Don’t Ask If You Don’t Want To Know

covering his ears

Ya know what I love? When people ask for advice and then tell you all the reasons why your advice is wrong. Those people are called “askholes”.

It doesn’t matter what it is…fitness, relationships, work, etc. Anytime I’ve ever approached someone for their advice, it was because they had knowledge I wanted. If I wanted to be fit, I would talk to someone who was fit. If I wanted relationship advice, I would ask someone who had a relationship I admired. You get the idea.

Maybe it’s because their advice will require too much work. What? You thought they’d tell you they got their six pack abs from eating six donuts every morning? Or they have a successful business because they play Candy Crush all day? Reaching goals takes work. Being healthy takes work. A successful career takes work. A marriage takes work. When those people tell you about the work, you can’t discount that advice.

Once you hear the advice, you have to decide if you still want to reach that goal. Are you willing to pay the price to get where you want? If you aren’t already where you want to be, obviously you have to start doing some things differently. (Or maybe stop doing certain things.) If you aren’t willing to do those things, perhaps you’re pursuing the wrong goals.

Ask yourself, which do I dislike more? Do I dislike my current job more or would I dislike the ups and downs and time investment of running my own business? Which is worse? Whichever causes you the most discomfort is the one you will avoid even if you think you want it. Your mouth might be saying you are MEANT to be an entrepreneur, but your brain is saying, “Dude, all that working sounds like a lot of work! Plus I have this steady paycheck. Plus if things go south, I can just find another job.” If that is in the back of your mind, no matter how much you think you want to start your own business, you will find a million excuses not to.

You need to be real with yourself if you are ever to reach your true happiness potential. If it’s your body image that’s holding you back, you probably already know what to do to get a better body. The question is, are you willing to do it? No? How much work are you willing to put in? What results will that give you? Will you be satisfied with those results? If you aren’t willing to put in the work of a fitness model, you can’t expect to look like a fitness model. If you are willing to do a moderate amount of work, be realistic about what you can expect from that.English: Apack of donut Français : Un paquet d...

If you want to be able to eat dessert guilt free, I think that’s AWESOME! So do I. Eating dessert occasionally will give me “X” results. Eating dessert a couple of times per week will give me “Y” results. Eating dessert every single day will give me “Z” results. I have to realistically determine the results I want and how much dessert I want. I’m definitely not giving it up, so I won’t get “X” results. Even though I would LOVE to eat dessert every day, I don’t want “Z” results. That leaves me with “Y”. I don’t get to eat it every day, but I still get “Y” results. Kind of like Goldilocks – I have to find what is just right. April Hunter in a fitness model competition

If I ever had a conversation with a fitness model, I’m sure I would have to ask them about their routine. I would love to know what their workouts are and how they eat, wouldn’t you?. I would also know as soon as I hear what they say that I wouldn’t be willing to do all that. So, I need to understand I won’t look like that either. I wouldn’t stand there and make excuses. I wouldn’t assume she had more time than me or better resources than me. I wouldn’t assume she has more support or more money or more anything. However, I would know that for her, looking that way was important enough to her to do all those things. And that’s cool; that’s her compromise. I have to find mine. Oh, and not be an askhole about it.

Dirty Little Secret

Swim Suits, Bathing Suits

There is a picture of me floating around in a teeny weeny polka dot bikini. I know, because I posted it myself. It’s from a few years ago at the beach. If you dig around a little on the Facebook page you could pretty easily find it. I’m not posting it here because quite frankly, the photo makes me sad.

Can I tell you a secret? Here’s the thing, that was never ME in the photo. Well, okay, it was me. My husband took the photo and as soon as it was taken I grabbed the camera to review (and probably delete) it. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The person in the photo looked pretty damn good. I was amazed at how the light had somehow made me look like I had killer abs. I kept making excuses for why I looked so good in the photo and how that’s not what I look like in real life.

What?

Yes. I studied that photo like it was my job. I picked apart every single flaw I could find (real and otherwise) and rationalized that it had to be the result of the light reflecting off the water. That was definitely not the person when I saw in my mirror. I became a little obsessed with this photo and even ended up posting it on the Facebook page. A lot of you commented on it, even saying how I inspired you. I didn’t get it. No matter how long I stared at it, I just didn’t see what everyone else did.

As you may know, a few years ago I lost around 30 pounds. I lost it through portion control and exercise and it came off pretty quickly. Even though I did it the “right way” (by not doing any quick fixes), my brain took a while to catch up to my body. In fact, I’m not sure it ever did catch up. Which is exactly why I didn’t see the same thing everyone else saw when they saw the bikini photo. I didn’t have the confidence that the girl in the photo should have (and looked to have). If people were looking at me because I looked “good”, I was convinced it was really because I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe or my pants were unzipped. I never really settled into that body and I sure didn’t love it. I still picked my body apart with the same vengeance as I did when it was heavier.

And now I’m a statistic. After keeping the weight off for five or so years, I’ve gained it back. Almost all of it. I’m no longer wearing a bikini. The funny thing is, I’m finally okay with that. I would much rather love the body I’m in than have it look a certain way if that meant I couldn’t appreciate it. I would much rather love myself with a few extra pounds than hate myself while fulfilling some ideal of what “hot” is supposed to look  like.

What? You thought that when you reached that number or put on that bikini you’d be done? Oh, if only it were that easy. The work that needs to be done isn’t just on the outside. In fact, that’s the EASY part. The real work is in your mind. You have to start believing that you are worth it; that you are beautiful regardless of anything else.

Girl in Green Swim Suit

I don’t know if I’ll ever wear a bikini again. Maybe, maybe not. For once in my life, a certain “look” isn’t my goal. If it comes down to body image or bikini shots, I’ll take positive body image any day. Bring on the sarong!

I Put On A Bathing Suit & The World Didn’t End!

I’ve been dreading this weekend for weeks, if not months. The date has been staring at me from the calendar like the popular girl daring me to sit at her lunch table. It is known as the unofficial start of summer – or Memorial Day Weekend.

The past several years, I looked forward to the opening weekend of our pool with great excitement. I had a collection of no less than twenty bikinis, which I wore proudly. Last summer, I was a little less comfortable than usual because I had started gaining weight. This year, well, let’s just say the bikinis are still in hibernation. An additional twenty pounds can be a little hard on a girl’s ego.

I made the dreaded trip to acquire a bathing suit and to my surprise was able to find a cute tankini (with a skirt bottom) that made me look okay and not as matronly as I was expecting. Sure I was wearing more than a teen at her high school graduation, but I was comfortable. My weight gain was no one else’s business and the more covered up I was, the better I felt.

I walked into the pool with great apprehension. We’ve been members of this pool for the last several years and therefore know the majority of the members. The first day of the pool is always an inventory of how tall the kids got and who gained or lost weight. I know first-hand because I’ve sat there and done it myself. So, I quickly found a lounge chair and spent an incredibly ridiculous amount of time getting set up with towels, sunscreen, and drinks. I finally settled into my lounge chair refusing to look around. I really wasn’t prepared for the gasps that I knew were coming from everyone once their eyes rested on me and they could see my weight gain.

Of course I could only spend so much time looking at my Diet Coke, so I finally looked around and no one was looking at me. Wait, what? That’s right. No one was looking at ME! Everyone was paying attention to their children, or their friends, or their own Diet Coke. No one cared about my weight gain. If they did, they at least had the decency to hide it well.

Once I realized the entire pool wasn’t pointing and staring at me, I got the courage to get up and walk around to talk to people I hadn’t seen since the pool closed last September. I had a great time socializing and was even told I looked great a time or two. Great? I look great? Is that possible? Why, hell yes it is!

I’m a little pissed at myself for wasting energy on something so trivial and vain. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain I’m not the only person that does that. There have been far too many magazine covers consumed by “getting bikini ready” articles over the last few months for me to think I’m alone in this delusional thinking. Unfortunately, I wasted a whole hour of what could have been socializing on staring at my can of Diet Coke worried that people thought I was fat. What? Yeah, it sounds as ridiculous to me now as it does to you. At the time, well, I was absolutely certain that my world would come crashing down as soon as I revealed my lily white skin.

I had a great weekend. I caught up with friends, ate some great BBQ, got a sunburn, and the world didn’t end. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Side Effects May Include: Being Awesome

Twenty pounds. That’s what I’ve gained over the last few months. That whole saying about it just happened “overnight”….that saying I used to scoff at in my slender little frame? Yeah, well, this shit just happened overnight.

Okay, I obviously didn’t just wake up one day twenty pounds heavier than when I went to bed. But it sure seemed that way. One day I’m running my kids around, fitting in all my workouts, eating in a way that supports my goals, getting all my household stuff done. The next day, I’m still doing everything, but maybe the laundry slips. Then the next everything is done, except maybe we do take out instead of cooking at home. Then the next, I skip a workout. You get the idea? It’s not easy to be living in a perfect little bubble. Things slip up. You don’t notice at first, but the next thing you know, you’re flying through a drive thru, late for some kid practice or another, rushing back home to do 47 loads of laundry because nobody has clean underwear. The only things getting done are the ones that absolutely MUST get done – the non-negotiables. But, your list of non-negotiables shifts the busier you get and suddenly working out doesn’t make the cut. Hell, clean underwear sometimes doesn’t make the cut. It’s just easier to stop off at Target and get NEW underwear instead of doing all that laundry.

You know what Target doesn’t sell? A nice ass. Trust me, I’ve looked. The funny thing is, I care a little less about how I look these days and a lot more about how I feel. I think that break from the gym may have been just what I needed in order to step back and reevaluate my priorities.

My husband and I went white water rafting this weekend. That was some intense shit! I can tell you, not one time was I concerned about what I looked like. I was just thankful that when it came time to paddle, I could do my part. And believe me when I tell you, there was some heavy duty paddling. There was a man in our group that was in his late 60s or early 70s. That dude was paddling like nobody’s business. He was definitely carrying his weight in that raft. I don’t know him personally, but those who do were telling me how active he is. He does all kinds of adventurous things. THAT is my goal. I want to be able to do anything I damn well please when I’m in my 70s and 80s and 90s. I don’t want to be all hunched over dependent on a cane or walker and lose my breath walking to the fridge.

I don’t want to be a body builder or bikini model. I admire those that have the dedication it takes to be those things. I am personally not willing to pay that price anymore. What I want is to dance like a rock star when my daughters get married. I want to be able to take my grandkids to an amusement park and do everything they do. I want to go white water rafting with my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary. I AM willing to pay the price for that. That means treating myself kindly now. It does mean being active, but it doesn’t mean punishing my body. It means eating things that are good for me but also things that taste good to me.

Look, I’m not rushing this whole aging thing. Oh NO! I’m just saying I want to feel kick ass now and 60 years from now. I want to know that even if my running shorts are a size larger than a year ago, I can still run as fast if not faster and farther. I want to be better a year from now than I am now. And a year from that, I want to be even better. If I look awesome as a side effect, then that’s just a bonus. But, I can’t imagine being active and having the mad confidence that comes along with that and not looking awesome.

Back to Basics – Breaking Up With Fitness Mags

Dear Fitness Magazines, I’m sick of your shit. I’ve written before that it seems like the more I learn, the less I know and I feel like I’ve reached the bottom of my dumbing down. Although to say I’m “learning” from you is ridiculous. Oh, sure, back when I had no clue what I was doing, I certainly learned a few things. But now that I do know a few things, I know enough to know most of what you write is total bullshit. Your information is conflicting. You’re funded by advertising dollars from companies like diet pills. DIET PILLS! How can you try to convince me to get in shape when your pages are covered with ads for quick fixes? And I KNOW stuff! What about the poor women out there without the benefit of some basic fitness and nutrition knowledge? Those who feel they have tried everything and failed? Of course they failed! If they could get their shit together by applying what was in your pages, they wouldn’t need your magazines anymore, right?

You try to convince me that I can be long and lean like Gwyneth Paltrow. Guess what? I’m five foot frigging four. There is nothing LONG about me. I can try the Tracy Anderson Method every day for the rest of my life and I will NOT be LONG! The beautiful Gwyneth is five foot nine. Yep, she’s long alright. Regardless of what workout she does, she’ll continue to be long. Regardless of what workout I do, I won’t look like I’m five foot nine.

You try to convince me that something is wrong and unsightly about cellulite and stretch marks by completely removing any evidence of them from your pages. I don’t know a single woman in real life - not a single one – that doesn’t have SOME kind of stretch marks, cellulite, or any other kind of mark proving their humanness.  Guess what? Even my kids had cellulite when they were babies. Gasp! Oh the world would probably revolt if you featured cellulite dimpled women on your pages. But that’s only because you have completely avoided putting them there since the beginning of time.

The “curvy” girls you feature – well, a size 6 instead of a 2 or 4 isn’t really curvy. Kim Kardashian is curvy. You’ve tried to tell me she’s a size 4. I call bullshit on that too. I’ve been a size 4 and she’s at LEAST a 10, if not a 12. (Have you EVER been jeans shopping?! There’s no way a size 4 would fit over her ass. I’ve got all kinds of ass, so I know of what I speak!) There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a 10 or 12. Nothing. However, you’ve spent so much time brainwashing me with your photo shopped images that a size 10 seems like something negative. I’d like to know how you convinced me that my current size (an 8 for those of you wondering) is something to be ashamed of. Yep, ashamed. I recently had to go up to a larger size and when I saw the number 8 in the dressing room, I was sick to my stomach. REALLY? Well, I blame you! But I am revoking that power you have over me. YOU don’t get to decide how I feel about my body. Not anymore.

Signed, Enlightened (Former) Reader

PS – If your methods worked so well, why do you have to photo shop all the models on your pages?

PPS – What’s that? You’re confused about what I mean? Well, luckily I have taken a few photos of some of your ridiculous and unobtainable headlines.

IMG_0692

Let me get this straight? I’m going to have a “Hot Summer Body” in 4 weeks? That’s a mighty hefty claim considering you have NO idea where I’m starting. What if I weighed 300 pounds? I promise you, 4 weeks will not be long enough to give me a “hot summer body”. Furthermore, a safe amount of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. At most, I should lose 8 pounds on your 4 week program, not 10. If you don’t think that’s a big difference, just ask those who live by the number on the scale as a result of brainwashing. By the way, “Fast” is a relative and confusing term causing many to give up their fight if they don’t see results in the first week or two.

IMG_0687

Really now? My dream body in just 2 weeks? TWO weeks? Oh please, do tell! Because thanks to your images, my dream body is about 30 pounds lighter with absolutely no cellulite whatsoever. I’m just going to guess that nothing about that dream will come true.

IMG_0690

NEVER fall short of a goal again? NEVER? Well, either my goals will suck, or this is another example of your total bullshit. People fail all the time. By making them think that “failing” is something bad is, in and of itself, a failure. Your cover fell short of its goal to motivate me.

IMG_0689

You. Cannot. Spot. Train.

The End.

When was the last time….

I went through a single day without wondering if what I was wearing made me look fat?

I looked in a full length mirror without finding something (or several things) to pick apart about my body?

I ate something without mentally calculating the calories?

I ate something and STOPPED when I was satisfied, not when it was all gone?

That I even knew what “satisfied” felt like?

That I wasn’t self conscious when I walked in a room?

I wasn’t sitting around thinking about how to lose the “last 10 pounds”?

I got on line and DIDN’T end up searching for the “best” workout, eating plan, hocus pocus to finally make it click again?

I wasn’t kicking myself for gaining the weight back?

I wasn’t thinking about how I look every.single.day?

Changes are coming. That shit you just read, well, that’s the reason why. Stay tuned.

Moving On

“Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect. It makes you feel inadequate.” ~Maria Shriver

Seriously. Have truer words ever been spoken? Here’s how it works for me. I’ll be chugging along nicely. Working out several times a week. Eating like a normal person, rather than a starved homeless person. Then I’ll get tired. Or bored. And I’ll skip the gym. Then my motivation begins to waiver. One day turns to two, followed by too many nights on pinterest pinning fitness rather than achieving it. Or I’ll be home alone and suddenly decide I’m ravenous. So I’ll eat a bowl of cereal. And by bowl, I’m talking a big jethro bowl. Followed by another. And possibly a third.

So, I’m not working out. I’m eating like crap. I’m in a slump of epic proportions and since I think I’m supposed to be “perfect” I just sit there and wallow in my funk.

What I should do after a misstep, is just pick myself up and keep going. Had a bad week? Whatevs. Own it and move on.

Move. On.

Fitness Goals & Baby Steps

Happy

Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maintaining your goal weight is a little like having a baby. You know it will be awesome when you get there, but no one tells you the really raw details. While you’re losing weight, you are getting compliments like crazy. (It’s sort of like the baby shower. Instead of being showered in gifts, you’re being showered in compliments.) You are feeling confident and fantastic. In fact, some might even say you’re glowing.

Then the day you have been waiting for arrives! You see that magic number you’ve been working toward (your bundle of joy). You are jumping up and down. Your skinny jeans are loose. LOOSE for heaven’s sake! You ride this high for a while. You feel incredible. You walk around with your head held high and you’re pretty sure that the whole world notices how awesome you are. (Everyone wants to hold that beautiful baby and tell you how absolutely perfect it is!) This could quite possibly be your life’s greatest accomplishment. (Okay, the baby probably is but you get what I’m saying.)

Eventually all the hoopla dies down. People stop complimenting you all the time. (No one is coming over with a dinner casserole and helping with laundry anymore.) Your new, trim physique is just who you are now. People expect you to be that hot every day. (You suddenly realize that passing a person through your vagina or being unnaturally cut open from hip to hip isn’t that big of a deal because women do it every day. Whatevs!)

You walk by a mirror and catch a glimpse of your new <insert goal weight here>self and you’re taken back just a little. Your body doesn’t look quite like you thought it would at that magical goal weight. In fact, it’s oddly just a saggy version of its former fat self. (Really, I don’t think you need a comparison here, do you?)

You start to research and are shocked to find out that your smaller body requires fewer calories. Yes, I said fewer. You know, as in less. Not only that, it requires more exercise to burn the same amount of calories your larger body burned. What the what? Why didn’t you come across this information before? Why didn’t your skinny friends tell you? (I can assure you none of my mommy friends told me during a hot shower I would discover that breast milk actually comes out of about a bazillion holes in your nipple instead of just the one I assumed was there.)

Why am I telling you all this? It’s certainly not to discourage you. Quite the contrary, actually. I want you to know that your “journey” shouldn’t be to a magic number. It should be to a better you. There will be struggles and set-backs along the way (constipation or heart burn anyone?). There will also be fantastic and unexpected gifts, like reaching a jean size you haven’t been in since high school or completing your first 5k. (Much like hearing the baby’s heart beat for the first time or feeling her move.)

Don’t get bogged down with the “journey”. Being healthy is a lifetime commitment. It IS the journey. Approaching it as such will help you from getting discouraged on the bad days (baby being up all night teething.) It will also help you appreciate the good days (hearing that infectious belly laugh.)

Here’s the deal, my perfectly imperfect friends. You will have bad days. You will also have some super, fantastic days. Would you give up on that baby if you had a bad day? I didn’t think so.

Originally posted at The Well Written Woman.

Life Lessons

Life LessonsToday I learned the secret to living a happy life – from my 8 year old. To say she’s a creative child would be a gross understatement. The kid comes up with some stuff! I’m actually fortunate enough to learn from both my girls pretty regularly. Funny how you can learn life lessons from people who haven’t been living it nearly as long as you.

When I went into her room this morning, several pieces of paper were taped above her bed. (That’s what that photo is above.) They weren’t there yesterday and I honestly have no idea when she did it. There are also other labels taped all throughout her room. Some have the names of her babies above where her babies lie. She has a piece of paper taped to the wall above some dirty clothes she doesn’t want to throw in the hamper that says “play clothes”. (See? Creative!)

The words taped above her bed though, really hit a chord with me. I think if we can apply an 8-year-old’s rules to our regular daily living we’d get through life a lot happier and less stressed.

Sing ~ Have Fun ~ Story Time ~ Nap ~ Work Hard, Be Smart ~ Don’t Bully

1. Sing! Sing like no one is listening (or watching). If your favorite song comes on the radio, belt it out. Sing regular stuff too. Dinner will be a lot more fun if you sing to your family when it’s ready. At the very least, they’ll come running to witness what they think must certainly be your nervous break down.

2. Have fun! No, really. Let go. Are you afraid of looking silly? Why? I skip through parking lots with my kids. So does my husband. Yeah, we get some crazy looks, but not nearly as many “looks” as we get big, honking smiles. People GET it. And if someone thinks you’re silly for having fun? Well poo poo on them! This is your life to live. Live it like you mean it!

3. Story Time! Relax. Take a break. Step out of reality once in a while. It’s okay to get lost in a good book or even a TV show now and then. We shouldn’t have to be “on” all the time.

4. Nap! Oh, this might be my favorite. There just isn’t much better than a good nap, not that I get them that often. Even if you don’t get to take naps, be rested. Burning your candle at both ends will backfire eventually. It’s not worth it.

5. Work Hard, Be Smart! Good work ethic and a job well done is a life well lived.

6. Don’t Bully. This applies not only to others, but to yourself as well. If friends, families, co-workers, even complete strangers deserve to be treated with respect why don’t you? Would you walk up to a complete stranger and tell them their butt looks big? Nah. So, don’t bully yourself either.

I’m digging these rules. I think the 8-year-old nailed it.

Do You Have A Fitness Girlfriend?

Every time I feel like giving up on this blog and the facebook page, the universe seems to have something else in mind. I’ve had a pretty crappy couple of months as far as my overall fitness goes. I’ve gained weight. Of course that comes as no great surprise considering I’ve basically stopped working out and I’ve been eating like a homeless person at Thanksgiving dinner. So I thought, “who wants to hear fitness stuff from ME?”

I started this blog and the facebook page because I was so excited about everything I was learning about fitness, nutrition, and losing weight. It was all clicking for me and I couldn’t believe I had learned all this information that other people may not know. I was on a roll!

Then the last year or so I’ve struggled. My motivation has been so up and down it needs it’s own Prozac prescription. My eating…well, let’s just say I’ve rediscovered my bad habits of cereal and Pop Tarts in the evenings. I’ve joined new gyms, tried new classes, blah blah blah. Nothing seems to make a difference. I’m still struggling. I’ve gone from hitting spin class several times a week, strength training, and stellar nutrition to working long hours sitting on my ass and shoving anything in my face with more than 20 carbs.

Pop-Tarts

Personally, I prefer strawberry.

So, really? Who wants to hear fitness stuff from me?

Fitness Model 1

This is NOT me.

Then it occurred to me that the people who would want to hear from me are the people who are just like me. Okay, well maybe you’re not quite as fabulously demented as I am, but I digress. Here’s the deal. I don’t work out every day. There are some months I don’t work out at all. I don’t eat CLEAN. I eat sugar and drink diet coke. I eat Pop Tarts and pizza. I struggle trying to find time to be both a kick- ass mom and having a kick-ass ass. Some days I have so much work to do the last thing on my mind is exercising. There are days I think I can actually feel my thighs expanding. I’ve picked the least dirty clothes out of the hamper to give my kids to wear to school because I just didn’t have enough time or energy to do another frigging load of laundry.

The short of it – I’m human. Although I know exactly what to eat and how to exercise to get that “perfect” body, I just don’t have the energy for that shit. I’m a 38 year old mom who would just like to jiggle a little less. I would like to be able to spend time with my kids without wanting to poke their eyes out because I’m so tired. I would like to go to bed knowing that I’ve put out all the fires my job requires so I don’t get fired from said job. (I don’t want to be an actual homeless person even though I may eat like one at times.) I want all the important people in my life to actually feel important. And if the laundry gets done, that’s a bonus.

I’m no fitness expert. I AM your fitness girlfriend. (Not THAT kind of girlfriend. I’m a girl who is your friend, as my 8 year old says.) I have a lot of knowledge but I’m not so smart that I think I know it all. If you read this blog, I hope you know I’m here to inspire the “every woman”. There may be days where the inspiration is “Damn! I worked out today and she didn’t. HA!”. Or it may be, “I haven’t worked out in a week, but hey, neither has that fitness blogger. I’m NORMAL!” OR maybe you just want to read my stuff because I’m ridiculously hilarious.

Norman Wisdom Laughing

This guy really gets me.

Either way, the universe tells me that my job here is NOT done. I don’t know what that’s all about, but I’m not one to question the universe.