May is Mental Health Awareness Month and has been observed in the United States since 1949. I never put much thought or effort into Mental Health until February of this year (2018) when a severe panic attack (that I thought was a stroke), in a public space, landed me slumped over the trunk of a strangers car, in a parking lot, depending on the help of strangers.
I’d decided to take a day off work and, unknowingly, wrote this piece (as a way to release stress) on the morning of the day the panic attack happened.
TAKING A DAY
So I’m taking a day,
and I hope that’s ok, with you.
Because I’ve been feeling down,
and your advice to just turn it around isn’t..helping.
And yes, I AM STRONG..I know I’m a soldier,
but time brings about a change and I’m wiser, and older.
So I know without action, there is no change.
I’m gonna take me a day and get all in my feelings,
This post was really difficult for me to share. I sat on it for almost a week. It’s amazing how comfortable we allow ourselves to become within labels. The biggest challenge in this, for me, is leveling up once I lose the label.
A Week of Realizations
On Monday of last week the workout was weighted squats, then we did thrusters (from a squat) and kettle bell high pulls. For some reason reading the workout on the board was a lot for me to digest. But it ended up not being too strenuous, and I worked up a sweat pretty quickly once I got going.
The weather was a nice, and the gym had a community atmosphere. It’s nice to see whole families, and children around, happy and thriving, on a nice day after a good workout.
We did a partner workout on Wednesday. I’m still al little intimidated with partner workouts, cause I never want to fall short for my partner. We did deadlifts, work on the rower, and kettle bell swings.
I’ve discovered that rowing has replaced running as the one movement/exercise I absolutely hate. Don’t tell my trainer I’m saying this, but I’d much rather run than row these days. Ultimately, the workout was good. I worked up a good sweat, and it was nice to be able to rest between movements. He programmed the workout so one person would be resting while the other did the movements. I was happy that I didn’t fall behind and was able to keep pace with my partner.
Losing the Label
My clothes fit loose now, and I’m starting to get complements on my weight loss. I purchased some new workout clothes and was talking with one of my gym-mates about feeling insecure in the outfit I’d just bought. I made the statement, “You know big girls can’t wear everything.”
She replied to me, “No, you’re ok. It looks just fine…and, you’re not a big girl.” I brushed off the comment, finished my workout and didn’t think much about it. Then, the following day when I dropped my children off at daycare the Director made a statement about me not needing to lose anymore weight. Seriously, what are they seeing that I’m not?
As with most things, I took this opportunity to do some self reflection and self evaluation. I can’t really say that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, because I haven’t weighed myself in a very long time. But my clothes have become too big and I see the change in the mirror.
I’m not a “big girl” anymore, am I?
I mean, the outfit that I was feeling self conscious about wearing was an outfit that I got from the Juniors section. I can actually fit Nike athletic gear off the rack, and I can pass the towel test. You know, when you’re able to wrap a regular sized towel around your whole body!
But, in my mind, I represent for the Big girls! That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it’s gonna be. Right?
I realize that holding on to the “big girl” label is self-sabatoging and something I need to work on. Luckily for me, I have belly fat, inner thigh fat, and some pretty unhealthy eating habits get rid of before I can be fully comfortable losing my “big girl” label.
What’s the biggest hurdle you face with your body transformation in comparison to the body your psyche says you have?
I enjoyed the mobility workout so much from the week before, that I decided to start my workout week on Thursday to get in a good stretch before throwing any weight around. As expected, Thursday didn’t disappoint. I was a little surprised at the workout, only because I figure mobility day should be pretty easy. But like my trainer always says “This is a workout facility. Come here prepared to do work!” And I do, but working out is one of those things that I love to hate. I usually hate the workout while I’m doing it. But when it’s over and I’m sweaty, musty and weak, I feel sexy as hell. Sexy and accomplished, a badass kind of sexy.
We did our stretches, then alternated between dumbbell thrusters and running. I didn’t want to run (that’s nothing new), but I’m getting better with my running and motivated to continue getting stronger.
Monday = GAINES!
On the 17th I didn’t make it to the gym. When I was leaving the office the sky opened and unleashed a serious torrential downpour. I was unprepared, no umbrella or rain boots. I ended up running from the building to my car! That had to be the most invigorating run I’ve ever done. The rain was so refreshing, and as soon as I thought I was gonna die I was at my car. Quarter mile, half mile, whole mile…details aren’t important. And I ain’t talking about no light trot, I ran. Your girl was moving it in my shirt dress and ballerina flats. This was kind of a big deal for me.
Yo! Do you know what day it is? ?
I had to dig deep for Wednesday’s workout. We started with bench press. Y’all know I was like a kid in a candy store when Chris (my trainer) told me I’d be working with a partner using a bar (Toyota jump) instead of dumbbells for my bench press. By the time I was got to two (yes 2), the spirit had left and I felt defeated and embarrassed. I have weak arms, and some loss of sensation on my right side. As much as I wanted to, I struggled and only had to do five per set. Thank God I’ve never been an overly prideful person. I quickly let my partner know that I had to take some weight off, and we did. I still struggled to finish all four sets, but I finished.
The rest of the workout consisted of lunges, kettlebell swings, and, you guessed it, running. It was during this part of the workout where things got ugly. I enjoyed my Easter feast on Sunday, and then again on Tuesday. There were plenty of veggies, and nothing was fried, but you already know we (Southern Folk) glaze, sautee, and drizzle the hell out of our food. I felt heavy and sluggish. For the first time in a long time, I walked more than I ran. It was horrible, and I was happy when it was over.
Happy Hour at the Box.
I felt pretty good all day Friday, but about two hours before getting off work I started to feel bad. My equilibrium seemed to be off and I just wanted to lay down. I made it to the gym anyway and thankfully there was only one other person there, so Chris was nice, to both of us, and allowed us to somewhat program our own workouts. There is a limited amount of equipment in the gym, and he offered to let me row, but I wasn’t’ feeling that. I hopped on an old school Schwinn stationary-bike (cause it was dope) but wasn’t feeling that either. So, we settled on ten rounds of 50 jump ropes. Nice little workout. I was sweaty and tired by the time it was over.
So I’ve accomplished my goal of slimming down, and going to the gym as regularly as my schedule will allow. It’s now time to get serious about my eating habits (I don’t diet) so that I can lose my unwanted belly fat! What are some tips and tricks you use to ensure you’re eating stays on course?
Last week’s workouts were full of excitement and personal records (PRs). I feel like I’m finally hitting mt stride again with my workout regimen and it’s such a great feeling! I workout at a Crossfit gym, but haven’t quite gained the strength and stamina to do Crossfit workouts. Not performing at the Crossfit level is a blow to my ego everytime I show up. But I keep reminding myself that slow and steady wins the race, and I’m making strides towards my goal.
I was so ready for Monday’s workout. Had my bag packed well in advance, even pre-planned my breakfast and lunch for the day. I have been struggling to get enough calories in to provide enough energy for my workouts, so I didn’t eat more than half of the breakfast and lunch I planned for the day. I did, however, drink plenty of water, and I drank a Green smoothie on my way to the box for an additional boost of energy.
As usual, I checked out the Crossfit workout for the day, and it looked pretty easy. I could see that the Kingdom Athletics board hadn’t changed since the end of the prior week, so I just do what I normally do and headed to the restroom to get changed. After I changed and had my belongings situated, our trainer was announcing that we’d all be doing the same workout. Now, y’all know how excited I get to do Crossfit workouts. Before getting too far ahead of myself, I tested my strength on a bar that had already been loaded up. Had no problem with my text set, and from that point on, it was straight up BEAST MODE! We did deadlifts and kettle bell work. Great freaking workout, I didn’t walk out of gym that day, I soared!
I usually workout on Wednesdays, but decided to change things up a bit and went in on Thursday to do mobility work. It was my trainers birthday and he jokingly programed a birthday inspired workout that was insane. My heart was all in, but my body was like “Girl, we came here to stretch. And you have heartburn from the chicken sandwich meal you ate at Burger King for lunch, so stop the madness.” So, I tucked my tail and did mobility work. It hurt so good! Being the team player that I am, I made sure the cheer on the group that was putting in work. They clearly needed all the encouragement they could get. Thursday was light work, slight work. We did mobility, then 10 minutes as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) weighted lunges and push-ups.
Friday was a challenge. No real reason for it. It was Friday and I simply didn’t want to go workout. But over the years, I’ve learned to show up when my energy is good and I don’t have any real plans. I did the Kingdom Athletics workout on Friday, we did burpees, squats, sit-ups, and ring rows. I loathe burpees (who doesn’t), but Friday wasn’t too bad. She programmed the workout to 5 burpees at time. Five is the maximum number of burpees that I can complete fluidly, so I was motived. Friday’s workout was a great. I worked up a good sweat, it didn’t take too long, and wasn’t too killer.
I’m in a good place with my workouts. I’ve gotten over the hump of dreading the gym daily, and actually look forward to it now. I’m admiring myself in mirrors more often; and have been getting a lot of comments, inquiries and compliments on my weight loss. With summer being around the corner, this is good. I just have to make sure I continue to do what I need to do, and not mess this up!
Monday, like every other Monday, was dreadful, but I’d packed my bag the night before, prepared a nutritious lunch, and packed snacks, to ensure I’d have enough energy for the workout. I made sure that I ate well and kept up with my water intake during work. I got to the gym and saw that we were assigned thrusters and jump rope. Since I pre-planned and had my food prepared for the day, my energy level was at a good place. I was able to challenge myself a little. During the workout I used a bar instead of dumbbells and was turning flips on the inside! No additional weights, but it felt so good, like…sooo gooood!
Kingdom Athletics did a modified version of the Crossfit workout, so we worked out as one group. That helped me because my ego wouldn’t allow me to lag too far behind the pace of the Crossfitters. I completed the workout with a little bit of energy and ultimately ended up with a nice sweat. Monday I walked away giving myself high-ofives and smiling from ear to ear. Sometimes it’s the little things.
Humbling Hump Day
Wednesday was my 9th wedding anniversary. I didn’t make it to the gym, but I won’t say I didn’t get any cardio in for the day (pops collar and drops mic).
Friyay or Whatever
As fate would have it, every single time I skip a day or some time at the gym, I show back up to the things I hate. Friday’s workout was pure cardio. Friday’s workout was sixteen (16) 100 meter sprints. I saw it written on the board for the Crossfit workout, and just figured our Kingdom Athletics workout would be written up on our board within minutes. Imagine the horror of being called to the starting line as one group.
I wanted to cry. I didn’t because I’ve made a promise to myself this year to make running positive and therapeutic instead of dreadful. So I got my attitude together and prepared for the run. By the fourth lap I had requested the music be cranked up and had began talking myself through the runs. By the eighth lap my foot was aching pretty bad, and I was trying to figure out if that would be the ailment I could use to get of the remaining laps. On the tenth lap he dismissed the Kingdom Fit crew, but I’d set my mind on completing twelve strong laps. I asked if there were any other movements for the workout, found out there weren’t, so I decided to keep going and not stop at ten. I did all sixteen laps! I was tired as hell from the workout, but felt like I was walking on the moon for sticking through it.
That’s what this journey is about, embracing the good days and continuing to move. I have made such a positive turn around with running. It had everything to do with me changing my perception and conquering my fear.
I ended my workout hiatus this week. So far so good. When I showed up on Monday, I was embarrassed, afraid and walked in with my tail tucked. But the fam welcomed me back with open arms and, as usual, it was like I hadn’t missed a beat -until the workout started! I was inspired when I saw the board, because the workout looked like I could actually get through it without throwing up or falling out.
The workout consisted of push ups, sit ups, kettle bell swings and running. I was able to keep a nice steady pace, and was proud when finished my run with a little spirit. I’m guessing my trainer noticed the pep in my step too, cause when I glanced at the board ‘2 ROUNDS’ suddenly appeared. After about a 3 second fit, I started up on the second round. By the end of my second run I had to take it slow and on a few occasions I felt the need to throw up -I didn’t, what a great workout!
I rarely bring my children with me to the gym because I have a hard time seperating the mommy in me when I need to be in beast mode. On Wednesday my husband had something come up and wasn’t able to pick the girls up. My original thought was to skip working out that day, but I knew that if I skipped I wouldn’t make up the workout. Since I’m just getting back in the game I knew I needed to bring them along and get er’ done. Equipped with snacks, drinks, and hand held toys we headed off to the box.
As anticipate, my toddler didn’t stay in the childrens’ play area. But have no fear, I’m a mom and I am here! I had already pulled out and set up her stroller, and positioned it out of the way of others, just in front of my workout space. Thankfully the workout didn’t require me to leave the area I was in. It was actually a nice bonding moment for my baby and I. She helped me count out my dumbbell presses, push ups and box step ups. I’m so glad she was there, cause I was tired halfway through the first round but her smiling face kept me going.
This was my first time taking my toddler old to the gym. She did so good! I don’t have as many reservations about taking her any longer.
Friday rolled around and I had begun subconsciously sabotaging it’s workout in my dreams on Thursday night. I woke up and decided to go ahead and throw my workout clothes together and take my gym-bag to my car. During work I thought about how tired I was and how I should just go home since I had plans for the night. Up until I got in my car and headed in the direction of the gym I was talking myself out of going. But I decided to snap the hell out of it. I cranked up some 2 Chainz (my get crunk, ratchet artist of choice) and got my attitude togetha!
The workout was intense and I had to dig deep to get through it. Dumb bell thrusters, sit ups, and running. I simply wasn’t prepared for the intensity of this workout. I hadn’t eaten enough food or drank enough water that day. It showed in my performance.
This week is done!
I am proud of myself for completing a week of working out after having missed so long. It’s great to be a part of gym that is family, that looks for you when you don’t show up and welcomes you with open arms when you return. I may have thought that missing the gym for all that time was a much needed break, but it wasn’t. Time waits for no woman, and our workouts gradually gain intensity. Missing that time in the Box makes it that much harder to get through the workouts I’m doing now. I don’t plan to miss a month of working out again, even if I can’t make it to the gym, I’ll just take a brisk walk or do some other exercise.
I follow quite a few blogs, ordinary people and a elect few celebrities. Their lives are smilingly perfect. Everything runs on schedule, they are smiley and (appear to be) happy people. Their lives seems to just roll without a hitch…blah, blah, blah.
Welcome to my world! Where more times than not, we fly by the seat of our pants to keep things moving. However, I am getting better with having a routine and getting on schedule. But I’m human and there are times that shit just derails and falls apart.
My A beautiful beast post provided a little insight on my weight loss journey. You learned that my attendance record can be choppy at times. I have plenty of workout experiences and plenty of gym pictures to write a year’s worth of workout posts that will motivate not only you and myself as well. But I’m not here to put on airs and pretend to be someone that i’m not.
I haven’t worked out in three weeks! Why? Honestly, I haven’t been overly motivated to go. I’m a wife, I have two small children and I work full-time. I make time for the gym majority of the time, but there are times that I am running on zero and need a break. Not necessarily a three week break though. At this point I’m just being a slacker.
As a person who has struggled with weight all my life, I am happy to have finally gained knowledge on nutrition and found a gym that I love. But the struggle is real. Thank God for my trainer! He’s been all up in all my social media and texting about where I am and what’s going on -another reason I love my gym. The trainers are personally concerned with our well-being.
Even though I haven’t worked out in three weeks, I am being mindful of what I eat making healthy choices at least 80 percent of the time. Which means that I’m maintaining my weight. It also means that I’m not building any cardiovascular endurance or gaining any muscle. But I have also assured my trainer that I’ll be back after spring break!
Are you on a plus size fit journey? What are some of the challenges you face with workout consistency?
I grew from a cute chubby little girl into a beautiful fat women.
DISCLAIMER: If the word fat offends you, then this isn’t the place for you. I’m a realist, I keep(s) it real. Fat is a part of what I am (and i’m making efforts to change that), it’s not who I am. Moving on…
I did try workout tapes,Tae-Bo shortly after I graduated from High school, for about 6 month. A workout tape, and boiling cauliflower and broccoli (with too much damn salt and butter) was about the extent of what health and fitness was to me. I had not clue about nutrition and proper workout techniques.
I also dabbled in working out, as a young adult, in my early 20’s as well. A Physical Education course in college prompted/required me to not only do some type of physical activity no less than five days a week, I had to keep a daily record of my activity. I was learning so much about fitness that I decided to get serious about it. I was working out five days a week, twice a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I focused on weight loss for a year and lost 98 lbs. with no gym membership and less than basic knowledge of what health really is. This time around my diet consisted of an abundance of water, baked salmon (covered in butter and brown sugar) with rice.
Life happened. I fell in love, got married, and then had a baby. I gained back all the weight I’d lost and more, and I was knee-deep in the throws of adjusting to life as a wife and nursing mother. Losing weight was not on my radar, but we had a vacation approaching and I knew something had to change. My friend found a boot camp and asked if I would join her, so I did. My first time visiting the boot camp, GPS landed me in a residential neighborhood in front of a house at the driveway. Even though I thought we’d be at a gym facility, I was happy. In my mind, if we weren’t in a gym, what more could we possibly do than sit-ups, push-ups and walking/jogging. I was wrong.I was not mentally or physically prepared for Core Complete Fitness, now Crossfit 38:16.
I wasn’t completely unaware of how the training would work. I’d done a little research on HIIT and owned a copy of the Insanity workout (that I completed once). Something about being in a garage-like setting with no heat, no air, no mirrors and no expensive equipment just seemed like it would intensify the workouts by 1,000 and that scared me. Being scared wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’m not afraid of hard work. But it was a change and we all know how frightening change can be.
Like I explained before, we started out at the trainer’s house working out in his driveway and garage. The movements of the workouts weren’t new to me, but they was much more intensity and I was seeing results faster that I ever had with any other weight loss plan I tried. I found myself in a love/hate relationship with this new type of workout and with the exception of running, I welcomed any challenge he threw our way.
Soon after we moved into a facility. Still no air, heat, or mirrors, but we had equipment like: weights, kettlebells, pull-up bars, and medicine balls. Our workouts transitioned from “boot camp” type workouts to full on Crossfit.
A BEAST, A BEAST! I found myself obsessed with this new way of life. I was being taught the benefits of proper nutrition. I was pushing my body to do things that I didn’t believe were physically possible for me, and I looked and felt great!
Things soon kicked up a notch and I started competing in local Crossfit Competitions we called them Throwdowns. The Throwdowns would include three to fours gyms from the area. They provided a space to see where my skill set was at and were great motivation for areas I needed improvement on.
And this, my friends, was the birth of A BEAUTIFUL BEAST!
I am a beast at whatever it is that I put my mind to. I am a beast at beating this face. I am a beast when I hit the gym.