My dad had a nickname when I was growing up–and it was “the Tornado.”
Because everything he did, he did fast. (And with also surprising accuracy.) I looked up to my dad so much, that my mom began to call me “Little Ray” – my dad, being the original Ray. When I took piano lessons, I played my songs SUPER fast. I learned to SPEED READ. I cleaned my room fast. I drove fast.
(You can imagine my great disappointment when I started running. Whomp whomp.) Anyway…
So Dad taught me all the things to do fast and efficiently.
For example, this Father’s Day tribute on Sunday to him:
On of my friends posts, “What is the grocery secret?”
And his response: “There is no secret…. you just decide you are going to take them all… then do it.”
I mean seriously. Dad? I love you. SO much.
What I have learned over the past year on this episode of “Swim Bike Mom Tries to Get Her Act Together in 2016” – is that while fast is fine and fun, that actually some good things really take time. Like really slow.
I have learned that while being a “Ray” certainly has many advantages, but I can’t “Little Ray” my way through some of the bigger issues.
The Expert, on the other hand, rushes through nothing. He’s a turtle, like my mom (who is a self-professed turtle, by the way)… and so being married to him has been good in a way.
He slows me down. He shakes things up. He loves to watch me squirm when I am waiting for anything–dinner, the kids to tie their shoes, the television. (What a jerk. 🙂 ) So in my old age of thirty-six (almost thirty-seven), I am learning to slow it the heck down. A little. (Not much. Just a little. Don’t get crazy.)
Fat is a Slow Bastard. Just Accept It.
There is NO magic bullet in life. Your nutrition plan or “diet” is ALSO not a magic bullet. Because fat takes TIME to lose. Truly lose.
And in my life, I think the biggest revelation for me is just how long it is taking me to lose fat off my body. Yep, fat. Fat is a slow, stubborn baby.
I was an Olympic weightlifter in high school and early college, and I could easily “crash diet” 10-15 pounds off my body in a few weeks. (Let’s not get into what this did to my metabolism at a young age.) I would drop from training at 183 pounds to competing at 166–all within two weeks.
With that kind of history and mindset, it’s hard to justify (in my head) the idea of “I must slow down”–I fuel my body with good food and adequate calories for basic metabolic functions—AND sit back and watch the slothly, slow-burn that is fat melt… it’s like watching water boil, I tell you.
But… when fat burns off, it stays off. It literally burns. Poof.
For example, me and my friend, Julie, at Ironman Texas 2015 (first pic) and 2016 (second pic):
No one is going to look at this and say, “Wow! Meredith is so SKINNY!”
But, I burned a little fat off my body. And it took me a freaking YEAR to do it. (And I’m still not skinny, for the love–and skinny isn’t my goal anyway. Hello.)
It’s so slow, I could scream people. It’s true.
But I look at my arms between the two pictures, and say, “Okay. There’s something.” (My arms are where ice cream likes to show itself.)
And plus, what is the alternative?
That’s what I ask myself daily. What is the alternative to watching this water boil? Is the option to go back to crash dieting, messing up my sleep and my metabolism, feeling like dogsh*t from the sugar? … No, it’s not really an option any more.
So I go forward, slowly, and not Little Ray-ing that part of my life. Each day, each meal… and plodding along. That is real change, though. And at the end of the day, patience, consistency and the slow burn works. Being relentless, works. Leaning against the wall for a long period of time eventually does break down the wall.
It’s Not About the Weight
I know lately I have blogged a lot about nutrition and weight and the like, but that’s because it’s so important to me right now. I am learning so much about myself through this journey.
At the end of the day, it’s not about weight. It’s truly not. It’s about a certain level of self-love and self-like that is vital to us as women.
I know we all struggle with it.
But in this search for losing fat or losing weight, I have found that it’s really hard to “beat someone with love” – that you can’t beat yourself up with mean words and actions, and expect your body to react kindly. My body fights back – and it get mad.
Being nice to me, helps me. Learning to love (or even tolerate, some days) myself has been the biggest gift in all of this. I still don’t have it figured out, but it’s better all the time.
Don’t Be a Liar
I have been stuck in a weird plateau for a few months, to top off the frustration. A big part of it was probably going from full-throttle training hard to a stress fracture–tons of activity to limited activity, even though I was very good during my injury. Yes, I can see lots of great changes in my body, but I am not seeing the results in other areas: scale (ah-hem). [I know, I know…]
Regardless, I have been grumpy about it.
Then I logged my food in an effort to see where I am going wrong (SBF does not require food logs – just helps to see if you are stuck, what you are actually doing). So I logged for three or four weeks to the tune of “What in the hell is going on” and “this isn’t fair!”
Then I realized I was lying. To myself. Not really on purpose, but maybe.
Yesterday, I weighed all the food I ate. I logged it religiously.
Then I sat bolt-upright in the bed at 2AM, realizing that I didn’t log the 24 black olives, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, and the 12 almonds I had eaten.
So what???? Sure, so what. BUT – on a day that I was making perfect effort to track everything—I still missed three big things.
AND—that just made me think: when I wasn’t really trying, what mindless things was I shoving in my face?
I realized that without being honest (to myself), I was stalling my progress.
My already super-slow progress was being hindered by my lack of honesty with myself. It was eye-opening, really. (BTW- I logged my Breyer’s from the other night. I did. I logged it as 2400 calories of ice cream plus 1,000 calories of self-loathing. #TrueStory 🙂 )
Your Progress May Be Special: Don’t Compare
I wrote this article a while back in Triathlete Magazine about the dangers of comparing oneself–especially in this social media day and age.
Seriously, there is nothing more hilarious to me than running into someone who has read my book and hearing this: “Oh my gosh, thank you for this book. I read it 9 months ago, and I have since lost 50 pounds and I qualified for Boston!”
I want to die. Really? You read MY book and you lost 50 pounds and qualified for the Boston Marathon? What book did you actually read? And what did you see in MY book that I didn’t see when I wrote the damn thing!?
I jest. (Total true story, by the way. #StillFlabbergasted)
It’s really weird NOT to compare yourself to the so-called “you” inspiration behind someone losing 50 pounds. It’s mind-boggling. Why in the hell haven’t I lost 50 pounds myself if I am so damn inspiring!? Well, the truth of the matter is that–that girl is that girl. And I am not that girl. I am made up of different stuff. I have different life circumstances. I am not HER. I am me.
So the next question is: am I doing the best I can right now, with what I have right now? If that is “no” – then it needs readjusting. If the answer is “yes” – then rock on, sister.
Today’s tri-cep dips caption:
Go Fast When You Can, But Be Patient, Too
Run your intervals fast. Ride your bike fast. Speed read (why the heck not).
All of these principles can be applied to most everything: tri training, work, etc.
But no matter the end goal, it pays to really be patient and kind to yourself, in general.
With the athletes I coach, we talk about “grace” all the time in our team FB group.
- Having the grace to forgive yourself the bad choices.
- Having the grace to not beat yourself up when you yell at the kids, or your spouse or do dumb sh*t.
- Having the grace to love yourself, even with all the many flaws.
If you really want to make changes in your life, I think this is the most important lesson besides patience and relentlessness.
You have to work hard, be patient and never give up… but you also must forgive yourself when you miss a workout, mess up or eat a half gallon of ice cream.
This is a critical point that I think I have spent the better part of thirty-six years learning.
We do not have to bear the cross of our pizza and beer binges… we only have to turn our backs to the memory of it, and focus on the better moments directly ahead. And act on those moments–wisely.
Love to you all,