Calm down and cheer up – you’re equipped to handle it! – Joyce Meyer
I feel like the above quote is something I need to constantly remind myself of for the next 13-15 weeks. I’ve been barreling my way through the last couple of weeks of prep with nothing but angst about my perceived but unconfirmed lack of progress. It’s funny how that kind of thinking snowballs. “I haven’t made any progress in the past few weeks” turns into “What if I don’t make any progress over the next few weeks,” which turns into “I won’t be ready by the day of the show,” which ultimately translates into “I can’t do this. I will fail, so I should quit.”
Yesterday was the moment of truth – time to objectively reassess progress made over the past 4 weeks. I just wanted to get it over with. I tried as much as possible to see it as a win-win situation. Either I truly wasn’t making progress and my program needed to be adjusted, or I was actually making progress and my perception of it was just skewed and inaccurate. Luckily, it turned out to be the latter!
Measurements taken 1/12/13
Weight: 123.5 lbs (unchanged)
Body fat: 13.6% (down 1.3%)
Shoulders: 39 (+1 inch)
Chest: 32 (-1 inch)
Waist: 24 (-3.5 inches!)
Hips: 34.5 (-1.5 inches)
Thigh: 20 (+1 inch)
I think “stunned” might be the best descriptor of my reaction to those numbers, especially the changes in my waist. How could I not notice a 3 inch loss in a 4 week period? I also assumed it would be more noticeable in the comparison of my progress pictures, but I realized that I only take progress photos from the front and the back. Based on where my body likes to preferentially store fat, I tend to be thicker from the side than from the front. If I had been taken photos from the side, I think the change would have been more noticeable.
Anyway, once the shock wore off, I was incredibly happy. I also felt incredibly silly for succumbing to all of that negativity for the past couple of weeks. However, now I feel more motivated than ever. Furthermore, I noticed something important – a shadow of a thought lurking in my subconscious. It’s the idea that there is something inherently different about me (or wrong with me?) that renders me incapable of achieving the kind of results that other people do. I don’t know where that idea comes from, but I think it is at the core of all of my self-doubt when things don’t seem to be going the way I expect them to or want them to. That thought and all of its malevolent spawn are the reason that I put off competing for so long in the first place. Anyway, I want to expunge that shadow thought and the only way to do that is to prove it wrong.
My sister shared with me the other day that in her Writer’s Studio class, they have a name for the negative self-talk voice – they call it “the shitbird.” In the context of writing, it’s the metaphorical bird that sits on your shoulder and tells you that your writing is awful and you’ll never get published. I love that! I think that making negative self-talk into an anthropomorphic bird is genius. It makes the things it says utterly comical. So, whenever I hear that voice, I’m going to remind myself it’s just my shitbird talking and ignore it!
I think a lot of people assume that competing is about proving something to others, and sometimes, it can be. But in my case, it’s far more about proving something to myself. The emotional highs and lows are an inevitable part of the process. Facing them without falling part only makes me feel stronger and more confident. It also reminds me that I have an amazing support system of people, some who I’ve known for years and others who I’ve never actually met, that never fail me. Thank you.