Weighing In On The Journey

August 27th. My progress update day. What started in 2012 and was updated in 2013 and 2014, suddenly found a stop this year. Why? What kept me from sharing unlike the years before?

The visible changes. Those were what stopped me. The changes in the picture from last year to this year don’t show progress towards a “skinner” me. No they in fact reveal some weight gain.

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Yes in 2015 I gained some weight. A number of variables played a role in that but to be honest, I believe my journey towards health is shifting. It took a chat with a dear friend of mine yesterday that opened my eyes. See in 2015 there was progress. It’s just not progress you would outwardly see. In the year between Aug 27 2014 and Aug 27 2015 I competed in my first federational powerlifting meet. I set the USPA  GA state record in my squat and as well as meet total. I had a 45 lb pr in my deadlift. Since then I’ve seen my lifts only increase. In that time frame I also got engaged and married. In that time frame I also feel in love with RPM and am now headed to training in hopes of being an instructor. In that time frame I let go of some disordered eating habits. I still have bad days, but don’t we all. In that time frame I had probably one of the biggest achievements of them all, and it’s one you’d never see from the outside., I stopped taking diet pills. I had become addicted to them. Now though, just like in the beginning, I want my efforts and hard work to get the credit for this journey.

I don’t know where my journey is headed right now. I’m no longer fixated on a number on the scale or my clothes. What once were tools to measure success and define me, now no longer apply. My journey is health. My journey is athleticism. My journey is inspiring others to make small daily changes that would result in lifelong habits. When I started this journey, I didn’t know where the journey would lead me. It’s had it’s bumps and bruises, it’s had its detours, but at the end of the day it’s ultimately had the life God’s called me to at its foundation. This journey would be nothing without the cause of my Savior. I’m working on being a vessel He can use for as long as He’s called me to. That’s my new destination.

So here’s to the journey that’s now 4 years old. May the hard days be evident of His strength and the good days be an echoing of His grace. May my actions never cease to glorify Him and may the journey always reflect the love He shed on me.

Suck It In

I see you there. In the morning your the first thing I see. In the midst of the hip track in BodyFlow, you are there. In the pain of mountain climbers, I feel you push your way above the band of my shorts. I try to hid you with my compression shorts but it doesn’t matter. I still see you there. I have since I was little and no matter how much I try, I can never suck you in.

  Dear Gut- that little pouch of skin that drops above my shorts, you are a piece of my journey and one that no matter how much I want to hid, you still find ways to make yourself known.

I once hated you so much that I would wrap you in Saran Wrap with lotions underneath in hopes that it would make you “more tone” and drop a few inches. It didn’t. To me, you were the sign that I still wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t healthy because you weren’t flat. I wasn’t desired because you were still there. I couldn’t inspire others because you still jiggled. 

Yet I’ve come to learn and love something. My body. Which includes you. 

You’re  the softness that catches me when I drop in my hovers. You’re a reminder of my journey. You don’t define my health, you define how far I’ve come. And even if your never flat and you still jiggle in class, I will still love you because I love me. 
This post was inspired by a dear friend this morning in the gym when we shared our stomachs and fears of them never being flat. Ladies all around I want to encourage you to love you for you. Yes become a healthy you.  But do it while loving you. While making healthy choices that lead to a better and stronger life for you and your family. We are created in the image of God- which means we are all beautiful. Be a beautiful you in whatever way that means because by doing so, you represent God and his handiwork. Today and everyday- love you. 

Joining the Tribe

Last year one of my customers invited me to try classes at BodyPlex during their launch week. So I dragged my friend Abbie along, we skipped our morning runs and for two days that week we tried Pump and RPM. I enjoyed the classes and loved the instructors, but brushed it off and joined the gym across the street. 

A few months later was launch again. This time the customer, who was an instructor, invited me to just be there and represent my store. Only problem was I got the date wrong and showed up the week after launch. Then in February of this year, I was invited again. This time I verified the date and everything. That first Super Saturday still sticks out in my mind. The energy, the passion, and the dedication of the staff just flowed that day. I set up my booth and engaged in some of the classes. This time I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be at the Plex. Outside of the classes, the big benefit was two squat racks which meant I could train all of my lifts there unlike at the gym I was a member of at that time. So that Super Saturday I joined the Plex, but I also joined something deeper. 

I joined the Tribe. 

See, since then I’ve engaged more and more with the classes. I’ve fallen in love with the Les Mills programs. So much so that I have some of the class playlists saved on YouTube and can do many of the tracks at home from memory. I’ve built relationships with people who now are on the fitness journey with me. The instructors now know me by name and know my goals and are willing to help push me towards them. 

We sweat together. We complete one more rep together. We laugh, cry, celebrate, pray, and rejoice together. I look at my Facebook feed now and know that there are 30+ Plex members who are apart of the tribe with me. They challenge me to be a better me. A stronger me. A me who recognizes that I’m beautiful. A me who is capable of fitness. 

I used to say I wasn’t one for group fitness, I liked the solo life in the gym. But now,I’m so thankful for that one instructor who invited me and then kept challenging me to go further. These past few months have been a blessing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  

 

A Foundation to Be Broken

In December I competed in my first federational powerlifting meet. I came second in my weight class and division but walked away with two PRs and two state records.

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But with PRs and records, also came defeats. My competitor beat me in both my bench and deadlift.

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Even with that I still walked away with a medal and as of yesterday a certificate acknowledging the success of the meet.

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But what I did was just a foundation. Myself along with my competitor Rylee set the foundation for the 82.5kg weight class in the open division. My goal is to never compete again in that weight class, hoping to drop to the 75kg and then ultimately the 67.5kg class. But I hope one day someone breaks my record. Because while I set the record, my numbers really weren’t all that impressive. Someone out there is warming up with those weights.

What I wish for women who are beginning to compete, is that they would see those numbers and aspire to change them much like I look at Michelle Coile’s numbers and aspire to see my name there for a period of time. I hope women would be challenged in the gym to grow in strength and no longer be intimidated by men that would see them as weak beings. I desire to change the myth that if you lift heavy you’ll be bulky. I want women to feel strong and powerful, yet still know they can be graceful and sweet.

So I hope some female lifter in the 82.5kg USPA classic raw class reads this, sees my name and numbers and desires to replace my name with theirs. Because a record is only as good as the challenge to chase it.

So what records are you chasing? 

A Season of Struggle

“Hi, may I take your order?”

It’s a phrase I had began to hear more frequently. It’s one that I spent a good part of my day dwelling upon my response. Which place would I go to? What would be my feast today?

I had developed the relationship with the drive thru again. So much, I thought the attendant was beginning to recognize me week after week.

I’d become addicted again, and I was struggling bad. My binges would range from a variety of different places and leave me used and abused later as my body ached from it’s intoxicating overdose of food that I’d let creep back into my life. I’d stop at one place and not get full enough, so after I finished whatever task at hand ( while dreaming up my next drug of choice) I’d race to its supplier for yet another late night meal.

Because, Fourth Meal y’all.

It didn’t matter the calories, I just craved more. I wanted to feed an emptiness inside me that had grown because of one forgotten thing- the word of God. When I stopped feasting there I feasted elsewhere.

The struggle had to end.

So while sitting in my favorite drive thru after placing my order, I said I was done. I went home, ate that last meal and decided that as the season of Lent was beginning, I would no longer be bound to the chains of drive thrus. So for 40 days I’m fasting from fast food. Most likely I’ll continue you this afterward, however during this season, I’m replacing the thoughts of tacos, chicken nuggets, waffle fries, frostys,  and sweet tea with the reminders of God’s word.

Are you engaging in the season of Lent this year? If so, what are you laying down at the cross to allow you to reflect on Christ more? 

The Mirror That Spoke More

We were in college. She lived across the quad, was dorm mates with my best friend, had this friendly smile, and was a book lover like me. I can’t really recall the first day we met (which is sad because they say first impressions are the ones that last) but she became a friend soon enough. We’d enough meals together, took a religion course together- one that would cause us to use our class breaks as prayer sessions for the un-sound doctrine that was being taught. We had a love for Disney and both had never been kissed, a truth we proudly displayed when we twined in our Sleeping Beauty tees that boldly displayed the saying ” Waiting for loves true kiss.” But there was a gift, a simple wooden thing, that meant so much more.

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At some point this wooden jewelry box was given and those two words were scribbled upon the mirror in an elegant fashion.

Hello Beautiful

What the giver of this box didn’t know at the time was that those words would one day be a morning anthem, a pledge to wake and see myself as beautiful. Those two words would stay upon the glass for all to see, the lid of the box never closed.

It would take some time for the receiver, me, to believe that word beautiful . Me? The girl who would roll out of bed, throw on raggedy clothes, and pull her hair through a ponytail holder as she sped down the stairs late to class. The girl who would battle with the lies from a larger mirror and her past that fed into her binging and purging to fill her soul. The girl who never believed compliments from others.

Through a process of learning self love,hearing those words from friends and later a man and more importantly reading them in the living words of God- I
began to rejoice in that word beautiful. I began to wake anew, see that greeting, and for once agree.

That mirror which held those words then, still hold them today. The friend, Victoria, who knew not the impact she’d make back then, knows now them impact she makes every day.

Hello Beautiful

Letters and Numbers

No matter how young or old we are, letters and numbers make up an importance in our life. When we’re young, these numbers we count upon fingers share as a reminder of how quick time is moving. When we learn our letters, they give way to a independence allowing us the freedom to read on our own, to now formulate sentences, to carry on our own conversations. When we’re old, those numbers serve as a representation of the bountiful life that we’ve been blessed with. Those letters are put together in the crossword puzzles from the Sunday newspaper, or go missing from the communication with our loved ones. But somewhere between youth and old age, these letters and numbers take on a new identity, one that seems to plague those middle years.

You see, these common letters and numbers soon become letters and numbers we wear on our clothing or see on a scale. They soon take on a new level of our identity, being a marking system in society. Clothing companies limit their market to certain letters and numbers because how dare someone larger than the ideal model size desire to fit into their brand. No, you don’t belong there. So girls and guys of walks of life give life and value to these letters and numbers. S,M,L,XL suddenly mean something. If you’re a size 2 or a size 22 you’re judged. We spend countless dollars get fix causes and the spend hours in the gym trying to remedy the letters and numbers we wear.

But what if those letters and numbers were just that. Letters and numbers? I too found myself in the whirlpool of trying to reach a smaller size. I fought daily with the scale as the numbers would teeter and totter high and low. Never satisfied. Always seeking to be a different letter or number. Because society says one letter is better than the other. Your liked more if you’re a S. Your valued more if your numbers fit into the ideal weight range. You pay less if your numbers are right.

Then one day I woke up.

Suddenly, letters and numbers were just that.

My identity was no longer the letter or numbers on my clothes but my identity was that I was a child of God who fearfully knitted every fiber of my being together to work and operate in such a way that I would glorify Him in all the ways of my life. No, I don’t strive to squeeze my way into an 8 because that 8 is somehow better than the 12 I fit completely comfortable in. Gone are the days where a S on my shirt’s made me feel better about myself.

So whether you’re a 2, 12, 22, or 42, a S, M, L,XL, or XXL – let those be just letters and numbers, don’t let them be your identity, because you were made for more than those labels.