Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dear Fall, please hurry

I know that I recently posted about how much I was going to make myself love summer, but the truth is, I'm sick of it.  Kansas (as well as much of the country) has been hunkered down in a standoff against humanity by keeping the temperatures at or around 105 (with a heat index of 200) -- many days the actual temperature has been up to 111, seriously.  It's too hot to go swimming in the afternoons (by then, the swimming pools feel like hot tubs).  Honestly, it's just too hot to be outside, period -- this proves difficult with a toddler who begs to play outside constantly (he's even begun bringing me my shoes in hopes that we can go out).  Drops of rain are so rare that if one is spotted, people camp out at their windows with their noses pressed against glass searching for the sight of just one more drop -- it's like we've never seen rain before.  You can't step outside without melting, farmers have lost their crops (thus their incomes), people are dying of heat strokes -- it's madness out there.  I will admit that we were very thankful for the 'good soaker rain' (as my husband calls it) we received this evening.



Sometime during the wee hours of last night, our air conditioner quit working (meaning our house was unbearably hot by 8:00am).  This is happening left and right (and front and back) around here because air conditioning units are having to work double time around the clock to attempt to keep up with the blistering hot air.  I took Daisy to a friend's house to keep cool while the munchkin and I went to the gym.  I suppose it's a little weird to head to the gym to beat the heat, but that's what we did.  I was able to get in a full hour of upper body weights and abs, followed by 60 minutes of instructing Yoga.  Thankfully our unit was repaired (with only minor damage to the bank account) by early afternoon and naps were taken in comfort.  Tonight, bedtime prayers with our son included requests for cooler weather.


Needless to say, I'm ready for Fall.  I mean really ready.  I'm ready let the sun shine in through open windows, I'm ready to be able to go on evening walks with my family, I'm ready for post-bedtime glasses of wine on the deck, I'm ready for jeans and long sleeves and scarves, I'm ready for my eyeliner to not melt down to my collarbones when I only just think of leaving the house.  I'm ready for early morning thunderstorms and the deep rich reds and golds that Autumn brings.  I'm ready. 



Summertime, you've made your presence known.  It's time for you to go.

Dear Fall, please hurry.


Keep cool.  Pray for cooler weather.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

'Social' Etiquette

Etiquette, we all know what it means, right?  Right?  Maybe not.  My recent social networking adventures are leading me to believe that many people have forgotten all about manners, etiquette, and the simple niceties we all learned in kindergarten.  Just in case you don't have your dictionary handy, I'll share with you the definition of the word etiquette, as found on www.dictionary.com.

Etiquette - [et-i-kit, -ket] - noun - conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.


I'll be honest with you, my first instinct was to provide you with examples pulled from my own personal Facebook news feed, but I decided against it (mostly because I would prefer not to be an instigator).  Maybe instead we could discuss a few things not to do in this age of social media.

Do not:
:Use curse words - Even if you leave a letter out or replace it with a * (the curse word is still implied).  It's offensive, disrespectful, and you never know who will see it.
:Use text-style shorthand - Okay, this doesn't have a lot to do with etiquette, it's just a personal pet peeve of mine.  I mean, really, does it take that much longer to type the word 'because' rather than 'cuz'?  It just makes you appear lazy.  "I totlly 8 @ red lbstr 2nite w/ ma bestie an thn wnt 2 the swimn pool b4 hittn the clbs l8r. OMG it wuz lame cuz nobdy showd up xcpt dat 1 grl... smh, lol. Ima jus stay home nex weeknd... jkjk."  Does anyone else find that super annoying?  I had to think twice as hard to type those 'sentences', wouldn't it be easier to spell real words?
:Air your dirty laundry - Look, we all get irritated with our friends from time to time, but you don't have to tell all 815 of your 'friends' about it.  If you're upset with someone, send them a private message (or talk to them in person, for Pete's sake)!  And, an observation I have made is that the people who regularly profess a hatred of 'drama' seem to have an awful lot of it.  It's easy to say things on the Internet that you wouldn't normally say out loud, because hiding behind a keyboard gives a sense of security.  Don't forget that your words, can hurt people unnecessarily (and, not to mention, get a whole slew of people involved in your business).
:Complain in detail about work - simply because it will get back to your boss.  Everyone is on Facebook these days, someone will see it and tattle.  Use your noggin.
:Share intimately personal details about your life - I don't want to know anything about your bowel movement schedule, your GYN visit, your bra size, your bedroom secrets, your toenail fungus, or how much you hate that girl who you think stole your boyfriend.  You may have a keyboard, but you don't have to share every thought that crosses your mind.
:Post pictures that you may someday regret posting - Remember that other people also can save and store images on their computers.  Information you put on the Internet doesn't go away, it could come back to bite you on the fanny someday (think future job interviews, getting into colleges, etc.).
:Confuse social media with being social - Haven't you noticed that people (especially kids) are becoming incredibly socially awkward?  Speak to your friends (face-to-face) once in a while, it will do you some good.
:Forget that Caps Lock means you are "yelling" - It's also important to remember that people can't hear your tone when reading what you have written.  Be clear with your words and don't use all capitals unless you are ready for the repercussions.
Forget to check your spelling - With websites dedicated to the hilariousness of misspelled words (either from auto correct or true typos), reread what you have written before you press send.
:Say anything if you can't say something nice - Because isn't that what adults are supposed to do?


So now that we know what not to do online, what about in public?  I am particularly talking about using your electronic devices when in public.  Remember that when you are walking through the isles of the grocery store, everyone can hear your phone conversation -- whisper, or hang up.  It's probably not too much to ask to hang up your phone while paying the cashier at the market, or while eating at a restaurant (mostly because it's rude not to).  As much as you would hold a door for the person behind you (and I really hope you would), don't text while you're at the dentist or the salon.  I mean, what is so important that it truely can't wait for twenty minutes?  And also (this is another pet peeve of mine), if you're not driving, lose the blue tooth ear piece -- it makes you look like a dill weed, not to mention that people assume you are schizophrenic if you are facing the wrong direction.


There are also the common sense rules that everyone should follow such as, don't text while you are supposed to be having a conversation with the person in front of you, don't invest more time in Facebook than your family, don't text while you're driving (this really is a safety issue), don't replace all phone calls with texts, and don't get upset when you can't reach someone immediately.  I know, in this age of constant accessibility, it can seem like the end of the world when you can't reach someone, but I promise that they will see that they have missed a call from you.  You don't have to call every phone they have.  Maybe they are eating dinner, or playing outside with their children.  They can always call you later.  Also, try to follow the 9am-9pm rule when making phone calls and sending texts.


As far as true old-fashioned etiquette goes, I really don't care if you know the proper way to set a formal table or the best way to carve a turkey.  Just be polite, use your manners, use correct spelling for crying out loud, and think before you speak (and type).

Thanks for letting me stand my soap box for a while.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Better.

Today is much better than yesterday, by far.  I successful made it through the day without cheating on my healthy eating plan.  I felt great at the gym this morning (despite the untimely death of my MP3 player), and have easily made healthy choices at breakfast and lunch.  Would I still like to dive into a pool of chocolate ice cream?  Sure!  But mostly because this awful heat wave is killing me and the swimming pool feels like stale bath-water.  Today I am going to focus not on what I am giving up, but what I am gaining.


By making better choices, I am gaining confidence.  I am gaining muscle tone.  I am gaining energy during the day, more satisfying sleep at night, and the ability to know and understand what my body needs.  I'm not saying that all the positive aspects make it easy (for proof, read yesterday's post).  I'm saying that I feel good.  And that's worth more to me right now than a cheeseburger and a brownie.


I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not trying to be skinny.  I want to be healthy.  I don't find anything attractive about looking bony.  I want to feel strong and sexy.  I want to look toned and beautiful.  I have no need to see my ribs or spine or hip bones.  But I certainly am sick of seeing a fat, saggy belly that looks like an old, worn-out saddle bag.  I want to live better -- yes to look better -- but mostly to feel better.  And, I'm staying positive in my belief that, eventually, all my hard work will be worth it.


I also want you to know that I understand that my version of healthy may not be the same as your version.  My goal weight may be one that makes you cry.  My weight right now may be your goal.  And that's okay.  You have to define healthy for yourself.  You have to stop letting food control you.  And, most importantly, you have to stop beating yourself up for your perceived imperfections.  Hear me when I say this, You were wonderfully and beautifully made.  Learning to love yourself on the inside means taking care of yourself.  Taking care of yourself means caring for you soul, your mind, your heart (physically and metaphorically), and your body.  Stop wallowing in the excuses you have been making, and, instead, make the decision to be a better version of yourself.  You are already amazing, don't you want to feel that way, too?


You don't have to spend loads of time at the gym to get healthy and feel amazing.  Just do a little bit each day.  Find what you love and roll with it.  Throw around some weights, if that's your thing.  Yoga it up if you are feeling bendy.  Mix it up, move your body.  Get strong.  Treat your workout like any other appointment or meeting that you can't cancel.  And you don't have to starve yourself to lose inches.  But you do have to make better decisions.  You don't have to use any fancy diet plans, because diets don't work.  Ask yourself if that cinnamon roll will really give you the satisfaction you have been craving.  Maybe a sweet apple with natural peanut butter would be a wiser choice.  Find a friend to be your workout or accountability partner.  Pray for guidance in moments of weakness.  Ask the Lord to help you in your journey of finding health.  No one said you had to do this alone.  But know that you can do it.


Be healthy.  Love yourself.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not today.

The honeymoon is over.  The allure is gone.  The excitement has left the building.  Officially.  Gone.  Done.  Outta here.  I'm grouchy.  I'm mean.  I'm tired of it.  Of course I'm talking about my choice to eat healthy and exercise daily.  What did you think I meant?


When I reinstated 'Operation Get Healthy', I was so excited to start making healthy choices.  Too excited, maybe.  I gazed lovingly at the wonderful array of produce available at the local market.  My mind was full of rainbows and butterflies.  I was ready to make this happen.  Ready to stop being unhealthy, to stop being fat.



Would you like to know what I'm ready for today?  A Blizzard.  From Dairy Queen.  Not just any Blizzard, no, I want a large Triple Chocoholic Blizzard -- with extra chocolate.  Pronto.  I am also ready for a cheeseburger, french fries, chips with guacamole, strawberry cheesecake, pancakes (with butter, peanut butter, and syrup), and piles of chocolate chip cookies.  It feels like an eternity since I've had anything sweet or delicious.  I have been working hard -- really hard -- at the gym.  And I can't make my mind understand why I have only shed 3 pounds in the last 11 days instead of 60.  I am mad -- really mad.  I'm not above praying for a magic Skinny-Yet-Strong-and-Sexy pill and a box of cookies with the caloric content of a stalk of celery.  I'm also not opposed to, at this very moment, giving up and telling myself that it doesn't matter whether or not I'm fat.


I don't want to eat another tomato or avocado, and I don't want to drink another glass of lemon water.  I want to bury my face in a pan of quadruple fudge brownies and cry myself to sleep.  I want to quit trying and blame my weight on PCOS.  I want to tell myself that I can eat what I want as long as I have a healthy personality.  I want to drive to the market, and buy one (or two) of every sugary, greasy, fattening, calorie bomb they sell.  And I could.  There's no one stopping me.  I've been so edgy tonight that my husband may be glad to have me out of the house for a while.  But the thing is, if I cheat tonight, I will feel defeated tomorrow.  Defeated, deflated, unhealthy.  And you know what?  Those are things I have been feeling for entirely too long.  I have been angrily content with being fat and now I am determined to change that.  I have control over this.  I do.  I have allowed my love for junk food, my unfortunate hormone situation, and my past illnesses have control over 'right now' for too many days, weeks, months, and years.  I won't allow it any longer.


I am choosing to gain control over my 'right now'.  I am choosing to make it through this evening of unhealthy cravings.  Because after all, Scarlett, tomorrow is another day.  If I can make it to bedtime without having to write down any junk in my food journal, then tomorrow will feel much brighter.  Tomorrow, I may be enamored once again with asparagus, grapefruit, and granola.  Tomorrow, I will be proud of the wise choices I made today, and maybe won't feel a deep sense of hatred toward the vegetables, fruits, and grains I will put on my plate.  Tomorrow, I will know that I don't have to cheat when I have a junk-food craving.  And maybe the day after that, I won't crave anything unhealthy at all.


Most importantly, tomorrow I will feel like I am working toward my goal -- instead of working backward to make up for the chocolaty treat I would love to have right now.  I don't want to run in place.  I don't want to lose three pounds, 'reward' myself, and then start all over -- again.  I want to get healthy, and the only way to do that is if I continue to make healthy choices.  This is a battle, and it's not easy.  But it's worth it -- at least it will be.  In the meantime it's not easy physically, emotionally, or mentally.  Today I don't feel satisfied with health-food.  Today I feel jealous of the girls who were blessed with naturally thin physiques.  Today I feel sad, mean, and tired.  But I am determined to win this battle.  I am determined to get healthy.  I will eventually lose more weight, gain more muscle, gain confidence, and lose the fat-shackles I have been dragging around.  And by the grace of God, I will not be defeated.  Not today.


Get healthy.  Love yourself.  And thanks for keeping me... In Good Company.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Time Machine

Saturday evening I had the luxury of hopping into a time machine with 5 other ladies and traveling back to 1989.  True story.  This time machine resembled a Mercury Mountaineer and the trip felt much like any other drive to downtown Kansas City, MO.  The 6 of us buzzed with excitement for our journey back in time. Excited to be able to act like young girls, no one judging, because everyone else we were getting ready to join had taken the same time machine trip as us.

Theresa, Marci, Amy, Regina, Kimberly, and I

We waited an hour to be sat down for dinner, the hot Kansas summer sun making us all wish for cooler temperatures.  An evening of girl talk was much needed, and very out of the ordinary for the most of us.  Once seated, I enjoyed my nice cool lime drinks (one plain, one of the dragon berry type) and my Chipotle Turkey Wrap with pub chips (my food journal promptly slapped my hands as I recorded this particular meal... but hey, it was a special occasion).  As we crossed the street, we were surrounded by neon green leggings, lace hair bows, teased bangs, and denim mini skirts.  It was, as far as anyone was concerned 1989.  More women than not were wearing shirts bearing words of love for the guys who once appeared regularly on the cover of every teen heartthrob magazine.


As we entered our destination, we were all bursting with anticipation.  We made our way up two time-traveling escalators and finally to our seats.  As we sat, the opening act began.  The uber-talented Matthew Morrison (who just happens to be hunky Mr. Scheuster from Fox's smash hit Glee) was gracing the stage with his amazing vocals, sexy dance moves, and incredible lyrics.  We had a fantastic birds-eye view of the back of his head.  Yes I said the back of his head.  While disappointed in our seats, I was determined to enjoy myself.  How could I not?  We all swooned over Mr. Schuester and decided that he could also join our list of make-believe-boyfriends.


As soon as Matthew Morrison was finished performing, a Sprint Center employee asked one of us how many were in our party.  "Six," she replied.  "Would you like a seat upgrade?"  I'm fairly certain we had all jumped out of our seats before we were able to say yes.  We were doubly excited at this point, practically running to our new seating assignments.  We were thrilled to find that we were now just one level off the floor, front and nearly center.  I lovingly told my sister that had we not been moved, I wouldn't ever allow her to be in charge of buying tickets again.  So there we were, bursting at the seams for the main attraction, the reason for the time travel, the cause of many throbbing hearts, to take the stage.

 
Let the squealing and screaming begin!

There they were.  The New Kids on the Block (accompanied by the Backstreet Boys), right before our very eyes.  We were converted into our childhood selves, screaming and squealing with delight as our make believe boyfriends danced and sang and (sometimes) gyrated to the songs that used to blare from our boom box speakers as we colored with sidewalk chalk.  Every woman in the audience swooned and lusted and sang along as her particular favorite took lead on the vocals or dance steps.  Most of us danced, clapped, and waved our arms with no inhibitions, and screamed until our vocal chords protested.  We felt so lucky to be in the very same room with the boys (now men) who were once plastered on our lunch boxes, bedroom walls, night gowns, and t-shirts.  My sister and I even had Joey and Jordan (respectively) Barbie Dolls, which, of course, made us super cool back then.


All of our boyfriends have aged very well.  They sported muscled physiques, much better hair (no rat-tails, thank the Lord), and rugged manly jaunters.  Jordan can still hit the high notes that could (and still can) bring any girl to her knees.  Joey sang Please Don't Go Girl, but at a lower, sexier, register.  Donny played-up his bad-boy image and was, in many ways, the star of the show.  Jonathan and Danny, as usual, spent more time in the background, but were stars nonetheless.  I was never a Backstreet Boys fan in my younger years, but I could definitely appreciate their performance and abilities (although, as a mom, I felt the constant urge to tell the quite spastic Nick Carter that he needed to hold still and settle down).  I was especially impressed by Brian Littrell (who is also a Christian singer) who proved to be a devoted and loving husband by bringing young adoring fans onto the stage instead of date-able women like his band mates.


Again, I could appreciate the music of BSB, but would have rather seen NKOTB take the stage without them.  My sister and I watched NKOTB live November of 2008 (and screamed so loud we had no voices left the next day) and were able to truly enjoy seeing them perform each of their songs in their entirety.  For us, watching them share the stage meant hearing only bits of our favorite songs mashed-up with bits of our other favorite songs.  Don't get me wrong, the entire show was amazing and incredible, and so worth the money, but I, personally, could do without BSB.  Just saying.  I'm sure, however, it was a dream come true for the women who timed growing up just right to be able to be super-fans of both bands.


When the show was over and we returned to our time machine, I felt filled with the same adrenaline rush after riding a roller-coaster.  It was a rush of feeling all of my childhood fantasies be fulfilled, a dream-come-true, if you will.  My sister and I weren't ever able to attend a live NKOTB concert as kids, only watch, and re-watch, and re-watch, VHS tapes of concerts we recorded off of television.  I'm fairly certain that our mom knew all of the words to their biggest hits, just because we played them so often.  My mom, who graciously watched our sons during our time-travel extravaganza, said that she never minded that we were in love with NKOTB.  "They were wholesome and you could understand the words they were singing," she said.  Although one time during my childhood I distinctly remember arguing with her over who was more popular, The New Kids on the Block on the Block or Michael Jackson (New Kids were the obvious answer... duh).

My sister and I (super excited about our upgraded seats)

And good thing we could understand the words they were singing because we needed to have them memorized for the concert (and believe me, we did).  I think it's important for you to know that we were glad to hear that we were still their Favorite Girls, relieved that we still had The Right Stuff, glad that we were still the prettiest Cover Girls, okay with taking it Step By Step, willing to Hang Tough, and happy to be 'put in a transe with a funky song'.  And many women, my sister included, would like Joey to know that, since he said Please, they aren't going anywhere.  We actually can't wait until they come through Kansas City again.


Thanks, New Kids, for the wonderful trip down memory lane.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Respect Your Body

I'm proud to say that this week has been pretty successful.  I have made smart (yet, sometimes, painstakingly difficult) food choices, and I have exercised every single day.  Like I said I would, I am writing down everything I eat and I am pleased to report to you that I have lost 3 pounds (making my total weight loss -- so far -- 51 pounds).  Maybe that doesn't seem like a lot to you, but for a person who has to work twice as hard to lose half the weight as the next gal, I couldn't be happier to send those 3 little pounds packing.


Now, when I say I am writing down everything I eat.  I do mean everything.  There are entries in my food journal that say 'one raisen' or 'one small tortilla chip with salsa'.  Maybe this seems a little excessive to you, but the reason is that I want to be able to hold myself accountable.  In any battle, accountability seems key.  Think of it this way -- when you are driving, are you more likely to drive the speed limit if there is a police officer following you?  That's what I thought.  My food journal is my police officer.  I want to keep an accurate account of what I am putting in my body.  But, more than that, I'll be darned if I have to write down the words 'Triple Chocoholic Blizzard'.  Putting into words what I put into my body makes me have to think about each bite I take.  I will not cheat with my entries -- I'm not being graded, after all -- because I refuse to cheat myself.

A page from my food journal.

I am also keeping a record of the exercise I give my body.  I am making a point to get at least some exercise each and every day.  Yesterday my exercise consisted of carrying my 20 pound screaming toddler through the mall, followed by a short evening walk.  But it was exercise nonetheless.  Today it was 10 minutes on the elliptical machine, followed by 60 minutes of instructing Yoga.  Even if the exercise is quick, I will do something each day.  I refuse to thwart my efforts by being lazy.  Believe me, there are days that I have a deep-seeded hatred of exercise.  On those days, I would rather stay indoors (or maybe even be bitten by 100 mosquitoes) than trudge through a workout.  That being said, I always feel better after being active.  Exercising boosts my mood, my energy levels, and my self-esteem.  After I work out, I feel strong, empowered, and beautiful.  I can walk into the mirrored studio where I teach worrying about my love-handles, hoping that no one will show up so I can go back home.  I instruct my Yogis for an hour and leave feeling amazing and energized.  The results on the scale are just and added bonus.



I will warn you about scales though, they can be manipulative little jerks.  While they indicate how much your body weighs, they cannot measure your self-worth.  Can I say that again please?  The number on your scale has nothing to do with how amazing you are.  Your scale cannot take into account how much muscle you have gained, how much fat you have lost, your 'time of the month', your sodium intake, etc.  I can sometimes put too much emphasis on the number on the scale (believe me, I felt a surge of new confidence today after I weighed)... but really, it's just a number.  The days when the number has gone down are great, right?  But what about the other days?  When the number has stayed right at that plateau you have been fighting to step off of, or when your a tad bloated and the number has risen a little?  Those days are awful.  And that's because we allow the scale to tell us how we should feel about ourselves.  Stop it!  You are worth more than your weight,  your jeans size, and the circumference of your thighs.

Believe it.

At the beginning of each of my Yoga classes, I tell my students 'know your limitations, and respect your body'.  Respect your body.  We forget that our bodies are gifts that we have been given to live in while residing on this green earth.  We forget to take care of it.  To love it.  To respect it.  We feel like we have so much riding on how much we weigh that we abuse our bodies.  We make fun of the parts we hate, we don't give ourselves the nourishment that we deserve (and need), we mask our feelings with the punishment of stuffing our bodies full of brownies and french fries.  Respect your body.

Think about it...

This is why I'm on this journey.  This is why I am fighting this battle.  I'm trying to find that ever-elusive balance.  I don't want to be a slave to food or to be ruled by a scale.  I want to show my body respect and love by filling it with nourishing food and giving it the exercise it needs.  I want to be strong and healthy and happy.  I want to love my body for what it is, and not hate it for what it isn't.  I've said this before and I'll say it again, I have no desire to be skinny.  I want to be healthy.  I don't want to continue to put strain on my heart by carrying extra weight in my mid-section.  I want arms that have enough muscle to be able to playfully throw my son in the air (and catch him, of course) 'again' and 'again' and 'again'.  I don't need to be a model, I don't need to be a body-builder, but I do need to be healthy.

True story.

Be healthy.  Respect your body.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Thunder-Thighs

I feel good.  Na Na Na Na Na Na Na.  I knew that I would now. Na Na Na Na Na Na Na.   So good.  So good.


I know that during the beginning of any healthy eating plan (I refuse and reject the word 'diet') there is a newlywed phase where you feel good.  So good.  Na Na Na Na Na Na Na.  That's where I'm at right now.  I'm not following any certain plan or killing myself with unmaintainable restrictions.  I'm just making wise decisions.  And I feel great.  Empowered even.  I am choosing to seek out wisdom.  To use the tools that are available to me.  To make choices that are beneficial.


Eventually, I would like to see a dietitian for assistance (because there is so much confusing and contradicting information out there) with a meal plan specific to my needs, one that will be appropriate for my entire family.  But, I was encouraged by my husband to, first, try my own plan.  Stick to a schedule of my own.  Prove that I am dedicated, see what happens, and then we'll talk about seeking the help of a dietitian.  So I am.  I am writing down everything I eat and all of the exercise I get (I am not counting calories).  I am recording my weekly weigh-ins, praying that the number will get smaller instead of the dreaded opposite.  I have a Psalms journal (given to me by a wonderful friend) that I am using.  The scriptures included on alternating pages have proven to be quite an encouragement (and amazingly applicable to my particular situation).




I know I'm only on day 2 of the reinstatement of Operation Get Healthy, but this time feels different.  I feel encouraged and dedicated to losing weight (not just for vanity's sake) to get healthy.  I'll be honest with you -- I'm sick and tired of having to tuck my fat into my Secretly Slender jeans.  I'm sick of my back fat, my thunder-thighs, my arms that wave back at me, my dimple-covered jiggle mountain of a booty.  I want to look better.  But, first, I want to feel better (because I know that it will take longer for me to look better than it will to feel better... darn it).  I want my body to be healthy so that it can be energized to serve the Lord and those around me.  I want to not be too tired to go on walks.  I want to get up when my alarm goes off in the morning.  I want to feel exuberant!  Yes.  Exuberant.  And I will.  I am dedicated to it.

Exuberance

I feel like it's important to know and understand how you feel now, and how you would like to feel instead.  If you are going to make a change, you have to know exactly what you want to change.  I feel like (for me, at least) being fat is like having an awful cold.  I feel like crap, I don't feel like putting make-up on or getting dressed up, I don't really want to go anywhere, I just want to stay home and wallow.  Then the cold starts to wear off, I start to feel a little better, I think that maybe putting on some mascara would help me feel good, and maybe getting out of the house would be nice.  Then, one day, you wake up, you don't have dried snot on your face, and you forget that you were even sick in the first place.  That's the process I'm going through right now, but I still have dried snot on my face.  I am making the decision to put on the mascara (or, rather, eat healthy and go to the gym CONSISTENTLY), and am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.



My husband made a really good point the other day (although it really irritated me at the time), as I was complaining about my lack of results, followed by my lack of will-power.  He said "You know what you need to do, Kelsey.  You just have to make the decision to DO it."  He's right, darn it.  So, I'm following the advice I've been giving you for the last six months.  I'm eating off of smaller plates, I'm making healthy choices (like, say, a hard-boiled egg for a snack instead of animal crackers), and I'm making sure that I get exercise -- Every.Single.Day.  Don't believe me?  Today I couldn't go to the gym because my son's car seat was in my husband's vehicle (which, consequently, meant it was across town), so I made myself exercise at home.  I chose to try a workout I found on the Internet called The 100 Workout.


I completed the entire thing (minus the running... which I replaced with 30 minutes of Yoga).  And you know what?  It wasn't that bad.  I had to stop a few times during the first 100 Jumping Jacks, but so what?  Maybe next time I won't have to.  The point is, I feel strong and encouraged because I did something.  Believe me, I love food, and I especially love bad food.  But I won't be a slave to food any longer.  This is not the battle I would have chosen to fight, but it's the battle I've been given to fight (interesting how my two hard battles, while at very opposite ends of the spectrum, have both included food and self-control), and I will win.  Because, I'm stubborn.  I do things just to prove people wrong.  And I refuse to stay unhealthy.  I want to feel good.  I want to feel strong.  I want to be happy with who I am and how God made me.  Thunder-thighs and all.


I also want to thank you for continuing this journey with me.  Thank you for your encouragement and prayers.  I hope that I can encourage you to fight your battle, whatever it may be.


Be Healthy.  Love yourself.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stuck in a Rut

I've been stuck in a rut.  A routine, if you will.  A never-ending cycle of stupid.  You see, after I became 'healthy' I decided that I didn't need to worry about food, about calories, about what I put into my body.  I told myself that I had spent too much time being destructive in the name of vanity.  I made myself believe that I would no longer have to stress and fret over this subject.  For a while, this was totally fine.  I was gaining some much-needed weight and everyone was so proud.  I was like a toddler learning to eat with manners (in a matter of speaking, of course).  Watch me use my fork to eat this cheesecake without worry or purging, aren't I swell?


This became my new normal.  Eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, daring anyone to say anything about it.  One thing led to another and after years of hiding behind the excuse of being overly sensitive on food-related issues, I eventually became a fat girl.  Thus ingraining in me the above mentioned stupid-cycle.  A cycle consisting of over eating, feeling guilty, making the choice to exercise and eat right, stop eating healthy but continuing to exercise, being mad about not seeing results, stopping exercise, and then starting all over again with over eating.


I've had the need to be thinner, for both vanity and health reasons, for quite some time.  But I only have fleeting moments of a spastic want to actually do something about it.  I mean, most of the time, I want that cookie much more than I want that celery (oftentimes praying that God would just take all the calories out of the cookie, but let it keep it's taste).  And I want that cookie, more than I want to go to the gym.  It's funny that I complain about being fat and get driven about wanting to change my life and get healthy, but the drive only lasts for so long.  Then I get tired.  I get frustrated because I don't see results fast enough and I give up.  I get to this point where I am super-angry and I feel like the results (if I ever get them) just aren't worth the effort.  I feel like I exercise all the time, but then when I sit down and really think about it I realize it's been a month since I've done anything but teach Yoga.

Although this may be true for some, I never run, and I generally don't ever regret eating one cookie.
A whole batch of them?  Yes.  But never just for one cookie.

So I get stuck.  Stuck in this self-loathing guilt for not taking better care of myself, this mind-racing need to do something about my situation, but baking that Lemon-Blueberry Swirl Cake anyway (yes it's cooling on my counter as I write).  I pick myself apart from top to bottom -- My hair is too limp; my nose is too big and has a funny bump in the middle, my teeth are too yellow, I have a double chin, my arms are too fat and are covered in scars, my belly sticks out way too far, my thighs are too fat, my butt is full of cellulite, I hate my cankles, my feet are flat, etc.  This is what runs through my head during my times of give-up-ness.  These are the times of feeling like the fattest in the room, the state, the world.

While I don't particularly love the language on this, I totally get it.

I go through little mini-cycles in the middle of all of this, where, late at night, I am so excited to start on this new journey of being healthy and setting a good example for my friends and family.  Then I wake up in the morning and I decide that tomorrow would be a better day to start the new journey.  FYI -- this happened to me about a million times with cigarettes.  I would throw a half-full pack away at night, excited and ready to finally quit, and then dig them out of the garbage in the morning, deciding that I would quit the next week instead (thankfully I've now been smoke free for 2 1/2 years).  This is what keeps me up at night.  These thoughts of making new decisions and changes and setting new goals for this new life of health and fitness... then I stay up all night, I can't sleep because of the anticipation (and because the Olivia theme song has been stuck in my head all week).  Then I wake up the next morning, exhausted and over it.

...or singing to itself...

I don't want you to think I'm crazy.  Too late, eh?  Oh well.  Maybe I am a little nutso.  That's fine, I suppose (I recently read a quote that said "It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring" -- well I guess I won't ever have to worry about being boring).  Know, though, that I do go through periods of feeling amazing.  I work hard, I make smart choices, and I forget about all of my self-perceived flaws.  I can look in the mirror every once in a while and actually feel pretty (today, though, my belly was really showing the effects of all those cookies).  It's during the times where I am trying hard that I feel amazing (and feeling amazing means so much more than what the scale says).  I can't figure out why I quit every time it gets hard or I hit a plateau.  I want to feel amazing, I would like to look amazing (preferably sooner than later), but I quit before I get the chance.  See?  I told you.  Stupid-cycle.

None of us are perfect, but parts of all of us are pretty awesome.

So I've decided to make a list of the excuses I hide behind when I go through my periods of eating like crap and ditching the gym. It goes a little something like this:

1.  I am emotionally allergic to taking any one's advice on weight-loss.
2.  I do not crave health food.  I probably never will.
3.  Everyone has issues, mine could be worse than being fat.
4.  If I wasn't fat I'd be perfect, and perfection is oh so exhausting (this is a total joke, by the way).
5.  I spent too much time worrying about food and counting calories in the past.  I'm not ready to do it again.
6.  I just get too carried away if I pay too much attention to what I eat.
7.  I just keep hoping that the doctor's will find something wrong with me so that they can write me a prescription to change my hormones to make me miraculously thin.
8.  I would have such a terrible headache if I gave up soda and sugar.
9.  I've already lost 50 pounds (which is looking a little more like 47 lately), isn't that enough?
10.  "Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality." -- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There are many more excuses that seem reasonable at the time I tell them to myself, but if I'm being honest, they are just excuses.  The truth is, I'm afraid of failing.  I'm afraid of pouring my heart and soul into getting healthy and into making a change and falling flat on my chubby round rear.


So, I'm trying to make a change.  I know I keep saying this.  But I feel like I'm at a point where I'm either going to have to chose to be fat forever and to be disappointed every time I look in the mirror, or I'm going to have to suck it up, stop hiding behind the fear of failure, and get physically motivated.  I'm motivated mentally (it's easy when I'm sitting here just typing about it), but when it comes to making very real, very tough, physical choices, I tend to not believe in myself.  I don't even let myself try.


So, six months after starting this blogging journey, I am sitting at basically the same exact spot.  It's embarrassing.  But it's real.  So I will start taking my doctor's advice to "eat better and exercise more" (even though it makes me roll my eyes because I already know all that, darn it) and actually make a point to do it.  Not just for a week or two.  I'm going to do it (I'm praying very hard for God to help give me the physical motivation to do this), and I need you to hold me accountable.


Be healthy.  Love yourself.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.