I’m especially tired today after staying up late for a TOTALLY WORTH IT double feature of Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University at the Skyview Drive-In Theater last night. Mr. T and I tried to make it Saturday, but got there too late and it was sold out. I was super disappointed, and Mr. T figured Mondays are gonna suck regardless, so we decided to stay up past our bedtimes and go on a school night.
We got to take the Ted with us, too. Let me just tell you – snuggling my two favorite dudes while sprawled out on blankets and pillows in the bed of a truck with craft beer on a perfect, lovely evening watching animated movies might be just about the very best way to spend an evening. Ever. It was absolute heaven.
But now it’s over and I’m tired. As in, overtired like a toddler. So I’m emotional and moody and tons of extra fun. Which is probably contributing to my building feeling of frustration and lack of self worth. But whatever.
Here’s the thing. I have let my clean diet slip the last two weekends. Not 100%, but a few cheats each weekend really do add up and make me feel pretty awful. Which would logically tell me to stop doing it, but another part of my brain is all ‘who cares if beer makes you feel like a walking turd demon? Drink ALL the beer! Then why not have cheese fries and pretzels? Or pizza? Or chocolate?’
It all comes back to that whole balance thing. Life is meant to be enjoyed. I want to have fun and be able to be flexible enough to go to a beer festival when the opportunity arises, or not stress about having 100% clean snacks when we want to go do something for the day or evening. And I know it’s okay. I still eat really clean most of the time. But I feel better, physically, mentally AND emotionally, when I stick to my new happy eating. I just tend to feel guilty about my general strictness and try to ‘be fun’ and go off-plan more than I really should.
And then I feel like a big fat failure. Which is where where are today. Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m a bloated hunk of miserable failure covered in self-loathing sauce. Mmmmmm….self-loathing sauce….
The few cheats aren’t even the real issue here. The issue is that I feel like I’m not making progress. I’m so busy that I can’t get in all the workouts I need each week to work on bike speed, run speed and swim form and speed. I’m not losing any weight (so that’s where the cheats come in the most), and frankly, even though I know I look tons better than I used to, I still absolutely 100% hate how I look. And I’m constantly comparing myself to others, which is probably my worst plan ever.
At first, pictures from my race just made me happy because it was such an awesome day. But somewhere in the last two weeks, I’ve started judging them and seeing every pudge roll, every extra inch of thigh I don’t need, every ounce of imperfection I have. And I’ve started qualifying my accomplishments by comparing the last race to ‘REAL’ tris – Olys, Half Irons and Ironman races. My piddly little race just isn’t impressive in that company.
What.the.fuck? My brain is an asshole. I should be able to be really proud of the races I’ve done this year and the progress I’ve made. Sure, I still have a lot of work to do and I want to be doing longer races, but how is it that the second I hear of someone doing 4 Olys a year, I instantly feel inferior and embarrassed about my shorter distance accomplishments? Even a less-than-Olympic distance tri is a feat not that many people can say they’ve accomplished. And no, I’m not an elite athlete, competing for medals or awards. But I’m out there. I’m doing it. I’M STILL INFINITELY MORE AWESOME THAN TONS OF OTHER PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET IN COMPARISON. But I somehow can’t let myself really feel that way. I actually feel guilty re-reading that all-caps proclamation. It’s okay, guys. I don’t actually think I’m awesome at all.
The sad truth is, these are the thoughts that are most likely playing in my head at any given moment: I’m still fat. I have jiggly bits. I weigh too much. I’m not strong enough. I’m not fast enough. I’m not training hard enough. I’m not eating clean enough. I’m not getting enough done in a day. I’m not perfect, and apparently to my brain, that’s not okay.
No matter how much better I am today than I was even a month ago, it’s not enough. And that is pretty dumb. Will it ever be enough? It never has been so far. When will it be? How do I convince my jerksauce brain that I’m not really the worst thing on the planet?
It’s a stupid mental game at this point, and that’s bad news for the rest of me because that is a game I always lose. I logically KNOW I am doing well overall. Logic is not the issue. This is why therapy has never helped me. Therapists want to ask how things make you feel and then help you work it back to logic so you see how reality and perception don’t match. Well, I KNOW these don’t match. But no one has been able to help me figure out how to get these two asshats to play nice in the sandbox. And trust me, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying to talk it out.
My brain is segmented in a weird way: there’s the rest of the world and how things are, and then there’s me. The rest of the world can be a positive, happy place. But when it comes to me, nothing is quite right or quite good enough. I can’t even Stuart Smalley my way outta this shit.
I know, buddy. I’ve tried.
I don’t really know what the solution is. On the one hand, I’m getting pretty close to where I want to be overall (though there will always be room for improvement, and not in a negative way). On the other hand, I will just continue to up the ante and judge myself against higher and higher standards, and then feel like a failure when I can’t hit goals, even if it’s for reasons like injury or even money. It’s an uphill battle, and at any given point, I have no fucking clue where the hell I am on this stupid hill.
All I do know is it’s a really judgy hill and I’m not sure I like it. Not one bit.
But for now, I’m going to put on my workout clothes, murder a workout, eat a clean dinner and continue doing my best. Of all the possibilities, quitting simply isn’t on the list.
If anyone has any tips for getting out of this silly funk, lay ‘em on me. It’s an ongoing battle, and I know I’m not the only one who deals with it.