Clean Eating, Challenge, Change, Consistency, Commitment

I am extremely grateful to find myself in a most clear, determined, and single-minded space after a week laden with emotional turmoil (as well as a little bit of humor.) As I continue this journey, which in my mind began three years ago, I am surprised and delighted with how much more quickly I can get through “the muck” back into a neutral or even positive mental place. Back when I was at my largest, it could days or even weeks of staying stuck, wallowing in my despair, anguish, anger, or resentment. I’d done a lot of work internally before I was ready to accept the help of a nutritionist and though my external results have been frustratingly slow (in my mind, at least), the deep roots of new coping skills and healthy tools I’ve cultivated continue to serve me well as I chip, chip, chip away at my own personal face of Mount Rushmore. Dang I wish I had some stinking dynamite!

Another reason I’ve been able to switch so quickly out of overwhelm and sadness, I believe, has been the support I am now able to receive from “my team.” No one officially signed up to be on my “team” – it’s just my own idea of people who are helping me get to where I want to go. This includes, of course, first and foremost, my awesome nutritionist, Chelle, owner of Recipe For Fitness, who wrote an amazing response to my Dear Body Letter. Seriously, go read Chelle’s blog post! I totally believe she’s got my back and that she’ll stick it out with me until I’m done. She’s the “coach” of my team….maybe I should get her a whistle! ūüôā

My “team” also includes, Ivan, he’d be the artistic director (hee hee), as well as my new trainer, Allison, who is so much better than my previous gal. I finally feel like I have a trainer who actually cares about me and my progress, and I appreciate it so much, especially with all the crap I’ve had to go through with trainers recently! Plus she, herself, trains as a MMA fighter, has 12 years of personal training experience, and is generally just a pretty awesome person.

And beyond that, I also consider you readers as part of my team. You encourage me and inspire me to keep going, even when the going gets tough. Fitocracy, a social media platform that is kinda like Facebook for people into fitness, is another resource I’ve used that is a postitive, encouraging outlet – you can find me under “loveablestef” if you ever decide to join.

Finally, many times I have people supporting me and encouraging me that I don’t even know! Like Tabitha – I’ve never met her, but she took the time to write me a powerful letter which helped me move forward, and from the feedback I’ve received, I’m not the only one she helped.

I must admit, however, that even though I understand and believe what Tabitha/my body had to say, I am still in slight resistance to certain portions of it. Rather than considering this a bad thing, I think having a little resistance is good, because it means I’m on the edge pushing against a limitation. Soon enough things will shift and I will have grown. If I had absolutely no resistance, then I’d already be done with the portion of “the work” she suggests and wouldn’t be any challenge! But, yeah, that’s not the case.

For instance, I still have a hard time swallowing the idea that my body is on my side. I’ve lived for 27 years considering my body to be a problem. It has never been a beautiful body in my eyes and it is frustratingly stubborn. It is limited in many ways and can’t do all the things I want or expect it to do. I experience it as being untrustworthy and I think of it as something that is sub-par and needs to be fixed but that it is so messed up that it’s a lost cause. Confusingly, it is also an ally in many regards, the most important of which are that it allows me to dance and to walk in this world, and sometimes it surprises me doing things beyond my expectations. Clearly my relationship with my body isn’t 100% in alignment, but I have faith that it can be.

I am also frustrated with the idea my body put forth about having to get internal affairs in order before seeing outward change. I feel like, egad! Haven’t I already done somuch?! I have been working at it for three years to get internal affairs in order but still I wait, wait, wait for the outside to match with the inside (yeah, it’s a little victim-y, I know. I’ll get over it). I am dumbfounded time and again at how very different my internal image of who I am and how I see myself in a fit, healthy body, and the reality of my current obese body are. It is beyond words the amount of internal work I’ve done and annoying that there is still more to go! Plus it is just plain incongruent with the external state of affairs. Like, last week I was eating my fish, brown rice, and asparagus, all portioned and measured, cooked clean after 90 minutes of ballet and I’m thinking to myself, “A person who eats this dinner doesn’t have a body like mine.” But I do.

I’m also in resistance to my body’s message to push and push hard. It’s not because I won’t or don’t push hard already, it’s because I’m sick of hearing it and I’m sick of having to dig down deep just to make it through Latin class with Inna or Mountain climbers with Allison, or planks on a ball with Chelle, or doing the stairstepper with asthma and my heart rate at 175 and me wanting to quit, having to talk myself into each and every step. I admit that here and there I am finally, finally, noticing small changes in the ability to do more. But again, I think it is good to be a little in resistance because it means I’m butting up against my limits and my job is to notice them and burst beyond them. Trust me, it is not in my nature to not push! If my trainer has a weight too low or I don’t feel like I’m being challenged enough I speak up! Usually, though, it’s the other edge I experience – the one where I’m being challenged beyond my perceived capacity – the place where I panic and get emotional and have to fight. I don’t enjoy that fight but again, discovering (finally, after hearing about it for so long) how to channel and transmute my negative feelings into pushing myself, has been a step forward. It may still suck at times, like when I was on my last set of mountain climber burpee thingies and Allison was like, “Go at your own pace. We can modify if you need to,” And I was like, “No!” and got I emotional, angry, teary-eyed, and grunted and groaned but I banged those bitches out, using that emotional angst instead of letting it defeat me. And there have even been moments when I’ve been up for more, that internally a desire to push myself a bit harder when working out on my own bubbled up from somewhere. Again, progress, but not the tangible, visual kind I want to see with a smaller butt, gut, and bat wings, with muscle definition and tone, seeing the definition of muscle working under the skin.

I am also in resistance to the idea that I shouldn’t use the scale. This is because I absolutely, as part of my goals, want and need to be lighter. If that means at some point I lose some muscle, so be it. To be the dancer I want to become I must be smaller, more compact, lean, and weigh significantly less. Period. I cannot stand the idea of living the rest of my life obese, over 200 pounds! Yes, I’m open to the possibility that I will look fantastic at a higher weight than most my competitors who weigh like 110 pounds, but I’m not willing to weigh over 200 pounds. This shit needs to come off. Anyways, for the sake of sanity and also to see a more complete picture, not just the one told by the scale, I’m considering getting some measurements in a Bod Pod, the gold standard for body composition testing.

As for the rest of the letter from my body, I’m totally on board with it. As you can see from the title of my post, especially for the days leading up to Galaxy, (and beyond I hope) I’m in RockStar mode. I am a clean-eating, ready-for-challenge, changing, consistent, and committed woman. This is how I am showing up in my life right now, ready to demolish this portion of the journey set before me. Like no kidding. Because I am hungry, starving, ravenous, for dramatic, transformational change in my body. I have been for a while. I’m so ready for new clothes, ones that I actually like! There is no going back and I still want more, so very much more.

To that end, I’ve made a little sign for myself that I’m hanging above my work computer so I will be staring at it for 8 hours a day to continually reinforce my committment. I have to say, however, that the decision has already strongly been made in my mind. Chelle created a new plan with lower calories and I’m following it to the letter. We also renegotiated a work out plan with cardio and weights. I’ve already been hungrier than before but thanks to the internal work I’ve already done, I’m able to weather it well. On other plans, more geared toward cultivating a healthy lifestyle, I felt over-full or would get hungry maybe once or twice near time to the next meal time. This time around, I get hungry 5 or 6 times before the next time to eat, most especially earlier in the day, but I have the skills to handle it. I can tolerate a few signals from my body where three years ago I would never even allow myself to get hungry, and if I did it was binge time. It may not be completely comfortable to experience a little hunger but I don’t care! I’m committed. And it’s a normal physiological function. I have 17 days now in which to make as much a change as possible before I step onto the ballroom again. I would rather accept the pain of discipline now than suffer the pain of regret at Galaxy, and I know that being in integrity with this plan will give me the best chance of feeling like I am awesome when it’s time to dance.

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Already I’ve had these little victories like yesterday I went to visit a friend and stayed longer than I anticipated so I was quite late for dinner and really hungry. But did I grab the first most convenient thing? No! I grabbed a cucumber, a totally free food on my plan, quickly cut some slices, and nibbled on them as I prepared my dinner. To me that was proving to myself just how very committed I am. No straying from the plan even when things don’t go perfectly. No excuses!

I also made a point to steer clear of my husband’s Fantasy Football draft party. We had over 20 men at our house, eating pizza, drinking beer and other hard libations and I didn’t even want to be around it so I volunteered to housesit for my in-laws. Truth be told, I wasn’t even tempted with the debauchery before me! In years past this would have been as irresistible as a siren’s call and laced with a dose of guilt, remorse, and recovery the following day. And I was even more pleased with my decision when I saw how annihilated my husband and his buds were the next morning.

In addition, I’ve already talked about how I’m going to handle an upcomming trip with my husband. We have a kitchen where we are staying so first priority the morning after we arrive will be to get groceries and cook! I’ll bring my breakfast along with me. He knows I’m not going to bend at this time with the eating, even though we will be around many restaurants and bars. It won’t be like this forever, but for now this is the way it has to be.

So now I guess the biggest struggle isn’t the eating, or even the exercise since I’m clear on what I’m accountable for with that, but rather the biggest battle is waiting patiently and having faith that this change I’m seeking in my body will actually happen. I still don’t entirely trust that it is possible for me to have a gorgeous body, one that I love and would be proud to show off. I still feel like I will be pudgy and that I am not ever really going to be lean. But I do believe it can be better and I know I will not to back. The only path is to push forward. I wish it were happening faster, oh God do I ever! But since I have no fairy godmother to instantly transform my adipose into thin air, I’ll have to burn it off myself.

You Have A Strong Heart

My niece had a runny nose when we took her to the mall this weekend to Build-a-Bear and I’m convinced she gave me a slight cold. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that my allergies are horrendous at the moment and I have asthma. This compounds the inflammation in my airways and makes it that much more difficult to breathe, much less do anything that requires cardio. So yesterday I went to the gym, as I do now on Thursdays, to work out with my trainer I requested that we limit the high-intensity cardio and stick to lifting some weights.

She opted to cancel some of the kettleball swings but other than that, it was still a solid workout. I did 12 deadlifts with a 50 pound barbell and rows in between. Then I did squats with a 30 pound barbell pushing it into an upward press above my shoulders as I straightened my legs. Then I did 12 backward lunges with the 30 pound barbell on my shoulders and finished off with an incline plank. I repeated this circuit four times.

It was tough but not so tough that I wanted to cry, like I have on previous workouts. It got my heart pumping and was taxing and I always feel like the thing that limits me the most is endurance, breathing hard, the cardio part. But I was able to do it and that was good.

At the end of the work out my trainer told me, “You should be proud of yourself. You did four sets of that and it’s pretty impressive. That is not easy. You are strong. I don’t put out weights like this for everyone and I wouldn’t do it for you if I didn’t think you could do it. Good work today!” She gave me a high-five.

Me, I was like, really? Because I have a set of sunglasses on that filter how I see the world that generally point out how pathetic I’m doing – how I could be doing more, and how¬†lame it is I can’t do a Burpee and that my belly gets in the way, and how silly I look doing all this stuff.

It’s like, I feel guilty for feeling good about myself. Somehow this is taboo, forbidden, wrong.

But I did feel strong doing those dead lifts. I banged them out pretty good and though challenging, I was up to the challenge. I felt pretty good about doing that, that it was less pathetic than usual, but here was my trainer saying that I should be proud of myself for what I had done. I’m not exactly sure that I know how that feels. I mean, I was proud of myself for completing over 120 heats at the San Diego Open a few years ago and earing Top Student. That was a goal I worked for and achieved and it felt awesome. But these everyday victories, they somehow don’t seem big enough. It’s as if I’m waiting until I’m at my goal weight to actually approve of myself, be proud of myself, love myself.

Like following my eating plan this past week. I did it successfully and that was good, but I wasn’t exactly “proud” of myself for doing that. In my mind, it is simply what I need to do to get where I want to go, and I’m focused like no kidding on that so I did what needed to be done, that’s all. In truth, I’m not even proud of myself for being down over 70 pounds from my highest weight ever (see picture below). Because it took 3 fucking years to do that and I’m still mad that I’m 100 pounds from where I want to be.

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Don’t get me wrong. I notice a difference and I do feel somewhat better about myself. I just still see that I have so very far to go and this is not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take months of consistent, persistent, determined action. And though I’m anticipating victories along the way, like reaching 213 which will be 100 pounds from my highest weight, and getting under 200 pounds, and getting to 179 pounds which will mean I’m overweight and no longer obese according to my BMI, and hitting my goal weight, I’m just not all that impressed with myself for where I am.

But I am starting to question that point of view simply because it could undermine all my efforts, and I refuse to let that happen this time. This time, I’m following this through come hell or high water!

My nutritionist seemed to also think I should be so proud of myself. She was like, “Stef, you’ve already accomplished a lot, and now, if you keep what you are doing, you will get to your goal in less than a year. You’ve got this! I really hope you are proud of yourself.” And she gave me a big hug.

But I find myself having trouble letting go of my story. You know, the one about me not being good enough, pretty enough, thin enough. I’m having trouble letting go of what I want to be so badly that I can’t seem to be satisfied with where and how I am. It is the ultimate thief, this mindset of comparison, and “not-enough.” But I swear, at the same time that I can see my face looks a little thinner, and maybe my belly too, and that when I thought I’d need a size 24 skirt I ended up purchasing a size 16, at the same time as I can see these steps of progress, I can also see my huge arms, how much larger I am than any other girls in my dance classes, how thick my legs and thighs are, the cellulite on my knees. At the same time that I feel slightly lighter, that it is maybe easier to move and more tolerable to wear heels to dance in, I also am also exhausted panting for breath and having a difficult time holding myself in yoga poses or ballet because I weigh so much or my body mass simply gets in the way.

I am still in a place where I feel the need to block out how I look and don’t feel proud of my appearance. I am longing for when I can wear this one asymmetrical dance shirt I bought and feel so beautiful and sassy in it. Right now when I put it on I just see where it hugs and tugs when it should be hanging empty, and it is frustrating and makes me feel sad.

And the thing I am up against physically that challenges me the most (besides the self-esteem and body image) is the cardio. Well, at least, it is my experience of me being out of shape. But even this I am questioning once again because of my nutritionist and trainer. Because the truth is, when I do a dance class, even though I may be panting and sweating and absolutely killing myself, and even though I may need to not do everything full-out just to stay in the game, well, the truth is, I’m working harder than anyone else out there just because of the sheer weight I carry. They’d probably be more tired too if they were carrying an extra 90 pounds.

Because I always experience myself as out of shape cardiovascular-wise, and because my dance teacher says that even skinny people can really struggle with the cardio and endurance required for dancing, I was feeling the need to add in some training to improve this. But both my trainer and nutritionist said that I was crazy active, especially compared to most people, and probably even more so for obese people. They said, “cardio isn’t the problem. Get the weight off and it will become so much easier. You won’t have to change a thing if you just keep dancing like you are. It will be enough.”

Aorta

My nutritionist said, “You have a strong heart. Cardio isn’t problem.”

My trainer said, after lifting all those weights today, “You are strong. Strength isn’t the problem.”

The problem is how I feel. The problem is the extra person I’m carrying around in my body. It makes it difficult to feel and act strong and sexy in Latin class with Rado doing the Rumba. I can do the steps, and some of my shapes look nice and all, but I’m lacking the confidence necessary because of my fat fucking arms and huge tree-trunk legs. I am the anthesis of the ideal for a Latin dancer, the complete and utter opposite, and it is a laughable farce, me dancing this dance.

Or is it awesome? Because I’m doing it anyways, because it is in my heart, regardless of external circumstances or appearances.

I don’t know. I think it is kind of a ridiculous-awesome, if there is such a thing.

What I do know is that in less than two weeks I will be dancing in a competition. I will be putting myself out there to be seen and judged. And you know what? Doing that, revealing one’s art, whether it be a painting or a dance, in writing or sharing a musical composition, and regardless of that person’s size or appearance, regardless of all those things, well, it takes a strong heart.

I’m Deconditioned But Not Decomissioned

So yesterday when I woke up I didn’t know that I’d be working out with my new trainer at the gym because I didn’t know that I was going to hire one.

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been hitting it pretty hard the past week. Fed up with my body issues and doing something about it, I’m on Nutrisystem¬†and made a personal goal to get to the gym five times this week in addition to the ballet and ballroom stuff I normally do. So getting to Friday morning, after doing everything I’m supposed to do, and being on track with the work out goals, I was disheartened to say the least to see that my weight hasn’t budged even a tenth of a pound in the last two weeks. Why bust my chops and work so hard for no results? It’s frustrating as hell and part of why at some point I gave up. I find it so difficult in my body to get it to lose weight, it takes such discipline and attention, and after enough experiences of working hard and getting minimal results I think somewhere in my subconscious I just thought “forget about it…might as well enjoy what I enjoy (namely food and drink) and I’m not going to be a professional dancer anyways so the hell with it.”

Well, things have obviously changed since I have reconnected with my passion for dancing, and ignited my love for ballroom dancing in particular, and I am tired of tolerating a body I don’t love and not being able to do everything I believe I am capable of doing.

So anyways, I’m on a mission and working actively on it but was really upset driving home from work. There was nothing for it but to go to the gym for the 4th of my 5 days – that or go home, do nothing, drink wine, and then feel even worse the next day. Luckily I chose option one instead.

So I walked in the gym and they had some promotion that if you commit to a year you get a discount on your monthly fee. I agreed because I’m in this for the long haul. So while I was signing up for that a trainer approached and asked me how long I’d been a member at the gym.

“Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I had been coming in a spurt a few months ago and now I’m back in another spurt.”

“Did you ever take advantage of the free training session?”

“No. I wasn’t interested in it then. But today I’d be more interested.”

You see, as I was feeling so poorly in the car ride I had been praying, saying something I’ve been saying for a few months now. “Dear God. Please help. I need someone to help me with this. Someone who will understand the athlete I am underneath this all. Someone who will push and motivate me. Someone who understands my goals.”

You see, I’ve worked with trainers before. I have a degree in physiology. It isn’t about the knowledge. It’s about doing it. It’s about getting me out of my comfort zone and pushing me beyond my self-imposed limits. It’s about being supported while being challenged. It’s about accountability. And I refuse to work with just any Joe Schmo. Been there. Done that.

So anyways, I talked with this dude, knowing that he was going to give me the spiel and try to sign me up for training sessions but I was like, hey, whatever. Maybe this is the answer to my prayer. I am going to be open to the possibility.

So we talked, and measured, and I’m like 46% body fat (OMG!!! I’m half fat!), and 85% of weight loss is diet, and blah blah¬†blah. And I basically told him, “Look. Here’s the deal. I’m an athlete. I’m a dancer. I need help to get as lean and as small as possible. I need help to improve my cardiovascular capacity so that I can do 10 minutes of full-out dancing non-stop ending with a Jive. I’ve worked with trainers before. I’m doing the right things and heading in the right direction, down 60 pounds from my highest weight, but this is over 3 years and I don’t want to wait until I’m 40 to achieve my dreams. It’s happening too slowly.”

“You are a trainer’s dream,” he replied. “You are motivated and have a purpose.¬† You are already althletic which will help a lot.¬† A lot.”

So, we’re looking at 1 to 2 pounds of fat loss weekly (why so slow AHHHH!), two training sessions weekly. He’s going to look at my Nutrisystem¬†plan and tweak it. I’m going to come in 2 days alone. He says it will take a year but guarantees that I will change if I do what he says. That next year I could do the Tough Mudder (as if I wanted to!¬† No thank you!¬† I’d rather dance in sparkles thank you very much!) with my husband and brother and father, which I have a hard time believing but he seemed pretty sure about it. And, I got him to agree to come to a ballet class with me sometime. I’m saving it for after a particularly difficult workout that has me feeling defeated which I’m sure will happen sooner or later. At that point I’ll pull out my trump card and give myself something to look forward to – kicking my trainer’s ass doing something I’m good at and he’s not!

So anyways, we did a work out right then and there. I was going to do upper body weights anyways¬†so we did that together instead. All I will say is thank God I have worked with trainers before and have done a plank in the past because if I hadn’t yesterday would have been a rude awakening, maybe even involving tears. I worked hard, to the point of muscle fatigue, and he made me do this thing where I had to punch an exercise ball from the plank position which sucked. But I was smiling the entire time. I was able to do it, and I¬† wasn’t really sure I would be. And it pushed me harder than I would have pushed myself. And, even better, with as hard as it was yesterday, and as fatigued as my arms were after the workout, I totally thought I would be way more sore than I am¬†and have a difficult¬†time moving my arms today. But I’m not!¬† And he did a good job being attuned to how my body was responding, when I was reaching my limits, assisting in the last two reps when needed.¬† Other trainers I’ve worked with haven’t been quite that responsive so I appreciated it.

So anyways, I’m still huge, and I still get winded going up two flights of stairs at work. I asked him about how that is possible when I can do the stair stepper¬†for 45 minutes (going at a slow pace, of course) and dance. He said, “Well you are just so deconditioned.”

I never thought about it like that but it’s true. But it made me think, “Well, I may be deconditioned, but I’m not decommissioned. Not yet.”

Dumbell

Richardkiwi from nl [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Give Me All You Have

Be warned: part of the reason I started this blog was as a way to process my emotional experiences involved with dancing (i.e. me and life).¬† Today’s post is definately a selfish one – one in which I’m partly complaining and getting it all “out” so that I can hopefully move forward.¬† I don’t like to be all “wah-boo” about feeling down.¬† Pity-partys, though something I engage in, pretty-much suck.¬† I realize this is going “victim” and denying my power.¬† And, well, the longer I don’t address these profound feelings of sadness and powerlessness, the longer I allow them to rule.¬† So whatever.¬† Time to write and shed a few tears.¬† Just due warning this is how I am feeling in the moment.¬† Like the clouds in the sky, these feelings will dissapate soon enough.¬† Especially since I’m going to the gym to really sweat after this post.¬† I just really need to go do that.¬† I’m positive that, combined with venting here through my writing it will help shift me out of this funk.

Depression-loss of loved one

By Baker131313 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve not seen as much of Ivan as usual lately¬†becasue he and Marieta have been competing almost weekly.¬† This week they left on Thursday so I only got one lesson in.¬† As they are gone during the weekends, this means a paltry 45 minutes of dancing when I’m used to 180 minutes.¬† That, plus the opportunity to work overtime at my temp job and earn extra money, especially since I don’t get benefits and won’t be paid for days off like Thanksgiving and Christmas, means my days have been long and mentally exhausting.¬† It’s a 45 minute drive to and from work, then 9 hours staring at a computer – that makes it a 10.5 hour day without any other activities like dancing or sleeping or cooking.¬† I’m grateful, honestly, and happy to put in the work to save as much¬† money as possible since I don’t know how long this gig will last – probably through mid February at least but after that, unless I get hired on, I have no idea what my life will look like.¬† And, everything has prices and benefits.¬† The benefits of this position¬†are numerous, making good money for the moment, with the chance to earn a little more with overtime, and some stability.¬† The downsides are decreased free-time,¬† decreased energy, a long-ass commute,¬†and the fact that a majority of my day is spent being completely sedentary.

That combined with less dance lessons, I’ve gained almost every pound I previously lost back.¬† It sucks.¬† I am completely at fault/responsibility for this, and it takes an emotional toll as well as a physical one.¬† My clothes still fit, but they are more snug.¬† Worse than that, I feel heavier, it feels much more difficult to move.¬† And, I have worse self-esteem.¬† I mean, it doesn’t take a¬†rocket scientist to understand that all these facets are connected.¬† But it is crappy – feeling bad begets feeing bad and this makes it so much more difficult for me¬†to show up to a dance class or work out session, knowing that I look horrible, and that it is going to be very difficult to move, and it will feel crappy.¬† Honest-to-God, I’m beginning to see what an act of courage it is every damn time I do show up.¬† I am so very, very sick compared to everyone else in my classes.¬† I cannot physically do what they can easily accomplish.¬† It is really challenging to go and be “less than.”¬† And yet, showing up to these classes is necessary if I want to heal.

So, anyways, this is all¬†in the background of my mind as I show up to my lessons with Ivan.¬† When on a recent lesson and working on Rumba it¬†becamse quite¬†difficult, mentally, physically, and emotionally.¬† We’ve been putting together open routines for Rumba, Cha Cha and began on a Samba routine.¬† The Rumba is a rehash of a routine I did for a showcase with new and improved moves.¬† I really like the Cha Cha a lot and the Rumba is great too.¬† (One bright spot – my¬†Sliding¬†Doors are much improved.¬† I was able to repeat them for like 2 minutes in a¬†row, by myself, totally on balance.¬† That was a nice move forward).¬† What isn’t great is how I look and feel while¬†dancing the Rumba.¬† Mostly I am hung up on how incredibly huge I am and how gross it looks for this gargantuan behemouth of a body to be dancing the “dance of love” with Ivan who is fit and handsome.¬† The picture just isn’t right.¬† I find my body image issues the most difficult to grapple with¬†in the¬†Rumba because it is¬†the “love story” dance, the one where a¬†man and a woman play out that romantic relationship¬†through sensuality.¬† But what man in¬†his right mind would¬†want to play out that story with someone who looks like me?¬† This is the thought in my mind, all the while trying to ignore how I appear in the mirror¬†and just dance the moves, but it isn’t enough.¬† Not with a teacher like Ivan, who¬†insists on the authentic emotional quality to the dancing (which is why I so adore having him as instructor – dancing is more than just the steps to me and he has really helped pull out this aspect from me into my dancing).

But when Ivan tells me, “Give me all you have,”¬†it strikes an emotional chord with me and I have to ask him if¬†we can change what we are working¬†on because today, with tears in my eyes,¬†“I am¬†just not feeling the Rumba.”¬† He is asking for that authenticity and I am too fragile to give it to him today.¬† It is so completely at odds with my picture of myself as a woman that I am aftraid to get that open and vulnerable, afraid of being rejected, afraid of being so very ridiculous playing at being “sexy” when I am physically the exact opposite…I am a motherly, matronly fatty.¬† My body moves in one way telling one story, and my flesh silently screams another.

It’s all such a disappointment.¬† Instead of being motivated after Galaxy, I became deflated.¬† Yes, the loss of momentum with a hurt hip didn’t help, but where did my drive go?¬† I was on the right track, down a few pounds, and feeling like I could move somewhat better…Inna had even commented that¬†it appeared that I had lost some weight.¬† And then, fizzle.¬† Back to square one.¬† What the hell am I doing, especially after¬†the deep talk Ivan and I had after Desert Classic here, and my honest-to-God desire to not go to a ballroom competition again until I look different??? (I set a mental goal of 50 pounds lost before I step on a competitive ballroom dance floor once again, just for me, because I want to evolve and be different and amaze others and myself)¬† I just don’t understand what went wrong.¬† But wrong it has gone.¬† So very, very wrong.¬† I feel like I am drowning.¬† And it’s worse reading that post “You Lie Me” and seeing that at the end Ivan sent me a text saying “You so strong, girl.¬† I believe [in] you,” because wow, I royally screwed up, once again.¬† Epic fail.¬† His trust was misplaced.

I am so tired of trying.¬† Honestly, I am so tired of doing this or that, this eating plan, this exercise regimen, and it is slow going but I do progress,¬†and then something derails me, and then I feel badly about myself and then I re-create the same damn experience over and over and over again.¬† I fully¬†acknolwedge the insanity of this.¬† I have had trainers at the gym.¬† I have had a friend that agreed to meet me mornings to do cardio.¬† I have done a mail order diet, a physician supervised low calorie diet, Stax, Weight Watchers, and more.¬† At some point or another, they don’t stop working….I do.¬† I am 34 years old.¬† I have big dreams of where my dancing could take me.¬† And I am still embroiled in the same drama as I was when I had my first diet at age 12 and lost 60 pounds.¬† Is it time to get a gastric bypass?¬† Even if I did get one is that really the answer?

I am broken.¬† In some way, I am broken.¬† I don’t know how to fix me.¬† I’ve been trying to “fix” me all my life since I became aware that I was larger than others and that that was not okay.

All I do¬†know is that today I am going to the gym.¬† It doesn’t seem like enough.¬† And, well, in truth going to the gym once isn’t enough.¬† But it is that or wave the¬†white flag¬†once again.¬† And in truth, part of me really wants to do just¬†that.¬†¬†How many times must a person fail before they just give up?¬† But I guess there is still some fight left in me after all – honestly I’m a bit surprised because I feel so beaten down inside.¬† It doesn’t feel like¬†there is much fight left in this old dog, but¬†there¬†must be some tiny¬†shred¬†there or I would choose to spend my day watching TV on my ass, but the truth is,¬†I can’t even stomach the thought of¬†doing that¬†right now.

So when Ivan asked me to “Give me all you have,” the honest truth is I can’t even give me all I have.¬† Clearly, based on results, often harsh but always fair, I haven’t given physically transforming “all I have.”¬† No, I’ve regressed.¬† And I feel like shit about it.

Alright, pity party and rant offically done.  Time to go to the gym.