Bullied at the Gym – is this fourth grade, again?

Bullied is a term that has become so entrenched in our language, that sometimes we are really unaware of it’s effect.  So maybe I shouldn’t use it here, but to paint a certain picture, here is the actual (as I found it on Google) definition:

bul·ly1

ˈbo͝olē/
verb
gerund or present participle: bullying
  1. 1.
    use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
    “a local man was bullied into helping them”

Now, I have had to deal with all sorts of bullies in my past – workplace harassment is something I mediated for years and I have seen all kinds of intimidation.  Feeling as though you have lost your power is a debilitating thing.  And this morning, I experienced it.

I am choosing to write this not because I quickly found strength in my experience and ‘fought’ back, but because this gut-wrenching feeling of being trapped or stuck is terrible.  It is in this that I find reason to write about my experience.  Because you, dear reader, may feel the same powerless feeling I felt this morning, whether at the gym, or even walking in the gym in consideration of joining, in your marriage, or in your job.  When power to make decisions and live life freely is robbed from you, you are left helpless and with regret.  I’m here to give you a little bit of that good stuff back.

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I was going to start by painting the picture of where I live, the stereotypes that lead to where I live and therefore, the reality of my every day experience here.  But I’m not going to.  Those who know me, will get what I’m talking about.  Those who don’t, well, just read on.

I think sometimes people approach circumstances with a sense of entitlement.   And I walk in the gym every time with that sense.  Maybe that was where this morning went wrong, but, I’m a paying client and do have expectations.  I expect cleanliness.  I expect that they operate in their hours they have posted.  I expect the sauna to be hot and the equipment to work.  I have expectations that I place on the staff and management of my gym.  I also expect every trainer to greet me with a smile and be courteous.  But, where things get kinda hairy when my sense of entitlement is tested with other clients.

I stick to myself at the gym.  I have talked to maybe two people.  The first was an older lady who claimed I had a very pretty face and continued by giving me tips in weight loss and form.  Thanks.  I’m good!  The second was one of my son’s friend’s mom.  That’s it.  I am polite if I speak.  I re-rack.  I wipe down. And I respect those around me, both in the gym and in the locker room.

This morning, however, my confidence was tested and I almost let that lady win.

I finished my squats, then my dead lifts, did some calf raises, worked on two machines for extensions and curls and then wanted to end my first round of lower body burn with weighted and elevated glute bridges.  I use the bench press because it’s the only piece of equipment that doesn’t slide when I put my feet up against it.  The head trainer was very cognizant of where I was and ensured I had enough room to do what I was doing, which I appreciated.

As I approached the bench, there was a bunch of stuff on it.  A Tim’s coffee cup, a pair of reading glasses, a stack of trash mags, and an iPod with head phones.  The weight area was packed this morning, so I looked around a bit to see if anyone saw me look at astonishment that this ONLY bench press in the gym was being used as a pseudo-locker.

My gut instantly sank when I saw her walk over.  Ugh.  Not her.  She said, “Did you need me to move my stuff”.  She was on like her gazillionth cable pull when she came over, having to stop her 10 minute conversation she was having with another “Jaw Day” client.

I took out one ear bud, politely said, “That would be grand, thank you” and she cleared off the bench.

I did my butt-busting exercise, finished with an amazing plank on the mat, and cleaned up my plate and mat just to the side of the bench to use in my intended next three sets.

I walked over to the squat rack to start up again.  But, this client grabbed her stack of personal belongings and put it back on the bench.

I do have to mention, she has done this before.  The cable machine.  She kept taking my straight bar off and putting on the ropes and didn’t bother returning my bar when she was done.  Was it me?  Maybe… was it her?  Possibly.  But I want you to focus on this moment.

I finished my machine work and walked over to the bench again to tighten my tush and, I was faced with trying to find her to remove her crap.  I was ready to leave.  I picked up my FitBook, my water, my pen and I started back to the locker room with only one out of the four intended sets done, and I was ready to turn it in.  You know that feeling?  When you feel defeated.

I could have attempted to use another free bench, or even the swiss ball or hell, maybe even the bosu, to get creative and finish my workout.  But I let the ignorance of someone else, someone who had their own sense of entitlement to dictate to me how my morning was going to fair.  I started to unlock my locker to pack and I said to myself, Fuck it.  I am just as entitled to a work out as anyone else.  I am just as permitted to workout freely than those who choose to talk THE ENTIRE TIME THEY’RE THERE, or those who leave their manners at the door and fling around their perfect tanned triceps, leaving some of us feeling a little less powerful.

I have been doing this journey work for sometime, so I know you can’t give anyone your power without your consent.  But, I have to say, in that moment, I felt like the overweight kid in grade school again and I had no voice – I recognize this circumstance is trivial and quite honestly a first world problem, but it’s the essence of the experience that is important here.

I walked back.  I walked back and put my shit down on where you’re SUPPOSE to put your shit down, and I walked over to her and politely requested she remove her social belongings until which time I was done.  She wasn’t at all impressed and turned her nose up quickly at me, but in that moment, I found my voice.  In that moment, I acted as if  I deserved… (thanks to a fellow blogger who posted this morning.  Acting AS IF if a kick-ass philosophy).

Is this silly?  Ya, sure, I wrote a lot of words to get to a fairly anticlimactically moment, but to me, it was important.  I didn’t let my lack of confidence win in this.   I assumed because I am still overweight, she had a greater sense of power in the gym then I did.  That’s bull shit.  I would encourage you to find your voice as well in any walk of life that gives you that knot in your gut feel.  We can all get kicked around sometimes – at home, at work or even in the gym.  It blows.  And while I am a fairly confident person, there are still certain situations that I will just leave to a stronger person.

Not today tanned bodied, gym-beauty.  Today, this weight-loss victor won her battle!

never-underestimate-power-pissed-off-woman-quotes-sayings-pictures

A

 

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#progress #weightloss #pivotal #whole30 #fitness

I thought I would write a little bit about how my break up went.  If you are new to this site, I encourage you to read a few posts of interest and if you are one of my few devout readers, this post brings you to present day, what stepping back for two months meant for me, and a little bit about what’s in the future.  I have revised this over 30 times.  For various reasons – too much information; not enough.  Relevant when I wrote it a few weeks back vs. what’s going on now.  But whatever the end product, I hope it makes some sense to you….

Where things were and where they are now.  If you recall, February 6th, I posted an entry entitled The Breakup.  I was mentally stuck, and because of that roadblock, my body was equally stuck.   Here’s to where things are headed.

Step 1:  Why I broke up with me and what I found in that

I love this one so much, I'm using it again!

I love this one so much, I’m using it again!

I decided to take a break for a number of reasons, all of which you can read about.  In doing so, and maybe it was all coincidence or an amazing domino effect, I found time.  I found time to focus on me and not get caught up in the business of blogging and Facebooking and sharing and getting in way too deep with everyone’s lives without spending any face to face time with them.  I realize both the beauty and the beast of social media now.

I found strength. I found consistency.  I found clarity.  While I no longer run the rat race of corporate North America, life can take you by the armpits and drag you through busy a lot of the time.  In the words of Ferris….

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My biggest feat was that of routine, consistency and really getting my shit together.  I guess in my head, the first step of stepping away had to happen for the residual effects to come into play.  I have been super consistent with pretty much everything.  My sleep, my workouts, my eating, my promises to my goals and myself.  It’s been a big love-fest and having the time to devote to all these things void of having to worry about others around me has been liberating.  To say the least.

I found joy in every day.  Now I may be lending way too much to not blogging and stepping back from social media, but in all honesty, stripping away some of the bullshit in life, does allow for wonderful things to happen.

Step 2:  (this isn’t really a step, but may help you put the pieces together a little easier) A Little Bit About Me and My Pivotal Point

Confession time – I am easily influenced and become WAAAAY too emotional attached to people (part of the partentalization I learned through therapy).  While I am certain I make all my decisions with full intent, I am spontaneous and trust people who are trustworthy-ish and close to me.  I have, however, fallen victim to quick fixes, hurt feelings and disappointment when things don’t work out.  But really, I take this all in stride as learning experiences and if there’s one thing I have almost perfected is not to dwell.

For the last two years, I haven’t switched up my nutrition and really my training…  Now the easily-influenced Adina was following a prescription of fuel and activity based on what she thought was good advice.  But, buyer-beware.  I was sucked in, drank the Kool-aid and was absolutely convinced this was the ONLY way to eat and move because it worked for this particular person.  Now focussing on fuel, I looked at her naturally toned and fueled physique and thought how could her prescription of equal ratio macronutrients NOT work?  How could I possibly not lose weight on eating whole grains, low fat and frequent munches?  Well, I was on a plateau for nearly a year.  And at the end of that year, I actually gained 14 pounds.  So, something needed to change.  Plus I was lying to myself, but we will (eventually) get to that!

And then there was change.  But first, a little bit about how that change entered my life (finally).

Side Note from the Author:  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a big influence in my pivotal point, @tiniertim (See and Read! his blog here).  Tim has lost an incredible 220+ pounds on his journey.  He is finding his path to greatness through aiding and supporting others in their journeys, in a very non-judgement and compassionate way.  We are clearly long lost siblings and the 4,000km between us hasn’t had much impact on how his story has effected mine.  I am convinced he is meant for the stage to motivate and lead others to their potential and only hope I still know him when that happens!  Tim has been an incredible inspiration to me.  Below see one of my most favourite and motivating pictures.  Strong. Committed. Focussed.  I often times think of this photo when getting through the last minutes of my run or pushing through my last excruciating squat.  Thank you, Tim, for everything you have helped me with during this crucial part in my own transformation.  You are a kindred spirit and I am a better person for knowing you.

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And this is where Tim’s story really influenced my Phase 2.

Step 3:  Moving from Nutritionally-Challenged to Nutritionally-Stable

Tim went to Whole30 during the first stage of his weight loss.  Now, I had listened to Tim’s podcast on Tips of the Scale (listen here, woulda?)  months before I found my “magic” during my period of detachment.  We talked about his Paleo approach to nutrition often and while I was skeptical (as I had done the Atkins thing), I listened intently (which, by the way, is a good way to live life!) to his podcast for the second time and read all his blog posts to better under the secret of his success (spoiler alert – the secret is/was consistency).

If you have ever done training for adults, it is understood that someone needs to hear, see, do a “something” at least three times before that “something” is absorbed.  And when/if that absorption happens, it may not even be in your conscious but possibly subconscious having an even fucked-up-er way of impacting your life.  It was something that Tim said that I had clearly heard several times prior, that finally stuck with me.    And while I should be able to quote this I can’t, but the spirit of the phrase was if whatever he was eating he could not physical find to make himself (what the hell is Maltodextring or L-Cysteine Hydrochloride) he wasn’t eating it.  It was in this and his commitment to his hard and fast rules that really hit me.  No sugar; no fried food; no refined white flour.  He never wavered for three years (and counting).

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This stuck.  It had taken some time to stick, but the universe must have been waiting for the perfect moment for all outside elements and distractions to cease in order for my pivotal moment to happen!  I guess this is what people talk about.

That turning point.

For me, it was about foods that fueled vs. foods that were therapy.  We have all been there.  Bored. Eat. Sad. Eat. Happy. Eat. Don’t know what you’re feeling. Eat. Celebrate. Eat. I was done with it.  I had adopted a pretty regimented lifting and cardio program and I knew everything I put in my mouth had to have one purpose, and one purpose only – to move my body to get through my workouts and my day and running around with my babies.  That’s it.  Food no longer had sex appeal to me… it didn’t make me tingle, or turn my head, get me fantasizing or turn me on.  And while I had been having a long, and sultry affair with food for almost three decades, it was time to put my pants back on and tell it good bye.

Step 4:  Holy Nirvana and Miracles of Change!  Whole 30 and all that

Now, I hold not judgement on where I was in life and what my habits had been.  All that was the past.  I didn’t think about the 100’s of times I had sneaked an entire soup bowl of white pasta and salt as I was prepping dinner.  Or hidden chocolate bars and Starbucks treats in my car on my numerous trips around town.  None of that mattered.  What mattered was this moment and now.

So, I trusted my world wide webbed friend and started eating differently.  And two days in, something else shifted for me (wa?  more change, you say?  Yes).  Instead of me being swayed by his southern Cali-accent and his amazingly newly sported beard, I started to take  responsibility for MYSELF and I began to read and listen and educate for me.  While I trusted Tim, I was stepping out (again) from my comfort zone and as we all know….

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The seed was planted and it was now my time to nourish and make it my own. It was the Whole30 for me and I was loving it!

I read up on Paleo and followed tweets and Facebook Pages from all the industry leaders.  I read success stories, set backs, feedback and recipes.  The concept is easy.  Eat whole food.  Really that’s it.  And I made it to day seven and like the Gemini Rebel in me, I had to break one of the cardinal rules of the program – I weighed myself.  Five pounds gone.  And the next day I could not figure out why I felt like utter garbage.  I didn’t get discouraged though!  I forged through, read more and found out this was completely expected (see this link:  TIMELINE).  I was committed to me.  And I knew I deserved to feel better, live longer and get my well-formed squat-induced ass up on that counter one day (see previous post:  Counter Sex & Other Limitations).

My waistline looked smaller than ever and I actually felt lighter.  I was still over the 200 lb mark but it became my focus to see that 1 on the scale (as in the 100’s) before my 38th birthday.  Then, the blasted Juice Cleanse happened… I am not going to take any more than a short paragraph on this.  I didn’t love it.  I had planned it before I had started my Whole30 and feel the extra sugar and carbs fucked up my system and it took a good week to reset my reset.  I restarted a Whole30 as of the 6th of February when I was able to refocus on my priorities knowing this was one of them.  I had started to make a world I could picture myself not only surviving in, but living! techsmithwor7259

The Deets of this moment in my journey

Here is a little update for some of your statisticians who need those empirical  facts to help you believe, not trust, the process is working!

Starting weight:  218.4 (yup, I was up that 14 lbs remember)

Starting feeling:  frustrated, tired and overall ready to commit this was the body and limitations I was meant to live in and the grass clearly didn’t exist let alone was greener

Starting Fitness:  no monkey bars or counter sex, but was making okay strides.  I was in the gym at least twice a week, with cardio and weights.

NOW(ish) – or at least when I wrote this a few weeks back…

Here’s a recent picture!  I couldn’t get this dress over my boobs four weeks prior to this picture being taken and I wore the scarf because it was falling off my shoulders.

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Now weight:  201

Now feeling:  fucking eh!  I don’t think that’s how you really spell it, but I’m Canadian so that’s how it will be.  I am sleeping better, my hip to waist ratio is so much more in line (looks much more the way it did when I was 13 and 135 lbs!) and I am just more focused.  My relationship with food is no longer – ya, that’s right.  No more relationship with food.  No comforting, no sexy talk about how the chocolate cake will embrace me with open arms or how that bowl of pasta will numb me so I can get through my night.  I eat to move.  That’s it.  I wish I have more to say on this topic, but honestly, the Whole30 commits to change your ‘feelings’ towards food, and that’s what happened to me. If you are at all interested in this, I would suggest reading “It Starts with Food”.  Again, I could link this but, just Google.

Now Fitness:  I have done one monkey bar and the counter sex… well.  This is a family-rated blog.  I have been super consistent on my fitness. I am six weeks in on  a pretty progressive lifting regime and have now added additional cardio every day.  I am at the gym four times a week usually with 38 minutes of intervals and 40 minutes of lifting.   All in all, life fucking rocks.

 

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Thanks for reading (again).

I hope the time off has given both of us what we needed – time to reflect and re-energize on what’s truly important.  For me it was about priorities and finding my pivotal.  I am rejoicing now and so excited about what the next few months will bring me.  I have written and will continue to post my past entries.

I hope to hear from you and find out what is working for you!

Axo