In the past few weeks, as we near a new year, I’ve had an Elizabeth Gilbert quote on my mind. It’s the one that goes,
“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting sick of their own bullshit.”
When I finally embraced getting sober, it was because I was sick of my own bullshit. I was sick of feeling like I wasn’t living to my full potential, sick of feeling like someone I knew I wasn’t. And so began a life transformation. And yeah, life has gotten a lot better for me since I stopping drinking three and a half years ago.
But in the past year, I have been struggling with something else quite a bit — my self-image. It’s almost hard to admit this because I know I come across as confident and happy and like I have it all together now (via social media at least). But the people who know me well know that the way I see myself needs work — a lot of it.
In the past few months I’ve found myself treating sugar the way I used to treat alcohol. I crave it, and when I finally get it in my body, it’s hard to stop. Though I am not a binge eater by any means, I find myself struggling with serving size and portion control, going for foods that taste good rather than ones that are actually good for me. This wouldn’t be as large of an issue if I could commit to a solid workout program, but I just yo-yo with them. I work out hard for a week, then stop for two. And so on.
On top of all that, I stopped taking antidepressants in June. Yes, I consulted with a doctor and did it the right way. Mentally, I feel good. Days where I feel depressed or anxious are few and far between. But I think I had this illusion that stopping them would help me lose weight without having to put the effort in, because that has been the case for some people. Needless to say, that did not happen.
So guess what? I’m think I am finally sick of my own bullshit. If I can stay sober in my 20s, I can sure as hell get myself back in shape. I want to be happy with my appearance, because I know that will dictate much of my mental outlook as well.
So I decided to do something about it: enter Crossfit. Prior to this past week, Crossfit was a big unknown for me. It had always been in the back of my mind to try, but it took a breaking point of sorts to actually get myself in that door. And God, am I glad I mustered up the courage and did it. It’s only been a week, and I’ve only attended five classes, but I can already tell this is it. This is what I need. Here’s why.
- It’s made me realize I can do hard things. Sure, I already knew this in a sense. But on a few days of class, I’ve watched an exercise and my mind was like, “Yeah, forget it. You can’t do that.” Yet I had no choice but to try. And, on more occasions than one, my mind was wrong. I could do these things. Maybe not exactly how they were supposed to be done, or with the amount of weight others were doing, but I COULD STILL DO THEM. I’ve been trying so hard not to say “I can’t” in class, but it slips out once in awhile. On one occasion when it did, one of the coaches said, “You can. Your mind will always give up on your before your body will.” For minds like mine, that is 100 percent true.
- It’s frustrating. Yes, some of the days in class I was pleasantly surprised with my abilities. But on other days, like today, I’ve been beating up on myself hardcore. Today’s class really tested me mentally, but I got through it. I missed being challenged and pushed and frustrated. I am the type of person who needs that in order to work my hardest. When I work out on my own, I don’t push myself, so I never get to the point of frustration. So yes, I am saying that FRUSTRATION. IS. GOOD.
- It’s making me more aware of what I choose to put in my body. This past week, I’ve had no sugary coffee drinks like I typically do. I avoided cookies at work yesterday. I focused more on what would fuel my body rather than what would momentarily be enjoyable. Working my butt off each day has given me the mentality that I don’t want to undo my progress by feeding myself pure crap. And guess what? Today I weighed myself, and it was 5 pounds less than I was this time of day last week. It was also the smallest number I’ve seen on the scale in a year. I know this journey isn’t about weight loss, but I also know that if I am able to really change the way I eat, I will see progress in that area while also gaining muscle.
- It’s supportive. This may sound odd to people who haven’t been to both, but walking in the door of an AA meeting and in the door to Crossfit have a lot of parallels. For both, I didn’t know what to expect and I was terrified. But my first time at both, I was welcomed with open arms. I felt a sense of belonging, but more importantly, I felt wanted. I don’t think I have encountered a single person at Crossfit who hasn’t shaken my hand and asked me questions about myself. But it’s more than that. It’s the fact that even when you’re the last person to finish something (hey, that’s me), everyone cheers you on as if you were the first. It’s a true team feeling, and it’s clear that everyone cares about the others, both in and out of the gym.
I could go on, but this post is getting long. Honestly, it just feels so good to be excited about something. I debated not writing this until I had a month of classes under my belt, but I just had too many thoughts going through my mind to put it off.
The bottom line is that I’m sick of my own bullshit, but I am also done drowning in it. So this is it. This is the change I’ve been waiting for for nearly a year, and telling you all about it makes it real and vulnerable and scary. But more than that, it makes me feel like I am being held accountable. And that’s worked in my sobriety, so hopefully it can work here, too.
So. Here’s to this journey.