Month: March 2014

Face Comparison: 10 days on T vs. 11 months on T

10 days on T

10 days on T

IMG_20140327_170436_225

11 months on T

I can’t believe my spring break is over already. I meant to write a real post this week, but I had a very busy weekend. Next weekend should be better! Until then.

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11 Months on T (continued)

All I can say is more hair. That’s about the only thing that I notice these days in terms of changes. I’m sure there are other changes, but they don’t really stand out to me.

I went out to lunch with my friends a couple of weeks ago. One of them accidentally called my she, but corrected herself. After that, she told me that she always thinks of me as August now and gets the pronouns right about 89% of the time. My other friend and I questioned her about the 89%, it seems like an odd number. She said she made it up, but she gets it almost all the time. This actually made me pretty happy to hear from my friends who have known me for a very long time (11 and 13 years) that they have changed the way they think about me now.

So, the reason this post is two days late is because I drove up to San Francisco to meet my surgeon, Dr. Mosser, for top surgery in person. My friend that I was staying with actually had surgery with him last summer, and he had a follow up appointment, so we ventured into the city together. It was actually pretty nice having someone to go with rather than going to the office by myself. I already had a virtual consult with Dr. Mosser back in October, but he took a look at my chest again. I have a lot of extra skin, so he reiterated that double mastectomy with free nipple graft is my best option. He also commented that it was good that I don’t have extra skin on my sides so that will make the scars slightly smaller. All in all, he and his staff were super friendly and nice. The hospital room is booked, and all I need to do is get my insurance papers in order. The only question I had was whether I should focus on muscle gain or fat loss. He told me that since I don’t have a lot of fat in that area to lose that for the best results it would be better to work on building up the pectoral muscles. So, that’s my goal for the next 3 months or so. I’m actually planning on talking to my coach tomorrow about the best way to approach this.  I will also be speaking to our nutritionist about how much and what types of food I should be eating in order to do this properly.

In other news, I won a free month of yoga for having the biggest improvement on one of the benchmark workouts we used to test our progress. I went to my first session this morning. It was pretty terrible, and by that I mean, I’m really not flexible. My muscles are super tight. They always have been. It was a good experience. I’m looking forward to see how I progress in the next month. The session I went to was at 8:30 this morning. I didn’t want to get up earlier than I had to, so I decided to do my injection after yoga. Normally, my muscles are pretty hard/tight, so I experience some resistance when sticking the needle in my leg. Today, it slid in so easily and was relatively painless. I definitely attribute that to doing yoga (it was hot yoga, at that. The room was around 95 degrees and pretty humid, so I was drenched in sweat by the end of it). I’m interested to see if this happens again next week (if I do yoga beforehand again).

The photos aren’t that great. I was in a rush this morning, and didn’t have time to take multiples. They’re also taken in a different location in my room now since I rearranged furniture after my roommates moved out. The shadows should be less variable now since I get more light from the window.

20140327 Back

20140327 Body

20140327 Full Body

11 Months on T

Today was my 11 months on testosterone! Wow, time is flying by. I can’t believe in another month it will be a whole year. Anyway, I have been traveling the last few days since I wanted to meet my surgeon in person before top surgery, and the only time I had free from school to do that was this week (yay spring break!). That means that I will be making a longer post with pictures when I return home on Thursday morning.

Focusing on Performance, not Aesthetics

I feel like I talk about this a lot, and you probably do too. It’s because I have to keep reminding myself. I have to keep telling myself that I care more about how well I perform than how I look. Maybe someday it will be something I believe and not just tell myself. Every time I work out, I wish that I could have done more reps or a heavier weight. I don’t think to myself that I wish I could look better. But, when I get home and I look in the mirror, thoughts of how I wish I could look differently come creeping back in, slowly, but surely. It’s like playing tug of war inside my head.

It is especially bad if I notice how wide my hips are which is pretty much any time I see them in the mirror. They are pretty much the reason these thoughts keep creeping back in. If I could split my body into two halves, upper and lower body, I’d happily keep my upper body (especially after I get top surgery), but I would gladly get rid of my lower body. But then I remember how strong my legs are, how they carry me through my day and my workouts. I’m now able to squat over my body weight in the back squat and front squat, and I can deadlift 1.5x my body weight. I like the weights that my legs are able to lift, and I want to be able to lift more.

But there’s always this nagging in the back of my mind about wanting to reduce my body fat. I won’t be able to perform better if I focus my diet on fat loss though. Argh! It’s like being pulled in two completely opposite directions. I want to throw away all the mirrors in my apartment (okay, I’d probably just cover them), but that seems unrealistic. I just need to be able to deal with what I see in the mirror. I need to decide what is more important to me. Who cares if I have wide hips if I am able to compete and better myself in other ways. My hips are one small aspect of me, and not a very important one in the grand scheme of things. So why do I keep focusing on them? They can completely turn my day around on really dysphoric days. I wish that our society wasn’t focused on aesthetics so much. It’s hard when we are constantly barraged with images of “beautiful” people. I’m also guilty of going around comparing myself to every guy I see. I look at other peoples’ transitions and wonder why I can’t have narrow hips like them. Or why their fat has redistributed with no effort while mine won’t budge with regular exercise.

Note: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to give it time to sit since I was feeling really dysphoric when I wrote it. Some days are better than others. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and it seems as if my silhouette is straight down. Later in the day, I can look again and all I see is a really curvy body.

Since I wrote this, I measured my hips because I felt like my clothes were fitting differently, and I lost another quarter inch from my hips since the Whole30 ended. That ends up being 1.25 inches total from the beginning of February. I also decided to stop obsessively measuring myself with a tape measure (this is in addition to putting my scale away). It’s baby steps, but it’s progress. I also have made significant improvements in performance since I made changes to my diet. I intend to make this a lifestyle change. Hopefully, with time (and constant reminders to myself), the way I think about myself will also change. It’s been 28 years of feeling unhappy with my body. I shouldn’t expect the way I think about it to change instantly. Like all good things, it takes hard work and time. I hope in a year or two, I can look back on this and see how far I’ve come.

Tummy Hair

I wanted to post about trying not to worry about body composition as much as I have been, but due to having two finals tomorrow, I thought it would be wise if I spent time studying instead.

Instead, I’m posting a couple of picture of my belly hair! I haven’t done a photo update on how harry I’m getting. I had practically no hair before starting testosterone on my belly except for the really fine, short, barely visible hair. Now, it’s getting longer, thicker, and darker.

IMG_20140316_161913_072 IMG_20140316_161949_826

 

If you click on them, you can see them up close!

Once finals are done, I plan to post every Sunday night.

Remembering Where I Came From

Sometimes, I find myself comparing my body to guys around me and/or the amount of weight I can lift in the various lifts I practice. When I do this, I get discouraged because I’m not as muscular or strong as the guys around me.

Then, I take a look at my old PRs and photos from before or the beginning of my transition.

 

MRM_20140222_101805_RCD4_09191-(ZF-5406-38795-2-001)

 

This is a picture of my doing front squat for 3 (@ 155 lbs) above my previous one rep max (150 lbs) at the competition on February 22nd. Then, last weekend, I did 165 lbs for one. When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t even do a proper squat. My mobility was so bad, that I couldn’t squat beneath parallel. The first time I did, I was only able to squat up to 125 lbs. In a little less than 6 months, I was able to increase my front squat by 40 lbs. My other lifts have increased considerably as well. This is where I’m glad I’ve been keeping track of my progress. When I get discouraged because I’m not as strong as I’d like to be, I remind myself of where I came from.

20130421 Full Body

   Pre-T

20140225 Body

10 months on T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along those same lines, when I think I’m not as muscular as some guys. I look back on my pre-T photo and see such a huge difference.

It’s just a good reminder to keep perspective. I’ll be interested to see what I look like and how my performance is in another 10 months or so.

 

Transgender Woman Suing CrossFit

There is a transgender woman suing CrossFit for not allowing her to compete as female in the CrossFit Games (link to CNN story here). I first saw this story last night on TMZ. My coach sent me the link and asked what my thoughts were. I have to say, I’m really disappointed to see how bigoted and transmisogynist their response was. They obviously don’t understand the effect of hormones on the body by their comment, “the fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.”

When registration for the CrossFit Open was going on, I was unsure of whether I would sign up. In their drug policy, it states that there would be no waiver given for people taking testosterone even if for the purpose of hormone replacement therapy. I’m not even sure how they would know on a drug test if your T levels were within a normal male range. Ultimately, I decided to sign up. There were a lot of people from my gym doing it, and I thought it would be fun to compare my results from this year to next.

I read some of the comments on the various news sites reporting this story. That was a mistake. I found it to be very disheartening, and I also wish people would educate themselves before opening their mouths (or typing). So many people went on about the advantages that this transgender woman would have over cisgender woman, as if testosterone was still coursing through her veins. In reality, after a year of HRT, the advantages given by testosterone are pretty much gone. I also noticed that no one had a problem with a theoretical transgender man competing because “he would have no chance of winning, anyway.” That comment alone makes me want to train harder and one day dominate a competition.

I’m really disappointed with CrossFit Headquarters, but I am so glad that I found a place in the CrossFit world where the people are very supportive. The other day, one of my fellow CrossFitters (and friend) told me that she thought of me as a little brother. It was very endearing. That makes being part of my CrossFit family all worth it. I hope that people looking to get into fitness don’t get discouraged by the assholes at CF HQ. Not all people in the CrossFit world are bigoted assholes.