Beast Level: Imposter

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Hi my name is Cara and I’m an imposter.

I’ve been hardcore at this whole healthy living and fitness thing for a month and a half now, and I still don’t know what in the actual fuck I am doing.

It’s time to be honest with you all, there are still plenty of things that I find absolutely terrifying.

And something that doesn’t help, I am kind of a socially awkward person anyway and far too cynical to be let out of my house sometimes. If you don’t think I’m socially awkward, you’re probably not a stranger. Remind me to tell you a story some time of a “first date” with a prospective man from my online dating endeavors in the past. Perhaps I’ll get around to making some story time posts soon. If for nothing else but laughter at the situations I get myself into for no apparent reason.

For example just the other day a conversation with my trainer may have gotten me on the gym mafia’s hit list. All because a big scary buff guy walking by heard me say “f*ck the police,” completely out of context in a conversation about graffiti. The look on his face said “I can’t believe you just said that,” but the flexed muscles in his arms and closed fists said “death be upon you.”

On a totally unrelated note, I’m now taking applications for a spotter that doubles as a body guard.

But the reality of it is, is that I have learned a ton of new information in the last month and a half of jumping in with both feet. So much so that sometimes my head feels like it’s spinning and I’m waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night because macros and burpees are haunting my dreams.

I’m in the gym at least 3 times a week working my ass off with weights and hiit circuits galore. So I’ve gotten mostly used to what was once truly a foreign environment to me.

But it still scares the ever living daylights out of me when I’m in the zone and resting between sets and the grown man next to me screams bloody fucking murder while finishing his last couple reps. I kid you not, a particularly frightening experience landed me in a crumpled pile on the floor next to the bench I took off to outer space from.

You know that fight or flight sense that all of us humans have? Yeah, well have you ever tried to do both at the same time mixed with compassion for your fellow human being? I’m going to try to explain to you what went through my mind in that moment: I didn’t know whether to save his life, beat the threat with the heavy weights in my hands, or run for my life. So I promptly did all three, at the exact same time. Only no coherent words came out of my mouth as I threw my weights in his general direction and took off like a gazelle trying to escape a cheetah…except I forgot I had a bench between my legs. At this point I tried to melt into the floor so as to avoid having to explain myself, but it didn’t work.

The guy next to me along with the other two guys in the nearby vicinity asked if I was okay, so naturally I gave the best, most intelligible response I could in this situation…

“Ha, Spider.”

At this point we shared a few minutes of laughter while I secretly apologized to the spider gods for criminalizing them unfairly to avoid the potential confrontation of telling the guy he scared me. Turns out one of the other guys had experience with an actual spider on the weights early one morning, so it made my excuse that much more believable.

Let me just tell you now there is a difference between grunting and the battle cry of a thousand misfortunate souls being released from hell. This was definitely in the second category. Men (or women) if your struggle noises are also in the second category, maybe you could change that or work out when I’m not sitting next to you.

Not trying to be “judge-y,” just trying to prevent myself from having a heart attack that I’m already trying to prevent myself from by eating healthy and being in the gym anyway.

I have to admit I haven’t evolved into my full gym grunt power so maybe I’ll be better equipped when that happens. For now I just make girly struggle noises. Don’t ask me to explain what that is, I don’t know how.

I also still don’t really know what all the medieval torture devices, I mean gym machines, are for. While most of my workouts involve free weights, I’ve been told some of the machines can have benefits too. My trainer likes to try to introduce one new one every work out. While he likes to explain to me the names of the primary muscles worked I like to stare at the picture on the machine and ask if that’s the red, blue, or yellow muscle highlighted on the incredibly buff human man with no skin only muscles. My trainer still laughs, which is good because on top of helping me work out, obviously I’m also paying him to laugh at my jokes.

Today (as in the moment I’m writing this, and perhaps not in the today of you reading this) I was on the elliptical warming up and my trainer decided to tell me that we’re weird. And proceeded to explain that if we weren’t weird we wouldn’t be out in public at the gym with other people. I laughed nervously and said I thought it was the other way around, and promised myself not to later divulge my plans of staying in alone with my cats on a Friday night because if not weird I’m not really sure what that makes me.

I won’t lie, the benefit of having a treadmill at home or trails nearby and availability to run them at odd times so they’re not crowded gives me a sense of relief of not having to worry about other people.

Enough about gym and exercise, let’s talk about navigating the life of healthy eating.

My first and foremost thought:

What the fuck is kale?

Seriously I have never been able to choke down that shit in anything more than a smoothie where it’s completely hidden. I try, I try really hard to eat it. I try really hard to be one of those people, those people who eat kale.

But I can’t.

I even tried to make it into kale chips and it just made me want to cry more.

I find spinach bitter, but I can usually eat it in a salad if it’s mixed with other kinds of lettuces. Or if it’s cooked into something. But there is no hope for kale. Which makes me feel like the most pseudo-y pseudo health nut in the world. Because everyone who is anyone in the health world eats kale, right? Right!? That’s what it seems like anyway.

Not that I don’t question who decided to first eat most things anyway, but kale has to be one of the ones I now wonder the most.

It’s dark, it’s scary. It kind of looks like a home decoration. Like a weird throw pillow pattern you would find in the old lady’s house down the street, and you’re still not convinced she’s not a witch and that pillow isn’t doing her any favors.

I’m really getting into the whole vegetable thing, but I’m still finding vegetables that I can’t eat. At some point this started to bother me, like no, you have to like all vegetables now. Surely there’s some way for me to like every vegetable. But I finally have snapped out of this when I realized that this would mean I would have to also like eggplant.

Fuck Eggplant.

Ok so maybe I don’t have to like all vegetables, but what about fruits?

I am no stranger to fruits, you could pretty much hand me any fruit and I would eat it. Except one fruit that I will never eat…

Papaya.

When I was a kid I had a best friend who was just as weird (in a good way) as me and while we ended up eventually going to different schools, we still kept in contact for most of it and since we lived in the same neighborhood we spent a lot of time together. She used to sing this song about Papayas, rightfully earning herself the nickname Papaya.

Imagine my surprise when I finally got the chance to try an actual Papaya, finally I would understand the song that she sang all the time.

The reaction from my body after I put it in my mouth was as if I had betrayed it to the nth degree. I still to this day cannot eat papaya because of this horrific experience.

This week I also found out that I hate the taste of dried apricots, I don’t really understand how something can go from tasting so good when it’s not dried to tasting like dirt after.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of what’s bullshit and what’s not, things like why carbs aren’t actually scary and the good fats and bad fats, etc. This is exceptionally fun to sift through all the pseudo science on the internet from all the “totally qualified” doctors.

But a good friend recently helped me navigate through the macro situation, and I can’t express enough how grateful I am for all her help.

I have to admit though, if you ever want to become scarily aware of how bad basically everything you could ever wish to put in your mouth is, just plug all your macros into the my fitness pal app. Not that I’m exceptionally good at remembering to track my food exactly when I eat it, but any time I enter a food into it, it’s always got something to say about it.

Not sure what exactly being pestered by an app does for for my psyche, but it invokes a fiery rage inside of me until I realize I’m being provoked by an inanimate object. Stahp it.

And of course, I’m not without cravings. I still find myself craving pizza or tacos or ice cream. And every once in awhile I can’t help but give in. Which is okay especially for a cheat meal, but it makes me feel guilty when I scroll through all the healthy instagram posts while shoving a piece of pizza in my mouth.

So why am I still feeling so fearful and like I’m an imposter?

Because I’m still comparing myself to other people.

I sit there and I see all these people I look up to because of how inspiring they are in their fitness journeys and their nutrition journeys. And as far as I can tell through the highlight reel of instagram and facebook and snapchat, they have all their shit together all the time.

And I find myself seriously feeling guilty because I’m not as perfect. 

Ew, that word.

As far as I’m concerned that word shouldn’t even exist. And yet it still slips up on me occasionally. Especially in this kind of situation where I am striving to be better than I am, but I want to be 100% better right this instant and eventually that starts to get in my way.

The reality of it is, is that it’s highly unlikely that these people have it together all the time. Of course I will never know that, because that’s not what people share. And realistically speaking, they probably aren’t as perfect as they seem.

But the point of this is post is to share with you guys a little laughter and maybe a reality check if you need it. Maybe you get as frustrated as I do sometimes when we slip up with our eating, or we miss a workout. But we’re real people, life happens, shit happens. Just know that when you’re putting in the work, one mistake isn’t going to kill all your progress.

And maybe I still don’t really know my way around the gym, and maybe I’m still working on fixing my nutrition. But I know I’m putting in the effort, and that’s enough to make me not an imposter. Though it might feel like it sometimes.

And stop comparing yourselves to others, find your own success.

Most importantly be damn proud of yourself for all the work that you’ve put in so far, and be damn proud of your body. I know I am, and that’s made all the difference when it comes to motivating myself. Other people may not be noticing my body changing, but I am and that’s all that really matters. Why?

Because this is for me. 

And sometimes amidst all the madness of life, I need to be reminded of that.

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One Comment

  1. Regina

    Kale is weird. Spinach is better.

    You’re doing great, and I’m proud of you for your remarkable health journey. Your progress is inspiring 🙂

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