Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Follow-Through

Photo Source: http://www.usssageorgiayouth.com

When I was a kid I used to play softball.  I was pretty good.  I played for many years and eventually, I started pitching.  At age 12, I briefly took some fast-pitch lessons.  I've never pitched baseball but I firmly believe throwing fast-pitch underhand is harder.  Not that I ever worked up to this feat, but you try throwing a 60mph underhand softball.  Not easy.

So each week I took a pitching lesson.  My accuracy was pretty good.  My arm swing was pretty good.  My speed got faster as I got stronger.  But the thing that never really clicked was the follow-through.  With each pitch, the coach would have to reinforce the follow-through.  It's the point when the ball leaves your hand and you clasp your fingers to your palm and continue to draw your arm up to your shoulder, making one full rotation, like a windmill.  I had a bad habit of just stopping my arm once the ball left my hand.  Seemed reasonable, at least to me at twelve-years-old it did.  The ball was out of my hand.  It was no longer in my control.  I did my job and it was whizzing to the plate.  Mission accomplished.  So why the need to complete the rotation and continue the motion of my arm coming full circle?  Well, that's the follow-through.  It gives the ball its speed and accuracy.  It completes the pitch.  It's important.  And though I didn't know it at the time, not following through has proven to be poetic in my life.

I think the follow-throughs in life can perhaps best be described as the icing on the cake or going from a B- to an A+. Is it vital to follow-through?  Maybe not to some but if you want to be successful, going 80% will only take you so far (80% of the way, actually, to be exact).  I have successfully followed through on a lot of things in my life.  School, work, and many more things, mostly stuff that fits into the categories of school and work.  You're probably not going to be bowled over when I tell you that weight loss is an area where I historically do not follow through.  I go some of the distance.  Sometimes I actually get quite close.  Since I've packed on this poundage, I once got down to 145 pounds (and it was honestly everything I though it could be and more).  I don't know why this is so hard.  All I can say is that it's not a new problem.  But, I'm working on it.  And even though I'm sorry to say that I haven't been following through on my non-pregnancy pact (I really am ashamed of this and will blog further on it soon), I can honestly say that I am trying to figure out THE WAY.  The golden way to the land of emotional freedom where weight has no weight.  I'm working on a thing or two (again).

Whew, ok.  I did it.  I came clean.  I failed (agaaaiiiin).  I'm sorry.  But, there's still time to follow through.  And I will.  Promise.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preparing For Weddings, Chunk-Muffin Style

I don't have very much good news to post.  I did lose a little bit of weight last week, 0.8 of a pound, which isn't terrible.  But, my eating, my exercising, has been... well... eh.  I'm not sure what's going on here.  Maybe it's all part of the process.  Maybe it's just gravity.  What goes down must come up??  Something like that.  Certainly is describing my weight loss efforts.  I'm about to complain and rant about how unfair it is to be overweight.  Before I do, I realize my chunkliness is a bit self-induced and I lay no blame but with yours truly.  Having said that, here goes.

I feel like I try really hard.  I feel like I fall really hard and then I feel like it's really hard to get back up.  And the topic I'd like to cover today is weddings.  I'm something of a wedding expert, as life would have it.  I can't plan your wedding.  No, I would suck at that.  I'm a terrible party planner.  I'm also horrible at wedding etiquette.  I learned the hard way that you shouldn't wear white to a wedding, even if it's technically egg-shell (wouldn't you say so, Christina?).  But life has made me a bit of a wedding connoisseur because as luck would have it, I am so incredibly popular that in the last few years, I've attended, on average, five weddings per season.  I'm also going broke.

My wedding expertise lies in the areas of Spanx-wear and feeling like the fat chick.  I'm not really fat but I seem to associate with very thin people.  It takes a lot of maturity to be friends with you all!  You're also welcome for my ability to allow you to look better by comparison.  I'm so self-less, I can't even take it.  But for all you thin people who don't understand (or respect) the process, I'm here to shed some light.

Wedding preparation goes a little like this:

  • Vow to be thin for this wedding unlike the 33 that preceded it.
  • Begin losing weight - this is finally looking promising!
  • Don't buy a dress yet because it will surely be way too loose by the time you walk in that church, hot mama!
  • 4-6 weeks before the wedding and after about ten pounds of weight loss (on average), celebrate with a little junk food fest.
  • Continue junk food fest for 4-6 weeks.  It's OK, nobody's looking...
  • Begin dress shopping 24-48 hours before the wedding date.
  • Buy a dress suitable for a woman 30 years your senior.
  • Purchase Spanx.
  • Panic.
  • Begin junk food fest number 2.
  • Cry.
  • Self-tan with an emergency tube of Jergen's Lotion (tan is slimming).
  • Cry (reprise)
  • At the wedding: suck in, don't breathe, unfold Spanx as they bunch and hope the cute little old man who asked for a dance at the wedding doesn't put his hand on your back and inadvertently feel the ten pounds of shape-wear you are surely sweating your ass off in (hey, got to burn the calories somehow).
  • Drink.
  • Compare yourself to other women at the wedding.
  • Drink.
  • Eat your cake, it doesn't matter anymore.
  • Eat your date's cake.
  • Cringe at pictures of you and your chins posted to Facebook.  (How I miss the days of developing film).
  • Vow to be thin for the next wedding.
I never get to buy a dress I really like.  I only get to buy dresses that down play my issues.  I'd love to pull off a chic-hippie look (oxymoron?) or that little black dress.  The only look I can pull off these days is the trying-not-to-look-as-big-as-I-really-am look.  The can-you-see-my-Spanx look.  Or the ruffles-make-a-difference-look.  It's a dirty job but I guess someone has to do it, though I think I'm 'bout ready to retire.  I blame all my problems on celebrities.  Would it kill Jennifer Aniston to sport a little gut to make the rest of us feel like we're not doing something wrong?  Do you suppose Kim Kardashian could show a tiny bit of armpit stubble to at least desensitize the American public so that when mine pops out my boyfriend, small children and other beach-goers are only mildly horrified by it instead of downright grossed out?  I can't be the only female with an excess of body fat and hair can I?  The only female who's only slightly gross- like normal people gross, but not full-on disgusting and should be condemned to a room for six months with nothing but a glass of water and a razor kind of gross?  Surely that's normal gross and not abnormal gross but with these laser hair removed, A-list trainer, organic food delivery chickies filling up my TV screen and internet feeds, how am I (we?) supposed to feel like anything but overgrown, stubbly losers?  My full-time job isn't looking good.  Maybe if I spent forty hours a week working out, waxing things and had an unlimited clothing budget, I'd blow them out of the water too.  And who am I kidding?  If I got that opportunity, I would totally take it, flaunt it and make people like me feel inadequate for the rest of their lives.  Or maybe just maybe, I would take the hairy, high road...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

And for purposes of this blog: gain seven pounds, lose eight.  That oughtta do it, eventually.

Oh look, there I am.  What a nice job they did for me.  Ok, ok, I borrowed it from www.tumblr.com.  A girl can dream.
March was a fantastic month in my weight loss journey.  I made up for all my little hiccups and even managed to get a few pounds ahead of schedule.  I was extremely focused.  I had my eyes on the prize and the prize was getting closer (finally!).  I ran 5.5 miles at my peak, the most I have ever run without walking at any one time.  And the running, at long last, was becoming increasingly less painful, which I didn't think possible.  I was even blogging quite a little bit.  Things were a'comin my way.  And then, there was April.  I've never known any April's so I never had the chance to associate the name with a good or a bad personality... until now.  April, as I know her, is a bitch.  A big, raging, PMSing hurricane.  And April very carefully and forcefully kicked March's sweet little ass (sorry, March, you really are a lamb after all).

Let's come clean.  I've put some weight back on.  Whew, there I said it.  I did.  I blew it, again.  I backslid.  I ate.  And ate and ate and ate.  My current weight stands at 171.6.  Today is my exact halfway point in my journey.  I have officially completed 20 weeks of this non-pregnancy and have lost 12.6 pounds in that time span.  I've put back almost 6 pounds.  I'm about eight weeks and eight pounds behind my proposed goal.  But, if we're being honest, I was hoping to be even farther than that.  My No, I'm Not Pregnant!! goal is 40 pounds in 40 weeks but I was really hoping to lose 49 pounds in that time, to reach my ultimate goal and be a superstar.  To melt off the layers of belly bumpin' fat I have accrued and feel what it's like to be thin.  I tend to blog less when I am putting the weight on.  That is no coincidence, nor is it fair to the three people who read this.  I just didn't wanna let you down.  I didn't want to let me down.  But ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away.  The first step is acknowledging it.  I see you, Problemo, and I recognize your existence.  But now, I officially strip you of your powers and reclaim control of my life and my gut. 

I don't know why I relapsed.  I tried hard not to be too strict and too obsessed and too consumed (pardon the pun).  I tried to focus on my overall health and the progress I make in being a healthier and stronger person than I was before.  And the thing of it is, I felt great!  Energetic.  Thinner.  Healthier and accomplished.  I can't explain why, despite it all, I still went into a four week junk food binge.  My own mind would scream to me as I was eating.  "Stop!  What are you doing??! You are going to blow it, stupid!  Don't do this again.  How many times have we been down this road?  You are not that far off the path.  Just STOP NOW."  I hear that voice.  I believe that voice.  I just don't know why I don't listen to that voice in hard moments.  

I lamented some of this to my friend, Melinda who has been following along with me on this journey.  She said (to quote Melinda and Rocky Balboa), it doesn't matter how many times you get hit, it matters how many times you get up.  It's what I needed when I needed it.  And so that's where I'm at.  I've been hit, hard, by myself.  (This is bringing up memories of my sister taking my own hand and slapping my head with it chanting "Quit hitting yourself!", but I digress.)  I fell down seven times, but that's ok, because I get up eight.  I gained back six pounds, but I will lose seven.  And I'll do that thirty-six times over if I have to!  I guess if you're in the ring long enough, you're bound to take a few punches, even if they are somewhat self-induced.  This is a marathon and not a sprint and if I accomplish nothing else on this blog, I will prove to me and whoever is listening that big changes do happen in small steps and small steps, for better or worse, take time.  Rome was not built in a day and neither was I.  So here I am, a bit heavier than I'd like to be, a bit discouraged, a bit bent, but not broken.  Not broken til I say broken and not down til I can't get back up anymore.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thank you, blisters. Thank you, hills. And thank God for cellulite, too.

I almost lost a lot of weight on Monday.  Fifty-sixty pounds by my estimation, though I don't know for sure.  I may have nearly lost a third of my body weight in one fell swoop and might have gotten close to 100 pounds for the first time since puberty.  I almost lost all my cellulite too along with it.  But for some reason, I didn't.  For some reason, I was in the right place at the right time.  I remain the same 168ish pounds that I was on Sunday and my friends have maintained their weights as well.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.  So grateful.  There are not enough words in the English language to describe the gratitude and joy I've felt the last few days when I look down and see my thighs that touch and my dimpled tush and my legs attached to my body.  For once, I can't get enough satisfaction out of my imperfect, chubby form.  On Monday, April 15th 2013, I was at the Boston Marathon.

My beautiful, amazing runner friend Laura, who also happens to be my home-girl since kindergarten, was running that day in memory of her beautiful, amazing mother who passed away last year.  Laura's had a tough year, to say the least and she worked damn hard to turn some of her pain into power, into something good.  She trained her ass off.  She trained her dog's ass off, who doubled as her running partner on occasion.  She worked hard and raised thousands of dollars for cancer research in mama's name and honor.  And on her big day, we all wanted to be there for her, screaming for her and proudly shouting her name.  Her fiance, her father, her brother and sisters, her aunts, her family and her friends.  She deserved that and she deserved the finish line.  She deserved that one moment, that one step crossing over the line that would make the hundreds of miles of steps she'd run in preparation worth it.  She didn't get it.

Laura is what I would consider a pretty fast runner.  When we do 5ks, I am usually chugging in at around 35 minutes while she's been munching on free bananas for the past 11, patiently awaiting my arrival.  She can comfortably run 8-9 minute miles and if I wasn't so incredibly mature and didn't love her so much, I might not be her friend over this.  And worst of all, she doesn't complain.  Ever.  About anything (well, perhaps her fiance might say otherwise).  She's humble and she smiles and she works her ass off.  And when she sets her mind to it, she just does it.  She doesn't blog and complain about her journey and its many setbacks (I'm not eating waffles right now....).  In my experience as her friend for 20+ years, if she says she is going to do something, she says it once, and then does it, like magic.   Laura is someone I could never be jealous of because she deserves all the wonderful things in her life- she worked darn hard for them! Harder than most people I know.  And she worked hard for this marathon.

I've never run a marathon, or even a half-marathon.  I don't know what it's like to go that distance but I guess as far as courses go, Boston is a pretty challenging one.  There are many hills, some obstacles and these things tend to slow a person down.  Laura didn't finish on Monday, she was about a half mile from the finish line when it happened.  She was running quite a bit slower that day than normally, which she attributed to the hills and the blisters and the pain she was running through.  She also told me the night before the race that she was a few pounds heavier this time around than her other marathon a couple years ago.  I can't be grateful enough for this.  Thank God for hills and blisters and a few extra pounds on a woman.  Thank God for the cellulite she and I and our other friends will get to enjoy for years to come.  Thank God for trains that run late and delay family members from getting to the finish line.  Thank God for being in the right place at the right time, even when it doesn't feel like it.  And thank God for mama.  I can't stand the thought of the people who have been hurt by this, killed by this, lost their limbs by this.  I wasn't at the finish line when this happened.  But I would have been, I could have been, maybe I should have been.  It's another near miss in my life and an example of when I just got lucky.  Why me?  I just don't know.  My heart is broken for Boston and for everyone involved.  The families who lost loved ones, the bystanders who lost limbs, the runners who couldn't finish, the worry of friends and family during those terrifying minutes when cell service was down.  There's no silver lining here.  Triumph converted to tragedy in 12 short seconds.  My feelings turned from terror to relief to anger in just a few hours on Monday.  I am still hovering around anger, like I'm sure most people are.  I'm not even sure "bringing them to justice" will do justice to my feelings right now.  I'll need to pray on this.  I'll need to let my feelings settle and try to figure out how I can somehow make a small difference for someone in all of this.  All I can say is that I am exceptionally, eternally, whole-heartedly, 110% grateful to be here, to be alive, to get the chance to walk these overweight, imperfect, cottage-cheese thighs down the aisle this summer as a bridesmaid at Laura's wedding.  And how incredibly thankful I am to know that she will be right behind me.    

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get Your Fat Ass Up Off The Couch (and other ways to get you started)

Photo Source: http://babydot74.wordpress.com

So now that I have lost 18 pounds in the record breaking time of just FOUR SHORT MONTHS, a lot of people are asking me how to do it and where to start.  So, being the good Samaritan that I am, I put together a list of tips, tricks and common sense advice that everybody already knows but nobody likes to hear because it involves a commitment of actual time and sweat, BUT, I assure you, it does work.

I don't do anything special.  I don't eat special berries in the morning or flush out my body with fancy supplements.  I don't have a personal trainer (maybe someday).  I don't do anything you don't already know how to do.  The difference between me now and the old me is that I have finally just gotten mad and motivated enough to do the things I know I should do enough days and weeks in a row to actually make a difference.  Think of one of your best days in terms of diet and exercise.  If you did that 100 days in a row, you, too, could lose 18 whole pounds.  To sum up the magic formula that has been working for me over the past few months: 1)Eat better (healthier), 2)Eat less, 3)Drink lots of water, 4)Exercise.  I've started so many diets in my lifetime I feel I am a bit of an expert in the area and can dole out advice.  So without further ado...

Nobody likes goodbyes so I've often (maybe too often) given my old way of life a proper send off.  I generally refer to this as "The Last Supper" (however sacrilegious).  I eat the thing that really lights up my food life and I eat a lot of it- one last time.  It's not really "goodbye" so much as "see you later" but it is MUCH later, so get that through your head.  Plan a start date.  The day before your start date, eat something you really love and enjoy every little morsel.  It's not that you can't ever have it again, or other things for that matter, but resign yourself to the fact that you are going to have to do a little re-booting of your system, at least the first few weeks, and flush out the bad cravings.  And also, eat less than you were before.  Sorry, there's no magic way to make this happen.  You just have to physically stop putting as much food in your mouth.  Don't go crazy, mind you, just choose better foods than you have been and cut back on your portion sizes.  Your body will eventually get used to it and you will actually need less food to get as full somewhere in your near future (I promise).

Stock up on healthy food, lots of healthy food.  Give yourself a lot of healthy choices and focus on healthy foods you really like.  Keep that fridge full of your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (I, myself, am having a major love affair with avocados at the moment), nutritious snacks and lean proteins.  Find a few low calorie, healthy recipes that look good to you and give them a whirl.  Your diet is like a marriage.  You have to keep it fresh to keep the spice alive.  Healthier groceries are a bit more expensive, yes, but it is an investment in your health and one that is well worth it so do what you gotta do to make it happen.

Divide your body weight in half and that is number of ounces of water I suggest you drink daily.  Right now, I am supposed to hit 85 ounces a day but most days I shoot for 96 (or 12, 8 ounce glasses).  Water flushes you out, keeps your skin looking great, lubricates your joints and keeps you regular and let me tell you, on a diet, you want to be about as regular as you can.  You honestly won't lose as much or as quickly if you skip this.  I'm a bit of a purist and prefer to drink just water by itself (or with a slice of lemon) but drink Crystal Light or tea if you must and then slowly wean yourself onto just water.  This is probably the easiest way to make the biggest difference in your weight loss and health-seeking efforts so for Pete's sake, please do it.

I'm sorry, was that insensitive?  I feel like I am allowed to use the phrase "fat ass" quite freely since I myself have one.  There is a science to weight loss.  It's a game of give and take.  You will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume.  You will gain weight if you consume more than you burn and you will stay the same if they are of equal value.  The fastest and most effective way for anyone in the free world to drop a few pounds is to get the body moving.  Believe it or not, your body wants to move.  It wants to exercise.  It wants to sweat.  It wants to run free like a naked toddler who just discovered how to rip off that diaper.  Sure, it may not feel like it right now because you've gotten it accustomed to the finer sofas and television shows of life, but, take it from me and this is tried and true: your body wants to feel healthy.  It wants to go for a walk.  It wants to wake up in the morning with gusto for a new day.  And know that it will get easier.  At first, yes, it will kind of suck.  It will kind of hurt.  You might feel like a hippo trying to fake a pirouette in front of all the skinny people at the gym dance class (not that that ever happened to me...).  Maybe you can't walk a mile right now.  Maybe you can't touch your toes right now (you're in good company with that one). But, you will.  If I could sum up how to get better at anything, including exercise, it would be to practice and try, try again (If you look back on my blog through the years, you will see how many times I've tried and tried again).  Move your body and in a few weeks your brain will get the idea and stop fighting you over it.  And believe it or not, you will actually begin to feel better too.  Soo, please, get your fat ass up off that couch.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter, More like FEASTer

Sometimes I am really, really good and I can't even imagine putting a few extra almond slices in my yogurt for fear of going over my calorie quota and blowing the whole diet.  I drink lots and lots of water and I write every thing I bite.

And then sometimes, I sit on the couch in elastic waist pants (Angela) and eat holiday leftovers right out of the original containers they were prepared in.  Easter: 1 JoAnna: 0

Friday, March 29, 2013

She Be Bumpin'

Alright, I am noticing a pattern here with my blog posts.  The posts that get the most hits are always the ones where I bare my belly gut-bump (gump?).  Ugh, you guys make me feel so cheap but if taking my top off is what you want, then your wish is my command.  Here is a gallery of fatness for your viewing and self-esteem pleasure:



Never, ever, ever take a picture from this angle. EVER. 12/14/12

Week 1
Week 16

Rome was not built in a day, people.

And for those of you who are feeling a bit naughtier, I can swear on a Bible that I am stark naked in each of the following pictures.  Every single one- not a stitch of clothes.  Not even socks.