PT-14.1: Time efficient

Thursday morning, training with J. As has become our habit and pattern we did review of what we went over on Monday. I must say I like this format. Maybe it’s boring for J (unlikely), but for me it reinforces all that I know and fills in some gaps on stuff I only or mostly think I know.

Key Takeaways

Coming in PT-14.2: Time efficient.

What We Did

Coming in PT-14.2: Time efficient.

How It Felt

Coming in PT-14.2: Time efficient.

Practices Between Now and Monday

Coming in PT-14.2: Time efficient.

Kitchen Sink Thoughts

I have previously characterized my exercise as “good mood food” and even more strongly believe it to be true. Getting up, getting to the gym, going through List(s) of the day sets a tone for my days that is unmatched by other things in my life’s experience. It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. I occasionally wonder if I was dour and sad all the time before this, because the positive comments and compliments on my outlook have been so kind and flattering. Who knew I needed to or should or could improve that much?

That feels short-sighted to me, though. I was successful, happy, and primarily good tempered before I evolved to where I am now. However, negative girl was in the wheelhouse and the contrast between her influence and my healthier mindset now is pretty apparent. In a conversation with TM (my therapist) earlier this week, we were talking about anger and how I view it as such a negative, nearly shameful emotion. For me. Other people, it seems far more understandable. But when I am upset or I am angry, it takes me to the dark and shame-riddled places that I will never voluntarily visit.

Exercise has become a healthy outlet when I need something more than a mere vent with M or with other close friends. Sessions with TM are always so clarifying, in that he helps me cut through the bullshit and get to the meat-and-potatoes of what is really on my mind that has me dancing around throwing my hands up in the air as if I have no idea. Once upon a time I lived for our sessions, because I continually walked out feeling validated and important; what I think and how I feel were perfectly normal and not weird or funky or dumb, stupid, utter ridiculous. He would always tell me it was within me to feel this way all the time, that I would find my niche that would let me see myself the way others who like and who love me see me. I would smile, nod agreeably, and then discount the living daylights out of his calm and assured assessment of the situation.

In my general fucked-up-ness I was absolutely certain I was an outlier. Because I lacked the discipline or the strength of character or even the baseline intelligence to understand much less actually do the work necessary.

These days, I think about TM sessions past and realize he was right in his assessment and also his practicality that until ready to be open to and embrace the new methods, I would remain blind and oblivious to the benefits. TM – so wise.

I bring all that backstory up mostly because my mind is a jumple of thoughts trying to escape captivity of mind and be expressed here in the blog. But also because I don’t exactly feel that much different than the person I once was. The good mood food every morning starts my day with a success, even if I fell flat on my face (or on my ass, in the case of recent stability ball adventures) pursuing my List of the day. It is testament to my increased comfort and ease level in the gym that I am quite typically relaxed and smiling when I arrive and when I leave the club, rather than the tense resting-bitch-face that I long associated with the gym and exercise of any sort. While I feel more joy just moving body to and fro with more ease and confidence, there is so much lingering good feeling stemming from the changes I have implemented in my life. It is hard for me to want to eat and entire box of chocolate or worse knowing I will be back in the gym the next or worse, training with J. Call it confidence, call it return to common sense values, call it assurance, call it flipper swimming in my brain (aka endorphins) – my need to label it is fading fast. This is my life, my habits, and my way of thinking now. I am embracing it.

But if I have to put a name to it, I would call it hope.

To say that I am broken is like a big warning label that can never be overcome. I have a hard history that I cannot forget and am uncomfortable trying to live with it in any sort of unpacked state. Because of that, I feel that if I am striving to travel a “normal” highway I am always going to be handicapped and limping. Those memories are so profoundly entrenched in my head I cannot forget and forgiveness of the abusive party is a non-starter, which in real ways harms me more. Part of my life’s baggage. But our individual journeys through life are unique, and I do not cling to my broken, victim identity as the primary factors that color and influence all aspects of my life. I am a daughter, a sister, a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee, and an entrepreneur – and so many other things that are not immediately coming to mind. My success within these roles has been hit and miss, some far more stellar and satisfying that others depending on the timeline. But I recognize there is adequate and consistent success within these defining roles to know that I am not the complete and utter worthless failure negative girl wants me believing. Through the years I have learned that I want the defining things about me to be things within my control, not victimhood presented to me because some evil man could do whatever he wanted to a powerless child.

The negative mindset is so crippling. Within that realm, I had stopped thinking at all about my physical appearance. Giving up the fight with the way my body looked and the way I felt, I accepted that I would always be diabetic and some level of less healthy. Giving up on the idea of being anything else gave reason and license to simply not have to explore less comfortable options – like cleaning up my diet and getting more exercise. Even once I started with trainer J and took tentative, baby steps toward becoming more consistent with regular exercise, in the back of my mind I wondered how long I would last this time. My pattern before this was to exercise regularly for a few weeks up to 5 or 6 months and then quit. Completely. I would be tired and miss a day and then be so upset about breaking my streak that I would stop completely. This habit and pattern of quitting too soon directly fuels my obsession with consistency and going to the gym in the same general timeframes on the same days, week after week, month after month. There is huge comfort in predictability of my habits.

This time, maybe I was just more prepared for the message, or my fab trainer just gets me. Being a scary smart and empathetic guy he was and is able to attract and hold my attention long enough to achieve the little successes the bolstered my conifdence. I know it’s not easier this time than the last 10 tries. Small successes, the distraction of conversation directly and less directly related to health and fitness, and a different work/life balance all contribute.

Our session this morning, what I walked away from it with was this huge, satisfied feeling that I worked hard, reviewed hard, and still made good time within our hour. Sometimes I fear that I dawdle too much and waste precious resources within a hard-limit 60 minute timeframe. Today I came into it with the mindset that we WOULD get through the List and the sets, and unless I was way far off the reservation with form, I would not let myself get distracted and stuck in the weeds with the minutiae of this much bend, that much arch, this pace, that pace, the other pace. I gained some new cues and enhancements. I worked hard. I am utterly delighted that the session was fun and educational. And I cannot wait to try it out on my own to see how I fare.

Some days I feel infinitely richer, more successful than others. I am still capable of learning, still able to train body to move and muscles to grow or fat to burn. Thus far I have been very fortunate to have no serious injuries that impact me in my better health quest, and the longer I work at this the more significant it becomes. My admiration for people who have endured injury or been limited by other setbacks is huge, but I am grateful for not having those additional obstacles in my pathway.

And perhaps this is where my renewed sense of hope comes into play.

I always want to be better, kinder, stronger. I do not want to be someone who caves and gives up, gives in, plays the too hard or too difficult cards. As a parent, I have always hoped to be a good example to my kids of hard work and persistence when things got tough. I was not always successful in these things, of course, and I would feel like a single failure on even the most obscure front would be this big wet blanket over anything and everything I ever attempted.

The little successes offer me hope of building, learning, doing more. I see foundations for larger structures now where I once saw only individual pass/fail projects. Better health is not a single component, not a game of winner takes all. Without the healthier mindset and attitude the better health quest and every step forward toward the objective would be an exceedingly hollow victory, because I would not, could not appreciate the benefits of my efforts and hard work. Gratitude has almost seemed an attribute of the meek and the humble, which are qualities I somewhat uncomfortably have adopted in my quest for complete invisibility in life, and therefore qualified myself as almost someone of significantly lesser stature and status than everyone else. No more. Maybe I have to tell myself this 10 or 20 or 100 times a week still, but I do matter, I am not invisible, and I do have impact on those around me.

Patience, while still not a virtue, comes a tiny bit easier in the context of the long game. And the better health quest is my absolute poster child of long game.