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The Big Jiu Jiteira Stigma & Tayane Porfirio

I’ve been wanting to write this specific blog for a long time, and I feel after this recent article from flograppling.com it is the perfect time for me to share my thoughts. https://www.flograppling.com/articles/6092898-why-its-lazy-wrong-and-unfair-to-compare-tayane-porfirio-and-gabi-garcia

Over the last two years I’ve been searching the internet for a woman in the limelight in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who was facing the same struggles and demons I was . I had an unpleasant experience my first competition that has sent me through some very mentally difficult hard times, and anxiety. I was grasping for someone who prevailed through similar experiences and uses their size and strengths in a different way.

Though Gabi Garcia has had her fair share of experiences on the issue of being a larger woman and how she pushes through the negativity, I’ve had a harder time personally relating to her. She is very accomplished, but her game relies more on strength, being pressure heavy and aggressive, which is not a game some larger jiu jiteiras want to have. There can be negativity associated with women who use strength and size, where for men it’s a bit less controversial. Size comparison of women in society and sports has, and will always be an issue.

I discovered Tayane Porfirio about two years ago. After reading as many articles as I could about her, I saw so much of myself and my own experiences in her. People are always comparing her to Gabi, when actually; the two of them are quite different. Tayane’s game is very technical,  she takes pride in that. She prefers to work from bottom using lasso guard to set up a sweep and then transition to a dominate position moving into a submission attack.  She is flexible for her size, and has a speed advantage as well, something you don’t see with larger BJJ practitioners. Tayane specifically tailored her game to prove to people that she could be successful without using strength and power.

Seeing someone like her make her way through the major competitions and dominate her weight class and in the absolute division, is such an inspiration. In the way she has inspired me me I hope that I can influence other women as well, to continue and even give jiu jitsu a try no matter their size.

Finding Tayane has helped me focus purely on technique, and working from bottom. I want my size and strength to be the last thing someone comments about me and my game ever again. This might be something me, and other women my size deal with for the rest of our lives, but priding ourselves on being technical will hopefully dim the stigma.

I could probably write for days about my experiences as a larger jiu jiteira and how difficult it can be to find positive role models or someone we can relate to because of our size, but I hope other women look up to what Tayane has done, and find inspiration in her like I did.

Til next time!
.k.

 

 

Feeling all the blessings today.

And as we should every day, really. But today for some reason I’m ever so thankful for all the amazing things God has given me.

Maybe it’s the healthy eating, and workout high and my body just finally feels really good so, my endorphins are high today. But I’m going to capitalize on it because I need to!

I forget to really sit back and see how truly blessed I am. I am guilty (which I’m sure we all are sometimes) of wallowing in my setbacks and flaws and the things that are not going right.

 

I’m not a perfect wife… but I love my husband with every single fiber in my being and would give anything in the world for him.

I’m not the perfect daughter, daughter in law, or sister, fur momma… but I try to improve my relationships and myself every day and I love my family so very much, even though sometimes I don’t have the best way of showing it.

I’m not the perfect employee… but I work hard and I love my job and co-workers. Who can say that?

I’m not the perfect teammate… but I show up and I help my teammates get better and encourage them as much as I can.

I’m not a perfect person… I have bad days, and I lash out on the ones I love… but I say
I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness and work to improve every day.

I say I’m sorry WAY too much… But I’m working on allowing myself grace.

I truly am blessed with all the amazing people and opportunities God has given me and sometimes, those need to be acknowledged. My life plan and goals are not the same as everyone else’s; my marriage is not like everyone else’s. I am not like everyone else and I need to stop comparing my life to everyone else, because I am unique and my life is like no other.

Comparison is the killer of  hope and comparison is the killer of dreams.

So, allow yourself grace.

Love yourself.

Think of all the amazing things you have going for you. Everyone could use improvement, but even for myself we need to look at how far we’ve come instead of hyper focusing and on the shoulda coulda wouldas.

One step at a time, one day at a time. You will reach your goals no matter what they are, but when you stumble.
Allow yourself some grace.

Xoxo
k.

 

 

It’s a New Year!

So, it’s been since October since I last wrote, as always things are changing!

I’ll mini-cap my 2017. I started a new job, moved across town, went to Vegas for work, went to Virginia for work, married the man of my dreams, he moved in, got my 3rd and 4th degree on my white belt, and adopted kitten. Of course there were many ups and downs in between but those were the big ones!

This last year has been the most challenging for me than I’ve had in a long time. (Think quarter life crisis mode but with way more positives) My anxiety sprouted like wildflowers this spring with lack of sleep and stress and it really affected my Jiu Jitsu and self esteem. I learned (and continue to learn) how to balance living with someone and sharing everything… welcome to married life! ❤ I also gained back quite a bit of weight this year. I fought so hard from 2014-2016 to shed weight and be healthy and then I let all of it go this year. I made so many excuses… “I worked so hard, I can take a break. I’ll work out tomorrow. I can eat this because he is.” Those excuses will only get you back to where you started and then some if you’re not careful. I let the stress of my anxiety, and planning a wedding, a new job, and moving take over my choices about eating and being healthier.

But, those are in the past. I think I’ve finally adjusted to everything and I know that if I don’t make changes soon, I’ll end up back where I started the first time, or worse and it’s very much affecting me. Mentally and physically! I feel secure in my job, and I know that balancing life with my husband will always be an unexpected adventure because our schedules are always full. It’s about planning what I can and making smart decisions when things don’t go my way. Insert OCD here (ha).

I have some lofty goals this year. Yep, another one of those blog posts.
However, I do feel that people shouldn’t need a New Year’s Resolution in order to change or improve something. If you want something to change, don’t wait. Do it NOW.

So how can you be successful?
Write it down!
Though, this might not work for everyone, and everyone works differently but those who write down their goals are probably more likely to achieve them.

Set up your plan of attack and start small. Small steps lead to big changes! Don’t go cold turkey, or 100% your first week out the gate. Make small changes and improvements and before you know it you’ll be adding more and doing more and reaching that goal in no time!

So this year, here are a few of my goals.
Get back to my healthy eating habits and water intake
Put more effort back into my appearance… I used to do my hair and makeup almost daily. It’s rare I do it now, because my self-esteem is so low
Get back to pre Hubs weight
Goal weight by July
More patient, less emotional reaction.
SAY NO
Pay of diddly debt
Live off cash
live in the moment
Get endurance and stamina back up
Work Butterfly guard
Work Guard
Less passive Jiu Jitsu
Blue belt by end of year

So far, I’ve been doing pretty good!
Feeling good, and hope you are too about your goals!

Til next time,
K.

 

Transparency and the Comeback of all comebacks.

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A wonderful, bittersweet reminder. It is my 3rd year fit-versary!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much has changed over the last 3 years, and what is about to change for me.
Let’s recap my first year. 2014-2015
The scale was at a place where I knew if I continued my behavior I would be diabetic and probably worse before my 30’s. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize who I saw. I convinced myself I didn’t have a problem and that I wasn’t ‘that overweight’. I was terribly wrong. I was out with a friend, and was asked to dance (which NEVER happens) the guy went to dip me and my knee dislocated. I’ve had knee problems since middle school but they’ve gotten progressively worse since the weight gain and surgery being sedentary for an entire summer back in 2010.

After this injury, I said enough was enough and that I wanted to avoid another knee surgery as much as possible. I told myself I needed a trainer and someone to help me with my nutrition. I yo-yo dieted for many years before this time and worked out but was never consistent.

I reached out to a new and flashy gym with trainers and was assigned to my first trainer,G. G. was from Australia and probably one of the most badass ladies I’ve ever met. G. motivated me, and believed in me. There are words I’ll never forget that she said to me while she was doing my measurements. “ We will get this to wrap around you twice when I’m done with you.”

These words still resonate with me. I trained with G.and lost 20lbs and then I joined a challenge. It was an 8 week challenge and I was bound and determined to win. Not just for the bragging rights but for myself. I ended up losing around 40lbs during that challenge. Sadly, I didn’t win. But I won more than what any prize could be… Confidence. G. ended up having to return to Australia and I was devastated. I felt like I couldn’t continue on my own, that I wasn’t ready.

Year Two. 2015-2016
This was the Spring of ’15… Enter Trainer #2 D.

I started a new journey with D., and I wish I could put the words together of what she helped me battle. I think she was probably more of a therapist than a trainer for me. She helped me mentally in so many ways, but also physically to help me lose another 20lbs the Summer of ’15. I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the Summer/Fall of 2015. I was training with D. in the mornings and training Jiu Jitsu at night. I did this for over a year. The lowest loss I reached was 83lbs. I teetered around the 70-83lbs lost range for a long time. Then… Exit D.

I trained with D. for about a year and then she graduated, and accepted a position in Virginia. I was happy for her, but also so sad. She was a huge impact on my life and a huge support system for me. But after having trainers for 2 years, I felt maybe, I could really do this on my own. A lot of people do it on their own, so could I … right?

Year Two. 2016-Current
Enter man of my dreams.
I trained with my now husband at the Jiu Jitsu gym. We started dating July of ‘16, Engaged Nov of ’16 and married May of ’17. We spent so much time together, many late nights up talking and just being with each other. My morning workouts slowly diminished. But I was okay with it, the extra sleep was nice, the new beau was wonderful. Slowly, the less I did my extra workouts the more I decided to let my diet slip. Cheat here, cheat there. “I can cause I worked so hard this last two years? Right?“ “It’ll be okay. I can relax a bit. I still train every night, it won’t add on that fast.” 5 lbs then 15, then more, I slipped, and I fell off my wagon. But, I was enjoying my life with someone I love so much and that has made it worth it. Could I have practiced more self-control? Haha SURE COULD HAVE. But I didn’t and that is a decision I’ve come to peace with. We planned a wedding, had many amazing dates with yummy food, got married, but continued to train together that was one thing that never changed (minus morning workouts). Training has never stopped for me; food just kind of took over. But I let it, and that’s okay because I wanted to enjoy life a little while being in a serious and healthy relationship for the first time. Our fist year together has been the best of my life and we have so many more ahead of us.

Now that I’m in a good place mentally, (FINALLY). I am ready to make the comeback of all comebacks! I’ve gained about half my weight back, and I can feel how sluggish and awful I feel. I saw myself repeating horrible habits and just being so uncomfortable in my own body and that’s when I knew enough was enough. I let go for long enough and now I’m more than ready to reel it back in and I couldn’t be more excited.

My 1st trainer G. is back from Australia and we plan on training once a week together. It’ll be so nice to have a trainer again, someone to keep me accountable who isn’t family. I’ve switched gyms for a new view, and atmosphere to help with motivation. But I am so excited for this next part of my fit-versary.

I have so many new goals for the next year.
* Lose the weight I gained
* See one-derland
* Compete in Jiu Jitsu again
* Build Muscle
* Accomplish my blue belt in Jiu Jitsu
* Miss me Jeans

Plus so many more small goals to keep me going and motivated… Tattoos, shopping, traveling.
Thanks for your time friends!
Stay tuned for more updates with Jiu Jitsu and my health journey!

Til next time!

K.

The start of a new journey

I wouldn’t be honest if I told you the last year has been easy. Weight loss and jiu jitsu are not easy. If they were, everyone would be doing it! But I LOVE jiu jitsu, and the person it has made me.
I did my first jiu jitsu tournament about year ago. (9.17.16-I know I have mentioned it quite a few times in previous posts.)
The year following that first competition really effected me. I had a lot of amazing things happen in the last year, but I have been battling myself mentally hardcore.
Though, I won Gold in No Gi at this tournament, I was ashamed. I never gloated about my win on facebook and only the people who attended the tournament, my teammates and family knew about my win. There was a group photo and another; but I never specifically said a much about it. Why? Why did I hide away from such a great accomplishment? I look back and I’m upset with myself that I let people take my pride and confidence away from me.
My hard work.
My perseverance.
My success through struggle.
I have been planning a come back for the last few months now and have been mentally struggling again. I have solid technique, I have strength, patience and I have top notch defense. But the biggest thing I lack?
Confidence.
Belief in myself.
I think about this: black belt with confidence vs. a self conscious black belt.
There is a huge difference between the two. And even though I am just beginning my jiu jitsu journey, confidence at ANY level is very important.
I can’t excel as a practitioner if I don’t believe in myself and my knowledge of technique. I let my head get filled with inadequacies, low self esteem, and negative automatic thoughts.
How can anyone be successful if their self talk is negative? They can’t. They won’t.
A negative mind, will not give you a positive life.

Losing weight won’t happen over night, just like the gain didn’t happen over night. One salad won’t make someone skinny, just like one burger won’t make someone fat. It’s a series of repetitive actions that will be your success or demise. Small progress is still progress. Striving to do better every day is key. Keeping an eye on those small goals. 

One jiu jitsu class doesn’t make you the best, it’s the constant attending class, drilling those techniques, refining them until you are so sick of it that you can do it blindfolded. It is day in and day out actively trying to be better. Healthy eating, attending class, doing things outside of class to improve.

I’m so excited for the next year because I have so much in the plans for myself and my jiu jitsu. It won’t be easy… but anything worth doing, worth having, worth achieving …

is worth it.
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Consistency.

What keeps you consistent? Do you want to compete? Lose weight? Stay healthy?
What helps you maintain this?
This is probably one of the most important things in order to see success in just about anything. Being consistent will bring faster and better results. Not saying that with consistency that people don’t hit plateaus, but they do happen and being consistent and increasing intensity during this time help break those plateaus.

At just about any gym there are teammates out there that complain that they are not progressing, or seeing improvement in their game. Nine times out of ten those people are not consistent. They miss class due to injury, or other circumstances, they don’t push themselves during class or outside of it. With that said no ones life is perfect, and we all have crazy lives. But making regular class attendance is what differs between a hobbyist and an athlete.

For instance look at Jiu Jitsu guru Tom DeBlass, he pushes himself every day, inside and outside the gym. He is dedicated to his gym, and affiliates, his health, and most of all he is dedicated to his family. He makes time. He and many other well known practitioners have consistency, and that is what makes them successful. They do everything they can to be successful. Being in the gym and rolling and drilling will improve your game, but what you do outside of class and mat time help alleviate your game to the next level. Eating healthy, doing cross training, drinking water and adequate sleep amplify your training.

Doing these things not only will help your overall health and mood, but they will assist in recovery, and energy.

I can’t push  how important consistency is enough. With out it my game would be nowhere near where it is today. I planned a wedding last year, battled with anxiety and weight gain. I had some of the most difficult classes last year due to lack of sleep, slack on diet, and stress. But what did I do? I kept attending class on a regular basis. This mentally pushed me to my limits, but it improved my game. Physically and mentally. And especially the latter.  I knew that missing class would be more detrimental to me than attending. I cried, A LOT. Almost every class, every week. Because Jiu Jitsu is HARD. Mentally and physically, but I knew if I could get through those hard rolls, the frustration, and the stress and lack of sleep. That my mental would be that much stronger.

What are you goals? What are your struggles? Where do you want to see your overall health and Jiu Jitsu game in 6 months?

 

 

 

 

Adios Summer.

The end of July is here.
As sad as I am to see it go, and feel I have done hardly anything, and still look as pale as ever, I am looking forward to the coming of Fall.

Summer was so great. I got married, my husband moved in with me, got in the groove of my new job and our new life together.

I’ve basically taken a break from obsessively watching what I ate. I struggled up to my wedding with it, and struggled a bit in June and July. I kept slipping up and making excuses. I felt I couldn’t 100% commit the last year with it. I worked SO HARD to lose the weight I did. But I feel that over the last 2 years that’s all I’ve done was obsess over what I ate, and exercised ALL THE TIME. It was exhausting, and I was exhausted. When I met my husband, I wanted to fully enjoy the experience. I know that I could have stayed on track and kept obsessing over what I ate, but I felt like I was being restricted. So, the last 6 or so months I just said I will try to be healthy but I am not going to obsess over it and it was a good decision. Yeah, I gained some weight and it effected me. But I’m not depressed over it because I KNOW it’s not staying.

I’ve been following a few meal plans… loosely. I typically fall hard off the wagon on the weekends. Those are my struggle days. But I acknowledge that. I also have been obsessing over the number on the scale… my whole life. I’m done with it. Yes, it will measure my progress but feeling good physically and mentally are more important to me than a number on the scale. I’ve been dabbling for a few weeks about maybe making an attempt at competitive bodybuilding. It might not be the best idea, but it might get me moving toward a physique goal vs. a scale goal. Which really is what I’m after anyway to physically change my body. Who knows, just a thought for the time being. I need to cut this fluff for sure. My goal is to get back to my original weight when I first dated my husband a year ago. Which is definitely doable in the next 8-10 weeks and Christmas isn’t for another 20 weeks. I have plenty of time to attack what I gained back and lose more. It will just take a lot of hard work and dedication, but I am more than ready.

I feel my mental switching to a new game. My coach talked with me about setting goals, but setting them differently. He asked me… “What is the one thing in your life that if someone took it away from you, would be worst thing ever?”(other than your job and your husband) and the first thing that came to my mind was Jiu Jitsu. I struggled hard mentally the last year with Jiu Jitsu, but it helped me through some of my darkest times. So my coach helped me shape my goals around Jiu Jitsu vs. weight loss. He said if you make all your fitness goals around Jiu Jitsu, the weight will fall off in a result of that. Eat healthy for Jiu Jitsu, lift for Jiu Jitsu, do cardio for betterment of your Jiu Jitsu. And it’s starting to click that way. I can REALLY tell that I’ve been eating like total junk, not only cause I’m sicky feeling and weight has been slowly coming on but because I’m holding my breath again, and I feel like my energy is just gross.

But, it starts with the decision to say enough is enough. I’ve been here before, I’ve succeeded before. I don’t have far to go to reach my 1st goal. It’s getting my mind to stop the games and stick to the plan and that all starts today. I have a workout planned, and some much needed girl time with a friend. Then plan my meals, and water and start this week off right!
Watch out guys. I’m coming back 10x stronger than I ever was.

“Now I’m out here looking like revenge feeling like a 10 the best I’ve ever been…”

Lemons.

Where’s my lemonade at?
I’ll take a quad shot americano instead. 😉

There is this quote, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” It’s been on my mind an awful lot this month, and throughout a few months it keeps coming back to me.

I haven’t been able to fully roll for about twoish weeks now due to me biting a huge chunk of my lip. (accidentally took a medicine ball to the face… Whoops) I finally was able to roll a bit last week, and Tuesday and it felt SO. GOOD.
And then today… I was drying off my face with a towel and my darn back popped and pinched a nerve in my shoulder blade. I haven’t seen my chiro. in about 5 months, so I guess that was the straw that broke the camels back. I’m hoping it’s nothing and I’ll be able to roll tomorrow or hopefully this weekend, but the pain is pretty gross. I’ve been wanting to push my training harder to get in to better shape and drop more weight but it seems that as of lately it’s been one thing after another. However, I cannot complain too much. For the most part (depending on my back) I can still train, or at least do SOMETHING. I can still work. I can still walk. There’s a lot for me to be positive about. And having like minded teammates, helps my lemonade be a bit more sweeter.

There is a girl I train with, she has a cruddy injury that is preventing her from training at all.. completely. But she has to be one of the most positive and most genuine people I have ever met. She is a wonderful training partner and friend. She’s gone through so much, but still is all smiles, comes to class when she can and watches from the sidelines to get the knowledge she needs when she can’t drill.
And there is another, who due to her injury would tuck her arm into her belt and do everything she could to get the training in she could… one armed.
There’s another teammate, who has a torn ACL and still comes to train, AND trains like he doesn’t have much of an injury at all… from what I could tell anyway. Total BA.
And both my husband, and his dad: My coaches; will train through their injuries. My father in law trained with a cast and broken hand, and my husband with many back injuries.

I have to remember that everyone trains through some sort of injury, and injuries happen, and most of all.. it could be worse. But most importantly it’s about seeing the positives to a sour situation. This can be extremely hard to do sometimes. I know I have failed at it, especially on the mentally tough days vs the physical ones.

If you can’t physically train, mentally do it. Whether it be through watching class, competition and technique videos. Take time to heal, sit in the sauna with some ice water, have a hot bath with some epsom salt. Lean on your teammates and loved ones for support. Mentally drill your favorite techniques. I can’t emphasize that enough, there were many times where id have to sit on the sidelines and mentally watch class, but was able to pull off the technique taught the next week because I was engaging my mind.

Of course I need to take my own advice sometimes too. 😉
Remember, We wont’ go through anything we can’t handle.

Keep that chin up and see you on the mats soon.

Monday’s are for reflection and self-love.

Monday’s are typically my super off days. The day that I sit and reflect on all my flaws. What an awful way to start the week, right?

 

Today was the 1st Monday in many weeks where I wasn’t super hard on myself about my choices over the week/ weekend. Fist of many Monday’s where I wasn’t super down on my lack of progress in my weight loss goals.

I’m not sure if this has to do with the fact that my main focus has changed from wanting to lose weight, to something more constructive and positive: wanting to do everything I can to get better at jiu jitsu and be physically fit. I do know that nutrition is 80% of my plan. However, without hyper focusing on food it has made my stress levels significantly lower. I feel like I’ve almost come to a state of peace where I’m at with my weight. Am I happy here? No. But am I going to make myself miserable about it? Hell no. Am I going to push my workouts and try my best on my meal plan? You bet!

 

Being thinner, and more physically fit are super important to me, but I refused to put myself through depression hyper focusing on grandiose goals when I need to focus on the every day, every week small goals. Those are the ones that will make the larger goal more obtainable.

So today, I said to myself, “ I’m going to make a list of things I’m good at in terms of fitness and Jiu Jitsu”

  1. I AM STRONG
  2. I AM TECHNICAL
  3. I FLOW
  4. I AM DEDICATED
  5. I AM HARDWORKING
  6. I TRY MY BEST
  7. I PROVE PEOPLE WRONG
  8. I BREAK THE STIGMA
  9. I GIVE ZERO SPACE
  10. MY AMERICANA WILL BREAK YOUR ARM 😉

 

Yeah, I have automatic thoughts after almost all of these things, but those thoughts do not define me. These positive ones do.

 

My goals for this week are:
Workout every day, and get a good sweat.
Americana Everyone.
Work on passes to the right.
Work the arm lock from side control.
ROCK THE TOP PRESSURE. Do not be afraid.
STAY ON THE MAT. Roll with everyone. No matter how tired you are.
Nail your meal plan STAY. ON. TRACK.

 

 

I think these are some good goals for me this week 😉

Till next time.

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