Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our past shapes our future

"We would not be where we are today without where we have been"

There is not one second of my past I would take back. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for the things I have been through. Me and my husband would not be where we are today if it wasn't for our journey together to change our lives. To find our place in this world and to prepare for our future. We have been through joy and hardships together. We have grown from each and every moment as individuals and a couple. This before and after picture was me from March 2009 to June 2009. This was really where the beginning of my life change began. This was when I finally realized what was possible. When I was overweight and miserable I had no idea how bad things really were until I found out how good things really could be.

This next picture is of my husband from November 2010 to February 2010. 

This transformation doesn't even begin to show the complete transformation. At this point in his life he had lost 100lbs. Can you imagine going through something like that? I have to say I really only had to loose about 50lbs to find my happy place and that in itself took so much hard work and dedication. I really congratulate the ones to have had to lose even more in their journey. The thing is though is it can be done. So many have transformed their life and you learn along the way this isn't just a physical transformation. It changes your body and your mind. There are psychological reasons why we end up overweight in the first place.

These next pictures are me and my husband Randy when we first moved to Seattle in July 2008. This was about 3 1/2 years ago. Our changes have not just been about weight loss but the weight loss has changed us. It is something we will never forget. If you look at us in these pictures we look like we are on the verge of having a heart attack. How would I of lived long enough to have kids and watch them grow? Would my kids then turned out to be overweight and miserable in their lives taking after me and my husband? What would life have been like if we had continued on the road we were on?

 I know most of my blog I talk about my journey to health and happiness. Even though me and my husband have been in this journey together we have had to find ourselves before we could find the true happiness together. If you are not happy you can't be happy with someone else.
So now looking at our transformation......what looks different? Do we look happier? Healthier? All of the above for sure. You can tell a difference in every part of us down to our skin and our smiles. Being healthy has a look to it. I can now look at someone and tell whether they are healthy or not. This is where I would like to say our journey to happiness has really begun. There are so many exciting things to come. And now I know for sure when I have kids I will raise them from the beginning to learn from my past. To develop healthy habits from the beginning of life. It doesn't mean they are not going to make mistakes of their own because we all do. But at least I am in a better position to show them they way and give them the life they deserve. Me and my husbands life will be better then ever as we continue on our road to health and happiness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post Competition: Feeling the Zone

So last Saturday was competition day. It was actually my 1 yr anniversary of competing in olympic weightlifting. Makes it even more special considering it felt like one of the best days of my life. I am still feeling the high from it.


I pretty much covered what I was changing with my last blog post before the competition but I took what I have found doesn't work in preparation and eliminated those things. I eliminated negativity from my thoughts. I eliminated numbers. All I did was try to take deep breaths and tell myself I could do it. It was just another day of lifting. I tried to smile and take it in. When I stepped up to the bar I focused on my feet and hand placement then let my body take over. That is why the only part of the lift I remember is the beginning and the end. After placing my hands on that bar all thoughts were eliminated. I was taken somewhere else. I just tried to focus. To take myself away.....which in turn got me out of my own way. It is so true that we can be our own worst enemies. Saturday I didn't even care about the medal. I achieved victory in every possible way with myself. I feel like that happiest person alive.

I realized after this competition that I had never failed before. I was just struggling. Every time I missed a lift, every time I had a bad competition I thought I failed. You are not a failure until you give up trying. Once you come to understand that it takes so much pressure off. Now I feel so relieved. I feel like something has clicked inside physically and mentally. All my hard work is starting to pay off. I know it doesn't mean things are going to be easy from here on out because that is so not true. But a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I finally believe in myself. If I miss a lift now I just move on and try my best to fix it and get the next one. I don't feel like a failure anymore. I know I can do it.

All this time I have talked about the zone and feeling bits and pieces of it. I felt it more then ever before at this last competition. It feels like you are on drugs but you are not. So did I have to work a little to stay there? Of course. After the snatch my body ached all over. I felt exhausted. My trainer instructed me I was not there to be tired. I was there to lift. Being tired comes after the meet. So I just stared straight ahead and waited for my time to lift. I kept telling myself you can do this over and over again like I was in a trance. Something must of worked because as soon as I got out to that platform and touched that bar again it was on. It is just the most incredible thing and I almost can't even explain it fully in words. This is what changing your life is all about. My journey just keeps getting better.

Here are the two videos I have from the competition. Yes they are side ways but hey I am a weightlifter not a videographer and rotating does not seem to be coming easy. It works just as well though if you enlarge the video and turn your computer sideways or turn your head sideways and it will look perfect. The video on the top is of my last clean and jerk which was 180lbs but it just so happens there was a jerk attempt and nothing seemed to come of it. But considering that was the only thing I missed that day I couldn't be anymore pleased with myself and to be honest it seemed I didn't have too much trouble standing up with that weight except for a little elbow dropping. It didn't really matter that I missed that last jerk. The second video is of one of my jerks that was taken after I already cleaned the weight.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Competiton Day

 Quote of the day:
 "My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win....Channel your energy. Focus." 
 - Carl Lewis

Tomorrow is the big race......tomorrow is competition day for me. This is a day I have been struggling with. What is struggle? Well I guess in this situation struggle to me is about finding out what doesn't work. Figuring out how to make it better the next time. Until one day what was a struggle before now just clicks. When something clicks does that mean we will not struggle again? Absolutely not. Dealing with struggles is forever. It is about making ourselves better. I would not be the person or be where I am today without the struggles I have gone through. They have helped to shape make me better in every possible way.

So what do I tell myself before competition? Ok.... so, I haven't narrowed it down yet to something I tell myself every time that I know works. But I do know what my problems have been and what should work. First of all negative thoughts. These never work. They will always try to come around but replacing these with something positive because if you are thinking positive you can't think negative at the same time. Those have to be gone. The only way is to believe in yourself and your abilities. To find the power inside of you. I know I can do this!

Next is controlling energy. Nervousness is energy. It can be good and it can also be bad. You want just enough to be balanced. Being too nervous means you will not be able to concentrate. For me it means I will be moving fast not controlled. That would not work. Olympic lifting is all about being smooth and controlled. If I start my first pull of the barbell off too fast the chances of me not making that lift are a lot higher. I know what works. Starting the lift slow and smooth makes the whole lift successful.

Another thing is not introducing anything new. Most competitions I have usually gotten a chiropractor adjustment the day before. This time I am not making any changes. Getting an adjustment is a change in your body, it can cause inflammation and I need my body to be how it is used to being right now. Last competition I brought myself some tea. I had so much doubt in myself that I thought a little tazo focus tea would bring my mind right where it needed to be. Well that didn't work. The truth is I am the only one that can bring my mind where it needs to be. Another thing is food. I usually bring a peanut butter and jelly or honey sandwich with me to competition. It is easier but the truth is I never eat that. No changes means doing things the way I usually do them on a daily basis. Eating what I normally eat. Lately I have not been eating any complex carbs. I have been eating lots of protein, a ton of veggies including mostly green leafy vegetables (lots of kale since it has the highest nutrient content), some dairy, some fruit and healthy fats.

I am still getting over being sick for over a week but luckily have made tremendous improvement. Just started to get my energy back this week. Only thing lingering now is a stuffy nose. Tuesday in training I conquered one of my struggles. I have been off and on able to snatch 130lbs for a long time. That has been my max on the snatch. On Tuesday I snatched 130lbs 3 times. It felt nothing like a max lift. It felt smooth. It felt great. See I can do it. Will I never miss 130lbs again? No of course not. But I can also get it. I can go beyond it. If we keep trying we will surpass. That day I kept thinking of how I kept missing the weight. I was frustrated. I walked outside and looked at a fountain at work. I repeated a quote to myself...."You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" ~ Wayne Gretzky. I told myself it was no big deal. That it would happen and I just have to keep trying. See I took the pressure off myself and later that day it happened. I had no thoughts of missing I just went out there and gave it everything I had. That day everything I had was more then good enough. 

So now that I know what doesn't work. I am going to do what I know does. I am going to give it all I got and with that I can't lose. I am going to believe in myself. I am going to have fun. Treasure the moments. I am going to stay calm and focused. I am going to smile. And in the end it will be a great day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So Why Olympic Weightlifting?

Here is a question I was thinking about to myself. After I became fit and changed my life I had to find my path in fitness. It kind of took me all different directions at first. It started off maybe body building. Then I started to realize how strong I was and how I loved intense workouts and I got interested in crossfit. Of course at that time I had the games in site. I wanted to be the next crossfit games champion. During my crossfit experience I noticed my technique had a lot to be desired and I wasn't going to move any further ahead unless I fixed it quick before I developed anymore bad habits. So I hired my trainer who I have been with since. He introduced me to the world of olympic weightlifting.  Now just in case you don't know what olympic weightlifting involves two lifts. It consists of the snatch and the clean and jerk. In competition you have 3 attempts for each lift to lift as much as you can. They combine your best lift in each to equal your total score. What happens in the snatch is you take the barbell from the ground to an overhead position and stand up with it. On the clean and jerk you take the barbell from the ground to the shoulders, stand up with it, then take it from your shoulders to overhead. So ultimately the clean and jerk consists of two different lifts. These lifts are full body movements and trust me look easier then they are.

So now going back to the question......why olympic weightlifting? I think every sport is hard in some way. Some sports maybe easier then others or better suited for certain people. I am sure I don't have the ideal body type for olympic weightlifting. I know for sure I don't have the ideal mindset. I have strength but in this sport just having strength is not enough. Of course doing some powerlifting competitions would probably be a bit easier. Nothing against powerlifting it is great and has it's own challenges by far. My goal for myself is to be the best I can be in my life and to continue to push myself to always be better. So why even compete at all? If I ask it fun? Well yes of course there are a lot of fun moments but it is also very stressful and of course the most fun when you are doing well. Do we always do well? Not at all. Another thing to look at is do we only do something because it is fun? Is life always fun? I had someone say to me the other day..."hey! don't you go to my gym?" I said "I probably used to but don't go to that gym anymore." They said "I saw you always doing crazy stuff like box jumps....I could never do that" My response "yes you can!" Their response "No, I can't! I am afraid of heights." So all this rambling on brings me to one point. We can do anything we set our minds to. We have to conquer our fears and before we know it we won't be scared anymore.

For me olympic weightlifting has a lifetime or at least many years of pushing me to be stronger physically and mentally. To be honest the biggest success I am looking forward to conquering one day is my mind. I almost think that will be so much more rewarding then the physical part and from what I have learned about the mind it can even help you overcome a lot of physical weaknesses if you use it right. The body cannot function without the mind. Especially in olympic weightlifting were the movement has to flow. It has to be put together just right. If one little thing is off the lift is off and chances are that lift will not be successful.

If you want to see a lot of people overcoming their weaknesses and fears you should watch the biggest loser. Now I am sure this show has its faults but it is really a great show overall. These people go onto the show at the end of their rope. More weaknesses then you can imagine. They walk off transformed and confident in themselves. It is really amazing the life changes that take place.

So will I ever change sports? Perhaps one day but not for a while. I am very satisfied and have some things I want to accomplish and achieve in olympic weightlifting. Until then I am going to keep plugging away. This sport is very challenging and sometimes you feel like you are going nowhere. At that point you have to find the power within.

What challenges you in your life? What are your goals?