Saturday, August 20, 2016

What Is Our World Coming To?

Seriously, to exist in this world, especially as a woman, is to have a thick skin. It doesn't help when you have a presidential candidate who is all about being mean - making fun of the disabled, saying horribly racist things, and basing his entire personality on being the most misogynistic person I have ever seen. The most shocking (and scary) thing about Trump running for President is the sheer masses of people who support him. That hit home for me, as I live in a blue state and are mostly surrounded by people I thought were reasonable and certainly not racist so I was under the (wrong) perception that our country had progressed a lot more than it apparently has.

Now I know this country is far more racist and sexist than I ever could imagine. I mean, I knew there were always going to be a few crazies out there, and I knew that the Religious Right want to take away my reproductive rights in the name of Jesus, but the sheer hatred I see now daily - on the news and social media mostly - is devastating.

Now, this is not new, I have been feeling like this for a while. But what brought it to top of mind this week that I felt I needed to write a blog? A silly YouTube by Meg Squats

Meg Squats is awesome. She's authentic, goofy and strong AF while still being a woman. I don't always watch her videos through to the end, because while powerlifting is cool to watch, I don't always need to watch her whole workout. I'm more interested in her candor about body image, crossfit, makeup, supplements, etc. This particular video is not her energetic self, and I didn't end up watching until the end so I don't know how the beach actually went (she was sick and it was making me feel so bad for her), but I did scroll down to the comments. Some were so disparaging, insulting and rude. It made me sad, not for her because she is a strong, tough woman that probably ran out of fucks to give a long time ago, but for society. That these people are the norm. The fucking "shamers" - no matter what you do, someone will try to shame you for it. It's fucking ridiculous. Apparently, that whole stone throwing thing went out the window with love thy neighbor and feed the poor, care for the sick, etc.

Yes, to put yourself out there on the internet, you have to have a thick skin. But you don't need to be strong or intelligent to type out rude and insulting comments on the Internet, and apparently the same goes for supporting Trump. Considering how behind we are socially, I don't know if I will live long enough to see a time when everyone is given the same opportunities despite race, sex, orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, etc.

Friday, August 19, 2016

On being happy

I'm finding with age comes wisdom. I had to get older to develop my IDGAF attitude. I had to step away to realize the energy I was putting towards a baby could be better spent in other ways. It's not always easy, but while I'm always looking for opportunity, I am also learning to be content with life as it stands. I have self-awareness and confidence I never had as a young girl, but I still struggle with loving myself when it comes to my appearance.

I can't imagine what it is like for girls today with more media than ever bombarding society with perfection. I am lucky enough to have grown up mostly without photoshop, no internet, so smartphones, limited television and media outlets, and certainly no social media, no comments from the peanut gallery of society either.

For me, 35 or so years ago, it felt simpler. I don't think I really started worrying about my appearance until I was about 9. I moved from my local school with kids who were in mostly my same socioeconomic level, and went to a magnet school with smart kids bussed in from all over the city. Interesting enough, most of these kids came from upper class neighborhoods (I still wonder if that was because they sought out the upper class kids for the program or if the lower income families just didn't have time to worry about learning) and all of a sudden I was being ridiculed for my clothes, my lunch, my haircut, etc. It's no wonder I started worrying about my appearance at a young age. I started to worry if my nose was too big, and if I had the right shoes or had capri sun and doritos in my lunch. Fortunately, I was thin at the time, so nobody could make fun of my weight.

We eventually moved to a different area, and when I started 7th grade, I was new with a clean slate. Since I was now more concerned with my appearance (and I had more control over my clothes) I fit in as well as anyone could. I was certainly not the most popular kid, but I was not an outcast. And yet, my confidence wavered. One day, in art class, we were cutting out magazine photos and I came across a Shape magazine. At that point, I became fairly obsessed with exercise and losing weight. I was practically my full height by 7th grade, and was creeping up to above 120 pounds. Oh the horror! I would count out my breakfast and my lunch to make sure I had only eaten 1000 calories before dinner because I decided that my family dinners couldn't be more than 500 calories and that would allow me to hit my goal of 1500 calories a day. Thank goodness I was not adept at counting calories at that time! I did aerobics in my bedroom, and ab exercises every day after school.

I already mentioned that I started lifting weights in high school, and I do remember not counting calories but going to the gym every day after school. I was not in any way, shape or form fat, but I wasn't really excited with my abs (I'm an apple shape for sure and carry most of my fat in my belly). I can remember trying to chase that 120 pounds for so long, thinking if I could get to 120 pounds, I would look great (and I could exercise racehorses, especially if I could get my weight even a few pounds lower). So much information on how to get fit and lose weight, as well as no comparisons for anyone my height. I remember 120 being the "ideal" weight - yeah, maybe for someone 5'5" with no muscle mass!

Fast forward over the years - higher weight, lower weight, higher, lower, higher. I never did get back to 120 pounds, thank goodness, but I still have not been happy. Fortunately, I never developed a serious eating disorder, but I do have a crap relationship with food. I could blame my body for a lot of things, including failing to get pregnant. But now I'm actually happy with my strong, incredible body. I do think some of it comes from age and accompanying wisdom, and it helps that I no longer have a single fuck to spare. I'm not 100% satisfied, I know I have a long way to go, but building muscle has helped my body image more than anything else, including being bombarded with "love your body" messages. Having real scientific information on how to eat and work out helps too - knowledge is power and I feel capable, which also helps.

I am now on a journey. The journey is most important because there is no finish line! When I get to a lower body fat, I won't be done - that is the time to lift heavy and try to build muscle. An athlete never stops trying to get better, and I don't want to stop either. And now that I have found happiness,  I have also found flexibility and freedom. As early as a a few months ago, I had set my time limit on getting to my "goal weight" at the end of October, but no later than the end of November. Well, shit happens, and I am not losing fast enough for any of that.

But in struggle, also comes opportunity. After my years of stupid dieting, I do not lose the way I probably should based on my activity and calories. I should probably spend some time looking for my maintenance calories, and at least giving myself a bit of a diet break. I am not willing to do that yet, however. I do want to give myself a chance to lose a bit more. I also don't want to be dieting over the holidays. I've always heard that maintenance is the best plan over the holidays, and I want to give that a shot. So, no matter what weight I am, I will start maintenance on Thanksgiving day, focusing on moderation, eating like a normal person (rather than a binger or a dieter), and continuing to count my calories and weighing daily to find my maintenance level. Because I've already found happiness in my strength, my confidence won't take a hit, and if anything, I will be able to hit weight loss better than ever in January because of my refreshed metabolism and any extra muscle mass I have been able to gain over those six weeks or so. I'm super happy and confident with this plan. Here's to future, as well as the present!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Look

Once again, I thought I needed a change. Even though I have moved away from being an infertility blogger and want to move away from being a childfree blogger, I can't bring myself to really remove those links from the right hand side of the screen. I'm going to guess those who read my blog now either already know me or they found me in a search, and my goal is to move further from that niche and just be a woman blogger with a side of fitness. Which means those links aren't relevant any longer.

I suppose I will start thinking about who and where I should link. As well as update bios, etc. So much work to do when you evolve.  All those people are still in my Feedly so I will still be keeping up with them.

Here's to new beginnings and fresh starts.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dear Self: Please Always Remember This

You're a total and complete bad ass. And lifting made you that way.

My love affair with weights began a long time ago, in high school, on swim team. I grew up in a completely non-athletic home, and never even really knew about sports, running or even calisthenics, body building etc. So as a 15  year old high school sophomore who had joined the swim team, when they took us into the weight room for dry land training, I could barely lift a thing. Fortunately, one of the biggest reasons beginners progress so quickly is due to better muscle activation after a few sessions. I lifted in swim team, and then joined a gym after I left the team. I continued lifting off and on for years, but I then had a knee injury and quit cold turkey.

After that, I didn't consistently have a gym membership so I didn't consistently lift weights. I thought I was a "hard gainer" who didn't build muscle easily, but what I really had was an issue with training and eating, trying to do a haphazard lifting routine on a very low calorie diet.

When I really took weight loss seriously, I actually quit lifting. Why? Because I lost weight faster when I didn't lift. Um, yeah! That's all your muscle leaving your body! I hadn't quit my gym membership at that time, but I rarely, if ever, went into the weight room. I used the gym for the treadmill. I was running half marathons and training for my first full, and was successful at getting to a healthy weight, but I was no happy with how I looked. I was still skinny fat.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I have adopted many diet schemes. Weight watchers, "Real Food." eating "clean," Whole 30, and many more. All gimmicks. Now I look back at all the ups and downs I've had over the years, many, many ups and downs in weight, and the one thing I didn't have was a solid lifting program or a reasonable diet. I'm not sure why this year was different.

I joined a gym and started by only doing cardio. Then I looked at my bookshelf with "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" a book I had bought 8 years ago, and said, what the heck, I might as well try. I finished that program and then got excited about starting a REAL, LIVE BODYBUILDING ROUTINE! So I've been lifting weights consistently for 7 months now, and my self esteem is through the roof.

I didn't try to lose weight at first, I didn't even count calories, and then I found IIFYM (If it fits your macros) and flexible dieting. It's like Weight Watchers but much more reasonable calorie wise, and puts some emphasis on where your calories are coming from. I take the most flexible approach, stay at or under my calories, and try to get a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, at least 50 grams of fat and the rest in whatever I feel like. I eat a lot of veggies, lean meat and fruit, but also allow myself to have pasta, cheese, tortilla chips, even wine. I don't beat myself up over anything - a missed workout, a lazy day, a day of going over my calories, or even going under my protein. It's only one day, and I get right back on the program then next day.

I am still nowhere near my goal weight, but I see muscle in my legs and arms. I can squat below parallel. I can deadlift 135 lbs. I'm starting to bench press and working towards doing a chin up. Weight loss has been slow, but instead of counting the pounds until I can eat fries, I have a moderate amount of fries if I want them. What I am doing is sustainable, and I don't feel deprived. I finally feel like this is a journey, and as long as I don't dwell on my chubby midsection, I feel hot AF.

And I owe all of this to lifting weights. I love being strong, and I hope I always remember that no matter how tight money is, I always make room for lifting one way or another.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

2016 Goals

I did not do a resolutions post in January. In fact, I was sorely missing from this blog for several months right around that time. No bother, resolutions are fickle anyway. But, I have more than 4 months to accomplish things this year, and I am pretty determined to.

Weight Loss
Still going, not as fast as I would like, but I'll take what I can get. I am hoping that some of the slowness is due to gaining some muscle mass as I lose fat. I guess we'll see. Right now I'm in the upper 180's. I was hoping to be in the 160's before Thanksgiving. We'll see. Losing weight while prioritizing weight training is a new one for me so I'm not really sure where I will end up weight wise, I just know how I want to look. I'm also not depriving myself at all. There used to be a time when I would starve myself every weekday and then go hog wild on weekends, so of course my Friday morning weight would be far less than my Monday morning weight. I'm pretty consistent now, so my approach to food is definitely healthier.

I am currently running a lifting program that has me doing all basic lifts - squat, bench, bent over row, Romanian deadlift, overhead press, calf raise and assisted chin ups. My goal is to increase my strength by 25% by end of September, and then another 25% by the end of of the year. Those are fairly lofty goals, especially while eating in a deficit, but it gives me something to push for

I do miss running, but I'm not interested in any long distance stuff right now. I haven't really run much since last year's LA Marathon. I am running through the Zombies, Run! C25K program, and should finish that by end of September. After that I want to just improve my 5K time. I would like to be 5K ready and possibly enter some races, even though there really aren't races in my little po dunk town.

Still working towards paying off debt. Hoping hub's business gets off the ground soon.

I need to spend more time with home organization. The chaos is driving me nuts. I think I need to implement a daily to do list to try and get it under control without burning out.

We have definitely fallen into a rut, and I'm not the nicest wife these days due to stress caused by his business not yet making any money. I'm going to make a concerted effort to be nicer.

Whew, that's enough goals for now.

Monday, August 8, 2016

101 Things Update

Well, 101 things in 1001 days didn't work out. It's been 2540 days and I did not finish.

But I have continued to accomplish some stuff, so yay.

During the first half of the year, I finished New Rules of Lifting 4 Women and now I am doing a classic weight training routine.

I've grown some tomatoes, and some peppers. Herbs were harder.

I still haven't been to Napa, but I did discover Calaveras and Amador county wine regions and they are lovely (as well as being much closer to me!)

We went to the Winchester Mystery House a few years ago, during a midnight tour.

Hubs is starting a new business!

I've been watching all kinds of plays with the local theatre groups being so accessible.

I've been so lacking in other areas, but have been able to do other things I never knew I wanted to do... such as visit one of the most haunted places in the US, AT NIGHT (Walker Ames House). I've also been to Bodie at night, THREE times! Drove up the coast with only my dogs as company, and I'm going to do it again. Celebrated Halloween and Christmas with my mom, even though we had to do both at the same time in early October. Cut down and then decorated my dream Christmas tree (easily twice as tall as me).

I do think about the person I was seven (holy crap, SEVEN?) years ago. I am not the same person now. Many of the items on my list aren't as important to the person I am today.

I think goals are important, so I will be sharing some new ones, as well as some plans. Goals and plans, plans and goals.