Glowing rewards!

My daughter and I did another 5K Fun Run two weeks ago. I was in the midst of still having pretty severe abdominal pain (If you missed those details.) so we did not finish the 5K. But I did dance for 2 hours with a 30 pound toddler on my shoulders before the run

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and about another hour after the run, and walk two miles round-trip from the parking lot to the run. So I don’t feel bad about it AT ALL.

I’m proud of myself. My kid is SO on board with fun runs– as long as they involve getting crazy messy. I suppose there’s a foam run in our future. I dunno if I’m jazzed about that.

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Anyway, we went, we danced, we glowed, we were tired.

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Much fun!

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Red-lipped rewards.

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For a 40 pound weight-loss reward, I purchased a $22 lipstick. I don’t buy ridiculous things for myself very often, and I CERTAINLY do not buy a single cosmetic that costs more than $10 AND I don’t really wear lipstick, so this is the splurgiest of splurges. But it is a two-fold reward.

I’ve always kind of had an internal war between wishing I was a super stylish girl and hating the super stylish girl. I was raised by my dad (and later step-mom) for all those influential years where girls learn to explore their fashion tastes and try out terrible hairstyles and learn how to accessorize. My step mother is a very nice woman with generally AWFUL taste. My dad is very much a dude’s dude working-class kinda guy. He picks out a new outfit for a fancy event from Goodwill, and considers a Hawaiian button down church-appropriate. My mother has spent my life telling me that vanity is the worst thing anyone can embrace—and I can get behind this on a very VERY extreme platform, but she views any kind of care about clothes, appearance, etc to be a character flaw.

Ok, so needless to say I always feel like the most boring shirt in the room. Generally speaking, I keep my wardrobe pretty simple, innocuous. I don’t make bold fashion statements, I don’t do, like, animal prints and stuff. I mean, you do you—I just don’t like that on me. When I was smaller, I cared more. I liked shopping and felt good in new clothes, I did my hair often, I enjoyed putting on makeup most days and finding cute earrings. I LOVED shoes and bags, just in an Old Navy/Target price range. As I have gained weight, I have felt so unattractive and so matter-of-fact about my appearance that I have stopped caring what I see. I mean, like I still shower and brush my teeth and wear clothes in good repair and stuff, but when I try on a shirt for work and I look frumpy, it’s fine—because no matter what I put on, I’m going to look much older than I should and frumpy, because of my weight. And it has been going on for so long now that I sort of forgot that I think I can be pretty—that I am capable of looking NICE. Not passable—looking GOOD. It is size related, but deeper than that. I worked at this TERRIBLE job for two years. Terrible terrible—the kind of job where you cry before you go in, on your lunch break, and after work EVERY DAY. It was a very valuable lesson, but I am not grateful I learned it. While I was there, I was depressed, and gained more weight, which made me depressed about that too. One day I came into work with full makeup, my hair done and a nice outfit, because I had personal appointment. Everyone in my office ooh’d and aww’d and were genuinely surprised. Do you know how it feels to realize someone is genuinely surprised to learn you can look nice? It’s awful. I was so horrified to learn that I looked SO BAD most of the time that makeup and a cute top were enough to lastingly shock people who have seen me daily for years. After leaving that job, my appearance improved (did you know not crying and sleeping well and stuff makes a huge difference?) and I remembered that I do actually care how I look. I started wearing makeup more often and spending more thought on my clothes and finally diet.

As I get older, I’m learning a lot about the value of things—I mean this completely materialistically. An $80 bag lasts 80% longer than a $5 bag. Quality is quality, and while price does not equal quality, quality is worth paying for. All of this is just to say, $22 lipstick IS THE GREATEST PURCHASE I HAVE EVER MADE!

I mean, if you like PERFECT lipstick, here’s a link.

I love lipstick, but I just eat it off my face so I rarely wear it. I’m bad at re-applying and I hate that thing where it’s all worn off and you look like you lined your lips and ate a popsicle—not cute. Anyway, in addition to being the ALL TIME BEST EVER MOST PERFECT shade of red (seriously, swoon!), and smelling like vanilla- not wax or something else gross, AND tasting like nothing AND being hyper-pigmented AND not feathering or bleeding, I applied it at 8 am and did not re-apply until 2pm (after I ate a sandwich, and to be honest, I just had to dab a little in the center of my lips). Then I walked at the park, sweat like a fool, and when I got home it was still perfect. (Um, I don’t make it a habit to workout in lipstick (T Swizzle!) but I forgot makeup remover) And!! When I used makeup remover, it came off COMPLETELY, easily, beautifully. No pilling, no dry lip, no weird lipstick residues. I’m not trying to write a beauty blog or anything, but I will never buy another lipstick that is not Besame. And I want all the colors. 1920 red is AMAZING. I think I know some more things to put on my weight loss reward list. And, wearing lipstick keeps me from snacking, out of fear of reapplying. So handy.

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In non-lipstick related news…

If you have been following my eternal struggle of life and food, you may remember my recent struggle with UNENDING RELENTLESS cravings that did not seem to be associated with a real food or emotional need. After some research and some different trial-and-error attempts, I decided to try adding a few vitamins to my daily intake and see if it made a difference.

Well. I can’t say for sure that it was the added vitamins, but I absolutely feel better. The cravings have subsided back to normal. I noticed a difference in just a few days, and I feel completely back in control now—roughly 2 weeks later. It could always be coincidence or placebo or just that I got it out of my system—who knows? What I DO know, is I am SO SO glad I don’t feel like a mad woman about food at the moment. I mean, I would still rather eat a hamburger than the stuffed tomatoes I prepared for lunch, but it’s totally fine. I would still like to dive into a tub full of truffles, but I can walk by the Godiva kiosk. Additionally, I have re-lost my weight gained during uncontrolled bingeing AND am at my lowest weight in the last 3 years.

A Steady Diet of SUCKITUPBUTTERCUP!!

So in an on-going, never-ending cycle of up’s and down’s, I am upping and downing.

I have eaten my feelings for a few days. Over-eaten. Binge-eaten. It has not been pretty. I purchased Twinkies (plural) ON PURPOSE and brought them INTO MY HOME and placed them IN MY PANTRY for CONSUMPTION. This is absurd, for so many reasons. One, Twinkies are not food, they are not good, and I do not like them. But I saw them, I was feeling vulnerable, and I bought them. THEN I ATE ONE. And you know what? Reason two for absurdity: It was foul. It was so sweet it was gross, and I knew at the first bite that I was not enjoying it. It did not stop me from eating it, and a second Twinkie, for good measure. Three: SABOTAGE! I cannot have food like that in my home. I just can’t. I’ve been trying to tell myself that I’ve been doing really well in my weight loss goals and I can afford a small, planned treat now and again. That’s true—if we’re talking like a Friday slice of pizza or a few chocolate squares after a nice walk. But this? This is not that. This is a descent into ED bingeing and emotional eating.

I’ll spare you the humiliating details, but rest assured that through a number of poor choices, too little water, and WAAAAAY too much food, I have gained about 5 lbs. The good and bad of that: Good—5 lbs on me isn’t too much to carve back off in a few days of good choices. Bad—it means a few more days I could have been making progress instead of just doing damage control have been wasted. I am bloated and puffy and I FEEL bad. Emotionally less so than physically. But I physically feel pretty awful. I’m salt-achey and generally yuck.

But I’m disappointed. If you’ve been following my progress, you may notice a trend. I am noticing a trend. I do well for a few days and I’m introspective and thoughtful about my food and goals. Then I get a little cockey and I slip a little—just a little. But I think, that’s ok! You have to have balance! Then I slip a little more, and a little more, until I’m in full-on terrible choice mode. Then I shake it off, pull up my socks, find my head again. Repeat.

But each time I slip a little further, and I don’t pull up my socks quite as far as I should. So I’m regressing.

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, SELF???

Okay, look. I started out with food as my main area of change. After a little while getting acclimated to that I worked in exercise—not too much at first. I worked up. I was still being a CHAMPION at food. Nutritious, tasty, filling, low-cal. And you know what? My results were SO GOOD! I lost about 20 pounds in a month.

I’ve slowly slipped a little more and a little more. I started working out longer to account for the poor choice I had ALREADY decided to have at dinner—and I’m not talking like one night a week. I found I was thinking things like “Well, I don’t really feel like going to the gym today, but if I do I will burn a thousand calories so I can eat more at dinner. OKAY!” SO instead of working on my portions—which are a big part of my downfall—I was finding a way to out-exercise my portions… kinda. Except that if I didn’t work out, I still ate the bigger portion I had previously trained myself out of “needing” (emotionally), and defeated the hard work of the week. I didn’t gain for a while. I didn’t lose either. I mean, sure, a little here and there, but not like I was when I was really putting in the effort. Funny how that works.

So now, here I am. Looking hard in the mirror. I can’t rely on exercise to lose weight. I have to get a handle on food. Fully, completely, lastingly. I’m still working on vitamins and nutrition to help the physical cravings—I think it is working and having a positive impact. BUT. It’s the emotional part that I have to fight now. And forever. I guess that’s the part that makes me sad, when thinking about dieting makes me sad. (It doesn’t, lots of the time… but sometimes…) You’ve all thought it. The sinking feeling when you have to admit that, for this to work, it means forever. It means this battle will go on FOREVER. I will never lead a life where I can sit down and enjoy a piece of birthday cake without analyzing how I will feel later, how I will work it off, and whether it’s safe for me to do so without it triggering me into a binge-spiral of self-loathing or days of non-stop eating. It’s so fast—the regression. It’s such a real thing, addiction. I get it. I mean, it feel stupid to even say “I’m addicted to food”, but really? I get it. When I can recognize that I am SO FULL and I SHOULD NOT eat, and I am NOT hungry while I am preparing another plate of food—when I can recognize the guilt BEFORE it’s even happened, and I still eat, I still do it, I still consume the thing I know I shouldn’t—I get it. It’s a problem. It isn’t enough to say willpower. It isn’t enough to drink-water-it-away, or to choose an apple. It isn’t a diet-pill and weight-watcher’s meeting solution. I’m going to start looking into behavioural health options as an additional branch of my diet regimen.

But for now—for the What I Can DO For Me Today portion of my after-school special—I am resetting.

Again.

I guess that’s part of the deal, too. Constantly resetting, constantly re-motivating, constant vigilance.

I’m going a little drastic for a day or two. Protein shakes, raw veggies, lean protein, apples, water. And green tea because a life without caffeine is not worth living and you don’t want me in that world either.

 

It’s noon and I’m fine.

Because I can do this, and so can you.

My little Fun-away, Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun-away!

I did my first Fun Run as an adult this weekend. I did not run, but I did have fun.

My daughter (3) told me all week about how much she was going to heartily DISenjoy herself. She did not wish to run, walk, be covered in colors, or see many people and perhaps friends. Three-year-olds are a joy and a gift. Motherhood is so rewarding.

When my alarm went off at 5:45am on a Saturday, I cursed myself. Why? Why would I do this to myself? I can walk 5K anywhere, at any time. Why did I pay money to have to get up early on my ONLY day to sleep in (and I say sleep in VERY loosely, because 3 year olds do not sleep in unless it is a school day or you are on a schedule)? And, even better– it was raining like CRAZY.

Lovely day for a Fun Run!
Lovely day for a Fun Run!

I thought about just not going. But I went. I knew that if I didn’t go I would kick myself forever.  So we went. When we arrived, we stood in a very wet line for packet pick-up and took selfies. The rain slowed to a drizzle, and all was scheduled to go on as planned. Ish.

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Before!

I didn’t really know what to expect with a color run, and had the option when I registered to buy extra color packets, so I did. I assumed a “color packet” was like a tiny, one shot kinda deal. So I bought 15 extra color packets. Fun fact: Color packets are BIG. It’s enough pigment to attack 10 people. So we had PLENTY.

Standing at the start line, an employee approached a group of us to let us know the start time had been pushed back an hour. It was 8:30 am. They wouldn’t start till 10 am. A couple of things with that. One, the storm was anticipated to hit again around 10. Clever, race folks. Two, this is in southern coastal Texas. 10 am + rain humidity + Galveston area + June = A BILLIONDY SEVEN DEGREES.

We decided, along with some strangers, that we wouldn’t wait for the start time, we’d just walk and have some fun. So we did.

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It got pretty intense. My daughter, by the end, was screaming like Braveheart and chasing strangers to attack them with color powder. Luckily, this was an instance where that was completely encouraged… I couldn’t have stopped her if I wanted to. The track was about a mile-and-a-half, then a turn-around, and the same track back to the start/finish line. We made it ALMOST to the half-way mark when the sky opened up again. My daughter was already pretty tired by then anyway… BUT I ALREADY WALKED SOOO FAAAAR! SO TIRED!

We ended up turning around and not quite doing the entire 5K (lightening!!!) and we were completely drenched by the time we made it back. In white clothes. It was cute. We also found out that it was cancelled after-all. HAHAHA. Of course it was. I think they’re rescheduling, so maybe we get to do it twice. And if not, I’m double glad we went.

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But we had FUN. My daughter insists she did not have fun. Because she’s 3. And 3 year-olds are terrible companions most of the time. But she did have fun. She told everyone about our Fun Run. We enjoyed it so much I signed us up for a Glow Run in a few months and she is JAZZED about it. Even though she won’t admit it.

It’s a very minor accomplishment, but I’m glad I did it. It seems silly to pay money to walk ~3 miles (and in the rain), but money has proven over and over again to be a really good incentive for me. Spending and earning. In this case, I’m glad that I went. I found a new funsies activity for my daughter and I to do together that is teaching her to enjoy exercise as recreation (although, at 3 she’s not opposed to it yet) and has opened a new door of something special for us to do together.

D’awwwww.

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I would like all the vitamins you have. Please understand– not a lot of vitamins– ALL THE VITAMINS YOU HAVE.

I’ve been craving. HARD. All the things. For about 2-3 weeks now.

Normally, food is the easier part of dieting for me, exercise the tougher aspect. Lately, though, I have been SO HUNGRY and for really specific things. I tried fighting through it, but they didn’t go away. So I tried indulging (in a healthful way) and they didn’t go away. So I tried indulging in an unhealthful-exactly-what-I-want way, and they went away for a minute—but came right back.

SO, okay. Something isn’t right.

I’m anemic, so a protein craving isn’t strange for me. And generally, being iron deficient can cause a red-meat specific craving, not terribly abnormal. I don’t eat much red meat—it’s not like a principals thing, I just like poultry and fewer calories, so I tend to default to things like chicken. Also, hormones have long influenced a true, legit NEED for chocolate some days.

Lately I’ve been craving cheese, chocolate, steak, potatoes, cilantro (which I actually hate), and simple carbs. Okay, totally normal desires when dieting, ammirite? Sure! Who DOESN’T jones for a plate of pasta? Who DOESN’T yearn for a slice of pizza to bury their face in? I don’t NOT eat potatoes or red meat when I diet, either, but I definitely make an effort to keep those things proportionately few and far between on the ol’ food rotation.

And sure, I always want some of those things sometimes when I’m being virtuous about food. But this is different. This is not the sort of craving you are strong through and then it diminishes—this is not the sort of craving that is cured by drinking more water (‘cause for reals, I drink a minimum of 3 litres of water every day. I could drink more, and sometimes I do, but it shouldn’t be a dehydration issue). I know many of us struggle with emotional eating, boredom eating, that sort of thing. I’m absolutely no exception– but this is different. Those emotional cravings I know, because I’m emotional. “I WILL NOT EAT MY FEELINGS!” has come out of my mouth in public on more than one occasion. But I can talk myself down from that. I can eat an apple/cheese combo and go for a walk and kill those cravings. This is different. This is bone deep. This is a gnawing, lasting hunger unsatiated by anything, sometimes even the craving. And I just don’t have time for that. My willpower is only so strong. I tried to talk my kid into talking ME into making brownies this week. HA. Luckily for me she’s ornery and likes to disagree with all my bright ideas on principal. Suddenly 3 year olds don’t even like brownies. LIAR!!!!!! But we didn’t make them, so I guess it’s fine.

And the straight up HUNGER. I’ve been HONGRAY. I’m fine till lunch, and then I am so hungry I can barely even concentrate on anything else. And my hunger is hunger, but follows the cravings. Just eating isn’t solving the problem.

So what I mean by this is, say I eat breffas. A perfectly acceptable breakfast, mind you. I’m not a big breakfast person, so I like to go with a smoothie because I don’t have to over think it and it’s nutritious and protein and fiber filled and I can just drink it at my desk and then it’s done. If I have the time to do breakfast for real, I want to cook delicious skillet hash with potatoes and veggies and sour cream and jalapenos and cheese and stuff. I try not to START my day like that. So a nice cup of spinach, protein powder, a banana, some frozen fruit or veggies, maybe lemon juice or coconut water as the mood takes me. Sometimes greek yogurt, sometimes some cottage cheese, sometimes whatever fresh fruit is going bad on the counter, fresh mint b/c that’s how I roll, whatever. (aside: I don’t drink the kale kool-aid. I hate kale. I’ve tried it all the ways, and it’s gross. It isn’t good. Not raw, not sautéed, not juiced, not shredded, not boiled, not baked into chips, not boiled into soups, NOTHING. No kale smoothies.)

A healthy, nutritious smoothie. A few hours later I may have a snack of some kind, like some veggies and hummus or fruit or something, I might not. Then it’s lunch, and I eat well again. A lean protein, some raw veggies, sometimes a soup or salad, maybe a tuna sandwich, some kind of lettuce wrap, etc. You get the idea.

One to two hours later, STARVING. And I’m starving for: carbs, sugar, cheese. So I say to myself this is clearly a blood-sugar drop (although it isn’t, b/c I check it and also eat protein with carbs so it should be stable to begin with). So I have a sensible snack. You know the “apple test” or the “broccoli test”? They say if you’re hungry enough to eat {broccoli, and apple}, then you’re hungry. If not, you’re bored. Well, I eat something healthy, drink a glass of water, and wait. And I’m still hungry. Repeat.

By the end of the day, pre-dinner, I’ve eaten over what I have allotted myself, so my dinner would be super sad, BUT I’M STILL STARVING. Plus, I’ve eaten all healthy stuff, so I should be full and content—not still craving things! I bumped my calorie intake up a little, figuring that maybe it was just too low for the activity level I’ve worked up to. A week passes, STILL HUNGRY.

I consulted Dr. Google.

Dr. Google says I need vitamins. Well, Dr. Google, I’m a little obsessed with vitamins, so I’m HAPPY to start taking whatever placebo vitamin you recommend! I’ve read the studies about how vitamins might actually be worse for you, and the ones about how I’m probably peeing most of it out, and the ones where it could be causing cancer—but whatever. I love vitamins. I want them all.

But here’s the interesting part—Dr. Google’s recommendations of vitamins actually made sense. As in, I usually take chromium, a practice I began when I read some crack-article about it being a holistic anxiety med as well as a blood-sugar regulator. (Now, I’m not diabetic, but I’m pretty terrified of diabetes and I did have gestational diabetes, so the odds are against me, long term, but diet and weight loss will surely improve my chances at NOT getting it—but I still check my blood sugar when I feel weird and I still pay attention to eating for steady blood sugar and stuff. I’m pro-active like that.) I ran out of my chromium about a month ago and I hadn’t gotten around to picking up some more. Chromium deficiency symptoms: rise in anxiety levels (check), lightheadedness (check), decrease in energy (super check), muscle weakness (check), mood swings (check). So I understand that all these symptoms are very vague and the symptoms of EVERYTHING, I do, I promise. But the time line works. And chromium is cheap.

Cheese: several internet diagnoses here. Obviously fat and salt. My diet is not sodium deficient, for sure. Fat deficient… maybe, but I doubt it. Another article said calcium. Hmm. Now that could be. I have cut back on my dairy consumption pretty drastically this year, which has to do with iron absorption rather than a dairy thing—I love dairy. I love milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, all of it. I eat dairy every day, but a serving or two, as opposed to a gazillion. I take a multivitamin and I eat calcium non-dairy foods, too, but.. I have been slacking. I’ve been burnt out on my broccoli and spinach, so I’m not plowing through as much as possible. So maybe.

Sugar cravings can imply deficiencies in Chromium, Zinc, Magnesium. Chocolate cravings are long-told to be magnesium based, etc. I already take magnesium, so I doubt it’s that. They say if you’re craving chocolate have a dark chocolate square, because it’s richer and stronger flavored, for your mental craving, and higher in magnesium for your physical craving. Yeah, I haven’t been able to stop at one square. Or two. Or three. Sometimes four. That’s 200 calories, just like that. And I’m NOT fulfilled. So it’s a waste.

All interesting things. Anyway, the point is that I bought 9 million dollars worth of vitamins yesterday, and fixed up my supplement stores. I’m interested to see if it has any effect on my ridiculous hunger and cravings. I added zinc, chromium, and calcium– I already took all the others. Well, I guess I re-added chromium.

This delicious picture of my after-breffas snack contains:

Potassium, a multi, iron, vitamin c (for iron absorption), chromium, zinc, calcium, B complex, D3, magnesium, and a sprig of mint for garnish.

Ihave a lot on my plate. Well, not literally of course.
I have a lot on my plate. Well, not literally of course.

I’ll let you know in a few weeks whether it’s fixed me issues. The next step is burning my new birth control– and equally plausible explanation for every single item on my list of complaints.

My pee is SO valuable.

Diet food is boring.

Diet food that doesn’t make you sad or take 45 minutes to prepare is hard to come by. Also, I should note that my current schedule has left me a bit lacking in the dinner department. I’m a single career mom on a diet, so I get off work at 5, drive through 45 minutes to an hour of traffic, pick up my daughter from pre-school, then it’s another 20 minutes of traffic to the gym, 1-1/2 hours at the gym (depending on my energy level and child’s crankiness), then home, where I feed and bathe my daughter, QT for 30 before bed (books and puzzles some days, David Bowie Labyrinth inspired dance parties other), and by then it’s anywhere between 8:30 and 9 pm before I’m able to think about feeding myself. I might start making my dinner while my daughter is eating, but a lot of times I try to shower in that time.

Anyway, the point is that I was eating a fair amount of salad with chicken or tuna for dinner and getting insanely bored. Also, I notice with diet food (and I know some folks don’t like to call it a diet, but it doesn’t mess with my psyche so I do) that it’s so often COLD if it’s a nice low calorie and nutritious recipe. I like cold food just fine, but warm food makes me feel more full, more satiated, more indulgent. So I’ve been making an effort to food prep on the weekend and pre-pack lots of warm dinners that I could freeze or refrigerate and just pop in the microwave or oven when I walk in and wouldn’t be required to over think servings, calories, cooking, etc.  On my food logging app (I use Lose It!, but I think Spark People and My Fitness Pal offer it too) I can type up my recipes (even scan the barcodes on sauces and prepackaged components)  and input the servings to calculate the nutrition facts. Then, once the recipe is saved on my recipe list, I can just type it into my daily log and all the info is right there in my calorie count. It’s a bit time intensive to begin, but once the recipes are there it’s easy peasy.  And I use the recipes I typed in to re-create what I made before. It works for me.

ANYWAY,

I’m pretty proud of my accomplishments on Saturday. I chopped and cooked and packaged ALL DAY. It probably would have been easier if I planned and prepped more carefully and didn’t have a 3yr old sous chef, but regardless, I accomplished two weeks of homemade, nutritious dinners for around $100. Some will require a side item, but I’m a fresh/frozen veggie or salad on the side kinda girl. The calorie counts I am getting are truly gratifying, too. I’m talking 200-400 calories for main dishes. So some of these I could, feasibly, double a serving if I am still hungry, and some days I am. I’m going to make an effort to post the successful recipes here, with pictures. I’ll try not to make them all terrible cellphone pictures, but don’t hold your breath. You’ll get what you get. I’m not a food blogger, so this isn’t my instagram-forte.

Please feel free to let me know if you try a recipe, what alterations  or improvements you made, and what you thought!

The Struggle is Real: Gym Anxiety Edition 4-29-2015

Originally Posted April 29, 2015

I’ve been going to the gym fairly regularly for about 6 weeks (hooray me!) and it’s become routine enough that I’ve stopped thinking about it– on the whole.

Yesterday, I was set back to day-one-level gym anxiety for a while, so I thought we should discourse.

I KNOW I am not alone on this. Gyms can be so incredibly intimidating. I’ve done fairly well at not projecting what my inner 13 year-old would say onto strangers passing by, buuuuut… I mean it happens. “WHY DOES THAT PERSON KEEP GLANCING AT ME??? Is my machine squeaking? Am I doing it wrong? Do I smell? They’re thinking about how gross I look, I KNOW IT!” Etc. Ok, so, maybe you default to “Why is that person so OBVIOUSLY checking me out?? I know I’m hot, but c’mon!” — so good for you and your self esteem. Live it, go on with yo bad self! I, however, default to the former.

And there are plenty of things to make a person self-conscious at a gym.

You have to wear clothes that allow you to move, which generally means more fitted, spandex in composition, and void of carefully purchased accessories that flatter and disguise problem areas (I love the drapey scarf trend).

You will get all sweaty (if you’re doing it right), and maybe omit… odors. I’m still very concerned about the possibility of asparagus sweat being a thing. Plus coffee, garlic, onions, all kinds of things can scent your natural body odor– plus sweating it out? Gah. But wearing perfume to the gym is equally offensive. You will not win. Fresh sweat isn’t that bad, usually, if you bathe regularly. And if you’re gymming, you should probably also be bathing regularly.

There are mysterious machines with vague instructions printed on them. Ok, so the first time I ever climbed on an elliptical machine (maybe ten+ years ago?) I was MYSTIFIED. Luckily, it was at an apartment gym and I was alone, so I could work it out. “You have to move your arms and your legs at the same time and not fall off?” The weight area is still terrifying to me. I know how to use a few machines (I think) and I stick to those for now until I get a trainer sorted out. And I know there are youtube videos and tons of books and websites with step-by-step instructions, but I’m a kinetic learner– I need to do it. I cannot bring myself to pull out my smart phone and stream a 2 minute video while I try to position my body on the machine, because WHAT WILL STRANGERS THINK? See? I know how stupid that sounds, but it is what it is. Also, the other day I was using the seated row machine and a trainer stopped by to give me some pointers on using it– this was great, and I’m grateful he did, and I have used that new knowledge to my advantage. It was also embarrassing. I felt humiliated– I didn’t need to, he was kind and helpful and nobody, like, pointed at me and called me four-eyes or anything, but I still felt humiliated.

There are some really pretty people at the gym. This is it’s own kind of inspiring defeat. There are some really really fit people at the gym. There are also average looking people, doughy looking people, and fat-like-me looking people. All of those people, and all of those eyes, and all of those thoughts that you cannot control while you are doing something outside your comfort zone can be TERRIFYING.

This all comes back to “Don’t care what other people think!” — yeah yeah, but let’s be real. We do care. If we did not care we would all be stealing, murdering, public-crapping, nose-picking, what-have-youing all over the place. But we don’t, because there are rules and we are civilized, and there’s good and bad to that. And even when you don’t care-care what you look like, you still care what you look like. It doesn’t have to own you and cover every aspect of your self or anything, but you care. And so do I.

This is pretty ramble-y, so thanks for sticking with me.

When I am at the gym and someone gets on a cardio machine RIGHT next to mine when there are other machines open, I think several things.

1.) “OMG, I hope I don’t smell. What is that smell? Is that smell me? THAT IS ME. I feel so bad for you, Gym Member.”

2.) “Why did they pick that machine? There are SO MANY other machines! Buffer machine! Don’t they know gym etiquette?” (then I answer myslef) “Maybe they like that machine best. Maybe they are watching the TV. Maybe they’re checking out the lady’s butt in front of them. Maybe they hate another Gym Member nearby.”

3.) “IT’S BECAUSE I’M FAT, ISN’T IT???”
-“Did they glance at my machine readout? Are they comparing themselves to me to feel good? Are they next to me so they look thinner? Are they judging me? THEY ARE JUDGING ME!”
-“I’m going to do this exercise UNTIL I DIE just to show them I can endure Cardio While Fat!”
-“Are they pacing me? Did they speed up because I sped up? STOP TRYING TO BE ME!”
-“HAHAHA! I did it longer than them! I hope they respect fat-exersize now!!”

* I yell at strangers a lot in my head. I’m very rude that way. It comes from working in retail for many years, probably.

I’m probably mostly wrong and crazy, and silly– but I am right sometimes. It’s generally not a part of my life once I’m done on the machine, but those thoughts are still something to overcome and they’re still a part of the gym, for most of us, I think.

Also, the fit people who sneer at un-fit people at the gym.
First, and obviously, they can go F themselves.
Second, they can go F themselves again for good measure.
Third, I am guilty of it too.

That’s right! I can complain about it and acknowledge that I do it too. I am guilty of thinking things like “That person is fatter than me. Thank god. I’ll NEVER get THAT fat.” or “Ugh, that person is TOO fit. S/He looks so gross and veiny. I bet they’re super vain and D-Baggy.” and also “That person is perfect and I wish I were perfect too.” I think all the things.

Also, I stare at the people doing pull-up sometimes. I try not to, because I’m not being a creeper, but I am honestly completely in awe of that ability. I’ve never done a pull-up in my whole entire life. It’s one of my top fitness goals. So I watch and think about how amazed I am that people can do that, and it looks so effortless.

I also look at the women in the free-weights section of the gym next to super buff men, just doing what they came to do. And I cheer them. And I hope to toughen my skin enough to be over there soon.

Long story, long, I’m bringing this up because for a little while now I’ve been fine at the gym. I haven’t had to talk myself into just getting through the front door and that kind of thing. And then, yesterday, out of nowhere, a near-stranger gave the disgusted face while I was working out. not once, BUT THREE TIMES. He gave me the gross-out face while I elliptical-ed, and didn’t see me see him. Then he did it again by the weights, whilst I was lat pull-downing. Then HE MADE EYE CONTACT and a full-body scan + gross-face while I was leaving with my daughter.

So that’s an abnormal amount of rude, and I did not imagine it.

Here’s the part that’s kinda neat, though. I went to highschool with that guy. I know his name, first and last. I also know, thanks to the weirdness that is social media social obligation (why do we add people we barely knew in highschool?), where he works, his girlfriend’s name, where he likes to eat dinner, every time he goes to the gym, his new car (complete with license plates), and his favorite bars. Not like I’m going to go find him and TP his house or anything, I’m just saying, folks oughta censor some stuff. I’d feel pretty bad about myself after all of that, normally. But, in this case, I had the ability to snoop on his page and read all of the terrible political ideas he supports, as well as a TON of really superficial body shaming kindsa comments he posts. And judge his general spelling and grammar failures. I don’t enjoy being the person who grosses out another person, just by BEING. I don’t, it’s not a good feeling. But I am totally fine with grossing THAT guy out. I kinda hope he sees me and my big butt in yoga pants when he closes his eyes. And that? Right there? Has renewed my gym commitment. Not for the sake of toning up so I’ll be attractive, but so, hopefully, I can gross him out all the time.

A beginning. But not THE beginning.

In an effort to stay motivated and also for the sake of documentation (failures, successes, progress, trends, et so on), I am starting this blog. I’ve been blogging for a while on another site, so transferred those blogs here, for continuity.

I am on a mission, a mission of health. I am currently working toward an end result of losing 227 pounds.

That’s a pretty big number.

As of today, I’m three months in and the number has dropped to 188 pounds.

That’s still a pretty big number, but it’s also a considerably smaller number.