Well technically, I guess I have to say 41 years now, because I just turned the big 4-1, which means I should be looking at a fast ride down the backside of a dark, shadowy hill. Right? (Geez, that sounded only slightly depressing.)
Except! Guess what?! Here’s the thing…apparently, I’m a slow learner. Who’d have guessed? I had always tricked myself into believing I was fairly quick on the uptake, but there are evidently a few things in this world that I have to be beaten over the head with in order to absorb them into my smallish, carb-loving brain. It’s a trap, too. Turns out, it’s the evil CARBS that I love that are making me all slow and sluggish about understanding the pure evil behind all the processed CARBS that I love. It’s all about as confusing as calculus. And anyone who knows me knows that my math skills go about as far as, “Tommy had five apples. Tommy ate two apples. How many apples does Tommy have left?”
Whew! But here goes a quick rundown of the gradual awakening. Enter team sports (a.k.a. trampoline) for my girls, which would then bring us to Coach Carl Neidholdt, who I will henceforth refer to as Extreme Keeper of All Knowledge Regarding Fitness, Diet, CrossFit, and Getting Off Your Ass. In other words, he’s Yoda, and if you practice bad form when throwing around weights and such, he’s likely to open up a can of galactic whoop-ass up in here. It has become quite clear that this is what I need.
I have tried everything. And when I say everything, I mean ‘ev-er-eee-th-uh-innnng’ (with like 6 syllables) when it comes to losing weight, but as it turns out, I was looking at that the wrong way, too. Again, it’s taken me 41 years to put the stupid scale in the bathroom drawer and focus on getting strong. It’s taken me my entire life to say, “I don’t give a damn what the scale says.” What I do care about right now is whether or not I can add another plate to the bar and whether or not I can finish a WOD faster than I did last time. I care about feeling that sore feeling in my muscles that reminds me that I worked as hard as I could work. I care about the fact that my clothes are fitting better. And best of all, I care about the fact that I can run and play with my kids, I can carry them up the stairs, and I can wrestle with them on the floor. That’s what matters. Someday, I’ll dust off the scale, but probably just out of curiosity.
Back to everything. I have tried the cabbage soup diet. Who hasn’t? I have tried Weight Watchers. I have ingested enough SlimFast shakes to drown a well-populated town, and I still ended up starving. Two words: Fat Camp. Oh. My. God. I have spent an entire summer of my life at fat camp. Didn’t help. Well, it did help me hone my criminal skills, because by the end of the summer, I was able to sneak in enough contraband Twinkies and Reese’s to earn quite a good little weekly income. But my ass was still fat. And I didn’t get strong.
We’ll go into more later. Needless to say, along came Coach Carl, and he (somehow) convinced me that I could do CrossFit. (Yay, CrossFit Cerberus!) I was pretty sure he was either drunk or delusional (or both) when he told me that, but for whatever reason, I decided to give it a go. And nothing has ever been the same since. I owe him a debt of gratitude that I’ll never be able to repay. I feel better now at 41 than I ever have, and I feel like more of an athlete than I ever have. (Although I did occasionally have to jog to get those Twinkies and Reese’s into fat camp without being detected. Don’t judge.)
I have a LONG way to go. But instead of getting weaker every day, I’m getting stronger. I need to work on my diet—it needs to be cleaner. It’s better than it was, but it needs to be better still. I need to work on my lifts—they need to be smoother and I need to lift heavier, but they will get there. I need to find a way to work around my kids’ busy schedules and get to the gym even more, but that will get better, too. I’m on the right path, and looking back, I can see that it’s working.
In the above picture, the only thing I’ve been lifting is maybe a box of Ding Dongs and a package of Oreos, neither of which helped me do anything except maybe add to my bulging butt or the hidden BINGO flaps on the undersides of my arms. Not cool.
In this second photo, I am in the middle of a lift during my very first CrossFit competition. Coach Carl convinced me I was ready for this as well. (He’s very persuasive.) Although I almost vomited and I thought I might die right in the middle of Round 3, I completed the WOD, and it was one of the coolest things ever! There will be more of these. There is still work to be done, but I’d rather be lifting weights than Oreos any ol’ day.