I am strong. I am awesome. I will embrace the struggle.

Read that title again. 

Say it outload. 

Feel awkward? Yeah I get it. 

But it's true. You are strong and you are awesome. 

I am also strong and awesome. 

And we both need to embrace the struggle sometimes. Right?

This past weekend, I competed at the Salem Slaughterfest (crossfit competitions really have the worst names). This was my first competition in two years, just a little interim pregnancy and recovery action happening, so I was really excited to dive back into it. 

To be honest. I love and hate this photo. It reminds me of how far I've come and how far I have to go.

The competition this weekend was an awesome experience-- I was lucky enough to be part of a really supportive and killer team who gave it their all. And I think we did great.

Team Baby Jamie FTW!

Team Baby Jamie FTW!

The experience was also really humbling. As unrealistic as it sounds, part of me was expecting to walk onto the competition floor and pick up where I left off two years ago. Two years ago when I was training consistently, competing regularly, oh and hadn't recently carried and birthed a small human.

So when I couldn't clean close to what I wanted or had to drop the bar, a little part of me felt like a failure. 

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And then I saw the photos. 

Do you ever have those moments where the mental image of yourself and the photo image of yourself are at odds? This is what happened. I've been working hard to take care of my body, especially the last five months. I've been making efforts to make really conscious food decisions and move often. And it's been great! I feel more like myself or a new version of myself. I have great energy, I'm down 25lbs and I treated myself to a couple fun new outfits.

So I've been feeling like a GD rockstar.

But it's also hard in the Crossfit world not to compare yourself to the sea of abs and traps floating about. I still struggle with this postpartum body of mine. How to move in it, how to carry it, how to embrace it.
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So what to do with this?

I'm embracing the struggle and using it to fuel a fire. I'm getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I want to get stronger? Then I need to train more consistently. Duh, Liz. 

Along with that I need to change the conversation with myself. I need to acknowledge the awesome shit I'm doing-- like competing! That's fucking cool and brave! 

I've been tuning into the Curious and Curiouser Podcast, a collaborative effort between the brilliant Tracey from Practical Parenting and Cayly from Organic Acupuncture. Go listen.

They pointed out in their episode on body image that it's a BIG jump to go from disliking your body to loving it. It's a lot to ask of yourself, right?! It's setting you up for this "shame sandwich" (sidenote: this may be my favorite phrase ever, coined by the brilliant Cayly) Feeling ashamed of your body, add a dollop of shame for wanting to change your body and top it off with some more shame for not loving your body always, as is. All the shame, all the time! 

So I'm just working on changing my conversation with myself and acknowledging what is, both great and not so great.  

Like...

DAMN look at that woman throwing around a 150# sandbag with those other awesome athletes. Check her out, fighting through the struggle to drop the bar. She is strong. She is awesome. 

 
This bar is held up by pure magic at this point. 

This bar is held up by pure magic at this point. 

And the not so great. Like I need to be honest with myself when I'm sandbagging or making excuses. Rest days are important. Having nights to netflix and chill are important. But I'm reallllllly good at excuses. Years of practice.

It's clearly a balancing act I'm still figuring out, one day at a time

So here's to getting fit as f*ck, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and celebrating or at the very least acknowledging each step and misstep (of which there will be plenty) along the way.