I have seen the light!!!! No, really. I have.

So do you remember the episode of Friends when Rachel FINALLY realized Ross had feelings for her? They’d known each other since high school and he’d had a crush on her forever, but he could never get her attention. Yeah, I just had a moment like that…but not with Ross Geller.

Ross and Rachel…perfect for each other

 

The past several weeks have been a struggle for me. Things are crazy stupid busy at work right now, and not likely to lighten up until the holidays. My 12 year old craptastic Hyundai has been breaking down, viciously dipping into my handbag fund and putting household repair projects on the back burner. We’re in a bit of a financial bind at the moment.

On the happy side of things (I think) I’ve landed an opportunity to do some ghost writing for a decent sum…but where do I find the time for that? It’s rare that I can find time to write a blog post of my own. Am I to work a full day and then come home and work several hours more, then struggle to relax enough to get a few hours of sleep? For a Hot Mess like me, that’s not much quality of life…and honestly, one of the main things that keeps the food demons in check is me maintaining my quality of life.

To top it off, HMH has changed his work schedule and we’re all in the middle of adjusting to a new way of life because of it. So I’ve got a mountain of things to get through and the new schedule is jacking me up…and I’m constantly running around to compensate for it. Honestly…I’m quite stressed out. Things are a mess.

As y’all know, I’ve been trying to make exercise a real habit – and for a few weeks there, I was actually doing it. My alarm goes off at 4 am so that I can get up in time to get on the elliptical trainer and get on with my day. I was really kicking ass at getting it done every morning. And you know what? It felt great! I loved getting to work in the morning feeling wide awake and ready to go, even though I’d gotten up at an ungodly hour. I loved the energy I had and the powerful feeling in my legs and the downright badass feeling I had because I was actually effing DOING IT!!!

And then things got busy. Then they got crazy. The ghost writing job came…and the car problems…and the family members visiting and all the little busy work in between. And what did I do? What I always do: I started shutting down and eliminating things that I deemed an inconvenience. So…what have I always looked at as an inconvenience?

Exercise.

Working out has always been a mundane task that I stubbornly chose to do because of what it can do for me. Even then, I don’t stick with it long enough to really see what it can do for me. Except for those few weeks that I truly enjoyed last month.

Yesterday, I was sharing all this with a friend while lamenting my own stubbornness and inability to juggle all this crap that’s going on…and BAM! It hit me like a truck load of Little Debbies: as things have gotten crazier, I’ve not had time for exercise and the stress is piling up.

No exercise.

Stress piling up.

Not exercising…and stress is getting worse…

Wait a minute…I may have something here…

DUH!

I know, I know, I know…most of you are reading this and thinking “HMP, you’re a dipshit!” The older I get, the more I realize it takes me five times longer than the average person to really learn the big lessons in life.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read articles and books on exercise and have been told that it’s a great stress reliever…and every time I’ve read it, I’ve said “yeah, yeah, yeah…blah, blah, blah” in response. For me, I’ve always thought it meant exercise that people find enjoyable…and I can’t honestly say that about any cardio.

Sorry, fitness freaks of the world…it’s not fucking enjoyable to me. So I wrote it off as fitness guru rhetoric. It never occurred to me that ANY exercise, when done regularly, relieves stress. Even if you don’t like doing it.

Until now.

Suddenly I was Rachel Green realizing she had feelings for Ross. But I’m not Rachel, I’m me. And I don’t have feelings for a lovable paleontologist…I have feelings for my elliptical trainer. Feelings that, for once, don’t involve anger and revulsion. Holy shitballs, Batman!

Actually, this has happened to me before. In 1986. Yep. I had just broken up with my first love and I was absolutely a mess. Even though I’d graduated high school four years earlier, I was flipping through my high school yearbook one day for some reason and saw something I hadn’t seen before. My sweet, lovable pal Dougie had written this in my yearbook:

“I never had the guts to tell you, but I think you’re the most beautiful girl in the whole world.”

WHAT????

I didn’t see it for four years because I never read it till then. What a superficial bitch, right? LOL. Poor Doug was probably waiting by the phone for a few days, wondering if I’d call and say I felt the same way. But no…I was too busy being happy that I was finally out of high school. I never knew he had feelings for me until it was too late. He probably led a horrible life after he realized he couldn’t have me. Poor Doug.

Actually, I’m still a little embarrassed that I never read what he wrote in my yearbook. He was the sweetest guy. How rude of me not to read it until it was too late. And then when I read it, I cried like crazy because I was all “OMG, the love of my life doesn’t want me…and poor Dougie might have really been the one but I was too blind to see it!”

We were just two ships that passed in the night. Actually no. He was like a really sweet ship that probably would have been really nice to me. He would’ve treated me with respect and wouldn’t have tried to show me his anchor till I was ready. But I was a total bitch ship. Like a big shiny cruise ship with too much shit on her deck who thought she was all Royal Caribbean when he was just some local tour boat. Oh, for fuck’s sake, I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Let’s get back to my point…if I can find it.

All this time I’ve been angry and pissy about exercise, never realizing what it was doing for me. Thank God I had the fortitude to stick with it for a few weeks. I wouldn’t have noticed the difference otherwise. I stuck with it long enough to miss the benefits when they were gone.

Anthony and Cleopatra. Peanut butter and jelly. Ross and Rachel. HMP and exercise. Matches made in heaven, peeps.

(By the way, I reconnected with Dougie a few years ago. It turns out that not being able to date me didn’t ruin his life after all! He’s happily married with children and everything. I’m so glad he was able to rebuild his shattered life after losing out on a hot mess. *smirk*)

I haven’t exercised in a few weeks. I’ve been letting the stress monster get to me. My elliptical trainer is dusty and sad looking. It fills me with guilt every morning when I grumble and stagger past it on my way to the bathroom. So today, while I was housecleaning, I went into the bedroom and gave it a good cleaning. I wanted to talk to it, but I wasn’t sure what to say.

I’m sorry I’ve been a cold hearted bitch?

I can’t believe I never realized what you do for me?

I’m really looking forward to our date tomorrow?

No. I just sprayed cleaner and wiped it down with paper towels. I think it realized that I’d had this epiphany, though. I pushed one of the giant pedals too hard as I was cleaning and got a pretty good gut punch when it came swinging back at me. Probably my elliptical’s way of telling me never to ignore it again. We hugged it out, though. We’re good. Now it’s sparkly clean and waiting for me.

Another crazy work week is ahead of me…and I’m slightly more okay with it than I was last week. Because I know, even if I’m sleepy and grumbly at 4 am, I’m going to get up and get on my elliptical trainer. Because even though I might not like pumping away like a sweaty monkey at zero-dark-thirty, I love what it does for me. And that’s enough.

It took me a while, but I think I finally got the point. Elliptical trainer, you’re my lobster.

Do you have a dusty unloved friend sitting in your house right now? Maybe it’s time to pull the laundry off of it and put it back into use. What do you say?


Workout Journal (Diary, Notebook, Fitness)

A Different Kind of Shrinking

So for the past few weeks I’ve been really pushing towards making exercise a habit…and it really pisses me off. And that really surprises me. Whenever I start thinking about exercise I cease being the normally pleasant, mild-mannered, extremely feminine and gorgeous (shut up) Hot Mess Princess…and I become, well, the Hot Mess Raving Lunatic Bitch. Really.

The good thing is that I’ve determined that working out consistently works best for me when I do it first thing in the morning, before work and life and the general Hot Mess of my life takes control. If I wait, I’ll always find a reason why I can’t workout later. If I let my day go on, a million distractions take over.

The bad thing? I have to wake up at 4 am in order to make this happen…and forcing my 4 am self to do anything is not advisable. As it turns out, though, forcing myself to exercise at any hour of the day is quite a challenge. My internal monologue goes effing nuclear.

Here’s a sample of the shit Hot Mess Raving Lunatic Bitch says in my head:

This is stupid. This is so stupid. I don’t want to do this. I DON’T WANT TO!!!

I shouldn’t have to do this. Why do I have to be punished?

If I wasn’t so fat, I wouldn’t have to do this. How can I be this unlucky? Why couldn’t I be born skinny? There must be something wrong with me.

Yeah, I know. She’s nuts. And she’s rolling around in my head and getting in my way…and I’m tired of her. This leads me to another problem…

I have no idea how to get rid of this bitch.

Gastric sleeve surgery gave me a big ass tool with which to combat my food demons and put them in check. But this? This is all in my head. There’s no tool for that, really. If I was Oprah-rich I could afford to hire someone to physically manhandle me and put me on the elliptical every day, but I’m not. And that’s not really the way to handle this, is it? I need to find my way to a mindset that’s accepting of a physically active, healthy lifestyle that involves working out without wanting to stab myself in the leg with a pencil.

awesome

Alex, the exercise specialist dude at my surgeon’s office, gave me some great feedback at my last follow-up visit. He encouraged me to transition from looking to the scale for results to creating exercise goals for results. His guidance makes sense to me until I try to apply it with Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch hanging around.

I tried it, really. My goals were to increase my time on the elliptical by 1 – 3 minutes each week and add 1 – 3 reps to each resistance exercise each week. The problem with that is…I don’t give a shit!

I don’t care if I can do another minute on the elliptical than I did last week. I don’t have the slightest interest in doing more reps of something I find annoying in the first place. I. Don’t. Care. I get nothing from it. Yes, I know that’s not true. My body gets a lot from this activity…but Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch is very entitled and very loud.

I need to find out who I am as an exercising badass. Right now, everything about exercise just pisses me off. I know that’s not all me. Some of that is Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch, who I believe exists because of ghosts from the past. She’s the reason I’m pissed off just stepping on the elliptical. That’s obvious. But I’m not so sure she’s the reason I want to punch the lady in my workout DVD right in the vag when she says “We’re going to totally shred this workout, ladies. DOESN’T THAT FEEL GREAT???” Yeah, I think I just hate the DVD chick in general…because that shit is annoying!

(This is also the reason I can’t take any kind of aerobics or Zumba class. I’m pretty sure I’d be jailed for assault any time one of my classmates let out a little “woo hoo” in response to the teacher yelling her shrill motivational sayings. BOOM! Right square in the vagina. I hate that shit.)

I thought all this mental crap would subside if I just put my nose to the grindstone and kept pushing through it, but it hasn’t. When I realized it wasn’t going to go away, I knew I had to bring in reinforcements. And the only reinforcement I could think of that would help me combat this crap is therapy. Psychological counseling. Head shrink’in time!

I’m not a stranger to therapy, not by a long shot. I spent a total of six years in therapy over the course of my 20’s and 30’s while I tried to unravel all the shit I went through in my childhood. It was a lot of work, but I learned how to be my own person and how to put up healthy boundaries that were not in place at the time. Therapy helped me to stop the seriously out of control binge eating that got me to my top weight. It helped me to stop hating on the entire male population just because of a few a-holes. It gave me the first seeds of courage that I would need in order to grow into who I am today.

The benefits that my employer provides allow for four free sessions with a therapist, so I decided to take advantage of them. My first appointment was last week. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d made the right decision. As I sat in the waiting room, I looked around at her book selection and there seemed to be an awful lot of books focused on finding your inner child…or speaking to your inner child…or going to Disneyland with your damn inner child.

I think the whole inner child angle can be helpful to some folks, especially at first. Way back in the day, it helped me to be able to look back at nine year old HMP and realize that no adult should ever have treated me like that. But as useful as those lessons were, it can also be a trap. Speaking from personal experience, my first therapist kept me on the inner child track for too long…and I ended up re-living a bunch of shit and perpetuating a victim mentality that just made me angry and hateful as an adult. It’s not something that would be useful to me now as an adult – and the books on her shelves were making me roll my eyes so hard I burned a few calories doing it.

Thankfully, when I met her my fears went out the window. She seems like a capable person who can help me. And honestly, I don’t expect to have this whole thing handled in four sessions…but I do think I can find my way back to the right road. Right now I’m so far off the road it’s not even funny. I don’t recognize the terrain out here. I don’t know which way to walk. When it comes down to handling Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch, I’m lost.

My homework for this week is to take note of the following:

  • Write down every memory I have from when I was at the dance studio
  • Write down all the shit rolling around in my head when I get up to workout and when I’m working out
  • Think about how my dance teacher made me feel. Write it down
  • Think about how I sabotage myself and why. Write it down

Not a problem. I’ve got this. I have no idea where this is going to lead me, but I’m proud of myself for being willing to look at it. I’m finally ready to whack this bitch into submission. Why now? Because of moments like this:

I climbed onto the elliptical trainer on Wednesday morning last week and started pedaling. Immediately, I said to myself “Wow, this actually feels good! This is good. I’m so glad I’m doing this again. I’m making great progress.”

That was immediately followed by this:

“No it doesn’t! This is stupid!!! I hate this! Don’t you dare like this…don’t even start that shit. This is stupid!!!! I HATE THIS!!!!”

I have no idea where that’s coming from, but it’s not helpful. In fact, it’s harmful. I can’t allow this kind of negative self-talk to continue…and if I do, I truly believe I’ll end up back on a path of self-destruction.

So I’m sorry, Hot Mess Lunatic Bitch, but I’m suiting up and getting in the ring. Your ass is going down.  You might want to leave town right now. Just say’in.

 


Bad Childhood—Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood

Change, Change, Change baby!

Sometimes I hate change…and sometimes I love it. The past two years have been amazing for me, filled with lots of change, contemplation and quite a few humbling moments. I’m going through one of those humbling moments right now. I hate that shit.

I’ve always gauged my weight loss progress with a scale. Always. It took me a long time to be able to use the scale as a tool instead of a weapon of self-loathing. I weigh 270 pounds right now and I can honestly tell you that I can get on the scale every day and look at that number and not hate myself. Actually, it’s more than that. I get on the scale every morning and love myself. If that number goes up a pound or two for water weight, I don’t care. I’m a woman. That’s what happens. I don’t attach emotion to the scale…or at least not like that.

I am, however, too attached to my scale and I don’t want to admit it. Okay, I just did admit it. But I’m fighting that admission. I’ve been fighting the change I know needs to happen.

A few weeks ago, I had my one year follow-up appointment at my surgeon’s office. Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while are probably thinking “Wait…what?” You’re right: it hasn’t been a year. It’s been a year and a half, actually. My work schedule kept getting in the way of my appointments and I had to keep bumping them. So finally I’ve had my one year follow up. Better late than never.

I was a little apprehensive about it, honestly. I had an amazing first year. 113 pounds lost. 7 sizes in clothes gone. I feel fucking amazing. And then I broke my gallbladder 10 months in…and everything slowed to an agonizing crawl. I dropped one more size, bringing the total to 8 sizes…but I’m still crawling.

Ever since the crawling started, there’s been a little voice in the back of my head that’s been saying “Maybe this is it. Maybe this is all I’m going to be able to do.” Even worse, I was fearful that I would get to my one year follow-up appointment and the people who have done such an amazing job supporting me would be disappointed. I was afraid that they would suggest I needed to go back in for a revision from gastric sleeve to gastric bypass because my gastric sleeve surgery had done all it could do. Well, that’s not what happened.

As usual, the whole team was happy to see me. I don’t meet with my surgeon anymore… because I don’t need surgery. My support team consists of a nurse practitioner, a nutritionist, and an exercise specialist…and they’re all awesome.

Sharon, the nurse practitioner, went over my lab results with me. All great. Alex, the exercise specialist, took my measurements and went over my inches lost. Fabulous. And Amy, my nutritionist, had a look at my daily food log and gave me her input. I’m doing awesome. The whole time, I’m thinking “Why am I stuck at 270 pounds then???”

So I did the unthinkable: I asked. :-)

I’ve never met Alex the exercise dude before. He’s new. Like everyone at my surgeon’s office, he’s sincerely invested in helping me get to my goals. He’s not full of all that schmoozy motivational bullshit lingo we all see on tv. He’s real. So I decided to share my concerns with him over being stuck at 270…and he told me I need to stop worrying about what the scale says and start watching the tape measure.

Well….shit. The tape measure moves like an effing snail, Alex. C’mon!!!

But I know he’s right. I can feel it. Especially since I want to argue about it. I want to lash out and punch it. I want to scream to the sky “It’s not fair!!!” Oh yeah…he’s right. I’m looking at this all wrong. All wrong.

I remember when I first had my gastric sleeve surgery. Eating was a whole new adventure for many reasons. I had to re-learn so much. Hunger was gone (and still is). I couldn’t even eat 1/4 cup of anything at first. I had many strict rules about what I could put in my stomach as it was healing. It was really overwhelming, but I got through it. It was eye opening and it was FUN.

I know I’ll grow once I’m on the other side of this, but I can feel myself fighting it tooth and nail. And I don’t know why I’m fighting it…because this is just the exercise version of what I already went through with food. Just like the past year and a half, this is going to be weird at first. I’ll have to follow strict rules at first while I create all the new habits I’m going to have. It’s going to be overwhelming at first, but I’ll get through it. It’ll be eye opening…and fun. Sound familiar?

I know I should embrace it, but I’m struggling against a primal urge to sit in a corner and pout like a two year old. Sometimes I amaze even myself with my stubborn pig-headedness.

The only thing I can think to do right now is to cling to the ritual of it all. Alex gave me a workout schedule, which I tried for the first time last week. If you follow me on Facebook, you saw my daily morning updates on what my exercise goals were. It was 10% fun, 30% overwhelming, and 60% weird. I know it won’t always feel that way. It’s a change thing. It’s a growing thing. It’s a whole frigg’in hot mess thing.

I’m also (and I cringe as I type this) putting away the new Mr. Scale for awhile. I need to embrace the idea of letting the tape measure and my own clothes tell me whether I’m making any progress. When my clothes feel loose, I’ll drag out Mr. Scale and see what’s up.

So…how about you? Have you ever been faced with change that felt clunky and weird and overwhelming, but you knew you had to do it? Tell me how you did it…maybe it’ll help me or one of our fellow hot messes. I’m going to grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and relish the wisdom in your comments…so let me hear ya!

Royal Albert 3-Piece New Country Roses Teacup, Saucer and Plate Set, Rose Confetti

Bicycle Paradise and Hey, Strava…You’re a Bunch of Dicks

So remember last year when I hit the “I’ve lost 100 pounds” mark? What a great day that was! The reward I promised myself was a new bike of my very own. What better way to celebrate the first 100 pound loss of my journey than to give myself something that encourages physical activity, right? Right! So there I was…picturing myself with a cute little beach cruiser with a basket and a cute little bell…in the perfect shade of light blue. Adorbs!

There was just one problem: HMH is a total bike snob.

HMH is a mountain biker. Actually, we don’t have mountains in Texas. He’s a trail biker. He loves the idea of riding for miles and miles through the open country, down dirt roads and across abandoned railroad tracks. He loves to be out in nature. With the dirt. And the bugs. And the snakes.

Me? I enjoy viewing nature through the window while I’m curled up with a good book. I have no need to be out in it. I don’t want nature crawling up my pant leg and biting me behind the knee. I don’t want nature croaking at me from a pond or scaring the crap out of me when I ride by at an inopportune time. I like nature to behave itself…and if I have to be out in nature, I prefer a concrete bike path to enjoy it from. I don’t want to tear across the dirt, blissfully unaware of the muddy pothole that’s about to impale my lady bits on my water bottle holder – because, trust me, if that’s shit’s gonna happen…it’s gonna happen to me.

You can imagine, then, that there was some significant disagreement in the Hot Mess household last year when it was time to buy my bike.

“I just want a cute little beach cruiser…nothing fancy,” I said as I headed to Target.

“You’re not coming home with a bike from Target. I won’t have a crap bike in this house,” HMH grumbled.

“Babe,” I said, “I don’t need a fancy, sporty bike. I just want a cute little beach cruiser.”

“Target bikes are crap. We’ll get you a good bike. Trust me.”

And then HMH would whip out his smart phone and start showing me pictures of what I’m sure were all very nice bikes…but they were ugly. Sporty black and blue with neon crap on them. Thick, knobby tires or weird handle bars. I just wanted a cute little cruiser!!!

We argued about it for weeks and weeks until the whole thing just sucked all the fun and joy out of it for me. And I gave up. And then winter came and there was no point arguing anymore because I couldn’t ride a bike in the icy Texas winter. So poo. Forget about it.

But now the weather has started warming up…and I started thinking about getting on the bike trail again. We live fairly close to a cute little bike trail that runs adjacent to several neighborhoods. It’s a nice little ride.

HMH and I went bike shopping at his bike shop. No cruisers. *sniff* Almost all of the bikes they had were too big for me. Apparently I have short legs, even though I’m 5’7″ tall…so I’m not a dinky person. I tried a couple but the seats hit me too high in the girly bits (and the seats were lowered all the way). Finally, I saw it. Over on the side of a row of too-snazzy looking bikes was a non-threatening looking, pearl white beauty. I threw my leg over the seat and…wow! I didn’t feel like I was going to fall!! I felt like going for a ride!!! Yay!!! I left the store feeling confident that there was a bike out there that I could ride. There was hope for me!

The next week I had a really hectic time at work. It was Friday. I’d been running rampant all day. By the time I left the office I was really ready to scream. I just wanted to come home and relax…but when I came home, HMH had some news for me.

“I broke something,” he said to me, all solemn.

Crap. Now what? Can’t I just get home and unwind in peace. Damn it, we can’t have nice things!!!

HMH led me out to the garage. The garage is full of his crap, not mine…and I was busy trying to figure out what he possibly could have broken out there that I’d care about. He opened the garage and I found myself staring at my new bike. Surprise!!!

Check out my sweet new ride, baby!
Check out my sweet new ride, baby!

I’ve been having fun with it ever since…including playing with apps that track my bike rides.

Since HMH and a few other friends and family members use Strava to track their bike rides, it was the natural choice for me. I loaded it up and I’ve been tracking all my rides since. Yesterday, however, I smelled a rat. A big, fat, gooey rat. Let me explain…

I log my food intake on My Fitness Pal and I was delighted when I saw that I could link Strava with it so that my exercise was automatically logged. Yay!!! Then HMH and I went on a big bike ride yesterday. Well, probably not big for y’all, but for someone like me it was monumental. We rode 8.7 miles! That’s my longest ride yet. I felt quite accomplished. So imagine my surprise when I get home and My Fitness Pal has logged that I burned a very underwhelming 262 calories for all the work I did.

Okay, sure…I’m a big fat girl still. It takes some seriously lame leg pumping to get my ass up any kind of incline. It’s almost embarrassing. Except I don’t care…because I’m too proud of myself to care…and I’ve got HMH behind me saying “You’re doing GREAT, babe! You’re awesome!!”

How can I argue with the best husband in the world? I can’t.

 

Feeling rather dramatic and badass on the trail
Feeling rather dramatic and bad-ass on the trail

Anyway…it seemed a little hinky to me that I did so much work pedaling up those treacherously moderate inclines and I only burned 262 calories. And let me just make a quick point here: it’s not that I want to burn more calories so that I can eat more. Not at all. It’s that I worked my ass off and I want proper damn credit. That’s all it is. And 262 seemed like a pretty crappy number when I know how hard I was working.

I decided to wear my heart rate monitor the next time we went out. I should mention that I don’t have one of those cruddy $30 monitors that attempts to monitor my heart rate through my wrist. Nope. I’ve got the one that straps around your chest and next to my heart…listening. There’s a wristband display that shows me what the heart rate monitor is detecting. I’ve programmed it with my height, weight and age…so it knows all my secrets.

Strava, by comparison, knows my height and weight. There is no device settled near my heart. It’s an app on my phone that tracks my speed and route via GPS.

So Strava said I burned 262 calories for 69 minutes worth of bike riding at less than 10 mph. (I did go over 10 mph at times, but my average was less than 10 mph). Then I went directly into My Fitness Pal and logged 69 minutes worth of bike riding at less than 10 mph…and guess what?

I burned 563 calories.

Um…what?

Exact same time. Exact speed and activity. Totally different number. Who should I believe? I turned to Google…sort of. I searched “How many calories did I burn?” and came up with half a dozen websites that have free activity/calorie burn calculators. Every single one of them had my calorie burn at upwards of 500 calories. Excellent. Finally, as if there was any doubt at that point, I checked my heart rate monitor. 560 calories burned.

Up your ass, Strava dicks!

Above, the Strava version of my bike ride. Below, the My Fitness Pal version.
Above, the Strava version of my bike ride. Below, the My Fitness Pal version.

Further research revealed several forums in which various users expressed similar experiences with Strava tracking their calorie burn either way too low or, in some cases, way too high. Their app needs a little work.

I’ll continue to use Strava to map my rides…but that’s it. I have family and friends on it who send me kudos for bike rides…and I think that’s fun…but I’m not going to believe their calorie burn bullshit anymore, that’s for sure. And that’s my point in writing this blog post today: do your research before you believe whatever app you’re using to track your health and fitness.

It chaps my ass even more that there are fellow hot messes out there who might be just starting out with this kind of thing. They might not know enough about fitness and calorie burn to raise an eyebrow at that 262 blinking back at them. They might think that 262 is correct. Perhaps they’ll only feel discouraged…and that can be the beginning of the end for some people without a strong support system. False information can put a crack in your morale. Believe me, I know.

Just a smidge of the trail I ride
Just a smidge of the trail I ride

So if you don’t have someone riding behind you and cheering you on, take heed here and do some research. If everything’s on the level, you can rely on your app to track your numbers and focus on the things that require your energy. If it’s not on the level, at least you’ll know before you get used to it and find a solution that works for you.

We have enough to deal with between trying to tame our food demons, eating healthy and living an active life. Why make it harder on ourselves than we need to?

Life is an open road. Pedal faster…and enjoy it. (But make sure your damn apps aren’t lying to you!)


Want a super cute bell like the one on my bike? Here it is!

Sleeping Beauty

Who hasn’t had a really big exciting day where you just go and go and go forever and then at the end of the night you collapse into a grateful, happy, tired heap? Have you had several of those days in a row? How about a whole year? That’s what 2014 was like for me. A tailspin of joy and crazy (good crazy) and love and hope and awesomeness. Then I got tired.

Last fall, a lot of it came to a screeching halt when I started having gallstone attacks. If you’ve never had this problem, let me just tell you this: my girlfriends who’ve had children and have also had their gallbladders out have all told me that the gallstone pain was worse than passing an 8 pound human through their vajayjays. Since I was never lucky enough to be a mom, I consider the fact that I’ve at least had to go through the gallstone thing a badge of honor. So in a way, I have given birth…just to a couple of gritty, creepy stones. I’d feel more accomplished if I had an adorable, tiny version of me and HMH waddling around the house but the gallstones make me feel pretty bad ass.

I got through the process like a champ, but my weight loss crawled to a halt. I have lost another size since my gallbladder surgery but that’s it. My weight has hovered at 271 pounds for months now. And you know what? I haven’t cared one damn bit.

Imagine (and I know some of you don’t have to…because you’ve lived it too) being so huge that you can’t properly wash yourself in the shower. Imagine being so large that you get out of breath just toweling yourself dry. You have to prop your legs up on the couch in order to reach your feet and put your shoes on. The fabric on the inside thighs of all your pants rubs clear away before your pants are old enough to be out of style. Everything either hurts or is exhausting to do. You stretch your weekend errands out into batches so that you can rest in between. And sex with your significant other? It doesn’t happen. You just want to curl up in a ball and let someone take it all away.

That was my life for years…and I’m done with that now.

2014 was an amazing year for me. I’ve been hugging myself and giving myself high fives for the longest time now…and I’m still doing it even though I haven’t lost any weight. I can’t stop doing it. Everything is still a victory for me.

Got out of the car without hurting myself. Yay!

I’m smaller than HMH. Woohoo!

Ran all my errands and came home and cleaned the whole house then did a big household project. Fuck’in-A, bubba!!

Everything is a miraculous, victorious rainbow of unicorns and kittens. I love life!

Something weird happened to me the other day, though, and it got my attention.

I was at work and someone asked me how much weight I’ve lost now. It was the way they asked me…sort of like they already knew I was going to say “Still 113 pounds” but they wanted to see what I’d say. Sort of like they were silently wondering if I was going to explain why I’ve stopped losing weight. There was absolutely nothing about their question that was concerning to me. This person is a long-time supporter and I adore them. There was no malicious pleasure in the question. It was my answer that surprised me. I said “Still 113 and I’m okay with that!”

What?

When did I get to be okay with that? Didn’t I want more than that? Didn’t I want to knock this mother out of the ballpark?? Yes, I did. Yes, I DO!!!

There was a time not too long ago when I would have felt horrible about this. I don’t. Not one bit. Because all that’s happened is that I’ve been distracted by a joyful life. So who cares? I’ve lost 113 pounds and I’m overjoyed. I’m able to do more and be stronger than I have in a long, long time.

My answer woke me up, though. It showed me that I have some learning to do right now about how to live my joyful life while continuing to reach for my long term goals. I have more weight to lose. About 113 more pounds or so. But I no longer feel like a hideous Jabba the Hutt creature who has to lose weight in order to feel worthy. The fact of the matter is…if I spent the rest of my life at 271 pounds I would be happy. I’m free of the worst of my demons.

And the thing is…I know I can lose the rest of this weight. I just have to exercise it off. I’ve been too busy enjoying the Hot Mess Love Fest. I’m part raccoon. I’m very easily distracted. Now I’ve suddenly remembered “Oh yeah! There’s stuff I have to do!”

raccoon

My goal to lose the rest of this weight is simply for the principle of the thing. The challenge. The sense of accomplishment. The victory of getting myself into the best shape possible. This is all new to me. I’ve lived a lifetime of trying to lose weight because I feel that I’m worthless as I am. I no longer feel that way. In fact, as I write this I can feel myself thinking “Who IS this chick? I like her!!!”

I no longer want to lose weight to fit in. I no longer need to lose weight to feel complete. I’m happy as I am. But I need to remember that there are still goals I want to achieve. I feel strongly that accomplishing these other goals will only strengthen the awesome feelings of bad assedness already swirling around me.

I feel like I’ve been sleepy for a while and I’m finally starting to wake up and go “Oh, crap…I have shit I need to do!” Whoops!!

So pardon me while I crawl out of bed and brush my teeth…I’ve got shit to do and you’re coming with me. Spring is coming soon and I’ll be getting my new bike. Can’t wait to pedal my bad ass self around Texas. And, just in time, Pandora has come out with a new charm. Check it out:

My next reward!
My next reward!

Y’all know that Saint Bernards are my favorite dogs. Miss Kirby has ruined me for any other breed. I’m thinking this little baby is my reward for hitting 269 on the scale. And maybe the new Texas Rangers bag from Dooney & Bourke. Because, hey…any excuse to buy a handbag, peeps!