Lessons, Limits And Fishsickles

     Almost two years ago, I blogged about my health journey. Along with my husband, I travelled the road towards a healthier lifestyle and lost a ton of weight in the process. (I realize that's relative).  I then decided I wanted to be a Figure Athlete and compete in the bodybuilding world. It turned out that that not only had I lost body fat in my journey, I'd lost more than 7 lbs of muscle. Yes, my clothes were smaller, but I had now become "skinny fat". 
     I joined a team, hiring a nutritionist that specialized in the bodybuilding lifestyle and instead of a trainer, I found a coach, someone who could guide me through bodybuilding nutrition and the right training so that I could go from body fat around 26 percent to less than 10 percent. (26 was good. I started at some unmentionable number in the 30s)
     Last year, that plan wasn't to be. I was sidelined by a dance with cancer and about four surgeries that required that I not raise my heart rate the way exercise does at all or lift anything heavier than my phone for about 6 or 7 weeks at a time. The idea of competing never left my head though and instead of just saying "oh well", I Picked myself up and started over. 
       Now, in about two weeks, I'm going to stand naked behind a curtain and let a stranger spray paint my body, don my few custom made scraps of purple glittery, stone encrusted fabric (we call it a suit), along with my clear four inch heels and walk across the stage in The 2016 Empire Classic in Spokane, Washington. I will pose for the judges and do the required quarter turns so that they can see every part of me from the rooter to the tooter and judge my form, symmetry and muscularity with a smile plastered to my face and hope I remember to stand straight and draw in my belly. 
   I am going to compete in two classes, and when it's done,  I'm going to take a short hiatus from my crazy strict dieting and then get back on the horse to do it again about a month later. Yes, I am filled with tremendous doubt. As women, it's what we do. We judge ourselves. Am I skinny enough? Probably not, am I muscular enough? Probably not. Will the judges see the cellulite on my ass? Most definitely. A few years ago, when I was another woman, I might have chickened out because I'm not perfect, but among the things I've learned on this journey is doing this (or anything else) is not about winning, it's about being present. I may not even place in this first competion but I am, most certainly, a better, more fit me than I was before. 

Is this the only lesson? Absolutely not. Of course I will share the others. 

1. This shit is hard. There is a reason they call it a work out, and it's not because it can be physically demanding, but also because we must continue to participate in life, work, mommy hood, wifeDom and all of the other responsibilities we have. In addition, while other people eat pizza, you must eat no more than 6 asparagus spears while you hallucinate that they are pizza. 

2. What goes in must come out. You will always have to pee. Especially when you drink a gallon of water a day. You'll have to pee in meetings, In the car, and in the middle of the night.  Don't wait. But you will have beautiful skin and your hair will grow like gangbusters, and for me, with MUCH less gray. For real. Ask the lady who cuts my hair. 

2A. About that hair thing. It will grow like gangbusters EVERYWHERE, so you must find a good esthetician.)

3. A fishsickle is not about taste. There a few friends who tried to go down this road with me. They complained about the food (a lot of it), complained about the taste. (No sauce, no sugar).,,but when you start to see results, you don't care, these aren't moderate results, but I'm talking being eligible for your AARP card and having to show secondary ID because they don't believe your six pack results. 
  I had a couple of business trips and I packed my food (fish) in individual serving baggies, froze it, then ate it directly out of the bag, pushing it up like a Popsicle. Cold. On a plane. (Ohh ha ---hardcore Marine sound)

4, You can absolutely blog on a moving AMT machine without letting your Heartrate drop below 145. Since you spend a lot of time doing cardio, this can be quite useful. You can't however, blog, run and talk on the phone at the same time, unless you want to end up trending in a gym accident video on the internet.

5. Destination is not a dress size or a weight. There is no destination. It's a journey towards health and feeling good. No jokes here. This is about lowering all you're numbers. This is about running in a race instead of hobbling across the finish line. It's about sprinting up the stairs in heels instead of taking the elevator. It's about  getting on  the treadmill and looking up to realize your daughter and husband are running right next to you. All there, together. Because you do.

6. Tired is not an excuse. You are going to be tired, but you just get to a Point where you Need to know you did everything you were supposed to, and you can just put that tired on the shelf and go forward. Or the cardio machinery moves you forward and you're too damn tired to fight it so you just go to avoid being the aforementioned internet trending gym accident.

7. Food is 70 percent of health. What you eat is REALLY important, and a lot of what we do revolves around food. Bad food. Doesn't mean you won't want a cookie. 

8. Girl Scout cookies are the devil. They will fight their way into your mouth and you will feed bad afterwards, but you can't let a crAck in the road turn into a sinkhole. Forgive yourself and move on. And get back on treadmill. 

9. Your friends will look at you crazy when you bring your own food. EVERYWHERE. But they will forgive you. Eat first before you go, it helps if you aren't hungry. They will also look at you crazy when you can wear your daughter's clothes AND look good in them. Or when you give up sleeves because your arms look better than your daughter's. Or when everyone watches your backside and not because it looks like you twerk when you walk. Or when---ah hell. Just get used to people looking. 

10. You  are not alone. You're not the best. There is always someone better, but you're not the worst either.  One of the biggest lessons is that it's good to appreciate yourself and others. We all have something good about us. And we all have a part of us we hate, but we can never stop trying to make it better. 

11. Your husband will have husband hearing and not hear you, your kids will do what the hell they want. You can't control taxes, the government, what people say or just about anything else, but you can make a choice to be the best you possible. As defined by you. 
You set the toughest criteria for yourself of anyone in your life, and if you can overcome those self-limits, you see that you really can do anything. 


Great blog Nina. Very motivational!!

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