Here is the next installation of Mel's story.
I find myself learning a lot of things right now, about myself, about
my body and my mind and my health.
Until recently my ‘long term health goals’ have included, “Get
my health back. Repair abdominal muscles. Lose baby weight (and then some).
Live a 100% paleo lifestyle. Go back to CROSSFIT!’ Recently though,
something has changed. A lot of things have changed, actually. Now, I
find myself learning some things about myself, my body, my MIND and how
my long term goals don’t necessarily add up to my ultimate goal
which is to live a happy and healthy lifestyle, mind, body, and soul.
I feel like I should preface all of my recent revelations by saying this
is in no way an anti-crossfit/paleo post or position. It’s more
of a realization, about myself.
“I don’t want to take my new mindset, body, and lifestyle and
try to shove it in to the same old equation.”
I recently said this to my best friend while I was trying to explain/talk
out/figure out these feelings I was having about my new health journey.
The best way that I can explain this is that I don’t want to take
all this new self discovery, post surgery body, and new ideas about what
it means to be healthy and plug it into the idea that I had about what
healthy was, three and a half years ago. As I talked about in my last
blog post, before getting pregnant I had embarked on a lifestyle overhaul
that ended with me losing 85 pounds, putting my fibromyalgia into remission
and adopting a strict paleo-crossfit lifestyle. I felt strong and I was
happy and healthy. Since that time I have continuously tried to plug that
same formula to get the same results. But I’ve had an injury since
stopping crossfit, so my workouts were compromised, my health was compromised.
My fibro symptoms returned, we’ve moved 3 times, and I had a kid
– all factors that have made it difficult financially and also physically
to maintain such a strict way of eating and exercising. At first, I was
frustrated. And I stayed that way for a long time. I kept trying to “do
all the right things” but they weren’t working in a way that
I had come to know and trust. In that time I saw myself growing more and
more obsessive and also reckless with my food, sleep, and activity choices.
Since starting this new journey I’ve learned that I really struggle
with food in ways I had never really pinned down. I’ve also started
to see that I struggle with exercise too.
The crossfit-paleo balance “worked” for me because it gave
me constant, immediate, changing results by which I could measure both
my progress and my strength. But the things I DIDN’T realize that
it brought out in me are things that are important for me to take into
account on my journey to my healthiest me yet. For me, Crossfit:
*Is something that fuels my obsessive nature
*Encourages my competitiveness (against myself) in a way that is TOO extreme
for my optimum health
*Is dangerous because sometimes I push too hard and am very likely to suffer an injury
*Doesn’t make me healthier emotionally
*Burns calories and fat and leads to weight loss but not to FUFILMENT
I’m trying to learn not to quit when something isn’t immediately
easy or natural for me, and in a way, crossfit is. I really understand
how to go in, throw my body around, work hard, not give up, and walk away
feeling accomplished. I’ve mastered my BODY in that way –
I can push hard and I am strong. But for me, that comes at a cost. Sometimes
its injury. Sometimes its anxiety. Sometimes its really negative self-talk.
Sometimes its obsession. I’m starting to not only learn, but accept,
that this isn’t my definition of health.
So recently, I’ve declared, “I don’t want to go back
to crossfit. Not now, or soon, or maybe even ever.” And for me,
this is a huge step. Like I said before, its not because I don’t
think crossfit is great – for some people. I just think its not
great for me and there are other ways of becoming healthy and maintaining
that health. So I’ve committed to figuring out different things
that challenge me physically, that maybe aren’t “easy”
right away, but that are what I need not only to lose weight but to help
me grow in the areas where I need it most. I need to learn commitment
without obsession. I need to learn to be calm. I need to learn BALANCE
and how to let go of my all or nothing mentality. I need to learn to slow
down instead of just going BALLs to the WALL until I collapse. I’ve
really started to accept (and trust) that strength and health and fitness
can come from less painful/dangerous/stressful places and still be AMAZING
for your body. Three months in physical therapy taught me that. My muscles
in my stomach were ruined. Separated. Weak. Now? Well, suffice it to say
I got discharged from physical therapy and I feel STRONG for the first
time in over 3 years. I feel more toned and fit than I have in a long time.
When I was doing crossfit, even when I started at the weight I am now,
I could throw this body around. I could DO the work. And I maybe would
have gone right back to it after having my daughter, but my injuries FORCED
me to slow down and I resisted that and hated it so much. But now, I am
thankful. So thankful. It has brought me to places and realizations that
I never would have reached on my own, without these injuries. And because
of those revelations I am actively working towards a HEALTHY relationship
with food (not just 100% diet compliance to whatever works). I am actively
working towards a HEALTHY relationship with exercise (not just balls to
the wall, no pain no gain, stress stress stress.) and its leading me to
great places. Next month I’m starting PiYo (pilates meets yoga)
because its GENTLE and HARD but healthier (for me). I’m working
on changing my attitude every day about how I look at fitness and exercise.
I don’t want to just go to the gym, work crazy hard, collapse, and
be done for the day. I want to center. I want to improve balance and strength
so that throughout my whole day I notice my new level of fitness. I want
to do PiYo, yes, but also I want to hike, walk, swim, bike, stretch, climb,
all of it. Those are the things that I CRAVE to do, and somehow it never
occurred to me on my “health journey” to make those things
part of my ROUTINE. Incorporating those things will make me both FIT and FUFILLED.
There are two MAJOR differences between this new leg of my journey to health
and my previous journey (pre-pregnancy and pre-bariatric program). One
is that this new journey is SLOWER. My last experience, at 3 months in,
I had lost about 45 pounds. I was on a roll. It was immediate, non stop
results. And while part of me wishes this could be instantaneous (I have
NO patience!) this SLOW process is what has allowed for the second major
difference and that is REAL growth. Mentally, emotionally, physically.
I’m growing as a person. I’m learning. I’m changing.
And to me, the slower pace is really worth all that because the lessons
I firmly believe the lessons I’m learning (accepting, tripping over,
struggling with etc) are so very valuable and they are the pieces of the
puzzle that will make this a life-long change instead of a “quick
fix.” I am not just changing my body this time, but all of me, and
that makes every struggle I have had in getting here, and every tough
growing pain during pre-op so worth it.