Saturday, March 23, 2013

the one where i got fat...

I didn't plan on getting fat.

Audience reaction: Wait, what did she just say?

I didn't plan on getting fat.

I didn't wake up one morning and think, "Man I'd like to pack on some pounds."
I didn't think, "You know what I need? Some insecurity. My middle could use some jiggle that makes me nervous and embarrassed."
I didn't think, "I wanna wonder if that guy doesn't want to go out with me because I'm not as skinny as the girl next to me."
I didn't wake up one morning and want to have a wardrobe of black because it's slimming.

Audience reaction: This is very un-politically correct...her using the word fat. She should say big boned, or voluptuous, or broad...not fat.

But I am. Or at least I was. That's the cold, hard truth. It's like have to knowledge your problem, and own it.

I don't think anyone of us has ever woken up and had these thoughts. But I'm willing to bet that some people have woken up and thought "who cares, I'm alone already." Or "who cares, I've already put on the weight." Or "who cares, it's just one piece of cake...or chocolate...or ice cream. It won't make a difference." Or "who cares, I can't change anything about it."

No one remembers the day they started to get fat. But most people remember the day that they decided to do something about it. Most recently for me (this past January), that day came one evening when I was cooking in my kitchen. I was standing at my stove and I went to shake the frying pan and my whole middle shook. "What was that?" I remember thinking to myself. I tried it again just for good measure to see if I was imagining it. Nope. Shake shake frying pan. Shake shake Andrea. That was the day I decided something needed to change. I looked back at my pictures from my 29th birthday a few weeks prior, and they confirmed it. Since completing multiple races and a triathlon last summer, I had put on weight. Stepping on the scare really confirmed it. I was about 10 pounds heavier than my last race in October, and it certainly wasn't muscle. (Side note: If you're reading this in the Milwaukee area, my last race was the Lakefront Discovery Run along Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. It was awesome and will definitely make it onto my list of yearly races.)

Time to make a change and stop donating money to the WAC (my gym, the Wisconsin Athletic Club). Time to get my buns out of bed and make some returns on the $30 coming out of my paycheck every month.

It's not easy. Massive life changes never are. Because if you really want to lose weight, keep it off, and be healthy? It's a lifestyle change. And it has to be practical. For example, I live in Wisconsin. There is no way on planet earth that I am going to eliminate beer and cheese from my diet. It's just not going to happen. Could I chose not to eat beer and cheese? Sure. Do I want to eat beer and cheer? (Is that even a question?) Duh. The change comes in how much. And what kind. You don't have to completely eliminate the things you love. (Especially since I love food.) Healthy choices. Don't eat the whole bag of cheese curds. Divide the bag of cheese curds into Ziplock snack bags (this size bag is totally your friend). Buy sharp cheddar instad of mild. If you want to drink beer, first ask yourself why you're drinking. Are you actually enjoying it, or is it merely for social reasons and to have something in your hand? For me, I enjoy sitting down with a good beer. But I've found I don't need to have four of them to enjoy the beer and/or the socializing. Slow it down...truly enjoy what you're drinking...and four quickly turns into one or two.

You know what other day I remember? The day I could buy running shorts for the first time. (Yes, there was a time about two years ago when I didn't fit into the running shorts at the store. Now I wear a size large...and proud of it.) The day I realized I had extra space in my winter coat. The day my sweater hung off my body. The day I bought jeans that made my lack of butt look amazing (I'm working on the butt thing...somedays it feels a bit like a lost cause...hopefully some hardcore leg and glutes workouts will help this!) The day I was cooking grabbed the frying pan, and nothing jiggled. The day I bent down and my core lifted me up. The day I outran my running shoes. The day I swam a mile straight. The days I had a runners high. The day I first saw definition in my quads. The day someone commented on the definition in my arms. The day I did more sit-ups than the last. The day that the scale reflected my hard work. The day my body naturally woke up at 5am, ready to work. The day my collar bone popped out. The day I saw it in my face. Those are the days that make the days that totally suck worth it.

Gaining weight is a reaction. To something. And sometimes to lots of things. Stress. (Too many plates spinning in the air...) Insecurity. (Everything is going to stare at me and judge me...) Depression. (I'm just not motivated...) Overcommitment. (I have too much going on right now...) Lack of self confidence. (I don't know what I'm doing...) Budget. (I don't have enough money for a gym emembership...) Convenience. (There's not place close by to work out...) Priorities. (I just have so much that I'm trying to get done...) Injury. (I hurt my *insert body part here* and I need to rest...) Resources. (I can't afford workout clothes or a membership...) Equipment. (I don't have decent shoes...) Exhaustion. (I'm just too tired...) Employment. (I have too much going on at work...)

These are reasons, not excuses.

Don't use the reasons as excuses. Start to figure out solutions. Maybe that means re-prioritizing some aspects of your life. Maybe it's trying something you haven't done before. Maybe it's saving funds. Maybe it's just starting.

Please allow me to be very clear about one thing though. Being fat doesn't make me un-beautiful, it makes me un-healthy. And there's a difference. I am who I matter what the numbers on the scale say. But I'm the best person I can be when I'm being healthy. Notice I didn't say when I was skinniest...or when I weighed the least. It's not about a number on a scale. It's when I'm being the most healthy. Regular exercise, balanced diet, positive attitude. That is the recipe to be healthy, happy, and unfat. And than my outside matches my inside.

It's not easy. Nothing worth getting ever is. But you can do it. You can make good choices. You can find solutions to the reasons. Not every day is going to be perfect. No one is asking you for perfection. But all you have to do it try. One day at a time. One step at a time. Don't be discouraged by the days you take a step backwards. It's all the more reason to wake up and take two steps forward the next day.

A work in progress...that's me. I definitely still have my work cut out for me. day at a time, one step at a time. Day by day, note by note, mile by mile.

Friday, March 22, 2013

the one where i'm thankful...


Is there a better time to start a blog post?

Be happy. Sometimes it's a lot easier said than done. After two days of trying to balance a lot of things on my're telling me. There are things that happen in our lives that are completely out of our control that might affect our happiness. But we can control how we react to them. I'm a work in progress. I've never pretend to have it all figured out. But I'm trying. And each day, I get a little bit closer to whatever it is. Whatever "being happy" is.

If I'm being honest, I tend to be pretty hard on myself. I carry burdens that aren't really mine to carry, or that I really don't have any control over it. I turn my life into a list...not for fear of wanting control, but for fear of forgetting something and disappointing someone. Some days I hold myself to an impossible standard of perfection and when I fall short of that, everything else seems to go spiraling out of control. Some days I wish I weren't so artistically minded because I feel like we feel everything so deeply. The happy highs are euphoric and the disappointments are practically devastating and some days you just want everything to level out, but that's about the time when you wish for some excitement in your life. And it's exhausting. Which is why my goal this year is to just be happy.

I've wondered if what I'm looking for is contentment. But I feel like happiness is a step above contentment. Content to me means functional. I'm not unhappy but I'm not excited. I just am. But when people ask me how I'm doing, I want to respond with...happy.

There's a balance to that though as well. Am I happy about the current state of my Am I happy about what I'm doing to work on that? Yes, I can honestly say that I'm happy with what I'm doing to get back into shape. I'm eating right (for the most part, I am a beer and cheese eating Wisconsin girl after all) and I'm busting me arse (no, I'm not Irish but hope y'all had a awesome St. Paddy's Day...I know did!) at the gym. The numbers on the scale aren't moving a ton, but it is moving slowly. And I can definitely tell that my body is changing based on how my clothes are starting to fall off of me. So in that respect...I'm happy.

I guess the relationships I have in my life are another check on the happiness scale. And honestly, I think for the first time in a long time I am happy. Do I have some work to do? Absolutely. One of the things that I've had a hard time with watching my girlfriends from college get married and move on with their lives, is that I have felt left behind. (Wow, I actually didn't see that statement coming...saving that one for another blog post.) So the girlfriends that I have in my life right now are really important to me. I try to make sure that there is always time for the girls. Cause they're usually the ones there next to you handing you a spoon and the Ben and Jerry's when you need them to.

But on the other hand, I'm a little bit of a chick dude sometimes. (Side note: When I ran lights for Cheap Trick in college, their roadie who ran the extremely heavy $40,000 sound board that I helped to move, nicknamed me "chude" because I was so strong that I was a "chick dude." Needless to say, the name stuck and almost ten years later the boys at the Jefferson Country Fairgrounds still call me chude when they see me.) And it is really important for me to have close guy friends that I can joke around with and talk sports with and be inappropriate with and sit and have a beer with and who I can go and talk to when I need someone to cut through all the crap and emotions that girls seem to need to incorporate into the decision making process, or if I "need to be a female" and get a guy's perspective on dating and whatnot. For the first time in a while, I can say that I feel so good about every single one of my guy friends. I have an amazing group of guys that are awesome to hang out with, and protect me like I'm their own little sister. So just a warning to any potential men out there...meeting my actual brother is only a small step in the process of meeting the barrage of men that will pummel you to the ground should you ever do anything to deserve it.

I moved to Milwaukee three and a half years ago after a really rough time in my life. And I have an amazing support network of people around me who have gone from strangers to friends, who have now become my Milwaukee family. And I love them all. They listen when I need to bend an ear, they're a shoulder to cry on, they pick me up when I'm down, and they point me the right way when I lose my direction. (This applies to you folks outside of Milwaukee too...say Madison...or Waco...or Hong Kong...or wherever you might be at this particular moment...) My life has been touched by each and every one of you, and I'm a better person because you have been a part of my life. And even though sometimes it might have been rough, and even if we're not as close as we once were, you are so important to have helped shape who I am...and I wouldn't change a thing. Every step is a step to where we are going...enjoy the ride...and be happy.

I swear...I can take a normal picture...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

the one with what i'm looking for...

Preface: It sounds cliché, and probably means that I've watched WAY too much SATC (I am on my second set of discs...), but sometimes when I'm sitting at my laptop I feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw.

"I couldn't help but wonder..."

I think this phrase is probably where most of my blogs start. Musings. Ideas. Thoughts. Questions. Conundrums. Call them what you will. When I start looking for answers is usually when the thoughts start flowing. Lately I've found myself constantly looking for answers. About all different kinds of things. Some answers I know I'll never find. Sometimes I'm just really looking for affirmation of what I already know. Sometimes in the process of asking the question, I find the answer I wasn't even looking for. But they live here. The thoughts and questions and answers I seek, they can all be found here (well, most of them anyway. This is the internet after all. There has to be a little privacy...). I share them with whoever is reading because, frankly, I think a lot of us are asking the same questions. Or are thinking them. Or are trying to figure things out...just like me. And who wants to be doing it alone? Ultimately the answers and decisions you make are your own, but maybe we can move together in the same direction. And if not, that's ok too. No one said you have to be my friend or read my blog. But I'm kinda a fun girl and I do like to laugh a there's that.

Anyway, that's a really long way of saying...I wrote the entry below last Thursday in between my students' lessons. I didn't get a chance to finish it, but just like's a work in progress. There will be more thoughts about this along the way. But until, run, laugh, love...and be happy.

It's always hard when I have two different blog ideas floating around in my head and they're both at opposite ends of the spectrum. Do I write the raw blog (and no, I'm not talking about good) or do I write the one about my workout activities? Sometimes the better question is which one do I have time to write? But then again, really what drives my best blogs is the inspiration (inspiration...not persperation...this isn't a workout blog yet) behind my topic.

I've had a lot of things to consider lately. I've been going to church with a friend who just started recently attending church again, in addition to still going to my own church. (Apparently the italics are hot tonight.) That has been a blog-worthy experience in itself. I have attended a Lutheran church my whole life. And I firmly stand behind my beliefs and why I believe them. However, I think it's good to experience what else is out there. I think sometimes the trap that some of us fall into is just because someone is doing something differently, it's automatically wrong. It's also a great opportunity to discuss with the important people in your life what exactly it is that you do believe. (See, I told you it would be a night of italics.)

But we've going to forgo the religion talk for tonight (but stay tuned. I will be writing a blog on my experiences. Otherwise known as: "My View from the Pew." You know I actually wanted to write a blog just about my experiences visiting all different Milwaukee churches. Ah yes, another lifetime when I have oodles of time. Like when I'm 80. Wait, let's be real...I'll see be going 100 miles an hour when I'm 80. BUT I DIGRESS...).

We're also going to skip the workout talk. Although I am pretty pumped to write that blog as well. I'm going to have to do that sometime this weekend as I'm starting something *brand new* on Sunday. I'M REALLY EXCITED (whoa caps, I didn't mean to do that, but I figured since the caps and the words were apropos I'd leave it) to share it with you. Onto the Saturday "to do" list it goes...

As I'm typing this, in the background I'm listening to the Dixie Chick's cover of Stevie Nicks song "Landslide." In the last couple weeks I've had some really good opportunities to reflect on a lot of different things. My job (huzzah to reviews and raises), my financial goals (trying to get all my debt paid off...except student loans. We've entered into a long term relationship. Ha.), my spiritual life (constant work in progress), my musical self (never enough attention here), my physical life (dear WAC, I'm in love with you, even if you beat me down every time I'm there.) my race goals for the summer (two triathlons, one sprint and one olympic, and a half marathon), etc. But I've also gotten to think about me and where my head is at as far as some of the relationships in my life. Family. Friends. Love.

More to come...stay tuned.