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.


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!

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.


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.


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.


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.


You. Cannot. Spot. Train.

The End.

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.

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 As I Say, Not As I Do


sleeping (Photo credit: riebschlager)

I’m tired. I’m not talking sleepy here – I mean like bone tired exhausted. A couple of weeks ago my computer crashed. Not like a little crash where you can press down the power button for a few seconds and get it to at least come back up. I’m talking full on super crash where only a black screen pops up and some fancy code words appear that translate roughly into “You.Are.Screwed.” One of my responsibilities at my real job is the bookkeeping. All of 2012 was completely lost.

Before you ask me why I didn’t back it up and I have to poke you in the eye, I will tell you that I did back it up. I had backed it up regularly on flash drives. Apparently there were some corrupt files and blah blah. Long story short, I’ve spent the last few weeks recreating my 2012 books. (Thank the Lord everything else was saved.) This means lots and lots of hours in front of my computer doing mindless data entry. It is necessary, but excruciatingly exhausting. I’m still working on it and hope to have it done in the next two weeks or so. (I have also subscribed to online back ups. This girl learns quick!)

I’ve let this be a(nother!) excuse for not working out. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I wasn’t at my office or driving my kids somewhere, I was diligently at my computer entering all the info. See what I said there, though? I made sure I took care of things at the office. I made sure I took care of getting my kids to their activities. I didn’t take little breaks for myself.


I would look at my little calendar hanging in my bathroom where I log my workouts and think, “well, it’s not as bad as it looks. After all, I have been really busy with work.” mmmm hmmmm…. I’ll try to remember how “busy” I was when my pants don’t fit. Oh wait, they don’t fit!


If you’re in a rut where you’re taking care of everything BUT yourself, I want you to know you’re not alone. It’s human nature to give all we’ve got and at the end of the day there’s nothing left for us. Being committed to yourself can be difficult to keep, but it’s as important, if not more than all the other commitments we have. Is it time for you to re-evaluate and take a little time for yourself?


Why We Quit

Give Up Graffiti #ds367

Give Up Graffiti #ds367 (Photo credit: brendan-c)

“You can’t fire me – I QUIT!”

I’ve never said those words, but I’ve been in a few situations where, had the opportunity come, I might very well have. Can you just imagine that scenario? You’re working a job, probably one that sucks pretty badly. You think about quitting, but, well you’re not really that into dumpster diving for dinner so you keep showing up to work. One day something blows up and you end up getting fired (wrongly, of course). You think, ‘WHAT? I hate this place. You can’t fire ME. I’m firing YOU!” You are appalled at the very idea that YOU were the one in the wrong when you actually show up to this crappy job every day. It’s not like you’re heart broken that you no longer have that job. Quite the contrary; it’s a relief. But YOU didn’t get to make the decision – your boss did.

You didn’t control how it ended.

I think we’re like that with a lot of things, not just some crappy job or our commitment to fitness. We are so afraid of failing that we would actually rather quit. That’s why the diet industry is a $20 billion a year business. How many times have you started a fitness routine or a new “diet” and it was hard? Anyone? Anyone? It was SO hard, in fact, that you just gave up on it. You thought, “Ya know what? This doesn’t work. I quit.” Except here’s the truth – that work out DVD you gave up on? It would have worked. The reason these companies can offer you a money back guarantee isn’t because their program is magical or the only way to get in shape. It’s because if you go from doing nothing to do something – anything – you will see result. But you don’t see results, because you quit.

Quitting is easy. It puts you in charge of how things end. You can walk proudly away from your “stupid” gym because you didn’t like it anyway. You can come up with a million reasons why you quit going and they can all be because of the gym. But the reality is, if you would have put the work in, you would have gotten results. Putting the work in can suck. Putting the work in might mean admitting that you aren’t as strong as you thought. Or you might get embarrassed because you aren’t sure what to do. Putting the work in is uncomfortable.

Your fear of failing is so great you’d rather walk away.

Stop being a quitter. Easier said than done, right? Yes, especially if you’ve always been one to walk away when the going got tough. YOU are the decision maker. People don’t quit on you; you quit on them! But if you’re truly ready to meet your goals, you have to be prepared to keep going even when you want to quit. You have to prepare to fail. Failure isn’t permanent; quitting is.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”  ― Maya Angelou

You owe it to yourself to fail. There is no great success without failure. Pick a goal, any goal at all, and determine you are going to stick with it. If you struggle with discipline, read this. It was written by Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete (don’t worry carnivores, it has absolutely nothing to do with vegetarianism) and is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever read about creating habits.

You can start right now. Set goals that are worthwhile and be determined to see them through. If you are willing to quit on a goal when it gets rough, what’s the point in starting? Is it something you really wanted anyway? Make your mind up right now, in this moment, to only devote your time to things that are worthwhile. When that’s the case, quitting is not an option.

Flaws and All

I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half now. While it seems like I just started it also seems, at the same time, that I’ve always blogged. I enjoy writing and most of the time, the stuff just writes itself. I’ve evolved from trying to do a motivational and instructional blog to sharing some of my own struggles with you. I’ve changed the look of the blog about a bazillion times (seriously, though, that’s super fun to do!). I’ve changed the web address of the blog a few times. If I would have stayed right where I was, who knows how many followers I might have by now. But, I took the chance and “started over” by starting a brand new address. And then another. Through all of that, what I was really seeking was me.

Over the course of the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve joined gyms, quit gyms, (I’ve quit and rejoined the same gym like 3 times). I’ve found new classes, I’ve tried classes that were definitely not what I was looking for. I’ve tried working out at home. I’ve tried working out at the gym. I’ve tried cardio only, I’ve tried getting serious about weight lifting. I’ve tried this weight loss method or that one. I’ve looked into “coaching” schools so I can help teach people how to live better. I’m constantly searching for answers. But the truth is, I only need one thing that will answer all of my questions.

I need a positive self-image and I don’t have it. All those other things I’ve been doing? Well, they were just the distractions while my brain finally caught up with the rest of me. So, I’m done “changing” everything around me (except maybe the look of the blog, because that shit is FUN I tell ya!). What I need to work on has absolutely nothing to do with my abs or how many calories a bagel has. What I need to do is learn to honestly and authentically love myself and my body for all that it is and all that it isn’t.

My “theme” for 2012 was simplicity. I think my brain needed simplicity to quiet down. I needed to get rid of all the excess so I could “find” what I was looking for. And what I was really, truly looking for was a way to accept myself, flaws and all. My theme for 2013 is going to be “flaws and all”. I’m flawed. I make mistakes as a wife, mom, employee, friend, daughter, sister, etc. Why? Because I’m flawed. I don’t look like a super model in the mirror. Hell, I don’t even look like pictures of myself from a few years ago. I’m flawed. I can’t have a team following me around telling me the right things to do or say. They can’t airbrush me to make me look idealistic. They can’t do my hair and make up. (Although that part would be sort of awesome.) I can’t have a team to tell me if I have broccoli in my teeth or toilet paper on my shoe. I can’t have a team motivating me constantly or pushing me at every work out. I can’t have someone slap the donuts out of my hand (dude, I will break someone’s hand!). You know what? That’s okay. It’s time to accept myself for all that I am.

Flaws and all.

Body Hate

Vintage Postcard ~ Girl w/Glasses

Vintage Postcard ~ Girl w/Glasses (Photo credit: chicks57)

Almost everyone has done it. Sometimes we get so “good” at it, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Self-deprecating behavior. That thing we do where we say out loud to no one in particular; “I hate my body”; “my thighs are so fat”; “I look ridiculous in these pants”. Or how about when someone compliments you and you turn it around to insult yourself. “Oh, you look great today!” Instead of replying with a simple thank you, you respond with, “Oh my gosh, you must be kidding?! Look how tight this shirt is today. I feel so gross. I really need to get back in the gym.”

Thinking and speaking to yourself in that way is damaging enough to your own psyche. However, that doesn’t seem to be enough to break the bad habit for some. Oh who am I kidding? Most people fail to break this bad habit. So, how about this? The next time you catch yourself with an insult swirling in your head, think about the people who look up to you. Particularly, any little ones you may have in your life.

If you have kids (or nieces, nephews, etc), think about how confused they must be to hear you mutter, “I am SO fat!” You know what? They think you are beautiful. They look at you as a hero. But if their hero is telling them that the image they view as beautiful isn’t, what does that say about them?

Take glasses for example. If you constantly say you hate the way you look in glasses, but then your child ends up having to get glasses how will they feel? Most likely, they will think there is something wrong with wearing glasses. After all, if you hate the way you look in glasses, you probably hate the way they look in glasses too. However, if you wear your glasses confidently and your child also ends up wearing glasses, you’ve been a fantastic role model.

If you look in the mirror and tear your body apart, what do you think your children will do when they look at themselves? “If mom thinks she looks fat with her belly, then I MUST be fat with mine.” My youngest daughter had the most precious budha belly of all time when she was around 3 years old. She thought it was awesome. She would rub it and say, “look at my belly!” She would run around lifting her shirt to expose that beautiful, round belly to anyone who would look in her direction. But what if I rubbed my belly in the mirror and proclaimed how fat it was? Would that change how my baby looked at herself? I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

I hope you aren’t anymore either.