Getting Back Up When You’re Down

Today I started off my holiday weekend with a Hero WOD. If you aren’t familiar with that term it is a workout that is created in memory of a hero, often a fallen soldier in battle. We do this as a way to honor those heroes, and the workouts are meant to be brutal. I always go into those workouts pushing myself a little further as I think of all that hero and their family had to sacrifice to keep our freedom. Their struggle is much more than my struggle in this workout and therefore it is the least I can do in their memory.

But today was exceptionally special as it is the one year anniversary since I went into surgery for a tummy tuck after losing roughly 100 pounds. The workout had plenty of running time which meant time for reflection on all that I have been through. The journey of losing those pounds seems easy compared to the maintenance. It was a hard recovery where I was the weakest physically I had ever been. As I was going through rounds of squats this morning I thought about how I had to use a tall box for my first week or two back in the gym after recovery. Running felt strange for many months, but now I am improving my running (slowly) more and more.

It has been a year of struggle and to say the least. Just as I was feeling my strongest I was ready to advance other areas of my life and took on a new job that completely changed my routine. I felt like I was working extra hard and getting nowhere. Less time for working out had me feeling like I was losing progress. I was still making it to the gym, but in my mind it wasn’t enough time and I felt rushed, I was skipping an occasional day when I could have made it. I didn’t feel very motivating. I stopped writing. I just wasn’t myself. I pushed myself through it knowing I would get my stride back, even signed up for a competition as a way to get motivated again, and then quarantine started. No gym. No community that had been such a big part of my drive. No equipment. No outlet for stressful days at a time when my stress and anxiety had reached new heights. Like so many others, I felt the urge to just give up. What was the point when I had nowhere to go, no one to push me, and so much negativity all around me. It was the first time I had felt that low since before I started Crossfit and decided to change my life.

I would try to stick to my healthy habits by still cooking clean meals and getting some activity in during the day. But other days I would allow more cheat meals and much much more alcohol. Using the excuse that it was a special situation and I should forgive myself for slacking a bit. And while that might be true to some degree, I still had that fear that I was going to lose all that hard work. Hearing my friends complain that they were resorting to pasta every night, hadn’t worked out in weeks and gained 8 pounds, when I felt like I was still trying to maintain a schedule and nutrition close to normal and I had gained 20 pounds and counting. I had my self doubt creep up on me and thought my predictions had come true. I was fooling myself this whole time to think I wouldn’t put the weight back on eventually. I was resorting back to old habits and letting all of it go. I have lost weight and put it back on every other time before, and here we are again. This time was no different. The self deprecation was real and led to less motivation and more eating.

I had to dig really deep to realize that this was different. I am not the same person I was all those other times I had put the weight on again. I wasn’t this strong. I didn’t have the skills or the feeling you get when you have hit that milestone. I know how to get to the end goal this time and I still really want it. And that is the biggest thing. You have to really want it. So I kept going. I bought weights. The weather turned so I started running outside without anyone forcing me. I faced the things that I hate the most. There is no better feeling than surviving that really tough workout and I wanted that feeling back.

So while I struggled through today’s long and challenging WOD, frustrated that my peers were passing me up, I let it be okay. I showed up, I pushed myself, and I reflected on just how far I have come. That hard work and progress cannot be taken away from me. I may have had a setback, but I still have goals. I still am hungry for more and have my eyes forward. This was just the reminder I needed that the work never stops. We never stop working on ourselves. It might not be a straight incline all the time and may resemble more of a roller coaster, but we keep going. I know it won’t be long before I am back to that goal weight and back to making gains.

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