There is No Finish Line

I’ve crossed many finish lines in my day, both literal and metaphorical.  But there’s one race that even though I’ve already won it, I’ll never cross the finish line.  I might not ever see it in the distance or even know what that finish line looks like.

I’m talking about health of course.  I will forever chase and have to re-evaluate what healthy means to me.  I now know that food and the balance of life and activity will follow me till the end of time.  Sometimes people ask: What keeps you motivated? How do you keep going?

While there is a definite ebb and flow to motivation (even mine) there has never been a time when I felt “off the health wagon”.  I’ve made poor choices here and there but I’ve never thrown in the towel.  Why? Because it’s only now that I realize what was actually happening to the inside of my body while I was morbidly obese.  Some of you have read on this site in the past that I never thought it was all that bad.  Now that I’m on the other side, IT WAS THAT BAD.  I got winded and tired from walking the dog.  I woke up most mornings with ‘sugar yack’ or ‘carb cloud’ and I thought it was normal.

Definitions ala Kim:
Sugar Yack: That feeling in the back of your throat that causes you to clear it over and over and over because you ate too much sugar the day before.  Or it seems like your saliva it’s self is part sugar?

Carb Cloud: Much like a beer hangover, it causes you to feel sluggish and just can’t quite get going during the day, until you’ve had enough carbs again.  I know you’ve been here!

These used to be daily occurrences to me.  I didn’t realize that most people don’t spend their morning getting over their diet from the day before and breaking through their carb cloud.  I didn’t even realize that I only felt like that BECAUSE of my food intake.  I didn’t even know what I SHOULD feel like. It’s those feelings that keep my food in check.   Some of you laughed out loud or knew exactly what I’m talking about with “sugar yack” and ‘carb cloud’ and I can tell you, it’s not supposed to be like that.  Now I fuel my body to get it to do the things I want it to do.

I stay motivated because whether I like to admit it or not, I was staring an early death in the face.  I wrote last week about choices if you haven’t checked it out, and I guess this week is too.  It’s not one choice.  It’s a million.  Every choice I make either helps me feel proud and motivated or sad and defeated.  I choose proud.  I choose to do things that others can’t because that’s who I want to be.  That’s what I want for myself.  I know I won’t always look like this.  I know I won’t always be able to deadlift over 200 pounds.  I know I won’t have biceps forever and if we ever have a kid, things are likely to drastically change.  However, this is who I am today, and I’m pretty proud of her and I know she will never go back to where we used to be.  When you’ve been there, you know.  You know there is nothing that would make you want to go backwards.  I honestly don’t worry that I’ll ever be over 200 pounds again.  The difference I feel now makes that ghost scarier than any horror movie I’ve ever seen.

 

 

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How the Universe Works…..

January Sucks.   I mean sucks. It’s cold.  I can’t run outside.  I hate my job, my house, my car, my………..I always want everything to change in January.

Every year you think it’s going to get better right? A clean slate!  A new year!  Everything resets……..right? The real truth is, if you keep making the same decisions you’ve always made, you’re life will always be the same.  The real truth is, if you don’t change anything, nothing will change.   The real truth is that January 1st is no different than December 31st.  I was just as morbidly obese at the end of 2011 as I was at the beginning of 2012.  But for the first time, I was willing to do something real about it.

5 years ago, I was standing on my bathroom scale mortified.  I had ALWAYS promised myself that I would never see a number on the scale that started with a 3.  NEVER would I see 300 pounds.  Well, that day, or shortly after, I hit 285.  What was I going to do? How was I going to get things going in the right direction? It was then that I made a commitment to change.

I first looked at my life and realized I had  no goals, no direction.  Of course I had a career path but I was really just ticking the hours away, day in and day out, with big macs in the middle.  Nothing in my life was inspirational or motivating me to better myself.  The first decision that I made was to change my location.   I looked at my life in the Midwest and realized it did not fit my ideal lifestyle.  I wanted my life to be filled with adventure and excitement and I was heading for death via cheeseburgers and having my skin attach itself to a couch cushion. That’s when I made the decision to move to Colorado.  When I say ‘I made the decision’, that’s what I mean.  ‘We’ (my hubby and I) didn’t.  I did.  I told him he could come if he wanted to but I was going.

I know how that sounds.  I know that seems selfish.  BUT, I knew I could love him better.  I knew I could offer him more.  I knew that I was holding him back, even if he never would have admitted it.  I also knew that if I didn’t change, our lives together would be cut short and full of…….nothing. I think it was that decision that got me to where I am.  Now, I made the decision in 2012.  That summer we moved to Colorado.  It would still take many years for me to lose the weight and get to where I am now.  But that decision, standing on my bathroom scale created a domino effect that has now saved me life.  So………

 

What decision can you make today that will set you up for the future?  Even if you can’t advance toward that goal or change very much in this moment, what decision will you make? The clock is ticking.

Skinny Skin

Well the time has finally come.  I can’t wait any longer to find out about my loose skin and possibly having surgery.  So yesterday, I made my skin surgery consultation.  On April 14th, some doctor is going to look at me naked and he gets to judge in a 20 minute meeting whether I’ve done enough work to have it removed.  And it sounds…..terrifying.  So today, I’m going to just lay it out all out there for the whole world to see.

My Skin 

Part of the reason I didn’t lose weight sooner is because I didn’t want to know about my skin.  I knew I had done irreparable damage to my skin by carrying so much extra weight.  I also carried most of my weight in my stomach in a way that I knew would never shrink back.  Here we are, three years later, more than 150 pounds lost, and the skin……….it ain’t coming back.

There are lots of places that no one would ever know.  My arms and my legs are rarely noticed in regular clothes.  Every once in a while a student or small child will look at my aged stretch marks and think I’ve been burned at some point in my life.  I’m also thankful my face looks mostly normal.  Although the entire shape of my face changed, the skin seemed to have enough elasticity left to snap back.  Not all areas did this. 98% of the people I know or meet in the average day would never guess that I lost nearly 60% of my body weight.  There are very few people left in my life that have known me for my whole journey.  So most people don’t know.

Just the other day someone was talking to me about my weight loss and how good I look.  I made the usual comment: “Well it’s great to wear small clothes but you’d never want to see me naked.” Her response was the typical, “Who cares!  You look great!”

Answer: I DO.  I care.

Maybe no one else on the planet cares what I look like naked.   The husband has never once complained even though I think it’s gross.   Only a handful of people ever see me without clothes on, like at the gym when I weigh in,  but even there I’m in my bra and underwear which is a different story.  I feel confident down to my underoos around most people.  So that’s why I’m posting this photo.  I know that some weight loss stories post naked pics but this is the best I can do.  It still covers a lot of my biggest problem areas but gives you an idea:

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My Reasons

I always planned on having skin surgery when my weight loss was complete.  There was a period of time when I thought I could just live with it.  In the past 6-12 months I’ve realized, 100% I want it off.  I still worry that it’s vain and that it’s selfish to have such an expensive surgery.  So again, I’ve made my reasons into a convenient list!

Weight Class

I recently had my first sanctioned fight in the ring as a boxer. Read about it here. I had to weigh in in my bra and underwear, which I’m pretty used to.  Read about that…. here! My weight class was 141.  I really struggled to get there but then during the stress and training the week before, I dropped too much weight.  I weight in at 136 on weigh in day.   This is not good.  You want to weigh in as close to the top of your class as you can.  When I stepped into the ring, I was down to 134 from the stress of the day.  So I fought against someone weighing at minimum 7 pounds more that me.  Plus I’m not accounting for my extra skin.  If my extra skin weighs, I don’t know, 8 pounds, my muscle mass and body composition is really that of someone who weighs in the 120s.  To box someone that is 141 when you’re more like 125?  That’s a huge difference and I could feel it in her punches.  So I have to go to the doctor and find out what is an appropriate weight for me to compete at and if it’s even really safe for me with all my extra skin.  If he says I have 10+ pounds of extra skin (seems unlikely) it might not be safe for me to box at all.

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Too Much Work

I have put in so much work over the last three years.  I’ve trained for half marathons, boxing, obstacle racing and rock climbing.  I can do 100s of situps without thinking about it but…….it still looks like I have a belly.  My extra skin creates the illusion of fat to the public.  I know I have a 6 pack under all that flab and it’s so sad that I can’t see it.  It also makes it really difficult to calculate my body fat so I’ve stopped trying. It’s like taking an action figure and covering it in marshmallow fluff.  I’ve got a rocking body in there somewhere……. While I realize this point is quite vain, I’m ok with that.  I’ve put in too much work to still look……like this.

Old Age 

I have a friend at work who is also looking into some skin surgery so we have been comparing notes.  We have discussed the guilt that comes along with a surgery like this.  They aren’t cheap.  It feels really selfish to spend all that money on the gym and then want to spend even more on a surgery.  So I had a heart to heart/devil’s advocate discussion with my husband.  I had him try to convince me it was the right decision.  One of his biggest selling points that I had never thought of is, What happens when I get old?

ALERT: Mention of lady parts coming.  Men should stop reading here! Lol. 

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As of right now, the extra skin from my belly hangs past my hip bones and even to (if not past) my lady region. I’ve been lucky to avoid a lot of the irritation and infections I’ve heard of some people getting.  I have loose skin EVERYWHERE.  Everywhere.  But what happens when I get old?  My entire body points down now and I just turned 31.  There’s no hope going forward really!  Old lady boobs? Check!  Hanging belly skin? Check! Saggy butt? Check!  Saggy thighs? Check! These problems are just going to get worse and worse as I age and could result in actual medical issues going forward.

MEN MAY BEGIN READING AGAIN HERE! 

I feel really awkward about this post.  Some people will never understand what it’s like.  I feel vain and selfish for even discussing it, knowing there’s so many out there that are just struggling to loose the weight.  But the unknown of my skin was something that stalled me in the past.  Hopefully someone reads this and realizes it’s still worth it no matter what.  I hate my skin.  I love my body.  I’ll never forget what it was like to be obese because I still carry the sack of who I used to be around with me everyday.  But I’d never go back.  I’ll take this gross old lady body every single day for the rest of my LONG life than live one more day like I did before.

 

 

 

Wait and Weight

All week I’ve been trying to balance resting, cardio, boxing and attending the fights. THANK GOODNESS I have an awesome boss who gave me the whole week off so I could focus on my training and deal with the up in the air schedule of the Golden Gloves.

 

Monday 

On Monday I knew I wouldn’t have to weigh in no matter what.   Even though I have a sub, my students have an important audition later this week so I had to pop in and rehearse them.   Also, I never had time to get them in to costumes, so I stayed and did that too.  Next thing I knew, it was almost lunch time.  So I packed up at work and went to find some lunch.  After wandering around target for what felt like FOREVER looking for food I knew I could eat, I finally settled on some low sodium lunch meat and a few side snacks.  I sat and ate my lunch outside, enjoying the sunshine.  All the while, everyone I know is texting me to find out if what my fight schedule was.  Same answer: still waiting.  Then I stopped by what I call my Sweat Gym.  For the last 6 months, there has been a handful of times that I wished I could go for a run but it was nasty outside.  Recently, I have to stick to a strict cardio schedule regardless of the weather.  So a coworker told me about her gym close to school.  I got the 3 day pass.  Of course, they offered me such a good price that I ended up joining.  It’s going to be nice having access to good equipment when I need it.  They also have a pool and sauna.  I didn’t work out, just signed paperwork.  Next thing I knew, it was time to train.

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I went to boxing training and did my fight week workout.  It’s still intense but in different ways and is training my mind as much as my body.  Don’t want to give out any secrets………… My coach thought it would be a good idea to attend the fights that night, even though we didn’t know anyone who was on the bout schedule.  It would be a good way to get nerves out.  After my workout I stopped by home to grab my premeasured meal and headed to the fights.  When I got there, I saw the brackets and full schedule were posted.  I was so relieved!  At least I’d have an idea of when I was fighting!!!  I even got a bye on the first round, which means my opponent will have already fought once.  I stood texting and calling my fellow fighters for about an hour, figuring out the schedule for the week. I didn’t stay for the rest of the fights because I knew I’d be back the next night.

 

Tuesday 

On Tuesday’s I do 4 am cardio. (Yes I read that in a Mean Girls voice)  I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and recently I’ve taken it indoors for a few different reasons.  So I got up at 4 am, out the door by 4:30 and hitting it by 5:00 at the Sweat Gym. (Privately owned, swanky, they even have TVs 🙂 )  I do 45-50 minutes or so of cardio, depending on traffic because I know by 6:00 AM I need to be in the sauna if I want to have a long time to shower and putz around before I go to work.  BUT TODAY I don’t have to go to work!  I get to go weigh in my fellow fighter! So I follow the above schedule to make sure I’m on time.

I head to Starbucks to get my coffee and cram a protein shake.  I had to sit at Starbucks and send a few emails to prep everything for the day.  Then I head to the Colorado Golden Gloves Gym (CGGG) to weigh in Dawson.  I had already texted him to make sure he was at weight and on the way.  No trash bags for him, phew. (See my first weigh in experience here, next weigh in for me is Friday) The CGGG is about 30 mins away and I make it 2 seconds before him.  We go in.  He weighs.  I ask about his opponent,  we leave.  It was really quick.  Then I headed to Trader Joes and prepped all my food for the days to come.  Time to train!

Boxing training on Tuesday felt really strong.  I’m feeling really ready!  Again….no spoilers here.  Then it was time to get Dawson ready and all the gear ready for the fight.  When you are in a sanctioned fight, there are lots of pieces to consider.  There’s a long list of supplies, snacks, and equipment you need and I’m very list orientated.  So I made up a gear bag list with my coach and packed it to make sure we have everything.  That sucker is packed.  Also it eases my type A mind for when it comes time for my fight FRIDAY.  Before I knew it, Dawson was at the gym and it was time to go.

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Again, I stopped at home for my preportioned meal.  I made two stops on the way to get things we forgot.  Behind the scenes of a boxing fight is very interesting and I witnessed everything first hand. I think I’ll make it it’s own post based on the length of this one. Dawson fought around 9:15 and lost in a split decision. It took me forever to get to bed.

 

Wednesday 

The plan was to get up and go to work because I didn’t have a sweat workout or weigh in to do, why not use the morning to go to work where I already have a sub? Well, I woke up to about 4-5 inches of snow and blizzard conditions.  School was closed.  There was no where to go.  No where to feel guilty about not going.  Weird.  Back to bed.

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The next step in the plan was to get some equipment I needed.  Jump rope and cocoa butter Vaseline. (Essentials for a boxer, obviously!) So we got up at a normal time and headed to Target.  It was bad but not BAD outside.  I’m from the midwest.  By the time we got home however, it was really bad.  Blizzard bad.  No wonder they are calling it a blizzard!

Step three in the day: boxing training.  There was no way my car could possibly make it that far without getting stuck.  I felt horribly guilty about canceling on my trainer but I had to.  I think this was the first time ever that I’ve canceled the day of.  Later in the day, the gym was officially closed anyway!  So again, nothing to feel guilty about.  Weird. I couldn’t go if I wanted to now…

Step four in the plan was to attend the fights again.  No one from my team was fighting but the first round of my competition was so of course I’m going to attend.  In the early afternoon they cancelled the fights.  The blizzard has now shut down my whole day.  SO I was stuck in limbo again.  If they are rescheduling all the bouts from today, what does that mean for my bracket? What does that mean for the other guys going from my gym? Argh!  I had just felt some relief from knowing when I was going to fight and now everything is messy again!

 

Overall the Golden Gloves have been quite the journey.  I feel like one of those girls after she gets cut from the Bachelor but I’m learning so much about myself!  I’m better at some parts of it than I expected and worse at others.  The waiting, the lack of sleep, the workouts, the diet…….I’ll have so much to say when this is all over.  But for now Golden Gloves, I still accept this rose.

 

 

Weigh Ins!

Yesterday I weighed in and registered for the Golden Gloves tournament! The day was quite the experience……

 

5 AM

I set my alarm for 5 am even though the weigh ins were scheduled to begin at 10 AM. I have been struggling to get to my fight weight for a while. After talking to my coach two weeks ago, he really eased my mind that the weight would come off and the more I worried about it the harder it would be. He really made me feel better about it and the weight came off. My weight class is 141 pounds. My coach was expecting 138 on the scale. This will allow me to fuel for fighting but not kick me overweight for weigh ins. I FINALLY started seeing the right numbers last week. So when I set my alarm for 5 AM, I knew I would be at weight but I got up any way just to check. If I was overweight, I’d spend the morning running on a treadmill in trash bags……..

 

I stepped on the scale and held my breath. 137.2. Not only had I made weight but I had an extra a pound just in case. So I went back to bed J

 

8 AM

At 8 I got up to meet my fellow fighters at the boxing gym. There are 5 of us going under the Touch of Sleep name. I was hoping we were all at weight and the morning would go smoothly. When I arrived, I saw one of my fellow fighters sprinting on the treadmill in three sweat suits. I was SO thankful that wasn’t me. I had prepared SO much that I made sure I didn’t have to do that and it worked. I’ve been counting every calorie and watching every nutrient to not end up in that situation. It felt good to relax and not have to worry. 8It came time to leave and we all got in the car.

 

10 AM

We got to the weigh ins early and got our places in line. I knew for sure that I was registered for the tournament but there was a problem with all the other fighters. I quickly checked in and headed to the weigh in lines. The lady took me back to the scale alone. I was nervous and excited about seeing the number. I knew I was at weight. I didn’t eat or drink anything since 7pm the night before. Before I stepped on the scale, in my bra and underwear no less, I took a deep breath. Here it was. The moment that I’d been waiting for. A whole year of training was coming down to this. I could never prove to myself or anyone else how good or hard my training was if I couldn’t make weight. I’ve never had to be a certain number for anyone other than myself. When I stepped on the scale, I almost cried. 136.5. Not only had I made weight, I had come in 4.5 pounds under.

 

**To be clear, 136.5 is not what I consider a healthy weight for me. I prefer my body at 145 or so. But this is the boxing world, it’s just how it works.

 

The woman weighing me in didn’t know anything about me. She didn’t know I used to be 290+ pounds. She didn’t know my journey or all the work I’d put in to see that number. There was no shouts of congratulations or looks of astonishment. To her, I was just another boxer trying to make weight. But I knew. I knew everything that number represented. I knew the tears, the sweat and the bruises I’d gone through to get there. Even though I’ve been officially training for a year, it’s been more like 3. It felt like the culmination of my whole journey. It was different than crossing a finish line because this time, it’s the starting line.

 

I got dressed and had my doctor check. And just like that, I’m qualified to fight. All of my fellow fighters made weight as well (even if we had to wait another hour for all of them to get through registration!)

 

The whole situation felt a little anticlimactic. I knew it wouldn’t be a celebration for me but it’s been so long coming that I couldn’t believe how fast it was over. But now the real fight begins. Each day we don’t find out who is scheduled to fight until that day. So now there’s a balancing dance between training and waiting for your fight. Will it be tomorrow? The next day? There’s no way to know…..

 

Obviously I’m really good at waiting. I love to schedule my life down to the T. I like having control of what’s going on. So instead I’m learning even more lessons about myself and my constant problem with control. It’s hard to be anxious when you don’t have anything to be anxious about. I thought I’d be a wreck but I’m doing alright with the waiting……….for now.10250102_1726232567611968_4506162408645246567_n

My Fight Weight Fight

So I’m now in training mode and focused on competing in the Golden Gloves.  I’m training 8-10 hours a week and trying to trim to my fight weight of 141 pounds.  141 pounds.  That’s small.  I’ve been at 141 pounds before and maintained it for 6 weeks or so just to make sure I could even be that small, and for the record: I think I’m too skinny at that weight.  Regardless, this is the weight my coaches have determined is the safest weight for me.

It’s actually quite difficult to think about what my true weight is.  After dropping over 50% of my body weight, I pretty much have loose skin…..everywhere.  So…..it’s hard to calculate my real weight, muscle mass or body fat.  So I’ve been obsessed with getting to that number again and I’ve been really struggling.  I have been eating within my calories everyday.  I have been working out more.  I have haven’t have a sweet treat (soda, candy, cupcake, cookie……) all month.  I have totally cut alcohol out.  And the scale………kept going up.  I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

My elbows hurt all the time.  My knee hurts every day.  My should hurts every day.  Weird aches and pains pop up all throughout the day. Am I going to be able to: 1.  Stay in one piece until March? 2. Make fight weight?12510425_10103151284597509_1504549280907727655_n

So I reached out to my amazing friend, Jessica Kidd, once again.  She is studying for her nutrition degree and often has to make a certain weight or look for events.  I knew she could help.  I know I still have almost two months to get to fight weight, but I’m starting to go to an unhealthy place about it and I want to make sure I do it right.

At first she noticed that I wasn’t eating enough.  My body was pretty much in starvation mode and if I didn’t increase my calories, I would never drop the weight.  I know it seems CRAZY.  But if you aren’t eating enough, you body saves every last calorie because it doesn’t think it’s ever going to get calories again.  But if you feed it when it asks, it learns to take what it needs and throw the rest away.  My body was saving everything because it needed everything. I lost my ‘excess weight’ quickly.  But then it started coming back.

I reached out to Jessica again.

Since I’ve been tracking my food in Myfitnesspal (LOVE!) I could simply send her a photo of what I’d been eating and my nutrients.  She noticed right away that my protein was too low and my fats were too high.  Honestly, I usually don’t pay much attention to anything but my calories and sugar.  I’ve gotten away with this for a looooong time.  But I’m training differently now.  I’m training as an amateur athlete. (What?!) So I have to provide my body with different things.  She told me the new levels she would suggest and I reset my app.  I went shopping the next day and prepped food for the whole week.  And.  It.  Worked.

I’m finally dropping some of my ‘excess weight’ that my body has been holding on to.  I thought I was getting enough of what I needed because my body was still going.  But now I realize how much my body was telling me it needed something different. Now that I’m eating the way I need to, it’s not complaining.  My elbows don’t hurt.  My knee is only sore after running.  My shoulder doesn’t hurt.  I feel so much more put together and stronger.  And the scale has agreed.  I’m not to fight weight consistently yet, but I’m getting there!

I’m in a video ?!

Wow I really need to update that picture! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Recently my trainer and gym have been expanding their marketing and were shooting a short ‘promo’ video.

So this is basically totally bizarre for me in a way that might be hard to understand.  When I look at this video, I can see that it’s me and I recognize myself, but it’s hard for me to believe that’s actually me.  Who would put me in this cool video? Why aren’t I cut out?

When you spend the majority of your life in the shadows of society, it’s really weird when you aren’t anymore.  When I was overweight, I wasn’t a wallflower by any means.  What I mean by “shadow of society” is that no one really notices you.  Men don’t look at you twice.  Women dismiss you immediately.  Even though everyone can see you, it’s like they never notice you.  Now people see me all the time. I get the “Skinny Bitch” face all the time. ( you know what I’m talking about) Men look at me.  Sometimes it’s the man with a woman ON HIS ARM that’s looking at me. (which I really freaking hate by the way).

I’ve been struggling with my identity in society for a while now (Read Here) but regardless of what ‘box’ I’m in now, it’s still weird to ME, which I think it most important.  I can agree that the girl in this video looks good and fit.  I agree that she doesn’t look like she has loose skin or literally lost half of her body. I can even ALMOST agree that that girl looks hot.  But it still just doesn’t quite feel like me. I’m beginning to wonder if it ever will.

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I’m the girl that gets cut out.  I’m the girl that doesn’t have hardly any photos of her whole body for almost a decade.  I’m the girl that stands in the back to hide her body from the camera.  I’m the girl that would NEVER be filmed in a video.  Right? Well.  Apparently not.  Do I have to spend equal amount of years in this body that I did in that body before it will fell like mine? That means I’ll feel normal in this body when……I’m…..50?! Let’s hope that’s not true.

 

My First Real Sparring

Last year I wrote tips about how to keep thin on Thanksgiving each day of the week.  Don’t forget to go back and check them out!

Last week, I finally had my first real experience “fighting” in the ring. First let’s be clear.  A fight is when your in the ring to win a sanctioned match.  When you’re training it’s called sparring. Just a note 😉

Most of you know that I’ve been taking boxing training for almost a year.   I box almost everyday and I never get tired of it!  I’ve been toying with the idea of actually competing in the amateur tournament, Colorado Golden Gloves for most of that time.  A few things were holding me back: I hadn’t had enough experience in the ring to know if I had what it takes and……the hubby wasn’t hot about the idea.

After nearly 6 months of training I felt like I had good enough skills and wanted to open up the idea of fighting.  After Dan came to the gym a few times and watched me, he agreed that I could try fighting if I wanted to.  My trainer, Jameson Bostic, agreed that I should start sparring (unsanctioned fights at the gym) more so I could get more experience.  After a few successful spars at the gym, one of the other trainers approached me about sparring with his client.  We set the spar for the next day.

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Right away my trainer had no worries.  He knew that if I could just do what I know, I would be successful.  But that is a BIG if.  Up until now, I had never fought 100% against another person.  It’s rare to spar with someone of your ability and weight.  To make it safe and fair, we usually have rules when we spar.  Sometimes you can only use your left had, sometimes I’m told not to go 100%, sometimes you’re only on defense or offense, sometimes I don’t get hit at all.  While I had several sparring sessions under my belt, I had never gone 100% against another girl with both hands.

I was nervous ALL DAY.  It had been a long time since I had taken hits in the ring to the face or head.  My partner, Brandi, had experience and about 20 pounds (?) on me.  I knew she would hit and she would hit hard.  Would I freeze? Would I cry? What would happen? Jameson knew I was nervous and sent me messages throughout the day.  When I arrived at the gym, I was more excited than nervous.  Today was the day.  Today was the day I’d know if I wanted to get in the ring and compete.  And it was…………FREAKING AWESOME.

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Some people think boxing is just violence with rules. I used to not be able to watch boxing or MMA on TV because I thought it was violent and gross.  My first time sparring another girl the whole time I thought, “Why is she trying to hurt me?” But now I can see the sport that is in boxing.  When I’m in my corner, I’m not thinking about hurting the other person.  I’m thinking about beating them at their own game. I’m thinking about when they throw that punch I’m going to be right there throwing back. I’m thinking about their rhythm and dominant side and how I’m going to throw them off.  I’m not thinking about how much it’s going to hurt because it doesn’t.

During the round, my adrenaline is so high, I barely feel getting hit.  I’m more focused on the timing and her errors.  We fought three rounds.  My coach and I were hoping to go longer but her coach called it. Meaning…….I kicked her ass.  See below for a breakdown of the rounds.

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It felt INCREDIBLE.  To be clear, it’s not punching the other girl, making her bleed, or even injuring her that felt incredible.  Beating her at her own game felt incredible.  Being the faster, smarter and stronger fighter felt incredible.  Knowing that all the work I’d put in, all the sweat and tears felt incredible.  Seeing the look on my trainer’s face and knowing he was proud was incredible.  Over coming my own insecurities of not being good enough was like flying to the moon. I lived off the high of winning my first real spar for a few days.  There’s no feeling quite like proving yourself wrong or realizing you can do whatever you want to do.  You’d think that I’d gotten used to breaking the odds or overcoming new goals, but thankfully it just gets better and better.

Click here to view the whole fight via Google Drive

Round One: I spent WAY too much time trying to feel her out.  I was trying to find her rhythm and I was on the defense.  My trainer expected her to fight much differently so I spent some time trying to figure out their plan instead of destroying their plan.

Round Two: During round two I fought much better.  I spent less time worrying about what she was going to do and put my plan in motion.  There was even a moment in round 2 that she gave up and dropped her hands.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do so I stopped too!  But I knew in round 2 I was going to ‘win’.  Her punches weren’t strong enough and I was able to anticipate her throws quite a few times. After two right hands from me her mouth started to bleed.

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Round Three: Brandi stopped about a minute into round three.  She had hurt her shoulder and her coach didn’t want to continue.

Overall I’m really happy with how I fought.  Watching back the video, I can see all sorts of things that I did wrong.  I missed opportunities and always go to the left.  But instead of beating myself up about the errors, I’m still holding my head high for getting in!

 

 

My Identity

These past few days and weeks I’ve had a lot of new people asking me about my health, diet and fitness.  While it feels super awesome to inspire others and lend and ear, it has gotten me thinking a lot about my identity.

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My Obese Identity

When I was morbidly obese, I always knew I was ‘the fat one’.  I didn’t want this to be true but it was either way I look at it.  What I mean is, how would your friends fill in this sentence:

“Oh you’ve met her, she’s the ______ we had dinner with the other night…..”

When filling in that sentence for me, undoubtedly that blank would be filled with FAT ONE.  And who could blame anyone? My obesity was tied up in my identity.  I’ve said this many times on this site but I’ll say it again: Being obese is like carrying the thing to hate most about yourself on the outside where everyone can see it.  I do think there are other things that could have filled that blank when I was obese like: the music teacher.  But that’s my job, which I love, not who I am. I didn’t want to be known for being the fat one OR for just being a music teacher.  Being “THE FAT ONE” was never my true identity but I thought it was at the time.

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My Identity Now

I know that this sentence is much much different for me now.  There’s so much emotional work that goes along with changing what you look like.  One thing I wasn’t prepared for on my journey, was how others would respond to me.  I’ve changed my identity in society.  Everyone puts everyone in boxes all day long.  I’m slotted into a much different box of stereotypes now than I was before.  This is both good and bad.  BUT I’m so proud of the things that I would fill that sentence with about myself now:

runner, fit girl, boxer, ninja, crazy person……

People still assume things about me all day long.  When I was obese people automatically think: lazy, slow, unambitious, early death. (Which were all true)  Now I think people think: Health freak, gym rat, nutrition nerd, runner (which are all kinda true too…..) The point is, I’m ok with my identity in society now.  If someone thinks I’m too muscley, I’ll take that EVERYDAY over being half way to a heart attack.  If someone assumes I spend 10 hours a days at the gym because of how I look, I’m ok with that stereotype too.  I didn’t just change the way I look on the outside and the way I feel on the inside.  I changed who I am to the entire world.  Pretty freakin cool.

What I Want You To See

I’ve had a lot of experiences in the past few weeks that I will be posting and writing about.  But this week, I stumbled across a photo on Instagram that I just had to share.  It stopped me in my tracks and it has haunted me for days.

 

IMG_4470Photographer: Meg Gaiger (Happyimages), via Instagram

This photo gives me mixed emotions everytime: sad and horrified but I also understand the girl in this picture.

All through my childhood I felt like this girl. No matter how active I was or what I ate, I always felt bigger and fatter than my peers.  Even when I look back at photos of my young self and see that I was pretty normal, it isn’t how I felt. I don’t remember idolizing models or movie stars in my Tiger Beat but I remember looking at others.  I always wanted to be as thin as my sister.  I wanted to wear a bikini like my friends at the local beach.  I wanted to be a starter on the basketball team instead of second or third string.

BUT I did not know how to do it in a healthy way and didn’t know I could ask for help.  I remember having body issues as young as 4th grade, maybe sooner.  Things only got worse through middle and high school.

In 6th grade, I got bullied by one girl in particular.  She would make me feel fat and ugly all the time.  She and her friends would laugh at me from across the hallway or in the back of the room.  I never understood why she choose me or why she bullied me.  I’ll never know, but it effected how I started to see myself.  I started to notice more and more how I was different.  I was taller and a little heavier. By the end of middle school and going in to high school, I did not have a healthy self image.  I was constantly judging myself against others.  When I was in high school, I realized I could change how I looked.   Throughout the four years of high school I experimented with anorexia, bulimia, water pills, diet pills and weight loss bars or shakes.  No one seemed to notice that I was struggling.  I never stuck to one method for long enough for it to be that noticeable. My friends didn’t even know.

My senior year of high school was the hardest.  My family experienced quite a lot of stress that year and it was easy to hide in the back ground.  I lost over 30 pounds by starving myself.  I would eat one or two diet bars a day and diet soda.  When you’re at school all day, have an after school job, and then musical rehearsal until 9 pm, it’s easy to hide your eating habits.  I could drive myself everywhere and my parents were always at an appointment or work.  It wasn’t their fault, no one really knew.  I don’t remember why I stopped. My focus shifted to moving to college I suppose.  While I feel like this was one of the hardest times in my life, my confusion about health and eating continued until just recently.

When I look at the photo above, I am that girl.  But what I truly worry about it is young girls seeing me now.  I don’t want ANYONE to ever look at me and feel bad about themselves.  Every day I get the “Skinny Bitch Face” from someone.  I always want to stop them and explain my story and who I am.  I wish I could wear a shirt that says “Healthy NOT Skinny”.  This was my goal all along.  I want young girls to see me and think “I want to be healthy like her!” I want them to see me running down the street and want to be able to do what I can do. I NEVER want a young girl to see me and feel bad about themselves or make the kinds of choices that I did when I was young.

But how to spread this message……..