Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 4 at 3000 calories or "How A Pair of Leggings Sent My Body Confidence Off a Cliff"

I am not in a good place right now. I was prepared for eating this much to mess with me a little. Remembering the first two weeks of my program last year, the uncomfortably full feeling was expected. The bloating, the sluggishness, all par for the course.  I wasn't expecting to feel so emotional. 

I don't like emotions. I mean, I do anger...but even my anger is usually sarcastic, or at the very least simply self-destructive. Mostly I just kind of hang out at equilibrium. Not too high, not too low. It's zen in it's compartmentalized way.

The last few days I have been kind of a wreck.

Thursday was my first day trying to hit 3000 calories. I didn't quite make it, but I ate a lot and felt that I could totally handle this and it would be fine. Friday I had a great workout and was feeling very "I am so strong. Look at me deadlifting over 200# for reps like a boss." I went out for sushi with friends and ordered up 3 rolls and was all "Imma eat it ALL!"

So much food. So much water.

I ate it all, alright. But is was painful. I truly thought I was going to go full technicolor yawn after the last bite. It was delicious, and yet awful. I got home afterwards and realized I still had 3 boxes to check and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't. Fail.

Saturday was a CrossFit competition at my gym. Every year I run the equipment crew. It's fun, but it's a long day and it's fairly stressful. Since I'm supposed to be eating all this food and I knew I wouldn't get much time to eat anything sitting down, I packed a cooler full of fruit and veggies and protein bars and hummus and string cheese, etc and just sort of ate all day long. I wore elastic waist pants to conceal my food baby. All day I seesawed back and forth between ravenously hungry and so full I felt ill. There was no in-between. I didn't like it.

It was a busy day.

After the competition I still had many, many boxes to check. When I got home I decided to treat myself with a dessert...which was really high protein ice cream, a protein bar, and some peanut butter.

I really thought I was going to enjoy this more.

I couldn't finish the remaining boxes. I got close, but no cigar. It was an early night, and I was asleep around 9pm like the old lady that I am.

This morning I was hungry when I woke up, thankfully.  The kids slept past 7, which is miraculous. When I woke up I had a splitting headache, so I washed some ibuprofen down with coffee and made pancakes for the smalls. Fantastic husband came home and started making hash. He offered to share with me, and since I needed those boxes, I took him up on it.

My breakfast today. It was good.

After breakfast I engaged in one of my non-exercise hobbies. Knitting. I got a kit from a mail order house and I started in on it and a fresh cup of coffee. The ibuprofen didn't help my headache.

Neither did this, really.

I paused at 10am to eat some peppers and hummus and string cheese. Use your imagination. 

Fantastic husband went for a run with the psycho dog and I made myself some lunch.  Alllll the egg whites in my oatmeal, and some fruit and nuts.  The weirdest thing with this is my total lack of desire to eat fruit. I have less than zero interest in it, and I'm supposed to eat 4 servings per day. That shouldn't be so hard.

This was tough. I had to force feed myself.

This afternoon I went out for a run. It was somewhat unpleasant. I am very, very full almost all the time now. That means side stitches. Plus I feel as slow as a barge and about as wide.

Got to trot out the white vest, anyway.

After my run I ate some carrots and hummus and string cheese, then headed over to the box for broga. After being either stationary in a standing position or crouching or essentially swinging a 45# plate like a kettlebell all day Saturday, I needed the stretch. T had extra heaters in the room. It was nice, aside from my giant food baby belly blobbing all over the place. 

What really wrecked my day today was a pair of LuLaRoe leggings my husband brought home for me. I have a few friends who sell this brand and all I ever hear is how awesome they are and how I should totally buy some. I've been on the fence. Fantastic husband wears them and loves them (don't ask). He stopped over at a dealer in our neighborhood and she gave him a pair for me to try on.

They were fucking awful. 

I knew immediately upon seeing them that they weren't going to fit. Anything labeled "ONE SIZE" is deeply suspect. I should've just told husband to just fuck off back to the dealer with them. But no. I tried them on. They hit my calves and were so tight I could barely advance them up my legs. Once I had them wrestled up to waist level, the crotch was at least 2 inches below where my actual ladyparts are. So I pulled the fabric up and...they were 2 inches above my ankles. Check the mirror for underpants visibility? Yup. Polka dotted underpants fully visible through the pants.  I thought to myself "maybe a little activity will loosen them up". 

Stupid, stupid me. 

They look like they reach my ankles here because 
they have abandoned my ladygarden.


A bigger, fatter ass than some men out there

Fantastic husband wears a size LLR brands "Tall and Curvy". He had a clean pair so I tried those on, too. Keep in mind that I once told FH that if we ever wore the same size pants I'd throw myself off a bridge. I like my men taller than me, substantially broader than me, and overall BIGGER than me. I'm a big woman and I like big men. Maybe that's sexist or something, but it's my thing.  I approached the TC leggings with trepidation. If 4 days of 3000 calories put me in the same size pants as FH I was pretty much going to cry.

They fit like a bag.

So I'm too fat for the OS and not "curvy" enough for the TC. FINE LLR, I'M SOME KIND OF PHYSICAL FREAK. GOT IT. THANKS.

See what I mean? Emotional. 

I have a LLR dress on order. I am less than hopeful regarding the fit. Right now I'm in full on Fuck You mode regarding it. I started today just feeling kinda chubby, but like it was going to be ok. I ended the day feeling like a goddamn hippopotamus. A big, freakishly shaped radioactive goddamn hippopotamus.

I'm wearing my fat shirt. 
Wanna fight about it?

You should be glad I hated those stupid leggings. More for you, 347 women who are going to comment on this post to tell me how much you puffy unicorn heart your LuLaRoe leggings. Go ahead. Use the word buttery so I can slap it out of your mouth.

After showering and pulling myself together, I headed downstairs to eat again.

I needed to put protein down without volume. 
Protein shake FTW.

Then I still had to eat because I still had some motherfucking boxes to check.

It was at this moment I began to hate food.

But I ate. I shoved all the food into my big, fat, freakishly shaped goddamn fucking mouth and BEHOLD.

Every stupid fucking box checked.

And now I'm at work and I have to start eating again in about 90 minutes. And I don't want to. Because I hate food. If I never had to eat again it would be too soon.

Someone told me yesterday that they wished they could get a pass to eat this much. HERE. TAKE IT. I hate this. I am just ANGRY and SAD and my body is STUPID and HUGE and SLOW. 

Jesus. I need it to be Thursday. I'm gonna tear the head off a goddamn lion. 

Now if you'll excuse me I need to fill up my water pitcher so that I'll be plenty hydrated for the epic cry I'm going to have when I get home tomorrow morning. 

And I still have that fucking headache. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Radical Self-Care or "I'm So Full of Outrage, Where Do I Put All This Food?"

Hello again. It's 2017. Can you believe that shit?

I'm going to Scotland in June. This is Aberdeenshire. 
I'm not counting the days or anything.

Or really any of this shit? 45 has taken office. It's been 13.5 days and I'm already about 20 years older. I have donated to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name about 6 times, to the ACLU in 45s name about 4, I've written upwards of 20 postcards to Paul Ryan, and I made 3 of which marched in GB and the other made it all the way to Washington DC for the protest.

Come on. That's funny. Admit it.

I'm trying not to exhaust myself, because this is going to be a long fight. I don't want this blog to turn into a political forum, because that wasn't how it was conceived, but I also don't want to come across as completely tone deaf. Because let's face it. The eating/exercise habits of a 40 year old white lady aren't top priority for most people right now.

Wanna talk politics? Or religion? Or about really anything? I'm game. Seriously. I love that kind of discussion. A couple of rules, though: 1. You need to back your shit up. And it better not be Brietbart, you dig? 2. It can't get emotional. Mommy don't play that. 3. If you at any time belittle my intelligence, or question my work ethic? We are done. I don't use that tactic. 4. If at any time the words "libtard" or "snowflake" enter the conversation? We are done. 5. Call me a cry baby, and be prepared to drown in my liberal tears.

Lemme know when you want to have a sit down. Bring coffee. Or beer. Political discussions can get fun when you're hammered (right, Trish?).

That said, we do all still have lives and responsibilities. Kids, dogs, motherfucking houseplants, whatever. We still have to take care of ourselves. I still have goals and aspirations, and focusing on those things gives me a little respite from the constant barrage of is-it-real-or-is-it-fake bullshit that's flying around right now.

So. Moving on.

I went to see Kirk this morning. You know. Nutrition guy. I've decided to have a BIA and a little sit-down once a month this year. To keep me accountable, and to keep me working towards being the best 40 year old me I can be. I've been holding steady at less-than-chubby-but-not-exactly-lean for some time now. My waist remains 29" (and halle-fuckin-lujah for that). This month my hips were down. I was grumpy about it, because I'm trying to build this booty. Kirk found that amusing. Apparently I am his only female client that reacts badly to a smaller hip measurement.

As an aside, the front desk lady told me I inspire her. I was all "WTF are you talking about?" then she pointed out that my little testimonial is in the loop on the screen in the lobby. That poor child has to look at my blue-haired self on repeat every day. I need to send her a fruit basket by way of apology.

AAAAAnnnnnnyway. After I got all analyzed, Kirk asked if I'd ever thought about playing with my calorie intake to jumpstart my metabolism.

It was pretty much exactly like this.

And I was all "Sure, what's the worst that could happen?"

Then he said he wanted me to eat 2800-3000 calories a day for the next week, then cut back to 1800-2000 for 3 weeks. I currently eat 2000-2200 calories a day. 

3000 calories is a lot of fucking food. I mean, when you actually eat it in the form of food. 

I'm fairly certain this quantity wouldn't be an issue.

I will admit that it sounded pretty great while I was sitting in the office. Mostly because you have to fast before a BIA. I'm a shitty faster. I get sort of murdery. So after agreeing to this little experiment, I went to Starbucks and got myself a latte.

Dairy, motherfucker.

I briefly considered stopping for a donut or somesuch. But I didn't. Because I am committed to fitness. Actually it's because I missed the exit I needed to take for Uncle Mike's and I was too lazy to turn around. But you know, also committed to fitness. 

Got home and made myself some egg white oatmeal.  With all the egg whites that exist in the universe. Or like 6. Whatever. 

Oh gods. So full.

Playing this game means I have to go back to measuring everything so make sure I'm not overshooting or undercutting myself. Sigh. But it's okay. I can totally do this. I can. This is a pep self-talk. 

Since I have to work tonight, after I ate I laid down for a little nap. I got a couple of hours, which is great. Tonight is a one-off because the Ice Bowl is Saturday and I took PTO so I could sleep before and after. Sleep is important. If I don't get enough I am very unpleasant.  

When I woke up, I ate some more.

8oz of meatloaf. Gah.

I had to break out the big dinner plate. This was fine until it was about half gone. Then I questioned my life choices and forced that shit down my gullet.

And if you're going to eat big, you better lift some shit.

Heavy (for me) pause squats, and some deficit lunges.

I also almost threw a kettlebell through the wall. If you're arms are itchy, so you put on some lotion? Wash your hands before swinging a KB. I imagine 53# would really fuck up the drywall. Fortunately I just felt silly. No water pipes were broken, praise cheeses. 

Once all that happy horseshit was done, I took my dead ass legs out for a run with a fellow Nasty Woman.

I am apparently quite fond of purple.

It was cold. It was windy. We did a 5K and marveled at the fact that it wasn't dark at 1730. 

Then I ate. Because that's what I do.

Old faithful.

After my little snack I was out the door again for workout #3. Full disclosure: I've been taking a belly dancing class for the last month. I am so fucking awkward in this body. It's too much arms and legs. Sometimes I feel like I'm wearing a badly constructed meat suit. My brain says "Oh yes, I see how that is done." Then my body is all "Hold my beer." So I took my food baby out in public. 

I wore this in public. Yes I did.
Avert your gaze from my pasty whiteness.

I've always found belly dancing really beautiful and exotic. Yeah. Not the way I do it. I imagine most women would view me lurching around the floor and wonder "Is that poor elderly woman having a seizure?" I suppose most men would be so turned off that their genitals would just wither and die right there. Attempting to do the movements in sequence at more than a snail's pace is comical in the extreme. Tonight I was concentrating so hard that I got a headache, and I wasn't even wearing a jangly belt. Deep frowns of intense concentration are very sexy. 

I should never dance. It's an insult to the art form. Now that I think of it, I guess I don't ever dance.

Once I was home it was into the shower to get ready for work. First I drank this.

Fast protein.

Then I showered up, leaving my disgusting hair as is, so I could hustle downstairs to pack my (ridiculously gigantic) lunch and try to cram some more food in.

I was short a grain and a "nuts and seeds". So Ezekiel toast with Sunbutter it was.

I had to convince myself to eat this. 
Full on, out-loud pep talk.

Fantastic husband just loves to listen to me whine about having to eat so much. I can practically hear him rolling his eyes.

So I packed up my stuff and put it in the new car I accidentally bought on Tuesday and headed to the salt mine.

Accidental BMW.

Along with all the foodz, I'm continuing to drink all the water. I am responsible for the drought in California. Sorry about your bathwater, people.

I am so full I hurt.

So how did I do today?

Not great.

The difference between 2800 and 3000 calories is a protein box. As you can see, I missed many boxes. In my defense I didn't have my first meal until 1100, and I had to nap today. I'll be better the next couple of days. Maybe. Or maybe I'll burst. That's a real possibility.

If you see me during the next week and I'm not eating, remind me to eat. Thanks in advance.

Friday, December 30, 2016

If You Build It, They Will WOD or "Cardboard Boxes Can Suck It"

I got up early this morning to hit the 515 WOD so I could be home this morning to take delivery of my long awaited Assault bike. By long awaited I mean 5 days. I ordered it at 0300 on 12/25.

Three in the morning is a wonderful, magical time of day when Amazon is open and your credit card is burning a hole in your semi-hallucinatory consciousness. I bought my squat rack at 0300. My rower? Might have been closer to 0400, but still in that witching hour. When 0300 arrived on 12/28 my Amazon cart was full of goodies. A Roman chair, flooring, a programmable clock, a plate/bar rack, and DB shelving. All of it bargain basement priced to feed on the pathos of a populace fat with Christmas cheer and swimming in self-loathing and regret.

Bargains made sweeter by free shipping. Gods, I love shipping heavy shit for free. My UPS man hates me.

Thursday I got a call from a shipping company, asking if we'd be home on Friday. I was initially confused, trying to remember what I'd ordered. (I did mention that sometimes I am semi-hallucinatory at 0300, yeah?). Then it hit me. ASSAAAAAAAAULLLLT BIIIKKKKEEEE. They are in Carol Stream, IL, so less than 5 days after ordering, she was on her way. I thought it would take two weeks. I was stoked.

Then they gave me a delivery window. 0900-1200. Fuck delivery windows, okay? Fuck them. 

Pulled up at 1135, then offloaded slooooowly.

So, I went to 515. For a WOD called Painstorm. I honestly don't recall if I've done it before. I may have blocked it out. It's a 40 minute AMRAP. Forty. Minutes. This is straight up crazy. I never count rounds during long AMRAPs. Partly because I don't care, and partly because I don't need my mediocrity pointed out to me. Not that you can really see well in the photo below, but my collarbones are bruised. Above my thumb and middle finger there are actually red lumps from catching cleans. 

Soon they will take on the same hue as my hair.
Also #nomakeup #nofilter and shit.

But, my workout was done and there should be plenty of time to take delivery before I needed to leave for yoga, right? I'm not gonna miss Hip Hop flow, right? 

I made breakfast. 
East colorful shit. Make it pretty.

And then I waited. 

And waited.

And waited some more.

Did I mention I fucking hate delivery windows? For fuck's sake it's like being held hostage in my house. Can't leave. Can't make a phone call. Can't hop in the shower. Can't take a shit. Because you know the second you sit down and settle in for a little quality toilet time, the fucking doorbell is going to ring and you won't make it downstairs in time to catch the driver before he speeds away.

So I had a snack.

I got them jumbo carrot sticks.

And waited some more. 

Dude barely made it in time for us to leave. Wanted to tell me his life story and wax poetic on the New Year. Motherfucker, drop that shit right here and get lost. I'M GONNA BE LATE FOR HIP HOP FLOW!

Fortunately, fantastic husband and I made class with a minute or two to spare. That meant we ended up in the middle and front of the room, respectively. I don't like being in the middle of the room. Makes me feel off balance. I like a wall to one side. That probably says something about my personality, but IDGAF. 

After sweating through an hour of surprisingly useful stretching (Jenstar reads the WODs and tailors that shit for me...I'm pretty sure that's what happens. Either that or she's a witch.) and an almost headstand (I freaked out, there was squeaking), we ran some errands and headed home.


About a year ago, I started constructing a home gym. By constructing, I mean I fought out some space in our basement. Fantastic husband had made noises about converting this part of the basement into a bedroom. It never happened. Being spectacularly impatient and impulsive, I cleared a bunch of stuff out, bought some equipment and claimed the space as my own. Behold my Mom Cave. Affectionately known as SpareDoor CrossFit. **please note SDCF is not an actual CF affiliate and is not associated with CrossFit in any way, shape, or form. Please don't sue me, Greg Glassman, I'm just a middle aged mom of three who works hard helping others and only uses the name in a tongue-in-cheek way as a hashtag in a private profile on Instagram. 

See that mountain of shit back there?

I've been slowly perfecting it for months. Adding a 35# bar, a rower, rings, bands, a bench, a wallball, a KB, and (thanks to fantastic husband) more plates and a 20/24/30 box. This past week I decided that I wanted ALL THE SPACE. So I cleared it out.

Turns out all that shit was mostly empty boxes.

Today's delivery was the first stage of transformation. 

EEEEE! Assault bike! Permanent rower position!

Over the next couple of weeks more will arrive, in the form of plate and bar storage and DB storage. Currently my DBs are just in a haphazard pile on the floor. Ain't nobody got time for that. Today we mounted some hooks for my resistance bands so they can be out of the way instead of constantly dangling from my pull-up bar.

Behold, the Spare Door.

I got the WOD clock mostly because trying to use the timer on my phone was a huge pain in the ass. I listen to my music loud and trying to hear the app beeping over the music was irritating, forget about watching the clock. 


Here it is in it's 67% glory.


I can't describe how happy this makes me. It's probably idiotic (in fact, I know it is) but I can't wait to do actual walking lunges in my home gym. Stationary lunges make me want to ddddiiiiiiiieeeeeeee. There is so much more space now for whatever I want to do. That back corner will soon be inhabited by the aforementioned Roman chair (which will serve a similar function to a GHD, but less huge and expensive). 

I just gotta keep that spare door. It's my goddamn mascot. 

You may have noticed a lack of food pictures following my morning snack. That's because in all my excitement I may have forgotten to eat.

It's cool. We ordered pizza. Which I totally deserve so you can suck on your judgement. 

I need a new squat rack. A heftier one, with a sturdier pull-up bar. That can wait, though. 

It can wait until 0300...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Solstice Letter or "Where Do They Keep the Sarcastic Cards?"

Happy One or More Arbitrarily Assigned Religious or Secular Holidays!

As 2016 draws to a close, we gird our loins for the onslaught of political cartoons decrying the "War on Christmas" while white people on Fox News explain to us that Santa and Jesus were absolutely also white people. This year we have the added joy of wondering if the expression "Feliz Navidad" should make us happy because Jesus (possibly Hay-zeus-do you know the guy?), or sad because Spanish (Build! A! Wall! or some shit).

We can all agree that 2016 was kind of a crap year, in that tons of celebrities kicked off and we had to endure one of the longest election cycles that ever cycled. Prince and Bowie? Not fair, Universe. At least Betty White and RBG are still with us. Dear little baby Hay-zeus, let them make the year.

Nevertheless, time ticks forward and our lives go on. This year Amy learned how to feed herself appropriately, picked up some new gym skillz, and passed her 9th anniversary with her current employer. She also heard the good news about our Lady and Savior Lululemon, even making a pilgrimage to one of their temples to offer her paycheck on the alter of high waisted leggings.

We are becoming concerned for her.

Amy also decided that growing her hair out was unbearable and required something to alleviate the associated disgust with her shitty brunette meth-addict-esque locks. The results have probably ruined the master bathroom shower forever, but her family humors these flights of colorful fancy because she works hard to keep them in the style to which they've become accustomed and also she gets mean when antagonized. 

All the colors. All of them.

Mr. Amy continues to be a worthy, steadfast partner and exemplary father. He looks the other way when another new shipment of leggings arrives, and appeases Amy with offerings of bumper plates and talk of pull-up bars and folding squat racks. He is the kindest, most loving, most wonderful husband who ever husbanded. He also cooks and has exceptional legs. Still no toilet scrubbing, but it's not like Amy does much of that either, and she's willing to overlook it as Mr. Amy has a number of other valuable skills.

2016 was The Zs 10th wedding anniversary, which they marked with a trip to a nude beach in St. Martin. Like you do.

10 years!

They also managed to ditch their children long enough to spend a week in Hawai'i. What a couple of lucky sons-of-bitches.

Don't you hate them?

The Z children continue to be extremely loud and irritating. As their bodies continue to grow, the volume level continues to increase until they drive their parents insane. Mostly their father as their mother can create a cone of silence so dense the children start to wonder if they still exist. 

L is now a whopping 9.5 years old and excels at eye rolling, sighing, and telling Amy that she knows, Mom. While simultaneously being unable to choose clothes without holes or remember where she left her shoes. She continues to eschew jeans in favor of leggings. Amy realized this year that her daughter may have been a genius all along. She also continues to half-heartedly participate in CrossFit Kids even though it makes her "very tired". Also this year L has acquired the ability to fold her own laundry and make jelly sandwiches, though not at the same time.

P&C have attained the ripe old age of 6.5 and are still unemployed. Amy has considered obtaining a second job in order to keep the family in milk and meat as both boys consume their weight in beef roughly every 2 weeks. This is a particularly amazing feat considering that everything placed in front of C has something objectionable in it. The boys have also mastered the art of laundry folding and sandwich making, and as soon as P is tall enough Amy will show him how to work the washing machine and she will be FREE AT LAST, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!! 

P retains his amazing hairstyle, in spite of taunts from classmates and pressure from his extended family. He has decided that his hair is awesome (he's right), the people who don't like it are just jealous (also right), and that when he's done with long hair he would like to donate it.  

What a sweet little badass.

C has decided to cut his fauxhawk because "fauxhawks are itchy". The different haircuts make it easy for friends and family alike to tell the boys apart at a glance. Which Amy finds funny because they don't look all that much alike even with the same haircut.

P&C continue to enthusiastically participate in CF Kids, excelling at skills that elude their mother like upright squats, strict toes-to-bar, and pull-ups. Both boys can be convinced to eat extra vegetables by invoking the phrase "Window of gains, brah". 

All three children have exceptional memories, especially as pertains to wrongs done to them, injuries minor and major, and every verbal slight every child they've ever met has subjected them to. Sadly this incredible recall power does not extend to the location of mittens, hats, scarves, brand new sweatshirts, or library books. It does, however, extend to Bruno Mars lyrics...much to the consternation of their mother.

Look at these angel babies. They're all heavily drugged. I kid. I don't.

In all, the Z family is grateful to remain car crash, cast, and surgery-free for one more revolution of the Earth around the Sun. May the lengthening days bring light to your mind and warmth to your heart.

Happy Whatever-the-Fuck-Holiday-You-Celebrate

The Zs

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sometimes Shit Feels Dark, but It Gets Brighter or "First World Problems, Bitch. First. World. Problems."

I'm not sure why I'm in such a dark place today. I love the Winter Solstice. Yes, it's the shortest day of the year, but that means each day after it is that much brighter. Only a minute or two at first, and then suddenly it's summer and there is all the time in the world.

It's likely I've been sliding toward today for some time. It was inevitable, really. Anyone who's ever lost weight or changed their appearance in any way knows this feeling. There's a pharmacy term that applies beautifully to this phenomenon. Ready to learn a new word?

WTF, you might ask.

You know how you lose weight, or change your hair color, or develop a new skill and it's all new and exciting and shiny and shit? And then how over time it becomes routine, or boring, or you simply stop seeing the progress you've made? That's where I'm at right now. It's happened to me many times before. You see, there is a clear picture in my head of what I look like. It has no bearing on my actual appearance. It is constant and unchanging. When I change something up and see results, even lasting results, there comes a point at which I stop seeing what I am and return to seeing what I was. 

Tachyphylaxis. I've developed tolerance to my "new" appearance and skills and they have begun to look precisely like my "old" appearance and skills, and even with increased frequency of stimulus the response is diminished. I am desensitized. 

Senior Portrait. Sexy, right?

See that girl? That's 17 year old me. Gods, I hated her. She was too tall, too fat, and so ugly. I know that because people told me that. To my face. Well, not people. Teenaged boys, who I'm convinced are a different species entirely. That girl weighed 142 pounds. Those jeans are a 29/36. She was 5'8" tall. Everything was wrong with her. Ask anyone with a Y-chromosome within 100 yards. He would've told you. 

Fast forward.

How about this girl? That's 21 year old me (I'm the blonde). I hated her, too. She was too tall, too fat, and so ugly. I know that because she bore the stretch marks of a 50+ pound weight gain during college, and nobody wanted to date her. Not one person her entire college career. That girl weighed 197 pounds. Those jeans are a size 14. She was 5'10" tall. Everything was wrong with her. She was stressed out, overworked, and barely holding it together.

A year later.

What a difference a year made. I'm on the left in this shot. Sixty-five pounds lighter, a college graduate with a job offer on the table. Suddenly people were interested in me. I was both grateful and infuriated. 

Ah, memories.

At 26 I met someone who didn't think I was too tall, or too fat, or so ugly. Well, at least not after getting to know me. I fit in this dress at 140 pounds and I commenced pressuring myself to stay that small so as not to be "false advertising" even though he made it very clear he would love me at any size. I could graft into the couch and become immobile and he'd still love me. We wouldn't have sex...but he'd still love me. 

On our honeymoon cruise.

Two fisting it.

I wore a bikini for like the second time in my life on this cruise, and I was self-conscious as fuck about it. I probably shouldn't have been. I was young, I was tan, and unmarred by the ravages of childbirth. Though I did have some wicked stretch marks from gaining a shitload of weight my freshman year of college. 

The ravages I spoke of.

Ironically, I've never felt better about my body than when I was heavily pregnant with twins. This woman is 36 weeks pregnant and weighs 247# and she doesn't give a shit. Suddenly people were telling me how I was "all baby" (I definitely was not) and exclaiming about how lucky I was to be so tall, and wasn't I just beautiful. 

After giving birth I struggled for a long time with the aftermath. I lost a hundred pounds over the course of the boys first year. My body was wrecked and I felt cheated. So much work, so much care, and I was left with an apron of skin and non-existent breasts. It was such a low time for me. I should've felt triumphant. I had done it, after all...I had won. I lost all the baby weight plus...but I wasn't happy with myself.

Work Xmas party, about 10 months after giving birth.

I wore a Spanx tank top every day to keep my flap from getting caught in my fly. Hot stuff. I couldn't run without something to bind the skin down so it wouldn't flap my pants off. I barely needed a sports bra. This was success? Not being able to be comfortable in clothes because the skin of your abdomen draped over and under your waistline? So I had surgery to remove the apron and regain my bust line (plus a little extra, since they were going in anyway). 10 inches of skin. Gone. It was like a miracle. I felt like I'd started over again, better this time. I made the most of it.  And then tachyphylaxis set in again.

My beautiful family.

I hated the way I looked in this dress. I hated that it was a size 12. That number felt like failure. So much work, and there I was again. Tachyphylactic and needing a change.  So I changed. I've gone through several incarnations over the past couple of years. What hasn't changed is that I keep working. What has changed is that I love myself more often now. 

Photo magic.

I didn't love myself going into the photoshoot above, but I loved myself coming out of it. It was literally the first time in my life that I was told I was photogenic. I've always felt I photograph particularly badly. My face is uneven and I look like a troll when I smile, which is why I don't do it for no reason. Having someone tell me I photograph well was a shock. But I think about that often, and I hide from cameras less. I have very few photos of myself throughout my life as a result of ducking cameras at every opportunity. I'm better about it now. Not great, but better. 

I wore this in public.

This was me last May. I was very proud of myself. I had worked hard, and I saw the results. Results that made me want to keep working. I wore shorts and felt good about it. It was a good time to be me.

You may not get it from the timbre of this blog, but I do love myself more often now. I like myself more days than I don't. I've always been at peace with who I am as a person...I embrace every awkward, introverted, socially inept, loud, profane, emotionless, robotic, boring, predictable facet of my personality. I'm better now at liking the candy shell surrounding it. Not perfect, certainly, and there are many days that I find myself stuck in a loop of negative self talk. I'm better at breaking out of it. I'll break out of today. Every day a brighter one here on in.

This was me this morning after CrossFit. I caught myself in the mirror and I admit that I saw the image of myself that I've carried around in my head since I was a teenager. Too tall, too fat, and so ugly. I took the photo mostly to force myself to look objectively. The camera doesn't lie. It sees what it sees, and this is what it saw. Not perfect, but in process. Progress. Always progress. It isn't linear, and there are bad days, but a bad day is not a bad life as the saying goes. Sometimes you feel a little ugly, and that's okay. 

Or a lot ugly, but that's okay too.

This is also me today. Trying something new, something I knew I wouldn't be entirely successful at. But that's how you grow. New stimulus, new growth...until it's time to change again.

They don't call them growing pains for nothing.

I'm not writing this to fish for compliments. Please don't go all "but you look great"...believe it or not, that doesn't help. It's not about what you might think of me, internet stranger. It's about what I think of me, the way I see myself. The way I talk to myself. The aim here is to point out that people wage internal wars you cannot see. The person you admire in the gym or on the street might be perfectly happy with themselves...or they might be tachyphylactic as hell and wondering how they got to that place. They might be backsliding, or in full on free fall. We all fight internal demons. Sometimes they win. Mine are winning today, but they won't win tomorrow. They can't win if I fight. I may be troubled, but I'm a formidable opponent.

Trust me, I know. I fight me all the time.