Sunday, December 21, 2014

Too Much Christmas

We travel for the holidays.  Every year.  If we want to see our families then we have to drive across the state for the holidays.  I wouldn't give this up for anything.

So, to accommodate, our small family of three (five with The Girls included) celebrates Christmas early.  Santa sends a letter saying he is making a special trip to our house early, we set out cookies early, we finish our last-minute shopping early.  Everything.  Ahead of schedule.

A problem this creates, particularly with a child whose birthday is just 2 weeks shy of Christmas, is not only feeling financially strained, but a prolonged Christmas celebration.

Not that celebrating Christmas in itself is a problem, it’s that when we say we have “three Christmases” to celebrate, it entails three rounds of presents.  Also, not a problem in itself.

I love little baby Jesus in the manger and I'm all for celebrating the gift of the first Christmas by giving to our loved ones.  But, to be honest, I can't tell you the last time I sat down and pondered and took in the true meaning of Christmas.

Because I'm shopping.  And baking.  And wrapping presents.  And planning a birthday party for Little K.  Taking him to spend the money he received in the mail to buy that one toy he wanted and didn't get – even though his birthday party was like a damn toy drive.  And carving out one evening to celebrate my birthday (which falls just one week shy of Christmas).  And going to a Christmas program.  And going to work Christmas parties.  And remembering that one last person for whom I forgot to buy a present.  And ordering overpriced Christmas cards.  Addressing and mailing those Christmas cards and then realizing I forgot important people on the list but I ran out and for the love of God I am not going to go to that devil's playground known as Wal-Mart one more damn time just to get cards that the will be thrown away by the recipients.

See what I mean?

So Little K sees a hard-working dad, frustrated at all of the money being swept out of our bank account on crappy plastic toys.  He sees a mom who is bustling and busy trying to make him have the perfect Christmas, make sure that every gift requested is on the her shopping list (or is passed along to a grandma).  A mom who is trying to help ease the pain of him never getting any siblings by ensuring he has every single toy he ever wanted.  He sees me frantically trying to accomplish all of the tasks I have inevitably forgotten.  He sees me shove my body full of delicious freshly baked Christmas cookies and then saddened with guilt after I have once again sabotaged any progress towards healthy living.  We watch Christmas movies, but really I am working or writing or cleaning while he is the only one watching.  Only at bedtime am I sitting down with him and reading and talking about Christmas – but by then I'm exhausted by the day.  His stack of Christmas books are mostly about Santa.  Even his one book about our Savior's birth is about how Santa was at the manger.  Wait a second – I just realized how ridiculous this is.  As if the child of God being born to a virgin wasn't enough of a miracle to write a book about; we had to place a mythical fat guy in fur in the manger too?  I get that it was someone's effort to tie the two together so to not let children forget the real importance of Christmas.  But.  Come.  On.

Mr. B has been saying for a while, "Little K is spoiled.  We are spoiling him."  I have been ignoring my nagging conscience that has been telling me, "Slow down.  Stop.  Less is more."  I have shut that voice up by drowning it with birthday cake, lattes, cookies, and margaritas.

I envisioned a wonderful time of baking cookies with Little K to set out for Santa, I anticipated his thrilled reaction to his gifts from Santa.  I was maybe just as excited as him to celebrate our first Christmas in our new house.


Last night I begged Little K to help me make cookies and he wound up playing in his room while I made them.  For him to give to Santa.  The butter was too melty because I was in a hurry (as per usual this time of year), so the cookies wound up flat and wide (but still delicious).  Too exhausted to care, I delivered cookies to our neighbors – by myself.  Before bed we all played Uno as a family (which was really very fun and chaos-free) and set out cookies for Santa.  Because, as you remember, Santa is coming early for him.

This morning at 8:00, he ran into our bedroom with two Rescue-Bots Santa had set out and yelled, "LOOK WHAT SANTA BROUGHT ME!!!"  Reminded of all of the Christmas mornings my sister and I jumped out of bed at 5:00 to open presents, I was thankful for the extra three hours of sleep and followed him down stairs to where Santa had left his goods.

Santa came!!!!

Excitement quickly turned to disappointment as one of the expensive-yet-cheap plastic Rescue-Bots didn't transform just exactly as it was supposed to.  Sorry kid, I can't do anything about the quality control at The North Pole.  And also I already threw away the packaging.  Then he was pissed because Santa only gave him two Rescue-Bots instead of four.  Because he clearly asked for all four in his letter.  We talked about being thankful for what you get and that Santa did read his letter and brought him things he knew he wanted.  Also that if you whine about what Santa gives you it puts you on the naughty list for next year so be happy with what you have and play with your damn toys.

For the record, The Girls were thrilled with their new giant bones and toys from Santa.

Daisy doesn't want her bone or toy...
she wants Ruby's bone.

This bone will be completely consumed within 30 minutes of this photograph.

Then he said he hoped he got a new elf next year because Elfie doesn't do anything.  For.  The.  Love.

Mr. B went for a run while I made breakfast; we would open the rest of our presents as a family later in the day after watching The Polar Express (as per tradition).  Little K whined and whimpered about his robot's stupid non-transforming head as I cooked and continued to tell him to be thankful and kind and happy.

I set his plate down at the table in front of him, with toast, eggs, and a few tiny hash-browns that he needed to try before deciding he really did hate them as much as he had proclaimed he did.  He lost it.  He instantly screamed at me that he didn't want hash-browns and yelled that he was NOT going to watch Polar Express.  I flipped my shit.  I really did.  I put him on his bed and told him to be thankful for nice things people did for him and that Mommy and Daddy work really hard to do nice things for him and to stay in his room until he could be nice.

He came out bawling a few minutes later ready to be nice.  Except he was still pissed about that godforsaken robot (that I am ready to put in the garbage disposal) and the hash browns.  Mr. B took the Santa toys away and I put him back in timeout.

Mr. B told him he can't have them back ever.  I said he had to be nice for 300 minutes before we could talk about it again, as he bawled on my lap and begged to open the presents under the tree right now.  And 300 minutes is a really long time and he can’t be nice that long!

The 300 minute thing isn’t normal for us, I just wanted to him to know that he was going to have to get his behavior in check for quite a while before he was getting anything.

So now what?  We have presents under the tree from us (because Santa can’t get all the credit).  Do I take them back?  Do I make him wait until Valentine's Day and hope he has developed a better attitude by then?  Do I start making him celebrate his half-birthday to spread out the spoiling?

Because the thing is, it's not his fault.  It's mine.  I have created this attitude of taking in him.  I am responsible for giving him more, more, more, so now he expects it.  Yes he knows to say “Thank you”, but how do I make sure he feels gratitude?  I have allowed huge birthday parties with way too many people and presents.  I have allowed overindulgent grandparents.  I have given in to mommy-guilt and bought one last present over and over and over.  Mr. B was right, Little K is spoiled.  Everything we do is for him and about him.  Even Santa Claus who only works one day a year (lucky bastard) hooked up his reindeer, and flew his sleigh all the way to Kansas just for him.

After hearing, "Be nice!  Santa is watching you!", and "Elfie is watching!  If you want presents, you can't be naughty.", for a month, I'm sure he was buzzing all the way down to his toes as he waited for today to come.  That’s a huge amount of anticipation for a little guy who is already prone to anxiety.  There is so much buildup to the big day with so many big emotions – a meltdown is practically inevitable.

He is not usually this naughty.  He really isn't (and I'm not just saying that because I'm his doting mother).  But having nearly a full two months of anything-goes, gimme gimme (because, let’s be honest, this shit starts at Halloween) can turn even the most angelic of children into a full blown ass-hole.

This can’t continue.  I don't know what to do though.  I want him to remember parents who worked hard and loved him fiercely.  I want him to have memories of the excitement of Christmas morning and getting the toy he had been yearning for.  I want him to have fun memories at his grandparents' house (and I know both sets will say it is their duty to spoil him).

The breakdown subsided, and he turned back into his sweet self, and we watched The Polar Express (at his request).  He apologized for being naughty, and even helped with a few chores.  Though he continued to ask if it had been 300 minutes yet, his toys stayed in time-out.  Our presents sat under the tree for several more hours.

Finally a peaceful moment, watching The Polar Express
When we finally opened presents, I expected an attitude of thankfulness.  We had just discussed the lack of presents at some homes, how we are fortunate to be able to have nice things at Christmas.  And it worked.  For a minute.  He was so sweet -- until we were done.  And then he wondered why we didn’t give him any toys – and he was pissed all over again because he had his new robots taken away from him.  Though we were planning on giving him back those robots (or transformers, whatever), we decided against it because of his giant fit.  In time-out they continue to stay.

As I look at these pictures, it doesn’t look like he was given a hoard of stuff.  But what is upsetting is that I’m afraid that even if he had been given every single item he has ever asked for (which he might actually have by the time we’ve had our third Christmas), he still would have expected more.

He was pretty excited about the huge vintage comic book covers for his room.

Excited for her new harness.

New harness (she is so hard to photograph)!
Something has to change.  I am just not doing this Christmas thing right.  We have to have less, do less, buy less, bustle less, pray more, and give more.  We cannot continue to buy presents he will break in a day or discard in 6 months.  We have got to forge a way to make this season better, more joyful, and simpler.  Because this is not working.

How do we create a spirit of gratefulness in him?  How do we make him appreciate simplicity and effort?  How can we give him the appreciation of hand-made and full of love over store-bought and under-thought?  How do we create in him the right balance of being awe-struck by the magic and wonder of the season without being overindulged and spoiled?

I wish I had the right answers, but I don't.  Mr. B and I have been discussing opportunities for giving and volunteering; opportunities that Little K can be involved in.  But will it be enough?

And while I cannot change the mass amount of presents under any of the trees he will sit near this year; I hope that next year things can be different – less and simple.

Stop.  Slow down.  Less is more.  Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

I am not usually one to participate in New Year’s resolutions, or to buy into the whole “everything will change in the new year” mindset.  But this year, oh how I cannot wait for this year to end.

Between moving, and fertility treatments, and back injuries, and multiple illnesses, and depression, and replacing an entire HVAC system, and major car repairs, and four surgeries for our dogs, and a toilet overflowing and leaking into the basement, and waning faith, and receiving horrible messages from hateful negative people who hate both me and my writing, and just simply burning our candles at both ends while asking for more wax; this year has been mentally, physically, and financially exhausting.

Honestly, it would be easy to write a whole post of complaints.  But I don’t believe a new attitude will begin in January by some miraculous change in date.  So, I am electing to look back at our year and see the positives in it.  Because even amidst the bad, good things are there if we choose to see them.

-         -We moved into our new house.  We were certain we would never find a bigger house in this town’s overpriced market, but we found one that we loved in our price range.  Immediately we began painting and ripping down wallpaper and redecorating with the help of our parents.  Although Daisy was completely freaked out by the move, the rest of us adjusted fairly quickly.  Little K loves his big bedroom and thinks it’s super awesome to have stairs.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
New house keys in hand!
-         -We also took little K to see Monster Jam.  Best day ever for him!

-         -I achieved my first rope climb at CrossFit (and haven’t done one since) and was super pumped about it!  I also increased my deadlift to 205 pounds – something I had been working towards for quite a while.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-        - We had front row seats to a KU game at Allen Fieldhouse, and it was a blast.  I am not a huge sports fan outside of the Jayhawks and The CrossFit Games, but I always get chills in that place.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
-         -Daisy had to have surgery on her bladder and we almost lost her.  But thanks to our amazing veterinarian and his caring staff, we have our baby girl home.  She is happy and healthy and feeling so much better.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Pre-surgery snuggles

-         -We celebrated our first Easter in the new house and it was really quite wonderful.  It was a weekend of new beginnings for us, as that is when we decided to forgo any more fertility treatments and get out lives back to normal.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -Mr. B celebrated turning 32 with a homemade German Chocolate Cake from yours truly.

-         -We enjoyed a fun weekend with some of our closest friends, who came to visit.  They moved away three years ago and we miss them dearly.  They are the kind of friends that you can be completely comfortable in the silent moments, but also feel like there are never enough hours or minutes to say all that needs to be said or tell all the stories that need to be retold for the hundredth time.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Getting a picture of all three of them was tough!

-         -Mr. B built (with my assistance bossing) a beautiful farmhouse table and benches for our dining room.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -We adopted our sweet Ruby, who has been the perfect addition to our family.  I believe she needed us just as much as we needed her.  I’m not sure what our lives were like before she rescued us.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Little K and Ruby Sue

-         -We hosted a post-parade barbecue for a local holiday.  It was a fun day with lots of food, so many margaritas, and great friends.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -Little K got to spend some time at my parents’ house for a few days and was able to spend some quality time with his little buddy Phish (who is the son of my life-long best friend, Linds).
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Ridin' Tough

-         -Little K went to Vacation Bible School for the first time.  He learned lots of new songs and had so many great questions (like: “Why did Jesus have to save us from sin?”  “Is sin a bad guy?”  “How come God didn’t just tell sin to be nice?”
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -Little K asked me on a date to Tropical Sno, and I happily obliged.

A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Who could say no?

-         -Little K made huge strides in the water.  We had the opportunity to swim at our friends’ pool and the continual exposure was better for his confidence than any swim lesson he had been in.  He even jumped off the diving board.  So brave!
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Safety (and fashion) first.
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Getting his ears wet was a huge deal.

-         -Little K also got to go to “Camp Grandma & Grandpa” for a week with my parents.  As expected, he came back spoiled and happy.  But mostly spoiled.  And also spoiled.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Headed to "Camp Grandma & Grandpa"
-         -We celebrated Independence Day with my family and it was a great day (except for when a ladybug flew down my throat and I subsequently threw up in front of 15 people).
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Chlorine scented, sun burned, marshmallow covered, dirty, sticky, firework obsessed, all boy.

-         -These three fell madly deeply in love with one another.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
It's a big, big world out there.

-         -We celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss by spending a weekend out of town, just Mr. B and me.  We ate delicious food, drank delicious drinks, ate yummy ice cream, shopped, took naps, went to the movies, and just enjoyed our time together.  It was wonderful.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Still in love after 10 years of marriage.
-         -Little K went to Exploration Place for the first time and had a blast.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
You can see he was a fan of the "Medieval Time Out"
-         -We started “Little K makes dinner Mondays” – which really means, we ate French Bread Pizza every Monday for a month and then quit.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -We said a temporary goodbye as our sweet babysitter went off to college.  She has been so good for Little K, and we are happy to have her be part of our family.  We are all looking forward to having her back this summer.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
She was so sweet to wear a Ninja Turtle shirt on her last day with us.
-         -Little K started Pre-Kindergarten.  I have no idea how he got so big.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
His goals for the future are epic.
-         -We all participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (and donated).
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -We went to a nearby lake for a fun weekend with my in-laws.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -Little K got his first baseball glove and also went hunting with daddy for the first time.  Both things were equally big deals.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
His name was "Hosmer" for several weeks.  #beroyal
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -My mom had back surgery and came out of surgery a new woman.  Goodbye back pain!!
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Pre-surgery groupie usie selfie group picture.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Beautiful mom.  Beautiful sister.
-         -We celebrated our nephew’s 7th birthday.  I don’t know where time has gone.

-         -I went to an all-day arts and craft fair with my one of my best friends, Ash.  One of the best days of the whole year.

-         -We celebrated our niece’s 2nd birthday.  She is my favorite sassy little red-head.

-         -Little K was (surprise!) a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Halloween.  He was absolutely spoiled by his Aunt G, several of our other friends and neighbors, and both sets of Grandparents.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Go Ninja!  Go Ninja!  Go!

-         -We went to the beautiful wedding of the daughter of my dad’s best friend since kindergarten.  It was a beautiful evening, and we were delighted to see so many familiar faces.  Quote of the night was from Little K, who said in a tone usually reserved for a drunk frat boy at the bar, “I’m gonna get cake tonight.”
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-        - I helped judge a CrossFit competition for the first time at my home gym.  It was an exhausting but oh-so-fun experience.  I hope to be able to compete next year.

-         -Unexpectedly, I was offered a job at our veterinarian’s office.  Though I am sad to leave my current job (mostly because of my close friendship with my boss), I could not be more excited to work around such great people.  And, you know, DOGS!

-         -This picture of my three beautiful kids happened (my mom takes lovely photographs).
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

-         -We learned that Little K really does look just like my dad.
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Little "Fireball"
-         -Thanksgiving was spent at my childhood home and it was perfect.  The best part, besides getting to see my awesome family, was the rolls.  My grandma was revered for her rolls and I had never been able to replicate them, despite my efforts.  I did all of the prep-work the day before turkey day, which happened to be Grandma’s birthday, and I used her pan, which my mom happened to have.  I felt her with me all day.  They were baked on Thanksgiving morning and they were delicious.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures

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My people.

-         -My mom, sister and I went marathon shopping on Saturday.  It was a bit calmer than the year before, but we had a blast nonetheless.  We drank lots of coffee, laughed until our stomachs hurt, watched inappropriate YouTube videos in the car (look up “Loophole” by Garfunkel & Oates – super not safe for work, by the way, but absolutely hysterical), ate delicious food, and then wrapped presents until 2 a.m.  This day, by far, is my favorite day of the whole year.  I am already looking forward to Black Saturday 2015.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
"Black Saturday, we own you!"
-         -One new yet old experience was a dinner at Chili’s that same Saturday.  It was just my parents and my sister and I.  I bet we haven’t done something just the four of us in over ten years.  We laughed loud, drank too much, and taught my dad the beauty of the word douche (because it is like wine, and can be paired with anything).  The highlight of the evening was when he said, “DOUCHE CANOE?!?!” at an inappropriate volume.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Ber and I at dinner.

-         -The elf came back.  By the way, I am not a fan of whoever invented that little bastard.  We consistently forget to move ours, and, because I didn’t want to buy the expensive creepy one, I bought a non-pose-able plush elf that I randomly found last year at Books-A-Million.  We don’t do cute and creative things with it, as it is also exhausted by the Christmas season so it just sits on different things in the house.  Which, Little K is thrilled with.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Hello Elfie.  So we meet again...

-         -Little K’s birthday curse came back.  The birthday curse is that he gets super sick the week of his birthday every single year (and then shares it with me for my birthday week).  This year wasn’t nearly as bad as last year and we were still able to have his birthday party.  The present situation looked more like a toy-drive thanks to Grandparents, Aunt, Uncles, and friends.  He was in Ninja-Turtle-Rescue-Bot heaven.
A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Little K and his favorite cousin, who he is sure hung the moon.
Our little family.
-         -Little K turned 5.  Someone said once that in motherhood the days are long and the years are short.  I cannot explain just how true this is.  I feel like every evening when he goes to bed, the day has drug on and on.  But at the same time I am certain that I blinked just a little too long and he we turned 5 right after he turned 2.  I will always think of him at this age as super sassy yet super sweet, innocently honest, hilarious, whiney, kind, a lover of dogs, and a Ninja Turtle enthusiast.

A Year in Blurbs and Pictures
Happy birthday, my handsome baby boy!
-        - Tonight Mr. B and I watched Little K sing with his class in his school’s Christmas program.  It was just as adorable as we predicted.
Little K and Mr. B
-         -Even though Little K and I have been taking turns being miserably sick for several weeks, Mr. B has been amazing.  He has helped keep the household running and everything clean when I haven’t been able to.  I’m so glad to have such a wonderful partner in this life – I couldn’t do it without him.

-         -This week I will turn 31.  And I’m definitely more okay with it than I was 30.  Because what can you do?  Also Mr. B bought me a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer, so that softens the blow of aging a bit.

-         -For Christmas we will celebrate with our families and we will likely go out for drinks with my BFF, Linds, and her husband while we are back home.

-         -For New Year’s, Ash and her family will come back to help us ring in 2015.  I can’t imagine a better end to the year than an evening full of laughter with close friends (unless we were at a resort, because beaches and endless margaritas).


We are all moving into the next year with only minor bumps and bruises.  I have learned the importance of genuine friendship and honesty.  I have gained confidence in myself and my writing.  Most importantly, we are loved, truly and deeply, by each other, our friends, and our family.  So, yeah, I guess you could say it’s been a pretty good year, after all.

Thank you, as always, for keeping me In Good Company.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Design

Check out my new blog header!  Thanks to the fabulous Nathan Holthus, who took such care to include all of my detailed requests; and to my dear friend Alana for making this happen.

I am so happy to have something that describes my life and my writing so specifically.  My favorite piece of it is the tiny brown owl that was inspired by one that belonged to my dear sweet Grandma.

In Good Company - Kelsey Butcher blog

Thank you, Nathan, for keeping me In Good Company.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dear Frustrated: Part 3 (Revised)

*In case you missed them, follow these links to read Dear Frustrated: Part 1 and Dear Frustrated: Part 2*

 Again, I am revising this as much for my own motivation as for yours.  It is hard to see your previous hard work fly out the window for whatever reason.  It's frustrating and can be disheartening to not see the results you want.  But you can do it.  And so can I.

Dear Frustrated: Part 3,
I cannot stress enough to you the importance of exercise in conjunction with healthy eating.  It is frustrating to hear people confuse a lowered body weight with increased health, and being thin with being in shape.  I do a mental eye roll when someone focuses solely on his/her Body Mass Index (BMI).  Even at my thinnest and fittest, had I focused only on my BMI, I would have still been considered overweight.  What actually matters is Body Composition (what your body is made of).  Find out your body fat percentage (a credentialed and trustworthy personal trainer at your gym should be able to administer your caliper test), and pay attention to how it changes as you get stronger.

Source: Google Search
Which would you rather have?

I get it, kids get sick, holidays hit, you get sick, kids gets sick again – finding time at the gym can seem nearly impossible.  And there are times when logistically you can’t make it – which is why clean eating is so important in conjunction with your exercise routine.  But exercise is a vital piece of the healthy living puzzle.

You can’t just change your food intake and expect results.  Just as you can’t expect to be “fit” by becoming a cardio-junky.  I understand that much of this mindset has been bred into our generation and the generation before us.  I watched my mom and her friends try to reach the magic weight of 130 pounds with diet after diet and endless speed-walking.  We are a product of the fad-diet, quick-fix, diet pill era.  You cannot out-diet a sedentary lifestyle (just as you cannot out-exercise a crappy diet).  You have to exercise your body – and I don’t mean slowly pedaling a stationary bike while reading a romance novel.  You have to work hard to make your body healthy.

Source: Google Search

I understand that you may work long hours and you feel guilty for taking an extra hour away from your family to go to the gym.  It can feel selfish.  Believe me, there is nothing quite like the feeling of mom guilt.  My opinion is this, if you have time to stare at your iPhone and check Facebook, and drool over home projects you have no intention of ever completing on Pinterest, then you have time to go to the gym.  If you have time to watch every episode of The Kardashians on TV, you have time to go to the gym.  If you really want to make a change in your life, you have got to make sacrifices.  Cut out a few minutes of another activity that isn't doing you any good, and substitute it with the gym.  You don't have to spend a ridiculous amount of time at the gym – plan on 45-60 minutes, three to five days a week.  Believe me, you won't miss Khloe and Kim as much as you might think. 

Obviously my preferred form of seeking fitness is CrossFit.  CrossFit can be easily modified to suit your abilities and limitations.  If you have great coaches (like the ones I am blessed to have) then you will see some amazing results.

I mentioned before about a gym friend who decided to quit CrossFit due to weight gain.  It still saddens me that she wasn't able to understand the importance of gaining muscle in order to burn fat.  She was so upset by the number on the scale that she stepped away from a program that could have changed her life.  I believe if she had given it more time, she would have seen results that she would have been really proud of.

Source: Google Search
"Weight Gain"

But hasn't this idea of "fit" been spoon-fed into us?  This "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days" bullshit?  We have had starving female bodies shoved down our throats and into our magazines, television shows, onto our dolls, and via our role models for so long, that we have no real idea of what fit and healthy actually is.

You have to stop worrying about what the scale says, stop trying to be skinny, and start getting healthy.

Skinny is sick.  Skinny is scrawny.  Skinny is unhealthy.  Skinny makes you look like a 13 year old boy.  Strong gives you beautiful curves.  Strong is sexy.  Strong is beautiful.  Strong is healthy.  Strong lets you play tirelessly with your children.  Strong gives you endurance to get through a tough day.  Strong gives you the ability to productively work through stress in a healthy way at the gym.

Thin, as we all know, does not healthy make.  One can look thin on the outside and be very unhealthy on the inside.  This phenomenon is called "Skinny Fat" (I highly recommend clicking on that link, it has fantastic fitness information for women, as well as more information about being skinny fat).

I know that many of you are runners (and many of you, like me, would rather have an eyeball removed with a rusty fork than run a mile), and you may not like what I am about to say... but, running alone isn't going to do much for your physique.  I think that cardio is great for your heart, lungs, and endurance; but if you focus too heavily on cardio, you will begin burning muscle, when what you really want to burn is fat.  Throw some weight around.  Building muscle will make your body constantly burn calories and fat, even at rest.  Strong muscles equal strong bones.

I am a huge proponent of weight lifting (heavy weights, not three-pound hand weights).  Weight training is the key to making changes in your body.  I have achieved the best, quickest, and longest lasting results from weight lifting.  Don't be afraid to walk into the weight area.  The muscly men may seem intimidating at first, but they are generally really nice and happy to help.  Prove to them that you can grunt just as loud as they can (and maybe even lift more).  If it's not the people, but the weights that intimidate you.  Schedule an appointment with a trainer at your gym so you can learn proper lifting form, and technique.  You will be glad you did.

Many women avoid weights because they are afraid of "bulking up" – insert eye roll here.  Hear me now, lifting weights will not make you look bulky.  Most generally, if you see a woman who looks like The Incredible Hulk, she is taking steroids, has trained specifically for a body competition, or has a hormone imbalance.  We, as women, are not generally wired to look like male professional wrestlers.  God did not design our bodies that way.  What really happens when you lift weights is that you, in addition to building muscle, is that you burn fat at a much faster rate.  When the fat begins to melt away, you will get the toned look you are seeking, not a bulky one.

Source: Google Search

I was asked recently, what I did to kick start my workout routine.  What I did was this:  I began.  I stopped sitting at home making myself sick with my sedentary lifestyle.  I got off the couch, I walked through the doors of the gym and worked hard.  And then, the next day, I went back.  Then I started treating my workouts as if they were vitally important appointments that I could not miss.  And now, I feel in my heart that my workouts are vitally important appointments that I cannot miss.  It really is that simple.  Find a time that works for your schedule, and go.

I would love for everyone I have ever met in my whole entire life to try CrossFit so they can love it too; but I understand that it maybe isn’t available in your area or maybe it isn’t in your budget.  If group training isn't your thing, set a schedule for yourself.  Maybe plan on working your upper body on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and your lower body on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Try following up your weight session with body-weight movements appropriate to whichever part of your body you are working that day (focusing particularly on form and technique).  Make sure, when you are lifting weights, that you are using enough weight that you are challenging yourself, but no so much that you aren't able to handle it safely.  I would start with 4-5 sets of 10-12 reps on each machine or lift.  Gradually up your weights as your body gets stronger.

I would also suggest you add in a Yoga class a few times a week, particularly if you struggle with mobility.  This will help you tremendously in areas of strength, flexibility, and breathing.  You must understand, that unless your muscles are properly stretched, they will not reach their full strength potential.  Lack of mobility can lead to injury.

Source: Google Search

I have had a few people confess to me that they aren't sure what to do because they hate exercising, and have no desire to start a workout plan.  My suggestion (just like with vegetables), is to suck it up.  Try a variety of different exercises and classes until you find something you like, then expand upon it.  Take friends with you; real friends that will become accountability partners for you; real friends that won't let you slack off and eat cookies instead of working out; real friends that will encourage and support you.

I understand that cost can be an issue.  Not everyone can afford a gym membership, or a CrossFit fee (try checking with your gym management to see if they offer income-based scholarships).  But, almost everyone has access to heavy objects that can be lifted.  Take a couple of empty milk cartons and fill them with sand.  Bench press your toddler (he will love it).  When I was a kid, my mom would use soup cans for weights, and in the summer, we would go to the pool every day so that she could "water-walk."  Be creative, use your imagination – just do something.

It is important to set small goals, and reward yourself when you achieve them.  Had I started out with the daunting goal of losing 107 lbs, I would have never started.  But, each time I achieve a small goal, I felt encouraged to keep going.  Remember that you won't hit your goals over night, but be proud of yourself each time you do something to help yourself achieve your goals.  After each workout, pat yourself on the back.  Say, "Self, you did a great job and I'm proud of you!”  If you feel it necessary to actually pat yourself on the back and talk to yourself out lout, maybe wait until you get home – just so no one calls your therapist.

Don’t let your goals be scale-focused.  What I mean is, when you focus on weight, focus on the weight you are picking up at the gym, not on the weight of your body.  Work to increase your loads and your work capacity.

Most importantly, keep a positive attitude.  Your attitude in this journey will either make you or break you.  You cannot accomplish anything if you are constantly at war with yourself.  For a long time, I had convinced myself that I would never be able to be healthy, that I would always be fat, that I was trapped as a prisoner to PCOS.  But I finally decided to quit feeling sorry for myself, and start fighting.  You are not going to get your dream body overnight.  You are not going to lose 50 pounds this month.  But, if you keep a smile on your face, and make yourself keep going, then you will see positive changes in your body, your mood, your attitude, your ability to sleep restfully, your energy levels, etc.  You are going to have people try to entice you with the promise of a quick fix with magic pills and wraps and fad diets (oh my!), but keep your eye on the prize.  I know that you want to look great, but don't you also want to be able to say that you are healthy and that you feel great?

In the book 'Made to Crave' by Lisa Tyrkeurst, she says that getting healthy is like a flower garden. You can want it to be beautiful and you can try to will the weeds away all you want, but you are not going to get a beautiful flower garden unless you plant the seeds, pull the weeds, and do the work.

I have been skinny before.  And when I was skinny, I was terribly unhealthy.  I have taken diet pills, I have starved myself, and I have abused my body.  And you know what?  Even though I was skinny, I felt like shit all the time.  But I have worked hard, and have become strong.  I honestly have felt better than I have ever felt in my entire life.  And that, my friend, is worth all of this hard work.  And that is my motivation for working hard once again.

So, my dear frustrated friend, know that you can get healthy.  You can feel fantastic; you can be a more energetic, more vibrant version of you.  You are already amazing, don't you want to feel that way?
Source: Google Search
Read this hilarious article .

Get off the couch.  Love yourself.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.