July 16, 2014: Pride & Gelato

This whole “new bike, high expectations, frustration inducing” few days that I’ve had are, of course, teaching me a lesson about myself and about life.

Yesterday at work my boss told me of a top notch ice cream store about a 45 minute ride away.  After some consideration and deciding that nothing changes if you don’t make changes, I studied the map, memorized the directions and then told Ray that I wanted to lead a ride to a “mystery location”.  Normally I would never ride in the lead.  I’ve done it approximately a half dozen times in 6 years.  I always preferred riding at the back and taking my cues and confidence from him.  I also basically get lost in a parking lot so leading a ride to somewhere completely new is even more foreign.  Last night though, I put my confidence out on the line and went way out of my comfort zone.

And it turned out?  Pretty frigging awesome.  I didn’t tell him where we were going because I felt like it would be easier for me to “need” to lead if only I knew our destination (also, I like surprises so I thought I would give him one).  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best riding I have ever done and 1 being “I’m done, abandon bike”, the ride out to the ice cream last night was a solid 6.  Not super great….but not horrible and I’m happy with that.  My stopping has improved immensley since Monday and now I’m achieving a smooth, controlled landing 90% of the time.  My accelerating from a stop still sort of sucks, I haven’t quite figured out the clutch/brake/throttle combo yet but it’s better than it was.  Blah blah blah…if you’re not a rider, you probably don’t care about that crap.  My point is, improvement!

For the ride back home I asked Ray to lead as I was a bit turned around and besides, behind him is normally where I’m most comfortable so I wanted to give that a whirl too.  If the ride out was a 6, the ride back was a 3.  Wha?!  Never, in my wildest imagination, would I have believed I would have more confidence beign in charge of myself and leading myself around.  Never.  Around halfway home, Ray took off ahead faster than I wanted to go which made us “independent riders” rather than riding as a pair (closer together and staggered).  Once again, higher skill level, higher confidence, better ride.  He told me when we got home that he’d noticed it wasn’t going as well as the ride out there so he spread us out to give me space to do my own thing. 

So…I learned a few things last night.  First, all my efforts at gaining my own space, time, independence has worked in ways I never predicted.  I will not, for one second, say that I was oppressed…..but I did, over time and circumstance, stop working on the things that are important to making me a strong, healthy woman.  Second, had I not just spent 5 figures on this new bike, I would have quit on Monday.  And Tuesday.  And a little bit on Wednesday morning.  I expect perfection right out of the gate and if I don’t have it, my first reaction is to assume that I am broken, useless or bad at whatever it is.  Instead, if I could learn to expect wobbles and a bumpy start and just keep pushing on, I would distress myself a lot less!  I’ll keep practicing and paying attention and I’ll get better.  Ray’s comment Tuesday was that Jezebel is talking to me, I just don’t understand what she’s saying yet.  Last night I figured out a bit of her language.  It makes me wonder how many other things I have quit in defeat because I wasn’t perfect at it right off the bat.

Finally, I learned last night to never make anyone else responsible for making you feel good, accomplished or proud.  I was very, VERY proud of myself last night.  I rode my brand new bike the furthest I’ve gone with her, I led the ride which I have rarely done and I took us to somewhere totally new which I have never done.  That is all HUGE for me.  Unfortunately, for a little while, I was feeling let down because I was really expecting (hoping) that Ray would be super impressed and proud of me.  And………..he wasn’t really.  I don’t think he really sees it as an accomplishment, just as something he figures I should be able to do.  It was very disappointing (and possibly led to the less-fantastic ride home) and took the shine off.  Along the way home I “turned the corner” and decided that my pride in myself is enough.  I am enough!  However………I did have a calm word with Ray before I went to bed; along the lines of “Honey, sometimes I need you to tell me that you’re proud of me.”.  He was basically shocked and couldn’t understand why I didn’t just know that he was impressed and proud of me because he always is, “duh.”.  It’s an ongoing communication issue that flares up from time to time. (remember how I told you my blog is totally honest and unfiltered these days? This would be one of those instances………..relationships are hard, we can be on different playing fields sometimes and we don’t always make our spouses feel very good………it’s life……..and even though I was screaming “You’re quite the confidence killer!” in my head on the way home, I pulled myself together and went at the issue much more gently………whether it worked or not?  Who knows.)

So to summarize. Bike = much better, Shanny = more confident, relationships are hard, ice cream is where it’s at!



Eviction Notice

Tentatively and with a bit of fear, I put my scale away on Tuesday morning.  I weighed and then buried it in the linen closet where I meant for it to sit gathering dust until the end of January.  I have been a faithful weigher since September 4, 2007, the day that I first stood on the Weight Watchers scales.  5 and a half years I have stood on the scale at least weekly but mostly daily.  It’s a funny thing, that little digital number.  It’s either the permission to feel happy or it’s a little blue glow at 5am that steals away your happiness, comfort or satisfaction, whether it deserves to or not.  It’s justification for poor choices if the number shows up smaller than it ought to be and it’s punishment for not working hard enough, even when you’re giving it your all.

I have to admit that yesterday I had the urge to pull that scale out and step on it and see if the one (brutal) day so far in the year had yielded any lost weight.  You see, I have exercised sporadically since last May.  A month on, one off, a month on, two off, a week on and then a month long cold and then Christmas.  And with Christmas December came chocolate.  Alcohol.  Grain free cookies coated in chocolate. Chicken wings.  Alcohol.  Chips.  Rum balls.  Alcohol.  Zero exercise.  You get me?

And yet through the entire month of December, I didn’t gain a pound.  Yay scale! Thank you for telling me what was ultimately an enormous lie.  Sure, my actual weight stayed the same.  But the breadth of my thighs grew, muscle in my bum and arms turned soft, my belly turned from reasonably flat to reasonably fat.  The scale is bullshit information.  I say that knowing that for years it’s what drove me and for YEARS it’s what kept me at an acceptable weight.  But………things changed, my diet changed, my body changed, my thought processes changed.  And yet I stood on the same scale every day.  I hung my heart and mood and self worth and success or failure on something that doesn’t even tell the real story.

I was very grateful to newly discover a tool that does tell the truth, the whole story, the complete works?  It was me.  All along.  My eyes, my heart and my brain, they know.  And when the scale isn’t ripping truth out of my hands every morning with its little glowing number, I can hear what’s happening and I can relate what is happening to what I’ve been doing, good or bad!

I really believe that this was the final step in completely committing to my current lifestyle.  It’s been almost a year since I gave up grains and admittedly I think I always had one foot in my old life, just in case.  One foot that wasn’t quite sure that this radical (it is radical if you compare it to the average diet) way of living and eating could work.  I’m all in now though; tucking that scale into the closet was like closing the door on the past.  Any label that used to let define me is closed in there with it; former fatty, “was in a car accident”, lazy, not athletic.  They are all in there, locked away with the scale.  And while my original intent was to get it out on January 31st and “see how I did”, my current intent is to never get it out again. 

Happy Day Three!  One of my favorite quotes to leave you with this morning:  “There is no better way to combat weakness than with strength.”

In case you’re wondering about the muscle loss/weight gain, I’m not worried, it’s negligible in the grand scheme, it taught me a HUGE lesson that I needed to learn and I’ll have everything set back to rights in less than 45 days!

Many thanks to my dear friend, Tara, for blazing this trail months ago and putting the seed in my head.  And many more thanks to her for her beaming, genuine happiness when I told her what I’d done, definite confirmation that where I’ve come to is a good place to be!