Confidence at 40

40 is a weird place for me right now…. I’m growing into some confidence that is unfamiliar to me until now. See, I’ve always been pretty full of myself, even cocky, but those are different. Maybe comfortable is a better word, I don’t know. I feel like people see me as a grown adult, and not in the “I’m a grown up!!! Treat me that way!!!!” whine that those in their 20s demand, and not the “people THINK I’m a grown up, but I think I’m a sham” you feel in your 30s. It’s less a question of whether others see me as an adult, and more a question of ‘do I give a damn’ what others think… the answer is no, no I don’t give a damn.

It might be age, it might be the gym, but I’m changing inside too. I go to the gym, and I feel like I belong there, the staff and the regulars know me, I don’t stand in a corner facing the outside, and I don’t act mousy when someone asks me something.

It’s carried over to the outside world too. I don’t waste my time and energy worrying if everyone likes me, (which includes covering with the “I don’t care if people like me” bravado that I’ve spent energy on in the past) I suppose I’ve mellowed.

There are a lot of things I never thought I’d be doing at 40:

Changing diapers, I mean come on kid, the toilet is your friend. I never thought I’d be living in a big house in the suburbs, concerned about the school district and property values. I never thought I would be disgusted by my own body and what it’s become. But I also never thought that I would have kids, or that I would love this suburban life. I never thought that I would enjoy going to the gym. To be honest though, I never thought much about 40. It was some far off land that I never really saw myself in. A lot of kids who have had a parent die young don’t see themselves in the future. I don’t know if it’s because we look to our parents to judge what we think our future is, and if one is missing, we can’t put the puzzle together, or if it’s because we are slapped in the face with a “live in the now and don’t worry so much about the future” sentiment. It’s probably a mixture of both. The point is, I never thought much about 40, and here it is, splashing ice cold water on my face the morning after a raging party called young adulthood. It’s sobering to look around and see where you’ve landed and that you did pretty darn well.

As far as my health journey, I’m going to take a similar approach. It’s colder now, so I’m going to be wearing the pants, sweaters, coats, and other bulky things. I’m hoping by spring, when I shed the outerwear and the heavy clothes, I’ll look around and see that I’ve landed on some progress. I feel it, but I won’t actively look for it until spring. If I just keep my head down, and focus on the day-to-day, maybe I’ll land someplace great again!

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Let’s Talk Offense

We break in our regularly scheduled fitness journey (currently working on my 40th birthday retrospective) to get something off my chest.

There’s a lot of talk right now about sexual harassment and assault, and there is a defense people are just “too sensitive”. I hate that term. I hate it as much as I hate the term “snowflake”. These are used by people who have no excuse for their bad behavior and want to put it back on the person they are arguing with or about, and it’s the best insult they can come up with. When I hear someone use this deflection I automatically discredit their argument because they obviously know they are wrong and grasping at anything.

I have been called too sensitive at times, which is laughable because to know me is to know that it’s pretty damn hard to offend me. Real hard. And that is also part of a problem that I’ve had to work on. Just because it doesn’t offend me, doesn’t me that it won’t offend you…. Everyone’s line is in a different place. Mine is different than yours, and both of ours are different from the next person. And you don’t get to tell me where my line is anymore than I get to tell you where yours is. We are all different people, but our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts, are our own. Telling someone they shouldn’t be offended is like telling someone whom to love based on your emotions.

“Back in my day we didn’t have everyone running around whining about this..” yeah, I know. That’s because people were powerless over their abusers. This doesn’t mean that people were tougher back then, those who stand up are a lot tougher because they are risking everything. Only now are we at a point where we are siding with the accusers. No longer pointing the finger of doubt at them asking what their angle is and why they would target the poor defenseless man (or woman) in power.

Ive been that powerless girl. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for six years. I didn’t speak up. I had a college professor tell me when I dropped his class that I would continue to get an A if I allowed him to continue to grope me. I didn’t speak up. I had someone that I had known forever, both of our families had known each other for years, try to force himself on me. I got away by chance, but I never spoke up. Not because I wasn’t offended, but because I was scared. I was scared of retaliation, scared of being labeled a trouble maker or being too sensitive. There were a couple of people I did say something to. Close friends that I could trust with “my” secrets, they both basically said the same thing, and it was akin to “boys will be boys”.

This “too sensitive” crap has been an insult for far too long. All it’s telling the world is, “I know I’ve behaved terribly, and I shouldn’t have done it, but I’m going to put the blame on you so I don’t have to face the fact that I’m a terrible person”.

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Hitting the Wall….

I’ve been so proud of myself for going to the gym every day. And I should be, that’s a big deal, but I’m hitting the wall. Shane gave me a new routine that I love/hate. I love it bc of what it will do for me and I hate it bc it’s hard. I told myself that I don’t have to do them all, but I have to try everything. Thing is, once I have the equipment set up to try doing something, I go ahead and do it all, which I knew I would. I can feel my legs have muscles in them, my arms too, but I’m not seeing anything. My posture has changed, and my outlook has changed too I suppose, but I was hoping for a little more. I’ve been going for a while now, but I wasn’t sure how long, so I looked back. I counted up the weeks and it’s been eight. Only eight weeks…. two months. I know it’s going to take longer to see something, but for whatever reason discovering that it’s only been two months that I’ve been going, kinda took the wind out of my sails.

I’ve reworked my nutrition after working with Stephanie, and I’m down a few lbs, but I’m not SEEING anything. My pants don’t fit different, my gut is still big, and I get tired.

Some days I’m so beat after a workout that I’m down for a few hours. Some days it’s everything I have to get through the workout. I do it, and I don’t quit, but I’m just discouraged. Have any of y’all had this? What did you do to combat it?

How long before you saw something? Anything?

I knew this would take hard work, and I knew it would take some time for results, but I think I’ve underestimated the amount of time.

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So There’s This Jerk at the Gym

I say jerk, that’s being nice. I want to use a few other words, but my grandmother reads this blog, so we’ll stick with jerk.

Let’s start at the beginning…. he’s a grunter. Loud grunter. Like make everyone else uncomfortable loud.

Now, this guy is in pretty decent shape, fairly large, but has an air of insecurity about him. I get that. I’m full of insecurity there. Everyone is in much better shape than I am, and they obviously know more about what they’re doing.

So back to the grunter. I have on a few occasions made eye contact and rolled my eyes, but that’s kinda it. As much as he irritates me, I never complained about him, but someone must have because he stopped. He’s the kind of guy who gets along with the fit girls, but he doesn’t like me, and he lets it be known. He will stay on equipment when he knows I’m waiting for it, he will purposely put things out of my reach when he knows I’m going to use it next, and he’s just an all round ass.

I decided today that he truly is making an effort to stop grunting, so I’m going to do something against my nature. I’m going to be nice. He is obviously insecure about something and I bother him. If I’m nice I might just throw him off enough that we can peacefully coexist. What would y’all do?

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Man do I Want to Quit….

Every. Day. I won’t, but I want to! I think about all the times I’ve quit before and where I would be if I hadn’t. I think about where I would be if I quit now. I think about how sore I was after my first two days and how I never want to be that person again.

This last weekend we bought new furniture so the hubs and I moved our old stuff upstairs. A sectional sofa and a two seater chair, up to the playroom. We did somewhat easily, the only real issue was where the stairs turn 1/2 up. (PIVOT) lifting and carrying it however, that was not a problem. I like being sore now because it’s a light sore and it means that I’m getting stronger. A friend once told me, “Soreness is just weakness leaving your body”, I hated hearing it then, but now I’ll claim it. This is why I won’t quit. I’m feeling progress. I owe it to my family to keep going.

I want to quit because it’s hard. I don’t SEE any progress, and I would much rather be lazy if I don’t see anything. It’s been a month and a half, my pants are still tight, my stomach is still huge, and I just want to lay on the couch all day. I won’t, but I want to!

Stephanie and I talked about nutrition and I’m still putting my thoughts together to share with you about that. Hopefully in a day or two I’ll get that out here.

If anyone has any beginning to get in shape stories, I would love to hear them!

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Chiari be Damned

Yesterday was the end of September and the end of Chiari awareness month. If you know me, you know what that is, if you don’t, I encourage you to take a look at the “My Chiari Story” page for more information. Chiari is a condition that is not that rare, but it’s rarely diagnosed. There is no cure, only some treatments to help with the symptoms. There are several sister conditions that come with it, and yes, you can die from it. I will always be subjected to Chiari’s whims, but there has been some good that has come from it too. I have met some amazing people than I cherish and proudly call my friends. I know my strength, and know that am able to pull myself together without most people even noticing that I’m hurting. I also know the value of life and good days how how both should be treated with joy and respect. This year for Chiari awareness month, I took a different approach. I focused on me. On my health. I dropped the excuses and embraced the fact that I can still take care of me. I started working out. If you follow me, then you’ve been following my journey thus far, and if not, welcome. I turn 40 one month from today. 40. I’m having a harder time with this one because in my head I’m only 26 and and 2003 was only a couple years ago, not more than a decade ago. By 40, I was supposed to be fit, successful, beautiful, and married to a rock star, traveling the world. I never dreamed that my success would be shown in my children, or that my rock star would be a computer guy who works his tail off to provide for his family. I think I won the lottery in both of those scenarios. That still leaves fit and beautiful. I know I know, beauty is on the inside and I shouldn’t need external validation, BUT I DO! I used to turn heads. I was the hot girl people noticed, and now I’m working my way back. I’m in the gym every day, whether I want to or not. And some days my head is killing me, but I go. I’m working with Stephanie on a meal plan to get the weight off because fitness starts at the gym, but weight loss comes from the kitchen. I owe it to my children to be the healthy mom they deserve. I owe it to my rock star to take an effort in my appearance, and I owe it to myself to work hard and get fit again.

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Frustration is Good.

In culinary school, they taught that frustration is what happens right before a breakthrough. If you persist, you will learn. So I changed my paradigm and started to look at frustration as a stepping stone.

Yesterday was a big frustration. I felt terrible, had crazy heart palpitations all day and night, only to get worse with my workout and I got worn out faster than I should have. I was frustrated. If ever there was a day where I would quit, it was yesterday.

Today, I went, I felt good, and I stepped off my frustration point to hopefully move on to the next one.

Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I get frustrated and think I should quit, but I’m trying not to give myself that option. I’m trying to remember that it is only a stepping stone for self improvement.

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Excuses and Determination

I wanted to call this post “Excuses Excuses” but that’s not really what this is about.

I was once the queen of excuses. “I have asthma”, “I have a weak knee from getting hit by a car”, “I have a cold”, “I had brain surgery and can’t lift anything heavy”, “it’s Tuesday.” I’ve used them all and look where it got me.

I’ve stuck my heels in and won’t give myself the chance to make an excuse or give into them. I get up, I get dressed for the gym, (this reduces my chances of sitting on my butt procrastinating getting my workout clothes on) then I take my kiddo to school, come home, have a quick breakfast, and go to the gym. Now, am I walking up to the school in spandex pants in front of all the neighbors’ houses? Yep. Unapologetically too.

Do many other moms do this? Yes. Do they all look like me? No, they look like they’ve been hitting the gym for years, and that’s ok. In a few years, I’ll have been hitting the gym for years. Until then, I’m not giving myself any excuse to delay going.

So here is my fear: any time I get into a good groove, keeping the house clean, staying on top of the laundry, whatever…. I get sick, real sick, and it all goes to hell. I don’t want that. I’m too scared to take two rest days in a row for fear that I’ll give up on the third. I need to go. I HAVE to go.

So I safeguard as much as I can, my resolve. After 39 and 11/12 years (not 40 yet damnit!) I know myself. I know how to trick myself for good.

I have a gym buddy now too. A mom that I know from PTA and around the neighborhood, who is really nice and her husband went to OSU, so of course they’re cool. She just started, and I’m hoping she stays with it too. On the days we don’t see each other there, we can still hold each other accountable.

The other excuse I could have that might get the best of me is fear. Fear of what others might say or think. Fear of not belonging, fear of sticking out like a sore thumb in a gym full of fit people….

to that I say, “to hell with it”. There is nothing someone could say to me or about me up there that I haven’t said to myself. But I’ve also told myself I can do this, and that I owe it to myself and my kids to get healthy. If others talk, (and to be fair, I don’t think they do, people up there seem pretty cool) let them. I don’t know them, so I value my own opinion of me more than theirs. I’m there trying to change myself. Every day I’m there. I may not see anything now, but in a year, I know there will be a different story. I know there will be more.

My doctor told me I have balls to just go into a gym and start lifting free weights. I don’t know if I do or not, but I know I like it.

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When you first start working out, and especially if you are lifting weights, everything you read and hear is about gains. Gains gains gains. I always just assumed that muscle heads were just trying to get bigger muscles and that was the gains they talk about …. and it is…. and it isn’t.

There are other gains, smaller gains that you probably don’t think about. I started week three today, and hopefully at the end of this week, it will be a habit. So two weeks at the gym, and this is what my “gains” are:

My posture has changed. How I carry myself, and how I walk. I noticed this, and then a friend at the gym saw it too.

I FEEL myself getting stronger. I can go up and down the stairs easier, I can get up from sitting or get out of bed without the pain and cracking.

I feel my old personality starting to peek out. I’m still tired, and that could be having small kids, or the chiari, or both, but I am starting to get the fun side of my personality back. And I’m happy about that. I’m tired of this personality, I want to be bubbly again.

Lastly, I’m more comfortable at the gym. I don’t feel quite so out of place anymore. I still feel a little intimidated, but I go. I show up every day and I put in the work and I feel like I belong there.

I still have a long way to go, we are going to talk nutrition on here once I get that all worked out, and I’d like to get brave enough to put some starting measurements up on here. We’ll see.

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Let’s Talk About Weight….

I’m over weight. Like probably 80 lbs over weight. That’s the first time I said it. My whole life, my weight was up and down. When I was thinner, I thought I was fat. I remember being 5’8″ and 135 lbs and all I saw was cellulite on my thighs. I was just never satisfied with my body, and I think one day I just gave up. I went on diets, I read books on metabolism, I took diet pills, and I’ve lots tons of weight. But, ultimately, it goes back on.

I remember I used to go to the gym, get my metabolism revved up for a few weeks and then I’d cut my calories to about 300 a day. I lived off metabolize too, the good stuff, before they outlawed it. I would lose lots of weight, look great, and be too tired to go to the gym (because I wasn’t eating) so I would sleep. A friend in med school at the time, (we were early 20s) and someone I respected very much sat me down on my birthday when I couldn’t finish an enchilada and explained to me what was happening to my body and how I was going to die if I didn’t change. By the way Quentin, thank you.

So back and forth, up and down, unhealthy choice after another, I end up here. And I’m not happy with myself.

Something’s got to give. My clothes don’t fit, and buying new ones would mean going to a size that I just can’t go into. I’ve thinned out my closet, I have seven shirts that fit me. Seven. I’m not buying any more pants that fit me, I’m just going to have to squeeze into the old ones, and wear them until the thighs rub together so much that a hole forms. It’s what I always do.

I need to change. And for good this time. Not just until I get into the size I want. I’m lazy and apathetic, and I need to stop.

So I joined a gym. Ok…. now what? I can swim, I’m a pretty strong swimmer, or I guess I can get back to the machines and the elliptical. I hate the elliptical, I hate all cardio, but the elliptical is by far the worst. But something’s got to give. And it has to be me.

Have I mentioned that my brother is a trainer, and in amazing shape? I don’t want to call him because he’s put a plan together for me before and I quit a few days in. I know he is disappointed and I just don’t want to waste his time, but he reached out to me and gave me a plan. A plan I can do, and it doesn’t involve getting on a hamster wheel.

A little back story on my brother, he has always been the coolest and smartest person I know. The kind of person who researches and reads and gathers all the information he can find and then decides what to do. And that’s with anything, not just fitness. He’s compassionate, but not biased, he’s fair, and he doesn’t sugar coat anything. I asked him when I would see results and he answered, “well, you’re big, it’s going to take a while.” And he’s absolutely right. I wasn’t insulted, or hurt, because it was the truth and not meant to be anything more than factual. He’s just the kind of guy that people listen to. So I suppose I will. He also doesn’t buy my BS excuses. He doesn’t care that I’ve had brain surgery or that I stubbed my toe or whatever else I can come up with. It’s like he thinks I’m capable, which is kind of a good feeling. I am extremely grateful for his knowledge and willingness to help me yet again in this life.

He has me on a plan that I can do, and until this becomes a habit, I’m using him as my accountability. I text him every day that I go, and probably annoying the hell out of him, but at least he knows I’m doing it. He didn’t waste his time…. this time. This time is different.

Why is this time different? I didn’t really know the answer to that until tonight. This time I’m not trying to be some skinny girl who looks good in a bikini. This time I’m not listening to other people tell me how my body should look. This time is for me. I said “probably 80” at the beginning of this because I don’t know how much I’m going to lose. At one time I wanted to lose 100 lbs and “get back to my fighting weight” but I don’t want to be that girl. I want to be strong and healthy. If that means I lose 60 lbs and that’s all, well then fine. I turn 40 in a couple months, and as hard as it it for me to comprehend that I’m an adult…. I am. I’m a grown woman and I don’t care what others think. When I’m lifting weights, I am looking out the windows, not facing everyone in there. If they want to make fun of me, so be it. I’m not there to impress them. I’m just THERE. I’m there to build myself up. Both physically and mentally. I’m there to become healthy and to overcome my unhealthy cycle.

So here’s what I’m doing:

I’m going five times a week

I’m changing my diet

I won’t put myself down or anyone else, especially in front of my kids. I think calling myself fat in front of them teaches them to have an unhealthy relationship with food as well as teaches them that there’s something wrong with “fat” people. And I’m not here for that. My focus is on teaching them how to take care of your body and strive for health, and to be an example for that.

I’m doing everything on my list of exercises, and pushing myself even when I don’t want to.

Showing up this time. This time is different.

You are all invited to join me on my journey! Wish me luck!

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