Better

Yesterday I ate ice cream. I ate triple vanilla bean ice cream on top of a hot pecan pie. I ate it because I was allowed. I didn’t eat it because I had to. I didn’t eat it because I couldn’t resist. I ate it because I told myself I could; because I earned it.  I ate it because it was a reward, a treat.

I haven’t had any sugar since August 13th. I committed on September 1st that I would not have any “cheats” until December 1st. I wanted to try it. I wanted to make a habit of not eating shit. I can’t say in that almost 4 month period that I had perfect nutrition. Portions were sometimes bad. I sacrificed quality for quantity and vice-versa. Two diet cokes somehow snuck in and I may have eaten an entire jar of cashew/almond butter in one setting (whoops.) That may or may not have even happened multiple times. I, however, was successful at having absolutely no sugar, no sugar derivatives, honey, syrup, fructose…any of that. Until yesterday.

I decided on September 1st I would not cheat until December 1st and I cheated December 2nd. Toward the end of November people who knew about my diet asked me if I was planning to cheat December 1st. I hadn’t. I truly hadn’t. I had no desire to cheat. I was very happy with where I was and the road I was on. Perfect, no. But better. And liberated. Very liberated from the burden of chronically deprivin myself from food I wanted.

I remember how hard it used to be to get back on. Cheating, binging, and falling off used to take me months, weeks, and days to recover and get back on track.

Yesterday I cheated and then I had a stomach ache and I carried on. Today is just like last week. I enjoyed my healthy lunch and I’m not hungry. I’m not beating myself up about my cheat. And my cheat didn’t turn into a binge.

I cheated to challenge myself; to benchmark my progress. I am so much better, so much stronger. This cheat was over as soon as it was over. That’s never happened before.

And my healthy lunch (the first time I ate after having eaten the ice cream, mainly because it made my stomach hurt) really tasted just as good as the ice cream. Maybe better….without the stomach ache. I really, truly see no need to have ice cream again. I’m not waiting to have my next cheat. I don’t want it. I really truly don’t. This is the cure to the biggest problem I’ve ever had in my entire life to a problem I’ve had my entire life…just to put in perspective why this is significant to me.

Whatever your problem, strive for perfect. Learn and be better.

Chronic Deprivation?

So we’ve established you’re not on a diet. We know that. You’ve made a lifestyle change. Cool. There is a huge difference and you know that now.  You’re learning…

So what’s up with all the 30 day diets?

I remember when I was a little kid, watching people eat shit I wouldn’t allow myself to eat, thinking when is my turn? I recognized the absurdity of a “diet” when I was young, maybe 9 or 10, and knew that I had to do this forever, not just temporarily.  Was I unlucky enough to be cursed with a lifetime of deprivation? That seems so harsh. Could I be so unlucky? It took me about 15 years to answer this.

Happiness is always the ultimate goal. If you are unhappy with the mirror, most likely you are unhappy with your life.  But staring at someone eat, green with envy, constantly worried, constantly hungry, constantly deprived…that’s not very happy either.

I’m here today to tell you people you don’t have to choose between being fat or constantly deprived. You don’t have to chose between unhappy and unhappy.

You just have to not want the things you don’t really want.

I used to slam some fast food. Now McDonald’s disgusts me. I don’t feel deprived at all that I don’t eat it. Quite the opposite, actually. I feel blessed that I am disgusted with McDonalds.  Mt. Dew disgusts me.  I see my clients drink it and I get a queasy stomach, my teeth feel grainy from the sugar I imagine nestled on my teeth.

You get the point.

It’s not all easy. I’m getting there. Ice cream still looks pretty yummy and doughnuts still smell pretty good, but it’s getting easier. I think of the spike in my blood sugar, the insulin, the bloated feeling, the inflammation, the feeling of failure, the cravings for more after having just a little…etc. It makes it easier to turn it from something I am not allowed to have to something I don’t want to have. Deprivation Free.

I truly do not want to eat anything that isn’t good for me, anymore. I am not deprived; I am not waiting for my diet to end. I am just eating, lifting and living and it’s fucking liberating.  I’m not so jealous of the people eating cake anymore. I feel bad for them because they are as trapped as I used to be.

I’ve had a lot of jealousy issues. Clearly, I’ve loved food my whole life. I have always been so mad that I HAD to be on a diet; that everything in my life seemed to revolve around something some people just didn’t have to worry about. It’s a lot for me to deal with, as a child and now. I lost a lot to this fight, but gained so much more in the end. I thank God every day that I have this wonderfully slow metabolism and chronic perfectionism tied together. I would have never cared about fitness or nutrition if it didn’t spawn from my desire to be skinny. And look what it has turned into! My life, my passion, my goals,my dreams -all have stemmed from my continued failures.

Eliminate bullshit from your life, my friends. Bullshit of all kinds. You’ll only end up with awesome once the bullshit is gone…and it is so liberating.

Are we all just getting high?

This blog will be different than others. I didn’t have an epiphany and am in desperate desire to share with you what I’ve learned. This is a curiosity of mine. This is something I don’t know. This is something I wonder.

I was at a bar to watch the OSU game. I was offered a drink and I declined. He looked down at my water and asked ‘You’re not drinking?” I explained, for the 8 millionth time in my life, I don’t drink for health reasons; because I am an athlete.

And then the fairly typical next response comes “well how about just plain vodka.” I said “I am not depriving myself of alcohol for health reasons. I do that enough with food. I don’t want to drink at all. I don’t like being drunk.”  And this is the truth.

Up until this point this is all typical. I find myself in this conversation, typically 2-3 times a week.

His response then, was atypical. He asked what my high was. I thought of the rush; the crowd, the barbell, the team, the achievement, the mirror, and the dreams…it felt pretty awesome. It sounded like something I would give up a lot for.

Am I getting high?

Why do you drink alcohol? Why do you binge eat? Why do you sky dive? Or ride Motorcycles? Why do you snatch? Why do you persuse money? Why do you want the perfect career?  Why do you paint? Why do you try to raise perfect children?  Why do you smoke crack?

Are we all just getting high?

HMMMM……

Core Values and CrossFit

Life values I’ve learned from CrossFit and why I want to introduce CrossFit to everyone:

Integrity…Goals…Excuses…Confidence…Truth…Equality…etc, etc…

It’s weird when I try to explain to people how much I’ve learned about life from a nutrition/fitness program….maybe I can explain a little better…

When I first made my blog about my personal challenge of this 30 day diet, I said that it was hard for me to post this so publicly but doing so helps keep me accountable.

So there I was a few days later, sizing up my (whatever I wanted to eat), looking for an excuse to make it ok, I realized I would have to push back the entire experiment, admit failure to everyone and look like a weak person. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to look like a weak person after making such a strong and public declaration. And I have people who read my blog tell me they respect my will power. I didn’t want to let them down. I knew, if I’m going to eat this, I’m just going to have to lie about it. I have to appear like a person of integrity.

WAIT….
Why am I aspiring to LOOK like a strong willed person? Why am I aspiring to LOOK like a person of integrity? I don’t want that. I want to BE a person of integrity.

Because, people sense genuine, and people know bullshit.

I sucked at double unders. It took me about a year and a half to get more than 3 together. I would complain about them, how I’m not meant to be good at them, how they were just never going to come to me, everyone knew I hated them. I went to Rogue and got a custom rope. I would “work” on them after the WOD. I would do a few, stand around, do a few, talk to the homeless people, try a few more, look around, get pissed off, and then call it a day. Then one day it started raining, I was in the parking lot across the street from the gym fumbling around with my rope, and it was a pretty quiet day. A few people were working out but no one was really outside or walking around to see me. I had no one to validate the fact that I was trying to be better at double unders. I had no reason to continue.

Hmmm…wait a minute. Why am I more concerned that people SEE ME attempting these than I am actually getting them down? I’m faking it! I’m just looking for people to validate that it’s not my fault I suck at these, and It’s ok, at least I’m trying. I got pissed at myself. I was shocked and embarrassed of my own childish behavior and excuses I didn’t even realize I was making. Do I want to be a good athlete, or do I want to appear like a dedicated athlete? …because I’m sure as shit not becoming a better athlete from standing around here trying to make people feel sorry for me, and feeling sorry for myself.

Feeling sorry for yourself or encouraging other people to feel sorry for you is completely and utterly pointless.

I emailed someone I respect a lot about diet, my biggest vice. I needed help. It just wasn’t working for me. I need his secrets. He said ‘cool, tell me what you’re eating and I’ll get back to you.’ I quickly logged on my online food journals and erased all the McDonalds I ate 3 weeks ago. I left some stuff out; moments of weakness I didn’t want documented, for myself or others, on display. And I waited; I waited for him to say “I don’t know, man, everything looks good. Poor you, you are doing all the right things.”

…and I waited. And I waited and about 6 weeks later I hadn’t heard from him and I finally was able to email him to admit I was a fraud. He forced me, unknowingly, to self-reflect on my diet. It wasn’t his secret knowledge I needed. It was someone to call my bullshit. I wanted people to feel sorry for me because I felt sorry for myself. I just wanted my efforts validated, and that was getting me NO WHERE.

So I called my own bullshit.

Ask yourself, have I really, truly done EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to achieve my goal. If I were to look back on what it is that DIDN’T get me there, and eliminated it, would I be successful? Is it worth it? Do I want that thing that is standing in my way more than I want my goal?

And if you ever get there, if you can look back and say I have tired 100% absolute hardest I know how and didn’t achieve my goal, you were never supposed to. Either that or life is forcing you to further educate yourself. Challenges are a gift. Embrace what you learned and move on.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t want other people to feel sorry for you either. As coy as you think you might be, you’re probably just annoying. Don’t get jealous, get better. Life’s not fair, deal with it. Learn to recognize excuses. They are sometimes hidden. And be you. Don’t lie to others or yourself.  Fuck people who judge you. They don’t matter. Friends are always quality over quantity. Don’t fill up your life with bullshit; it takes away from the awesome. And you only have so much time.

Being true to who you are, being truthful to yourself and others, being happy with who you are—it is liberating. And people know. You can’t fake being a genuine person. It just doesn’t ever work.

MY STRONG

Remembering a conversation I had about 3 years ago:

me: I want to learn to deadlift. I YouTube’d it. It looks fun.
my trainer: Good. You’re going to be strong.
me: I don’t really care about strong, I just want to be skinny and look good.
trainer: YOU have to be strong.
me: Why?
trainer: Because YOU are never going to be skinny.
me: …(after running through years of failed attempts at skinny in my head.) Fair enough. Let’s try strong.

You can work your entire life at a goal you will never achieve. You might end up somewhere even better. So don’t stop trying.

Corny

One of the most common first sentences of emails I receive is “I know this is corny but…”

The concept of corny doesn’t exist. Corny is just honest, but with fear of judgment.
How about instead of avoiding things that are corny, you avoid things that are judgmental.

Books

In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

The End of Overeating, David Kessler

Good Calories, Bad Calories, Gary Taubes

Red Queen, Matt Ridley

Body by Science, Doug McGuff

Becoming a Supple Leopard, Kelly Starrett

Primal Body, Primal Mind, Nora Gedgaudas

Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson

It Starts with Food, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

Paleo Diet for Athletes, Loren Cordain

Wheat Belly, William Davis

Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About
Reality, Brad Warner