Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful

There is a new study that just came out that links weightloss to depression. A little hinky at first glance, but after reading the short version here or the long version here, I have my own insights into the findings of this study. Let me be clear, they are totally unscientific insights, but I believe they are valuable.

I can make a lot of assumptions about my readership, but the reality is I can only speak from my own experience. I have 100 pounds to lose. I am depressed in the sense that I am diagnosed with chronic depression, I take medication and I am being treated by talk therapy. Now my depression doesn’t stem solely from my weight, but I do have hopes that losing some of this weight will increase my level of happiness. I have had this hope for years that losing some of the extra weight I have been carrying around would turn my life around. If I just…..

What this study said to me is there is a large portion of the overweight population that has undiagnosed depression. I highly doubt that the depression manifested itself through weight loss. There are a host of ailments that doctors fail to treat as they chalk things up to weight and expect that losing it will clear up the issue. Depression is one of them.

So where does that leave us? This study almost seems to discourage weightloss, but no, that cant be it. Lifestyle illnesses will take their toll if we don’t drop the extra weight. And the ramifications of those are far harder to treat then depression.

Maybe what we need to do is learn is to love ourselves exactly where we are at. Not putting off til tomorrow what we can do today. I have a vinyl sticker on my bathroom door that says “Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful” and when I saw it yesterday it struck home with me. I am beautiful. I am worthy of love. I don’t need to lose weight to be any of those things. While I may have a broken leg and be out of work, I am still a fantastic human being capable of many things. Yes, I have things to work on, but for this moment I am going to love myself, because I am all I have in this world. I have said it before, but it all begins between our two ears.

In closing I am going to post two pictures, taken 8 years apart. In both I thought I was fat. In both I was depressed. In both I am beautiful. Losing the weight was good for me, as losing the weigh now will be good for me. But there are very few differences in my mental state between the two. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor and tell them you need a referral for talk therapy.  You must become your own advocate if you are suffering with depression. No one else will do it for you, no one can lose the weight, and no one else will advocate for you. Be your own kind of beautiful and embrace yourself where you are on your path. Don’t wait til some day in the future when you feel you are deserving, you deserve your own love today.

Fitspo Friday with Shannon

Welcome one and all to my first Fitspo Friday with our wonderful guest Shannon! Each week I will aim to give you insight into the life of healthy and fit people of all walks of life. Fitspo is usually aimed at models and such, but I want to highlight some of the fantastic fit people I already know. Role models are just simply people farther along on a path you want to go down and I am lucky to know many. Thanks again for joining us and now I would like to introduce you to my long time friend, Shannon…..

 

What is your name and age?

Shannon – 37, almost 38

How long have you been interested in health and fitness?

It began in 2013 but I committed in July of 2016

What prompted you to start on your health and fitness journey?

I cut a cancerous person out of my life and finally reclaimed my independence, dignity and realized I deserved a better life.

Tell me a little about your diet?

I’ve tried all of the fad diets; had some great success and then gained everything back when I went back to the reality that was my eating habits. Now I rely on counting my macros with a 40p/35c/25f% split at 1,550 cal a day. I thoroughly enjoy the flexibility it allows me though I don’t follow it strictly unless I am trying to lose weight. Monday through Thursday are normally on point, but I tend to fail pretty miserably on the weekends (I love pizza and beer, I can’t help it).

What type of workouts do you enjoy?

I LOVE strength training. Lifting makes me feel strong, physically and mentally. I hate, seriously HATE cardio but I do it. I have been working on improving my running since 2013, its just not something I enjoy but I still try. But all of that strength training and attempted running prepare me for my OCR races…the most empowering activity I have ever done. I’ve participated in 2 – 13+ mile obstacle course races (and numerous shorter ones) even though I rarely run faster than a 11:30m mile.

What do you wish you had known when you were beginning?

Consistency is the key and lift heavy.

What was your biggest obstacle when you were beginning? 

Self control. I can eat an entire large pizza….I’m not joking, the whole f*cking thing. I don’t seem to have a “full” button. Learning when to stop is a daily struggle, even now.

Where do you find your fitness inspiration? 

I sign up for OCR races; Spartan, Terrain Race, Rugged Maniac, whatever! I keep picking harder venues and events to help motivate me to stay in shape and continue to improve.

What are some goals you are working on? 

After I found some happiness with someone I deserve ( ❤ ), I put on 20 lbs of happiness squishies from cooking and eating and sleeping-in instead of working out. My goal currently is to remove that 20 lbs. And do un-assisted pull-ups…I really want to be able to do those.

What does your playlist look like?

Pandora…I don’t actually have a “playlist.” I listen to hard rock, a little metal, mostly angry, always loud. And sometimes I like Lady Gaga and Snoop, sooooo there’s that.

How do you deal with plateaus? 

Normally by gaining weight lol. Then I work harder, strictly count macros, make sure I’m at the gym 4-5 days a week.

Any final words of wisdom? Questions that I didn’t think of asking?

You have to find what works for you. Everyone’s journey is different and you should never compare yourself to someone else. Consistency is the key and lift HEAVY (yeah, I said that already but its true). Find a plan you can live daily forever and live it. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels…I don’t know about all that because pizza, beer (and wine, oh yes wine), taste f*cking amazing, but learning how to enjoy those things in moderation while becoming a strong, powerful, healthy woman is truly the best feeling ever.

IMG_1442

W.O.W. and an Update

Welcome one and all to my very first workout post. I will be doing this every week called Work Out Wednesday (W.O.W. for short). Being that I am nearly literally strapped to a chair all day, my workouts will be tailored for that. This is a journey and I have to start where I am at. Which is in a chair.

So I went to YouTube for videos, as I am a visual learner. I found a few good workouts one of which you can find here. YouTube is a fantastic resource where you can find any kind of workout for free. Seriously, it is a fantastic, free, and if you are just starting out you should totally give it a try.

While I am not able to run, or stretch, or warm up, I am able to do simple exercises with dumbbells in my chair. Don’t let your limitations limit you from doing what you can with what you have. Rock what you’ve got baby!

20180807_204821_002

Here I am in all of my glory. Working out in a super comfortable automatic raising chair. And my too snug work out tank. I did a selection of the exercises from the above linked video for 3 sets of 10 reps each. I hope I can get to 20 reps by the time I am able to bear weight on my leg again in three weeks.

This brings me to my update: My leg is still broken and I am still not able to bear weight on my leg. What that means for me is I have to continue to live at my grandpas house so I can get to work and have help with Morgan. I was holding out some kind of hope that I would be cleared to go back home, but I need to keep my focus on the fact that this is temporary. My leg wont be broken forever.

So what are your workouts looking like this week? Please share some tips or pointers in the comments below. And as always, thanks for reading!

Ode To The Participation Ribbon

The participation ribbon gets a bad rap. With no clear winners defined, how are we to strive for being the best? Everyone has heard the “participation trophy” brought up in an argument. Parents are mad that T-Baller’s don’t keep score. Everyone is a winner and no one is a loser in these scenarios and that pisses people off.

Well since when were people not allowed to be pissed off? In my personal opinion, cant we just leave these individuals to their own miserable existence and move on with our lives with our ribbons of mediocrity? I don’t have to be the winner. I don’t need to be the best. I tried and that is a horrible, exhausting way to live. I don’t need first place, but I do need motivation and reward for my effort.

cropped-37085217_1888526187834978_9202673541483331584_o

This all stems from my very first participation ribbon. I did a Rugged Maniac OCR and got a finishers medal even though my tibia fracture took me out at mile 2 of 3. So out of anyone on that course that day, I certainly didn’t deserve mine. But I got it. And I love it. It hangs in my kitchen. It motivates me to move my body more to be more prepared the next time. I’m proud of that damn thing. I got up and tried my best July 14th, 2018 an no one can take that from me.

Why all the fuss about someone earning something for getting off their ass and trying? Be it in a race or in science fair? If we don’t rank in the top three its just tough shit try harder next time? This isn’t the damn Olympics. We aren’t competing for the Nobel Prize. These are high honors to receive, but I don’t think my participation ribbon is going to be confused for an Olympic medal.

At my best, I am still mediocre. Chances are so are you. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I have entered other competitions for my sewing and didn’t win. Maybe some of us are motivated to be the best, and great for you if you are that person, but this isn’t for you. This is for the home maker that can barely squeeze in squats between loads of laundry. This is for the office worker that cant get off her ass 8 hours a day and somehow still figures out how to get her steps in. This is for those people who know they have the odds stacked against them but pull through and do their personal best. I am reminded of the Special Olympics Motto: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Good for you for your attempt, and wear that ribbon/medal/trophy with pride. You could have sat the game out, but you got up, dressed up, and showed up. And that is behavior that we should be encouraging by any means necessary.

What are your thoughts? Tell me how wrong or right I am in the comments below.

Every Person Can Be Healthy

This post promises to be a bit more up beat than the last few posts. Things are going better. The scale dipped a bit. I have a lead on a new job that would be perfect for me. I am dedicating myself to new healthier habits and researching health and fitness. I want to be a beacon of hope for you, dear reader. I want to show you that every person can be healthy by showing you how I do it.

Now I want to add a caveat, a warning of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations. Everyone is not going to become an athlete, or reach peak physical conditions. I have friends with auto immune disorders. Their healthy is not going to look the same as mine. I have friends with thyroid disorders. Their healthy is going to look different as well. We are all each unique individuals and health is going to look different for each of us. Please take my words as encouragement, and not preaching.

So how do I know that every person can be healthy? Because if you are reading this you are capable of complex thought and therefore can make cognizant changes in your life to improve your health. Simply put: You have everything you need to make better choices in regards to your health. I have also seen other people who have been in horrible shape totally get their shit together and are living testaments to this. I hope to have some interview with them on here shortly. So stay tuned for that.

Here is where I am channeling my inner Michelle Obama. I not only want to get in better shape for myself, I want to see you make better lifestyle decisions as well. Because I am just one of those people that need my own parade, and I want you bitches behind me. It makes it easier on me if I can look to you and gain inspiration. Inspiration just works like that. I have a few women that come to my mind when I think about health and fitness, and despite the fact that we don’t talk much their impression on me helps guide and direct my choices.

Today we had one of those Kona Ice trucks in the parking lot at work. Maybe I should have abstained, but I decided to share one with my cubicle mate. She has helped me out during the last few weeks, fetching water for me or carrying my lunch to the break room. I wanted to treat her but she refused to eat a whole one. And I remembered: Everything in Moderation. So while a Kona Ice is not good for me in any way shape or form, I know a little bit isn’t going to derail me. So I took a small portion of a small size.

While this may not be a shining example of physical health, a month ago I would have taken the big size and had it all to myself. I am making progress and therefore I am happy with myself. And ultimately, that is what our aim in our health journey should be, happiness with oneself.

 

Dieter’s Lament

Call it a lifestyle change, we are all dieter’s until the new eating pattern becomes a habit. While I am working toward an entire lifestyle overhaul, none of it is habit, therefore I feel like I am still a dieter.

As I am moving my life in healthier directions I am being bombarded by emotions that I usually eat to cover up. Years ago I had a friend mention that overweight people wear their issues on their sleeves. I didn’t think too much of it at the time as I wasn’t overweight, but now I realize it is very much the truth. Everyone has issues, but some are better at hiding them than others.

So as I muddle through these first few weeks until this becomes a habit I have some figuring out to do. I want to be upbeat and happy like I was in my first few posts, but I just cant channel that energy right now. I am fat, because of my injury the scale isn’t moving (thankfully it isn’t going up, but it isn’t going down either), I am isolated, and I just found out my temporary job is ending. While part of me is relieved by the end of the job, it is still rejection. And that is an feeling I have a real hard time dealing with. Maybe it is my privilege, but I just refuse to get use to the feeling of being rejected.

Funny thought, if I want to be a professional writer some day, and I do, I better get use to rejection.

That is what I love about writing, I am able to process what I am going through and make sense of it.

Back to feeling like a pile of shit for the moment. Every person who decides to make a lifestyle change can expect a rocky road. I am not up on the science of habit making, but I know I am not unusual. What I am experiencing is probably something you are feeling too.

There are so many changes to make, most of them physical, that the psychological toll of the change can be put to the back burner. I have to come to terms with my fat ass, I have to look at my behavior and patterns that brought me to this point, I have to look in the mirror (really like look myself in the eyes) and come to terms that I have not been my own best friend. In fact I have gotten in my own way. Instead of reaching for drugs or alcohol or sex (just kidding I was doing that shit too) I reached for food, primarily.

Then I need to look at how gaining weight has helped insulate me from unwanted sexual advances. I don’t pretend to speak for others, but I would bet that at least 75% of people that struggle with weight have also struggled with sexual abuse. I’m not making this a #metoo post, but reality is what it is. Being fat keeps most of the assholes away. Most.

Looking at my distorted visage in the mirror, I have no one to blame but myself. Instead of dealing with my emotions and feelings I stuffed them down my gullet. I ate away my rejection. I ate away my loneliness. I ate away the unwanted advances. I ate away my isolation. I ate away my comparison game. At any point I had the power to turn it around but it took fracturing my leg and having to sit with myself, unable to be busy and distract myself. So here I am. And I don’t like what I see and feel.

Somehow I have to make this diet become a lifestyle change. Somehow I have to make physical activity a daily occurrence. Somehow I have to strap my cape on and be my own hero, because no one is going to do it for me.

Taking a hard honest look at where you are and how you got here is important in the journey forward. I don’t want to travel this road again, I am determined to learn what I need to learn and move forward stronger and smarter than ever.

Thank you for bearing with me in my depressive posts. Just like everything else, this too is temporary.

But I Don’t Wanna!!!

For those of you who are just joining us, I found out I have high triglycerides. Like high is 150, mine is 575. So my doctor put me on the Mediterranean diet and said I have six months to get my number down or I have to go on a pill. And as much as I love my meat, I really don’t want to go on another pill. And as I am laid up with a fractured leg, diet is the most important thing I can do for myself.

Well, I have to admit, I didn’t read the handouts she gave me that day. She said plant based diet with fish so that is what I have been doing. Thank goodness I can still have sushi. But I was really bummed about having to change my diet so drastically. I love steak. The only meat my son eats is browned ground beef or turkey…. So I reluctantly pass on every dish that I once loved.

Most people who become vegetarian do so out of conviction, I am doing it out of reluctance. I love vegetables, as a side or a salad. Not as my main course. Sure I can roast a pan of broccoli and eat it with rice, but wouldn’t it be better with chicken???

Before you get into the BUTS, I recently read a Mayo Clinic article on the Mediterranean diet and I in fact can have some chicken boobs once or twice a week along with fish. I am glad I read the article because I have been eating fish a little more than that and I need to reign it in. Live and learn.

My reluctance is probably not limited to my diet. For the time being I am laid up and can not walk, let alone exercise. I am not much of an athlete to begin with, but I am going to have to move slowly into an exercise regime once I am cleared by the doctor or physical therapist.  Walking, then running, and yoga will probably compromise my plan to begin with, but I do plan on doing some weight training as I have a Spartan race to train for.

But really, the bottom line is I want to be in my 20’s again. I want to be able to eat what I want, not exercise, and still have a nice figure! Why must nature be so cruel? I don’t want to change as change is difficult and painful. But as one friend said, its gonna hurt one way or another.

So here I sit with my rice and broccoli and sadness.

Sometimes we get to chose the change, sometimes the change chooses us.

But I rarely learn without a 2×4 upside the head. Maybe my slap upside the head can be your gentle nudge to make improvements to your own life. Because life keeps on coming at us, whether we like it or not.