A few interesting things to write about this week…
First, I did decline barbell bench press with 125 lbs for 5 reps this week. Since I currently weigh 118.5 lbs, I can finally say that I can bench more than my bodyweight, which is a milestone I wasn’t even thinking about, but am very proud of!
Second, I came across this great article called The Wabi Sabi of an Athlete: The Power of Imperfection. Given all of my perfectionist tendencies, it kind of rocked my world. I fell in love with the concept of wabi sabi – beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. From Wikipedia, Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
What a simple and beautiful concept. I think that people (self included) often get so caught up in the pursuit of physical perfection and in admiring in others what we perceive we lack that we fail to appreciate the unique beauty that each of us has. Or we get so preoccupied with what we want the end result to be (i.e. what I will look like on stage) that we overlook the value of where we are right now. I need to appreciate the greatness of where I am now. I should strive to reframe my perceived flaws as the things that give me character and make me unique. I should know that where I am today is just a snapshot in time and my reality will be different tomorrow. And I must realize that the pursuit of perfection has no end. All I can do is strive for improvement over time and to try to be a little better each day than I was the day before.
It’s ironic too that often the things I perceive as flawed or undesirable are perceived in the exact opposite manner by others. For instance, I feel that my shoulders are one of my weak points. Although I naturally have broad shoulders, the actual muscles themselves I feel need some development. As a result, I train shoulders twice per week. I was talking to a trainer at my gym the other day who is also competing in bikini in April, and she told me that she wishes she had my shoulders! The point is that just because you perceive a quality as a flaw doesn’t mean that others feel that way.
The third interesting thing this week was that I got a cheat meal from my coach for Christmas. I woke up Saturday morning to an email that said I could have a cheat meal in place of my normal refeed meal that night of whatever I wanted with the condition that I eat slowly and take a whole hour to eat my meal. I was totally shocked by my response to that email. I was elated, even giddy. I immediately started feeling ravenous and my mind was going a million miles a minute considering all of the options of what I could eat. For all of my discipline and control, as soon as I got the green light to cheat, it’s like a monster was unleashed.
I ate my first two normal meals and hit the gym. When I got home from working out, I have to confess that I had a strong urge to get a jar of peanut butter and a spoon and go to town. I was so perplexed by my reaction. Here I was having eaten chicken and broccoli five times a day for the past 4 weeks, having politely declined junk all week, and getting permission to eat something bad had suddenly turned that iron will into jello. I had gone 4 weeks without a cheat, and now I couldn’t even wait 4 more hours?
So, I ate my chicken and broccoli, had some coffee (one of my go to strategies for dealing with cravings) and read a book to keep myself occupied. I reminded myself that this is a refeed meal, not a free-for-all for the rest of the day. I ended up going to Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar (my favorite!) and having the Bacon Cheeseburger on Steroids, sweet potato fries, and a Snickers milkshake – all of which were divine. Taking an entire hour to eat a meal (even a huge one like that) is harder than it sounds. My body was buzzing with sugar when I got home. I really couldn’t do much of anything other than watch tv and then go to bed because my body was so absorbed in digesting all of that food!
So, now my glycogen stores are full. My body has signaled to my brain that I am not in starvation mode. I have satisfied any mental craving for something off plan. I have given my body permission to ramp up my metabolism. It’s back on plan to the chicken and broccoli, killing it in the gym, and waking up each morning to see a body that is slightly better than the one I had the day before.
Merry Christmas to everyone! I will be spending my Christmas eating (you guessed it) chicken and broccoli, and might throw in a cardio workout at the track for good measure!