Well folks, the journey continues.
Perhaps you have seen on the Facebook Page for the blog that I have joined a gym (Hint, Hint. Go “like” it and add it to your news feed if you haven’t already. I post “bonus” material there and it’s another way to interact!).
Anyways, enough with the plug….
The story is that I can say with complete integrity that I have been focused and determined on my weight release project since we last chatted. What this means is that I’ve been eating on my plan (The Stax plan created by Chris Powell, the guy behind Extreme Makeover, who is from Arizona where I live and knew my old trainer), and I’ve been going to the gym in the morning to do 45 or more minutes of cardio at 6 am in the morning or a lesson with Ivan at 6:30 am, and then doing dance classes in the evenings after work. Monday it was a stretch and tone class, Tuesdays I go to Inna’s kick butt class, Wednesdays it’s Belly Dancing and “Glee Cardio” which is really fun. Tonight I have off, tomorrow, Ivan in the morning and then I’m meeting my friend Ivonne for some Lindy Hop and Swing. The goal is to sweat and move and be active in lots of ways that challenge my body in lots of different ways.
And, yes, it is creating results. I’m officially below 260 pounds. My current short-term goal is to be at 250 or less by August 3rd. (I find that setting goals is very important for me and I’m going to break it down into bite-sized pieces!) Now, the deal is, how fast this all happens is up to my body. I’m still going to set goals and do what is in my power to reach them. And, my main focus is to keep on the plan, do what I’m supposed to do, and be kind to myself. And….it is a slow process. As much as I expect my body to be transformed every morning when I awake, alas, it is not. I’m in it for the long haul.
So, I’m committed. For realsies. Like no kidding.
This is my “drastic” action, as encouraged by Ivan to take on. So I’m taking it on. With help! I have a work-out buddy for the gym, and am making new friends at the dance studio, and I’m getting lots of moral support here through the blog. Thank you! I need it! I accept it! I receive it!
Okay. So I’m doing all this and I’m committed and it’s not all peaches and cream. It’s emotional. Just ask my husband! Just ask Ivan!
Like, there is a reason why I got so big and fat. There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to come up as a result of changing my body, and my life. There will be tears. And maybe even rages. And it’s hard to weather sometimes.
Here’s what happened on Wednesday:
I showed up for my lesson with Ivan. After our delightful lesson this past weekend, I was not expecting what happened. First, we watched my videos from the Desert Classic together. I don’t know about you, but I have always had a difficult time watching myself dancing on video…heck, I’ve had a hard time just seeing myself in a picture, so seeing my dancing, something that means so much to me, is especially difficult. Anyways, there were issues, as there always is, and that is fine because it can be used as a tool for course correction. For instance, my feet were super slow on the Cha Cha….Now I know that is something to really work on. Also, We were “hopping” a bit in the Latin dances. This is a reminder to be grounded and push into the floor. So good visual feedback, I’m okay with this.
Also, Ivan said that the videos were better than he expected. So this is happy news. He said our upper bodies, and facial expression were good and strong. Yes the arm styling is still an issue that plagues me, yes, there are imperfections, but overall, I did well from a dancing standpoint from my instructor’s perspective.
But it brought up so much emotion for me. We’ve really been working on me knowing what I’m supposed to be doing in detail. Knowing the dances without Ivan so I can practice them alone. Knowing the exact count of each move. I am being held to a higher standard and I love it. My ego hates it! But I love it. And I know that Ivan is calling me to a new level so it’s time to grow and that isn’t always easy/fun/fast. It will take work and focus and dedication. Great! And, my lessons feel so different than they did just two weeks ago. I’m going to have to adjust a bit.
So, lots going on. Combine that with a subconscious fear that Ivan’s going to bail on me (I lost my last two instructors right after competitions), and him realizing how much the weight affects me/our partnership, and it was overwhelming for me. I completed my lesson, but it was difficult to focus in moments and I choked up at least twice. I felt defeated. I kept going, but the feeling was very strong.
Here’s what I realized:
First, Ivan before the competition helped me feel okay about my body. I knew about all these issues from appearance to health to physicality and being a dancer, but he helped me to push them aside and just dance. He made me do crazy things I didn’t think possible, like a drag and a dip on one leg, at my large size. He helped me find confidence in myself and my body even as big and out-of-shape as it currently is.
After this competition, Ivan has awoken from our happy delusion. He really gets that my physicality affects everything. He was almost lamenting it.
“I wanting to do the splits with you, but I can’t. You too heavy.”
It’s limiting our choreography choices, muddling the lines, making it difficult to achieve the speed and sharpness necessary to be a true competitor. And it is a true competitor that I believe myself to be and that Ivan sees within me. He’s going to hold me to it because I am capable. Ultimately, he believes in me. In the moment, it is really painful to fully acknowledge the reality and I feel like I’ve lost some confidence. I feel like he’s lost some confidence in me. I could totally be making that up in my head, but the truth is, even so, it feels completely different. I’m going to have to find a way to get my mojo back. Part of that involves losing significant weight.
Second, I realized that I’m doing something really big. More than losing weight or anything like that, I’m reclaiming a dream that I’d buried and thrown away. Yes, I’ve already come back to dancing, so in a way I’d cracked open the door to that dream, but this is reclaiming it on a whole other level. The level at which I desired as a kid. I don’t know exactly how to explain it – but for the first time in my life I actually believe it’s possible for me to become the dancer I’ve always dreamed of being….to no longer be at war with my body, but in harmony with it, fully expressive, creating gorgeous lines, moving people through my movement, maybe even becoming a champion. I mean, that’s a bold, ballsy statement! Who am I to, at age 34 and at 259 pounds to say I want to be a dancing champion? Well, who am I not to if it is my heart? Who knows how this will happen, but I know this: If I don’t go for it with all that I am, nothing will happen, nothing will change. And a person aiming for the stars often makes it to the moon. I just might go much farther than I ever thought possible especially if I set a goal that is big and hairy and seems ludicrous. Those are the best kind!
In any case, the moral of my very long rant here is that I’m on my way. It doesn’t always feel very good, but I know that it will eventually feel awesome. I’m reclaiming a dream, I’m in a growth phase, things have changed. I’m struggling hard-core in moments but that isn’t stopping me, not by a long shot. I’m in it for the long haul and I’m creating some results.
I’m kind of in my own little drama here, you know? I’m not thinking I’m doing anything that is really all that important to anybody but me and Ivan. But I want to share something with you that rocked my world today. Something that reminded me that what I do (what you do, what we all do), matters. That I am (you are, we are) powerful and that I (you, we) affect one another, probably most especially when we are honoring ourselves, our passion, our purpose.
I got this message from a reader:
I smiled when I saw your new Golds membership! I joined a gym this weekend for the first time in years! One of the things I’ve been thinking about after reading some of your post-Desert Classic posts is what it means to give one’s self full permission to go for it (in dance, in health, etc.) and really live, and whether I’m giving myself the best shot possible. It motivated me and one of the things I did in response was head into the gym this weekend. So when I saw your post pop up on Facebook it was awesome.
Wow?! Really?! I inspired someone to action? According to their own words, someone else is going to give him/herself “full permission to go for it.”
If I had anything to do with this I feel honored and humbled and like, wow, I’m in my purpose.
So, that’s the end of the “Me” show for this evening. This is my place to get it all out of my head! So Blah!
And, um, oh….
Just kidding about me being done. Just one more thing…I went to edit this and realized that I never explained why I titled the post as I did….
So, briefly, I went to the belly dancing class on Wednesday. It was the evening after my tough lesson with Ivan. I was still feeling pretty depressed. But dancing always makes things better, especially classes where you don’t know what the heck you are doing, like in belly dancing. You have to be completely in your physical experience because it is so foreign, and feels funny. Anyways, the teacher in this class is so great. I love her energy and she has such amazing musicality in her body. Truly I never realized how beautiful belly dancing could be until I saw her dance. Anyways, halfway through the lesson she says, “Let’s get scarves because life is more fun with a scarf.” It was so amazing and just what I needed. Some childlike play. We made the scarves into butterfly wings. Mine was a fuchsia and green silky number and I ran around the room, swishing my hips, spinning like a three-year-old. It was so freeing. The oppression of the day’s negative thoughts faded away in an instant. Truly, life IS more fun with a scarf. I think I’m going to have to get one just to carry around with me for emotional emergencies!
Okay, now I’m done for real.
big and hairy… ha! have you heard of BHAGs before? stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. it’s a concept that came up in a bunch of management articles I read during my masters program. so many people fear or are intimidated from owning and sharing this sort of goal. but that audacity, that daring to dream on a BIG level… that’s the sort of quality a lot of the world’s most successful people seem to have.
a few months ago, i set a dance-related BHAG. even though i didn’t tell anyone about it, i soon found myself feeling so self-conscious about it that i went back and deleted the BHAG from my journal!!! gah… how can i expect something to happen if i’m not even comfortable putting it into words? so good on ya Stef for owning it.
thanks for all the inspiration 🙂
Oh yes, I know of the BHAGs…the ones that scare you a little. That is how you know it is big enough.
A few years ago I completed leadership training where I was introduced to this concept, among many others.
I hope you have re-written your goal in capital letters in your journal. If you are really feeling bold, you can share it here or with someone you trust will encourage you to go for it and hold space for what could be possible. (I have learned to use discernment about with whom I share things close to my heart…the worst is when a well-meaning person poops on your vision. At a certain point when it is strong enough in you naysayers can’t touch it, but in the beginning, I find it best to guard my dearest, deepest, and sometimes fragile dreams closely.)
Anyways, whatever it is, GO FOR IT! I believe in you, you capable, bold, amazing woman, you.
And for the bonus round, what action will you take today, no matter how small, that will move you closer to that goal?
Go create a spectacular day. Xoxo, Stef
Took my first ever pilates reformer class over the weekend and have a “fitness assessment” scheduled for this weekend at the new gym. I expect the outcome of the assessment to be somewhat depressing, but we’ve all got to start somewhere 🙂
Hope you’re having a great week and sticking to your plan!
Ugh! The dreaded “fitness assessment.” I wish you courage and humor and motivation this weekend and beyond.
As for me, I hit a minor roadbump with my asthma really kicking up. My lips were turning blue and I was out of breath doing just basic stuff on my lesson Monday evening. I had to miss Inna’s class and the belly dancing/Glee cardio. I have been 90% on the eating plan (now back to 100%) and did manage to make it to the gym yesterday morning and to my dance lesson today (but no evening activities untill I can actually breathe again). I plan to go to the gym tomorrow. But I’m having to do breathing treatments with my neublizer still. It’s hard to exercise when you can’t breathe! GRRR! But, no weight gain, I’m still heading in the right direction, and haven’t self-sabatoged. As a reward, I’m getting a haircut Saturday. Time for change as I’m in the changing mode. Oh….and I just ordered a 9 day Isagenix cleanse. I’m going to do that (oddly enough Ivan is planning on doing it too, which I didn’t know when I ordered it yesterday….weird, huh?) to keep changing it up on my body so it has to continually respond and adapt. Probably more of an answer than you wanted, but since I haven’t posted, I thought you might be interested.
Thanks for checking in. I appreciate it!
Not too much, this was just the sort of update I was hoping for. Those sorts of roadblocks (the asthma) can be so frustrating… but this is a marathon, not a sprint. Sounds like you did a great thing by not using it as an excuse to fall off the wagon with your eating plan. Keep up the good work!
Well Stefanie, I can say you have inspired me as well. While I didn’t join the gyn (go you and the other follower who did!), I have moved everyday. After reading your post the other day, I set a goal for myself for the week…so far on track. Zumba, sun, tues, thus and sat and a 2 mile walk the other days. As I write this my sneakers are in front of my calling my name to cross todays adventure off the list. 🙂
Way to go! That is awesome! It doesn’t matter what it look like if it works for you. Glad you are movin’!
So great to hear your commitment and progress. You continue to be an inspiration; I am in awe of your energy level. Hugz.