How Returning to Retail Saved My Life

retail

 

OK, “saved my life” is a bit hyperbolic. But it definitely gave me some rejuvenation in an otherwise stagnant cycle of stress that perpetuated an ever flowing stream of second guesses in my career. Truth was, I just need a little bit of past to push me into my future.

Boy oh BOY do we have a lot to catch up. But instead of killing myself trying write the perfect first post of 2015, I’m just going to go ahead and write about what I’ve been thinking about a lot.

Reflection.

2014 was quite the year of internal positive change. 32 is right around the corner and what they say is true:

“Every time you give one less fuck, an angel gets it’s wings.”

I’ve never been one to chase the past, I have continuously planted one leg in the present and one leg in the future, to a fault. These past few months, I did something so unheard of, so retro, so OMG #tbt….I….got a part time job in retail for the holidays.

cat

Grad school is winding down (one more year!), tuition is going up, rent is going up, bills going up. Salary? Staying exactly the same. So, between working a demanding full time job, going to grad school, maintaining a healthy loving relationship, I then got a part time job to fill in the gaps. So from October to the end of December, I worked 7 days a week (I had Thanksgiving and Christmas Day off). I’m not going to lie, it beat the crap out of me. So much so, I’m now on a twice a week regimen for the chiropractor. Oh, and I lost 40lbs. But that post is coming later. As I approach my third and final year of grad school, and my 4th year in my ‘big girl’ career, I found myself exhausted and afraid to admit: what if this isn’t the right career for me? Hardly a philosopher’s dilemma, but as my body and mind grew weary it was hard not to wonder if this huge investment of time, money and energy was all worth it. Spoiler Alert: It totally is.

A little history: I started my career in retail, did about 10 years of it, then took a leap of faith and landed in education. I love where I am, and I owe a lot of my skills and ability to the years of retail. Patience, empathy, reading people, developing a thick skin, multitasking, physical stamina, personal goal setting, organization etc. All perfectly honed during my retail years.

STORY TIME:

But a lot of important things are left behind once you fold that final shirt and punch out for the last time. And that is what I’m here to reflect on. It made me remember the great parts (and shitty parts) of working in retail when I was younger, and how that all applies to my life now and what I take for granted. Reflecting on my past has never been a favorite of mine, but this second job helped me make some important connections.

1. It was really nice to bitch to someone who has the exact same job as I do, to share the empathy, the frustration and the giggles. In my full time (FT) position, I’m the only person in my department with my job title and responsibilities. While my FT co-workers are forever generous with their ears, it was really nice to work with a bunch of other people who know the struggle first hand. We were all the same, where break rooms and lockers are a sacred place.

2. A new appreciation for product and what it represents. One, learning about the products and what makes them so special, is something I’ve always enjoyed. Second, I heard all sorts of stories about why people were buying certain items. I helped a couple pick out a gift for the mother of a newborn child they were about to adopt. I helped a gentleman buy his terminally ill girlfriend an item because she always wanted this item but could never afford it. I picked out many pieces for nervous boyfriends buying something for their new girlfriends. I helped a gay couple who were celebrating finally being able to marry in their home state (the list of touching stories goes on and on). Sure, not every sale had such profound meaning. But the ones that did, I will forever remember their names, faces and their story. It made me less cynical. That people still care about what and why they buy certain things. It also reminded me that people are carrying around these moments and situations and we often times forget that people have a lot going on that we never stop to think about.

3. You can truly judge a persons character by what they do when they think no one is looking. Like, the way you treat a sales professional. Thankfully, it wasn’t often but, if you are this nasty to a complete stranger who has offered you nothing but smiles and a gracious attitude, I do not want to know what lurks deep inside. And like previously stated in Number 2, they have some shit going on that you’re not even aware of. No, of course it’s not fair for them to take it out on you – that’s their issue, not yours. But it’s important to remember that in any industry, just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re immune to someone’s outside emotional baggage. That shit still bothers me and I would get so bent out of shape when I got into it with faculty member (for example), someone I’ve built a relationship with over time. But remembering that perfect strangers can be dicks for no good reason, made me appreciate how thick my skin has gotten over the years.

4. Everyone will try and Pretty Woman you. Big mistake. Huge. I worked at a higher end shop, but not everyone customer treats it as so. I’ve never been one to dismiss a customer based on appearances, your dollar is just as green as the next persons. If you’re looking for some fantasy vengeance, you won’t find it here. We are professionals. It takes a certain level of poise and graciousness to not take the bait of someone who is looking to just shit all over you (see number 3). This is a particularly important professional trait to work on, especially in my FT job – If I had a nickel for every time I was selected by someone who was just looking for a fight or for someone to yell at, I’d have like, four bucks.

5. It made me remember that my professional appearance matters, especially when having to follow dress code. And I loved it. It gave me a reason to revamp my wardrobe. As stated earlier, I did lose 40lbs, but I had some weird insecurity shit to get over (talk about that in a later post) and I wasn’t ready to try on new clothes. Fitting rooms and I do not bode well together. But, having a strict professional dress code forced me into getting the f*** over it. I never set foot in a fitting room, but I did buy everything online and lucked out every time. Now I have an array of tailored and polished dresses and suits (in smaller sizes!) and I feeling fan-fugg’n-tastic (Thanks, Ann Taylor). I also took it a step further, keep my manicure game tight, get my hair done, wear clean make up. All of this transferred over to my FT job, which I will admit, gave me the freedom to slack off on my appearance a bit. Jeans, pony tail, sneakers, frumpy sweaters, roll into work with no make up. I dressed up when I had meetings or conferences, but most of the time I just wanted to be comfortable while I was stressing out all day and/or studying. But it’s amazing what a little effort can do to your confidence. My confidence, assertiveness and professional demeanor is the first thing customers see. And now, it’s the first thing students, parents and professors see. Being forced to step up my game had a great spill over effect for my full time career, and has already reaped some benefits!

6. I got more exercise. I sit at a desk 9-10 hours per day. Then I sit at a desk in class for 6-7 hours a week. Then I go home and sit at my desk and study for 10+ hours per week. With the exception of going to the gym and my morning commute, my daily life is fairly sedentary. Working on my feet for 10 hours per day two days a week, while tiresome at first, quickly gave me some of my stamina back. I had more energy after 10 hours of running around in heels (ok fine, 4 hours in heels, 6 hours in flats) than I did sitting down all day. A little more exercise, better posture did wonders for these weary bones.

7. Ain’t nothing like your retail friends. We have the same hours. We have the same gripes. We covet the same new items that just came in today’s shipment. We like alcohol, a lot of it. And I tell you, making friends over 30 is incredibly difficult. Working in retail is a fantastic opportunity to make friends (if you’re not an asshole). Well, you could say any new job is a great place to make new friends, but that isn’t really true. Working in retail takes a certain something that not everyone has. You need to be outgoing, you have to like people (or at least pretend), you have to love to talk AND listen, you have to know how to gossip AND accept that you’re being gossiped about and most importantly, you need a fantastic sense of humor. Most of the time, making new adult friends means you’ve met through mutual friends, you picked up a weird hobby and now you have a weird hobby circle of friends, or you kind of sort of hang out with Abby from accounting because she’s the closest in age and likes cats too. But there is no better feeling rolling into work and starting a conversation with ‘Girrrrl, did you see the new bags we just got!? Let’s get orange chicken for lunch – I HAVE to tell you about last night…’

Cat-Bag-5

8. Discounts. Let’s be real. This is a big deal. And as soon as everyone finds out, they wanna hit you up too. And everyone knows where their Christmas gift is coming from…

9. Immediate feedback and praise. Retail is one of the few industries that has a very quick input/output feedback system. If you have a huge sale, your manager is coming over to praise you. If you totally f***ed up, your manager is coming over to not praise you. Your customers are emailing the store and filling out surveys, you’re going to find out just how good you are REAL quick. And for someone like me who revels in criticism and high evaluations, this is my kind of tempo. It’s fast paced, thrown to the wolves, figure it out and self advocate kind of environment. Working in education, there is no surprise that things move at a glacial pace. We won’t know how great that program is until students graduate or a research study comes back in a few years. I will say, I am VERY lucky my FT job boss is amazing. She consistently thanks me and values my input – and I know how rare this is to have. I shall never take this for granted.

10. It made me appreciate the freedom in my career. There are a lot of fantastic things about the retail industry. But there are some things that are no comparison. Like having your own office, with a door. Not having to tell people when I’m leaving for a pee break. Running errands during the day. Making personal phone calls whenever. Consistent schedule. Just plain ole calling out sick, instead of having to beg another person to cover your shift. It’s the little things that I never have to think about, that all of sudden I had to remind myself to do. Remember punch clocks!? And inventory! And requesting days off a month in advance!?

 

All in all, working at this particular company is amazing. The managers are incredibly supportive, hands on and hold themselves accountable. I really cherish that. I love all the people I’ve met and working with them is fantastic. I do understand I lucked out, not every retail experience is similar to mine, but in this case having a part time job did a lot more for me than just help me with bills. It helped me tap into some old happy memories and get back to my “roots” so to speak. Definitely gave me a breath of fresh air for my full time job and appreciate everything I have. I mean, I know I hit the boss lottery when I started, and my story hasn’t changed. It was really nice to hit a reset button and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Because I love it.

Fat Acceptance vs. Body Acceptance

Body Stereotyping

Body Stereotyping

 

2014, the year of the Social Justice Squad. Everyone, and I mean everyone who has ever been offended for who they truly are, are fighting back. With awareness, new terminology, off limit words, viral campaigns, privilege checks. Race, gender equality, LGTBQAA, religion, political etc., you can’t open your mouth anymore without offending someone. It’s a delicate balance, made even more delicate with the guilt you have for your unjust thoughts, previous words and future actions. Maybe changing our dialogue will change our view about how people self-identify. We’ve gone on long enough saying whatever we want to say without realizing how offensive it is. Also, there is a small demographic of people who love to pick fights – This is an excellent way to take away the validation for a real change.

I identify myself as an active participant in the new wave of gender equality. As a conservative socio-economically balanced equality among the genders. We cannot ask to have the exact same dis/advantages across the board. But, I think we are on a fantastic track. The movements that precedes us have given us basic human rights such as the ability to vote and hold jobs outside of the kitchen. Then climbing onto just pay and paved a path to un-objectifying our bodies. And now there is still a need for a better social justice balance.

For example: Encouraging women at a young age for STEM industry jobs, having paid maternity AND paternity leave, women in sports (hello MMA, power lifting and roller derby!) and most importantly, to be treated neutrally in public (sans harassment) as well as the way women treat other women, which is often times pretty awful.

I’ve shared my stories of street harassment time and time again. The leering, the touching, the rubbing, the grinding, the cat calls, the public masturbation, the fat calls etc. This is a gender equality issue because this does not happen to men as nearly as often as it happens to women. And honestly, the first part of seeking change is raising awareness. I have had amazing men in my life question my stories and are just simply shocked at the frequency and intensity in which street harassment happens. Second part of this awareness, is when all the other women finally come forward and share their stories of harassment (by opening up the lines of communication, women are able to talk about it in a safe space).

When women like myself, are groped, fat called, leered at or any other invasion of personal space and respect, THIS is where I have an issue. A harasser would think twice about grabbing the bum of a man on the train, why is that? Are women considered less human than males, therefore we are not allowed the same level of respect for people to keep their hands to themselves? Are women feelings less meaningful when they’re called a ‘fat slut’ on their way to work?

Ok, getting slightly off topic.

Fat Acceptance vs. Body Acceptance

They are two very different band wagons here that often get lumped into together. Fat acceptance is loving your or others larger bodies, finding it sexy and appealing and loving your life and everything that comes with it. (simplified definition)

Body acceptance is loving your body, whatever the size/shape may be and loving the ever changing facets of it. The understanding that you may not be able to achieve a higher standard of hot body. Not letting Photoshop be the standard for impressionable women and young ladies everywhere. I tend to wain on  the latter.

Why?

Because bodies are bodies, man. I hate seeing supportive people of one group hating on another. Shaming skinny bodies, shaming tall bodies, shaming short bodies. Just, can we…can we just fucking stop? With all of this? Like…all of it.

Some of negative assumptions of these new fat acceptance movements is the backlash that are targeting men. Men cry out “but we’re not attracted to these body types!! You can’t make us love you!!!”

Noooo. I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to do. Kind of the opposite. Movement isn’t about changing YOUR lifestyle, it’s about accepting OURS. You go ahead and keep on love’n whatever floats your boat.

You know what, I’m gonna say it.

I’m gonna say the thing that so many women (and MEN) sometimes think about themselves. Sometimes, I just really fucking hate my body. Sometimes I know why, cause I just murdered some serious burgers, cupcakes and beer for the last month. Sometimes I hate that I can’t tan. Sometimes I hate how my hair is getting thin, hate how my knees look in shorts, hate my Grama arms. I hate how my body hurts when I dont want it to, hate how inflexible it’s becoming, I hate when my I eat something and out of nowhere it doesn’t agree with me. I hate that my boobs hurt all the time and how flat my feet are. And what’s worse, I hate it the most when I’m working on it the hardest…

Sometimes I hate it: When I’m running, when I’m doing Crossfit, when I’m bench pressing 100lbs, or after hours of taekwondo, when I’m giving it plenty of veggies and water, when I’m using sunblock, when I’m taking vitamins, when I’m at the doctors and he tells me my blood pressure and cholesterol are perfect. I hate when the vagina doctor has to stick stuff up my hoo-ha for check ups. I hate getting on that fucking scale. I hate looking at my lil chubby toes when I’m getting a pedicure.  I hate getting naked in front of people and most of all, I hate walking by anything with a reflection.

Sometimes my hate is valid, but most of the time I’m being just crazy insecure for no good reason. Sometimes, I super duper love my body and I think it’s awesome and strong and sexy. But we all have that dark scary part in our brain. The ever comfortable self-loathing part. And no one likes to admit that they totally shame themselves. Shaaaaame. For SHAAAAAME. Even when you’re working on a healthier body sometimes you’re even harder on yourself!

Why?

Because I have not accepted that this IS my body. And neither has anyone else.

How do I know that no one else has?

Because they think it belongs to them. They think they can grab that big round ass in front of them. They think they can stare at me and call me ‘tree trunk legs’ as I walk by. They think they’re allowed to tell me to ‘come sit on my face, bitch!’. They think they’re allowed to call me a ‘fat c*nt’ as I walk by because I don’t accept their advances. You know why I don’t run outside anymore? Because some asshole saw me running from the car and yelled ‘run fatty run!’. It sucks that this one comment messed with me so much it completely made me limit myself from… OUTSIDE. Some people think they can just touch and treat my body as public property.

They think I don’t already think the worst things about my own body.

They think that my body…..does not belong to me.

And neither do I.

Why do we need a Body Acceptance?

So I can look in the fucking mirror for ONCE and appreciate the hard work I put into it.

It does not matter how many nutritious meals I eat, how many pounds I lose, how tan I get, how pretty my nails are, how many hours I work out, how often I stretch to prevent injuries, how many miles I log for the week, how much anti-aging firming lotion I use, how many different types of vitamins I take, how many health check-ups I have, how often I get my hair cut. It does not matter how well you take care of your body. It means shit if at the end of the day you still can’t stand what you’re working with.

THAT is what this is all about. Recognizing that your body as your own, you are free to treat it however you want. You can be fat, skinny, lumpy, firm, muscular – whatever. I believe in the healthy treatment of your body is the quickest way to acceptance. Work on the internal securities, so when you get the external insults you have a strong foundation to stand on and let it roll on off your back.

It’s not about forcing anyone else to love your body type, or to love the methods of how you treat your body.

What this whole ‘acceptance’ thing is: For others to accept that they don’t have a say in it. AND for the people (PEOPLE, not just women) to understand there will always be assholes and sometimes you just gotta grow a thicker skin and take back the control.

A lot less public harassment, a little more thick skin and I think we’ll be in good shape.

Get it? See what I did there….

 

TL;DR: Fat Acceptance is different from Body Acceptance. Don’t let people treat your bodies like a piece of public property. Take care of it and love it. And people are dicks.

 

<3

What it REALLY takes to Lose Weight

catweights

 

So last month I posted about how I totally messed up and gained 20lbs. Well 6 weeks later, I’m down 10lbs and going strong. And I’ve tried to follow other weight loss bloggy people. But a lot of them are on expensive food programs, weight loss center things (weight watchers). Count calories like maniacs. I just couldn’t seem to find someone that can just workout and eat right and then tell me how they did it…that didn’t involve dropping a ridiculous amount of money.

Well, I’m your girl. Healthy Living / Weight Loss blogger person that is telling you how I did it (or doing it), with no magic pills or powders, no sponsored diet center. Just you, some determination, and a whole lot of veggies and sweat.

 

1. Waking up and being at the gym by 6:30am most days

2. Walking to and from work (6 miles a day)

3. Yes, sometimes working out at night too. TKD, Hot yoga, Cross Fit or running. Work out EVERY DAY.

4. Weights!! You need WEIGHTS. Lift all the weights!!

5. Eating DIFFERENT foods. If you keep eating what you’ve always eaten, even in less portion, won’t change a whole lot. So I went from mini-egg quiches, cucumber slices as snacks, fauz chik’n burgers. To Spinach protein shakes, almond butter and bananas and zucchini noodles. Change it up!

6. Water, water, water

7. Food journal. To be clear, it wasn’t calorie counting, it was just keeping track of what I actually ate. You’d be surprised how many mini-snickers and pretzels sneak into your daily meals when you’re not paying attention.

IMG_20140616_153111

 

 

8. Having a buddy to check in with. It helps to talk about healthy things with people that are trying to do the same thing. I am lucky enough to have a best friend AND a boyfriend who love doing all the healthy things.

9. Cut out alcohol…like, a lot.

10. Portions!!! My god. Portions. Half a cheese burger is enough. A full cheeseburger will give you food coma. Being able to get up and walk around after eating is this amazing feeling, that apparently is really big in Europe? Don’t eat to nap. Eat to get up and go do some shit.

11. Making sure I stick to my good habits over the weekend.

12. SLEEP!!

13. I gotta say, Pinterest hooked it up with new recipes to try each week. I’d cook at least one or two new things I’ve never made. Zucchini fritters, zoodles, lean turkey meatballs.

14. Forgiving yourself on a not so perfect day.

15. RESTING when my body was telling me to rest. Sometimes, I want go to bed at 6pm and sleep for 12 hours. You do YOU.

16. Yes, you may have to feel hungry more than once. DO NOT starve yourself. Eat when you want, just eat the right shit.

17. Self loathing. Uggh there are more days in the past 6 weeks than I care to think about where I just HATED myself for gaining 20 more pounds. Go ahead and mope. Get it out. But I promise you, the more you work out, for every healthy meal option you make, for every time you vow to set your alarm and get up and actually DO…you’re just a little bit closer to not hating everything. And there will STILL be disappointment when when you start losing weight. ‘Aww man, I only lost 2lbs!?’  Just stick to your plan, man! Dust yourself off and move forward. All day errr day! That’s why having a buddy is so important!

18. GO.GROCERY.SHOPPING. I cannot stress enough how much you really should make your own meals. That way you can see what goes into your food, try new flavors, control your portions for multiple meals, save a crap ton of money. This includes probably spending 3+ hours on Sunday to prep your meals for the week. If you have a busy schedule like me, having pre-packed healthy meals on the go is ideal.

19. Take before and after photos. I was discouraged because the scale did not budge for 4 weeks. But i took a photo on May 1st and again on June 1st and I can see a huge difference.

20. Make performance goals, not just number goals. I signed up for a Spartan Race, and Color Run. And want to train again for a taekwondo sparring competition, and I want to run under a 9 minute mile (and I DID!!). There is nothing like being able to push your body further than you were able to before. C’mon, RUNNING!?? Get outta here, kehd.

 

Important:

Accept that in order to lose weight/get healthy/be fit…you absolutely need to be selfish with your time (and energy). It involves a lifestyle change. Boozing it up 3 nights a week might not be be conducive to your new goals. Eating garbage because its your ‘cheat day’. Which turns into 4 ‘cheat days’ in a row. Turning down invites at night because you have to wake up super early to go running. Declining lunch dates because you’ve already packed your healthy meal. No one will lose the weight/get healthy/be fit for you. That is all you, yo.

I’m not saying you have to be a hermit, but just know you need to be out of your comfort zone 80% of the time. I still went out for Taco Tuesdays and beers! But I made sure I was up at 5:30am to go running. I still binged watched Netflix, but I made sure I made all my lunches for the week. I had cupcakes and frozen yogurts and cookies. But I made sure I walked to and from work. All about balance. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

 

 

So, all I’m saying is you can do this too, boo. I have a great relationship, a job that requires a lot of dedication, grad school, a stupid cat face to take care of. Gotta make the time. Push through those mental blocks. Put in the hours.

 

Losing weight isn’t hard, it’s the dedication that sucks.  <3

I Stressed Myself Out for a Month and All I Got Was This Donkey Butt.

I worked every weekend this month in addition to my normal M-F.

Crap, I didn’t go grocery shopping this week. Hot pockets aaaand ok fine, a banana.  I don’t eat my feelings.

7am to 9pm. God damn I’m tired. Ice cream for dinner it is! I don’t eat my feelings.

Grad school finals, 4 papers and 2 presentations. Diet coke and pretzels, all day err day. I don’t eat my feelings.

I can’t make it to the gym today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week. Or this month….and probably not next month.

Damn, when was the last time I cut my hair? The last time I got my nails done? The last time I bought a sports bra?

Taekwondo? The hell is that?

Gym at my lunch break? What’s a lunch break?

A very sad and unexpected death. Out of state funeral. Oh shit my finals. Twizzlers please. Tacos? Yes tacos too. I don’t eat my feelings. 

7am bus. 4pm. 9pm. 3am. 5:30am Alarm. 7am bus. 4pm. 9pm. 3am. 5:30am Alarm. 4 cups of coffee, no water. I don’t eat my feelings.

Yoga pants be get’n tight, yo. To the Pinterest Boards!! #fitspo #workout #motivation #fitness

I hate myself.  Pin. Pin. Pin. Pin. Pin. 

Damn, these dark circles are not messing around. Eat at my desk 24th day in a row. Red bull. 

Oh my god my back is killing me. I can’t sleep! Advil. Hot water bottle. Advil. Advil. Jameson. 

Oh my god my back is still killing me, no way I’m going to try working out. Advil. Hot water bottle. Advil. Advil. Jameson. Sleep on the floor.

Why are my bras not fitting?? Jameson. 

Jameson. Jameson.

Aww, remember when I used do artwork? I really miss that. Cadbury eggs. All of them.

Deep breath. The funeral. Eat anything that isn’t bolted down.

Shit, I haven’t gone grocery shopping in 3 weeks. 7/11 all day err day.

Shit my presentation!? Burritos.

Jesus christ, my 30 page papers. No sleep til Brooklyn.

Oh shit, my brother’s wedding. Coffee. Red bull. Advil. Jameson. Hot pockets.

I can’t stay up until 9pm.

I can’t stay up until 2:30pm.

I can’t sleep it’s 4am.

Work Saturday. Work Sunday. Work Saturday THEN Sunday. Free catering food. All of it.

Whoa. Who the f** is that in the mirror? Just take down the mirrors and cover them with blankets.

Pinterest just makes me hate myself. 2am and 50 half naked tan body pins later. 

Wake up covered in pretzel crumbs. I don’t eat my feelings.

Don’t look at any reflections. God damn it, Boston has too many reflective windows on my way to work.

Shit I haven’t gone grocery shopping in 5 weeks. Foodler. Ooh, free t-shirt.

Every.thing.is.tight. Am I on my period? Nope, you chubby yo. Eat 2 dozen cookies at work. Two….dozen.

Oh my god, look at all my friends on facebook checking in at the gym. 9pm, still at work.

Who IS that in the mirror? I…don’t even…Wash hands and run out. I need to talk to some pizza about this.

Finals are done! Students went home! No more weekends to work! No more papers to write! No more stress! I won!

I won….at what?

Put on some Radiohead and cry all the cries.

 

And this is what happens when you put your health on the back burner for too long. I’m back to being uncomfortable in my own skin. I haven’t felt like this since high school.  We have alllll done it. But this is by far the worst I’ve ignored my body/mind for years. For yeeears.

No yoga, no meal planning, no sleep, no cooking,  no nutrients, no TKD, no working out at all. I didn’t even take the stairs or walk or do anything that involved an ounce more energy than I had to use. Running on fumes was an understatement. I sat and ate garbage for over a month.

Am I shocked by the outcome? Nope.

I’m just shocked that I actually let it go on for that long.

It’s stress. I always assumed I didn’t eat my feelings, but I absolutely do. I fell off the wagon, and I saw that horse fly down so far in front of me like it was on fire. And I just shrugged and pulled a burrito outta my purse and ate it on the side of the road.

I wanted to share this story with you because it does in fact, happens to everyone! Including ‘health obsessed people’. Things get bigger than us sometimes. I was totally disconnected from my present. My body and my mind weren’t speaking to each other because the other one thought that the other was just straight trip’n.

Gain 5lbs. Sure, 10lbs ehh not awesome. But when I gain 20lbs…I messed up, big time.

Am I discouraged? Yep. You bet-yer-ass I am.

But…there’s this thing about getting older. You usually learn your lessons. And you use those lessons to give you the confidence that you can go ahead and get past this one too.

I’ll be fine. I just need a little TLC, blood, sweat & tears. Little more sleep, little less taco. And I got this.

No fancy gyms. No diet pills. No insane juice cleanse. No gluten free paleo atkins powder miracle cure. I just gotta make those healthy connections again. We know what’s up, we don’t give up because we don’t know how to do it. We give up because we don’t make it a priority. Now I don’t wanna hear any of your shit anymore, yah heard? I just set myself back 20lbs. If I can do this, you can do this.

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

…and neither was dat ass.

The Hunger Games

Period.
Not these kinds —->  .
Not these kinds

bruins
Not these kinds

les_miserables_ver11_xlg (Period piece, duhsies)
THESE kinds.

period

Eww eww gross, something completely natural that happens to billions of women every day. Grow up. Get out of here with your tampon hate’n attitude. Oh nooo, the place where the miracle of conception happens and where another human being grows….INSIDE another human being. Blerrrgh ugggh vaginas, bluggggh.
Everyone done? We all cool?

Anyway, this isn’t really about riding the red pony (ok, now THAT one was gross). It’s about how your weight, mood and eating habits change. I have been getting my lady friend for 18 blissful years and I have mastered the bi-polar roller coaster that are my hormones.

Lifetime Movies couldn’t write a better way to get your period for the first time like the way it played out for me.

I was 12, in my cheerleading uniform rooting on the guys for Pop Warner Football. I like, totally had a crush on this boy and I was like, so excited he was there. Mom was there, as were all my female cousins. Went to the bathroom with all my little girly cheerleader friends and they noticed some red something going down my leg. ‘OH MY GAWD! DEZ GOT HER PEEEEERIOD!’ I went to tell my Mom, and she was so excited for me, then proceeded to tell ALL my female cousins. Who have the loudest Irish whisper I’ve ever heard, and everyone in the bleachers knew within minutes, which spread like wildfire. And on the bus ride home, like my totally cute crush sat next to me and said ‘Hey, is it true you got your period?’ and laughed and laughed. And then I DIED. Then, I got gigantic boobs overnight. And it was the worst thing in the entire world. Thee end.

Food cravings and things didn’t really hit me until I was in my 20’s. And now, minimum 10lbs of water weight each month and gigantic-er boobs. I’m not really into sweets; I’m a salty snacker which makes the bloating even worse. But the one symptoms of PMS that makes me insane and is the hardest to get over is:
Bottomless Pit Day.

It’s usually the 4th or 5th day right before actual lady time begins. Where no matter how much I eat, no matter what I eat, when or where, I will still feel absolutely starving. I usually force myself to go straight home and straight to bed early just to avoid eating. Have you ever heard of a guy who has to force himself to go to sleep earlier because he’s too hungry to function like a normal human? “Soz, Bro. I can’t come out cause I gotta go to bed cause I’m so f***ing hungry!”

Normally, if I just go to bed by 9pm, I won’t stay up all night and just binge on everything. By 9pm, I’ve already done the damage. I guess the good thing about it, is it only happens ONE day during my cycle. But it’s enough to throw me off kilter.

But doesn’t that sound just a little insane?

WHY does this happen?

Well, a few reasons. After consulting with my nutritionist, OB/GYN and Googling like minded individuals… it comes down to a spike in hormones AND nutrients.

Duh, right?

This day of insatiable hunger is because progesterone is at its highest, which contributes to hunger levels. It’s not just a trick we play on our boyfriends so we can get away with housing a whole pizza. It’s science, bro. Look it up.

Second, lack of nutrients. I already know I’m iron-deficient. I rarely eat red meat and I rarely eat meat all together. I don’t get a lot of protein, I don’t eat a lot of carbs (bready carbs). Clearly, something is missing by the time I hit the Hunger-pocalyse. I’d eat an entire cow covered in bread by the time I’m in full swing.

Third, a woman’s body is burning more calories come ovulation time. But not much, on average only about 100 calories more per day, which does not justify those 4000lbs of cheese puffs I just housed.

Fourth, I’ve been working out like a maniac again. So I’ve been naturally hungrier without my hormones playing tricks on me.

So with all these factors, no wonder why I turn into a monster. DEZ SMAAAASH!

So my goal was to figure out how to combat my inevitable Bottomless Pit Day, with nutrients and mind games.

1. Water Water Water.
2. Spinach Smoothie for breakfast with protein and flax seed.
3. Taking photos of my healthy food (and not so healthy food) and SHOW it to everyone. I try to be motivational and inspirational, so holding myself accountable is very important.
4. Working OUT. An hour of kickboxing should do it!
5. I ate meat! (Chicken)

Here is what I ate today:

Breakfast:IMG_20140115_085224

Water, grande pike with half and half, and spinach protein smoothie which consisted of: a bunch of frozen spinach (ran out of fresh), a lil OJ, whole foods chocolate protein powder, flax seed, water.

Snack:

IMG_20140115_125347

IMG_20140115_122307Clementine. Then I got way hungrier and ate a whole cucumber with non-fat ranch and a cheese stick.

Lunch:

IMG_20140115_134508Boloco just added new items to stuff your burrito with! So today I took out the rice and used quinoa instead! Buffalo chicken, celery, hot sauce and… KALE!!! My GOD was it delicious. And, their wraps are thinner (according to their email about healthier options). Normally, I eat half and save the other half for dinner. But again, I was in monster mode and I housed this entire thing.

Snack: ONE mini candy bar….

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Ugggh. Ok fine… TWO mini candy cars.

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As I was leaving work, I knew I was going to kickboxing and I was already starving (obvi). So I had this:

Pre-workout snack:

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100 Calorie Fiber English Muffin with a tablespoon of reduced fat Jif Peanut Butter. Normally I eat this for breakfast and it works. But I know if I didn’t eat before working out, I would absolutely go home and pig out. See, you gotta PREP to avoid the rage binge.

After a great workout, I figured I would just have another glass of Spinach protein smoothie and I would be ok.

Post Work Out:

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I was not. I was still starving. Notice how my walls are the same color as the smoothie… not sure how I feel about that.

So I had to make lunch for tomorrow and I made a lil extra so I could eat a small dinner

Tomorrows Lunch /Mini dinner:

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Shrimp sauteed with shallots, garlic and yellow peppers, lettuce and a 100 calorie tortilla wrap.

Now THAT did the trick. It’s 10pm right now, and I can honestly say I don’t feel the need to eat anymore. Nor will I. My cravings were to get Proscuitto Mac & Cheese from Scollay Square, donuts, 100 mini candies, cheetos, burger for dinner, mint chocolate ice cream, 8 glasses of wine and a block of cheese. All of which I had immediate access to.

It’s a matter of pre-planning. And not just for the days you know you’re gonna want to pig out, but devoting as much time into your meals throughout the week as you do to binge watching Netflix. Well, shit you dont even need that much time. I have two motivators for planning my meals. Number one, I know every single thing that I am eating and no mystery calories. Number two, I save HUNDREDS of dollars a month eating 95% of my meals from home. I know, I did the math. I can spent $200 a month on groceries and never have to buy a meal outside of my house.

I have beaten Bottomless Pit Day!!!!!

And you know what, it was really f***ing hard. It would’ve been so much easier to just eat what I wanted and dealt with the guilt later (because that’s how I’m wired). But I’m kind of tired of that crap. You keep doing what you always do, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

New Years REVOLUTIONS. (Yes, Revolutions…)

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Taking New Years Resolutions BACK. 

I’ll do a recap of 2013 later, a very powerful and growing year for me.

I need to talk about a few things that have been bothering me a bit.

Fat Shaming

Remember when these donkeys wrote about #fatshamingweek for women? The idea that harsh ridicule and public shaming to overweight WOMEN (not men) will help them lose weight and become hotties for their own good AND for the benefit of men to enjoy? I started to write a post about it, but decided against it. This topic was beat to death by angry women and internet trolls everywhere.  As an overweight girl AND someone who has been publicly fat shamed countless times, I just have to say something about it really quick.  Calling a woman fat is different than calling a man fat. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it still hurts.  Women have been “trained” to be judged on their aesthetics. It’s why beauty/cosmetics is a billion dollar industry. And no one judges women harder than other women… But this particular social media trend irked me. That calling someone fat, disgusting, unlovable, updateable etc., will make them change with a harsh dose of reality. Hey, guess what? There isn’t a fat person out there that doesn’t know they’re fat. It’s really not anyone else’s job force them into a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. Calling a fat person fat for one, makes you look like an insecure dick. Two, pointing out the obvious is unnecessary. Three, it will not… I repeat…will not make them lose weight/be healthy. No one wants to change solely based on that one website talking about how disgusting fat girls are. People who want to change and change successfully have discovered the benefits of dropping bad habits on their own terms.

But Being Fat is Bad for the Economy

Ok, shut up.

Not completely true. This argument makes me crazy. Being overweight DOES lead to more health complications which eat into healthcare costs “for everyone”.  Diabetes, pills, heart problems and even lead to people being unable to work and put on SSDI. But you know what is REALLY bad for the economy for health issues? Stress and Mental Illness (associated with stress). An obese person can cost up to $5400 for employers to insure. Stress related illnesses costs companies over $7200 per year!  Obesity is 20% of healthcare expenditures, while stress related costs are over 50% in America . You know what stresses people out the most? Being a dick. Worrying about other people’s issues like how fat THEY are. Anger issues. Control issues. Rage. Being caught up in an environment that isn’t good for you. FAT SHAMING.

Someone else being fat (or skinny) is really none of your f***ing business. It doesn’t raise your rent or prevent you from paying bills. It doesn’t prevent you from getting laid or finding a suitable life partner. It doesn’t prevent your kid from getting into college. It does not give you the right to disrespect different bodies, to their face, behind their backs or behind a keyboard. Relax.

Truth

Now, life’s daily annoyances about someone else being bigger are understandable. As a public transit person, when someone is taking up more than one seat it totally annoys me. But so does when a smaller person takes up more than on seat with 100 bags. Airplanes suck too. But it’s just that, an annoyance for you. Suck it up buttercup! Sorry you paid $500 for your plane ticket and you’re squished. I’ve been there, I get it. So what.  Especially living in a city, where people are around you at all times. You are not going to like everything people are saying, look like or doing. Get some thicker skin and realize you need to live your life around other people, forever and ever amen. Sure, get annoyed, get pissed off, think stupid thoughts in your head. But you still don’t have a moral obligation to right every person who has “wronged” you by an annoyance. Grow up.

Body Image

Another key point those dicks over at the website were trying to get across, is the body acceptance. Or “giving up and accepting it”. Teasing overweight women that it doesn’t matter how many Marilyn Monroe quote you use you’re never going to be attractive. Well, no. Probably not to THEM. Body acceptance is by no means to FORCE guys to like bigger women. Body love and body image is NOT FOR YOOOOOOU. NOT FOR GUYS (or GIRLS)! Stop being so egocentric, my GOD. You like what you like, no one is going to change that for you. If you like beards and tattoos, you’re not going to wake up one day and find them repulsive. No woman who loves herself is trying to convert you. Trust. Healthy body image is the acceptance to FINALLY let you love yourself. Tall, short, skinny, fat. It’s the approval you give yourself to let you be confident. Any insecure person finds confidence to be a threat. There will be haters. EVERYWHERE. You gotta be strong.

Now, the important message I want to convey:

Like a lot of people, I do not have sympathy for those who choose to live a life that is unhealthy for them and complain about it. Whatever it may be: Excessive drinking, being overweight, smoking, bad relationships etc. Watching someone who acknowledges what they’re doing is bad for them, refuses to change and STILL wants to complain about it? Not interested. I don’t want to hear about it.

I will however, listen to anyone who is making positive changes and is just having a really hard time. That is literally what my entire blog is about. Quitting smoking is HARD and it sucks! Trying to change your diet and working out every day suuuucks.  But you’re trying! You’re doing it. I’m here for you.

New Year’s Resolution Shaming

There has been an interesting amount of backlash about people who have New Year’s Resolutions pertaining to healthy living. Haters. Haters everywhere. Gym rats (hi!) who are pissed off at the swarm of Resolution people going to the gym and everything being so crowded. Yes, this painfully annoying too. But guess what; take this time to try something NEW. I know I’m not gonna get a treadmill at the tiny gym I’m at now. So, I’d like to go back to CrossFit and taekwondo. There was a huge rush before the new year as well, I could never get into my gym so I decided to try hot yoga again, and I LOVE IT. Safe to say I am addicted. Rather than being pissed off and just not going to the gym or being pissed off about it, I just found something new for a while. Or maybe focus your energy on learning to cook healthier meals. There is time and space for EVERYONE to change. I know you love lifting things and riding that elliptical to the moon, but use this opportunity to try something new for yourself.

Yes, the cliché is true, a lot of people will give up by March and you’ll have your gym back. Or you can just muscle your way through the crowds and suck it up.

BUT DON’T BE MAD FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO CHANGE. You were there once, remember? Shit on people for being fat and unhealthy, and then shit on people when they finally want to change and show up to do the job. Stop. Cut it out you big babies.

‘I hate when people use New Years as the time to start being healthy. You’re not serious about it, otherwise you would’ve started ages ago!’

Actually, the most successful time to make changes is as a New Year’s Resolution. Here is a video about the Science Behind New Year’s Resolutions! Spoiler: you’re 10 times more likely to be successful.

So EFF all those haters giving you a hard time for who you are, who you want to be and what you’re not.

Change isn’t about letting yourself deserve a better you. I’m sorry, but the truth is a lot of people don’t want you to change. They’re comfortable in whatever role they’ve put you in for their life. If you’re the chubby funny friend, it’s going to be hard to them to accept you as the fit marathon runner. If you’re their partying friend who loves to get wastey-pants, they aren’t going to like that you’re not going out as much.

THIS is the hardest part about changing. Not only is it REALLY hard to get started, even harder to stick with it, but most of the time, even your family and closest friends…don’t want you to change. Because it means they have to, also.

Be strong. Be Brave. And get your ass to the finish line.

I don’t post enough

I’m just on Facebook and the Twitters a lot. I say a lot of weird stuff, just so you know.  You should probably go over there and love me too.

So you know I’m not dead, I’m gonna post some of my favorite current songs.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy.

<3

 

 

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