The power of an amazing girlfriend

I’m not going to bitch about my state of being today.  Instead I am going to share about something good.  I am the luckiest woman in the world. Why? Because I have such amazing sisters and girlfriends that have been there to support, encourage and love me through joy, tears, heartache and selfdoubt.  I feel moved to talk about one such incredibly woman.  Anne and I met when I started my business about 10 years ago.  We met and it was more like we recognized each other’s souls than meeting a new friend.  She has been there to listen, give advice without judging, be the kind voice in my head to push out the negative self talk.  Full of wisdom and gentle words, I admire how she lives an authentic life.  Very few people walk their talk. She does and I aspire to have such integrity.  Her life isn’t full of stuff and nonsense. She isn’t on social media and doesn’t waste time watching tv.  Anne reads voraciously, keeps a tidy and warm home and cooks simple and delicious meals.  Maybe it’s her upbringing in Finland that makes it so she’s impervious to be Americanized.  Maybe it’s her ability to see what’s important and not get lost in the minutia.  What ever “it” is makes her an intelligent, warm, kind, generous, honest, beautiful woman that I am so blessed to call my friend.  She is my shelter in a storm, a voice of reason when my mind goes in crazy circles, my cheerleader when I am unsure of going toward my goals.  She got me to think about food as nutrition not just as tasting good, about the chemicals that I was putting on and in my body and to think if I really liked how I was spending my time and living my life.  Before I met Anne I was going through life on auto pilot. With much patience and encouragement, she has helped me learn to live with intention.  The most impressive thing about that process is that she never gave unwanted advice or lectured.  She simply was there with a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a hand to hold, honest responses and a hot cup of tea.  Thank you doesn’t begin express the gratitude I have for this woman coming into my life.

How to stay motivated

I found something worse than shopping for a bathing suit.  A love interest who also loves winter sports took me (as a surprise) to buy snow pants.  I was already on edge in the store seeing all the cute athletically built women shopping in their adorable fitted apparel when he said “Let’s get you snow pants!”  I’m a plus size. There’s a reason I don’t have snow bunny gear.  Fear quickly took hold at the thought of trying them on then panic set in when he asked me my size.  Obviously he knows I’m not petite but telling him to find me an XL is not the most fun I’ve ever had.  I know his past girlfriends have been quite active and trim.  He’s not used the challenge of finding clothing for someone over a size 8 never mind 18.  Quietly I shared that I would need an XL and we went looking.  There’s not much to choose from in my size so I took what was there to try on.  Yup he wanted me to try them on so he could see.  Swallowing hard as the dread made my cheeks burn, I went into the dressing room.  Inside I sat down and took a deep breath.  My hands trembled as I tried the first pair on (over jeans) and could get them on but there was no way I was going to be able to zip them.  He asked how they were and if he could see them as I sat in the dressing room taking them off, tears rolling down my face.  This is why I want to lose weight.  I don’t want to be embarrassed or feel so unattractive that I wished I could become invisible.  Trying to keep my voice steady I said I didn’t like that pair and tried on the next.  These did fit better and I was able to do them up and even sit down in them.  Reluctantly I modeled them for him as the woman in the next dressing room modeled her size 5 ski tights (sigh).  I felt like the Michelin Man.  Snow pants are not flattering as they are not only puffy but kinda shiny.  Snow pants over jeans is really not a good look as there’s just more bulk added – not exactly what I need.  He ended up buying them for me all excited that I could join him to play in the snow.  I wear them with thin layers underneath and the feel better than with jeans but the feeling in the dressing room is something I never want to feel again.  Most of us have had moments like this I’m sure.  How do we handle them?  Do we sabotage ourselves and self soothe with food?  I used to.  Do we hate our bodies for betraying us?  Honestly I still do but am trying to change the self loathing to self loving.  I know so many women dealing with similar issues.  How do we remember to value ourselves no matter what size or shape we are?

Moving in the right direction

Week 1 is done and I’m pretty proud of myself! No, I can’t tell you how much weight I lost because I’m not getting the scale. It doesn’t tell me how much stronger I am or how the internal landscape is changing and if I do I will obsess over that number as if it defines my value causing me to lose sight of my real goal of getting healthy not just weighing less.  I remember going to Weight Watchers and weighing in only to have the scale not budge despite the fact that my clothes were looser and I could walk further faster. Hearing them say “we love you anyway” was infuriating to me.  Anyway? Gee thanks so glad you love me anyway.  What I can tell you is that I moved my body and broke a sweat 5 out 7 days this week and I didn’t hate it (once I got moving).  Hopefully it will get easier to get started.   I also successfully stayed within my target calorie range, keeping to the average macro nutrient ratio I was aiming for, and had some really yummy meals.  The best part is that I did all of this while going out to dinner one night and being at a dance competition for my youngest daughter this weekend.  I admit I did have some wine and chocolate but I took the time to thoroughly enjoyed them instead of mindlessly devouring them like I used.  I’m not perfect and don’t plan on being perfect but do plan on moving closer to health each day.  My biggest challenge this week was going out to dinner and the dance competition. Preparation is key and I had a game plan for both ahead of time.  Knowing the menu of the restaurant is key to preparing myself mentally.  I went to a cute little pub that had great pub food with very few healthful options but amazing desserts. Focusing on the veggies with some protein was my best way to not sabotage my progress.   Packing my food for the competition was the only way to go or I would have resorted to munching on the candy, donuts and chips that are always available at these things.   Why they have such crap food backstage is beyond me.  It’s also quite annoying to see some of the teachers and older dancers with amazing bodies eating everything I got fat on and would love to inhale. Why do they look like swimsuit models and eat junk?  That being said let’s focus on the positives.  Kale soup made with fresh chicken sausage, veggie broth and sweet potatoes was my favorite recipe this week.  My girls weren’t excited at first but ended up having seconds because it was so good!  My oldest joined in the meal planning with me and found some great healthful recipe ideas that she was interested in online.  She even came food shopping with me and chose some better snack options for herself – not looking at calories but looking at ingredients.  She’s almost 15 and is definitely aware of her weight and looking good in her clothes.  Leading by example gives me a really good feeling.

walking the walk of healthful habits

It’s easy to tell people how to make healthful choices a habit.  Doing it is a completely different story but I am only as strong as my excuses.  Right now my biggest challenge isn’t eating clean, it’s getting my butt out of bed in the morning to move for 30 minutes while my kids get ready for school.  30 minutes -that’s all. Doesn’t sound that difficult does it?  I mean I have to get up and get them up so it should be a no brainer to take advantage of that time to use one of the myriad of fitness videos in my collection. I have everything yoga belly dancing, P90X, Zumba, Slim in 6, the S factor, barre, and even a subscription to fitness blender with daily fun short workouts so I can never be bored.  I own weights, a yoga mat and an exercise ball.  Before I go to bed I get everything ready to go so I can jump out of bed and get it done, knowing how good I will feel after.  The theory is great – reality not so much.  Man do I hate getting out of my warm comfy bed.  Day 3 and I have done it for 3 days.  I feel accomplished and like the ache that reminds me I did something to get stronger and healthier.  Does anyone else get to day 3 and expect to see the results in the mirror that they are already feeling inside?  Silly I know but I feel the shift and wouldn’t it be so much easier to keep going if the efforts showed faster?  Can’t I have the body I’m working for right now as long as I agree to keep up my healthful habits?  Instant gratification girl – yup that’s me.  Meanwhile, all the water I’ve been drinking has kicked in so off I go.  Here’s to another day of loving ourselves enough to take care of us.

Day 1 of going from fat 2 fabulous

I’m fat.  There, I said it.  I know it sounds mean and people tell me I’m too hard on myself but it’s the truth.  Being fat doesn’t make me a bad person, less valuable or unloveable but being fat is getting in my way of living the life I want and I’m tired of it.  As a very busy self employed single mom of two girls it’s challenging to make healthful decisions.  Their dad passed away almost 3 years ago from cancer so I’m on my own to get everything to done for them and in the house and I admit I take the easy way out and sleep in as late as I can (if you call 630 late).  When he got sick I started reading and researching everything I could get my hands on about health and nutrition.  I have quite a bit of knowledge and several certificates to prove it but I feel like a hypocrite. I’m 5’7”, weigh 220 lbs and wear a size 16-18.  And I hate it.  If a man tells flirts with me or tells me I’m beautiful, I look at him confused wondering what drugs he’s on.  I was 110 lbs and a size 6 when I graduated high school. I wish I had appreciated my body back then. Now I do everything I can to hide it.  But that’s going to change.  I’m going to go from fat to fabulous!  I’m tired of being tired and embarrassed.  Looking back I can see how I got this way.  Little emotional traumas here, harsh words there.  Cooking and baking is the way to a man’s heart.  I did that and ate right along with him.  It was also easier to take solace in chocolate or ice cream or Oreos than it was to face challenges of marriage.  We met and moved in together when I was only 18 and very ill equipped for the realities of being a wife and living in a city where I had no friends or family.  I did whatever I could to be an accommodating wife.  That’s what I saw my mom do.  I never learned to stand in my power and speak my mind.  Instead I stuffed my mouth.  I see that now 27 years later.  Money was tight and we ate cheap meals with lots of processed foods.  We both worked long hours so didn’t think or want to exercise so the pounds quickly came on.  If only I had seen how much time I really had available to me then – before kids.  If only I knew then what I know now.  But today is the day I’m taking control and take everything I’ve learned to help others and use it to help myself.  No more hiding.  No more pity party.  It’s time to let out the beautiful, strong, sexy, confident woman inside and let her shine.  Every journey has twists and turns, peaks and valleys. I don’t expect this one to be any different.  Ready to join me for the ride?  Ready to laugh and cry and celebrate life?  I am and I’m starting today!