Friday, January 18, 2013

Becoming a Superhero

I've found weight harder and harder to drop as I lose more and more. It's become increasingly important to me to measure my progress not just by pounds dropped, but by changes accomplished. Sometimes that's weight loss, but other times that's progress with fitness, personal outlook, or life accomplishments. I usually only post on weigh-in days, but because I'm trying to see this as more than numbers on a scale, I'm going to try posting on days that aren't weigh-ins as well. 

I get asked for weight loss advice both by people in my life and on forums who are looking for faster results or are getting frustrated with their progress, which I admit I have a problem with myself. It seems like we're all looking for this magical "I WIN" button. Sorry, guys. That doesn't exist, not even with Nutrisystem. There's no magic involved. I view my Nutrisystem program is more like a 1-up or power boost. It helps you, but finishing the level and wining the game is ultimately up to you and the skills you acquire along the way. So even though I'm frustrated with my plateau right now and I sometimes gain weight for seemingly NO reason despite plenty of exercise and great focus on my diet, I have to be happy and proud of sticking to my guns and choosing health. The rest will follow. 

So, my current project is to build two cosplays for PAX East, a gaming convention I'm going to in March. It's really fun and it's something I never did before I started to lose weight because I was afraid to be labeled the "fat" version of a character I loved. My first cosplay as Appa from Avatar: The Last Airbender was so empowering and well received that I decided to do another one for this convention in March. My boyfriend decided he wanted in on the action, so we chose characters from one of our favorite shows, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Yes, my BOYFRIEND chose that. <3 We both love Rainbow Dash so I'm becoming her (cause she's 20% cooler!) while he'll be taking on Soarin, one of the Wonderbolts (think: the Blue Angels if they were pegasi). 

Obviously, we're not ponies. I know. SHOCKING! The artistry and fun of these costumes is figuring out how to anthropomorphize these characters and turn them into humans. We're doing that through mimicing the color palettes, personality references through clothing choice, and in the case of these two fine ponies, ears and wings! Since they're both stunt fliers, we'll be wearing aviator goggles. My boyfriend is wearing a blue hoodie, upon which I'll be sewing yellow details to reflect Soarin's flight suite and "cutie mark" (the mark all ponies have on their rumps!). He's wearing jeans and of course white wings with white pony ears.

When it comes to "becoming" Rainbow Dash, I realized I was going to be faced with physically embodying some of her really intimidating character traits. She's loyal to a fault when it comes to her friends (something I admire and identify with. That would be easy for me), very self confident (hilariously pompous at times), and very athletic and sporty (competing in stunt flying competitions and saving the day through physical bravery). Out of those three things, I see myself exhibiting only one of those traits. Every time I designed the costume for her, I would shy away from wearing athletic shorts or a tight T-shirt with nothing covering my arms, but every time I designed the costume with jeans and a sporty sweatshirt, I just knew it wasn't the character. It didn't feel like Dash. It felt like Anne wearing a Dash wig and some rainbow stuff. In my heart, I feel like she's not afraid to show herself off. She's a runner with flashy apparel and a devil may care attitude and THAT is what I'm going to take on. This pony has spunk! She's not gonna want to hide herself under a hoodie and jeans. She's PROUD of who she is, so why can't I be? Rather than fit the character to me, I need to fit myself to the character so that I can do her justice and wear what she would wear. I don't want to look bad, but she's a sporty adorable pony who likes to show off and if I want to be her for three days, I need to accept that part of her.

So rather than allow myself to get more and more frustrated, this week I finally decided to face the problem head on, just like Dashie would do! I am going to religiously adopt those two character traits (sportiness and self confidence) that I struggle with from now until March 22, when we go to the convention. Who knows, something might just stick!

That means going to the gym more than I was and sticking 100% to my Nutrisystem guidelines unless I have a REALLY good reason not to. I have been trying to go to the gym 4 times a week, but if I want to feel like I've done everything I can to look great and feel great for the con... or as I also like to put it, feel like I DESERVE to represent Rainbow Dash, I'm going to increase the intensity and frequency of my work-outs. It's slow season for work for me, so I have plenty of time to get to the gym and NO EXCUSE not to make the most of it. Rainbow Dash is also VERY competitive and she feels like she's the best person in the room when it comes to almost everything. She never questions herself. Because of that, I'm attending group fitness classes, like yoga and Zumba, at least 2 times a week on top of my regular workouts. I'm not doing it because I want to be better than everyone else, but because I need to put myself in situations where I don't constantly compare myself NEGATIVELY to other people at the gym. I've had a lot of athletic friends throughout the years and I've always been the slowest, the fattest, and the worst at everything. So I'm going to tackle those icky feelings of inadequacy when faced with physical trials head on. Whenever I find myself saying, "I can't do this like that person is doing it," I try to say, "but I am doing something."

Similarly, I find that I do a lot of negative self-talk. I look in the mirror and I punish myself mentally and verbally for being fat/having saggy arms/taking so long to get my life in order/etc. I'm sure that's something we can all identify with and it's a really hard habit to break. So, when I say those things, I have my friends call me on it and I try to call myself on it and then I (very important that it's me and not someone else) will force myself to say something positive about myself. It seems really stupid and it's really hard, BUT it works and hopefully I'll start to say/believe more positive things about myself than negative things. 

So, long story short, I'm owning my progress, both as a person and as a pony. HA! In the spirit of accepting my progress and not constantly looking for product, here's a picture of my costume in progress. The wig still needs to be styled and I have a lot of detail work to finish on the shirt and the rest of the costume, but it IS starting to come together and I know I'll be able to stand proudly in my costume at PAX East as the fastest filly in Equestria! Heehee! :) 

So if you want, leave a comment with a hero/heroine that you've always admired and think about spending the next few months trying to adopt the things about them that you love, but would like to see more of in yourself. I'll cheer you on the whole way! If you're looking for more inspiration, there was a great X-men themed post on Nerdfitness today to help get you started!

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