I went shopping recently and I’m a woman who does not hate my body. Sorry world. I know this doesn’t fit with what you expect from me.
I’ve played sports nearly my entire life. For a majority of that time, this has meant soccer and running. My thighs are bigger than average. This alone isn’t a problem. The problem is that I enjoy wearing jeans in fact if you’ve seen me in something other than jeans we must have been at the same wedding. That being said jeans never seem to fit me correctly. I know lots of women say the same thing and that eventually I will find my brand, but until then I’m stuck.
Jeans for me never fit in the thigh area. To combat this I go up a size and then the legs fit and the waist is too big. To counter that I get the jeans tailored. They take in the waist as much as they can and I still need to wear a belt. I hate wearing a belt. My son thinks it’s great though because he can stick his toes into my waistband and stand right up which is neither here nor there, but it is sort of cute. Regardless, in a few years one day, no matter the jean, I crouch down to pick something up and RIIIIIP there is a hole in the pants right by the upper thigh. It happens every time. Hopefully, I will be at home when this happens because I will require an immediate pants change…or maybe I can rock this new distressed denim?
Which brings me back to my first paragraph. I did a quick online search and I can find all sorts of jeans that claim to hide this or that. I don’t want to hide! I don’t hate my legs! They help me get work done. I want jeans that fit! To me that is fundamentally different. I’m not ashamed I just require something a little more GI Joe and a little less like Barbie. And while I’m asking I’d like it for less than $50. Who’s got $150 for jeans? If I have that much, I’d rather spend it on something else.
We joke that we live at time when everyone gets a participation trophy. There is even a commercial about it.
I grew up before this current trend and if I had my say we…wait, that’s not what I wanted to write about. There are two things that we, as adults, don’t get awards for that we should.
First, I would like to institute the “I went to bed early” award. This would go to people who genuinely tried to get at least 8 hours of sleep. They left the gathering early, turned off the game and/or computer, and went to sleep. If you need inspiration to qualify for this award, you can watch this not for kids bedtime story. Sadly, this won’t ever be a real award. If you get a good night of sleep you have a clearer head and it’s a bit easier to deal with stressful situations. Please, consider going the f*** to sleep. Luckily, going to sleep early is it’s own reward.
Second, I would like to create an “I left work” award. This award would be for people who put in their 8 hours of work and then go home. Award winners will probably leave some work on their desks, but hey, there’s always tomorrow. If you are an hourly worker or rely on commission then this award won’t be for you. Grind on. But for those that make a salary remember “the man” only pays you for 40 hours. Your ridiculously high hourly rate is significantly smaller if you add in all the emails and phone calls you field on evenings or weekends or all those times you need to take a quick peek at a project and then get sucked into an 8 hour work day on your day off…and if you end up pulling an all nighter for work then you’re losing out on the first award as well. If you’re at all like me, you prefer to do the majority of living outside of the workplace. That’s where my family is and that’s where many of the things I like to do are as well. Get in, get out safely, and get paid.
We’re just into the new year and I’ve been giving serious thought as to whether or not I should bother writing New Year’s resolutions. Last year I did and I used an online template. The basic format was this: a word or phrase for the year, something I want, something I need, something I will share, and a way I will succeed. I liked it because it wasn’t just a laundry list and it required a great deal of thought. I looked over it just before year end and I was successful. I could check everything off the list. However, I only wrote things on the list that I was sure I would be able to complete because no one wants to look back and feel like a failure, right? So if I’m only going to write an easy list, then why bother? And if I do some serious soul searching and write a more complicated list it may keep me on track, but I might look back at 2017 and be disappointed with the results. You see my conundrum.
I think that I have found a compromise. This year I’ve settled on choosing a word/phrase to motivate me throughout the year. It will guide my thoughts and actions as well as something that I can mutter to myself when I’m feeling a bit down. I even have one in mind, though I won’t share it here. I feel it’s sort of like a birthday wish in that regard.
But I do have a goal that I will share. I just got some new running shoes after wearing mine to death during pregnancy and then walking them to death afterward. I feel like I got my money’s worth out of those shoes. Most of my running shoes still look pretty enough for casual wear when I’m through with them. These are headed back to the manufacturer for donation. The woman who sold me my new shoes in a half size larger (thanks kiddo) asked if I had any training goals. I’ve never thought of training goals other than run this race or that race. This year I’m putting thought into training goals. I’ve found three 10k races to run and another 10 mile one. The half marathon (that I’ve run a bunch) takes more time than I’m willing to sacrifice this year and 10k is fast and happy. That is the plan. Hopefully I won’t get to that point in the race where I think “Why am I doing this? I want to go home.” I’m thinking I can do a 10k in an hour….wait that doesn’t sound like a goal. I want to do a 10k in an hour. It seems doable with a bit of work (I may not have mentioned previously, but I’m not all that speedy) just as a goal should be. Bring on the 10k because I’m (__insert motivational phrase here____).
I started working out when I was a kid. I didn’t call it “working out” then and there was no NFL Play 60 initiative to encourage physical activity for children. (Side bar: this program seems to be the only thing the NFL “gives back”. How can I start a nonprofit like the NFL?) There was a presidential fitness challenge in gym glass and I earned a gold star every year. I climbed trees as well as played 500 and flag football at recess. I made up my own adventure races before they were cool.
The first few years of college I didn’t have exercise built into my schedule because for the first time ever I didn’t play an organized sport. Scratch that, I played rugby, but sometimes we had practice at the bar. We had lots of songs to learn. I gained weight and felt sluggish. I remember the day that I found an item I really wanted at the college bookstore. I think it was a college logo vest (don’t judge it was super cool in the 90s). I made a deal with myself that if I worked out two days a week I could buy it at the end of the semester. To earn my vest I went rollerblading when it was nice outside. I played racquetball with a friend (who was also a junior Iowa champion). I even beat her once. I told everyone who would listen at dinner that evening that I won at racquetball. I started doing exercises to support my knees so I didn’t have to wear knee braces anymore. I threw away my inhaler because getting refills was complicated without a car in small town USA (probably not the best decision, but it worked for me).
When I graduated from college I was a stronger and more fit adult. I started working at the local YWCA and I got a serious discount on a membership. I had no excuses not to work out and no knowledge of working out in a gym setting. I was afraid to try group classes and mainly used weight machines….but only the ones that looked easy.
I decided to apply to the fire department and I really stepped up my game. I was so skinny and what I thought had been fit previously was not going to get me where I wanted to be. I started taking supplements and lifting weights. I started going to the gym every day and alternating leg and arm days. On arm days I did all the arm machines and on leg day all the leg machines. Ouch. (Again don’t follow my lead here). I started going to classes to challenge myself with other people. I started running. I ran 5 half marathons one summer. Ouch.
I know a bit more about fitness and health now. I find workouts online so I don’t get bored. I go to yoga and spin classes. When I’m busy I do high intensity interval training and I still run (only one half marathon per year). I try to limit myself to one dessert a day (my sister taught me that one – it’s a challenge for me). Instead of my CD player on a waist belt I rely on my phone (ironically I put it in a waist belt too) to provide motivational music.
After having a baby roughly 2 months ago I’m back in all my regular clothes. I weigh the same as I did before I got pregnant. I don’t say this to brag, but just to put out there that it is possible. I don’t have any secret. I work hard. I gained over 45 pounds with him, but I did go to the gym about 5 days a week until the very last week I was pregnant. I walked at least 10,000 steps and did bodyweight squats and lunges. I found pregnancy workouts online.
But still the hardest thing for me to do is show up. There are days when I don’t get to the gym until 7pm or later. I make plans to go running and instead it rains. Yesterday I couldn’t find my phone and therefore music AND forgot my socks. I did my workout anyway. That’s what it takes. Just show up and do it!
I was recently listening to a Ted talk about 30 day challenges. Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days. The premise is that you can do anything if it’s only for 30 days. I think this might have been the inspiration for me to quit Facebook for 30 days. I don’t remember how I got that idea, but that was a good 30 days. I may have to do it again sometime soon.
I listened to this and I started thinking. What else could I quit for 30 days? At this point in my pregnancy sugar seems out of the question. I know I wrote a post awhile back about quitting sugar, but I never really quit. I have cut back. I am more aware and, frankly, sometimes I just don’t care and I want a cookie.
But I did realize that I do a fair (ok, a ton of) amount of complaining. Some of this is pregnancy related, but lots of it is just me being miserable and no one wants to hear all of that. For clarification, Merriam-Webster defines complaining as to express grief, pain, or discontent <complaining about the weather> and to make a formal accusation or charge. I think I’ll be able to steer clear of the formal charges in August, but expressing unhappiness will be the real challenge. Maybe I can find a way to do that in a positive way? I’m going to have to use my powers of circumlocution!
In August, I’m looking for the silver lining and the positive spin. Look out world!
Our current technology allows us to do so much. You can text with friends a world away or view those cute kids in Seattle that you may never see in person. You can keep up with your cousins (sort of) and you think “I should email them” every time you see and read informative articles they post. More importantly, you can also solve petty arguments over drinks with friends (FYI no one likes the smug person who looks up the answer to the question that was more fun to debate than to know the answer to. I know because I am sometimes that person.) Or you can just show your partner the shelves you want for the basement rather than trying to draw them on a post it note. You get the idea. That’s a lot of information at the touch of your fingertips, in your pocket, or in your purse. But for cripes sake, it’s your technology. OWN IT.
Here’s what I mean by own it. Just because someone calls or texts don’t feel that you have to answer immediately. Your phone should be for your convenience. For example, don’t answer your phone at the gym. You went there to work out, not chat about what you’re wearing to dinner tomorrow. I answered my phone at the gym last week. The call would have easily waited until I was finished.
Here are some other rules to help you own your technology:
Don’t bring your phone out during meetings. You can’t be concentrating on the conversation (maybe you weren’t anyway, but now everyone will know you don’t care and aren’t listening).
Put your phone on do not disturb when you go to bed or when you don’t want to be disturbed. I’ve got my do not disturb set automatically from 10pm to 6am to help me get a good night’s sleep.
Don’t answer your phone when you don’t want to or don’t have time to talk. They can leave a voicemail.
Don’t text at the table or when you’re supposed to be enjoying the company of friends and family who are right in front of you. Similarly please don’t leave your phone out on the table at dinner. It’s too tempting, you aren’t that strong.
Don’t text and drive.
Similarly, enter the directions of the place you want to go before you’re driving down the road. The same goes for music or podcasts. Que it up ahead of time. Find them first, then drive. It’s safer for everyone.
How to do you control technology so it doesn’t own your life?
I see all these detox “diets” on Pintrest and I hear about them online. Seriously, what are you detoxing from? When I’m online I see how you can detox your face, and your liver, and your whole entire body. You can do this for days, weeks, or months. I think the term “detox” should be reserved for alcohol and drug detox, not “I ate too many jelly beans.”
First, what are you doing that is so terrible that you need to detox this much? Stop it! Be nice to your body. You only get one. Second, when did we start calling a twice daily face washing routine a detox? It’s just washing your face! Do it or don’t. I’ve tried both and frankly I’ve seen no difference. Third, your body has evolved to fix all sorts of terrible things that you do to it. Your liver’s job is to detox your body. Maybe you can simply detox your liver by being nice to it? Don’t drink those 5 drinks per night. Eat some vegetables, not vegetable chips! The bottom line? Being healthy is work. It requires a balance of diet and exercise as well as appropriate rest. You are rewarded for this work every time your body gets sick AND gets better or is injured AND then heals itself. Relax. You can do this. If you want to try something super special for a short period of time you can just do it and you don’t need to call it a detox.