Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cheat Days and Rest Days

I don't do cheat days.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with cheat days. I'm just saying I don't do them.
My cheat day becomes cheat days. My cheat days turn into Cheat weeks. Next thing I know I'm spending a whole day in bed watching Hugh Grant movies eating my weight in European Chocolate and Hot Pockets (Which I don't even like anyway.)
So I don't do cheat days.

When it comes to exercising, I don't like rest days. 
Now this isn't necessarily a good thing. After a few days of really hard workouts, it's really good to take a day to recover. But I hate it. I get agitated and bored and anxious. Last week with CrossFit I went every single day and then took a break on Sunday. I don't know what happened, but when Monday rolled around, I could NOT get myself to go to the box. And I started to get anxiety. All day I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:
"Just get up and go to the box. You'll feel better after you do a WOD."
"I know."
"Well then what's the problem."
"I don't know. I just..."
"You just what?"
"Don't want to go today."
"You're losing interest already!?"
"Typical you would give up so easily. Especially after telling everyone that it changed your life. You might as well go eat some HobNobs."
"Don't be silly. WAIT. We still have HobNobs?"
"Yeah, I think so. Back of the pantry. Do you want some?"
"Sigh. No. It's not worth the burpees I'll have to do to work them off."
"So are you going to go to the Box?"
I didn't go. And it really upset me. I mean, I was really disappointed in myself. Only because I was worried that I had already given up. So I promised myself I'd go Tuesday.
So I woke up and as I've developed the habit, looked up the WOD on the website. 
It was the Filthy Fifties. NOOOOOO! 
"I should have gone yesterday so I could skip today!"
"You can always skip again. Nobody will know."
"Shut up, Brain."
Now for you who don't know what the Filthy Fifties are, they are one of the crossfit WODs that is known by all Crossfit Boxes. And it kicks your butt.
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double undersLook it up on Youtube. It's intense.
I seriously had to psyche myself up all day to go. I knew it was going to be hard. I saw something about Cross Fit once that "If you're not scared of your workout, it's not hard enough for you."
So I went to Crossfit and did the filthy fifty.
And it was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. No joke. I didn't think I could do it. I got to the point where I just stood there and thought: I physically can't do anything more. I had done my stupid 50 burpees (and wanted to die) and I just couldn't do my push press or my Jumping Pull ups. (I did mine a little out of order.) And then I remembered something my brother-in-law said about difficult WODs that kicked something into gear for me. 
"One rep at a time."
Somehow, something kicked in and I finished those last two sets. And you know what else? I cried the entire time. (I'm laughing right now realizing how ridiculous I must have looked.) But it was like after last week's fire and excitement had worn off, all this emotion I had been welling up for months just came out at that moment and I just cried! And I cried all the way home.  
And this morning, Tuesday, I was back to killing my WOD and pushing myself to limits I didn't know I was capable of reaching.
Post my filthy fifties

So next time you're having a bad day, or a negative day, have it. Then the next day, take that negativity and use it to fuel whatever you're trying to accomplish. I need to remember that. And I need to learn how to let my rest days not be a stumble in my momentum. But I'm fine without cheat days.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How this week, and Crossfit, have changed my life.

It's been a long time since I consistently blogged. I like blogging, but this last school year was more intense than you could possibly believe. My mom is amazed at how much time I spend on campus and keeps saying with the time I'm putting in, I should have been a med student, not a theater student. I reply that I like to cut fabric, not people. :)

I have had one of the most remarkable weeks of my life. 

Let me explain. (And I can never do so quickly.)

Now I don' talk about this much with those not close to me, but before Germany I was in a really bad relationship. I'm not going to go into much detail about why, but I will simply say, I was stupid and not in love, but I was obsessed and devoted and because of that and they way he responded and used that, I came out broken. Ran to Germany to get away. (Life lesson learned: you can't run away from your problems even if you run away to another continent.) 

I broke even more. 

The situation I was in when I Au Paired in Germany was just a bad situation. Again, there is too much to go into. 
But I didn't just come out even more broken (which I didn't know was possible) I came out with a severe depression. (Life lesson learned: depression is a real thing and not as easy to escape as people think) 
I once heard someone say that by the time I had been through the ringer of the relationship followed immediately by the time in Germany (almost two year span of time) I came home a hollow shell of someone who had been Mandee. No more light, no more life, just someone who had spent the last part of her life trying to emotionally survive day to day. 

Before Germany I had (I think) healthily (is that a word?) gotten my weight down to 135. I had never weighed that little since Junior High. I'm just a stocky girl. I am. I am very bottom heavy, and fighting weight gain has always been a a know what? No. It has been a full out spartan war for my adult life. People are usually shocked at how much I weigh and tell my i carry my weight well. But emotionally I don't. My sisters are all beautiful small girls, and I'm the tall, big, clumsy elephantine sister in the china shop. Ha. Or at least that's how I've felt. So when I got down to 135, I felt and looked good. 
In the six months I was in Germany, I gained 30 pounds. (Bratwurst, Pommes Frites, Gelato, European cheeses, etc plus depression plus no exercise equals weight gain which equals more depression.)
I came home from Germany, like I said, a hollow shell. 
My sister's husband got interested in Cross Fit about the time I moved home from Germany, and I thought the people in the videos he showed me were insane. But it was cool they could do that. 
Over the next four years I struggled with my weight. I tried so many things. I tried weight watchers (which only kind of helped me. And just for a little while) and I tried different workouts and running and what felt like starving myself and I just couldn't do it. My weight went up and down and up and down and so did my confidence. My depression didn't last much past coming home from Germany. Being home with my family and getting back into theater really helped. But I resolved that I was never going to be the person I was when I got home from India, before I started dating "him," and Germany. 

Fast forward to summer 2010. 
I studied in London. It was the happiest I'd been in 2 years. I felt my potential. I had a target, to get my bachelor's and get into Grad School in London. 
It has been my "dream" since I got home. This last school year was harder than you could possibly imagine. I don't think people in the world understand how demanding it is to a-) be a college theater student. And b-) be a theater design student. 
Let's out it this way: I usually left for school around 8. I got home around 1. In the morning. Sometimes not till 4. And sometimes I didn't come home. (Dressing rooms have showers). And when I say I usually did this, I mean 98% of my semester was this way. I spent the hours I was home catching a little sleep and mostly trying to get homework done. Saturdays were spent at the costume shop. Sundays were for homework, which I am against, because religiously for me, I believe in keeping the sabbath day holy which for me means no homework, work, working out, etc. 

Recently I weighed myself and I was 2 pounds away from a weight I swore I would never reach. I was up to 198. I never in my entire life had reached that weight. 

I can't express the emotional turmoil of being overweight. Some of you understand how I feel, others of you don't. That's just how it is. I watched a friend of mine (Jackson Carter) battle his weight on this last season of Biggest Loser and felt inspired, and I tried and failed again. I'd tried everything. Or it felt that way. 

The problem was more than the way I looked, which WAS one of the reasons I was so unhappy. But it was more than that. I felt bad. I felt weak and unfit and unhealthy. I didn't fit in most of my clothes. This summer was supposed to be about getting my life in order. And I was doing a piss poor job at it. (My mom won't like that I used piss poor, sorry mom.) The last school year had knocked me so out of whack, I just...couldn't get back into gear. I just felt like every time I tried to get back on top, life was a big bully and pushed me back to the ground.

My cousin, Erica, and her husband, Aaron, recently opened with a friend, a new cross fit box. (Http:// 
They kept asking me to join but all I knew was cross fit was for crazies who liked pull ups and heavy things. Like my brother in law and my sister. Don't get me wrong, my sister and her husband looked AMAHZING, but they were crazy. :) but I was still intrigued and I still wanted to try it. Erica and Aaron asked me to join their box and I just didn't have the money. 

So I continued to try to get my life in order. And I continued to gain weight and to fail. 

I sang at a benefit for my cousin's little boy who is battling leukemia last week. (Reiss Timothy, if you google him you can find his blog) I had nothing to wear. Rather trivial when your cousin's family is facing cancer, but also doesn't change the fact that I had nothing to wear, because all my "nice clothes" just did not fit. 
I discussed this with my mother in tears. Embarrassed about who I'd become and the only way I could cope with it was to become apathetic towards myself and have no goals and motivation. I was numb.

On the 3 hour drive home from the benefit, my sister and her husband talked to my parents about Crossfit and what it had done for them and what it was. (I drove separate with my pianist). Something clicked in my mom. She saw how inspired Celena and Kevin had become, what changes they had made to their lives and how healthy and fit they were living. And she remembered my tears and words and self loathing from the day before. 
My mom sat me down the next day (a week ago) and told me about what Celena and Kevin had said. 
It came down to this: she wanted me to try crossfit. 
So I did. Monday morning I woke up and went to the block. Aaron and Erica were so excited to see me. I had showed up for the women's class and it kicked my butt. But it pushed me. And there was or major thing. 
I didn't quit. 
And it felt amazing. 

This week has been the most amazing week I can ever remember. I have done our box's WODs every day. I have been sore, I have been tired, and I've been pushed to my max at times. But there are a few things that have also happened. 
I haven't wanted to quit. And I haven't. 
I have accomplished things I didn't know I was capable of. 
I haven't focused on my weight at all. 
And I feel amazing. 
I have followed an healthy eating regimen all week, and it hasn't been hard at all. Because it helps me improve on my crossfit. Seriously. I haven't had sugar, dairy, or wheat in a week and I feel so good. 
I wish I could express to you how much crossfit has done for me in a week, but I can't. But I will tell you this:
My sister Celena was visiting and she went with me this morning. (I wasn't going to go this morning, I wanted to rest) but I thought it would be fun to WOD with my sister so I went. 
We had a blast. 
It was a partner WOD and we tore it up!!! We couldn't let the teenage boys beat us, so we pushed ourselves and even went farther and did more, and still had the best time. (I couldn't have finished the run if she hadn't been there to push me.) 
Afterwards at home we were talking an she just looked at me and hugged me and said, "It feels so good to have my sister back." She commented that I haven't been me since Germany and the stuff before that. And I didn't realize it, and I can't explain it, people. But this week has changed my life.
I've heard so many knock cross fit and call it stupid and herd mentality and a joke and it doesn't work and it's a bunch of meatheads etc. etc. etc. 
Okay. First of all, it does work. Trust me.
Second of all: I don't know what your experience is, but I do know what mine is. It has given me my light and my life back. It has brought something back in me that has been missing for a long time. I finally feel like me again. 
And I'm determined to keep it and I'm determined to share it with people. Because even if this inspires one person out there to find what I found, then mission accomplished.  

If a week ago you told me I could squat 150 lbs, I would have laughed in your face. Heck if you had told me 10 minutes before this pic was taken I'd be doing that much I would have laughed at you. 

Sisters getting it done
Can't stop sister power

Finished strong thanks to Celena

We may look happy, but at that moment I wanted to puke, pee my pants, and then die, but feeling incredibly accomplished.