Of running like a princess and toning like a boss

Hello faithful readers!

I’ve completed Week 2 of my get healthy / in shape project. I didn’t do as well on the abstaining from soda & candy as I’d hoped. I’m not perfect (I know, it’s a shock). I only fell off the candy wagon once though. Soda caught me three times. I also didn’t have as many green smoothies as I would have liked. I had one & that’s better than none.

I did stick to my exercise goals. I went to spin last Sunday and barre twice. I was going to go boxing on Wednesday, but I gave myself such a raging tension headache, I ended up staying home from work. Long story. I also restarted the Couch to 5k program. I’m bound and determined to make the Disney Princess  half marathon for 2016. I’ve got a reminder set on my phone for when registration opens (July 14) and I cleared out all the old data from last summer. I did the first day yesterday morning. I was quickly reminded how poor my cardiovascular endurance is. Jogging for a minute? No problem? [15 seconds later] *huffpuffgagdie*. Fortunately, my neighborhood has bike lanes and I take advantage of those. Unfortunately, those bike lanes are on some of the hilliest parts of the neighborhood. I’ll get to the bottom of the hill right as it switches over to the jogging section. Whoopie. Not.

The program calls for 3 days a week, so I’ve set a schedule of Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday mornings. I’m getting used to waking up at 5a and, rather sickly, beginning to enjoy it. It’s also finally hit the point where it’s in the 90s (30s for my metric readers) for most of the day. Going out and running that early is a lot safer. I found a barre class I really like that’s at 6a on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I think the combination will give me what I’m looking for. The barre class has a lot of bang for your buck arm work. I still can’t do a proper push up on my toes, but I’m getting there. The room has mirrors on 3 of the 4 walls so I can keep an eye on my form.

I’m noticing itty bitty changes in my body. My weight has held pretty steady. It’s only fluctuated 2ish pounds (1 kg) in either direction. As I’ve said, weight isn’t really my main goal. I’m prepared for gain over loss as my muscle mass increases. I’d rather take up less space than simply have a smaller number on a scale. I’ve lost an inch off both my chest and my waist since May 31. When I grab my upper arm, it feels a little more solid than it did before. My hips / upper thighs have refused to budge so far, but those will be the hardest to get where I want them. At least I haven’t gotten too frustrated yet. If I can keep up with my dietary changes, I think I’ll start to see real results in the next few weeks. As shallow as it sounds, I would love to see the muffin top gone (or mostly so). Of course, I’d be hard pressed to think of a woman who doesn’t want to see that part of her body flat / toned.

I’ll also hopefully have some exciting news in the next few weeks. I would be beyond thrilled if this works out. So if you have some spare mojo, finger crossing, or a goat to sacrifice, it would be appreciated. Okay, maybe just metaphorically sacrificing the goat. I don’t condone ritual slaughter of animals.

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend. I’m off to finish inflating my new stability ball that will double as a chair. Party time.

XOXO!

Of internal monologues & the stories you don’t want to hear

Y’all, I’d be lying if I said things haven’t been really dark lately.

It’s not so much the “I can’t make myself get out of bed” kind of dark. It’s more the “Well, well, well, look who’s failing again” version.

You’re flaky. You’re unprofessional. You can’t be trusted to make the right choices. You’re not worthy. You can’t be trusted to make any choices, actually. Look at you, why aren’t you trying harder to lose those love handles? You spent money on what? Seriously? You want new, nice underwear because yours is falling apart? You know anything nice is just asking for it. No, really, you have *got* to do something about those hips. He’s just waiting until someone else better comes along. You’re disposable.

That’s been my internal monologue for the past week or so. I’m still perfectly capable of getting out of bed, putting on pants, and physically showing up. Mentally? I’m about a million miles away. Fortunately, my medication has kept stress related auras at bay. Hailey manifests herself in the form of being more defensive. Yesterday, my boss pointed out two specific instances where I’d been unusually defensive. I blamed it on the fact that one of my employees was out on medical leave this past week. It wasn’t entirely a lie. My other employee works far too slowly to be of much help. I was a one woman show doing the work of 4 people. I stayed late at work three of the four days I worked this week. I signed up for a class geared toward new(ish) managers. If nothing else, I can’t say I’m not making the effort.

I look in the mirror and I see her. I have to push to actually see myself. I’ve had confirmation that when your brain is struggling, so does your body. In my dance classes, I couldn’t perform basic moves that I know I can do. I felt like a giraffe on roller skates. I was in a class of three people one night, so I couldn’t just fade into the crowd. Not that I ever really fade into a crowd, but that’s not the point. Under normal circumstances, getting a correction is a good thing. It means the teacher is paying enough attention to stop and help with your technique. Instead of taking the correction as it was intended, I just withdrew into myself. The teacher is really nice & wants to make everyone a better dancer. Hailey didn’t see it that way. She put it as another tick mark on the running negative tally. It’s exhausting.

All that said, I am seeing my therapist this afternoon. I’m not going to do anything rash or hurt myself. I just wanted to put all of that out into the world. As hard as it is, yanking back the covers & letting in the light is the best thing to do. She could use some Vitamin D anyway.

XOXO!

Of makeovers and parents

I’ve been binge watching What Not to Wear lately.

If it were still on the air, I would nominate my mother. She would kill me if she got picked, but watching the show has brought to light the wild insecurities that most women have. For as much as we butt heads, she did rear me to be the woman I am. She has a very, very hard time of letting go. We lived in Virginia for 7 years, from the time I was 5 until I was 12. She has a Master’s degree in counseling and worked at the high school attached to my elementary school. When we moved to Georgia, she had a very hard time finding a job in a school. She gave up fairly quickly. For a time, she worked at Barnes & Noble. I don’t remember why, but if I had to guess, it was when my sister started high school. She hasn’t had a job at all for years. Frequently, she’ll bring up how much she misses living in Virginia. It was only recently that I realized she doesn’t so much miss the location as she does what she had there. She felt useful.

What baffles me (and I’m sure other members of my family) is why she doesn’t find a part time job or volunteer somewhere. She loves to place blame on her age. She’ll be 60 next year. She certainly doesn’t look it for as much as she gets down on herself for never being a great beauty. She’s plain, but so are a lot of people. Watching the show made me think about how low her self esteem must be. Not having a job came in handy when my dad spent 2 months in the hospital & it certainly gave me no doubt about the state of their relationship. It’s frustrating to not be able to convince her to even try. She can feel useful again, even if it’s selling books for $10 an hour. It’s frustrating to hear the same song and dance which she has complete control over. If she put half the effort into herself that she put into her adult children, she’d be a completely different woman. Maybe someday she’ll see that.

Moral of the story: Getting older is going to happen. Be grateful for every year that comes and goes. A lot of people don’t get to see 30 or 40 or 50 or 60. Put on a nice pair of shoes, some lipstick, and tell the world you aren’t afraid of it.

XOXO!

Of running up hills and ridiculous selfies

Y’all I have been having an awesome body week.

Last week was my first pole class. After much thought, I signed up for the 8 week series. I shoved all my excuses (“It’s too late. I don’t want to be in class that late!” “What if the other girls don’t like me?” “What if I’m the weakest one in class?”) to the side and signed up. There are all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. I can’t do a pull up, but I can stretch myself into shapes most people only dream of. I walked out smiling and that was the point. I still have a bruise on my knee from my first attempt at a spin. This week’s lesson is learning to properly walk in heels. Hilarity will ensue.

In that same span, Boy has decided to run a 5k. He gets a discount on his health insurance if he participates in some kind of fitness program. I thought “What the hell, I’ll come along”. We downloaded the Couch to 5k apps & have finished the first 2 workouts. Running for 60 seconds is way harder than it looks. Up a hill. In Georgia. In July. Now I see just how nuts my dad is for running marathons (Sidenote – he’s been home from the hospital for almost 2 months now. Woohoo!). We’ll get back sweating and panting with our various body parts screaming. Then once we’ve rehydrated and cooled off, it’s a case of “Fuck yeah! Go team! *high five*”. We’ll finish the program on the day of the race. Go team^2!

Lastly, I’m participating in Radical Self Love July on Instagram. It’s a set of suggestions from Gala Darling for things to post during the month. Day 1 was a ridiculous selfie (my soul cries a little when I write that down). Day 2 is post a picture of your idol and a brief explanation why. If you wish to follow my antics, I’m RetroIndieQueen. The bed head post day [July 25] will traumatize small children. You have been warned. If you want to join me on this month of insanity, search #radicalselflovejuly for the full list of ideas. All of this babbling brings me back to my opening line…

I haven’t once in the last week looked at myself in the mirror and thought “ew”. I’ll get dressed for work & think “Looking good, girlfriend”. I spent almost all of last week wearing heels to work after months of running around in flats. I can stash them in my desk and wear practical shoes to drive. Who knew?! I’ve tapped into some deeply buried part of me that was itching to be seen. I’m not a fade into the background kind of gal. Even before I had all the tattoos and a very distinctive personal style, the proverbial record player would screech when I walked into a room. Maybe it’s because I’m tall. Maybe it’s because I’m loud. Maybe it’s some unholy combination of the two with a dash of charm thrown in. My dad is the same way. You *know* when he walks in a room. I spent a long, long time trying to push that back. I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to be heard. I was too embarrassed by all the broken pieces that people didn’t even know existed. I lay it all out on here because it’s one less thing to be dragging around. It’s a lot harder to look good in heels when you’re dragging dead weight behind you. Don’t even think about running while dragging all of that shit. I can’t remember the last time I went an entire week without finding something to pick at. I’m taking care of my body in ways I enjoy. I’m taking part in a larger project that will involve me making an ass of myself on the Internet. That nasty little voice isn’t being heard over the fabulousness that is my inner RuPaul. Lord knows Ru can outdo pretty much anything. I’ll let her take over for a little while. Nasty little voice can keep chilling the hell out in the corner.

XOXO!

P.S. Lipstick totally makes it look like you made an effort. Try it sometime.

Of going home and trying to get comfortable

I do apologize for my hiatus, lovely readers. It’s for a very good reason.

My dad is home from the hospital. 😀 They let him loose last Saturday. Six surgeries, a raging antibiotic allergy, and over 30 days in the hospital later, he’s finally home. He’s certainly the happiest of all of us. It’s times like these I’m glad I live close enough to my parents to help out. I took my dad to one of his (many) doctors’ appointments yesterday. They weighed him for the first time in several weeks. He weighed in 8 pounds (3.6 kg for my metric system readers) more than I do. He’s 6’3″ (191 cm). I’m 5’9″ (179 cm) Which brings me to the topic of today’s post.

Here’ what’s gotten lost in the shuffle since my last super positive body image post. Now that winter has skipped straight to summer here (spring?! what’s that?), it’s time to pull out the summer clothes. I was super excited to be able to wear a pair of pants I bought from Anthro last spring. I lost a little over 20 pounds this time last year and had to buy a whole new wardrobe of bottoms because the old ones were literally falling off. I tried to put on the pants & they wouldn’t even go past the bottom of my thighs. Out of curiosity, I weighed myself. I weighed in 6 pounds heavier than I was the last time I weighed myself. That number is 15 pounds higher than my “goal” weight. Mind you, my “goal” weight is virtually impossible for me to maintain without almost starving myself and working out obsessively. A lot things have changed since this time last year. I’m not going out and walking during my lunch break, which I did in the past. Now that I’ve been promoted to management and get more and more responsibilities, it’s hit or miss when I can go to dance classes. Some days it’s totally fine to walk out at 430p. Other days, I won’t be leaving until almost 6. I’ve never been very good at vigilantly watching what I eat. I try to stick to moderation, but rarely succeed. Not being able to fit into a pair of pants did a lot of damage on my psyche than I expected.

I do my best to remind myself that health is much more important than a number on a piece of fabric. I tell myself that weight is how much the world loves me and wants me to pull me to its center. I start to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I stare a my lower stomach and wish it less squishy. This is ignoring the fact I’ve seen women half my size with the same roll of fat. Biologically, it’s necessary. Gotta pad the babies somehow. There was a picture posted on Facebook by a woman I know is in ridiculously good shape. She posted a picture of her butt and she has cellulite. To beat the already dead horse, bodies are different. I overheard someone talking in the changing room at the dance studio a few weeks ago. She was talking about how the teacher had them go in groups so he could see how they were learning the choreography. She said she was nervous until she realized she would never move the same way he did. It’s just not possible. We can mimic all we want, but ultimately, our bodies move the way they were built to move. She said it made her feel better when she put it in that perspective. I think those were very sage words. No matter how hard I try, I can’t change the way I’m built. Poorly aligned knees and all.

Time to hit the “off” button on my brain, do the best I can on any given day, and take it, quite literally, one step at a time.

XOXO!

 

Of weight and wait…

For all its faults, the Internet can be a wonderful place. Officially, the cause of my dad’s hip problem was avascular necrosis. My mom mentioned that everyone was stumped how it came about. Curiosity got the better of me and found information on the Mayo Clinic’s site. Here’s what I learned:

  • It’s most common in men from 30-60 (check!).
  • The most common joint affected is the hip (check!). It’s frequently asymptomatic until the pain presents in the hip itself, thigh, or butt (thigh – check!).
  • The most common causes are excessive alcohol intake (he drinks 2-3 beers a night and a glass of sherry – check!), cancer treatments (check!), and steroid use (quarter of check – he was on steroids for about a month for brain pain).
  • He’s also an avid runner and trampoline jumper. Yes, I know the latter sounds ridiculous but it’s great cardio. I’m calling those checks as well for the frequent high impact.
  • He rarely, if ever, drinks water. He freely admits there are days where his only liquid intake is coffee and beer. He freaks out wait staff when we got to a restaurant and he refuses the free water.

He may have legitimately had an infection in his hip from the previous surgery, but it did a great job of masking the bone death. Even if he didn’t have an infection, the bone death was clearly well masked. He literally couldn’t walk when he went to the hospital the first time. I have this hilarious mental image of my 5’4″ (163 cm for my metric system readers) mother tossing my 6’3″ (190.5 cm) father over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes to get him in the car. This is probably not that far from the truth. The adage says knowledge is power. Now that I had a name and a way to figure out what the hell was going on, I feel better. I took the same approach when he was detoxing from the oxycodone after his first round of cancer treatments in 2007. It’s obviously not fatal and will take a lot of rehab to get him back and up and running (quite literally). My mom really hit the nail on the head when she observed the hardest part is watching him have no energy or interest in what’s going on around him.

My dad is one of the most enthusiastic and exuberant people I know. It’s where I inherited a lot of my personality. This is the man who spent last October working in a haunted house scaring the shit out of people. He loved every second of it. This is the man who was out on the dance floor all night at my cousin’s wedding wearing a feather boa. One of my other cousins asked how much he’d had to drink. I laughed and told him clearly he didn’t know my dad very well. To see him sitting quietly in a hospital bed not cracking a joke or plotting an elaborate escape from aforementioned hospital is jarring. Who are you and what have you done with my dad? They’ll let him out sooner or later and life will go back to normal. Ideally, that day will come sooner rather than later.

In other news, I’ve been using my pedometer (a Withings Pulse) more regularly. It’s enlightening to see how much I walk on a daily basis. It’s automatically set to 10,000 steps a day. In Vegas, I blew that goal out of the water fairly quickly. Today, I haven’t even cracked 500 yet. Admittedly, I’ve been sitting on my ass all day reading and researching various maladies on the internet. The app lets you track your step count, pulse, sleep, and weight. I had the weight option turned off for a long time for reasons I won’t rehash again. Just for fun, I put it back on there and started weighing myself at least once a day. In one day, I can vary as much as 3-4 pounds. I know I’m confusing the hell out of the app because I keep changing the entries so frequently. Sometimes, you just have to see things for yourself. Weight is a stupid measure of health or fitness. It is merely how much the earth wants to hold me toward its center. That number has no bearing on my self worth. Watching the variance over the course of almost a week has driven that point home quite well. It’s like moods. Some days, I’ll feel banging and ready to take over the world. Other days, I’d rather hide under the covers and check Facebook all day. My mood doesn’t remain steady all the time and neither will my weight. That’s how life rolls. I’m not sure how you operate, fair readers, but I have to see something for myself to truly understand a situation. A year ago, I never thought I would be able to step on a scale with any kind of regularity and laugh at the absurdity I saw. Evolution is a grand, grand thing. N’est pas?

XOXO!

Of short hangs and long TV series

Today’s theme: Little steps make more progress than big jumps.

I’ve been reading several other blogs which decry “fitspiration” and “thinspiration” as little better than anorexia or bulimia campaigns. That’s fair. I won’t argue that point. I did, however, take issue with “strong is the new skinny” being another slogan for self hate. I admit my bias. The silks gym’s slogan is “strong is the new skinny”. Let’s face kinesthetic facts boys & girls. The more muscle mass a female body has, the less space it occupies. When I was doing CrossFit regularly, I actually gained weight because I gained muscle. However, people were constantly asking if I lost weight because I was more compact. I could also do a push up on my toes for the first time in my adult life. About the time I fell out of CrossFit, I started aerials. I still couldn’t do a pull up, but I was stronger than I’d ever been. I took great pride in being able to physically do things that seemed impossible before then. I was focused on what my body could do from day to day rather than obsessing over a dress size or the number of calories I was eating. Again, I concede there’s a very fine line between “fitspiration” and actual motivational slogans for alternative work outs like aerials, boxing, martial arts, and Olympic style power lifting, the latter three being rarely marketed towards women.

A while ago, Boy bought a pull up bar. We mounted it in the doorway between the living room and the bedroom. After a few days, it got taken down so I could close the door and not be disturbed by light or the TV. It never went back up again. I decided to do something about that today. I remounted it in the doorway and every time I pass from the living room into the bedroom or bathroom, I make myself do something. Whether it’s a straight arm hang for as long as I can hold myself up or hanging leg lifts, I do something before I finish walking through the door. When one is doing laundry and the washer and dryer must be accessed through the bedroom, that adds up to a lot of arm work during the day. When I finish an episode of TV (I’m currently bingeing on The Borgias) and before I start the next one, I get up and do 5 different exercises be it hanging for a few seconds with different grips or more hanging leg lifts. My grip usually gives up after 3-5 seconds. It’s still something. By the end of the day, I’ll have done around half an hour of arm & lower ab exercises. I attempted bicep curls with a 15 pound weight while I was stuck in the house last week. Doesn’t sound like a lot, right? I barely managed 5 reps and didn’t keep any kind of form trying to do the last few. If nothing else, it helps keep me on track until I can get back in the air. On that note, time to change the laundry.

XOXO!