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Hi everyone!


My name is Carlee and I am a "struggling" graduate student living in Maryland. You know who it goes with school: lots of debt, classwork, and a whole new level of balancing. That's my life for you! I have been following the site for several months now (bordering on obsessive) and finally have built up the courage to join the community for real! Life has had many ups and downs for me and currently I am fighting to maintain. I am really posting so that I can have another support group at my side when things get tough. And tough they have gotten! So let me start at the beginning somewhat.


I have always been an athlete, a one sport wonder with enough athletic ability to get me by in other sports. I love volleyball and will always enjoy playing. After I graduated from college, I floated around the gym not really sure what to do. At the time, there were other issues going besides graduating. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, was working on my thesis, and did not get into any graduate school I had applied for. So I floated through the gym, not sure what to do. While I was in the dark part of the relationship, I had watched the Crossfit Games and immediately decided that I was going to become one of those women. It was their strength and confidence that got me hooked (fitting since I felt out of control and weak while I was in the relationship). I moved back home and signed up for my first crossfit class. I have never looked back since. 


Working out and staying active has never been an issue for me. I have competed this year, and have signed up for a 12 mile run and another crossfit competition (two opposites right?). My issue is in eating and maintaining a healthy diet. I have mingled in Paleo, completed two Whole30s, and even did a 90 day paleo challenge. I struggle with my sweet tooth and the reasons why I eat. I get upset, I get distracted, and I feel bad. I am convinced I am fat, that I am overweight, and will not accomplish my physical goals, which is just to be stronger and have less body fat. What can make my eating problems even worse is that I have a family member who cannot maintain a healthy weight at all. Lots and lots of health problems keep him dangerously under weight. So he buys unhealthy foods that also happen to be my comfort food. Someone help me!


So I ask any members of this awesome community to be another support and to follow me as I develop the skills to be self-sufficient and independent. I am in school, there will be struggles and challenges. I am hoping that with my growing tool box (something that all my professors say. I am a rehabilitation counseling student), I can be successful. My goals are to lose weight, while gaining muscle. I believe that I have about 20 pounds to lose with 5-7% of fat to lose as well. In that time I am focused on becoming free from my sugar monster tendencies and to be comfortable with who I am. So is there anyone out there with me?

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The whole rebellion is with you. Welcome aboard.  As a fellow helping-professions-member (Chaplain here) I know how much easier it is to help others with their issues instead of focusing on my own.  One of my motivations for being healthy is that my outward appearance (including weight) is an expression of my inward contentment. I feel like I lend myself credence if I am physically healthy.  I also struggle with eating, it has been much easier to develop good exercise habits than to bring my eating under control. If you are crossfitting you obviously don't need workout advice, just support on eating well.  Make small changes that will add up over time. Cut out one kind of sweet to begin with, see where that goes.

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Hey there, Carlee. I'm Jenn. Welcome to the Rebellion!


You sound like a pretty tough lady! I envy your athletic ability and healthy workout habits. That's something I, myself, have struggled to develop. In a way, my struggles are like an inverse of yours: I don't have much trouble keeping up with a reasonable diet that lets me lose weight, but I can't seem to get a good workout habit going. Maybe I just haven't quite found my style yet.


Anyway, a friend of mine posted a link to this article of Steve's earlier today, and I think maybe it can be helpful to you. It talks about how goals can become detrimental when they're the only thing we focus on. I'll explain my own interpretation of that, while reading into your intro post a little bit. If I draw some incorrect conclusions, please forgive me - I'm not trying to judge, only help.


In the article I linked, Steve talks about developing a "process" vs "having goals". As I see it, the difference between those is an emotional perspective - for me, at least, and, I suspect, for you. I have a tendency to set a goal based on an ideal that I got from somewhere. Maybe I saw a bunch of pictures of a celebrity with a very attractive body, and I said, "I'd be more likeable if I looked like that." Or, I read some article about "the necesary base-level of strength in gymnastics" and I said, "I'm not a good gymnast until I can do that stuff." I don't necessarily think out those exact lines, but I internalize these ideas of what I should be... meaning I'm deciding that what I am now is not good enough.


I also tend to think that reaching those goals will make me happy. I'll finally feel complete, all my problems will be solved, I'll be the perfect person... right? But being a little more attractive and a little stronger aren't actually going to do anything about my social anxiety, or my debt, or any of my other issues. At least, not as ends in themselves. Getting a bit stronger and having a bit more muscle showing, while fitting into a wider range of clothing does make me feel pretty good, though. And feeling good about myself improves my quality of life. Then I remember how many more percents of body fat I have to go to get to my "ideal size" (23% to go) and I feel like I'll never get there...


Steve's article is making me rethink some things. I like doing calesthenics because I like to feel strong, and when I'm able to pull off more and more each time, I really feel a sense of progress. Does it matter if I reach that "baseline of strength" in any particular time frame? All I'm really doing there is setting myself up for failure, creating an opportunity to "fail" that didn't exist before. What if I just tried to do calesthenics regularly because it's fun and makes me stronger? Eventually, I will reach those goals, and it doesn't matter when. I'll have more fun along the way if I don't look at the occasional skipped workout as a failure.


For you, I wonder if you aren't projecting dissatisfaction with yourself on your 20 extra pounds? Are you telling yourself, "I'll be happier if I lose that weight"? Are you creating opportunities for failure by giving yourself a strict diet to follow, and then promptly eating all the things you're not supposed to?


As I mentioned before, I don't have too much of a struggle sticking to a diet or eating emotionally. However, several of the friends I've made on this site do, and I've noticed a pattern. Usually, there's some aspect of life that they're quite unhappy with - weight may be part of it, but often it's stress from work or school that is compounding other, deeper issues. They try to create a sense of control by deciding to go on a strict diet, maybe Paleo, or vegan, or just a very restricted calorie limit. They are determined to lose weight by being on this diet, BUT, they find that after a week or so, they deeply crave certain foods (usually sweets), and eventually they break down and just binge out on the forbidden food. Then it's all guilt and shame, and feeling like they're undoing all progress, so they get even more strict with themselves. The unfortunate result is a cycle that gets worse and worse, and harder and harder to break free from. They get obsessed with the weight loss, the dieting - all problems can be traced back to fat, and all solutions are based on self-control and self-denial.


That might be an exaggeration in some parts, but it's a pattern I see a lot, and one I think I may be detecting the beginnings of here. What do you think? Am I off base?

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Welcome to the rebellion! I was a struggling graduate student in Maryland as of May 2014. Now I'm a struggling school counselor just out of her first year in Maryland. Self-care is so, so important for us in helping professions. 


I'm assuming this also means you live in the DMV area, so you should take a look at our meetup thread. The DC/VA/MD nerds are a great bunch.

Storytelling Rebel
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"“You've seen my descent, now watch my rising." ~ Rumi



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Hi rossicar! Thanks for sharing your story. :) I'm also looking at going into counseling - I just finished my undergrad - and it sounds like we've got some things in common! I am no stranger to the fear that I am fat and the sense of despair that I'm not ever going to reach my goals. :P


Congrats on getting the courage to join! It sounds like your choice to join Nerdfitness - which you say you've been vising a long time - is a great act of self-care in itself. But like Jenn said, I wonder where your desire to lose fat is coming from? Can you accept yourself if you don't meet your goals? I know that when we have goals that we want to attain, it can often be hard to give ourselves leeway with them.


Anyways, in any case, welcome!

Airbending Druid~





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