My Tough Mudder Experience

Before Saturday, Tough Mudder was something I had only dreamed of doing. It was something I had thought I would like to do, but never believed I would.¬† With the help of my trainer, my family, and complete strangers I finished that 10 mile course…and here is my story!

We arrived and met up with my trainer around 10am Saturday morning. Got checked in, got our numbers put on and headed to the warm-up area. Before we actually took off we listened to this talk one of the TM guys was giving at the start line. He said that it’s not about how fast you go, or how many obstacles you complete. It is about giving it your best, doing the very best YOU can do, and leaving no man behind. Now, I had heard about how helpful everyone was on the course but it was very different to experience it. When they said go Jessica and I ended up at the back of the pack. I am a slow runner but it didn’t matter to me We had about an eighth of a mile to the first obstacle and I jogged the entire way. Up first was kiss of mud 2.0. This was a fun obstacle. Lots of crawling and sliding on your stomach under barbed wire in the mud. It was simple enough but we came out covered in mud! Then we headed on to the next obstacle warrior carry. I carried my partner the first half and then continued to carry her for the second half. We were supposed to switch and she was supposed to carry me. But since I am about twice her weight I knew no way! After that we headed on to the Berlin Walls. I had joked with Jessica and said I hoped two really strong guys would come help me over the wall. And sure enough…two guys came and helped me up to the top. When I looked down at Jessica I told her I was scared! (heights are not my thing!!) so I looked back at the guys and asked them to please come catch me, and they did! Standing in front of that wall, I would have sworn it was 20 feet tall:) Really it was 10 feet!

The next obstacle was called balls to the wall. You had to climb up yet another wall, but all you had was a rope to help you. Where were these strong guys now? ūüôā I tried, but just did not have the upper body strength to make it up. But I cheered Jessica as she climbed it. Then we headed to Turducken. We waited in line quite a while at this event and met some really nice people. Being able to chat helped my nerves settle down. But when it was my turn I struggled to get up the mud wall to the tube. I kept falling and falling, and then all of a sudden everyone at that obstacle started cheering “Go Liz, Go Liz” and complete strangers came up behind me and helped me up to the tube. Once I got inside they all broke out in cheers and¬† I crawled through that tube with tears in my eyes. It was exhausting but I wasn’t even halfway finished with the obstacle! At the end of the tube I dropped into 6 feet deep water head first, thankfully the life guard caught me because I swallowed a mouthful of muddy water. Jessica and I then finished Turducken together.

The Liberator was the next obstacle. It was another wall with pegs that you had to use to climb it. I fell once but again complete strangers started cheering me on and helped me get to the top of that wall. My husband was able to video this obstacle and I am so glad I have this to look back on. Then we headed to mud mile 2.0. Mud mile seemed like endless hills of mud! That stuff is really hard to climb up! Thankfully, yet again, complete strangers were helping me over and over again. Halfway through I knew I was exhausted, so I climbed out and then started helping others. I figured if I couldn’t physically finish then at least I could help someone else. Next was the crybaby obstacle. I was so excited to try this! But as we approached the obstacle I started freaking myself out. Crybaby is where you crawl inside a box full of tear gas. I finally worked up the courage to do it. First you had to go full body under water to get inside the box. After holding my breath the first thing I wanted to do was breath deep but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even see in front of me and I started to panic. There was a small hill I had to pull myself over and I remember screaming help me..and someone pushed me over it thankfully. Then I army crawled the rest of the way. Once I got¬† out I was spitting and snotting and trying to remain calm!

The next two obstacles I was unable to do. King of swingers played too much on my fear of heights. I just couldn’t bring myself to jump into the 12 feet deep water, especially after drinking some mud back at Turducken. And at skidmarked (yet another wall) there were not any strong guys around to help me over:( So we headed on to the next obstacle the Underwater tunnels. There was a huge line we had to wait in. Jessica looked over and told me she was freaking out about this one. But it ended up not being bad at all. I even climbed the rope ladder up the side of the hill without any problems! I really was proud of myself this point! Funky Monkey was the next obstacle and because of my lack of upper body strength I knew there was no way I could do monkey bars. Then was arctic enema. It was a chilly day to begin with and after freezing in the lake water I wasn’t prepared to jump into 35 degree water. So we headed on to Birth Canal. That obstacle was a lot of fun. I chose to crawl on my knees and use my back/butt to push the heavy water up off of me. It was pretty exhausting, but fun. Our next obstacle was called Quagmire and that one was not fun! There was a girl rolling across the mud and I was wondering why. The minute I stepped in the mud and it came up to my knee I understood! My left shoe got so stuck in the mud, I had to slip my foot out and pull and pull at it. It easily took me 3 minutes to get it free from the mud. Then I had to crawl my way across the mud and up the muddy hill. Some guy came up from behind and put his foot on mine to give me some leverage to get up the hill. Thank gosh too because I don’t know how else I would have made it up.

I was exhausted at this point in the race. Not just physically exhausted but mentally too. But I was determined to finish. When we reached the beach whale event I just did not have it in me. So I cheered Jessica along and then we headed to pitfall. When we arrived at this obstacle everyone was crawling in the water on their bellies and I said not me! I started to walk it, and the first bit of slippery mud I hit knocked me on my butt! So I crawled the rest of the way:) After that we found ourselves at devils Beard. This was a cargo net that Jessica and I decided to bear crawl under. Bear crawling is something she has me do often during training and always while pushing an 8lb ball. So we joked along the way high-fiving each other about how I was well prepared for that obstacle! Then we came up to Everest 2.0. I knew there was no freaking way I could make it up that curved wall.¬† I stood there watching people run as fast as they could and reach out hoping someone a the top would be able to grab their hands and pull them to safety.¬† Our last obstacle was electric shock therapy. Here you run through mud hoping that these dangling wires don’t shock you. I stood there probably 10 minutes trying to get the nerve to do it. I saw grown men fall down, women scream as they ran through, and I freaked myself out. That is the one obstacle I skipped that I keep beating myself up over. Tough Mudder was tough on so many levels. I did not expect to be as mentally or physically drained as I was at the end . But I finished all 10 miles!

I had my name on the back of my shirt and during the entire course people kept saying “great job Liz, keep it up Liz”. That really helped me to keep going. At one obstacle this guys called out and said “hey, I was the one that had my hand on your butt.” And I thanked him very much for that help! I ended up with so many scrapes and bruises and swollen knees. At first I kept asking myself why I decided to do this! But now that I am almost back to normal I am ready to do it again. My goal next time is to do just one more obstacle than this time!

For any of you thinking about trying a Tough Mudder, I say go for it! I earned that orange sweatband and no one can ever take that away!

Just put the fork down…

I know you have heard this before. Maybe someone even said to you “oh honey, its easy to lose weight, just put the fork down, eat less, move more.” Am I right? Those without a weight problem, don’t understand what its like to have a weight problem. If losing weight was as easy as “putting the fork down” don’t you think that we would all be skinny! I know I would!

I truly believe that there are always underlying issues that lead to weight gain, for me, that list is long. My mothers death, my dads second marriage 4 months later, my bi-polar hard to deal with step mother, the brokenness of my family, the longing to fill a void…I could go on and on.¬† And I choose to eat because it is my escape. While I am eating that candy bar, piece of cake, greasy cheeseburger etc, I am so focused on how good it tastes that I am able to forget all of that pain from my past.¬† I actually just learned this in therapy…and I found it very interesting.¬† When my mind is going crazy with stress and anxiety, the simple act of eating crap completely¬†CALMS ME. For just a moment I can relax and forget about whatever is bothering me.

It is a horrible cycle to be caught in.¬† Think of a never-ending merry-go-round. ¬†Wanting to lose weight but life is stressful. Stressed out so grab some crap to eat. Then wonder why you aren’t losing weight. Stress yourself out some more because you aren’t losing weight, so you eat more crap. Anyone else on this ride with me?

I am so tired of being told to put the fork down, to eat less, to move more! It is not that simple. I ran to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables for this week along with a few other items. I passed many other shoppers with baskets full of all the things I want to eat..chips, ice cream, cookies, etc. And again I felt so angry. Why is this my struggle? Why do I have to obsess about every thing I eat? Why cant I just be “normal”. I had to remind myself what we have talked about in therapy.¬† That its a privilege to take care of your body. I should feel proud for having my basket full of healthy foods. I admit it, I am just not there yet and I am not sure how long its going to take.

But I do know this…never ever tell an overweight person to just eat less. You have no idea how hard the struggle really is until you have walked in our shoes. I am trying everything I can right now to change and some days I feel on top of the world, but reality is that most days I cant see that light at the end of the tunnel.¬† But I am not stopping. I have come too far to give up.

Its just part of my journey…

I overslept this morning because I forgot to turn my alarm on. This has never happened to me before and because of it my daughter was late to school and I was late to zumba. I promised Emme that I would bring her lunch at school today which I always do once a week anyways.  I decided to pack myself a healthy lunch instead of eating the fast food that I normally would be bringing so I packed some chicken salad on a low carb tortilla and some grapes.  I was proud of myself for making such a good decision and even texted my friend to tell her what I did. But the moment I sat down to eat I got upset.

My daughters school has two tables to the side where parents can sit with their kids during lunch. At those two tables I saw, pizza, chickfila, arbys, subway, and McDonalds. And there I sat with my chicken salad wishing the entire time I was eating anything else.¬† I also sat there thinking about what I could go get myself after I left to make up for not having the “bad food”. I ended up eating a few of Emme’s French fries and then coming right home instead of stopping to grab crap. As much as I want to keep feeling proud, I can’t. I am miserable because I didn’t get to eat that crap food…because I am in a situation where I have to be careful of everything I put into my mouth and its just not fair.

Last week my therapist talked to me about putting myself in a box. He said I chose to put myself in this box by coming and asking for therapy and by getting a personal trainer. (check out my post on voluntary enslavement) And he told me that this is a good thing…well today I didn’t feel like it was such a good thing! It felt like more of a punishment I hate to say.

I am learning that this is just another day on my journey. This journey is full of struggles and today I was faced with one head on. It does suck! It is hard! But I have to move forward. I know that the end result will be worth it. I need to believe that these sacrifices are what is going to get me to that end result. I have to keep believing in myself and my journey. But I wanted to put it out there…because if you ever feel like this, know you are NOT alone. It would have been so much easier to throw in the towel and eat something bad, but what good would that have done?

voluntary enslavement

What comes to your mind when you hear those two words..”voluntary enslavement”? My therapist asked me that very question last week. My response was that I am enslaved to this dieting world by my own choosing. But I viewed it as a bad thing and he told me it was a good thing. He drew a box on the dry erase board and put me inside of it. That box is where I have voluntarily enslaved myself. That is the box I put myself in when I decided to hire a trainer and decided to start seeing a therapist. I chose to start making changes in my life….and I have become enslaved to that choice.

When you are surrounded by family and friends that don’t understand your journey it is so easy to fall back onto your old habits. Eating fast food, having dessert everyday, not working out consistently….as my therapist put it..you allow yourself to come out of that box. And that my friends, is not good for my journey.¬† He told me that being enslaved inside my box is a good thing, it is going to get me to my goals and I need to remember that! I have to stop allowing situations to affect my journey because they are interfering with my goals. I chose to put myself in that box and I need to keep myself in that box.

This was our topic last week because after allowing myself to eat out for my birthday and have some cake…I had a major meltdown. Having a slice of cake wasn’t the problem. The problem was that one day of celebration should have been that..just one day. I did send the cake home with my brother, but then the next day I ate two cookies, and the next day 4 cookies. And I found myself on Tuesday morning in a horrible mood. As I was running my last set of bleachers I was angry at myself…angry that I had allowed myself to get to this place where I have to run bleachers, where I have to work so hard to lose weight. I was exhausted because we were at the end of the session and it took every piece of me to get up those stairs and the tears were just coming. My trainer was so proud of me because she said she pushed me really hard…but I didn’t feel proud at all. I told her I was having a moment and I had to pull it together.¬† I left my training session and went straight to my therapy session and there I let the tears flow.¬† I keep looking at this lifestyle as a punishment…like its so sad I cant have cake every night, and its so sad I cant eat fast food everyday.¬† But my therapist quickly helped me realize that I have it all wrong. Choosing to voluntarily enslave myself to this lifestyle is a good thing. Choosing to become healthy now is something I will forever be grateful for.¬† It really just comes down to perspective.¬† And it is time I start seeing this journey for all the good it is doing.

Dieting SUCKS!

I don’t have it all together…not even close. I try to keep my page as real as possible and share the good the bad and the ugly with you all. There are so many people out there showing us how amazing this journey is and all the pounds they are losing and if you ask me they are just sugar coating the truth.

Dieting SUCKS! We shouldn’t even call it dieting because I know good and well that the minute you fall off the wagon you will gain it back. Changing your lifestyle sucks. I know that it will improve my health and make me feel better and live longer…but the process is so hard sometimes…actually ALL of the time its hard.¬† Every minute of the day I am faced with making the right choice. The minute I roll out of bed I can choose to eat some sugary cereal or some healthy oatmeal and eggs. After working out at the gym I have to choose whether to run home and have a protein shake or stop at the gas station for a diet coke. Let’s not forget lunch…I would much rather eat a big juicy burger than a low carb tortilla and chicken! In the afternoon when I want a pick me up my go to used to be a little Debbie snack cake but now I have to choose almonds or an apple. And dinner…no more carb laden meals…I have to choose healthy.

I don’t always make the right choice. As much as I may want to choose healthy, old bad habits are hard to break.¬† But if I have learned anything on this journey…it is that we are human and we make mistakes. We can’t dwell on those mistakes though, we must keep moving forward. When you have made the wrong choice it is¬†okay! Forgive yourself and make the right choice the very next time you eat.¬† No more waiting til Monday to start over, no more thinking that because you blew that one meal it’s ok to blow your entire day. My life changed when I started believing this.¬† Yes I still make mistakes and YES I still get upset with myself but tomorrow is always another chance to get it right.

And know that everyone struggles. You are not alone! Sharing my struggle is just part of my journey and when I decided to share my journey….I decided to share it all.

Just do it…

I didn’t sleep well last night. I was up several times because I drank too much water before bed. I woke up tired and cranky and not wanting to work out.¬† I managed to get dressed and after taking my daughter to school I somehow ended up at the gym.¬† It would have been so much easier to go back home and crawl back into bed..but I didn’t.¬† I didn’t even think about going back home because it just isn’t an option anymore for me. I met my trainer and 10 minutes into our session I told her I was having “one of those days.” When I am either mentally or physically tired it wears me down. And the last couple of days I had been battling with that devil of a scale and allowing it to get the best of me. So my trainer pushed me harder. Days like today I need to be reminded why I am here and pushing so hard.¬† I did plank walks pushing an 8lb ball, trx straps, balancing exercises, wall slams with an 8lb ball, running back and forth 10 yards slamming an 8lb ball, and some ab work. Halfway into my session my trainer started laughing because she noticed my ankles were sweating. My freaking ankles were sweating! Towards the end of our session after an ab exercise I asked my trainer if she could remember when I first started working with her and we did this move. She said she remembered how I couldn’t even lift my legs up off the ground. And not only am I able to do that now..but I felt strong..even stronger after realizing that.¬† At that moment I realized that I keep allowing myself to focus on the wrong things. The scale may not tell me that I am making progress…but my body sure is saying otherwise.¬† That is where my focus needs to be.

Going to the gym every morning has just become habit for me.¬†When I am not able to go I feel like my entire day is thrown off.¬† I could have easily skipped today but I didn’t. And I think working out when you really don’t feel like it benefits you more than you know. Had I skipped today I wouldn’t have noticed how strong my core has gotten and how far I really have come. I hope you will remember this the next time you are looking for a reason to skip a workout.

It is NOT a competition…

I find that the biggest problem I have on this journey is that I compare myself to others.  I follow a lot of fitness pages because it really helps me stay motivated to see others busting their butts. But at the same time I will compare my progress with their progress and it is never a positive thing for me.

When someone is losing pounds or inches faster than I am I immediately question what I am doing wrong.¬† When someone is losing weight and they are still able to eat cookies I ask what I am doing wrong.¬† I have seen people up their calories and lose weight, lower their calories and lose weight, lower their carbs, eliminate their carbs, go on crazy fad diets, stop drinking soda, not exercise at all, exercise hours a day….the list goes on and on. Every time though, I will drive myself insane wondering what I am doing wrong. I did It today actually….I allowed myself to be in a bad mood over something I saw on social media.¬† I spent a good half of my day sulking and questioning everything I have done recently…the amazing week I had this week where I said no to dessert every night, the mile and a half I ran without stopping, the 7 hours I spent working out, all of the good healthy food choices I made…I questioned what I was doing wrong.

Lucky for me I have an amazing trainer….I texted her about how I was feeling and she told me to call her. She always reminds me that its not a competition…that all of my hard work has not gone to waste…that I have come so far over the last 10 months.¬† I owe her so much more than she could ever know. Then after our conversation I was scrolling through facebook when I came across a post by Ripped Goddess. (If you don’t follow her you should) She says “keep in mind EVERYTHING you see is filtered. Look for messages that resonate with you because they make you feel GOOD- not bad about yourself. Life is challenging enough without competing with the magical filter that is social media, so unless you have unicorn dust give yourself a break.” I swear she wrote that for me…

This is my journey….some days are amazing, some days not so much.¬†¬† I have to stop comparing my journey with the filtered versions of others. Because the choices I make daily only affect me.¬† And I have the choice to be happy and proud of how far I have come…and how far I will go on this journey to Finding Me.

The scale is the DEVIL…

Many many months ago both my doctor and my trainer told me to get rid of my scale.¬† I had become obsessed with getting on that thing not only every day, but several times a day.¬† I thought that the scale was the only way to show my progress and I was completely wrong.¬† When the scale wouldn’t budge I would become frustrated and question what I was doing wrong. Heaven forbid if the scale moved in the wrong direction because¬†it would completely ruin my day. I would have the biggest meltdown all because of that number. I think that alone stunted my progress. So after a lot of urging, I came home and took that scale straight to the dumpster!

I can not explain how amazing and freeing it made me feel. Not having that machine to jump on a zillion times¬† a day really helped to improve my attitude. But over time I started to get worried again.¬† We had a scale at my gym so I could weigh if I wanted to, but when our gym merged with another that scale stayed behind. Not having that scale really got to me, and I ended up buying a new one for my house.¬† I told myself that I was not going to become addicted again…that I would just weight once in a while…and at first it worked.¬† But not for long..

This week I really took the advice of my therapist and completely changed my diet. No more dessert every night for me! Boy has that been tough.¬† I am really thinking about the foods I am putting into my mouth and when I have craved sweets I have talked it out with a friend or my husband and realized I was just stressed and really didn’t need the sweet. I can not tell you how amazing I have felt this week. I have been waking up in the mornings feeling rested….I have felt like I am giving 110% at my workouts. I went jogging this week with the intentions of stopping when tired and I ran over a mile before I even felt like I wanted to stop. I can not tell you the last time that has happened…um never!! BUT with all that feeling amazing..I decided to jump on the scale. I mean, not eating desert every night surely means I have lost 10 pounds this week right? Well NO it sure doesn’t. The scale has moved a little but because it wasn’t as much as I expected I immediately found myself getting an attitude. This is why I am here…before I let that scale control me I wanted to blog about it.

See, the scale really doesn’t define us. It doesn’t tell us how amazing we really are. That scale has no idea how hard I push it at the gym, or all the times I have succeeded in saying no to dessert this week. Our bodies are crazy…we retain fluids daily and our numerical weight can change all the time. That is really out of our control..but not getting on that scale and letting it affect us IS in our control.¬† So lets stop letting that scale control us!

I am a food addict

Hi! My name is Liz and I am a food addict. There…I said it. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting it right? Was it scary to admit? No…not for me. The scary part is thinking about what I need to do now to change this.

I have spent the last couple of years believing that the key to weight loss is moderation. Everything in moderation right? Because we are told that it is all about calories in and calories out.¬† Yesterday during my therapy session I asked my therapist about this. Why he doesn’t agree with this idea of moderation and what he said blew me away. “Would you give crack to a crack addict? Would you tell an alcoholic that they could drink as long as it was just a little here and there?” Heck no! And why not? Obviously they would never get over their addiction by allowing a little here and there. Also, most people in recovery would relapse the moment they had just a “little”. So how does that relate to food addiction? Well you surely can’t say…Liz never eat again! Ha!! We have to eat….but we also have a choice as to what we put into our mouth.¬† Allowing myself a couple cookies today and then a candy bar tomorrow…even if I fit it into my calories allowed for the day…is NOT helping my addiction at all.

So where do we go from here? Well it is not going to be an easy road that lies ahead I am sure. I have full confidence that with time things will get easier. Its not realistic to say that I am never going to eat a cookie again….and I am not telling you to do that either! What my therapist suggested is to draw a line….an actual line, not a blurry one….a line that I will not allow myself to cross….or when I do cross it recognize it immediately and then get right back on track. So what am I going to eat? Lots of healthy good for you food. I have been reading this book suggested by my therapist, and it talks about how good healthy fats are for you. Healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, helps your brain to feel full and satisfied. So along with my protein, and carb, I am going to be incorporating that into my diet. And when the sweet tooth kicks in, or just the need to put some food into my mouth, I am going to allow a sugar free popsicle.

My therapist is confident that if I make these changes I will finally start to see the fruits of my labor. I bust my behind in the gym…and its time that my hard work pay off! I am going to not only take it day by day..but meal by meal!

And my life was forever changed….

When I was 10 years old, tragedy struck my family. In the middle of the night I was woken by my dad and told we needed to take mom to the hospital. I can remember that night like it was yesterday. My dad drove a ford Taurus wagon..you know the kind that had the seats in the back where you could ride looking backwards. I sat behind my dad, my sister in the middle and my older brother sat behind my mom. I remember my dad speeding which is something he never did. At one point, my mom blacked out and started throwing up. I remember clearly my dad yelling at my brother to hold her head up so she didn’t choke. My sister and I sat holding each other screaming and crying. At one point we reached train tracks and as the arms came down to tell us to stop, my dad stepped on the gas and drove right under them. I think he knew we didn’t have time to be stopped by a train. I remember reaching the hospital and my dad and brother carrying my mom, one under each arm, into the emergency room. She had lost her shoe…I remember that brown strappy shoe, and I picked it up because I thought she would need it.¬† All I remember after this is finding out that my mom had a brain tumor and that the doctors would operate the next day. We skipped school and stayed at the hospital only to find out that the doctors were unsuccessful at removing the tumor and now my mother had fallen into a coma. This was May 1992.

At some point my mother was moved to a nursing home, still in her coma. In June my dad brought us for a visit. I will never forget the way my mother looked. Her head was still shaved, her face half bruised…and she was still in a coma. I read to her the cards we had made telling her we loved her and to get better soon. I remember her eyes flickered and my dad told me she knew we were there. Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever see her. Our family therapist told my dad that it would be best to keep us kids away. He thought it was too traumatic for us kids to see her like that.

Then one day in October, my brother was up early watching cartoons before school when the call came. I heard him wake my dad and tell him the nursing home was on the phone. I knew at that moment what the call was about. It wasn’t until that afternoon after school when my dad sat my sister and I down and told us the news. My mom would not be coming home.

There was no funeral, no goodbye, no nothing. Life went on..4 months later my dad married a woman he barely knew. It wasn’t until I was pregnant and becoming a mother myself 13 years later when grief set in. I started to realize how much I had missed out on. How much I would continue to miss out on. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. I know this is the root of my emotional eating. I know I keep trying to fill a void that just can not be filled. But spilling my guts to you all is the first step. I have so much more to tell. So many of you tell me how strong and confident and inspiring I am on a daily basis…now I am going to share with you how I became this person. This is just the beginning to Finding Me.