Redefining “Me”

I’ve been defined by my weight since I was ten years old. My dance teacher stood me in front of the mirror in our dance studio and used a pointer to show me the places where my body needed improvements. My thighs stuck out too far. My legs were thick. I had a bit of a “belly”.

Until that moment, my biggest concern was where the other lime green peep-toed pump was for my Barbie doll and whether my dog ate it. I was ten years old. When I laid on my bed and daydreamed about marrying David Cassidy, I never though about knocking out a few sets of ab crunches so I’d look super hot at the wedding. My world was Barbies and school and friends and, already, writing. That moment in front of the mirror changed me forever.

From that moment on, when I walked into a room of other kids I’d look at all the thighs and bellies and see which ones were bigger or smaller than mine. If there were bigger kids, I felt relieved. I looked at the skinny girls with such envy. I was sure everyone loved them. No one could resist a skinny girl because skinny was beautiful. I wasn’t skinny, so that meant I wasn’t beautiful – which meant I was ugly. Kid logic.

Big fat ugly me…or that’s how I felt back then. Now I just see a cute kid with amazing taste in boots.

Whenever someone told me I was pretty, I smiled and said thank you just like Mom taught me – but there was always that inside voice that disagreed with them. No, I’m not pretty…because I’m fat. It is incredibly difficult to change that voice in your head – especially when it’s planted there so early.

I’ve been finding it a challenge to remain positive over the past couple of days because I keep falling back to the old habit of defining myself by a number. I’ve realized it’s not enough to reach for a healthier lifestyle…I need to redefine how I define myself as well.

I’ve been derailed a lot over the past ten days. The mother of all toothaches was first to knock me down. I had an infected tooth that needed a root canal, but I needed to take anti-biotics for 5 days before I could get it fixed – so I lived in pain for nearly a week (as did those of you who follow me on Facebook…because I pretty much whined about it non-stop). I had no idea how much it could hurt to breathe with your mouth open when you have an infected tooth. Holy crap on a cracker! The gym wasn’t an option last week unless I took a pain pill – and the last thing I should be doing is using gym equipment while on pain pills. Those suckers were badass.

treadmill ooops

Then I got the root canal. Yay! I’m petrified of dentists, so this was an accomplishment on its own. No more freaky discomfort of a dental dam, no more huge needles in my face – or the nervous farting that I hope went unnoticed…I’m done! Well, at least for two weeks or so. I probably should have taken Kirby or Dyson with me as a “therapy dog” and then I would have had someone to blame the gas on. You know what they say about hindsight…

Just when I was ready to get back into the swing of things this weekend, the 7 Dwarfs of the Menstrual Apocalypse showed up. If this is your first time reading my blog, I apologize for the overshare. The rest of you know what to expect and you still love me…and I’m grateful. I love you too. And since you know what to expect, you know I’ve spent the last two days curled up in the fetal position, cursing Mother Nature and my angry uterus. In a few more days, I’ll be back to normal. (My new normal, not my former Dr. Pepper swilling, pizza guzzling, snack cake motorboating normal.)

I hate being derailed, especially when I’m motivated to go to the gym. When I joined this gym a couple of months ago, I started at 10 minutes on the elliptical – which was surprising as hell because I expected far less. Right before the tooth-from-hell hit me, I did 30 minutes. I was a freaking NINJA. A chubby, determined, spastic ninja…kicking my fat cells right in the ass.

Bad Ass Couch copy

I’m logging my food every day, but I’m not getting on the scale because I’m not working out. Also because I’m in the middle of my “ladies days”, peeps, and what woman is crazy enough to get on the scale then? I want my new normal back. Hurry up, uterus, and get it out of your system. Momma’s got shit to do!

During times like this, it’s hard to remember not to define my success by a number on the scale…or even the minutes on the elliptical. It takes conscious effort to remember that I need to pay attention to the non-scale victories as well. And I need to focus on the positive instead of giving myself grief for not being able to workout right now. I’ll be back in the gym by Wednesday. That has to be good enough for me right now.

There are many non-scale victories to celebrate – and some of these are going to seem ridiculous to you if you’ve never had a problem with food, but I assure you these are accomplishments. I didn’t use the toothache as an excuse to eat my weight in pudding every day because it hurt to chew. The 7 Dwarfs of the Menstrual Apocalypse are visiting right now and I haven’t once baked a brownie or driven to Walgreens and emptied the ice cream case in a sweaty fury. And probably the biggest accomplishment of all: I’m not inwardly celebrating that I can’t go to the gym right now. I’m not sobbing over it either, but I’m pretty effing proud of that 30 minutes I did right before my tooth decided to be an asshole. That pride feels good.

I’m not a number on a scale. I’m not the size tag on my pants. I’m just a Hot Mess Princess…running towards positive change as fast as my cankles can carry me.

What non-scale victories have you celebrated this week? I’m all ears…share with me!

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I Love Not Camping

Okay, it’s Thursday and that means it’s time for Mama Kat’s blog meme! Last week, you voted on Facebook…and you voted for the topic “That one time I went camping…” – and you’re in luck because I’ve been camping exactly one time.

Here’s the thing: I’m the product of a City Girl Momma and a Country Boy Daddy…and the City Girl won. I grew up in Orange County, California – which actually had orange groves and strawberry patches in it when I was a kid. It was not the concrete & stucco encrusted, smog filled monstrosity that it is today. There was a dairy behind our house…with cows and everything. My big brothers used to stand me up on our picnic table in the backyard so I could feed the baby cows carrots. It hasn’t been like that for a very long time, but when I was a kid there were still wide open spaces and plenty of opportunities for kid-sized adventure.

When I was ten years old, my Girl Scout troop was working on our “Outdoor Fun” badge…and one of the activities we had to complete was camping. I remember being so excited that I was actually going camping. My Mom took me out to Kmart and bought me my official “mess kit”. I thought I was totally badass…until she found a sleeping bag on the clearance aisle.

I wanted the super cool red plaid sleeping bag that looked like something out of a western flick – but my parents were raising 6 kids on a single income, so if there weren’t any hand-me-downs I was pretty much stuck with whatever was on the clearance aisle. Imagine my ten year old eyes rolling in disbelief when my Mom bought me a red-orange fabric sleeping bag off the clearance aisle. The worst part?  It smelled like rotten cheddar cheese. Seriously. Perhaps the red-orange color wasn’t intentional. Perhaps the sleeping bag absorbed it in the back of an ancient Cheetos factory and that’s where the rotten cheddar smell came from. Actually, it was more like a combination of rotten cheddar and stinky feet. Mom must have washed that damn thing 20 times, but it was no use: I was about to go camping with a stanky cheddar cheese feet bag.

Camping day came and I hugged my Mom goodbye at the drop off with the enthusiasm of a true adventurer. I had no idea how long it would be before I would see her again, but I was certain we would trek many miles through mountain and prairie before coming to the most perfect camping spot I’d ever seen. Yes, I was sure of it. I climbed into our Scout Leader’s van with my squealing friends and we were off. Oh, what a grand adventure it would be! Imagine my chagrin when we drove ten minutes through the city before pulling into the parking lot of a Kiwanis campground that was probably all of 3 acres in size…next to a mobile home park and a strip mall. What?

The sun was setting as we set up the tents and I did my best to immerse myself in the illusion that we were camping in the deep woods. Unfortunately, the damn neon Schlitz Beer sign at the liquor store across the street kept reminding me we’d all been ripped off. Our camp site was next to a tiny lake about the size of three swimming pools – complete with a genuine artificial waterfall that fell over a pile of fake boulders. It was pretty cruddy, actually, but it was ours.

We took turns striking a flint and lighting a fire as our Scout Leader diligently checked each of us off on her clipboard. We grilled burgers and a big pan of potatoes. Then we made hot cocoa by the fire and I learned about one of the greatest things in life. Ever. S’mores.

Then it was time for ghost stories…and then bed. Unfortunately, this was always where my away-from-home adventures went sour for me. I wasn’t good at spending the night in strange places – something that would benefit me greatly in my twenties. The only ho DNA this Princess possesses is Handbag Ho DNA, peeps.

Whenever I tried to spend the night away from comfort of my own home, I developed the worst tummy troubles. I worried non-stop. I was afraid of everything. And I wanted my Mommy. I had never successfully spent the night away from home at this point in my life.

I crawled into my rotten cheddar, stinky feet sleeping bag and tried to be brave. True to her word, my Mom had packed a sleeve of Saltines crackers in my bag so that I could munch on them if I got a “sick tummy”. I peeled open the wrapper and blinked back my tears. I was going to do this.

It wasn’t easy. My tent mate fell asleep in three seconds. I laid there, stinking of rotten cheddar and wishing I had more s’mores to wash away the fear. And then there was the waterfall…

The majestic, mystical waterfall on the fake boulders was somehow powered by whatever you call the thing that flushes toilets. Not even making this shit up. It was on a timer, too, so the water would slowly trickle to a stop and then WHOOSH the toilet would flush and water would pour out over the top of the boulders again. Oooh, magical waterfall! And then WHOOSH…What if the wooshing sound was drowning out the sounds of something really dangerous approaching our camp. Like vicious bears and angry witches. And also the farts coming from my nervous tummy. Between the farting and the rotten cheese toe smell, I wasn’t sure if my tent mate was sleeping or simply passed out from the vapors.

Some time during the night, the soft glow of the Schlitz Beer sign and the rhythmic flushing of the waterfall actually managed to lull me to sleep. Before long, it was morning and our Scout Leader was getting out mini boxes of cereal for all of us to eat. We sat in our jammies and coats in the cool morning sun, talking about our big adventures. The squirrels we saw, the birds we saw. We were sure we could start a fire faster than any of the stupid boys at school. We were survivalists.

After breakfast, we explored the park until our parents came to get us. Mom picked me up and I hugged her hard. I hugged her for that sleeve of Saltine crackers that got me through the night…and I hugged her because I was proud I finally made it through a whole night away from home. I packed up my mess kit and my cheesy feet sleeping bag and we trudged off to the car as I regaled her with the ghost stories I’d learned that night…and told her of the terrible toilet fountain. We laughed that no one seemed to notice the cheese funk was coming from my sleeping bag.

And that, my friends, was the one and only time I went camping.

I’m much more of a hotel girl. A hotel room with a big jacuzzi tub and lots of fun things to do. Sign me up. You can keep your camping…this Princess needs a bed.

So how about you? Camp or Hotel? Lemme hear it!

camping lol

Ten Things I’m Afraid Of

Hey, peeps! I haven’t done Mama Kat’s blog meme in a few weeks, what with all my landmark announcements, so I thought we’d have a bit of fun this week. Those of you on my Facebook fan page voted…and this is the blog topic that won…so here we go. I’m gonna do this countdown style.

10. Bridges. I’m actually a lot less scared of them than I was before I moved to Texas. Becoming a “naturalized Texan” has given me courage I thought I’d never have. And balls. Big slapp’in balls. Not literally, of course, but I already wax quite a ‘stache off my upper lip every few weeks…I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suspect that I’ll have actual testicles when I hit my golden years.

9. Parents who raise their kids without teaching them consequences…and that everything won’t always go their way. I weep for the future.

8. Bugs. That’s not really a big shocker if you’ve read this blog for a while or you follow my fan page on Facebook – but here in Texas we have bugs so big they can fly away with a Poodle in their mouths. I love Texas, but the creepy critters scare the crap out of me.

7. Never having a clean house. Seriously, it’s just Hot Mess Hubby and our mini zoo here…and yet I can never get this house clean. I used to be able to do it. I would spend all weekend cleaning and then I’d sit back on Sunday afternoon for an hour or two and admire it all before we started messing it up again. Now I can’t even get halfway there. I would love to be able to sit on the couch and be able to see the surface of the coffee table…or not see a laundry hamper in the hallway. Is it too much to ask to have a home that always looks like a page from the Pottery Barn catalog?

6. Snakes. Do I even need to explain that one?

5. Farting loudly at work. One of my girlfriends sent me a text one day from work and I’ve never gotten over it. She was listening to music on headphones while working at her desk when she snarted (that’s a sneeze that triggers a fart for those of you not in the know). She had no idea if anyone heard her. I laughed so hard I cried…and I’ve been petrified of the same thing happening to me ever since. So much so that I pull an earbud out before I let any sneakers go at work…just to be safe.

4. Pickles. Okay, maybe I’m not exactly afraid of pickles…but I am disgusted by them. They’re revolting. Unfortunately, Hot Mess Hubby loves them. I won’t even kiss him after he eats one. Yuck!!! If he wants a kiss he can brush his teeth with a bottle of bleach and a wire brush. Or wait till tomorrow.

3. Embarrassing myself in front of “important people”. I’m not typically accident prone at work, but if there’s an executive within 10 feet of me I’d trip over a hair laying on the carpet. The same thing goes for anyone I’m trying to impress…or hunky famous people.

It was my job to read a Bible verse at my girlfriend’s wedding one summer not too long ago. As it so happens, her husband’s family is very close friends with Kiefer Sutherland. I was assured that he probably wouldn’t be there, yet guess who walked in five minutes before the ceremony? I was a sweaty mess, uncomfortable in a giant pastel pink suit with a gaudy scarf tied around my neck to conceal the angry red gash in my throat from the thyroid surgery I’d had two months before…walking on grass in stabby heels, trying not to sink into the wet ground before I got up to the gazebo where the bride and groom were – or worse: catch my heel on a sprinkler doohicky and do a face plant into the father of the bride’s crotch. It all turned out okay (and Mr. Sutherland is even yummier up close, y’all!).

2. Having weight loss surgery. It would be stupid of me not to consider it as an option at some point if I can’t get this done on my own…but I’m afraid of the shit storm I would bring on myself mentally if I ever actually did it. I’ve been close to it. I’ve seen countless friends do it. Surgery takes a kind of courage I don’t think I’ll ever have. Being obese is risking my life enough…I don’t want to risk my life to hit my goal weight as well.

1. Never hitting my goal weight. I know many of you can relate. Yet as much as I fear it never coming true, I still believe it will. I can see it on the road ahead…far in front of me. I can imagine it. When I fall asleep each night, I dream of it.

I see myself riding a rollercoaster with Hot Mess Hubby for the first time in forever. I ride a bike. I rollerskate. I fit into a seat at The Ballpark in Arlington to see my beloved Texas Rangers play…and the seat doesn’t leave bruises on my legs. I wear dresses. I buy a pair of high heels to match every designer handbag in my arsenal. And I can’t stop smiling.

Fear of never hitting my goal weight is the biggest fear I have, but the more I think about life at the other end of this road the smaller that fear gets. So down this road I go…afraid or not. ♥ I’m grateful that you’re with me.

Now it’s your turn…what are you afraid of?

Well, this is sort of new…

So I gained almost all my weight back…and had a “Come to Jesus meeting” with myself. Then I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and shoved myself back onto the straight & narrow path. I’ve been using all my favorite tools: the scale, My Fitness Pal, and my gym membership. I’ve already lost 5 of the 43 I gained back. In a week. Not too shabby for this Princess.

Of course, this is the perfect time for me to exhibit what I believe to be the first obesity-related medical issue I’ve ever had – or at least that’s what I get to wonder about for the next 12 days until I see my doctor.

I need you to be prepared – and if you’re squeamish about gross physical or medical problems, you probably don’t want to read past this line. However, if you’re struggling for motivation right now and the numbers on the scale are going up instead of down, you might want to keep reading and take a good, long sobering look at these pictures. It might be the motivation you need to get moving again. Y’all know me…I try not to sugar coat things – these photos are not retouched in any way.

For the past two months, my feet have pretty much hurt me all the time. Just getting up is painful and the first several steps I take are agonizing. This is a huge part of what led me to the realization that I was pulling the wool over my own eyes and needed to get on the scale. One night I got up off the couch and waddled into the kitchen like an 80 year old lady…and I felt that nagging feeling you get when you know something is wrong that you can’t turn your back on.

What’s worse, there’s a darkened scabby patch of skin on the outside of my left ankle. If you’ve ever had a sunburn that’s starting to heal and the top layer of skin is brown and dead…that’s what it looks like. But it’s bumpy and kind of scabby…and definitely scary. And it’s all nestled on top of a severely swollen ankle and foot. It’s so disgusting it doesn’t even look human to me. When I took the picture, I was horrified that this was me.

This was my left foot on June 28th:


Do you see the large bulbous area over my ankle? That’s swollen. Notice the brown scaly looking skin. When I first noticed it, I thought I need to exfoliate in the shower – but that doesn’t work. Whatever this shit is, it thinks it’s here to stay. Look at how puffy and swollen my foot is as well. It looked weird to me, but when I took a picture and could see it up close I nearly cried. This barely even looks human.

This image was taken just before my “Come to Jesus” meeting with scale.

Last week, I put myself right back on the straight & narrow path again. I went to the gym. I logged my food. I got on the scale every day. I lost 5 pounds last week just slipping into my old routine. Look at my foot now.

Two weeks later
Two weeks later

The balloon over my ankle is gone. The top of my foot is no longer swollen. That brown dead skin gunk is still there, though. My feet do look better, but I still feel pain when I walk…and I want to know why that skin is so creepy different – because I’ll tell you something: I think it could be lymphodema. I pray to God it’s not. Google it.

Walking is very painful, but I’m dealing with it. The elliptical machine at the gym doesn’t hurt it. The recumbent bike doesn’t hurt it. I did some Googling on this and it can be a product of morbid obesity. There are some remedies for it, but it must be treated as soon as possible – and one of the ways to fight it is to get rid of the excess weight. Talk about motivation.

Here are some images of advanced lymphodema:

   lymphedema2 lymphoedema3      lymphedema1

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried about this. I’ve long suspected that I have circulation problems in my legs. And yes, I do realize that I could be completely on the wrong track here – and that’s why I’m going to the doctor.

This is what’s been bothering me for quite a while…and I can no longer sit back and ignore it. Especially after finding these pictures online today. If one of the best ways to control and get rid of it is exercise, then honey…I’m on board. In fact, I’m declaring right now in front of y’all: I’m going to work out every day through Friday. Five days in a row.

When I lost the 45 pounds, my ankle measurement was 12.5. A month ago, it was 15. Tonight it was 14 – so I’ve already done quite a bit between the water challenges on Facebook and eating healthy and working out. I just need to get to a doctor and find out what this is…and keep moving, fighting, swinging. I’m determined to get through this

I’ll keep you posted on what the doc says. Until then, you try and keep me from the gym. :-)


** side note: This is not Plantar Fasciatis. Just putting this here because I’ve received a lot of comments between the blog, Facebook, and private emails/messaging. :-) I had Plantar Fasciatis for 20+ years and finally had Fascia Release surgery about 13 years ago on both feet. This is something different – but whatever it is, I’m going to kick it right in the ass!

Random Crap Update

Hey, y’all!

I have been fighting my own schedule to get time to write a blog post I’ve been working on…and I’m still fighting – so I’m posting this update today instead. Expect the actual blog post to show up in the next couple of days, I promise.

I recently explained that I’d gained almost all my weight back because I failed to keep using the tools I value so much – mainly my bathroom scale and my food log. Meanwhile, elastic waists on giant pants don’t help much either.

As you can see by the weight loss ticker on the right, I’ve lost 4 of those pounds already this week. BOOM!

I’m back to logging my food, I’m back in the gym, and I’m drinking a ton of water. I’d like to say something sassy and brag about my awesomeness, but I’m still quite pissed at myself for having to do this work over again. It’s a daily chore not to beat myself up mentally for being in this position in the first place, but I’ve gotten pretty good at focusing on my true goal and marching the hell down the road toward my ultimate goal.

My next blog post will be another very honest, humbling post for me about some pretty constant pain I’m having. So if you’re struggling right now and you can’t seem to stop that scale from going up instead of down, this next blog post might be the thing you need to put the brakes on. Stay tuned…I’ll be back before Sunday!

In the meantime, do one thing today that’s more than you did yesterday. Drink more water…eat healthier…move more. Just one thing. Don’t think about the big picture and don’t beat yourself up. Just do one thing.

Hugs from me,


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