There’s a group called Strong Is the New Skinny that I recently started to follow on Facebook because of their great name. I love the idea that strong is sexy and I think us gals have been sold (and we’ve willingly bought) a bill of goods about being careful not to “bulk up”. I’m prone to feel like I *should* be skinnier as much as the next girl, and have battled with feeling too big all my life. I’m also tall so that contributed to awkward preteen and teenage years where I tried to shrink myself in personality and demeanor when I couldn’t shrink my physical size. Dieting was taboo in my feminist family, so thankfully I never battled an eating disorder, but I’ve always wavered back and forth between a false bravado in which I eat whatever I want and pretend I love my body just as it is, and feeling small (emotionally) and still eating whatever I want, but in secrecy and shame.
Last fall my husband had the nerve to tell me how my body image stuff was impacting him. His exact words were “I’m tired of you cheating on me with food.” At the time I decided I didn’t agree with his interpretation, but still could let it nudge me into action. I had been working out pretty hard all year, but was at one of my highest weights, just under 190 pounds. I wasn’t feeling sexy and was making our sex life a bit of a chore because of my lackluster enjoyment of being naked. So I started following a Paleo/Primal diet in early November 2010, with a day and half of “cheat” time on the Friday and Saturday each week. Within just a few weeks I dropped to about 180, while also clearing up several chronic digestive issues. (Hallelujah for that!) Since then I’ve maintained that weight, and recently have realized as much as I hate to admit it, how much truth there was in my husband’s challenge to stop “cheating” on him with food. I tend to eat unhealthy foods in secrecy, then transfer that shame to the way I feel about my body, since anything I don’t like about my body is my own fault. Most of the time you need the people closest to you to tell you how great you are, but every now and then the hard truth can be the best thing you can hear from someone. (As an aside, lest I leave the impression that he’s a total hardass, Jeremy is incredibly supportive of me, and makes it clear ALL the time how much he loves my body, no matter what the scale says. The thing he was communicating was that me acting ashamed about my body, especially in bed, wasn’t working so well for him, understandably.)
In January after the holidays were over I jumped back into eating a Paleo/Primal diet, and I decided I needed a kick in the butt physically and started CrossFit at my local rock climbing gym. I was really nervous about it, they lift some heavy shit and barbells always seemed like the territory of muscleheads. I watched lots of videos on the CrossFit website before I went in, and then got up my courage and went for it.
There’s something about a really hard challenge that inspires me, it’s why I’ve run 5 marathons and I forget how many half marathons. I love the look of surprise people get when I tell them about the races I’ve run. On the other hand, there’s a reason they look so surprised, and it’s that I don’t look anything like a marathon runner. The thing is, while eating Paleo/Primal has drastically improved how I feel overall, I still eat too much. I like to have food on hand constantly. I keep nuts and kale chips and beef jerky in my cube at work, and it’s rarely more than an hour that I go without snacking, especially at work, where I’m often experiencing a low level of boredom and snacking feels like it makes the day manageable. But I don’t need as much food as I eat. I’m now maintaining my weight, but I still feel heavy, and I’d like to climb better and run faster and do things with a body that is literally lighter. I still wouldn’t dream of wearing a bikini, and while that’s something I can live with, I have a swimsuit that I look good in, it would also be FUN to be able have a body I felt like showing off in a two-piece.
So the people at Strong Is the New Skinny are starting a Body Transformation Blogging Challenge, and I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. I love being strong! I love my body when I do new things that I’ve never done before! I’ve decided that for me body image and loving my body is like many things in life: I am either growing and expanding myself, or I am diminishing and lessening myself. There is no stasis. In which case for me real body love and acceptance can only come from growth and expansion, of skills, abilities to do things, and challenging how great my diet can make me feel. For some people this might be complicated with difficulties with perfectionism, but honestly, perfectionism isn’t my issue, laziness is, and I trust my husband and girlfriends to let me know should it ever become a problem.
So here are my current stats and some goals I have for the next three months (I’m picking 3 months, that seems like a good timeframe for me). I may accomplish some or all or none of them, but the journey will be worthwhile I think. I’m not going to include a weight goal as it’s the least healthy place for me to focus, and it’s the other goals and actions that will change the number on the scale (or not). I’ll just include as a marker that I am 5′ 10″, currently weigh 180, and wear a size 14. I also took photos of myself in my underwear, but those are just for my personal records. 😉
Currently I can do:
- Knee push-ups with great range of motion
- Pull-ups with a jump from a plyo box
- A few V-0 bouldering routes
- Most 5.7 climbing routes
My goals for mid-May:
- 10 full push-ups with good range of motion
- At least 1 Kipping pull-up
- Able to do all or almost all V-0 bouldering routes
- Working on and completing some 5.9 climbing routes
- 10k race on April 10 in under an hour (the day before I turn 33)
My plans for my eating:
- Get all the snacks out of my cube, but always keep enough for 2 real meals in the fridge at work
- Practice, practice, practice at eating only when I’m hungry
- Continue eating Paleo/Primal plus cheese because it makes me feel good!
- Stay away from sugar and grains because they are a quick slippery slope to “Fuck it, I’ll do better tomorrow”
- I haven’t decided what I’m doing about wine
My workout plans:
- Three days a week of CrossFit, one speed training run per week, one day of climbing per week
- As I feel like, I’ll add in one more run, another climbing day, and a yoga class
- One or two rest days per week (yoga counts as a rest day)