Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Being strong and healthy should make you a better person."

I was thinking the other day about where I am with my diet situation. I'm finally at a point where I feel I'm worth it. I am worthy of taking care of myself in a healthy way. It was a Moonstruck, "Snap out of it! moment" Where I finally looked at myself, sort of like when I find my kids doing something naughty that only a kid could think of and I'm so surprised that they thought whatever they were doing was a good idea. It was my "STOP! What are you DOING?" moment. It finally hit home. I deserve to be healthy and taking care of myself is a priority. Damn it. But my point is, it didn't happen over night.

I do think that if I had not gotten on the path of martial arts it would have taken me a lot longer to get here, if at all. With every round of dieting I learn something new about myself. Not just in terms of food but in my life. I uncover an answer to one of the tough questions. And with each dieting go around I go a little deeper. Try a little harder, make bigger more permanent changes that would lead me to a healthier me. Inside and out.

I lost thirty-five pounds while I was preparing for my black belt test. Months before, when I thought about that test, I pictured myself thin receiving my belt. And it worked. I lost the weight through a plan called "Trevose". It's not rocket science. It's a simple plan based on calories and keeping a food journal and weekly weigh ins where they expect you to be at your goal, no excuses. Our group met once a week and it wasn't like a WW meeting where the leader did most of the talking it was a group and everyone got to talk about their week. I learned a lot about myself and the women in the group got to know me well enough to give me "Snap out of it!" advice on more than one occasion. My point is, it was a rich experience. I learned more answers to some more deep questions. I might have even thought I had it all figured out when I got my belt and hit my goals. Life has a way of catching you and hitting you upside the head if you don't learn the lesson completely the first one, two or three times. But if you go with it, roll with it, don't get yourself too bunched up it can lead you to some places far better than you imagined.

I fell off the wagon a bit when I left my old karate school. I went from practicing karate 24/7 to practicing two to three times a week. Immediately I could feel the weight creeping back on but I let myself get stuck in a rut. I repeated some bad choices for several months before I started to gradually gain not only control but my desire to be in control. Because being in control of one's diet is a lot of work. And I had gotten tired and a little lazy and throw in a little emotional eating on top. But I didn't let myself go completely to pot. A BJJ school opened in my neighborhood and I knew the owner because he and some of his guys had taught some classes at my karate school. When I went in to welcome them to the neighborhood I ended up signing up for a year and shortly after that they started a women's only BJJ class. I had two reasons for wanting to learn BJJ. American Kenpo is a standing art and I wanted to get more comfortable moving on the ground. I wanted to understand it and how it worked. The other reason was to kick my sorry butt back into shape.

About a year into it Sharon, my instructor, moved the class to a different day and said she wanted to offer a "fitness" class before the BJJ class. I was the first to line up to try the kettle bell class. I gathered as many friends as I could find so that she would also consider adding a few more mornings to the program. Sharon is a gem. She is one of the first female BJJ Black Belts she is very knowledgeable not only in BJJ but training in general, fitness and nutrition. I was looking for an exercise program with some intensity and kettle bells certainly delivers. Here are a few things that I like about training with Sharon. If I am the only one who shows up for class she will still give me a hard sometimes even harder workout. Some instructors might use that as an excuse to slack off a bit. If I need some extra discipline in the diet department. She will coach me and read my food journal and crack the whip. Our class is still small but a dedicated group of women who take everything that Sharon has to dish out in a workout. I also like the atmosphere of the class. We are serious about our workouts but we laugh a lot and joke around. I always feel great when I leave there. I actually believe the laughter and camaraderie is just as important as the workout. It's another place where I can be in my element where I can strive to be a better me. When I asked Sharon about kettle bell certification she said there was one coming up and she also thought that I would be able to do it. In addition to our regular kettle bell classes she would stay after class to give me additional workouts to prepare for the two day certification. When we went for the certification we met a man, Steve Kardian, who teaches a women's self defense course called "Fight Like a Girl".
Sharon and I traveled to Steve's school for the certification about a year ago. And now we are teaching self defense seminars at the BJJ school. So what started off as an effort to get a little more exercise has blossomed into something bigger than I had ever imagined.

I will admit while I was getting these certs and becoming stronger I was still dilly dallying
with my weight but because of the kettle bells I started reading more blogs learning about the top kettle bell instructors in the country and really starting to take to heart all of the things that they prescribe. And all of them take their diets seriously. So this has brought me back full circle to once again take, not just my "diet", but my choices and commitments to health and fitness to a whole new level. And just like all of the other times, I dug a little deeper, figured out some answers to some of my tough questions, grappled with a few demons and have an even deeper understanding of my self. And it has been this leg of the journey that given me the most confidence and the most discipline. Somehow in this process I have developed an intolerance for feeling bad whether it's emotional or physical. I'm doing it for the right reasons because I just want to feel good which has lead me to finally believe I am worth it. I am worthy of living a healthy life.

My quote for this blog comes from and interview with Mike Mahler a top kettle bell instructor.
I read his blog daily and have been greatly inspired.

" Be brutally honest with yourself. Evil exists and flourishes when people are delusional and fail to be well calibrated. Being well calibrated means your perception of yourself is accurate. Just because you have always done something does not mean you need to keep doing it.You can evolve and be better. However, it all starts with being brutally honest. You have to accept who you are now and take the necessary steps to improve. Surround yourself with great people that tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. Be humble and avoid looking down on others. Focus on improving yourself and be an example to others."


"Being strong and healthy should make you a better person."

1 comment:

  1. Well, that was a story, but a good one at that. I hope that what people get, who read this, is everything one does is a process. Nothing in the real world really happens over night. Keep growing and inspiring others.