Goodness, you blink and suddenly it’s 8 months since your last blog post!
In the intervening time, I’ve graduated with a Distinction in my Masters in Applied Management. I don’t really understand now how I fitted in all the studying now that I don’t have to any more, and in many ways I really miss it.
I have replaced study with crochet and am really pleased that I’ve managed to stick with a weekly Crochet-A-Long blanket, and it’s now 14 weeks big!
Having tracked my first 100 days at Crossfit, I am now well beyond a year of membership! Pretty unbelievable, and I can’t see it has been an easy ride. It’s entirely possible that I haven’t been more than I have been. In many ways it was making me anxious, yet I mostly enjoyed it once I was there, although it was far too easy to cancel off the classes. Then, a few weeks ago I watched a YouTube series called “Killing The Fat Man” and it really resonated with me. Gary Roberts was overweight and unfit, plus middle aged, when he started CrossFit and the series followed him as he trained. He talked about “accomplishing something for me” and “changing my life”, and it occurred to me that in the whole past year I had been feeling like a pretender, someone who wanted to do CrossFit but didn’t really belong there, who wasn’t fit enough or good enough to really deserve to be there, working hard. Weird, I know. So the next session I went to I really stopped noticing anyone else and what they were doing and focussed purely on what I could do, and working hard – for me. I appreciate that my “hard work” is a warm up for someone else, but then my “hard work” is also unthinkable for many. I trained three times that week and it may well have been the first time in a year that I’ve been that consistent. Last week, an 80 hour work really got in the way and I was disappointed that I couldn’t get there, but the diary looks clearer this week and I’m going to get back at it.
In fact, the lad and I trained today. He has been enjoying Fit Kidz, which makes me so happy to see him setting up a positive relationship with exercise, and I’ve been using the time to row. Last week I did 7500m, which is the furthest I’ve ever rowed, and today I set out to do 10km. When I think back to my attitude and self-talk when I started all this fitness/health thing back in 2014, the difference to today is just immense. Today, another parent was rowing next to me. We were both on a 10,000m countdown and I was a whole 3500m slower than him – almost 25 minutes I think. Not only has that not impacted how I rate myself on that workout afterwards (good, well done), but it didn’t change my mindset during the workout either. Sounds like a tiny thing, but for me that is fairly huge. I just thought about how we were both working hard, and I happened to be slower. I also clearly remember thinking “We have both rowed exactly the same distance” which is the truth of the matter. No one is better or worse, and using other people’s strengths as a way to measure a weakness in me is just insanity. I’m thrilled that it seems like I’m pretty much over that!
I have been reading “Stick With It” by Dr Sean Young – it talks about how to change lasting change. “Community” creates a very strong basis for sticking with something long enough to create a habit and I can definitely say that Reebok CrossFit Reading has a great and strong community. It is really helping me – whether it’s the coaches who are supportive, understanding and lovely, or the banter on the private Facebook group. Bizarrely, it would be easy to think that CrossFit is only for those who are already fit, but I’d argue that if you find the right ‘box’ (aka gym) then this is a good option for folks like me who might have had a dodgy history with fitness. The coaching, the fact it is completely and utterly adaptable to your own fitness and skills level, the community – all of this means that it is actually a really good choice. In general, CrossFit is great no matter who you are!
My nutrition has also been more miss than hit this year, and I think I’ve put on about 3 stone of the 5 that I lost back in 2014. I’ve tried WeightWatchers and Slimming World and I’m now confident in saying that they just don’t suit me. On Slimming World, the diet is pretty much low fat, low calorie but that leads to an increase in sweeteners/sugars – for example, MullerLight yoghurts are ‘free’. In an attempt to make the diet easy to stick to there are also no foods that are forbidden, within a daily allowance, so I was eating a Curly Wurly every day, not because I needed to but just because I could.
After a few weeks, I found myself with a great deal of joint pain and even went as far as making an appointment with a physio. Then I realised that all the processed low fat food, not to mention the sweets and chocolate, I was eating was causing inflammation so I cut it out and within a week all the pain was gone!
This reminded me that food is fuel, and can even be thought of as medicine. I still want to (re) lose the weight and get back to my lowest and smallest, but I also want to do it the right way for me. I’ve been following a program called 131 Diet which is an anti diet – in that there are no food plans etc, only information and routines to help you find out what works for you. We are all individual with different reactions to different things, so this makes sense. It is also largely ketogenic (high fat, low carb), which is what I tended to be eating when I started out in 2014. I felt amazing during that year – there were points at which I felt I was literally buzzing with energy, had great mental clarity and felt great. These are all things associated with being in ketosis. I’ve done a load of meal prep today and have to say from my little testings, this type of food tastes completely amazing. I’m very excited about feeling great and starting to see the effects. And it’s really easy – when I started this before I was amazed at how the sugar cravings just stopped overnight with the introduction of enough healthy fats.
I’m not sure how I will continue the blog. It’s great for accountability and I have always wanted it to be helpful to others – either those with PMDD or with bad starts in life with regards to exercise, or the overweight who were trying hard to lose weight or just anyone who might be able to take anything from my story. It is also great for me to keep documenting where I am and look back to see progress. No promises, but I’ll see how it goes.
Here’s to a well fuelled, sweaty, successful week ahead!