What Could be Worse than a Root Canal?

There is one thing that I avoid at all costs. It makes me so anxious, so insecure. I would rather get a root canal. True story. The only time I have to acquiesce is at the doctor’s. You know what I am talking about.  The dreaded scale. Getting weighed is some cruel cruel joke bestowed on us.

My preferred alternative to getting weighed is slightly less scientific. I go with the way my clothes fit method.  It has worked for me for the most part. When I was in personal training I was weighing myself a few times a week and yes it was awesome when the pounds came off. I became too obsessed with it and stopped.

I have avoided monitoring my fitness progress by a scale for a good 3 years. Then recently a topic of discussion came up amongst my CrossFit coach about getting a scan to determine body muscle/fat, etc. No way am I going to pay someone $80 to tell me just how “fat” I am.

So I dodged that and thought I was in the clear… Until I talked to my sister the nutritionist. I seeked her expertise to help me come up with new guidelines for how I should be eating to gain more muscle and lose fat. She told me to start tracking my food (and how I feel before/during/after I eat). And then she asked for what I dread the most “and you are going to have to send me your height and weight.” Fat chance.

I’m about as short as they come. In my head I should weigh about 100 lbs. (I am sure I am nowhere near that).  I hear of other girls’ weights, 5’2 at 105. 5’9 at 125. 5’6 at 120.  Based on that, I don’t need a scale to tell me I am “fat”.  I am not ready to face what a scale tells me.

Ok so having said all that, I do know I need to weigh myself. I’m being a bit dramatic. That’s obvious. The bigger question is why do I hate being weighed so much? Why do so many women in general hate being weighed? Is it because we benchmark ourselves too often against other women? Is it because despite strides being made in fitness that showcase curves and muscles, we almost dismiss that to let a number be the ultimate judge?  Are we letting a number dictate confidence instead of how we feel?

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Running is Terrible. Why do I do it?

I ran today! 5 sets of 200 meters which equates to less than a mile. Nothing to brag about by any means for the average person.For me oh hell yeah I can brag.

I had never been a runner until about 5 years ago. I never saw any joy in it and never understood why someone would torture themselves doing that. Then one night I was watching the Biggest Loser. The competitors were training to run a marathon. I realized if these people who had been morbidly obese maybe 6 months before could get themselves in shape to run 26.2 miles, I had no reason to not train for a 5k.

And so it began. I started by running on the path at the beach. I would go for short distances and was fairly disciplined to run a few times a week. I would even run in Denver during the week with my trainer at the time, Rick. Nice guy that he is, he didn’t even charge me for the sessions. He was so excited I started running that he would meet me after work and we would run a few miles together. I had to adjust to running in a new environment where the altitude was high plus it was the dead of winter which means temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s plus ice on the ground. Once I figured out how to dress warmly and regulate my breathing, I did ok with it. I found physically it was rewarding to get my legs pumping and doing something I never dreamed of. On top of that, running with Rick was a great chance to bond more and form a new friendship. I started focusing less on how much running sucked and more on the benefits, both physical and emotional.

When I would be back in LA and running more on my own, I found I was slipping back into the not-so-enjoying- it mode. I was still running at the beach and getting bored with it. I would constantly be looking for mile markers and the time that passed between each one felt like an eternity. Looking out at the sand and beach stretching on and on made running feel endless (I know I know high class problems).

A friend suggested I join running groups to help me train and meet new people too. I found the Culver City Running Group on meetup.com. They run every Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5 miles down Culver Blvd (and during daylight savings, they take a different route with a trail). I emailed the group before going as naturally I was apprehensive. Would there be anyone as slow as me? Would I be able to keep up? Would I be left behind? One of the organizers, Ed, emailed me back and said I should of course join them as they do a short run to San Diego. I actually thought he was serious and freaked. After my blonde moment passed, I did decide to have my first run with them and I am so grateful I did.

The group is a mix of people who have different levels of running experience. I was probably the most inexperienced runner there yet nobody ever made me feel like less of an athlete because of it. If anything, they were my biggest supporters helping me advance from running 3 miles with breaks to 4 miles and then 5 miles constantly increasing my pace and building my endurance. Running helped me get stronger and leaner. It helped me be better at kickboxing as I could pack more power into every kick and punch.

I started running 5k races and even a few 10k’s. I still can’t say I loved running while I was running but the sense of accomplishment after was really empowering.

As I have alluded to, running for me isn’t just about the physical sport itself. It’s about the people I have met along the way through running. Some of my closest friends I never would have met had I didn’t go out of my comfort zone and gasp, run!

When you spend an hour twice a week with people running and chatting, you truly get to know them. You get to hear about different life experiences, you listen to different perspectives, get relationship advice, restaurant recommendations, you name it. The thing about running (and CrossFit for that matter) and probably any physically demanding sport, is that people who participate in that sort of thing tend to be positive people. Generally speaking, I don’t think people who are negative and total defeatists would put themselves in those situations. It is inspiring to be around people who are so positive and optomistic. I know surrounding myself through running with like minded people continually helps me be the best me I can be.

I am sure you all know my foot history by now so I can spare you the recap. I hadn’t been able to run for almost 3 months and shockingly I miss it. I was excited to break a 10k in under an hour and was hoping to take it to the next level. I had to halt that due to my injuries.  I miss having a goal to work towards (although now I have a new goal: no foot pain ever). I miss getting up on Sunday mornings and running with some pretty awesome ladies through the beaches of the South Bay. It’s a bit heart breaking to have moments where I wonder if I will ever be able to run again.

So yes to run less than a mile today is something that makes me smile and proud.

Just Say “Thanks”

Have you ever complimented a woman and her response was something like “Really? I don’t see that.”

I recently went to an Assertiveness training and one of the points that really hit home is how often women have a hard time accepting a compliment. How many times have you told a friend or a coworker “I like your dress” or “You look really nice today.” What’s the typical response? “Oh this?  I got it on sale at TJ Maxx” or “Really? I barely slept last night. I have bags under my eyes and I look washed out.”

If only we would just say a very simple “thank you”. Period.

The trainer talked a lot about confidence being the reason behind our inability to accept compliments. Not so shocking is it?

Sitting through training, we had to think about why we lack confidence. For one woman, it was that she second guesses herself all the time and feels like she wasn’t the smartest person for the job. For another woman, nothing was ever good enough for her.  She always has a million things to do and not enough time to do it. So the things she doesn’t get around to, she feels like she failed at. All these feelings stem from a lack of confidence. It’s focusing on the negatives and not the positivies.

For me, I realize I benchmark myself way too often against other people. I have short lived celebrations of my accomplishments because as soon as I pop open the champagne, someone next to me has an even bigger reason to celebrate. I may have gotten promoted but so did dozens of other people. I may have hit a back squat PR at 163 but there’s a woman next to me who is warming u up to that weight. When we get in our own heads this way, it’s no wonder we have a hard time accepting compliments for what they are. We hardly even take the time to properly compliment ourselves.

We need to celebrate all our accomplishments and successes no matter how big or small they are. Chances are the little ones, as insignificant as they may seem at the time, are what lead us to the bigger ones.  Confidence is a tricky thing. We can spend years analyzing “why”. Maybe that will help get to the root of it and find ways to overcome it. Or we can fake it till we make it. The more we tell ourselves how awesome we are, the more we will start to believe it. We do this for our friends and family all the time by constantly being their cheerleaders. Why not do this for ourselves? Next time someone tells you how kick ass you are, smile, say “thanks” and believe the compliment as much as they do.