Perception is a Bitch

I woke up this morning, in a good mood and excited for the day to begin.  I was getting ready to go to a job that (on most days) I enjoy.  At lunch I was planning on going to the gym.  After work, there is the opportunity to spend time with friends that I love, followed by spending time with my boyfriend.  Today was going to be an AMAZING day!!!  Today was also um, weigh in day, I know, awesome, right?  Once a week I step on the scale to measure my results from the prior week.  I do this just once a week, no more than that.  I don’t obsess and dwell on it daily.  I have an alarm set that says weigh-in and that’s what I do.  So, this morning, my alarm goes off.  I dutifully pull out my trusty scales, sliding them to the same spot I weigh-in every week and climb on.  Four pounds up?!?!  WTH?  Really?  Four pounds?  What in God’s name did I do this week that chunked up four pounds?  I mean, did I eat a stick of butter every night.  Hell, even that wouldn’t have done it.  Maybe a gallon of ice cream, TOPPED with a stick of butter.  Oh no, wait, a gallon of ice cream, topped with BACON and a stick of butter on the side.  Four pounds?  Really?  OMG!  That’s like TWO kittens.  I go stomping around my room, packing my gear for the day.  I throw my stuff in my gym bag, thinking in the snippiest of voices, ‘four effing pounds, way to go, dumbass’.  Getting dressed—‘four pounds’.  I get in the car, close the door and think, ‘be careful not to slam those four extra pounds in the door’.

As I drive the extensive commute to work, which I complain about on most days, I notice that it has now become a mantra, ‘fourpoundsfourpoundsfourpoundsfourpounds’…..ugh!  Then I begin to think—not always a good thing but today, maybe it is.  I start to realize that before I stepped on those scales, I had already GAINED those four pounds, they were already there.  It’s not like they were hiding on my bookshelf like tiny little elven ninjas waiting to pounce the second I stepped on the scales.  They were already there.  The ONLY difference before and after I stepped on the scale was my KNOWLEDGE of that fact.  Did you know that bats have penises?  I didn’t!  I should have known, because they ARE mammals after all–flying, creepy mammals, but mammals nonetheless.  Yet, when visiting the zoo, and seeing them hang in their brazen glory, I was AMAZED at the fact that the little winged demons had penises.  Nothing changed, they ALWAYS had them, I just didn’t know it, yet the fact STILL amazes me sometimes. 

I was having a GREAT day before I knew about the four pounds, an amazing day.  Why would KNOWLEDGE of a fact that ALREADY existed make my day any worse.  The condition never changed, just my PERCEPTION of the condition.  Yeah, the knowledge that somehow I’ve picked up four pounds somewhere (and really, why couldn’t have been in the boob area?) is kind of like walking in on a parent naked.  No amount of eye-bleach will make that image go away.  At least now I know that some self-examination is required and this situation is very fixable.  Perception really is a bitch.  That bitch is goin’ down.



My Brain is Wrong

I know that I post a lot of ‘motivational’ things on my Facebook wall. I know that sometimes it can be a bit annoying. While it may seem that I am sometimes preachy or filled with rhetoric, I’ve come to realize that the only person I’m preaching to is myself. You see, my brain tells me things. My brain tells me that life is hard, that people are hard, that the world is hard. My brain assigns labels to things telling me this is good and that is bad. It assigns labels to people, pigeonholing them in convenient little boxes. My brain tells me that in the end we all die, so there is no point. My brain teaches me about fear–fear that looms like a wave, waiting for the right time to ebb into high-tide. My brain tells me that I came into this world alone, that I will leave it alone and that I will live it alone. My brain spews the lessons that it has learned in life, telling me that decisions were mistakes, that relationships were make-believe and that dreams are just imaginary forms of escape. My brain sits in the corner like the pious, judgmental church lady condemning everyone including herself, purse-lipped, wrinkled and filled with disdain.
But, my heart, well, yeah that’s a different story. You see, my heart, it never learned any of those lessons that my brain dwells on. My heart believes in fairy tales. It believes in laughing until you cry. It believes in love without condition or labels. It tells me that I can fly in ways my brain cannot see. It whispers quietly while the brain sleeps telling me that not only can I, but that I must love and allow myself to be loved. It tells me that dreams are a beautiful thing. My heart is a bare-footed little girl with crooked pigtails and scabby knees. Her gapped-tooth grin is almost as crooked as her pigtails and freckles dot her rosy cheeks. She jumps in mud-puddles and blows the little fairy-brooms from dandelions. She kisses kittens on the nose and chases lightening bugs in the twilight hours. She believes in first kisses and laughter. She believes in dreaming and of being dreamed. When a decision does not have the expected outcome, she kind of thinks, “Well, huh, that was cool.” She has faith in life, in people and in herself. She also thinks my brain is a big ol’ bully. So she sneaks around and posts motivational stuff, to remind my brain that it is wrong and maybe to remind a few other bully brains out there of the same.

How did you get to be so funny???

I get asked that question a lot.  Sometimes in general conversation people will just stop, look at me and ask, “How did you get to be so funny?”  At first, I would just be confused, but the more I was asked the question, the more I began to ask myself the same question.  HOW did I get to be so ‘funny’?  Am I really even that funny?  I’ve always considered that question to be a compliment.

At first I assumed that I inherited my sense of humor from my family.  When we get together, we are the funniest people I know, each one trying to outdo the next.  Always pushing the limits and nowhere NEAR politically correct.  Damn, I love them.  However, certain changes in life have given me the opportunity to reflect and learn more about myself these past few years and have learned a lot about myself.

I have been the odd kid right out of the chute, probably even came out sideways.  I was always that kid that people would look at and wonder, ‘what in the hell are they doing/thinking?’  Life events occurred early on that caused me to be even more withdrawn and less socially adept.  I did well through elementary school, but was blessed to attend a very small, rural,  close-knit school.  Junior High school was a completely different story and my oddity made me a target for those who needed one.  Kids can be very creative in their forms of ridicule and exclusion.  So many days I would wake up and play sick, usually very unsuccessfully.  The busride to school was often similar to a death-march in that I knew as soon as I walked in the door the torment would begin.  Tiny jabs throughout the day when a teacher was turned away was typical, but the bathroom was ground zero. 

I remember watching movies such as Goonies and Stand by Me and completely relating to the protagonists.  I cried when I watched Carrie for the first time because I cheered for her acceptance and my heart was crushed when it was all taken away.

What I’ve realized, however, was that I learned to laugh at myself before those other people could.  I became very good at self-deprecating humor, actually too good.  I also have gotten quite good at using humor in completely inappropriate situations.  I would make jabs at myself before anyone else could. 

Frankly, I’m thinking about creating a club titled, ‘the league of funny fat chicks’.  I get tickled at the gym when seeing a fat chick working with a trainer because we really are funny.  I don’t know about them but by the time I became willing to go to a trainer, if I hadn’t laughed, I would have cried.  Actually, I did a few times.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is this:  to all those people, the plastics, the perfect people, those who derive the joy from making other people feel less-than, ‘Thank You!’.  Sincerely, thank you, so very much.  Out of all the gifts I have been given in life, humor is one of my favorites, and while your intent was to make me feel less-than, you were unsuccessful.  It may have taken a lot of years and a lot of pain, but today I can say, thank you and truly mean it. 

Being Healthy Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

When I started this blog a while back, I did so with the intention of only blogging about my weight-loss, and the things I am or am not doing regarding that.  What I’ve come to realize is that losing weight and being healthy does not happen in a vacuum.  How nice it would be if it did.  It would be so wonderful if the only thing I had to focus on was what I needed to do to be healthy, lose weight and treat my body the way it wants to be treated.

The problem is….life happens.  Friends are lost and found.  Schedules change.  Jobs become stressful or less stressful.  Financial difficulties occur.  Family members become ill or pass away.  Romantic possibilities flare.  Life happens.  Some things are expected, but most are not.  Even the best laid contingency plans fail spectacularly.  We stumble.  The question is, do we right ourselves and continue the path laid out before us, or do we continue to fall back into that slow suicide? 

Several months I went to the gym, waiting for it to become ‘fun’ like so many people had told me it would.  It got to the point where it was less painful, less of a chore.  Then life happened and happened HARD.  It landed on me with both clawed, reptilian feet and screamed, “Here Bitch!  Take this!”  I fell.  I slipped into a depression and contracted a case of the ‘fuck-its’.

Excuses began to get easier and easier.  First two days passed, then three.  After two weeks I noticed how ‘bad’ I felt.  It wasn’t the being depressed bad, but just bleck, and icky.  I wasn’t sleeping well any more, I wasn’t as energetic and I just felt not like me.  Then I tried to give blood and for the first time in 6 months, I was denied donation because my hematocrit was too low.  I had this problem in the past but since going to the gym and eating better, it had gone away.  While I knew I was slipping in this journey, this glaring number was a neon sign that I was so glad that I saw. 

The next day, I went to the gym, it was hard.  My ego kept screaming, “You know this is going to be way harder than it was when u stopped.”  It was.  The regulars that had trudged along side me for the past few months, smiled and told me how happy they were that I was back.  They had been watching my progress over the months and like the underdog in an indie film they had been silently rooting me on.  Wanting me to succeed.  I posted my check-in on Facebook and many friends who had noticed my absence commented in much the same manner.

No, being healthy, getting in shape do not happen in a vacuum.  It actually happens much more like a stone thrown in the water, causing ripples and waves that reach places the pebble never even imagined.  I had NO idea.  I have never in my life been so grateful or humbled to learn that I, indeed, do not live in a vacuum.

The gym has become my god-place.  I put on my headphones, turn up the music and for the next 90 minutes, it is me and god.  Muscles burn, shake and groan but we work.  The feel of sweat first breaking the skin is like arriving at a much sought-after destination and I love the way my arms glisten in the fluorescent lights of the gym. 

I hope, no I believe, that I have stayed on this journey long-enough to continue.  It’s become too much a part of who I am.

It’s not a plateau if you’re slackin’

So, yeah.  I have a lot of friends, most of whom would say that I am pretty damn hard on myself.  In most cases, I would agree with them.  In this case, however, I would not.  As indicated in my weekly results, these past three weeks have been somewhat…lacking.  Each week, I would step on the scale, see the result, move the scale a foot and try again.  Unfortunately (ha!), my scale is really accurate and consistent.  The first week, I thought, okay, it’s okay, it happens to the best of us.  The second week, I was thinking, well at least it isn’t a gain.  The third week, I comforted myself with the fact that, hey, everyone plateaus once in a while, it’s all part of the journey, right?

Wrong!  I’m sure that for some people and maybe even me at some point, plateaus are a part of the journey.  The truth is, that in this case, it’s not a plateau at all, but a result of slacking in both my workouts and eating habits.  Dropping from 6 days a week at the gym to 5 and one week, there was only 4 days I went.  Taking the weekend off completely for three weeks.  One of those weekends I was out of town, but for the other two, there really was no excuse, not a REAL one anyone.  One weekend I was under the weather a little, and the other I was just ‘busy’.  Then when I would get to the gym, I would not stay as long as I usually did, and frankly, the weekends were my best days for going because I spend 2 hours there on that day.  Not pushing myself as hard on the elliptical or treadmill (I STILL hate those things).

I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating, not nearly policing myself the way I need to.  My natural tendency is carb heavy comfort foods, which actually make me miserable.  The problem is, my brain will say, “mmmmmmmmmm, more!” but my body is going, “Please, just stop.  You’re killin’ me!” The truth is, I am.

I ask myself, why do I do this?  People are starting to really compliment me on my appearance and size.  Men are starting to notice curves that were once buried in fat.  People at the gym come up and talk to me.  Even my boss has said he really respects what I’m doing.  I can walk two flights of steps and not be winded. I just bought the smallest pair of jeans I’ve bought in over 15 years.  So, why?  Why in the hell am I slacking now?  Everytime I have done something like this, it’s at this point that I start thinking I can just cruise, and I can’t.  I can’t and I’ve proven it time and time again with other weight loss programs.  So, why does my brain tell me, it’s alright baby, just put it on cruise control for a while and drive by the Cracker Barrel, they have some biscuits calling our name?

What makes this whole thing even more confusing is the fact that I actually ENJOY going to the gym.  I love it.  I love the free weights, I love pushing myself.  I love adding 5 more pounds.  I love trash talking the machines (yes, I do that).  I love the fact that I can actually feel my elbows.  Holy shit! I have elbows?!

Yes, plateaus can and may be a part of this journey.  In this case, that is not what is going on.  I have been slacking and using the plateau excuse is just bullshit.

Oh HELL no

Stuff is starting to sag now…wtf!?  I’m starting to look like the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth!  At least when I was fatter, it kind of gave it some solidity.  Now, it (being my SKIN) just kind of hangs there.  I lost the fat rolls on my upper, inner thighs…so excited about THAT!  But then, damn if the skin just ain’t hanging there, ewww, really?  I really don’t even know where to begin doing something about this little bit of reality.  I did some brief searches online about it.  Most people have chosen surgical removal…which I (at least today) am against.  I’m trying to take care of my body not hack on it ruthlessly.  Also, I’m still a little over 100 pounds away from my goal weight so I don’t know where I’m gonna end up with this thing but eww, really?  Pale man?  Come on!