Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Just a Number

Just when you think things change...

A while ago, my BFF asked me about the blog and what was happening with it, and I responded that I didn't really have anything to write about races to run, no specific goals that were worth documenting the journey towards.  However, deep inside there was something that had been really bothering me and this blog is as much therapy to me as anything else, so here I am.

To those people who don't know me all that well (and even those that do), I appear to be someone who has fully embraced a healthy lifestyle...I eat well, I exercise faithfully and I'm pretty fit.  What people don't see is the long and winding road it's taken for me to get to this point physically and more important, mentally.  Coming from someone who was obsessed with her weight, counted calories constantly and started her first diet at the tender age of 12, it's taken a lot of work to get past the battle with the scale.  One of the key things that really changed how I felt about the scale was weight training - in the past few years since I started lifting, I stopped looking obsessively looking at the scale and, truth be told, smugly thought to myself that I was "over" the scale and worrying about what number I saw.  Or so I thought.

Earlier this year I did a fitness assessment with my personal trainer.  It was a six stage assessment testing such things as strength, flexibility, power, core endurance, strength endurance and balance, and when my trainer suggested we do it, I thought sure!  Why the hell not?  What my trainer neglected to tell me was that I would have to get on a scale as he needed my weight in order to do some fancy pants calculations.  Honestly...if I could have run out of there I would have.  But I had committed, so when it came time to get on the scale I sucked it up and did it...however, the part that I'm ashamed of and really angry at myself is that I just didn't get on that scale and own whatever number I saw, I acted like a mewling kitten and whined, snivelled and all in all acted like an absolute asshat in front of my trainer.  Even thinking about it now, I'm mortified but I couldn't shut myself up and made the weighing in a big deal, even though it totally wasn't and he probably wouldn't have thought twice about it if I hadn't gone on and on ad nauseam.  And as soon as I walked out of the gym, I calculated what I weighed in pounds because the scale was in kilograms.  And to be honest?  I didn't like the number I saw.

What followed was like a train wreck.  I kept hassling my I look fat?  Am I getting too thick?  Is the strength training making me too blocky and big?  I kept looking at myself in the mirror and thinking maybe I needed to lose some weight.  What I was happy with before the weigh in, wasn't OK after the weigh in and all the stupidity surrounding the scale came back in a huge rush.  Somehow my self worth was once again tied to my weight...hello, old demon...can't believe I'm seeing you again.

The next week I went back to see my trainer and got the results of my fitness assessment back.  After hearing the results I was even more ashamed than I was right after being weighed...not because I did poorly, but because I rated excellent or very good in every category except one (darn weak glutes!).  I was mad at myself that I had beat myself up over a number on the scale and was ashamed of and berated the very same body that I should be pretty darn proud of...I came in at excellent for my age group for strength.  Not bad for a wee slip of a thing!  I was so focussed on that stupid number, I negated every physical accomplishment...this body can lift heavy, sprint fast and run long.  Sure, I'm at my heaviest weight ever...I gots me some quads now and I can't fit into a lot of my clothes anymore because my arms and shoulders have widened and gotten bigger.  But I'm also the strongest and best shape I've ever been in and the scale is just one measurement, not the only measurement.

So here goes...a recommitment to myself to not let the scale mess with my head again and treat my body with kindness.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Carpe Diem

Holy.  It's been a long, long time since I wrote!  And a long, long time since I updated my blog...I still have stuff from 2013 on here!  Egads.  It's interesting for me to look at the blog now because in the beginning, it was all about food and running...and while those things are still a huge part of me, my love of strength has become central.  While I still love to run, building muscle is where it's at for me, at least for now.  Methinks a blog refresh is in order! isn't that often that I get the itch to write, but I was inspired today.  When I was six years old, we were offered the chance to take piano lessons after school.  All my friends were doing some kind of dance or music, so I asked my parents if I could take lessons.  Now I know this is odd as (OK, stereotype coming here) a lot of Asian parents push piano on their kids, but my parents didn't really want me to take piano lessons.  Thinking back, they are incredibly practical people and didn't see a "purpose" for the piano...and also being an immigrant family, money was pretty tight and there was no extra for lessons or buying a piano for me to practice on.  We weren't well off by any stretch, so now that I can see things with some maturity and understanding, I get it.  Anyways, I finished the first grade and remember practicing my fingering on a piece of paper with the keys drawn on it or...and this memory makes me laugh and feel sad at the same time...on a toy piano that I had been given as a birthday gift from a friend.  Some of the keys didn't really work, but that was all I had and ya gotta do what you gotta do.  I absolutely adored playing the piano during lessons...there was something about the ability to make music that I loved even when I was so little.  Sadly though, because we didn't have a piano and money was tight, I couldn't continue on with lessons so I was forced to give it up.  It was weird because for years after that, even though I only had taken some very rudimentary lessons, I would love to tinker with a piano if one was around.  I recall being at a friend's house and while the other kids were playing in the next room, I was in the living room at the piano, tickling the ivories...or trying to!

So that was when I was 6 years old.  Fast forward 40 years, and never having learned to play stuck with me...truly one of my life's biggest regrets.  For years I talked on and off again about taking lessons, but life was insanely busy and I never followed up.  About five years ago though, one of my friends was moving and asked if Hubs' church would want to buy her piano...I jumped at the chance to buy it, and into our house it came.  Now you're thinking, well she must have taken lessons right away, right?  One of her biggest regrets, right?  Nope...that piano has sat collecting dust since.  Until now...Hubs was taking a course for the past year, and while it was tough it made him realize how much time he wasted doing nothing productive when he wasn't studying!  He's always wanted to take guitar lessons can guess what's coming...he signed up for guitar lessons and I got off my duff and signed up for piano lessons.  We signed on at our local Tom Lee and are able to go back to the back to the same teacher and had our first lesson this past Friday!  My first musical piece...Jingle Bells!   And tonight...for the first time ever...I played a song from start to finish.  It was a bit halting and I made some mistakes, but after I finished my heart literally burst with  I actually got a bit teary because it's been something I've wanted to do for so long and I was finally doing it.

So, the purpose of this post isn't really to tell you all about my sad childhood.  Ha!  It's to say that it's never to late to learn or do anything, and if there's something that you've always wanted to do or achieve, what's stopping you?  Sure, it's likely going to take some time, work and effort, but think about what you're going to get from it on the flip side. 

Now...heading off to play Jingle Bells one more time before bed.