my life?
No.
I’ll start with the REAL, less impressive, corners of my heart. That place deep down in the bellows of your guts that threatens to show up and ruin everything you’ve worked hard for with just a few seeds of doubt and shame. Yes, I’ll start there. Because it doesn’t matter where I’m at, or what I’m doing…when the mind starts traveling down that road of negative thinking, nothing else matters. And I know we’ve all been there.

You see, I’m still fat. Forget that I’ve lost 111lbs. To people who don’t know me, I’m still obese. 310 pounds is still ALOT. And that’s the number I carried around with me, and stuffed into airplane seats and restaurant chairs and yoga workout pants while I was gone.
My body is in this weird, middle earth realm of being smaller, stronger and more effiencient…but also (with weight still to lose) still big, and jiggly.  And with the weight loss I’ve had, I’m starting to have skin droop and sag. It’s just the way it is.  There’s no getting around that, I’d rather have that to deal with then where I was at before.

I know it’s TMI, but I’m just keeping it real people. This is the real life account of my “extreme weight loss” and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows!! Some of this is really weird and hard and I understand now why it must take so long to truly transform!! It is a grueling process and the mind takes time to catch up with the changes of your body and vice versa.

Ultimately, my goal is health and FEELING good, and be able to actively live my life.  So, the cosmetic stuff doesn’t really bother me.  Especially when I’m in my bubble where everyone knows me!

Here at home, everyone at our gyms knows ME. They know my story.  They’ve seen me work out.  They know what I’m capable of, and I walk around with complete confidence in my leadership there.  That is why I was unprepared for how my insecurity would start to creep in and feel at our conference.

Being in a group of hundreds (at least 1,000?) trainers and fitness professionals who didn’t know me left me feeling pretty vulnerable.  But I know better!!! I kept telling myself that this is what all of these people are passionate about! Not one person was rude to me or weird to me! The battle was all within my head.  Which leads me to my triumphant moment friends.  You knew there would be one!

The Saturday afternoon before we left, there was a group workout planned so that we could attempt to break three world records. The records we attempted were the most people doing a simultaneous 1 minute plank, 1 minute of squats and 1 minute of jumping jacks.  The squats and the planks I was not worried about.  But I have NEVER done unmodofied jumping jacks becuase I can’t jump on my feet! The pounding is too hard and my body so heavy.  But, in order to qualify for the world record, each person has to do a perfect, unmodofied version of each exercise without stopping for the full minute.

It was a conundrum.

I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS.  I was silently agonizing over having to do it.  Worried I would fail miserably.  Do I sit out? Do I let my team down and refuse to do this workout that will surely end in my shame and humiliation? Do I surrender to that nagging negative voice that had been pestering me the whole time we were there, saying you DONT BELONG HERE?

Well first of all, my team wouldn’t have let me sit out so that wasn’t an option.  And secondly, I thought about all of my people!! All of my members at my gym at home who love me and whom I feel in some small way I represent.  I decided I’d try my best for THEM.  And so I did. And you know what? I was able to do all three.


LONGEST three minutes of my life, but I did it.  I could do it all along.  And in that three minutes it didn’t matter what my body looks like or all my dumb feelings…all I knew is that I had DONE THE THING.

One of the best feelings of my life, I’ll never forget it.  I was so proud of myself for not surrending to that old mindset that would have robbed me of being a part of breaking world records with my team.  After the workout, the trainer who was leading us from up front ran down to the grass and created a huddle with us all around.  He yelled,”Do you feel that?! This is why we do what we do. It’s magical! It’s tangible!” And I broke down and finally cried.

But, tears of joy!

It doesn’t matter who knows what about me.  I know how far I’ve come and am excited about where I’m going.  And it’s been announced that next years conference is in Palm Springs. 🙂

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Fat Chick Attempting Yoga: Part 2

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I just mopped my kitchen floor without having to take a break. Just months ago it hurt my lower back so bad I would have to sit and rest. As would doing a full sink of dishes, or chopping onions, garlic and veggies for meals. I somehow managed to get stuff done, but I was a hot mess, constantly covered in sweat and headed for bigger disaster.

Confession: during this dark season, I squandered my time home with my baby girl before she began kindergarten. (That’s probably why the day she started school was such a turning point for me.) I would bustle about half asleep making breakfast and lunches and send my son off to school, only to close the door and let Disney Junior raise her for a few hours while I flopped myself onto the couch under a blanket to sleep until lunchtime. I will regret it for the rest of my life, the time I robbed myself and my kids from having a functional mommy. The time I robbed from my husband, being lazy while he had no choice but to go to work to provide for us, trusting that I was holding down the fort.

My everyday life was plagued with pain and feelings of despair. I truly hated who I was and what I had become. I began this blog as a means to sift through my feelings of depression and DO SOMETHING about it. I also wanted people to know that this is REAL life…let’s be honest about this stuff!! Why are we all pretending to have it together???! My blog became my prayer journal. I’ve wrestled through a lot on these pages…I never thought I’d really see a day when the energy would shift.

Two years ago I tried yoga for the first time and the experience was…well…memorable.

(you can read that post here: https://mandimonblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/fat-chick-attempting-yoga-part-1/ )

But now, after 5 months of balanced eating (still learning!) and almost daily workouts, I’ve been feeling so good…I decided to try it again.

40 pounds lost sure doesn’t seem to be showing quite yet on my body, but I tell you it CERTAINLY does on a yoga mat!
I was able to do the entire hour session and even though I had to modify some moves, it felt amazing.

Unlike the first time, when I was so ashamed and disgusted, I was free. Before, I was desperate to be in any other body than my own. This time, I felt strong, proud and willing to push myself. (And, I am still OVER 300 pounds! Whew, that was scary to type! But it’s REAL.) The instructor kept saying, “This is about acceptance…accepting your body as it is, and appreciating it.”

For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that is true. I appreciate this body. It has worked hard for me even under abuse and distress. I am learning to accept who I am and am learning what I am capable of. My mantra has become, “if I don’t lose another pound or inch…as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’m successful!”

For those of you who are like I was, and are thinking you don’t have the time, or don’t think you’re worth the time…thinking maybe it would be robbing your kids, family or job of your attention…or setting this time aside for yourself is being selfish or vain, consider this:

You are robbing them NOW.
You are cheating them NOW.
You’re ABUSING yourself and cheating yourself, RIGHT NOW! And its not how we’re meant to live!

The time you spend devoted, dedicated and committed to hating yourself is the SAME time and energy that becomes devoted, dedicated and committed to loving yourself.
Which only benefits and blesses those that you love.

The way our babies watch us hate ourselves is tragic. They are watching and listening. Learning from us how to care for themselves. I can’t turn back time and erase it, but I have changed the course we were on.

This is more than attaining a certain pant size, it is getting my life back. It is mopping my floor and playing with my kids. It is being able to hold a warrior pose when I couldn’t before.

It is being able to honor all those days I robbed from myself and my family, and making the most of the ones ahead.

Balance

For someone who is a self-realized extremist, an “all or nothing” mentality has been the way I’ve approached most things. Nothing being the most common outcome, at least as far as my health and fitness was concerned.

Its been easy to get stoked and declare big plans in the past only to fizzle out quickly. It’s just not realistic to live the rest of your life eating nuts and leaves or consuming only juiced vegetables and fruits. I am the person who watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and immediately declared a 30 day juice fast that lasted about 9 hours. I am the guy that has tried to cut out whole entire food groups and expected miracles. I have mixed drinks and shakes and supplements of every kind, variety and flavor. Every effort was made to cut through the lengthy process that would be inevitable to reach extreme results. All attempts ending in the same way, disappointment and eventual surrender. This time feels different because it is different.

If there was one word that I had to choose to sum up what I’ve had to keep learning over and over and OVER, and repeat as a sort of mantra the past 4 months, it would be BALANCE.

“Balance” has been the hardest concept to embrace and put into practice and is probably why all of my previous attempts at a life change were fleeting. Consistency requires balance. It’s my trainer, Rachel’s favorite word. She reminds me constantly that this whole thing is all about balance. It’s the only way I survived the holidays without throwing in the towel.

There are going to be chocolate days. There are going to be stay in jammies and watch endless movie days. But now there are also work out days, and clean eating days. Cardio days and strength training days.

And this is my life now. No more going from one extreme to the other.

Just like I’m learning to eat the proper balance of macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) for the results I want, I’m also learning the proper balance between the physical effort, spiritual effort and soul effort that this journey requires. It is just as important for me to enjoy a meal cooked with love and butter and a glass of wine with friends, as it is to have a protein shake on a weekday morning. It is just as important for me to make time for writing, art and expression as it is to make time for prayer and meditation. Self-care is HUGELY important and may actually be the key to all that I’m accomplishing. And isn’t that so hard for us?? To take proper care of ourselves without feeling selfish or vain?

Every time I feel myself getting hyper about the scale not budging as quickly as I’d like it to, or the size of my pants not dropping dramatically, I am reminded that I’m learning balance and self care. It restores my focus. Even if I never lose another pound, if I can continue to practice balance, there’s no way I can lose.

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>>New adventure<<

&andshelivedhappilyeverafter

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