Shedding Some Unwanted Pounds

This post is about flab. Metaphorical blubber, I mean. That hypothetical muffin top that keeps drawing your attention and reminding you how much farther you have to go instead of letting you focus on how amazing your arms look.

I’ve written about this before, sort of. But it’s become a theme for me, and a huge challenge.

This post is also about haters. I say this only because I kind of like that word; it makes me feel a little like a hip hop badass to throw it around, AND there are some hilarious images to be found on Pinterest when one searches “haters.” Like this one:

hater cat
Look at this badass cat!

This cat rocks. Look at him. He’s like the freakin’ honey badger. He don’t give a shit about haters. He’s just that awesome. Why can’t I be more like this cat? Granted, I would prefer not to have to lick myself clean, but I would really like to adopt his attitude a little bit more wholeheartedly into my life, toward the “haters” and toward all the other crap that I allow to come between me and my badassery.

So, let’s talk about this unwanted fat in our lives. For me, there are two kinds of figurative chubbiness that I would like to shave off my figure: toxic people (the haters, yo!) and overcommitments.

Let’s start with the people. Ahhhh, the people.

Like I’ve said before, my life is bursting with amazing people that support me, laugh with (and at!) me, push me to be my best, cheer me on, and keep me going when I want to give up. (I bet lots of them are reading this, so THANK YOU! I heart you so very much and consider myself a lucky, lucky girl to have you in my life.)

Then there are the other people. You know the people I’m talking about, because you probably have some in your life, too.

These are the people that tell us–not necessarily in words, but in their actions and attitudes–that we’ll never meet our goals, or that our goals are not worthwhile.

The ones who tell us we’re not good enough.

The ones who tell us how annoying our obsession with health and fitness is.

The ones who tell us they don’t care enough about what’s important in our lives to recognize our struggles and progress.

The ones who tell us they are too miserable to share our happiness.

Toxic people. Haters.

When it comes to these people in my life, I can’t seem to summon that catlike badassery. Instead, I become the worst version of myself that I can possibly be, and that just sucks. It’s a constant struggle. As much as my rational mind says, “You rock, Steph. Those haters gonna hate and that’s their problem,” my heart always gives in to feeling hurt that everyone doesn’t love everything I do, and that some people are just unhappy and mean and I am a big, fat target.

So it’s time for this:

positive people
Truth.

Yep. The bottom line is this: I’m cutting the fat. I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s cool. People who want to be part of my life as I’m living it can join the party, and people who don’t are free to go.

Whether it’s someone reading this blog who I’ve never even met that says, “This bitch is crazy,” and never visits the site again, or an old friend from high school who gets sick of my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (currently 235, in case you don’t know), it’s all good. I have my people, and they rock. I’ll tell them again right now how much I heart them.

Now, some of the awesomest people in my life love me DESPITE my possibly annoying focus on training and food. What I’m doing may not be their bag, baby, but they get it, and they support me so they tolerate my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (235#, in case you missed it in the last paragraph.) An even bigger thank you to those amazing peeps who love me for all I am, even the parts they might not like as much.

So, my friends, I encourage you to come with me on this journey to shed your flabby-back-of-the-arm friends; the ones who only bring you down and keep your attention on the negative.


So besides the people, what about the other extra weight we’re holding onto? The commitments that don’t connect with our goals. The time-sucking obligations that we can’t seem to let go of, even though we hate them. Or, maybe we don’t HATE them, but we surely don’t LOVE them.

These obligations can keep us focused on the negatives instead of our badassery just as much as the haters, yo. (Is it just me, or should “haters” always be followed by “yo”?)

Let me tell you a little story. It’s kind of a mom confession, but you’ll probably understand whether you’re a parent or not.

My kids came home from the first day of school last night with a huge stack of papers. It was homework…for me. Five gazillion forms to sift through, read, fill out. Checks to be written for PTA membership, for lunch tickets, for the after school programs.

I came to the PTA volunteer opportunities form, and was suddenly crippled with dread. What lameass responsibility was I going to have to sign up for this year?

Then, I did something amazing. I put that goddamned form into the “recycle” pile, and didn’t look at it again. THE END.

(Now that’s a happy ending if I ever heard one.)

Listen, before you get all judgy and be like, “Oh, Steph hates the PTA!” let me tell you this. I have volunteered for shit at the school before, and my kids don’t seem to give a crap if I do it or not. Four years ago, I found myself on a planning committee for a Talent Show that my son wasn’t in, and never would consider being in, just because I felt like I had to be involved in some way. The people on the committee were nice and welcoming and all that, but in the end I remember thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing here?”

I’ve tried in other instances to be involved in ways that are more related to what my kids are doing. But, here’s the problem: I wasn’t having fun, my kids didn’t care, and frankly we don’t do much that involves the PTA. That’s just how our family rolls. My son plays lacrosse; I do the team organization and communication and my husband coaches. We are very involved in our church community; I am a co-chair on the Board of Christian Education.

You get the picture. The PTA stuff just isn’t our wheelhouse, so the volunteering stuff for it was like a giant piece of cellulite hanging off the backs of my thighs, drawing my focus and time away from things I loved doing.

So I cut that crap off. I paid the dues, but I don’t have the time or the energy to commit to something that my family doesn’t love and want to be actively involved in.

How often do you evaluate your commitments and think about which ones really matter and add to your life positively?I know I don’t do this nearly as often as I should. Many times, I just say yes, or sign up for something without even considering if I really WANT to do it enough to make the time.

For me, 5-6 workouts a week represent a huge time and energy commitment. What I have left has to be completely focused only on things that bring me and my family joy. That’s how I’m making decisions these days. If something comes along that might require my attention, time or energy–whether it’s a personal commitment, a night out with friends, a new activity for the kids, or something we might spend our hard-earned money on–if we are not like, “OH YEAH!!! That is awesome and I am SO doing that!” then it’s going in the recycling bin like the PTA volunteer form. Done. Boom.

The commitments are always easier to weed through than the people. But we’ve got to keep working at it, because when we keep our eyes on the positive, life is good.

Indeed.

So cut the fat, my friends. Stop zeroing in on the symbolic dimples on your booty, and focus instead on what’s really important: your catlike badassery, and the people and things that bring you joy.

It’s a hard re-entry. But worth it. (That’s what she said.)

Hi there. You haven’t broken up with me, have you? I know it’s been awhile. But there was vacation and school started today, etc etc, blah blah blah. But don’t lose faith. I’ve got tons of half-written blogs in the pipeline, so sit tight.

Let’s start with vacation. Ahhhhh, vacation.

I ate a lot of food: strawberry cupcakes, french fries, cheesy hash browns, birthday cake, ice cream, more birthday cake, an a-mah-zing plate of pasta with asparagus, chicken and tomato in a parmesan cream sauce, and yes, one Taco Bell taco. (That is less delicious and more disgusting. But we’re doing full disclosure here, so I had to share.)

I started to take pictures of the food to share with you (see, I was thinking about you while I was away!) but then realized that was incredibly cruel…to both of us. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it that the food was both lovely and delicious. YUM.

I also drank a lot of beer and wine. And I DID take this picture for you (and me. Mostly me. It was so good.):

beer
Rocket Red, brewed right on Disney’s Boarwalk. Delish.

I didn’t train at all. Unless you count traipsing through the Magic Kingdom (which I don’t) or carrying a 57lb kid on my back for a 1-ish mile walk at the end of a long day (I might count that as like HALF a workout).

Here’s the deal, folks. I was really, REALLY anxious about this vacation. Like, to the point of driving my husband insane. When will I train? How will I control my eating? How will I get back on track afterwards? What if I lose all my momentum during vacation? Ohmagawd, WHAT IF I GO BACK TO BEING AS FAT AS I USED TO BE instead of the somewhat-fat-but-getting-fitter-every-second I am right now?

But once I hit that open road at 4:06am on Thursday morning, coffee beside me, kids nestled snugly in their seats, cooler, suitcases, and fun activities packed, I breathed out. I enjoyed. I let go.

I ate, I drank, and I reveled in spending time with the people I love the most, and nothing else mattered.

Cinderella's carousel
Look at those faces! MWAH!
Drew and Skylar
My husband–now affectionately known as Mr. Badass–and my adorable niece.
Family in Downtown Disney
Love.

Yes, vacation was a-mah-zing. Coming back? Getting back on track? It SUUUUUUUUCKS. But for me, my friends, the juice was DEFINITELY worth the squeeze.

Here’s the deal: we got back late Thursday afternoon, and I hit dance crew rehearsal that night at 8pm, followed by a 6:30am workout first thing Friday morning. This was NOT fun, but it had to be done. Think about your old college days, when you party your ass off on a Saturday night, then have to wake up the following Sunday morning early to clean up the mess before your parents come in for visiting day. The party was worth it, but the hung-over clean up completely sucks.

Of course, the other problem I faced was entirely created by my own choices. On Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday, I chose back to school shopping with my kids over meal planning and grocery shopping, so my bad eating continued throughout the weekend. I made that choice, and I accept the misery that it wrought. And, oh, was I miserable on Sunday. I felt like shit, had no energy and–big surprise!–I got sick. My body had just had enough with my shenanigans, and I don’t blame it one bit.

It was a total relief on Monday to have all my food ready to go and get back to clean eating. Today, three days back on track, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. I’ve been managing the cold/cough with my Neti pot and serious sweat sessions, and it’s working.

Trust me, I thought about bailing on dance crew Sunday night because I felt so lousy. But I went, and felt better. That’s what drove me to drag my sorry ass out of bed Monday morning when the alarm went off instead of sleeping in again. Guess what? I felt better after the workout. Again. Same thing on Tuesday. I’m still sniffling and coughing here and there, but the food and the workouts are crushing this lameass cold out of my system. Suck it, germs!

So the thing is this. I know I’m always talking about stepping out of my comfort zone, and encouraging you to do the same. Usually that’s with regard to working out hard, and really pushing your limits. Not this time.

For me, letting go of my strict clean eating and training on vacation was a huge scary thing, and it surprised me to recognize that. I’ve realized that working out 5-6 times a week and eating clean has become my new comfort zone, and I was terrified to step out of it. Terrified of what would happen with the measuring tape, the way my clothes fit, and yes, even the scale. I was also terrified that if I let go, I wouldn’t be able to make it back.

comfort zone

But when I let go, it was heavenly, just for that week, to not have to say “no” and always be watching everything that went into my mouth. To sleep in. To not obsess over how much I could lift today.

Instead, I got to experience how fit my body is when I didn’t get tired criss-crossing the Magic Kingdom all day, and found that it wasn’t really that hard to carry my 10 year old son on my back. I experienced how delicious a cupcake can be when you don’t eat them five times a week. (Really, really delicious.)

I also experienced a 6lb increase on the scale, and a little trouble buttoning my new, smaller-size shorts at the tail end of the trip.

But guess what else? I discovered that I can trust myself. That I really am committed for the long haul, because I’m back on track, and my shorts and the measuring tape will soon reflect that.

So, a really awesome vacation and a newfound sense of self-trust: 100% worth every moment of misery I endured during the re-entry to real life.

Badass: A Love Story

I interrupt this vacation to bring you a brief Profile in Badassery. Because my husband Drew is the awesomest badass I know, and today we’ve been married 13 years.

Awwwww! Look how cute we were!

I can be a little…impetuous. Capricious, you might say (cough, cough). And sometimes, being a badass means being the one who holds the shit together and keeps things steady and grounded in reality. Without Drew, who knows what kinds of crazy tomfoolery I would’ve gotten myself/us into.

But this is not about me. My husband is a total badass in his own right. He is a thrill seeker, and wows me on a regular basis by doing things that would have me crapping myself. I believe this picture speaks for itself:

skydive
Um. He’s smiling? Hello? Falling through space and time and SMILING?

Total. Effing. Badass.

Drew’s been training with Mike for about a year now and is looking pretty hot these days. Although he wasn’t heavy like me when he started, he’s lost fat and definitely gained a ton of muscle from working hard and eating clean.

Last month, he ran his first mud run. As we drove up to the ski slope where it was held, he seemed anxious, and I was surprised. This was not like him. I came to understand that he didn’t just want to participate, he wanted to COMPETE. To really see what he could do. And, no surprise to me, what he did was pretty amazing: he finished 5th in his heat and 56th overall (close to 800 people ran the race). Drew attacked that run and totally kicked its ass. I could not be prouder.

mud run
Badass.

Even though he’s a personal risk-taker, Drew has typically been very conservative and “safe” when it comes to his career. I’ve always encouraged him to be less focused on stability, and more focused on getting to where he wants to be–where I know his brains and skills can take him. But being the awesome husband and father that he is, it has been difficult for him to think about walking away from a steady job that guarantees he can provide for his family–even though it may bore him to tears–to do something more challenging but possibly a little riskier.

Guess what? My badass husband just gave his notice at a 100+ year old insurance company to join an old friend and colleague in a new, much more challenging position with a fledgling company. He’s going to really be able to flex his management muscles and make a positive impact on how the company will grow. Yes, there’s risk, but also potential for big, big payoffs. And, with the outcome weighing quite a bit on what Drew has to do with it, my money’s on him (I mean, it actually is…but it metaphorically is, too!) I know he’s going to drive this company forward and make amazing things happen.

Did I mention he’s an amazing dad?

Drew with newborn Emma. Aaaaaand, my heart just melted.

We have weathered many storms together. A few times, we got sidetracked from what was most important and almost lost our way. It was Drew’s loyalty and steadfastness that always brought us back. Now, we are a strong, united, unstoppable team creating the life that we want for ourselves and our kids.

I am so lucky to have shared a life with my badass husband for the last 13 years. I can only imagine what awesomeness the next 13 will bring us. Happy Anniversary, babe.