What a crazy week and a half it’s been.
Sorry, dear readers, for keeping you out in the cold for the last little while. But I have some big news.
I intended to blog three or maybe even four times last week, but it’s funny how life can get in the way of all your big plans.
So what happened?
The long and short of it is that, after much discussion, prayer, hand-wringing and Microsoft Excel spreadsheet budgeting, I accepted a job last week all the way across the country in Washington, D.C.
In so many ways I’m incredibly excited. I’m excited to go back to D.C. (my wife and I lived there before our two kids were born and we absolutely love the area). Not to mention that the weather overall is better (you can actually run outside in the winter in decent temperatures).
But I’ll admit I’m a bit perplexed on how all of this is going to affect the goals I’ve set and the vision I had in my head for the next seven months.
See, when I started out on this latest weight-loss and running journey, I had a pretty clear set of goals in mind: get down to my goal weight of 177 by August 30, and set a PR in the Pocatello Half Marathon the next day.
I’ll admit quite a bit of concern over how this new transition will affect my weight loss. Luckily, we have three months to get our affairs in order (ie, sell the house, pack and move…no small feat in 90 days). The bad news is that I’ll actually be starting in a few weeks, meaning I’ll be flying back and forth from DC from the middle of February until (hopefully) the middle of May or so.
Let me just say me, healthy eating and traveling all don’t get along very well. It’s going to be a challenge.
But that’s what this is all about, right? Challenging ourselves to do big things we haven’t done very well at in the past. I was on the treadmill a week or so ago, going through the latest in my Couch to 5K training. During a particularly tough segment in which I wasn’t sure I could finish, I kept telling myself “You can do hard things! You can do hard things!”
I think that’s part of this whole jumbled mess that is the inside of my head: sometimes I don’t allow myself to realize that I can do hard things.
The next three months will be a challenge. Will I mess up? Most certainly? But I have two choices. I can either bemoan my current state of affairs as it relates to my weight loss, or I can see it as a blessing, an opportunity, and a challenge.
One bit of housekeeping, in my absence I did neglect to publish my weigh-in last week. While I’m disappointed in myself for not getting to the gym on a consistent basis last week, I did do a rather good job of eating well (I attribute that to a nervous stomach caused by having to make life-changing decisions within the matter of just a few days).
Here are the results:
Week 5 Results
Starting weight: 232.4
Ending weight: 229.4
Weight loss this week: 3 pounds
Total weight loss: 15.1 pounds
Another 3 pound weight loss! I’m happy to have hit the 15-pound mark. And I’m happy to be noticing some of my clothes fitting better.
Just this morning, I put on a pair of work pants that I bought several months ago. When I tried them on at the store, I told myself I would get them, and they would fit in a few months when I’d lost 10 pounds.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself that.
And it’s gonna be fun.
What a week!
It’s interesting, because this week featured both my least disciplined and most disciplined periods over the last 4 weeks.
We headed out of town last weekend for a trip with some friends to their parents’ cabin up in the mountains.
Gosh, but it was beautiful up there. We spent the weekend playing games, riding snowmobiles (my first time on one) and hanging out in the hot tub. Or as the kids called it, the “hot pool.”
I challenged my 4-year-old to an impromptu “polar bear challenge,” to jump out of the hot tub and roll around in the snow (of course thinking he’d look at me with his usual “whatever, Dad” look), and he actually did it! It was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend.
I think it was literally 0 degrees outside at the time.
He’ll probably do it.
Anyhoo, it was a fun weekend, but I didn’t do a great job tracking my calories.
Ok, I confess, I didn’t track them at all. While I didn’t gain a ton of weight over the weekend (maybe a pound and a half), I felt like that weight just stuck to my ribs at the beginning of the week.
I told myself when we got back on Sunday night that I had a lot of fun, but now it was time to get the work.
Not only were my workouts disciplined this week, my eating during the week was as well. I stayed on track for calories, and even avoided the dreaded “mid-week spoiler” meal on Tuesday night, when my boss took me out for dinner. I really wasn’t in the mood for salad, and a burger sounded so good.
So I ordered one.
But I ordered the “junior”, with no mayo. And I ate half of it. And maybe a third of the fries.
And the results?
Week 4 Results
Starting weight: 235.4
Ending weight: 232.4
Weight loss this week: 3 pounds
Total weight loss: 12.1 pounds
And why is it working? Because I’m putting in the work.
I’m most excited about how I’m starting to really take control of my portions, even when I’m staring temptation in the face. And I’m varying up my workouts. Not just spending time running on the treadmill, but doing elliptical, weights, throwing in a little basketball for fun (and really good cardio).
Today, I’m giving my body a rest day. Then it’s back at it on Saturday.
If you’re a binge eater or a food addict like me, you can relate to the picture above.
One of my favorite characters on TV used to be Doug Heffernan, on King of Queens. Some of the things he used to say about his love of eating cracked me up, mainly because I could relate.
Carrie: [Watching Doug mix his cereals] What are you doing?
Doug: Simple. I’m mixing my sweet Cocoa Krispies with the more sensible Rice Krispies. And what do you get? A healthier me.
Carrie: Or you could just have a piece of fruit.
Doug: Fruit? Why the hell do you gotta go there?
Or the classic episode where Doug changes his clothes before coming home from work to hide the “pre-dinner Whopper” smell. Doug’s struggles with his weight was one of the main motifs throughout the series.
I’ve been there. But I’m on the road to recovery. The past few weeks have been interesting as I’ve gone through the several stages of what I call “food denial.” You know, those first few weeks when you’re grappling with the awful reality about changing your food choices and eating consciously? (As opposed to unconsciously…yes, it happens)
Food denial stages:
Denial – Oh I’m fine, I’m not hungry. A sprout sandwich with flaxseed sounds DELICIOUS…
Anger – WHY ME?? Who is to blame for making me want to get healthier? It’s all YOUR fault!
Bargaining – No, it’s ok…it’s ok. I’ll have a 20-count chicken nugget now and just go to the gym later….yeah, that’s it!
Depression – I can’t eat ANYTHING good….this diet is making me depressed. Life’s not worth living without brownies.
And then, of course, there’s Acceptance.
I think after four weeks, I’m starting to arrive at a good place now with acceptance. So good, in fact, I’ve had to question some of my eating habits over the last few weeks and ask myself, “Am I eating enough?” That’s a good spot to be in, I think.
One day last week, for example, I had eaten 1171 calories before dinner, and simply didn’t feel hungry. So I skipped dinner. That’s when I heard the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth of diet experts telling me if I don’t eat, my body will go into starvation mode.
But one of the things I’ve tried to work on is listening to my body. I listened, and my body was definitely telling me, “I’m good.” But I’ve only eaten 1100 calories!!! WARNING…WARNING….GOING 1300 CALORIES BELOW YOUR DAILY GOAL IS NOT DOCTOR APPROVED
So I did what any sensible blogger/Twitter-obsessed person would do: I turned to Twitter/the blogosphere for help, and reached out to one of my favorite health/nutrition bloggers (who happens to also be a registered dietitian): Katie Heddleston, of Healthy Heddleston.
I loved Katie’s advice. Here’s what she had to say:
I’m a huge fan of intuitive eating and helping people get in touch with their hunger signals again. The question you pose is an interesting one, because unless you were counting calories, you would have no idea that a deficit was being created (since you are feeling full – thus eating intuitively since you stopped eating when full)…
…So in short, yes it is okay to technically be under calories if you feel full. Counting calories can be helpful at times but can also make you go crazy sometimes – so it’s important to find what method works for you while listen listening to your body’s natural signals.
It’s interesting the things Katie pointed out about listening to your body and finding what method works well for you, because I recently also stumbled an awesome blog – One Lovely Run (giver her a follow on Twitter…@onelovelyrun) I connected so well with her post from a week or so ago when she talked about taking the time to actually listen to her body, rather than listening to what other people tell her about how much she should eat. In the process, she has actually increased her daily caloric intake while losing weight.
But the point is this: I can only tell you what works for me. Jen can only tell you what works for you.
So when you have someone come to you (and you know they always come) and try to tell you what the “secret” is to weight loss, or what you’re doing wrong, or what you’re not doing quite right, remember that the one true expert to your own personal journey to fitness is YOU. More specifically, it’s your BODY.
Am I going to aim for 1100 calories a day in order to lose weight? No way. Are there going to be days where I eat like a madman because my body is begging me for fuel? You betcha.
After being out of touch with my body for so long, and allowing my cravings and my obsessions and my mild neuroses to rule my actions, it’s really nice to be getting back in touch with the healthy part of my brain, and getting back in touch with my body.
Now, excuse me while I go eat lunch. ‘Cause my body is telling me it’s hungry and it needs to be fed.
WARNING: It’s about to get really real up in here.
I feel like a lot of people start their weight loss story with something like “I’ve been overweight ever since I can remember.”
For me, that’s kind of true, kind of not. I remember people asking my mom growing up if she was feeding me. True story.
Someone posted this (now) embarrassing photo of me on Facebook a while back. I think this is 7th grade.
See, I told you it was gonna get real.
The weird thing is, I always felt fat. I always felt like people looked at me and immediately thought “fat.”
To this day, I can’t explain this. Or, I should say, I’ve never fully explored this, my body issues as a teenager.
Somewhere around my sophomore year of high school, I hit a major growth spurt, I shot up to just about what is now my present height, 5-foot-11, up from 5-foot-6 or so. All in the course of 6 to 9 months. And I ate everything in sight. I was the leading scorer for my YMCA basketball team (my one claim to athletic fame growing up), and I kept eating.
Problem was, my growth spurt stopped.
Fast forward to my late 20s. I’m approaching 30, I have two kids and I look like this:
To be honest, I’m surprised I wasn’t bigger. For all the years of binge eating and shame eating, I’m surprised I didn’t weigh more.
Then, one night, my wife challenged me to run a half marathon with her.
I laughed in her face. Literally. I laughed. Out loud.
Then I thought about it.
I thought about how tired I was of being lazy. Of YMCA basketball being my only claim to fame when it came to doing something that involved moving my body on purpose.
So I did something about it. I got off my behind, started training for a half marathon. I told myself I would cross the finish line in less than 2 hours. I lost 65 pounds in the process. The night before the half, I was 76 pounds lower than my highest recorded weight.
And this was the result:
I was hooked. I got bit by the running bug.
Crossing that finish line in May of 2010 was easily the proudest moment of my life outside of that day I actually conned my wife into marrying me or the birth of my kids.
I had done it.
And so I kept going. As soon as we got home from Ogden, we started looking for more races to run. We found the Pocatello Half around Labor Day of that same year. And in the course of 5 months, I had done twice what I thought could never be possible once: I ran 13.1 miles…in one day….in the course of just two hours each.
I was at the peak of my adult physical conditioning!! I felt like an athlete. I felt like a machine.
It felt amazing.
And then the lazy bug bit me again.
I started to get complacent.
I fell back into old habits.
I thought I could live in my “if I want to eat it, I’m gonna eat it” world at the same time as my “I want to keep hitting PRs.”
Something in the back of my mind told me I couldn’t live in both worlds, and if I was going to think like an athlete, I needed to eat like an athlete.
Mostly, because I was still having success.
In the spring of 2011, as a tune up for our second-annual Ogden Half Marathon (aka, the place where it all started), we decided to run the Salt Lake Half Marathon.
And, despite a 3-minute pee stop, I set a new PR, beating my old one by over a minute.
My new PR only fueled my irrationality
“See?” the fat me told me. “You can have it all! You can eat whatever you want and the miles will wash it all away. The training makes it all okay!”
I really thought I had struck gold. Just train for half marathons, and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
I started binge eating again. I started shame eating.
Binging cause I couldn’t stop. Shaming because I knew, deep down, I was sabotaging myself. And I started to hate that part of me again.
But I kept running.
That made 4 marathons to date. All just at or below 2 hours.
I thought I could just do this forever.
I even tried a 5k that summer.
Granted, there were only 35 entrants, but I finished second, behind this rascal who out-kicked me over the last 100 yards to take home 1st place.
And then, in the summer of 2011, for some reason, I just decided to take a break from running.
But, like high school, the eating didn’t stop.
I skipped over race opportunity after race opportunity in the summer and fall of 2011. And kept eating.
Looking back now, there was a void. A void from not training. From not pursuing that next goal.
And I filled that void with food, like I always had in my life.
October of 2011 rolled around, and it was time to register for next year’s Ogden Half Marathon.
On a whim, without really thinking it through at all, I signed myself up for the Full Marathon.
I’m just going to do this, I thought.
I started training. I got all the way up to a 13 mile run.
You know that voice you have in the back of you’re head when you’re running that tells you “Why are you doing this? You’re tired, you’re miserable, this hurts and you could be at home relaxing. You’re crazy.”
The voice wouldn’t shut up that day. It just wouldn’t shut up. I had lost the will to push it back like I had learned to before. I wasn’t mentally equipped to push it back. I wasn’t fully committed. I wasn’t invested.
And I let it win.
I still know exactly what road and what spot on that road I stopped running. I ripped my hat off my head, tore my headphones out of my ears, threw them both on the ground and screamed at the top of my lungs. Screamed in frustration that I couldn’t get the voice to shut up. Telling it to shut up. Telling it to go away.
There are two ways to make that voice go away. One is to keep pushing, keep training and envision that finish line. The other is to give up and stop running.
I was done. I was done training. I was done running.
I gave up on running and I gave up on myself. And worst of all, I gave up on my wife.
She had been my biggest cheerleader, my biggest support and my inspiration.
We trained together, taking turns watching the kids so the other could go running. We kept each other accountable. We shared our successes. We lifted the other up when one of us was down.
And I just gave up on her. I told her I was done running. She was already registered for Ogden the next year, and I told her she’d have to go it on her own.
I spent the winter of 2011-2012 feeling outwardly that running was a nice phase I went through for a period, but that I was “over it.” Inwardly, I was battling the same old demons. I was eating too much, becoming too complacent and lazy, and hating myself for it the whole time.
The next spring, the guilt of giving up on my wife, who had been the reason I fell in love with running in the first place, was too much.
I transferred my full Ogden registration for the half, then signed up for the Salt Lake Half Marathon again and ran it with a friend under the auspices of “training” for Ogden, only a month away.
But, in the two years since my first half, I had gained back more than half of the 65 pounds I had lost.
My body couldn’t handle it. The pounding of the extra pounds. The lack of training.
I finished…barely. I almost had to crawl across the finish line.
A month later, at Ogden, which used to bet the Super Bowl of running for me, the result wasn’t much better. I finished. And got a medal. But not much more.
And then, with my obligation to not abandon my wife for a race we registered for months ago fulfilled, I put away the running shoes.
Oh, sure, I dusted them off a few times in the early summer, trying to get that spark back. But I just wasn’t the same.
You often hear people who lose weight talk about the “person they used to be.”
That’s how I feel about myself. It’s certainly how I felt in the spring, summer and fall of 2010. I was a different person.
I think it’s important to relive past failures just as much as past successes. That’s where this post is coming from. I became a different person when I first fell in love with running.
I’d like to find that person again. I’d like to hold onto that person.
I’d like to tell him when I do find him, “Don’t ever let this go again. Appreciate this. Appreciate who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Appreciate how much more you could do. Remind yourself every day how hard this journey was and that you don’t ever want to have to do it again.”
And although it feels so far away, I know it will be here before I know it.
There are few movies I find more hilarious that What About Bob.
Probably because I can relate to Bob’s manic but innocent new approach to life he takes during the movie: Baby Steps.
I’ve learned that Baby Steps are the key to not getting totally freaked out by trying to accomplish big things.
Losing 65 pounds is a big thing.
And I have to lose 65 pounds. I need to lose 65 pounds. I want to be able to race…to really race again. To get new PRs in the 5K, to run a 10K for the first time ever. And this summer, I want to PR in the half marathon.
To get there, I need to lose weight.
So, here’s the results of this week’s weigh-in.
Week 3 Results
Starting weight: 237
Ending weight: 235.4
Weight loss this week: 1.6 pounds
Total weight loss: 9.1 pounds
This was the look on my face when I stepped on the scale this morning.
But then I thought about it. And that’s a decent loss. Especially for Week 3. And, in 2 1/2 weeks (I started on January 1) I’m almost down 10 pounds.
The point is, I’m taking baby steps. But they’re still steps. Steps in the right direction. And I’m sticking with it.
I also know that my loss this week could have been a bit lower had I gone to play basketball last night. Usually on Thursdays (the day before my weekly weigh-in) I work out in the morning or afternoon, then spend about an hour and a half burning extra calories by playing pick up basketball.
Last night…well, I just wasn’t in the mood. And I overdid it a tad at dinner (didn’t go over my daily calories, though).
So all in all, I’m really happy with my loss.
This week I finished Week 2 of Couch to 5k and I’m happy with the results. I’m still gasping for air at the finish of a few of the segments, but I remember from last time that it kind of just clicks somewhere in Week 5 or 6, so I’m looking forward to that.
So it’s all about baby steps! Baby steps cut down on calories…baby steps go to the gym….baby steps lose the weight.
And before I know it, I’ll be back to my old self, crossing the finish line with the biggest smile on my face.
Can’t wait to get there!
I’ve been enamored with Twitter lately. So many people on there who inspire me, encourage me and make me laugh.
One of the sub-cultures I’ve discovered in Twitter-land is the #fitfam. A huge group of people who call themselves “fitties” and are, to their credit, obsessed with being in shape and eating right. The post pictures of their tummies and their body crushes and how well their collarbones are coming in…
I think that’s great. It’s great to have a passion for fitness.
Why? Because, by and large, they think cheeseburgers are disgusting. I’ll never think a cheeseburger is disgusting. I may not eat nearly as many as I used to, because I don’t want to stroke out before I’m 40, but c’mon. Cheeseburgers are freaking delicious.
Or a burrito. Or fries. Or cupcakes. Or whatever your personal hankering is. (I love all that stuff…why do you think I got to be 60 pounds overweight?)
The last time I lost 65 pounds and got my BMI below the threshold of normal, I still ate what I wanted to…in moderation.
Last night, I took my 3-year-old daughter out on a date. We went to an Italian restaurant.
Italian restaurants are not known for being low-cal joints. Not sure if you’ve noticed. Lots of carbs. And cheese. Lots of cheese.
I had a mozerella stick (and a half, I’m not gonna lie). I had some bread with a tiny bit of dipping oil. And I had an entree. Or rather, I ate less than half of an entree and boxed the rest for home.
But you know what? I was still just over 300 calories under my “budget” for the day.
That’s a new term I’m using. I’m no longer “counting” calories. I’m “budgeting” them. Feels more positive. And responsible. And adult-like.
Look, I don’t judge the fitties. If you’re at the point where flax seed and sprout sandwiches and fruit for breakfast every single day is what gets you up in the morning, I think that’s awesome. I really do.
And that’s okay.
I live in Idaho.
Usually, that’s not a hindrance to doing the kind of physical activity I like to do.
Except in the spring when the wind is blowing 40 miles an hour. Or in the fall when we get snow in December. Or in January, when it’s -15 outside.
You think I wanted to get up on Saturday morning and go to the gym when it was -15 outside?
No, siree. But I did it anyway.
And that’s what separates “this time” from “all the other times” in the last three years.
So, today, when I’ve tried to jump my car five times, and it still won’t start for lack of heat (did you know there’s no such thing as cold, just lack of heat? See, Mr. Winters, I did learn something from 9th grade science class), I will still find a way to get to the gym and start Week 2 of Couch to 5k.
Oh, what’s that you say? I’m on Week 2? Why yes I am…
I’m sorry, what was that? How was Week 1?
Why thank you for asking. It was splendid! Really, it was. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m so happy to be back on the treadmill (even though it’s the treadmill, and not the pavement, that’s how excited I am).
I’m having to resist the urge to push myself too hard too fast as I start my new training. I do, after all, have 6 marathons under my belt. I know how to do this. I know how to run 13.1 miles.
Or I should say my mind does. My body is not back there yet. My body never had to run 2 or 3 or 13.1 miles with an excess 60+ pounds on its frame.
And that’s ok. Because I’ll get there.
What a week. Between the great Famous Dave’s disaster of last Saturday (mindless eating/not counting my calories), a mix-up with my gym that kept me out until just this last Monday, it’s been a rough go. Here’s the results:
Week 2 Results
Starting weight: 238.5
Ending weight: 237
Weight loss this week: 1.5 pounds
Total weight loss: 7.5 pounds
So I tried to get to the gym last Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, but my key fob wasn’t working (I go to Anytime Fitness). I called the “help” line several times, left a few voicemails, but no luck. Then it finally occurred to me to check my bank account and, lo and behold, I discovered I hadn’t been charged in two months. A quick trip to my home gym on Monday, and my account was re-activated and I started back Tuesday morning.
So, for only three days of gym time, and a complete fiasco at Famous Dave’s on Saturday where I went absolutely overboard and at more than a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, and I’ll take a 1.5 pound weight loss.
I’m almost one week into Couch to 5k training, and I’m feeling good. The soreness in my heels is starting to go down, and I’m feeling more confident on the treadmill. I did one day of leg weights, and today at the gym I’ll do another. I start upper body tomorrow at the gym, and next week I’ll hopefully settle into a nice gym routine.
Today, I’m focused on the fact that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I may not have hit my goal this week, but there’s a lot of time to keep working hard and keep at it.
How about you? How did you do on your goals this week? Leave a comment below!
It’s easy to get obsessive about stuff. Especially when, like me, you have a bit of an obsessive personality.
I tend to go on two- or three-week spurts where I get super obsessive about something, then my focus wanes and it’s back to the same old thing.
When you get your mind set on a goal (mine is to reach my goal weight and PR a half marathon at the end of August), it can be easy to let your mind wander to all the shortcuts, all the cheats you could take to get there.
But I’m not going there this time. I’ve been down that road before, and I know all it leads to is frustration down the road.
So here’s 10 things I won’t be doing this time around.
I’m counting calories. I have to. I eat mindlessly if I don’t. I’m reducing my calorie intake, but I’m keeping it within acceptable limits. Starving your body may help you do well on your next weigh in, but it screws with your metabolism and makes it so much easier to gain weight when you return to a “normal” lifestyle.
You and I both know there are dozens, probably hundreds, of different “diets” out there. Diets that want you to eat this, not that. Diets that want you to focus on this food group and limit that food group. Sorry, but I have enough to worry about with my job, my wife, kids, paying the mortgage, making sure the lights stay on, writing a blog, keeping up on Twitter and all the other things in my life to subscribe to such a regimented eating plan.
That, and I’m making changes for life, not for the next 8 months. This is about my future, not just about the scale.
I’ve done this one before. Don’t drink water the day before a weigh-in and exercise a lot so you sweat. It works, but you and I both know what happens the next day: you drink 20 oz of water and gain 2 lbs. No longer will I manipulate the scale through dehydration. My weigh-ins will be genuine, and I will own them.
It’s hard not to be all over Twitter and see people who are doing this or doing that, people who have lost this amount of weight this week or who are running this many miles, and not feel pangs of jealousy or resentment that I’m not doing more or losing more or running more.
This is my race to run. This isn’t a competition with anyone.
Sorry, it’s not happening. I know there are fitties out there who judge people like me who admit that I freaking love a good hamburger, or that I lay awake at night dreaming about a nice serving of chips and salsa. It’s who I am.
I’m not going to magically wake up one morning and love green smoothies and tofu. Salad is never going to be my favorite main dish.
I’m still going to eat them. But now, I recognize that binging is my biggest problem when it comes to weight gain. I’m learning how to do things in moderation, and eat smaller portions of the foods I love, and eat them less often.
The last time I lost 65 pounds, I craved the little comments I’d get from people, and toward the end, the long conversations I’d have with people about how I lost all the weight. It became a form of pride form me. Rightfully so, in some ways. I worked hard…really hard…to lose all that weight.
The problem was, when I got to where I was going, I felt like I had arrived — and could thus take a vacation. That’s how I got where I am now…with every single pound gained back.
This time, my response will be “Thanks, I have a lot more work to do.”
There’s a little voice in my head. You may have one too. The voice that says “All this hard work isn’t worth it.” The voice that says “Give up and go enjoy that plate of nachos you’ve been craving.” The voice that says “You’re too tired to go 5 miles. Just go 3 today.”
That voice isn’t going away. I know that. But I don’t have to listen to it.
There are so many people out there traveling this same journey. This time, I’m doing my best to connect with them, to ask for hope and inspiration and encouragement, and offer the same back when I have the opportunity.
It’s not about the scale. That’s just a tool to measure one aspect of progress. I’m doing this for my kids. I want them to have a healthy dad who gives them a healthy example of how to live their lives. I’m doing this for myself, to prove to myself that I can do hard things.