Posts Tagged ‘excercise’

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It’s OK Val, we all fall into a rut sometimes. Even though you were once a hot, chiseled, latex-wearing tight little package of twisted steel and sex appeal, try not to let this current sad state of affairs get you down. You’ve gotten a little chubby! That’s OK! Just put down the sandwich and get right back on that hamster wheel. Am I right?

Well unfortunately, Val and I both know it ain’t always that easy. I remember what it was like to feel like a hot and sexy superhero too. It was awesome!!! Kickin some ass and takin’ names. 45 minute Insanity workout everyday, showered, dressed and ready to take on the world by 9 am? I think SO! I worked hard, I felt great, I looked good! I laughed in the face of Danger!!! I pinned a plethora of healthy meal ideas and fitness motivation pictures to my Pinterest Board. I was unstoppable!

So what went wrong, you ask?

Queue Swimsuit Season please.

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Now to be clear, I was feeling pretty darn good right around March/April. I’m always in the best shape of the year at the most pointless and inopportune time of the year. Exactly when everyone is wearing parkas and sweaters and hiding on their couches under a Snuggie, that’s when I look best in my bathing suit. Its like a law of nature. Why? Because January to April happens to be my “slow” season for cakes, and I have the time to make working out and eating healthier into a part-time job. Which, let’s be honest, it really needs to be in order to look even remotely close to one of those ‘motivational’ fitness models. The trouble with those girls, however, is that they start out looking MOTIVATIONAL but after a month or two of working out and trying to eat “clean”, the only thing all those motivational fitness pics on Pinterest motivate you to do is give your computer the finger, type “quick and easy desserts” into the search bar and forget you ever saw them.

So ANYWAY, as I was saying, I was rockin’ my bikini in April. Well I live in SASKATCHEWAN and we get approximately 2 DAYS of hot beach weather per year and they generally don’t arrive until late July. That’s a tough row to hoe, my friend. That’s basically a 3 month all-you-can-eat BOOOFAY of hotdogs, macaroni salad, ice cream and beer to barge through before arriving at DESTINATION:SMOKE SHOW in July. And if you’re willpower-challenged like me, it’s pretty much a lost cause. You see, friends, I fell into a rut.

My Rut started where most ruts do, in the kitchen, but not for the reason you think. I found myself at the end of my 2 month Insanity program at approximately the same time my busy season started gearing up. This was the perfect storm, a combination of excuses ranging from “I’m too busy” to “I’m too tired” to my personal favorite, “I can afford to take a little break and reset my metabolism.” Before you know it, my running shoes have collected a layer of dust, I’m covered in frosting, and I’m shoveling cupcakes down the hatch with reckless abandon in the interest of “quality control”.

So much for my swimsuit dreams. I take my cake breaks on the couch, drinking beer and eating sandwiches, trying not to make eye contact with the poster of Jillian Michaels taped to my treadmill. I begin wearing my yoga pants a lot. I start to try and rationalize the situation, attempting to spread a little silver lining around this unfortunate cloud of despair. Maybe all this cake will go straight to my boobs!
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Or not. My tank tops are tighter, but in all the wrong areas. I begin to lose hope. Every day that passes is another day closer to “Someday, when I feel like working out again,” and that day never comes. Welcome to my Rut. Its deep and dark and smells like fried chicken.

Yesterday, I threw caution to the wind. I caught a glimpse of my ass in the window of the ice-cream shop (where they know me by name) and went straight home to lace up the runners. Today, I groaned and creaked to life as my super stiff body tried to roll out of bed. And so, I’m back on the hamster wheel. Come on, Val! There’s room for two!

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Why, hello Shaun T. We meet again. As much as I hold you in deep disdain and find your penchant for screaming “PUUUSH!!!” alarming, I must admit I’ve begun to look forward to our daily rendezvous. It seems you’ve had an interesting effect on me, one I never anticipated. At first, I feared you. (So much, I actually peed myself, haha.) Then, I hated you. And now, my heart is all aflutter with anticipation while I’m lacing up my crosstrainers. You’ve got the body of Adonis and the voice of Will Smith, and you make me do things, crazy things, I never thought I’d do! How do you work that voodoo magic that you do?

I’ve been following the Insanity program for over a week now. I mentioned previously that I had been working out via runs on the treadmill for about a month prior, in “training” for Insanity. Now that’s Insanity, right? But I honestly think I would not be pulling off this workout now if I hadn’t! Let me give you a little visual on what the floor looks like when I finish a 40 minute workout with Shaun T.:

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That’s SWEAT on the floor. Not Pee! I swear! 🙂 But seriously, this is an intense workout! I’ve never been one to shy away from physical activity but just watching the promo’s for this program made me want to grab a jar of peanut butter and lay on the couch watching Biggest Loser. But I didn’t. I pushed myself, and I’m so glad I did. Here’s why….

I’ve been like millions of other women out in the world who have a vision or a goal in their heads about what kind of life they want to live or what kind of body they want to have or whatever, and just wait for some miracle to happen to make it come true. And then I cry in my peanut butter when, “Surprise!” nothing changes. Why did nothing change? Because I changed nothing. I realized this. A lightning bolt struck me one day and I finally got it, that if I want different results, I have to try a different approach. I’ve gone on workout kicks before too, but after about 2 or 3 weeks, they fizzled out as I got more and more comfortable with believing that what I had achieved so far was “good enough”. This time around, something in me keeps telling me to Push Harder. Every day I try and give it a little bit more. Go a little faster. Go a little longer. Try a little Harder. The result is that I feel strong. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I feel like I am in control! Which, as any fellow Control Freak might agree, is a pretty fabulously powerful feeling.

Crazy things are happening. I wake up in the morning after being up 3 times with the baby, but I am not tired. I am not grouchy. I can’t wait to put my feet on the floor and breathe today’s air. I don’t snap at the kids. Butterflies trail behind me as I make breakfast, even BEFORE my morning coffee! Oh, you spilled your milk and cereal all over the table and floor? No problem! What’s that? You forgot to tell me you need 2 dozen cupcakes for the bake sale this morning? Let me just whip some up for ya there SweetCheeks. I did a week of Insanity, I can handle anything you little turds are gonna throw at me! I’m Bad Ass!! Holy Patience, Batman! Suddenly, I don’t feel like I’m going to lose it on the 99 year old driving 2mph down mainstreet in front of me. But even that is not the most miraculous thing happening.

I feel good about myself. I look in the mirror and I like what I see, because I am finally realizing that my body is a vehicle and a tool, not an identity. My body is capable of anything I ask it to do, if not today then maybe tomorrow, which is pretty amazing. I am starting to understand the cliché that “beauty begins on the inside”. Power, Strength, Endurance, are all qualities that must begin as inner virtues in order to manifest physically. And they do. My muscles, my cardio capacity, my posture are all improving slowly but steadily. I am beginning to walk differently, with purpose. And ya, maybe a little swagger! Can you blame me, my ass looks good in my jeans again!

There is so much value in feeling pride in your achievements. This doesn’t just apply to working out! I really want to extend the challenge to any of you out there who may be feeling defeated, or just feeling like you need a change, to try something different. Change your inner dialogue. Push yourself to break out of the box that you have put yourself in, labeled, and packed away on the shelf. Talk yourself out of your excuses!

One of the ways I decided to break out of the old routine was to start this blog. Not only was writing something I had always enjoyed and missed doing, but was also a great way to become more accountable for my goals. I mean, if I SAY I’m gonna do something and everyone out there reading this knows I said it, I’m much less likely to go back on it! Now that I’ve gone and said my ass looks good in my jeans again, you can bet yours that I’m gonna be workin’ out again tomorrow!

Peace Out!
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Insanity has arrived. It usually visits me every day in some form or another, but yesterday it came in the form of a Fitness DVD collection and a promise that this “Insane Workout” would get “Insane Results”. Well here’s hoping.

Like so many other people out there desperate for change, I have ventured down many different avenues in a quest to lose weight and tone up time and time again. Some of them worked, if only until my love of peanut butter, marshmallows and chocolate bars won out. Generally speaking, the best results have come from the boring, annoying old “Eat Right, Work Out A lot” route, which I have to admit is pretty satisfying if you can stick with it. But even at my fittest, I was never really TONED. Sometimes thin, sometimes in shape, but never Really Lean and Toned….which brings me to Insanity. Literally.

Even though I have been consistently running every day, I feel like I need to ramp up my workout. I am in pretty good cardiovascular shape right now, but you probably wouldn’t guess that by looking at me in a bathing suit. I try to cut myself a break because baby #3 isn’t even 8 months old yet, but at some point you gotta get back on the hamster wheel and I feel like it’s probably time. I want to be healthy, have more energy, feel good about myself, blah blah blah, but the real reason I am doing Insanity is because I want to LOOK GOOD! Totally vain, I know, but whatever. My clock is ticking ladies! Looking hot in that suit is definitely on my Bucket List and this is one goal I feel like I am ready to take one final kick at.

Why now? I’ll tell you. The baby maker is closed for business and the boss is ready to take her body back. Seriously. After almost 8 years of renting my uterus and other miscellaneous sublets out to these squatters, I am ready to finally reclaim my real estate and give it a little curb appeal! I have spent the majority of the last 8 years either pregnant, nursing, or waking up every 2 hours and operating on absolutely no sleep. Stretching my body out to ungodly proportions. Riding a terrifying, hormonal emotional roller coaster. Eating macaroni and cheese leftovers and hiding under a t-shirt and behind the diaper bag at the beach. Mommy needs to get her groove back. Now that being said, my 3 little twerps may have hijacked my once glorious boobs and left me with a couple of deflated water balloons, but the rest I have to take responsibility for. My kids didn’t give me this ass, Peanut Butter did.

So……I open the mysterious brown box marked INSANITY. My fingertips are quivering with anticipation. The body I’ve always wanted is in this box!!!! It feels like Christmas back when I was a kid and getting gifts was fun and not a tortured exercise in feigning excitement and disguising disappointment. I hold in my hands the most terrifying home workout on the market, or so I hear. Shaun T stares back at me with his deep piercing brown eyes, the caption at the bottom of the picture reading, “Prepare to Get Your Ass Kicked”. Good LAAAWD what have I gotten myself into. Well, let me tell you exactly how it’s going so far.

Day 1 is the fit test. This is where you are supposed to follow along with these 3 insanely fit people and perform 8 different “moves” for 1 minute each, and record how many reps you can do. Then you repeat the test every 2 weeks for 60 days. Now I have to say, after the fit test, I was feeling a bit like a bowl of jelly but not totally out of breath, and I figured, “Hell, that wasn’t so hard. I think I should really squeeze in a run, too.” I mean, the baby was still sleeping and you can’t waste a golden opportunity like that. So being the idiot that I am, I hopped on the treadmill and did a nice leisurely 60 minute run. Wow! This feels great! What was I so worried about? I am obviously in much better shape than I thought. I actually start to wonder if I am too advanced for Insanity.

Cut to Tuesday morning. I hear the baby awaken and I turn to roll out of bed like I do every morning. Huh. That’s weird. My body is not working. I seem to be paralyzed. I wonder what could be causing this? It occurs to me that I am obviously still asleep and having one of those dreams where you try to run or jump or something and you can’t move. OK Better wake up now. I punch myself in the thigh. There! definitely felt that! Now I’m awake. OK Lazy bones! Wakey wakey Eggs and Bakee….I’ll just put my left foot on the floor, and then the right …..OH GOD THAT HURTS!

I’m feeling a little stiff! OK no problem, that’s to be expected. I hobble around slowly and painfully, getting the kids off to school. My 7 year old asks me why I am walking funny. The entire time, I am wondering how in the Hell I am going to do Day #2’s workout. surprisingly, by the time I get the baby all ready for his nap, I have moved around enough to loosen up a bit and I put DVD 2 in the player. OK, LET’S GET EXCITED! Time to get INSANE, BITCHES!!! hahahaha. The Fit Test wasn’t that bad, how much harder could this workout be?

20 Insanely Fit people are jumping around on the screen behind Shaun T, sweating, out of breath and desperately counting the seconds until the next water break. And those are the professionals! I was a puddle on the floor. If Sweat is just Fat Crying, then my fat was hysterically begging for its life. At one point, I was jumping up and down so vigorously that I actually peed a little. Yet another physical injustice I can thank my 3 kids for. But I was IN THE ZONE! the INSANE ZONE! So i just kept on going. What’s a little pee when you’re dripping in sweat already?

By the time Shaun T is finishing his last stretch, I am laying on the floor with my towel on my head staring at the ceiling fan and wondering exactly how much of the puddle underneath me is sweat and how much is pee. I try to get up and I feel like the Tin Man looking for an oil can. The baby is looking at me like, “Who are you and where in the hell is Mommy?”.

For the rest of the day, I continue to get stiffer and stiffer. My arrogant confidence disappears like a fart in the wind. I sit here now, typing, afraid to finish because that means I will have to close up my laptop, peel myself off the couch and climb the stairs to get to bed, and the thought of moving my muscles is terrifying. And you wanna know what’s really Insane? I’m gonna do it again tomorrow!

I have been pondering this philosophical standpoint often these days. In the wake of the highly anticipated yet annually dreaded January 1st and all of its unrealistic expectations of resolution and self-improvement, I find myself doing the following:
1. Fixating on my less than perfect, post holiday bingeing, 3 kids later stretchmarked body.
2. Concentrating heavily on my failed plans to be a better parent, a better friend, a better person in general.
3. Contemplating my sanity.
4. Eating a shitload of peanut butter. Like, literally soup ladles full of creamy Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter.

“Seriously, she dips a soup ladle into the peanut butter jar?”. No, don’t be crazy. I just eat the equivalent of your average soup ladle in peanut butter daily, measured out in sensible, deceptively small and satisfying tablespoons. I’m not kidding. I think about it even when I’m not eating it. I think about how good it would taste with my hot creamy coffee, or after a long run, or for breakfast, or while chilling out on the couch at night watching The Bachelor. Do you think this could be a problem?

I did, really I did. I went through phases of trying to give it up, just for the sake of developing my willpower (see there’s that pesky human need for self-improvement lurking). For the sake of cutting a few pounds. Hell, just for the sake of saying I did it. Then I realized…..no one really gives a shit if I quit eating peanut butter! My Facebook friends don’t care, my doctor doesn’t care, even my ass doesn’t care! My kids love it! My Sanity loves it! My taste buds love it! The good folks over at Kraft Peanut Butter Company especially love it! So I sit here, savoring a glorious spoonful of peanut butter, contemplating my life and what it could be missing that I am trying to fill…..with peanut butter.

2013 is really no different from any other year, right? I mean we did survive the Mayan Apocalypse I guess. But in every other way, same shit, different pile. And, like every other January, I sit eating peanut butter at nights thinking about my many areas of lack….we all have them. Those creepy nasty little areas of the brain that allow us to wallow in self-deprecation. Maybe my ass is too big! Maybe nobody thinks I’m funny! Or pretty! Or Nice! Oh God, maybe nobody likes me! Maybe my kids aren’t learning a single thing from me! “Maybe I’m raising ungrateful little monsters! Maybe I really am a shitty person!!!! Where’s the peanut butter ?!?!?!
But this year, as I sit and wallow, one thing at least has changed. I have vowed not to give up peanut butter. I have at least evolved enough emotionally to understand that depriving myself of such a simple happiness will only end in the detriment of myself and those around me. And so to keep this proverbial ball rolling, I am going to scoop another spoonful and officially put into print my goals for self-improvement.

Lets deal with #1, shall we? This fixation with body image is an ongoing theme in my life. I’m sure a lot of you women and some men out there can relate. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life when I have been truly happy with my body and what it looks like, that I can remember. This is a shame, because I can look back at photos of me in the past, during times I really thought I was fat or didn’t look good, and guess what? Now I think I looked pretty good! But my mother warned me about this, so I should have listened. She’s usually right. I distinctly remember her balking at my negative reaction to a photo of myself in a bathing suit at age 24, saying, “Some day you will look back at that same picture and think “God I looked good” and wish you could have that back.” And sure enough, it happens now. All.The.Time. And yet I still am not happy with how I look. I still have not accepted myself in all my glory. I do what many of you do…I compare the size of my ass, my thighs, my breasts to almost every female I see, and rarely come up a winner. Not all the time, and sometimes I really do feel like a hottie. But that attitude is there. It’s important to acknowledge. I desperately fear that my daughter will feel the same inadequacies that I do. I want to change that. I want to be ok with how I look.
Now that being said, I still want to look hot in a bikini! I may have had 3 kids but I’m not dead yet!!! I am a huge advocate of not letting yourself go. I honestly look at the contestants on Biggest Loser and think, “How does that happen? How does it get to that point?”. I suppose maybe I’m only a few jars of PB away from that, but if you’re gonna take the bikini away from me I’m not goin down without a fight! I like a good challenge, and publicly declaring my first resolution is my way of taking ownership of the situation and really giving one last hard crack at getting a hard body. Or close to it. Or even into my skinny jeans! I want to feel good about this temple God gave me here (ha ha) and I know that for me, looking good is feeling good. Not to mention exercise does wonders for my questionable sanity. (And burns off all that peanut butter.) So I vow to publicly and consistently document my journey.

Now, on to #2. I think we all doubt ourselves socially sometimes. Do they like me? Do they think I’m cool? Would they let me sit at their lunch table if this was highschool? Which by the way is what life actually is. It’s a perpetual highschool. There are always going to be the cool kids, the rich kids, the jocks, the dorks, etc. Only now, the dorks have found other dork friends and usually make much more money than the cool kids, who are getting stoned outside the local bar behind the dumpster. Right? No? oh. ok maybe I don’t know who the cool kids are. Anyway, we all struggle with our position on the social ladder at one point or another. But what happens as you get older is that you start to question who you are. Are you a cool kid or are you really a dork? Or maybe on the inside you are one of those art freaks dying to get out but you are chained to your desk working at the Credit Union? hee hee hee. You begin to try to find yourself. You get personal satisfaction from nurturing emotionally mature relationships. You define yourself slowly by the relationships you have with those surrounding you because the quality of those relationships can tell you a lot about yourself. They are like your own little personal social barometer. Do your family members plan holiday get-togethers for days when they know you won’t be able to attend? Do you read on Facebook that all your friends got together on the weekend and didn’t invite you? Maybe you really are a crazy bitch! When I reflect on my personal relationships, I realize that I am less than perfect. I lack in many ways. I am a good friend, but not a great friend. I am a caring daughter, but maybe not a super attentive one. I am a loving mother, but not always as involved and plugged in as I should be or would like to be. In general, I think I can be selfish in many areas, in many relationships. I want to change that. I want to care more and not be so self involved. And so begins the journey…..

So praise the Lord and Pass the Peanut Butter!!!! Here’s to new beginnings, growing wiser and getting better. I hope someone finds this blog and can relate to it. I’m willing to share my lunch table! As long as you’re not allergic to peanuts……