That pretty much sums it up. Our workouts aren’t meant to be a punishment, and I was reminded of this very clearly the other day by our coach when I was frustrated and mad at my body and gasping for breath and on the verge of tears. “Stop punishing yourself,” he said. And it was true. I was punishing myself. For a lot.
For being a horrible runner. For quitting CrossFit and having to start all over. For getting fat. For getting weak. For forgetting how to do a box jump. For having asthma. The list goes on.
And I needed to stop. We ALL need to stop. We are too hard on ourselves, and our entire class learned the other night while practicing power cleans that we can either focus on the things we do right or the things we do wrong. And it’s way cooler to focus on what we’re doing right. I mean, after all, we’re throwing weights around like badasses, rowing, squatting, sweating, and seriously THROWING DOWN to some hard-core, wall-shaking WOD music.
So if we wobble sometimes or if we forget to use a hook grip or if we don’t get our elbows up quite high enough, that’s ok. Those things give us goals to focus on in the future.
And about the D-word. No more of that. Nutrition isn’t a diet, and we’re not here to diet. We could do that at Jenny Craig. We’re here to get healthy and learn how good, solid nutrition can fuel the machines we are building.
The Diet—In 7 Not-So-Fun Steps
Here’s what tends to happen when we diet:
Step 1: We wait until our favorite pair of pants is uncomfortably tight. Like really tight. Then, we wait just one more week past that point, hoping against hope there’s been some mistake and an unfortunate dryer malfunction has caused our clothing to spontaneously become two sizes too small. But alas, our pants continue to restrict our breathing and seams threaten to burst.
Step 2: We make an emergency trip to Walmart or GNC or Complete Nutrition and purchase approximately $147 worth of magical supplements. We take those for about a week and a half. We gain 5 more pounds and spiral into a panicked frenzy.
Step 3: We google things like “Amazing Low-Carb Diets” and “Fast Weight Loss.” (These turn out to be neither ‘Amazing’ nor ‘Fast.’)
Step 4: We then rush to the grocery store. We purchase 5-calorie specialty crackers, frozen blocks of food blobs wrapped in cardboard that contain plenty of frost and a few peas. And we buy celery…so much celery, because, YAY for negative-calorie foods!
Step 5: We take our newly-adopted lifestyle foods home and attempt to come up with appetizing meal combinations for the week. And then we starve.
Step 6: On Friday night, right before fainting from hunger, we order a large stuffed pizza with extra cheese, chase that with a package of cookies, a couple of beers, and wake up on Saturday to plan a day full of binge eating at our fave restaurants. Similar plan for Sunday.
Step 7: On Monday, we look miserably in the mirror and see guilt—complete, unabashed GUILT—and if we’re lucky, we haven’t packed on even more pounds from starving and then binging.
It’s a cycle many of us have repeated throughout our lives, and it’s time to STOP the madness. The end. No more of this story.
Here’s the deal. We’re showing up. We’re working hard. We’re going to log our nutrition in MyFitnessPal, and we’re going to find a nutrition baseline that fuels our active lifestyles. Then, based on our long-term and short-term goals, we’re going to take a look at ways we can heal our metabolisms, enjoy our food, and not starve ourselves. We’ll do it the right way, and we’ll do it together.
And guess what? For many of us—especially those of us who are frustrated with weight or muscle tone or work capacity—it’s taken us a while to get where we are. And that means we have to give our bodies a chance to recover, as well as time to get where they need to be. We didn’t get here overnight; so buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Our WODs aren’t a punishment; they’re a privilege.
Our nutrition isn’t a diet; it’s a journey.