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!

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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.

Uh Oh! Are You A Bully?

photo credit: comingsoon.netPerhaps I’m just hyper-aware of bullying right now because my baby will be entering middle school soon. But it seems evertime I turn around I’m hearing, reading, or watching a story about kids being bullied and in some extreme cases even killing themselves over it.

These kids are bullied for so many stupid things. They are different, they are gay, they are small, or big, they are too fat or too skinny, they believe in Jesus, or they don’t. Whatever it is these bullies decide is “wrong” with them, these victims are relentlessly reminded of it. Oh and it’s not just at school anymore. It’s on facebook, twitter, blogs, wherever. These kids can’t escape it. There’s no safe haven for them.

In some cases the parents figure out what’s going on and step in and something gets done about it. I suspect we don’t hear much about those cases. It’s the cases where these kids keep it all bottled up inside. Or the parents’ plea for help falls on deaf ears at the schools. Perhaps even the schools’ hands are tied. For whatever reason, these kids find this bullying so completely unbearable they just can’t possibly live with it anymore.

It’s not just kids, of course. I read an article the other day that a German model living in the UK committed suicide. It is suspected it may have had to do with on-line trolls bashing her for her appearance. A model!

Think about how you talk to yourself. Let me write that again. THINK.ABOUT.HOW.YOU.TALK.TO.YOURSELF. Are you a bully? Do you look in the mirror and curse yourself for your appearance. Do you say disparaging things to yourself because of cellulite? Do you have a bad day because of a number on a scale? Do you call yourself fat? Worthless?

Don’t be a bully. Be kind to yourself. The victims of bullies are tortured. It changes how they feel about themselves. Maybe they didn’t know they had a big nose. But for the rest of their life that’s all they’ll think about in regard to their appearance. Why would you do that to yourself? Imagine if your son, daughter, brother, sister, or friend came home and said someone made rude remarks about their appearance. Imagine if you were standing in line at the grocery store and some bitch behind you told you that your ass was huge. Um, really? No, it’s time to put a stop to this. It’s time to stop bullying.

Getting Fat – Part 4 – My "AHA" Moment

AHA!

If you remember, I was super hot and thin when I met my husband (why yes, the description of myself does get better and better with each part of my story). Then we decided to have a baby. And then another. So here we are in a new home, in a new state, starting a new life. We have no family or friends here. We have a three year old and an infant and we settle into that. We go to work, come home, worship our babies until their bedtime and then fall into exhausted lumps on the couch. Welcome to our 30s. The only thing we were missing was a white picket fence.

Sure, there’s talk of getting in shape. There were even a couple hundred dollars thrown in the general direction of a gym we never went to (again). We just didn’t want that worse than we wanted to lay around on the couch and talk about how fat and tired we were. We were settling. And we really enabled each other with this. I would tell him I was really okay with the way I looked (even though I’m sure I wasn’t deep down) as long as I could keep doing what I was doing. I was willing to trade the drive thru meals for bigger pants, as long as they didn’t get any bigger. My husband would say the same to me. And we would confirm to each other that of course we loved the other just the way we were.

In August 2006 we went back home for vacation. We saw my family and his. We also saw a lot of friends. Some who we had seen fairly recently and some who we hadn’t seen in years. I was shocked to see a lot of these people had also “settled” into their lives. I could see myself in them. They were working parents and just as exhausted as we were. The bigger pants they were wearing was the price they paid, that we all paid, for the life we were “living”. The life where work and kids take over and there’s no time for anything else. The time in your life where you put yourself on the back burner because everything else requires so much attention. These babies aren’t going to take care of themselves! And babies spit up a lot so there’s tons of little laundry. I realized I was more worried about creating a perfect life than I was about enjoying it. That included taking care of myself. Don’t get me wrong. I was NOT judging any of these people. As I said, I saw a reflection of myself in them. I had no room to judge anyone. We were the same.

We also saw some people who looked absolutely amazing. They were also working parents and living their lives, but they fit in taking care of themselves. THAT was when I decided I wanted to change my reflection. I wanted to change what was staring back at me. Oh, sure! I had said that one hundred bazillion times before. But this time? This time is serious! I’m going to do this. I didn’t want to look the way I did anymore. I was no longer willing to accept double digit clothing for an eggroll at the drive thru.  I vowed then and there I would make a change. I didn’t want until “tomorrow”. I didn’t say, “oh, I’ve already screwed today up, I’ll start Monday”. None of that. I decided that moment I would start making better decisions. Seeing myself in those I knew while seeing what I could still be, THAT was my aha moment.

The "F" Word

The lady who does my eyebrows called me fat.

Okay, that totally didn’t happen. Not exactly.

The lady who has been doing my eyebrows (I get them threaded)  for the longest had been on maternity leave, so I hadn’t seen her in several months. I walked in and she recognized me right away, even remembering my name. I thought that was pretty impressive. She did her thing and I was done in just a few minutes, as usual. We do the whole small talk thing and sometimes I can’t exactly understand what she’s saying due to her thick accent. I’ll be honest, sometimes I just smile and nod. I know she probably does the same and I’m cool with that.

On this particular day she said, “oh, you have put on some weight, yes?”. I smiled and nodded yes. Then said, “wait, what?!” She was smiling very brightly, as people often do when giving a genuine compliment and said, “you have put on some weight. Your face, it’s very full. You look good.”

*blink*

Did this bitch just call me fat? Her words and her face totally didn’t match. She was smiling as if she were very proud, but those words – those were nothing to be proud of! Now, of course I know I’m not fat. (Although I have definitely not been as committed to my work outs as I would like.) But I immediately went on the defensive. My response to her was some mumbling version of, “oh yeah, I probably have. Thank you.” The dude that was waiting his turn (yes, apparently dudes get their eyebrows threaded too) had an “OH SNAP!” look on his face.

I won’t lie. I was devestated when I left there. I called my hubby and he didn’t answer. I had to run some errands for work. So, I went to an office where I’ve developed a good friendship with some of the girls that work there (had to pick up something for my office) and relayed the story to these girls. They had the proper, “oh no she didn’t” response. And they let me complain about it, all the while telling me how great I look. Hubby had a similar response. (Which is what supportive people are supposed to do when you are acting completely irrationally.)

After a couple of days I could laugh about it. I know that eyebrow lady genuinely meant what she was saying as a compliment. It was in no way any type of insult. Of course, I was a little sensitive since I hadn’t worked out in some time, so I let it get to me. (I also have a new eyebrow lady.) I almost let simple words of another change the way I feel about myself. I determine my self worth. I create my own truth. No one else. Don’t let anyone else create yours! You smell what I’m cookin’?

Nutri-ligion

Red crosses

Do you ever get the feeling that people are trying to shove something down your throat? Whether it’s their religion or the way they eat, people are passionate about their beliefs. Tiffany (aka Workout Girl) and I have both experienced this. We were discussing it today and both realized we were writing a post about it. We decided to combine our posts for a joint effort. We both think it’s important to understand that people understand they need to find what works for them.

Join us over at 2 Fit Freaks to read what else we had to say about it in our post titled “Nutri-ligion”.

The Weekend I Gave Up Facebook

Facebook logo
Image via Wikipedia

I am obsessive. There, I said it. That line I’ve written “when I do something I go all in”? What that translates into is “when I do something I am totally, completely obsessed with it”. I live, eat, and breathe that “thing”. Whatever my “thing” of the moment is. It usually doesn’t take long until I move on to a new thing. Being obsessive is exhausting, after all.

My latest obsession, fitness, has outlasted all others because there are so many different facets to be obsessed with. First, I found the Couch to 5K. So, I read everything there was to read about running, shoes, clothes, safety, gait, training methods, etc. Then I moved on to food, learning what each food and macronutrient did to or for my body. What super foods were. If it were a hoax. Foods to speed up my metabolism. Foods that slow it down. Next up was fitness, learning how different exercises effected the muscles. What type of training was most effective; cardio, strength, both, HIIT, group classes, etc. I got certified as a trainer, I started a facebook page, I started this blog. See what I mean? Obsessed.

Then I hit a wall. I was doing too much; spreading myself too thin. I was spending more time on the computer than I was with my family. It was no longer fun. What the hell? It’s not like I’m getting paid for this. I write because I love to. I do the facebook page because it seems to inspire people. But, if I’m writing out of obligation, you aren’t getting a genuine representation of me. When I’m facebooking out of obligation, you aren’t getting the right kind of support. I have a desire to help people so obviously I don’t want to stop. But something’s got to give. What’s an obsessed person to do?

I’ll tell you what this obsessed person did. I gave up facebook. For three days. It was uncomfortable at first. Facebook is like my pacifier. I go to it if I’m bored, need a distraction, sitting at a stop light too long, near a computer…you get the idea. I would pick up my phone out of habit. I would sit at the computer and start logging in before I even realized what I was doing. But, I stopped myself. I didn’t peek or cheat. After the first day, I was less curious about what was happening and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. By the third day, it was complete relief that I didn’t have that constant itch to check it. In fact, I was supposed to go back on Facebook on Monday. When I logged in I quickly decided I had other things I should be doing and just logged right back off. I felt relaxed. Whatever was happening around me (in actual real life), I was a part of. When absolutely nothing was happening, I was a part of that too. There are times when I need nothing to be happening.

I did get on facebook today. Heck, someone even said they missed me on the fitness page (woo hoo, thanks!!). But, I realized the expectations I’ve set for myself are only expected by me. I’m pretty sure no one logs on facebook specifically to see what I’m doing. I seriously doubt anyone skipped a workout because I didn’t offer any “motivation”. (Well, except for maybe one person, but let’s be honest Aimee, that was just your excuse.) I’m also pretty sure my daughter appreciated having my undivided attention instead of me half listening, half looking at the computer while she’s trying to show me the latest dance move she’s created.

So, what’s the moral of the story? There’s life away from your computer screen (or phone). I promise you if something major happens, you’ll find out about it. (Although I did find out my brother got married on facebook, but my sis-in-law was calling me right as I read it.) That particular obsession, or distraction as it really became, was causing me grief. I was losing way too much time on the computer over something that really wasn’t that entertaining. Is it fun to go on? Sure, sometimes. But is it necessary to stalk my own posts to see if everyone else thinks I’m as funny as I do? Nope. If the only place I’m funny (or have friends) is behind a computer screen, I’ve got problems.

What distraction can you give up, or spend less time on, that would enable you to do more things that matter?

Valuing Others More Than You Value Yourself

English: Sunrise.
Image via Wikipedia

Remember not so long ago when I vowed to become a morning person? Well, I’m still not a morning person. My alarm goes off early every single morning. And every single morning I turn it off and roll over for the best sleep ever for the next hour and a half. Without fail, I always end up regretting it at some point during the day. Regret typically sets in when my workout time gets blown off because something unexpected came up. By the time I deal with said “unexpected event” I’m “too tired” to work out. How pitiful is that?

Last month because of a work project I had to wake up an hour and a half earlier than normal. Yes, a whole hour and a half. For three days in a row. Guess what? I did it. I didn’t like it. At all. But, I did it. I was on time (mostly) and accomplished what needed to get done. I didn’t die or even kill anyone for that matter. I thought, “wow, I made it. I should totally be able to do this for myself.” Guess what I did the first day the project was over? Sleep in. The next day? You guessed it. I valued my commitment to my job more than I valued my commitment to myself. Wow. Until just now when I wrote that, I didn’t realize how much that totally sucks. Sadly, I know I’m not alone. I hear all the time “I don’t have time to work out”. These are the same people who are at every school function, every game, and every birthday party.

Why do we put everyone around us first? By putting others first, we’re most often putting ourselves last. We can’t continue to do that. Whether it’s working out, finishing a degree, enjoying a hobby, or anything else you’ve put off because your day is filled with doing for others it’s time to commit to yourself. Maybe you’ll have to get up a little earlier (oh Lord, help me). Maybe stay up a little later. Or perhaps even send store-bought cookies instead of home-made (GASP!). Do not value your commitment to others more than you value your commitment to yourself.

What specific commitment will you begin valuing right now?

December Is NOT a Free For All

image via hotfrog.co.uk

“I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just going to gain weight during the holidays.”

Uh, say what? I resisted writing this post for a couple of weeks because it’s so cliché. You can find “holiday survival guides” all over the place right now. Unfortunately, the closer we get to Christmas the more often I’m hearing some variation of this. So, I’m chiming in. You’ve probably heard most or all of these tips. But, I promise you, December does not have to be a free for all. Why undo all the work you’ve done this year? Why start in January?

1. Pick your poison. Chances are you don’t LOVE every food that’s being offered. So, be a food snob. Only put the things you love on your plate. Don’t eat it because that’s what you’ve always eaten at a party. If you take a bite of a pig in a blanket and it isn’t absolutely divine to your palate, STOP EATING IT! This is an opportunity to eat fabulous food that you don’t normally get to eat. Don’t waste the room in your belly on crap.

2. Don’t go hungry. For heaven’s sake, don’t think you are “saving up your calories” for the party. Do you know what will happen? You will be famished when you get there. You will pile your plate with a bunch of junk you won’t even taste because you’re wolfing it down so fast. You will end up eating more calories this way and you won’t even taste them. I promise. Trust me on this.

3. Have water between each adult beverage. This will help you save some calories. It will also keep you from getting buzzed and eating 42 cookies and a whole bowl of dip.

4. Don’t stand around the food. It seems like everyone always gravitates toward the food. And just stands there. That makes it easy to grab a chip when there’s a lull in the conversation. Or when someone else is talking. Or when no one is looking. Prepare your plate and step away from the table.

5. Be active! If the kids are playing Wii, play with them. If there isn’t 10 feet of snow outside, grab some people and go for a walk. This may seem awkward, especially if your family isn’t particularly active. But you might be surprised by who will join you. OR who you inspire to get moving who might not have otherwise. Being active also goes for your workout routine. If your schedule is tight do some lunges, squats, push ups, tricep dips and planks at home. You can do these any time you have a little free time. You CAN squeeze activity into your day.

Don’t let December blow all your hard work. You can enjoy all the festivities without regret, guilt, and feeling like crap. Keep your goals in mind and make this the year you become even MORE awesome in December.

Enjoying the Journey

Wagon Queen Family Truckster (5 of 5)Recently I was watching The Today Show and they were doing one of their concert series. A woman video taping the concert was watching it through the camera instead of watching the singer on the stage. I thought to myself, although she’s documenting the concert to watch over and over, she could have just dvr’d it at home and more than likely would have had better footage. Did she really experience the concert while watching it through a camera or was she too busy recording it for later?

That very same day I had a conversation with another very busy mom friend of mine and she said she’s so busy cleaning, working, running, etc that she wonders if she’s missing out on the “journey”. Is it possible we’re so busy on our journey that we’re missing the awesome little things on the way? What if we missed out on a potentially fabulous conversation with our kid because we were too busy worrying if the kitchen counter was clean enough? Did we cut a conversation with our spouse too short because we were so busy trying to get the kids loaded up in the car to be shuffled to their next activity? The conversation with our child or our spouse is the journey. The kitchen counter can wait. You can be a minute or two late to practice. We are so busy doing, we aren’t living. Embrace the moments along the way. Those are the moments it’s all about.

I read a lot of health and fitness blogs and weight loss is often referred to as a “journey”. (I know I’ve done it.)  The thing is a journey has a destination. If you were on a journey to a family vacation to an amusement park, the park is obviously your destination. Most people on the weight loss journey think their destination is a number. Usually a number on a scale or in a pair of designer jeans. If that’s your destination what happens when you arrive? Maintenance is its very own journey. So, your journey is never really over. It’s just a new day on your road trip to Wally World – be glad you’re driving and not Clark Griswold.

It’s time we stop looking at our quest for health as a journey that will end. The journey never ends. “Diet” implies temporary. What? You’re going to eat crappy again when you reach your destination? Your journey should be discovering new, fabulous foods that you enjoy. Deprivation? Well, that doesn’t work. If you have a food you absolutely love, indulge in it. occasionally.

You shouldn’t think you can stop working out when you get to your magic number. You can’t. Not if you want to stay there.  Instead of working out like crazy thinking you can’t WAIT to let up when you reach your goal, think about the muscles you’re working. Enjoy the definition you see in each muscle as a result of the different types of exercise. Discover what YOUR body best responds to. Learn to listen to your body. Discover a new sport you love. You may be surprised to learn that you’re a fantastic runner or a kick ass kick boxer. Trust me, couch potatoes can be transformed into athletes.

Enjoy every day. Enjoy every moment. Don’t cheat yourself out of the “journey”. Stop “doing” and start living. Enjoy the ride, even if you feel like you’ll never get out of that beat up station wagon and poor grandma is tied to the roof.