Keep the Change
I feel like I've had the same conversation a thousand times in the last three years. You may be familiar — it's the one where you see a photo of yourself or look in the mirror and the person staring back at you isn't the one you see in your mind's eye. So, you plunge yourself into a pit of misery, disappointment, and frustration... to name a few emotions on the "goddamnit, why can't I just make this a priority?" roller coaster. Wheeeeeeeee...
Once again, I'm attempting to leave that theme park. Deep down inside, I'm much too tall for any of those rides.
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and I do not, in any way, subscribe to any preconceived societal beliefs that align "attractiveness" with "size" or "shape" or any other physical descriptors, for that matter. To me, attractiveness is whatever makes your pupils dilate, your heart skip, your pulse jump, and your breath shorten. For me, confidence, intelligence, kindness, and mesmerizing eyes are the sorts of things that are attractive. I don't mean eyes that are a certain color or shape; I mean eyes that, when you look into them, speak volumes.
I want to be proud of my health. I want the image you all see when you look at me to match the one I see in my mind's eye. That hasn't been the case since 2013 and that needs to change.
In 2013, I was in the best shape of my entire life, but it was for a short term purpose. In order to give myself the fastest possible recovery from my top surgery*, I wanted my body to be as strong as possible. I was doing CrossFit, barre, Pound, yoga, and running 5ks (not serious ones, but fun ones like Color Me Rad or ones where you get a free beer at the end). I was eating well, drinking tons of water, detoxing from beer a bit, and meditating to reduce stress. I had an inspirational and motivational Pinterest board. I was on my game and it felt amazing. And, it worked! After my surgery, I was on the couch for one week, working from home for one week, and then I was back in the office. Piece of cake.
* Note: While this is frequently called FTM (female to male) top surgery, it doesn't mean you have to transition from female to male. You can, as I do, identify as something other than male and not have any intentions of transitioning. They'll still do the surgery for the same price. There are no discounts and it is not cheap if it's not covered by your insurance, but you do get to live your live as your authentic self, which is something you can't put a price on.
Being back as a functioning member of society didn't mean, though, that I could go back to exercising the way I was two weeks earlier. In fact, I had exercise restrictions. So, I pretty much stopped. I lost all of the muscle and stamina I had built and the flexibility I had gained. When my restrictions were lifted, I went to a couple more CrossFit WODs but other things had changed at the box I went to and it wasn't enjoyable anymore, so I left. While I loved the results, I loathed partner WODs and my box seemed to be obsessed with them. I went to a couple of barre and Pound classes, but didn't get back on my regular schedule (doubles on Saturday and Sunday).
CDG and I are not lazy. We don't sit on our duffs very often, as you can see by our adventures on social media. But, working out hasn't been part of my priority for far too long.
I tried starting up again in the fall, and fell. Well, I almost fell. I went to my very first spin class and ended up almost falling off the bike (my foot unclipped from the pedal). I caught myself with my left hand and pulled myself back onto the bike. The next morning, my wrist was on fire. To make a long story very short (click here if you'd like to read the long version), I ended up in a cast for 7 weeks.
Setbacks suck, and I'm not very good about recovering from them.
My inner voice whispers, "Reframe that thinking, TDG."
Let me rephrase... I *wasn't* very good at recovering from them.
But, that is about to change, and so is my level of dedication to my health.
Today, I'm starting an 8-week fitness and nutrition program with an online trainer who lives in Colorado. I am paying money for her assistance not just because this is her job, but also because it will increase my level of investment, since I do not enjoy wasting money. In order for her to build my custom program, she asked me to answer a questionnaire and send her pictures of myself, which made me feel incredibly vulnerable, but I think they will be helpful motivational tools. I want the picture at 8 weeks to show progress (and a new tattoo).
After I wrote a paragraph in response to her "Male or Female" section, most of the questions were relatively simple to answer. She asked about my current food and workout habits, which foods I loved and hated, which exercises I loved and hated, if I had any allergies or injuries, etc. The questions gradually grew tougher and more philosophical. The last two were: What is your overall fitness goal? What concerns you most about fitness? Those questions required more thought.
I want people to look at me and think, “that person is strong.” More importantly, I want to look at myself and think, “I’m strong!” I don’t want to fail. I want the reflection in the mirror to match the one I have in my head. My fear is that I’m super impatient and will not see any results, I’ll get depressed, and I'll revert back to spending my nights on the couch playing Toy Blast, upset with myself.
I know this will take time. My goal is not to look like Christmas Abbott in 8 weeks, but I'd like to look like her by age 40. That gives me two years to get there, but when I get there, I'm going to stay there. I’m in this for the long haul, not for a short term purpose.
I'm keeping this change.