Shut Up About Health and Fitness During the Holidays

I’ve been avoiding posting about fitness and health during the holiday season because well, it’s the holiday season and the media and social media focus on health and fitness during the holidays makes me feel stabby. I’m busy procrastishopping, attending gatherings, taking care of end of year chores and bills and stressing myself out about traveling. Do NOT lay a guilt trip on me for indulging a little more than usual. And if someone doesn’t want to indulge (they are feeling really committed to their workout routine/training/goals and food intake) MORE POWER TO THEM and leave them alone too.

I’m of the opinion that people should enjoy themselves during the holidays and own their decisions. Don’t make yourself feel like shit; but if you do, make sure there’s fudge involved. (or in my case, every flavor of M&M ever created – except pretzel.) [EDIT: okay, really it’s just mint related M&MS.]

Here’s how my holiday season is going:

  • I tossed my scale aside on Sunday. It’s now sitting under my towel dresser. I’m hoping this will help me stop my fixation with my weight. [Why am I the same few pounds up and down? Am I eating too little? Too much? The wrong things? Working out too little? Working out too much? ]
  • I have only been working out 4-5 days a week for past couple weeks (more the 4 than 5) – instead of 5 or 6. There’s extra life to live during the holidays.
  • Instead of running and being in training mode, I’ve been doing a lot more cross training. It’s been nice to change things up.
  • Speaking of cross training, I finally tried spinning and really enjoy it. Biking has always been hard for me and spin really helps hit muscles I don’t work enough in my running. Plus, the music is fun and it’s indoors.
  • I’ve been having a glass or two of wine here or there and really enjoying it. Why is red wine so dreamy?
  • I’ve been eating festive foods – and REALLY enjoying it.
  • I’m currently obsessed with eating salads from the salad bar at the grocery store. (score one for the vegetables)
  • I started taking spirulina because it’s a natural non-animal source of protein and happens to have the added benefit of being full of B vitamins and iron. Things I need.
  • And a really big one, I stopped logging everything I eat in an online tracker. I’m just eating when I’m hungry and trying to be aware of what I’m putting in my mouth. Sometimes this has meant an entire bag of Angie’s Holidrizzle Kettle Corn in one day. Oops.

I miss cookies.

Dealing with People’s Comments on My Weight Loss

No secret here: I’ve lost a lot of weight. About 80 lbs. I’m working toward 100+.

You can’t lose that amount of weight without people noticing. Comments are inevitable and sometimes, frequent. People who haven’t seen you for months remark. People who see you daily remark. Meanwhile, you keep looking in the mirror and trying to imagine what other people see and trying to interpret what you see.

This is really the 3rd time I’ve tried to lose a significant amount of weight. I’ve succeeded at weight loss before. Where I didn’t succeed was in changing my life. I can diet like a pro. I am an But right now? I’M NOT ON A DIET. That’s the difference.

In my previous two major weight loss eras I really struggled with people’s comments and questions. It made me super uncomfortable to talk about my body and my weight loss. “OMG. Stop noticing me! I no exist! You no see me!” I was doing Weight Watchers and exercising or I was just restricting calories and exercising. Neither one stuck. And neither addressed the real issues I had with my lifestyle.

Even though I still struggle with what I put in my mouth and how I move my body – AND HOW I FEEL ABOUT ALL THAT – I am still proud of myself.

Comments, questions, conversation and compliments don’t make me want to run away (though I totally could!) They make me stand a little taller. They make me think “damn right! I’m awesome!” And the reason I feel that way is because I know what I’m doing is HEALTHY. I’m not starving all day just so I can stay under 1500 calories and eat a giant concrete for dinner. I’m not hording food. I’m not hiding food. I’m not sneaking food. [Confession: In high school I used to buy the big container of chocolate chip cookies from Hy-Vee bakery and hide them under my bed. I’d eat and eat and eat. Also, when I was doing Weight Watchers when I was 16 I remember finding caramels in the top cabinet of our kitchen and thinking I’d hit the jackpot. I totally snuck those bad boys (never before had I ever really cared about eating a caramel). And there was the time we had friends visiting from out of town and we all went swimming and had pizza. I had my WW personal sized cardboard delight and everyone else was having Freschetta. Hell yes I shoved a piece or two of that Freshcetta down my gullet in secret AND ate my cardboard pizza.]

I’m confident because I know I’m making good choices in my life. Do I still have issues with food? Sure. I probably always will. But I’m not afraid to be noticed. I’m open to discussing my struggles with food, movement and mental health with people. Come on, I blogged about my belly and admitted to making it into a butt.

No kidding folks. I’m sexy and I know it. (and you should feel free to comment because I’ll do a sassy little dance in my head and say “Thank you!” – and mean it.)

Nothing Between Us But My Fat Roll

Well, my stomach. Every message I see about body image evokes thoughts of the soft and very round belly I carry around with me. I try to hide it every day. My mom started calling her stomach “Big Bertha” after she saw Wanda Sykes do it. Now I can’t help but think of that. Hmph.

I have a pretty big mental and emotional block against intimacy  You’re all like, “Whoa! Where the fuck* did that come from? I thought we were talking about stomachs? I was about to take off my shirt and make my belly into a butt and wiggle it around and pretend moon my cat/dog/baby/significant other/mirror. And I was starting to get hungry for fresh baked bread. What gives?!” [It should be noted that I can make an awesome stomach butt. Looks just like a plump baby rump – only with less oozy brown stuff.]

I use my “Big Bertha” as a block. Spend enough time around me and you’ll notice how I fuss to cover my stomach. IT MUST NOT BE EXPOSED IN ALL ITS PROTUBERANCE. It’s where the weight comes off the slowest. So slow it seems. It’s also become an physical emotional barrier for me.

This one part of my body has for years determined how I view myself as a woman. It makes me feel ugly and asexual. The more messages of self acceptance and “down with body shaming” I read, the more self conscious I become. Why can’t I like my stomach? Why can’t I accept my stomach. Why do I feel like I HAVE to? You know what?! (what?!) I’m trying to lose weight because I don’t like my stomach and I CAN do something about it. But, I should value and accept myself – and see the beauty in my body through the process. Oh the conflict! Aye me.

Yesterday I finally cleaned my bedroom and bathroom. I’d let it get to the point where my cats adapted to the door being blocked by the line of laundry baskets full of clean laundry – they learned to leap over the baskets instead of walking around them. (That was actually pretty entertaining. My little equestrians!) Piles of clothes on the floor too. And let’s talk about the clutter of hair care, skin care and makeup products that littered my vanity (double sinks!) and shower. So much gross. So much stuff. So much stuff everywhere.

So why am I talking about my butt belly, intimacy and my master bedroom and bath? Because I use two of the three as excuse to avoid the third.

When I was 6 or 7 and we’d just moved to Kansas City and into our first apartment as a family of three I felt the need the build a fortress of stuffed animals every night when I went to sleep. Suffocating, hot and kind of uncomfortable I would swaddle myself against my nightmares and fears.

Now that I’m a grown up woman, I’ve found new ways to build my fortress. Why do I deprioritize housework? Why do I keep the most intimate, personal rooms in my house the most cluttered? If my bedroom is messy, I never have to bring anyone in it. 

I’ve always known that I would not succeed at long term weight loss and health unless I tackled the emotional and mental issues. Gosh, not fun. Not fun at all.

I just want to be skinny and look good and all my problems will be magically solved.

While I’ve failed at long term weight loss twice, I’ve still learned from the experiences. That thing about losing weight magically solving problems? It’s bullshit.  I will succeed this time  I am succeeding because I’m better able to deal with the mental and emotional challenges that helped me gain weight, helped me keep it on and that come with losing it and realizing that I’m still me – only smaller.

I often feel like an outsider. I’m tentative because I don’t always know my place. I’ve lived a lifetime of bar hookups and being the fat friend, the purse watcher, the wing woman, the lookout. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just broken and alien. I keep trying to visualize myself with the things I’ve always wanted: a husband (a good one! one who loves me and who I love and didn’t just settle for) and kids.

The desire to be more than the stereotypes of my life drive me to change — one punch of courage at a time.

I go on dates. I talk to strangers. I clean my room. I write about it all.

There is no great ending to this post. I’m still trying, because what I want is worth the effort. I want to feel good and strong and confident in my skin. I want to feel powerful. I want to glow. And I want to share it.

*Sorry Oma and other people who don’t like vulgarity.