Goals.

I am 35 lbs. away from my goal weight.

I have kind of hovered around this mark for quite awhile, bobbing up and down a few pounds but never really making significant moves in either direction. Basically, I’ve been gaining/losing the same 5-10 lbs. over and over. It’s really annoying when you realize that you’ve lost the same weight over and over and if you hadn’t gained it back in the first place, how much closer to your goal weight you could be.

It’s also really annoying that pizza, Maria’s fried tacos, feta cheesy chicken and pasta, and mashed potatoes are what I imagine bliss would taste like.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately and trying to pinpoint exactly why I’m stuck where I am weight-wise. One thought I had was that I might be overwhelming myself by focusing more on long-term instead of breaking it down into smaller steps, smaller goals to hit first. Like looking at a mountain and only focusing on the peak, a part that you aren’t even close to yet, instead of tackling the steps in front of you first.

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It’s easy to look at a big goal and feel like you are never going to reach it if you don’t put some short-term goals in place too. Or at least that’s the way I see it.

This works out great for me because I’m kind of a goal nerd. I love setting goals. I love writing them down. I love having something to work towards. I love the feeling of accomplishment after reaching them. I love crossing them off my list. Don’t even get me started on how much I love lists…

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In terms of weight loss, my ultimate goal is to lose 35 more lbs. My current short-term goal is to focus on just this week. To follow my eating plan I have prepped and prepared. To log and track the food I eat. To do my planned exercise each day.

Baby steps. Short-term. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

I have no idea if this is the way to do it. I just know that I’m teeter-tottering in the same spot instead of moving forward and I’ve got to do something. I want to reach my goal weight so badly and I’m not ready to give up on it. I know I can do it.

This week has gone great so far with the exception of the low carb/no sugar flu.

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That foggy, sluggish, no-energy, head-ache suffering, pain in the ass, homicidal crappy feeling you go through when you stop eating large amounts of carbs and sugar. My body hates me right now. She misses carbs and is making me suffer for not giving them to her.

What a bitch.

Class last night was rough for me. I felt like I had zero energy, my focus was all over the place, and I just felt depressed and kind sunk back into some of my shyness tendencies. I’m not interested in going back to that shit so I know that the best way to keep myself moving forward is to keep showing up.

And, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Jackson

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Jackson’s tournament experience had success with winning and success with losing. He’s really growing into the confident little warrior. He manages to surprise us every time he gets out there on the mat.

His first match didn’t really have a lot of action other than the first few seconds. He took her back, she rolled out of it and ended up flat on her back, and then Jackson went to mount from there. He maintained mount for the rest of the match.

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The 8-year-olds aren’t suppose to do submissions, but all of the coaches agreed to allow them. Jackson’s go-to submission is an armbar from mount. He was trying to get that armbar in this match, but ran out of time. I’m impressed that he was so patient. He focused on maintaining position first and not rushing the armbar. After this win he would move on to the championship match for the gold.

In the second match he went up against a pretty tough opponent. It was a fight! Jackson got the takedown, landed in side control, and transitioned to mount.

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He didn’t maintain mount long enough to get the four points. He went for the kid’s back in the scramble but couldn’t get his hooks in. The other kid rolled over and ended up in Jackson’s guard. Jackson did a great job of breaking his posture and trying to work a collar choke. The kid got his posture back, broke Jackson’s guard, passed to side control, and got to mount. Jackson fought so hard at this point. He pushed the other kid’s hip back and tried to lock up half guard and then eventually he bridged and got the kid on his back. They scrambled a little and then went back to standing. The kid picked Jackson up off the ground by both legs and slammed him on the mat. He tried to go to mount, but Jackson refused to let him. Jackson eventually got the other kid on his back, got to mount, and then the round ended.

Jackson was so excited that he had beat his previous tournament win by taking silver this time. He was a little disappointed that it wasn’t the gold, but he was so happy with silver. He also decided that he was determined to win gold in no-gi.

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Jackson’s first match in no-gi was mostly stand up. They both were working takedowns but not having a lot of luck. Jackson finally tripped him and they went down to the ground with Jackson on his back. The kid tried to stand up and they fell into a scramble. Jackson ended up in his guard but broke it pretty quick. He passed to side control and the round ended with Jackson winning 2-0. This would put Jackson in the championship match for gold, again.

We stood there with Jackson and watched his other opponent that he would face in the match for gold. He was always shooting for a leg so Mike pointed that out to Jackson and in the minutes before the match he gave Jackson a very specific game plan – go for the back.

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The match for the gold was so exciting! It was a constant scramble. Jackson did a phenomenal job of going for the kid’s back. He focused on that game plan and was relentless. The match would go to the ground and then they would scramble back up over and over again. Jackson finally got his back, got his hooks in pretty deep, and held him there for 8 seconds (yes, I counted from the video.) For some reason he didn’t get the points. It looks like the ref was trying to see if he had the hooks and by the time he got to a position to see, he only got two seconds counted. (Just to put it out there, I’m not knocking the ref at all. They do a such a great job out there.) The other kid rolled out of it and ended up getting Jackson’s back and scoring the four points for it. Jackson rolled out of it and they scrambled back up to standing. The other kid took Jackson down, but Jackson immediately got back up so he didn’t score the points. Jackson then took him down, but the other kid immediately got back up so he didn’t score points. The other kid got another takedown but Jackson scrambled out of it right as the round ended with the other kid winning 4-0.

Jackson ended up walking away with another silver medal. He was a little more disappointed with this loss. He wanted that gold so bad and fought his little butt off!! He was still very happy with another silver medal and we were so incredibly proud of him.

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It wasn’t that long ago that I had mentioned a dream of mine, getting my arm raised. Let me tell you, I could totally settle with just seeing my kids get their arm raised instead. It is seriously one of the coolest feelings as a parent. To see them work hard for something they want, both in the weeks before the competition and at the competition, and to get that victory. I’ve said it before, kids need those opportunities to challenge themselves, to see what they are capable of with a little hard work and determination. Kids need those opportunities to win!

I know I say it a lot, both here and on social media, I am floored by Jackson’s recent growth. I really wish that all of you that have only known us for the last year or so could understand just how much this kid has transformed. I just don’t think you can quite grasp the severity of shyness and social struggles this kid had if you didn’t see it for yourself. That’s why you will always see us and our family members commenting on how surprising/shocking/awesome this new confident Jackson is.

I think about those times at the previous martial arts school we went to and how much he struggled there. At the end of our three years at that place there wasn’t much of a change in his confidence. He did make some improvements but he was still clinging to my neck before class, begging me to not make him do it. He was terrified of getting out there in front of everyone. If someone would talk to him he would hide behind me. He would tell me his stomach hurt almost everyday in hopes of not having to do class. If he made a mistake in class he was so embarrassed that he would cry and many times he couldn’t finish class. Every class was full of anxiety and fears of embarrassment for him.

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This was how we spent a lot of time at the old school. He was always hugging onto me, scared and hesitant.

To say he hated it there is an understatement. There is nothing about that place that helps build the confidence that a kid like Jackson needs. That business thrives and functions on giving their students false confidence and while that might work with some kids, it wasn’t going to work on Jackson. He needed the real deal.

I wish so badly that we had walked out those doors and into Springfield Fight Club so much sooner. With BJJ and SFC and doing these competitions, Jackson is growing into a strong, confident, and outgoing kid at a rapid pace. Timid, shy, hide-behind-me Jackson is gone. I told him after the tournament that I was no longer going to call him my little shy-guy. Instead I will now call him my little fighter.

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Years ago when I thought about his future, I saw him struggling with so much. I worried that he was going to be me, in his 30s wrestling with many, many social and mental complications. That he would have barriers that would make it difficult to have a happy, fun life. I feared that he would have to fight with social anxiety and a lack of confidence for the rest of his life. As a mom and someone who knows what that kind of life is like, I was heartbroken for him and I made it my life’s mission to find someway to help him.

I’m overjoyed that we have found exactly what he needed to find that confidence to help him break out of his shell. He ended up not just breaking out of his shell, but is bursting through it like it was made of paper.

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I can’t stress enough how important it is, if you are going to get your kids into some sort of martial arts, that you are going to a legit school. Do your research parents! Google McDojo, read up about it, and stay far, far away. Sure you can go to a McDojo and maybe see little improvements here and there. I won’t deny that we saw some improvements with our kids. BUT, you have no idea, no freakin’ idea, how much they can thrive and grow in a legit gym and with BJJ. I had no idea that Jackson was even capable of what he can do today both mentally and physically. I don’t want it to sound like we didn’t believe in Jackson. We just didn’t know what to expect because of the severity of his shyness. He has far exceeded what we thought was possible for him. If we had never walked into the doors at SFC we might have never known the full potential he had inside of him. If you are planning on putting your kid into any kind of training, I strongly recommend Springfield Fight Club. Do your kids (and yourself) a favor and call SFC or come in for class. You will not regret it!

A year ago Jackson couldn’t hardly walk out on the mat in class at our previous school without being overwhelmed with fears. This weekend he walked out on a mat, in front of tons of people, and fought in a competition. He won some matches and lost others. The important thing, the big win of the day that I see is that he put himself out there without hesitation, if he had fears you couldn’t see them. He was aggressive and fought for something he wanted, he never gave up, and when he lost he wasn’t embarrassed and he didn’t even cry. He handled it all so well.

I am crazy excited for this kid’s future, not just life in general but in BJJ as well. It’s going to be fun to see what more can come out of him. He’s amazing!

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Drew

Drew and Jackson both had success at the Fuji BJJ tournament in St. Louis this weekend. It’s funny how success can cover such a wide range of results. Drew and Jackson had very different success stories after competition. I am so proud of both.

I’m going to end up with a giant post if I try to share both so I’m going to just share Drew’s experience today.

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Drew’s first match was a bit of a nail-biter against a gray/white belt girl. They never made it to the ground. He was going hard for the takedown, but just could never get the timing of it right. He had hard grips and was pulling and pushing her all over the place. He almost completely took away her opportunities to attempt anything and worked constantly. He was so close so many times, but just couldn’t get it.

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At the end of the match no one had scored a point so it went to sudden death; a one minute, first one to score a point wins. I honestly thought he had her beat. I knew for sure that at the end of the sudden death round, if it went to the ref’s decision, Drew had it won. Drew kept working his takedown and then out of nowhere this girl throws him, scores the two points, and the round was over.

Drew took the loss pretty hard. I got over to him and he cried and said he wanted to quit. I didn’t know what to do other than hug him and we tried to comfort him with: “I understand. Losing sucks. I love you. I am proud of you. You worked hard that whole match. You did great. You should be proud of yourself for just getting out there and competing.”

His second match went to the ground immediately and Drew was stuck flat on his back the whole match.

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He fought so hard. He was bridging and shrimping and trying to get his knee to his elbow so he could get the kid in his guard. He was close so many times, but the kid was heavy with the pressure and got the win. Drew worked really, really hard in this match and did such a good job of trying to work the things we had drilled so much in the weeks and days before.

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Drew took the second loss harder than the first. It’s a bunch of mixed emotions with this situation. It’s heartbreaking to see your kid lose and take it so hard. It’s one of those moments where you want to protect them from the hurt, but at the same time you know how valuable that moment of loss is and how much they can learn and grow from it.

We sat there and talked and he begged us to not make him do no-gi. He wanted to quit and go home. We talked about how much it sucks to lose. We talked about how much he had improved since his last competition. We talked about how brave he is for simply getting out there and competing. We talked about how you can’t even have a chance of winning if you don’t get out there. We talked about how no-gi can be an opportunity for redemption, a shot to do things differently this time, to take what he learned in the first two matches and use it in the next two.

He decided he was ready for no-gi and ready to give it another shot. He was in the second to last bracket and we eventually found out that his opponents left. What made that really frustrating was had his opponents told the people working the tournament that they were leaving they would have put Drew in a different bracket and he would have still been able to compete. They only other bracket left to go was 30 lbs. heavier than him so that wasn’t even an option.

As far as results, Drew did end up getting a bronze medal since there were only three in his bracket in the gi division.

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I know there is a lot of controversy over people getting medals when they haven’t won a match in small brackets. I’ve seen lots of comments and such about that issue, that if you didn’t win you shouldn’t be rewarded. While I can understand that to a certain point, I can also see how those “losing” medals are very much earned too.

Drew fought hard this weekend. He showed up, gave it his all, and when things got a little rough he didn’t give up.

For those of you that haven’t competed, let me tell you, it is hard to put yourself out there and lose in front of an big audience. Even harder to do it twice. I know. I’ve done it. Drew was so defeated after those losses and wanted to quit. We didn’t force him to get ready for no-gi, he did that all on his own choice. He chose not to quit, and to get back out there and fight for a win. He found a way to use that defeat as fuel for the no-gi matches. He was happy and smiling when his name was called for no-gi. I so wish he would have had the opportunity to get back out there and try again.

Drew’s success this weekend may have came from losing, but it was still success. For the first time he didn’t let his frustrations control him. Not once in battle did he give up which is a big improvement over the last competition. When the defeat brought on by losing set in, he found a way to push it aside and tell himself that he needed to get back out there.

I am proud of this kid. He may not have gotten a win this time, but he will eventually. I just know it.

Discipline.

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One of my absolute favorite quotes.

If you know me, you know that I say that about a lot of quotes. I am, without a doubt, a quote junkie. A word nerd, you might say. I have Pinterest boards filled with thousands of quotes, I have a small notebook that I carry with me that is filled with my favorites, and I am one of those that liters my feeds on social media with quotes. I am addicted to quotes.

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So many times what I’m going through or trying to explain or the right motivation I need is found packed up in a few sentences from places like a great TV show…

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a great movie…

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a great book…

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or a great person…

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It might be a little cheesy, but sometimes, for me, these simple words make a hazy situation become a little more clearer. Sometimes I read them and feel empowered and better equipped to take on what the universe throws my way. Sometimes I see how small my problems really are and how simple it can be to let them go and move forward. I almost always can find the motivation I need by simply browsing through my little quote library and letting the words I read encourage and inspire me.

Almost always, not always always.

There are sometimes I search and search for the right quote to light that spark and drive me forward with new ambition and just none of them are doing anything for me. I am too deep in a hole for even the best quotes to revive me.

That is when I turn to the first quote above. Not for motivation, but for a reminder.

“You will never always be motivated. You have to learn to be disciplined.”

I’m learning, in my old age, that motivation is not the most important part of working towards your goals. Discipline is. Discipline is where it’s at. Discipline carries you through those moments when motivation is nowhere to be found. Those times when you don’t want to do it, but you know you should do it. It’s going to class when you would rather go to bed. It’s eating what you should instead of eating what you crave. It’s to keep working when you want to stop. Discipline is the vehicle to success.

I am running solely on discipline right now.

I can’t seem to find any motivation. I am having headaches every single day, I’m not getting enough sleep, I feel groggy and tired all the time, I’m often times overwhelmed trying to balance my role as mom/wife/employee/maid/cook/etc., for the last month my eating is all over the place, I’ve re-gained some of the weight that I worked so hard to get off… Basically, I feel like poo. I’m stuck in a shit-storm of yuck.

It’s hard to find that motivation when you don’t feel good. But, I know that the key to feeling good is discipline. Showing up, staying on course, and putting in the work.

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I may not feel better today, but if I keep myself on track through discipline I might feel a little better tomorrow. Then maybe a little better than that the next day. And, the next day better than that. Before I know it I will be back where I need to be.

When I woke up with a headache and even my coffee couldn’t wake me up, discipline said it’s time for your morning run.

When I really, really wanted to eat the left over pizza from this weekend, discipline made me eat the chicken and veggies I had originally planned.

When I really, really wanted to take a nap yesterday, discipline kicked in and got me to class instead.

When I had to go sit outside because I had worked myself to a point of almost fainting and I wanted to just go home, discipline told me to recover, drink some water, and get back in there.

When I got frustrated during a roll with my husband and I wanted to escape, discipline (and my husband) told me to stay and finish it out.

I am a constant work in progress and I refuse to let a funk stop me from getting to where I want to be.

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Pain is Proof

As I slowly traveled through the end of the dark tunnel of deep sleep towards the light of a new day and the annoying tune of my alarm clock screamed at me to “get up!” I began to feel the reminders of last nights class as I smacked the snooze button. The pain started taking over my whole body. It was like it was asleep too and as I started stirring to consciousness it swept along each inch of body in what felt like a war against me. Almost like the pain was waiting for me to wake up, like it was a just a waste of the pain’s efforts if it went on while I was sleeping.

“No,” those little pain assholes said, “Let’s wait until she’s awake and then we’ll really fuck with her!” *insert evil, maniacal laughter here. You know, that hearty “Mwa-ha-ha-ha.”

I guess at least the pain was kind enough to let me sleep.

I slowly used my arm to prop myself up to sitting and eventually it dawned on me that that wasn’t the bed frame creaking and popping… it was me.

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My neck.

My jaw.

My ears.

My thumb.

My legs.

My back.

My arms.

My core.

My big toe.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Fuck. Ouch. Ouch. (Just seeing if you were actually reading all of those. Mwa-ha-ha-ha)

I may sound a tad bitchy about it, but bear with me here.

Sure my body hurts and is sore but I’ve always been one of those weird people that kind of enjoys it. There are definite positives in that pain. And, what wasn’t positive is a lesson. Pain is pretty good at teaching you what not to do next time.

The neck stiffness is a reminder of how far I’ve come. We drilled arm triangles and my husband was focusing on getting the details down. He was having a little trouble getting his shoulder in the right position and he cranked the shit out of my neck and jaw several times.

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I did my best to power through it so he could drill and get the kinks worked out. I really want to be a good partner and for him to be able to work on what he needs. I remember my first few classes and how much I struggled with how painful and uncomfortable BJJ can sometimes be. The things I would tap to or complain about in those first days would probably feel like a nice hug today.

My jaw and my ear pain is a reminder that I am getting stronger and the fighter I am looking for inside myself is definitely there. While rolling I got stuck in an arm triangle but managed to create a tiny bit of space. I could see the outside edges of my vision getting hazy but I wanted to see how long I could hold on. Surprisingly the haziness didn’t go any further so I didn’t tap and toughed it out instead.

My thumb, legs, back, core, and arm pain is proof that, well…

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I’m still a spazzy white belt.

I don’t know what is positive about that other that a spazzy white belt is at least a white belt that is showing up and putting in the work. One of these days I’ll surely drop the spazzy and become more controlled and calm. We can all hope anyway.

I’m enjoying a nice rest today and have hot soak in a jetted tub planned for tonight. Tomorrow it’s time for some open mat and I’m sure I will encounter many more reminders, some a little painful, of how much I love BJJ and the positive impact it is having on my life.

Losing Really is Learning!

I’ve heard from many people that nothing will expose the holes in your game better than competing. Losing is learning, right? Right!?

I can see how that whole losing is learning speech could easily be confused as just a stock phrase said to make you feel better about yourself and your shortcomings. Like someone saying it to you just because they don’t know what else to say in that moment and they just want to lift your spirits. If you didn’t know better it could almost be compared to watching a cheesy sitcom that is trying to engage your warm and fuzzy feelings with a deep moral message on the hard topics of today.

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Without the Tanners I may have never learned about peer pressure and how a good talk with Dad, Uncle Jesse, or Uncle Joey could solve everything.

 

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If I hadn’t spent my childhood anxiously awaiting a new Saturday morning episode of this show, how would I have ever learned about the dangers of caffeine pills or drinking and driving?

I’ll be honest, that angle, the “you didn’t lose, you learned” bit didn’t make me feel better immediately.

And, it was all my own fault.

I didn’t realize just how much I had learned because I was avoiding class and not immediately getting back in there like I should have. I was too busy being mopey-moperson. If I had gone back to class right away, holy Danny Tanner, I would have seen a lot sooner just how powerful losing is to learning.

You didn’t lose, you learned is truth, through and through. A warm and fuzzy, Saved by the Bell-ish, Full House-esque truth.

I’ve noticed that I roll a little different. It almost surprised me at first. Like maybe it was just a fluke. However, the more and more I roll, I see that it wasn’t a fluke. I learned a great lesson from my losses.

Stop hesitating and waiting. Move. React before you get stuck in a bad position.

Before, when I would end up in bad positions like getting flattened out in side control, someone taking my back, getting mount on me, I would hesitate before I would do anything.

I think there were several reasons for that hesitation. Sometimes I would pause to rest a bit, thinking I was too tired and that I could chill and gain some energy for the escape. Other times I would hesitate because I would be overthinking, trying to consider my options and what I needed to do next. I think I was focusing on too many steps ahead instead of going to an immediate escape. Those hesitations almost always resulted in me being stuck and them getting better control over me. That hesitation ended up being the death of me in competition.

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I’ve noticed, without even really thinking about it, that I am escaping or reacting without that hesitation. Or at least not as much of it. It might be finding opportunities to escape my hips out before they’ve locked on or before they’ve fully gotten in mount or moving before I’m even caught in a situation that I need to escape. I just feel like I move a little different, like I’m a little more active.

As a result of this, with other white belts, I feel like I’ve gotten to attack more and not be so focused on defending all the time. What a fun change that has been! I’ve attempted more submissions this last week than I probably have in the last six months. I’ve also gotten to try out a few submissions that I’ve never had the opportunity to go for in live rolling. It’s been a lot of fun to play around with and it’s making me want to get in more and more rounds.

I really wish I hadn’t take those weeks off. But, I’m not going to dwell on that. I’m excited to be back in it now and I’m looking forward to working hard and continuing towards progress.

 

 

Finding the Fighter

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Never leave class when you’re frustrated, never walk away fixated on a negative thought. Either find the positive before you walk out the door or stay and continue until you do find it.

That was the lesson for me last Thursday.

I got super frustrated during my first roll and my first reaction was to escape, to leave, to essentially give up. A big weakness I had struggled with in the past was letting frustrations control me to a point of walking away from them when I should be facing them and fighting through them. I had thought I was pretty much cured of my escaping tendencies but obviously in my little time off I had slid back into my comfort zone as Allison the Escape Artist.

I walked off the mat, up the stairs, took off my belt, my gi, packed up my bag, and was halfway out the door when I heard:

“Allison! You can’t leave! It’s not even 8:00 yet! Get back out here!”

I really hope that all BJJ gyms are as great as SFC. I really hope that there are other people out there that get to train in an environment like we do at SFC. I really hope that everyone that does BJJ is surrounded by people that will, when they need it, help you fight those frustrations and redirect your focus forward, towards improvement.

I got in two more rounds of rolling and by the end my hair was the most disastrous it’s ever been, my belt was halfway across the room, my pants where falling off, I had been submitted several times, I was exhausted to a point of almost losing my lunch, and sweat was pouring down my face.

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I feel pretty. Oh so pretty…

And, I felt fantastic!

If I had left when I was originally going to I would have driven home pissed off and in a shitty mood. But, because someone wouldn’t let me quit and give in to those frustrations, I left in a great, positive mood. It was just the push that I needed to get my focus back onto getting better at every opportunity and letting that control my efforts. It was exactly what I needed to get back into the mindset I was in before the competition.

If I learned anything from that competition it’s that I need to train myself to stop going into flight mode and instead switching to fight mode. Flight mode has always been my choice, my natural tendency.

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This is an actual picture of me during my first match at the tournament.

And flight, it takes on many different faces. It’s not just physically running away. In BJJ flight mode, to me, is giving up, giving in when it gets tough so you can get out of that situation. Letting frustration control you. Tapping because something is a little uncomfortable. Giving up the struggle. Letting your mind tell you that you can’t do it. Not asking people to roll because I’m shy. Leaving the mat after a frustrating roll.

Thursday class was a big eye opener for me. I am going to have to train just as hard mentally as I do physically, to dig in and learn how to handle my frustrations and not let them control me to a point of flight. I need to keep working through it at every opportunity, kick my flight mode tendencies to the curb, and focus on the fighter side of me.

I know she’s in there somewhere.