Just like starting over….Again

I will just warn you now, I’m going to be cursing and carrying on a bit in this one.  So, if I’m going to offend your sensibilities by doing so, skip this post.


Earlier, I mentioned not trying not to get into the mindset that I am “starting over”, but trying to convince myself that I’m just “picking up where I left off”.  Which is such bullshit.  I am starting over, and my starting point is so much farther back than before.  Picking up where I left off would imply that I never gained back this 30 lbs.  Starting over means I have to start at the beginning.  This wasn’t a race where I had to stop to pee halfway to the finish.  This was a marathon that I feel like I turned around and went back not just to the starting line, but maybe I went all the way back to my childhood home and now I decided to walk back and finish the race.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  But anyone who has struggled with their weight knows that this *is* exactly how it feels.

Carry-On I got on the scale today and took my measurements and they are disappointing and sad, but overall have not changed much all summer.  I updated my menu planner-it’s just a simple spread sheet I print out and fill in.  I took pics a few months ago, but I guess I should take some updated ones so I can mark my “true start”.  Is it obsessive?  Absolutely, but it’s what I know I need to do to keep myself straight.  A month ago-yes, I’m a slow starter-I made out a list of sorts that I titled : “Things I need”.  It is more than a wish list.  It is a map of sorts.  I started with obviously, what I need, which is mostly time.  I had to ask myself what is holding me back and what I wanted what I really want and how I plan on getting there.  I really tried to get into my head and be totally honest when I was writing about the things that are holding me back.

And the biggest thing at this point is my past, which is never more glaringly obvious than the fact that my birthday is coming up very soon and I have yet to meet one fitness goal I made for myself 8 freakin years ago.  8.  Fucking. Years.  What. The. Fuck.  So, yeah, it’s hard not to beat myself up over my failures, or the fact that my goals are even farther away than they were back then.  It’s hard to let go of the past when I make goals and I just see myself walking backwards from them without really understanding why I sabotage myself that way.

I figured out that one reason is I am afraid of being successful, of winning, of achieving something great just for myself.  See, I’m not a competitive person in the way that some people are, where they have to be the best, or #1, or first.  I just honestly don’t care about that kind of shit.  What I care about is being the best that *I* can be.  Me. Only me.  But I look back and see that most of the time I’m just being a mediocre me, or below average me.  Am I being too hard on myself?  Maybe, but as they say, we are our own worst critics.  That’s the other reason.  I have a terrible, awful, horrible inner bitch and she likes to tear me down

So part of my “moving forward” and “starting over” is just that: moving on. A friend of mine recently decided to leave Facebook because she had had enough drama and was in a too fragile emotional state.  A lot of the comments I read after her post were her “friends” telling her not to give up and to stick it out, that signing off meant that she was letting him win.  I sent her a message that despite what some of the commenters said, she wasn’t giving up or giving in, she was moving on.  I realized later that I needed to follow my own advice and lay the demons to rest so I could carry on.  Maybe this time I can move forward.

Till next time.

A Tale of Two Women

It’s Whiny Wednesday.  Fair warning:  I do have a need to talk about something (someone) and this tale is sure to be loaded with snark with a few dashes of vitriol for good measure.  So, if you don’t want to read any further, it won’t hurt my feelings.  However, if you’re in the mood for some head shaking, guffaws, and drama, read on.

body imageThere are two women, Ethel and Maude, who are related by marriage.  They each have their own little lives, and their own families to deal with.  You would think that they might be good friends, but no.  Maude can’t really stand Ethel because of a variety of reasons, mostly because Maude thinks Ethel is a dumbass.  At first, Maude wondered if her dislike of Ethel was misplaced, since Ethel is skinny and sort of has the body Maude would like to have.  But Maude’s husband has said if she ever lost that much weight, he’d divorce her because he doesn’t want to have sex with a skeleton.  Maude thought that was pretty funny, but after spending more time around her, she’s decided the dislike is rooted in the stupidity of the other.

Ethel is stick thin, and her bone structure is small.  Maude, in all reality, could never be that thin without looking like an anorexic, and she knows it and has determined that she doesn’t want to be skinny anyway  She wants to be strong and fit, something Ethel in all her skinny glory, isn’t.  Over the last months, Ethel has started complaining about her body because she’s gained weight since she moved to the area, developing a nice pair of saddlebags (which you can totally see because she’s always wearing leggings) and a bit of a belly (big enough now it looks like she had to lay down to zip her jeans).  She even has a pair she keeps wearing that she can’t button, and then wears a little shirt that shows a little belly (and her undone jeans).  She thinks she’s so sexy, but it’s just sad.  She likes to make like she’s a supermodel if you see her pics on FB.

She knew Maude exercised at home, so asked if she had any old DVDs she could have so she could get in shape.  So Maude, being the nice gal she is, gave her 2 of her older DVDs that she didn’t use.  For all her complaining about wanting to get in shape, Ethel has only used the DVDs once.  Another time, she also went for a little run-1/4 mile and used her husband’s weights. And a time after that, she went for a little walk (4 miles).  These events occurred weeks apart from each other, after which she spent the rest of that week complaining about how sore she was from her exercise.  Maude just shrugged, because she knows how it is when you start a new workout, in shape or not.  Ethel thinks she’s healthy and fit because she’s not overweight, so doesn’t get that she isn’t healthy at all because weight is only one indicator of fitness.  She thinks she’s in such great shape, but Maude could probably toss her across the room without breaking a sweat.  Maude may be fat, but she’s strong as hell.

But you can’t talk to Ethel and explain these things, because despite a lack of education, she thinks she knows everything.  Like how Nutella and fried potatoes are essential food groups, and skinny means she’s healthy.   Seeing Ethel and hearing her complain about her body, yet does nothing about it only annoys Maude these days, and it just pisses Maude off to no end that Ethel is determined to make her kid just like her, by saying things like, “oh, you don’t like to eat that” just because Ethel doesn’t like it.   Just like doing all sorts of things for Ethel and her family annoys Maude because whatever they gave, it wasn’t good enough, what they wanted, or they wanted more.  Ethel pesters their mother-in-law to ask Maude for things or information, but Maude doesn’t have time for such ignorance or these annoyances because she’s on a mission.   Oh, she still does what she can (family’s family and all that), and tries to do it with a gracious heart, but still gets annoyed to have to be doing anything at all for that lot of ingrates.

See, Maude has spent most of her life overweight and out of shape and the last couple of years complaining about it.  She spent some time blaming her husband (his snacking), her kids (no time), and genetics (family is overweight too).  She spent probably too much time in negative self-reflection, wondering why she could never lose weight, and why she was a failure.  Recently, she realized she was doing waaaaay too much complaining and beating herself up for past failures and not nearly enough DOING.  So, she decided she’d had enough of making excuses and rationalizing her shortcomings away.  In short, she decided to quit bitching, because no one else was going to be living her life but her, and if she wanted to have a good one, she’d better “git-to-gittin'”.  So, she put on her big girl pants and decided to make her own destiny instead of waiting for someone else to give it to her, unlike Ethel, who didn’t want to learn about her new home (hers was so much better), learn the language (she hasn’t bothered, other than a few phrases), and expected her in-laws to help her find a job (which they did, and then regretted it when she acted like she was too good to work there).

Maude doesn’t think she’s better than Ethel, but she knows damn well she’s smarter and more determined.  Smarter being the sticking point-Maude knows that the random efforts Ethel makes toward fitness are not going to get her in “bikini-ready” shape.  Maude knows that to make it with anything-whether it is making a new life, or transforming the one you have-you have to want it, and you have to work hard for it.  Maude struggles with the slow pace of her weight loss, but knows the number on the scale is not the be-all-end-all of her journey to fitness.  She’s keeping her eye on the prize, because with every workout, she feels how much stronger she is getting.  She feels how rock hard her thighs are getting, and sees how her butt is looking more and more awesome with every set of lunges and squats.  She admits to flexing her biceps in the mirror to see those proud little bumps she never had before.

Whether it was more money, more fitness, more time, more things, Maude often dragged herself down thinking about what she didn’t have.  But realizing her wanting never got her anything but more heartache, she’s changed the way she thinks.  Maude now likes to keep her focus on what she wants and HOW she’s going to get it, instead of WHY she doesn’t have it.  Maude looks at Ethel, and sees a shadow of her old, unhappy self, who often wondered why she didn’t have “it”, whatever it may have been.  Ethel only sees what she doesn’t have and WHY she doesn’t have it and who’s to blame for the lack.  Oddly enough, she’s never the one at fault.

I can already see who’s going to get their “Happily Ever After” 😉

Don’t Look Down!

Hello, Motivation Monday!  It’s time to rock and roll, shake the cobwebs out, and get moving and a groovin’.

new way to beThe weekend was fraught with peril-it was the hubs’ big 4-0, and Orthodox Easter (Kalo Pascha! to any other Orthodox out there).  Next weekend will be another whopper: our anniversary and Mother’s Day.  Will the insanity ever end?  Yes.  Yes it will.  Things are SOOOOO much less stressful since I’ve given up on the “all-or-nothing” attitude.  It helps me to put things in perspective, reminding me that a half slice of the hubs’ b-day cheesecake was not going to break the calorie bank, or undo all my hard work.

Of course, if I ate like I did last night, I would, but that’s the beauty of special occasions.  They are called so because they aren’t everyday occasions.  A big part of changing my life has been about changing how I think and react to things.  In the past I might have denied myself the cake.  Or I would have had it and then felt tremendous guilt.

These days, I like to redirect my mental energy into positively programming my subconscious.  Instead of focusing on what I want to avoid, I focus on what I want to achieve.  You know how you might be climbing to some precarious height, and someone else yells, “Don’t look down!”, and of course, the only thing you want to do is look down?  This is the same concept.  For me, this revolves mostly around food, but sometimes  around my workouts too.

For instance, I haven’t worked out yet today.  I feel bad about it, but I haven’t yet done anything about it.  However, when I was reading up for today’s entry, I realized that I’m the one holding myself back.  I have had rather dismal results in the weight loss department (I’ll post updates tomorrow), but I have lost significant inches in my hips and waist.  But instead of focusing on the improvements, I have unfortunately focused on the number on the scale.  So, in my head, I’m telling myself that I’ll never get where I want to be.  And of course, what is the outward result of that?  I ain’t done shit today!

I’ve determined I need to focus and shower myself with positive affirmations consistently.  I know, it sounds stupid, and my inner pessimistic cynic is sneering in mockery.  But here’s the truth:  if you’re already telling yourself that it’s not worth it, then it won’t be, whatever it might be.  Believing that positive thinking doesn’t work becomes a self-fulfilling negative affirmation.  You can’t think yourself thin, but you can change the way you think to make your fitness and weight loss goals totally achievable.

If I’m just sowing weeds with my negative thoughts, I’ll never see my goals achieved.  I have spoken before about changing my inner monologue, but like a lot of things, this is something I need to practice everyday.  And I have been neglecting that part of my growth.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to juggle a toddler, a baby grand, a medium hippo, and 3 camouflaged balls, trying to keep up with all the things I need to do on the outside, I forget to work on the inside stuff at the same time.

So, instead of the voice in my head so insidiously whispering that I’m not going to workout today, so why did I bother with the sports bra? I’m whispering back to it that I’ll be working out when I get home from picking up my son from school.  That I will make time for anything I’m committed to.  That I love working out.  That the scale may not be budging, but my muscles are growing stronger.  That I am the only one responsible for my results.  To quit bitching and get fit.

Instead of telling myself not to look down, I’m going to tell myself to look up, and ahead.

 

My sad diet revelation

Good morning, folks.  It’s Whiny Wednesday and I have another whine for you.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy my misery!

My clothes are getting looser, and I can now wear a some of the smaller things in my closet without feeling like a slug caught in a straw.  I even wore a pair of old capri knit pants this weekend that I haven’t worn since before I got pregnant with my second.  But, as much as I loved that I fit into them, they have inexplicably become too big, even though I still weigh more now than I did when I last wore them.  I swear, I can pull the waist band up to my boobs and still not have a camel toe!

shoulder padsAnd, back to the underwear.  I am a fan of the “hip-hugger” style underwear.  Not too low, not too high, covers my butt, and don’t ride up.  My hubs has been poking fun of my undies, because apparently, they don’t fit.  I either have them pulled up to the small of my back (har har har), or they sag so it looks like I’m saving room for a-ahem-download.  After I feared my husband might die from the lack of air from laughing so hard, I decided I should probably dig out some better fitting ones.  So I did, and I’m glad I already had some brand new skivvies that didn’t fit when I bought them, but fit great now!

And the saddest news of all: not only is my ass shrinking faster than the rest of me, but my meager amount of boob has decided to jump ship as well.  I was reminded of my grandmother, who has shoulder pads sewn in every shirt she owns.  She told me once how she used to use her spare shoulder pads as bra stuffing back in the day.  I briefly thought about following suit.  Briefly! I swear!

I haven’t tried one of my smaller bras yet as I’m not sure which box they might be in.  Mostly though, it makes me sad my boobs are going away.  Everyone loses weight differently, I know that.  I’m still trying to figure out the way I lose weight.  Apparently, it is slowly, and in immeasurable amounts as I can’t tell from the scale or the tape measure, but my clothes don’t lie-they are looser every day.

Right now, I’m just relishing the saggy seats of my pants, the baggy legs around my thighs, the way my shirts no longer cling to my gut.  “Soon, so very soon!” I croon to the totes of clothes.  My current wardrobe will be finding its way to Goodwill,  and by the time I move this summer, I will be wearing a “new” wardrobe of my old clothes.

 

 

 

 

MISSION: I’m possible

Greetings, it’s Motivation Monday, and I have a wonderful and inspiring story to share with you.

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a Beachbody Super Saturday event.  Super Saturday is a quarterly event for current and prospective Beachbody coaches and customers to learn about the company.  While it was great having a chance to connect with other coaches and previewing Shaun T’s upcoming new workout (it was awesome!), and learning more about building my own business, I had the opportunity to hear a few transformation stories.  These people defied the odds and beat obesity.  The most inspiring story was from Toby.

Toby has Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair.  When he was diagnosed at 6, the doctors said he would not live past 14. much less into adulthood.  But here he is.

TobyAt his highest weight of 328, he had had 2 defibrillator pacemakers, struggled with arthritis.  He had developed severe edema in his legs and it had gotten so bad, his skin had burst in places.  He ended up having to wear these special boots at night that would squeeze the excess fluid out.

His turning point was when he had to get fitted for a tux and the man who measured him told him they didn’t have pants that big-he would have to get special ones with sliders on the side.  Toby was devastated.  He knew there was nothing he could do about his medical condition, but he had to do something.

He was watching TV and saw an infomercial for P90X.  He had seen it before, but this time felt like this might be the answer.  But how was he going to do P90X?  He got online and found a woman who had MS and had modified P90X so she could do it.  His co-workers laughed at him when they heard he was going to do the program-they had tried it and couldn’t do it.

He stuck with it, doing the modified program, even when he wanted to give up because of the pain and weakness caused by his muscular dystrophy, and his own inner demons.  In 2 years, he lost a staggering 133 lbs!  He has even managed to build muscle, despite having MD.  His heart strength has improved and he doesn’t have to use the air boot for edema anymore.

This isn’t a P90X sales pitch.  This is the story of someone who, despite the odds and the obstacles in front of him, decided he was possible.  This is the story of a man who had lost hope and no longer believed in himself and managed to bury it with sheer determination.  This man, who is confined to a wheelchair and suffering from a chronic and debilitating disease has improved his health AND his life by refusing to accept excuses.

And I’ll be honest and say his efforts make mine look puny so far!  It reminds me that some of the biggest roadblocks are in our minds.  It reminds me that Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says “I’m Possible”!

If you would like to hear more of Toby’s story, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ZVsn7xxZo&feature=player_embedded

Or, read about it here: http://www.beachbodysuccessstories.com/p90x/im-in-a-wheelchair-and-lost-133lbs-doing-p90x/

 

Dirty Little Secrets

I don’t know about the rest of you, but as I’ve gained weight, lost weight, had babies, and what not, I’ve accumulated enough clothes to open my own boutique.  I keep hanging on to these things because I tell myself I will lose weight and be able to wear them again.  Guess what?  Nearly 11 years of marriage and 5 moves and my “collection” has grown.  Before our last move, I ruthlessly went through these boxes and culled out almost everything that was older than my oldest kid.  But still, the evidence is pretty damning.

IMG_2414 IMG_2415 IMG_2416These boxes represent to me a lifetime of failed diets and plans to lose weight.  Carrying these around move after move has only increased my self-disgust and has made me feel like I would be overweight and unhappy forever.  I’ve told myself that this was the last move these boxes would follow us.  At least filled with my clothes, at any rate.  I’m on track, and not every day is perfect, but I will get there in the end.  I have about 2 months left before they will be packed up again, and I’m anxious to get in there and see what’s what.  Already, the clothes I’ve been wearing for the last 3 years are getting too big for me.

We all know there is no such thing as some miracle fat pill that’s going to help us lose weight.  There’s no magic bullet, and no particular program that’s going to make the fat disappear overnight.  It takes time.  It takes sweat.  It takes planning, and then executing that plan.  There is only you and maybe it’s your head that’s getting in the way.  I have found that all day long I’m running this constant monologue in my head.  Sometimes, it’s just helpful reminders, like a million “don’t forget to….” but occasionally when I have tuned in, I’ve caught myself thinking negatively about myself and my efforts.

These aren’t just random bad thoughts, these are things that I might be saying to myself without realizing what I’m doing.  Like when I look at those boxes of clothes I can’t wear, and I think, “what’s the point? Just get rid of that shit.  You’ll never be able to fit into them again.” Or I might catch a glimpse of myself passing a mirror and think, “ugh! I look disgusting”.  The problem is not that I thought it.  The problem is that it’s not even a conscious thought!  This constant litany of negativeness that constantly streams in my head has begun to beat me down.  We are truly our own worst critics.

Eventually, I’ll crumble under this avalanche of negativity.  There is only so much beating down a person can take before something breaks.  I used to “encourage” myself to push harder and longer by using insults and demeaning words.  You know, classic R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.  Then I realized that that kind of attitude just does not motivate me, even though I used to think it did.  Instead it pulls me down, makes me want to quit.  And eventually I do, thinking “I just can’t do this anymore.”

But quitting is just not an option anymore.  I feel rejuvenated by my level of commitment to myself, to do this and see it through to the finish.  I have a lot of work to do as far retraining my brain, to learn the art of positive thinking.  Every time I catch myself thinking a negative thought about my body, my diet, my fitness level, I have to stop, reevaluate.  Is what I said really true?  Why did  I think that?  Was I trying to be self-deprecating?  Funny?  Am I making excuses?

Most of the time, it’s just me, lacking self-confidence and esteem.  Until now, I haven’t respected myself enough to really look at why I think the way I do about myself.  I can tell you it wasn’t pretty.  My negative self-talk consisted of calling myself a fat, lazy so-and-so, who can’t run for shit.  Well.  That’s not necessarily true.  I am fat.  But I’m not lazy and I can run, I’m just not particularly fast.  Also true: I may be fat, but I have a lot of weight to lose and slowly but surely, it is going away.  I may not be a fast runner, but I’m improving, and no, I don’t need to be able to run like a gazelle, I’d be happy to run 5 miles or so at a steady pace.  On top of everything, I am gaining muscle: my arms and legs are getting firmer and I’m seeing a little more definition.

One of the most important things I am learning is ditching the “all or nothing” attitude.  Some people may get off on that, but I can’t.  I’ve read past journal entries and saw how I resolved to eat right 100% of the time, work out every day, not fall off the wagon, be committed 110% to this diet.  And each and every time, something happened: I missed a workout, I ate pizza or whatever, and I quit the whole thing because I couldn’t keep my resolve.  All or nothing is just a recipe for failure.  A fitness plan and diet are not things that should be undertaken temporarily.  We should be making decisions about our fitness and our diet that will last a lifetime, not just the next few weeks or months.  That means the things we choose to stick to should be realistic and practical.

Today, while you are going about your day, take a moment now and then and listen to what your inner monologue is telling you.  Ask yourself if it’s negative, insulting, self-deprecating.  If it is, start retraining to think positively.  Focus on the short-term goals you have for yourself when you’re struggling.  Sometimes, that goal may be as simple as just finishing your workout!  In this race, there is no time limit, and there is only one direction: UP!   Start climbing.

 

 

On the path to Greatness

Happy Motivational Monday!  Yes, yes, we all hate Mondays.  I usually lament the passing of too short weekends, and the inevitable return to the daily grind. Too often, it feels like there just simply isn’t enough time to get everything done.  But, one thing I have discovered, is that I secretly love Mondays because it means the start of a new week and new opportunities to reaffirm that I am on the right path to health and fitness.

Today, I’d like to share a few wonderful quotes from master motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. He died just last year at the ripe old age of 86, but his legacy remains.  Every time I see one of his quotes, I’m astounded by the simplicity and the veracity of his statements.  In short, his words remind us that our dreams of success, whether it’s work or personally motivated, are determined by us.  You and me, we are the masters of our own destinies, whatever they may be, and we can achieve greatness when we believe in ourselves.

prepare to winWe all have times when we falter because life keeps throwing us obstacles, but we have to keep moving forward. Since I decided to make a full commitment to losing weight and getting strong, there are definitely times my motivation level has been pretty low.  But I made a decision to not let go this time.  I’m going to play the bulldog on this one and even when my spirits flag, I will not quit until I win!  As Zig would say, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”

Part of learning to motivate myself has included a big heaping serving of STFU-I had to stop bitching about the past and my past failings, put on my big girl panties and MOVE ON! I’m not saying forget the past. The past is important, but learn from it, don’t dwell on it.  Part of this learning process has been learning to love Mondays, not just because I get a chance to “atone” for my weekend transgressions, but because it’s my reminder that backsliding is forgivable, not a deal breaker.

We had our first dinner out in a long long time, where we enjoyed ourselves and ate like kings.  Then birthday cake (not mine) the next day, along with some homemade fresh French bread, but it’s not the end of the world.  I don’t have to explain myself or justify it or make excuses about not eating healthy 100% of the time.  It is what it is, and now it’s done. Today is a new day, and instead of throwing in the towel because I “blew my diet” over the weekend,  I’m back at it.

I made my plan, I’m prepared to win this fight, and end the trend of obesity in my life, and I’m committed to changing my life for the better.  We all deserve greatness in our lives, regardless of how humble that greatness may be.  One of my biggest goals this summer is not being able to look hot in a bikini (maybe next year), but being able to wear my wedding rings again.  That’s right.  My rings.  I took them off when I was about 7 months pregnant, over 3 years ago, and only now am I doing something about it. But my focus is not on those 3 years lost; my focus is on now.  For so long, I didn’t even let myself try to lose weight, even though I was desperately unhappy with myself.  And yes, ol’ Zig would have told me: “The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little.”

We all have the potential to achieve great things in our lives, but you have to start doing to start achieving. Here is another great quote from Mr. Ziglar to send you on your way to a great week:   “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” -Zig Ziglar.