Phase One

gym

So it turns out I am super moody. Also I respond really terribly to obstacles and unexpected setbacks.

One month ago I started a weight lifting program in an attempt to jump-start a new level of attention to my physical health and all those aspects of self that are connected to it. I was…dubious about my own abilities. On the other hand, I actually added several elements to the program. I doubled a few of the lifting days since I’d been lifting with those muscles twice a week for several months. The program involves no cardio for the first phase (four weeks long), but I had already been working on running so I decided to continue doing so three days a week. I also added daily core/hip/low back/glute routines because I need to continue working these areas to avoid re-aggravating a past injury. I cleared the modified program with a physical trainer, my physical therapist friend, and my therapist. Because thorough.

It’s been a roller coastery kind of month. Here are some highlights:

  • Week two I hurt my shoulder/lats/neck – I hurt my entire frakking left side. Another physical therapist friend (thank GOD for these people) worked on me for about an hour, gave me some exercises to do…and told me I had to decrease the weight I was lifting. I also had to stop doing the daily low back/core work because there was too much constant strain on these areas. After working for months before starting this program to build up my lifting weight, I was pretty discouraged. As in, I rage ranted in my head for days and considered quitting entirely for the better part of a week. My therapist thinks I have “an issue with all or nothing thinking.”
  • Because I am possibly the worst introvert on the planet, I’ve continued to struggle with keeping my schedule clear for weeknight workouts. This has led to more nights than not of managing to complete the core program but none of the added elements. Rather than more clearly communicating my boundaries to friends, I’ve continued to try to please everyone. For the past few weeks I’ve grown increasingly frustrated and even resentful, screaming in my head for everyone to just leave me alone!! As I am the only person who can actually control the time I spend, I know the responsibility is on me to be better about saying no. At the same time, doing so leaves me feeling guilty and like I am disappointing the people I love. This is not a sustainable way to move forward.
  • I’m mildly terrified of the “big gym.” I work out at a gym with a small, separate room for women. Genius marketing, really. They have basic cardio equipment, a few weight machines, a cable system, and some free weights. But there are a lot of machines I need that aren’t in this room. But I’ve refused to venture into the “scary big gym” – mostly because everyone grunts and glares and growls and seems angry to be there (I know I am angry to be there). But I’m starting to suspect that it is actually harder to modify exercises so I can do everything in the women’s gym than it would be to just suck it up and go find the machine that I need. The truth is, I just plain feel out of place and stupid. I don’t belong there. I’m by far the least fit looking person in the room. I don’t know how to use half of the damn contraptions. Most of the cable hooks are literally so far above my head I can’t reach them (snicker all you want, jerks).
  • Eating as many vegetables and drinking as much water as you should in a day is nigh impossible. Keeping my sodium and sugar intake below the maximum is like a part-time job. I miss cheese.

When I think about the past four weeks, these are the things that come to mind. Do you know what doesn’t make the list?

  • I’ve stayed within my calorie limits all but three or four days total.
  • I’ve lost four pounds in four weeks (bringing the grand total since September to 34).
  • I’ve passed my first major weight loss goal and am well on my way to the second.
  • My lifting weights have now passed what they were when I started, despite the shoulder set-back.
  • As we move into spring, I have a growing pile of clothes I can’t wear anymore because they are so big.
  • I’ve not missed a single workout as laid out in this program.

I started this whole thing almost exactly a year ago. An old injury flared up in a bad way, and one of my PT friends told me that my weight and weak core were major contributing factors. At the same time I met someone who is young and fit but had recently been diagnosed with a life-changing illness, one he will have to orient his physical life around completely. The way he talked about processing, dealing with, and moving forward truly inspired me (cheesy as that sounds). A friend was moving away as well, and when we went to the coffee shop where we’d spent out first date together we had someone take a picture of us. When she sent me my copy I cringed. I hated that I was more embarrassed by the picture than I was happy it existed.

This week, a few pictures were taken of me with a friend’s new babies (yep, plural). My first reaction when I saw them was total excitement at having these tiny little people in my arms. Then I realized I didn’t hate seeing myself in the pictures. I didn’t cringe. I wasn’t embarrassed. I wasn’t even the point in the images. The tiny humans were the point, and I didn’t distract myself from that by being in them.

So, okay. Monday I start Phase Two. It adds in four days of cardio, which will be a definite challenge. I simply have to move into the scary gym, so I’ve asked a muscley friend who works out there to walk me through the machines I’ll need so I can just get the hell over it (I can speak in front of three hundred people but I can’t lift weights in a room with twenty who aren’t paying any attention to me??). I’m aware of the need to simply say “no” to any weeknight plans. At all. And I am recommitting to addressing some of these mental challenges regarding progress, the value of self-care, and my right to these boundaries. I have been overwhelmed by the support of my friends in this. With that continued encouragement, and a helluva lot of mental rewiring, we might just finish this thing.

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2 Comments

  1. Adiel said,

    May 10, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Woo-hoo! You’re doing great! I’m terrible at the whole “slow and steady thing” but it really is best when it comes to physical health. I’m so impressed with you and your results! Keep at it, girl!

  2. krucks said,

    May 10, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    You Go Girl! Many years ago I faced that “scared of the Big Weight Room” fear. I even wrote a paper on it for my grad class! Turned out, as you stated, the rest of the crowd in there either didn’t care or had their own insecurities, no matter what their physical bodies looked like. Ironically, I think I ended up being intimidating to some of them, simply because of my persistence. And you sure have that going for you! Love you!


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