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Clothes and Sizes

And this is why I should try everything on.

That's what I've been thinking to myself this morning. In late December, I had some coupons for Dick's Sporting Goods that were set to expire, and they had some really good clearance sales on workout clothes, so I splurged a bit. However, I didn't try things on. I figured, if they don't fit now, they'll fit soon. And I bought them all in mediums.

Some fit perfect. And since they're stretchy and elasticized, they'll continue to fit even as I shrink. But these shorts I'm wearing now... they might have been a mistake. Every step I take wedges them further in my butt, and the length is that length where they keep creeping up between your thighs. That makes jogging lots of fun... when every four strides you're trying to pick a wedgie and pull them down.

Some things just don't fit. And it's not my fault. (Except that I didn't try them on.)

Why do we, as women, so often blame ourselves, our bodies, for clothes not fitting? Why do we get mad in the dressing room when the size we want to wear won't come up past our knees? Why do so many of us have a goal size in mind when we start a fitness or diet routine? The sizes are meaningless. There's no consistancy. There's been times I've gone shopping and bought shirts in small, medium and large, and they've all fit perfectly. I own jeans and shorts in sizes between a 6 and a 14 that fit perfectly. I have jeans in the same brand and same style, but in different sizes that all fit perfectly. I'm usually a small or medium in Misses, but an extra-large in Juniors. No wonder so many teenage girls have body image issues. They can be perfectly fit and healthy, but have to buy clothes in sizes that make them think they're ginormous.

Men don't know how easy they have it. It's standarized and all goes by measurements. They buy their pants by their waist size and inseam, and that's it. Their shirts go by their neck size and sleeve length. They don't have to worry about band sizes and cup sizes when they buy their undergarments. They don't have to worry about being one size on top and another on bottom when buying swimsuits. It's just so easy for them!

Now, if y'all will excuse me, I have a wedgie to pick, then a pair of shorts to change...

Dear 2011,

We're not off to a great start here, are we? I thought a new year meant new opportunities and possibilities. Not more 2010.

Let's start with the first week. Yeah, the Monday I woke up with a long-haired cat sitting on my chest covered in poop. That was wonderful. Had to clean her off, and she's a psycho ninja kitty, then wait until my appetite returned before I could have breakfast. How is it that the smell of cat poo just clings to your nosehairs? Why can't the smell of roses do that? Or at least Febreez?

Breakfast that day. A bagel. I'm happily chewing along, and hear a crunch. I think, "WTF?" and assume it's a rogue eggshell. Nope. It was my tooth. A molar broke. 

Then we took my car to get inspected. It was driving just fine, but apparently needed $715 in repairs. New brakes. New tires. Some things I've never heard of.

Did I meantion I'm out of work? Yeah, that's always nice. To have almost three car payments worth of money go right out the window.

To top it off, the day after I got my car home, the battery died. I think the seat belt got in the way of the door, and it didn't close properly, leaving the overhead lights on. But the terminals were all corroded and it woudln't take a charge or a jump. Got it going eventually, though.

I don't remember week two. I guess it was ok. Nothing horribly traumatic, anyway.

Last week, I slipped on ice down my back porch steps. Bruised the daylights out of my back, hips, ankles and tailbone, which still hurts like hell. And my inlaws were coming to town, and we were hosting a party, so I had to make sure the house was top to bottom clean. Mother in law and some of the party guests are allergic to pets and we have one dog and seven cats. That's a lot of heavy duty cleaning.

Day before they're set to arrive, my husband gets sick. Stomach bug. After lots of Pepto, he's feeling mostly himself by the time his parents arrive, but is starting to feel icky again come Saturday - party night. He did put on his game face and power through it. With the help of Pepto.

Now today. I got the stomach bug. Worse than he had it. Pepto isn't helping and immodium never works on me. It struck right after I finished my Sports Active workout and shoveled the sidewalks. I planned on eating lunch and hitting the gym. That never happened.

And my bruised tailbone is still bugging me. It's insult on injury to have pain when sitting and getting up, without having to get up and run to the bathroom quickly and urgently. And now that I'm sick, I'm feeling every squat, pushup, crunch, curl, mountain climber, sprint, whatever, I've done lately. What was a mild and almost enjoyable "Yeah, I pushed myself good" burn is now "MY PLAYSTATION TRIED TO KILL ME!!!"

Not cool, 2011. Not cool at all.  But I am rather amazed I was able to type all this without a bathroom dash.


Shoulda kept my receipt so I could exchange this year-ily,


Being Skinny

I see way too many people striving to be skinny. Whether it's setting unrealistic weight loss goals, jeans sizes, or simply quoting the saying, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

Skinny shouldn't be anyone's goal. Being healthy should. Adult women shouldn't aim to fit in to preteen girls' clothing.

I've been skinny a few times in my life. It's not all that great. I was a naturally skinny child and teenager. Didn't try to gain weight or lose weight, but I wasn't a big eater. And I was always cold, got sick easliy, had ribs and hipbones that stuck out. My spine stuck out like a stegosaurus. As I grew older, I started developing a healthy appetite and grew some hips and a more womanly figure. And I liked it.

In my mid 20s, after a bad breakup, I became nearly anorexic. Not a "I need to lose weight" anorexia. Just a complete loss of appetite from what I know now was undiagnosed depression.  Some of my clothes were from the children's department. I was THAT skinny. Fortunately, once I realized what a total douchebag my ex was, and that I was actually happier without him than with him, I regained an interest in living and food. And dating, which lead to meeting my husband and starting our happily ever after.

Fast forward a few years, and I developed TMJ. Temporomandibular joint disorder. Big words for a slipped disc in my jaw joint. Both jaw joints, really, but one more than the other. It took over a year to get diagnosed. Before that, my doctors thought it was my sinuses, or my eyesight, or migraines, or depression, because it caused horrible headaches that radiated throughout my whole face. It wasn't until it got even worse that I realized it was the jaw, when I couldn't open my mouth more than a few millimeters without pain and awful grating and crunching noises. Even after getting diagnosed, getting proper treatment was a six month ordeal. So I had a solid 18 months of not being able to eat properly, and lost weight again. I could barely open my mouth wide enough to eat a McDonald's french fry. I had to cut food into tiny pieces and "chew" with my tongue, mashing the food against the roof of my mouth.

Once I could finally eat again, I made up for lost time. Being able to enjoy food was such a luxury. I didn't care if I gained weight. I was just so happy to CHEW again. I gag at the thought of ever having to have a meal replacement shake again. BLEAH! Even pudding and jello and soup have lost their appeal, since it was all I could eat for a while. 

Skinny sucks. Being deprived of the enjoyment of eating sucks. Hurting your husband when you sit on his lap because your ass is all bony... sucks!

So I settled in at a comfortable weight. Maintained it with ease for a good many years. Occassionally, my jeans would get a little tight. I'd try to lose a few pounds, but I did it wrong, and just ate less food, without exercising much. When the numbers didn't drop fast enough, I thought, "Ah, screw it. I'm not going to starve myself to lose a half pound a week, when I can eat what I want and stay at this weight." So I coasted comfortably at the high end of a healthy BMI, occassionally tipping just into the overweight region. 

To be perfectly honest, I've felt better - healthier and stronger - when I've been a tad bit overweight than I ever did when I was skinny. Even when my skinny was a supposedly healthy (acceptable BMI) skinny. I didn't get sick as often. I wasn't always cold. I could carry heavy things and move heavy furniture without asking for help. I felt... powerful.

If you've read my other blog posts, you'll know I suffer from anxiety and depression, following the loss of both parents within a little over a year's time. When I reached rock bottom, I stopped caring about food again, but in an opposite way than I did before. Instead of avoiding food, I craved it. A bag of candybars would be gone in a day or two. Nothing really mattered, but chocolate did give me a kick. Along with ten extra pounds. 

I don't know what exactly happened to get me out of my depression. Maybe it was just time. Maybe I had enough wallowing. Maybe my depression-fueled, spur of the moment ideas to get tattooed and my navel pierced made me realize, "Hey, if I'm going to show these to people, I might want to tone up a bit."  Maybe I was ok with being 15 pounds over my "ideal" weight, but 25 over was just too much. Or maybe it was just losing too many people to health problems (my parents, a former coworker, one of my husband's friends who was our age) that I want to do all I can to make the most of my time on this planet.

But I'm taking charge now.  I want to be strong and fit. Yeah, losing a little bit of my extra mush is nice, but it's bigger than that. The number on the scale, the size on my jeans... they doesn't matter. My heart, my lungs, my bones and muscles... those are what really matter.

Please don't idealize skinny. Be healthy. Be strong. Be powerful. It rocks.

When to reward myself...

I'm definitely getting a new tattoo. Already have the basic design in my head. Scottish thistle with maiden name family motto under it. Already have a hundred dollar gift certificate to put towards it that I won right before Christmas. Already know I want it on my right shoulder.

But... when? When I reach my halfway point, which would be 12.5 pounds? I originally thought at 15 pounds. Or maybe when I complete my first 5k, which will be at the end of March? Or should I go for symbolism and get it on April 22nd, which would have been my Mom's 76th birthday? I got my 2nd on what would have been my Dad's 80th birthday (by coincidence), and my first the day my cat Fergus died (on a whim), so then they'd all have extra special meaning...

Making strides...

I ran a mile and a quarter today.

Let me say it again. I. ran. a mile and a quarter.  I've never run a mile and a quarter in my life. A week ago, I was thrilled to the bone than I could run for five minutes straight, and today, I ran three times further. Fifteen minutes straight instead of five.

Ok, so maybe at 5mph, the word "run" is stretching it. It's a jog, and a slow one at that. I'm pokey, but I figure, once I can do the distance, doing it faster won't be a great difficulty. Might even be easier!

Next time, I'll aim for a mile and a half. Just keep inching on up.

Who knew it would be so easy? The hardest part was just making up my mind to do it. The rest is just time and practice.

I will SOOOOOO be ready for that 5k in March!



"If every day were like today..."

That little message when I complete my daily food diary. I love it. In five weeks, I'll be one pound shy of my mini-goal of 15 pounds lost. That's when I'm going to get my next tattoo. WOO-HOO! So in about five weeks, I'll have to have it drawn up and schedude an appointment with good ol' Bruce.

Every day this week, when I read that message, I thought to myself, "If every day were like today... I'D DIE!!!" But I'm not dead, even after a week of staying under my calorie goal and exceeding my exercise goal.

I can do this. I already did this. I can keep doing this. That's exciting.

Sad news...

One of my husband's friends from his hometown of Baltimore died on Sunday. They'd drifted apart over the years, in fact, I never even met the guy, but it's a bummer none-the-less.

Joey was nicknamed Joey Bag of Cheeseburgers, because they'd play Dungeons & Dragons and he'd LITERALLY have a bag of McDonald's triple cheeseburgers that he'd eat during the course of the evening. He was a BIG guy. Like probably 500-600 pounds big. Diabetic. Host of other health problems. Super smart. Super funny. Super nice. Just didn't care enough about himself to get the medical help he so desperately needed to get healthy. He always knew he wasn't going to live a long life. He joked he'd be surprised if he hit 30. He did. And then some. I think he was about 38-ish.

It's so sad. So much wasted potential. :(

There and Back Again

Hi all! My name's Lorina and I'm a couch potato.

Well, not totally. I've always been a fairly active person, if doing handyman work around the house and walking the dog is active. But I've never been one for running. Ever. Probably the last time I jogged with any consistency was in college, because a phys ed class was required. And I was pretty good at it, but that was about 18 years ago.

The last few years have been ROUGH. In August of 2008, my Mom became very ill and was hospitalized for four months, in four different area hospitals, until she passed away in December of 2008. In January of 2009, I lost my job of five years (as a vet tech - I'm an animal lover) and around that time was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Well, hell, who wouldn't be?!

So most of 2009 was spent trying to get my feet back under me. Just as life was beginning to feel normal again, my father passed away suddenly in February 2010. The rest of this year has been a bit of a blur. Actually, more of a whirlwind. While I miss my parents more than anything, my family has pulled closer than ever. If anything, 2010 was a year of celebrations! A few family reunions, my 20th high school reunion, and a ton of other parties and get-togethers with friends and family. Unfortunately, all the parties have added 10 pounds in the past few months.

I hit a low on Halloween when my seemingly healthy 2 year old cat Fergus died. He'd had a few days when he threw up, then wasn't eating right. We took him to the emergency vet when he seemed a little dehydrated, and he got fluids and some meds to help settle his stomach. They didn't think much of his illness, either. The next morning, he was dead. Devastating. Not as devastating as losing my parents, but a final straw that broke me. I spent the next few weeks in a daze. I functioned, but I wasn't all there. It just felt like life was completely out of my control, that nothing I did mattered. I knew I had to get out of the depression.

A little over four weeks ago, at yet another family party, a friend of my niece started talking about the Warrior Dash - a 5k run through the woods involving boot camp obstacles and a jump over fire at the end. My eyes lit up! I fancy myself a bit of a badass, fascinated with Celtic and Norse warfare, and this sounded right up my alley. And they finish the race with beer and turkey drumsticks! You get a viking hat for participating!!! It's as if they custom designed a run just for me!

So that was my initial kick in the tushie. The Dash is the weekend following my 39th birthday in June. Or, as I like to say, the 10th anniversary of my 29th birthday.  Starting four weeks ago, I've been making a point to walk the dog longer and more frequently. Got a pair of those toning shoes for walking (not that I'm expecting any miracles from them, but they do make my feet happy). Started playing "Move" games on the PS3 (and hurt my shoulder playing Gladiator!). Then started Couch to 5k three weeks ago.

First off... a Pekingese is not the best workout partner. Three inch legs can't run too far or fast. And he got distracted at every tree. But we did it. Sort of. Kind of. And then a few days later tried again. The dog didn't help, so I took him home and took off on my own.

Winter in northeast Pennsylvania is not a great time to begin an outdoor exercise program. Not when breathing cold air causes a bit of an asthmatic attack. I overdid it. And planned poorly. I hit a wall. The next day for my run would have been Christmas Eve. But I still had some things to buy, some food to make to take to my brother's for our celebration. So I didn't exercise. Then Christmas Day... not going to happen then, either. Then we had a big snowstorm. Can't run in the snow... half the people around here don't take care of their sidewalks. WALKING on them is dangerous enough!

So I joined Planet Fitness. It still seems wrong to me, to drive about 10 miles round trip to walk or ride on stationary machines. Or to pick things up just to put them down again.  But jogging... I can finally understand that. It's addictive! And endorphins absolutely ROCK!

Four weeks today since I made my decision. Down six pounds. Nineteen to go, if I keep my goal. I might not need to. I might decide I'm great where I'm at before then. My weight was never my main concern. My health was. As long as I'm in a healthy range and able to accomplish the things I want to accomplish, I'm happy. Granted, being completely comfortable in a bikini next summer would be nice...

I began week three of C25K yesterday, and did much more than required. I even ran 5 minutes straight for the first time ever. Considering what I hard time I had just jogging the ONE minute three weeks ago, this feels amazing to me. It finally seems doable. I will become a runner! I'm going to be athletic! I'm going to be healthy! This is frickin' awesome!

I no longer view exercising as a chore, as a punishment for being lazy and eating too much. Now it feels like a special treat I'm giving to myself every time I break a sweat, every time I reach a new goal.

Tonight I'm going to a Zumba class for the first time. Despite taking ballroom dance lessons for years a decade or so ago, I'm a horrible dancer, but this will be fun. I'm going with a big crowd of family and friends. Wish us luck that we don't get kicked out for being too rowdy!
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