Hey! It’s me.

One of the things I love about traveling is that it puts me in a new context and can make me feel like a different version of myself.

Most of the time that’s a rewarding experience — I get to try on new ideas and patterns to see what’s a keeper. But sometimes, being in an unfamiliar place also creates a sense of not feeling like myself.

After 10 (wonderful, fun, exhausting, awesome) days of tramping around Pennsylvania — eating verboten treats, relaxing with my family, taking in the scenery, meeting new people, exploring Philly neighborhoods, skipping workouts, enjoying the front row of the Bruce Springsteen show, and missing meditation — I’ve been not quite myself. Add in the continuing thyroid experimentation, and I’m feeling a bit unmoored.

Yesterday morning I was overcome with an undeniable desire to move. It’s been a few months since I tackled a CrossFit style workout, but my body feels like it can handle a high-intensity workout once or twice a week now, as long as I rest and refuel afterward, so I dug up an old WOD to start my day. It’s a modification of a workout created at CrossFit Central a few years ago when they did a series of WODs named for clients and made one for me.

WOD
15:00 AMRAP:
30 box jumps
20 dumbbell push press, 15# DBs
10 burpees
200m run
I finished: 2 full rounds + box jumps + push press

CASHOUT
Hatha Star yoga: lots of stretching hips, legs, and feet to make us grounded

My performance wasn’t remarkable. Just an everyday WOD to make me sweat — but it felt Good. Right. Since I stopped training hard last November to deal with my hormonal downward spiral, I’ve lost some of my fitness. But that’s the kind of thing that comes back! I felt encouraged, rather than disheartened by my workout. I know how to do this: do the work, rest, fuel, repeat.

I think when we take long breaks from training — for injury, because life gets overwhelming, when we’re traveling — we think to ourselves, “Now I have to start all over again!” But that’s unnecessarily harsh, judgmental, and unfair to ourselves. When I started CrossFit in 2008, I couldn’t do box jumps at all; yesterday I did 90. Sure, they were slow, but I’m capable of doing them so I’m not really starting over. I’m just picking up a thread that was dropped a few months ago. Are you in a place where you feel like you’re “starting over?” Now might be a good time to take stock of where you are and recognize you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting fresh.

To cooldown after my workout, I wandered across the street to take a look at the mosaic-in-progress in my neighbor Stef’s yard. (She’s the artist who created a bunch of the pottery we used in Well Fed photos.) Mixed into the mirrors and rose patterns are quotes from the famous, the infamous, and the loved. I’d never really slowed down to read them before, but because I was killing time, waiting for my heart rate to return to normal, I took a few minutes to read them, left to right…

If you decide to make someone the enemy and you’re pushing very hard against them, you don’t affect them at all, but you disconnect yourself from the stream.

Martin Luther king understood his worth. He had his god moment.

The world is not set up so that it is easy to be a righteous occupant of it. Award yourself handsomely for any progress made in this department. — Johnny Walker

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.

It was 101 and his hair looked fantastic.

It’s gonna be all right.

Just as I was chewing on the words It’s gonna be all right and gut-checking myself to see if I believed it, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the mirror shards. I almost didn’t recognize myself at first. I’d been feeling sad, old, tired, and puffy for the last few days, but the girl gazing back at me didn’t look like any of those negative things. My cheeks were flushed from my workout, and my eyes had that fierce thing I get when I’ve just stared down a workout. The thought bubbled up into my consciousness: It’s me.

I visited FIT at the University of Texas last week to have my body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate tested (That whole story is coming soon.) so I have data to help me plan my new course of action. I’ve started my Armour treatment for my thyroid, I’m eating 100% Whole30 clean, and I’m revamping my training routine to include a little bite of CrossFit here and there. It’s a fresh start on the road to being me. Again. Still.

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Comments

  • I think all of our learning is about 2 steps forward, 1 step back. I like what you said about it’s never starting from scratch; we ‘stretch’ ourselves into new territory and then we retract a bit back into the old familiar, but we’re never the same. Thank-you for this comforting reminder that we are never truly starting over when it seems like we’ve lost something we had gained.

  • Dania R. says:

    Thank you for this post today. It’s been a rough and emotional summer and there have been quite a few days I feel like I’ve slipped so far back that I don’t even KNOW how to start over. I needed that reminder that there was a time when I couldn’t row, run, or do box jumps either. And now I can. No matter how slow. Thanks for the encouragement and good luck on your fresh start! By the way, that is a cool-as-heck mosaic.

    • Mel says:

      It’s both hard and awesome when we adapt to our “new normal” and forget how far we’ve come. Glad you like our Bruce pics! It was a crazy-fun night.

  • J. K. Clark says:

    I need to start eating “100% Whole30 clean” again, too. My transgressions aren’t terrible, coffee with a bit of sugar in the morning (until 2 weeks ago, I hadn’t had coffee or sugar since May) and too much fruit/nuts during the day, but I can still tell a difference. I feel weak, as if I’ve lost the firm grip I had on my diet. I’ve had that fear that “going clean” would feel like that first week all over again, but I like the idea of STARTING FRESH. It makes it seem so much less daunting.

    • Mel says:

      Ya know, I was 95% Whole30 before I left for Philadelphia, then I ate WHATEVER I WANTED for about 10 days. The first 4 days of eating Whole30 were about what you’d expect: I was moody and tired. But today, day 6, I feel AWESOME!

  • Lydia says:

    *bookmarked*

  • Mary says:

    Great post! Very thoughtful.

  • Jeanye says:

    Welcome home, Mel! It’s great to hear the hope in your voice again! I’m in a transition pattern as well healing some adrenal dysfunction. It’s hard to remember how important the work of rest is for me right now. I definitely miss the high of the metcon. But I have enjoyed a renewed gratitude for the gift of a long walk or bike ride. Thank you for sharing your story. It inspires us all!

    • Mel says:

      I sometimes wish I could learn to be less hopeful 😉 … but as Brene Brown explains in her awesome book The Gifts of Imperfection, being less excited about something doesn’t diminish the disappointment if it doesn’t work, so we may as well get excited anyway. There’s no down side! 🙂

  • Ms Jane says:

    This post is serendipitous Mel. I’ve just found out that not only am I fructose and lactose intolerant but I’m also intolerant to salicylates. After ranting and raving around the house ALL weekend (wtf can i actually freaking eat!)I have woken up this morning with a modicum of acceptance about this situation and realize that I just have to go on with things and not fight against it. It’s hard when your body doesn’t do what it’s meant to do…gotta just go on. Move. Live. Smile xxx

    • Mel says:

      Oh, man! The acceptance is so hard — but it makes everything so much easier to lean into the annoyance/discomfort. Good on you for your attitude. Hang in there!

  • Casey says:

    Nice post! You look fab in that mural reflection.

  • Lady A says:

    This hit the spot for me this morning. I really appreciate how your self-expression helps us find the healing accessible within ourselves. It’s nice to remember I can pick up the thread, and that I’m stronger than what I often give myself credit for. Good work on your WOD!

  • Melissa G. says:

    What a great post. Thanks for this. We’re all in this together, girl. Thank you!

  • Great post! I have taken some time off from running recently for various reasons. I just like to tell myself that running with always be there for me when I’m ready to go back to it. Sometimes we just have to focus on other things, and that’s ok! I do like how you said we’re not starting from scratch, just starting fresh. That’s a great perspective to have. And such a cool picture in the mural 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Ooooh! I love that: “I just like to tell myself that running with always be there for me when I’m ready to go back to it.”

      It reminds me of the passage in Jane Eyre when St. John says to Jane, “What will you do with your accomplishments?” and she says, “Save them till they are wanted. They will keep.”

      Love it!

  • That mosaic is fabulous! Glad to hear you’re feeling more optimistic about yourself, too. I am on day 5 of my first Whole30, and I am feeling super psyched about it myself. I’m finally starting to see *me*, too.

  • Autumn says:

    Mel, I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and it’s become one of my favorites. You’re open and thoughtful about your experiences, and though no one can say you’ve had it easy the last few months you’ve remained impressively positive, inquisitive, and hopeful — and when you don’t feel like that, you write about it from the perspective that the negative, frustrated times are transient.

    I appreciate that, as it’s an approach I’ve been attempting as well for quite some time, and it bolsters my own experience on days when I’m not feeling quite so great. Thank you for that!

    (Plus, you always look so darn happy in your photos, and I LOVE that! It just reflects the attitude that comes across in your writing.)

    Life is fun, it’s a game, live thoughtfully and freely.

    • Mel says:

      You know, it’s weird — one on hands, it’s been a crappy few months. Health issues SUCK. On the other hand, I was able to start my new company, and our professional and personal lives feel really balanced and good. Life: the ultimate teeter-totter.

      As for looking happy in the photos, I am pretty happy most of the time. I’m grateful and I have so many loving people around me.

      Thank you SO much for reading and commenting. I’m grateful for YOU 🙂

  • Tom R. says:

    Boom! Where’s the “Like” button????

    • Mel says:

      I’ve been thinking about you a lot since last week ’cause I got the results of my resting metablic rate and body fat tests. Yeesh! I’m working on a blog post about it, but the headline? My measured, actual resting metabolic rate is 25% lower than the average for someone my height and weight. HOW MUCH DOES THAT SUCK?!

      The data is fun to look at, though. Will share soon.

  • Kim says:

    I just finished reading through the 10 body image links and then read this. The “it’s gonna be all right” quote really resonated with me today. The last month (even more than other months) I’ve been seriously struggling with accepting myself as I am. Today. Not 15 pounds from now, and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one, even though it actually sucks that we all deal with this, and we all deal with a generally f**ed up body image that we have grown accustomed to thinking that it is normal to have a f**ed up body image. Thank you for being honest about your body image and for sharing your struggles with us.

    • Mel says:

      To varying degrees, I think we’re all always working on it. We’re bombarded with messages about how we SHOULD be, and it’s challenging to be grateful for who we ARE. There is value in each of us — just as we are. And we deserve love, respect, and peace.

      Thank YOU for reading and commenting.

  • Jen :) says:

    Wow … I read this at EXACTLY the right time in my life … I just polished off about 10 cookies, feeling shitty about myself, thinking “now, I have to start alllll over again tomorrow,” and that moment (from HERE, feeling shitty, to THERE, where I should feel better) seems soooooo very, very far away.

    But your words — “starting fresh” — seems doable. It seems possibly to get THERE and to know that if I enjoy the process (of moving from bloat and shitty, to healthy and happy), maybe it won’t be so bad.

    Thank you 🙂