Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Prolonged Resolution and the Naked Selfie

I stood on my tiptoes in the bathroom and snapped a picture in the mirror. It took all of 2 seconds to determine that the people on The Biggest Loser and the folks who offer ‘before and after’ photos to diet pill companies are braver than I will ever be. How bad could it possibly be? This bad...
I was so pissed off I wouldn't even look at myself.
I wear censor bars everywhere... even on the beach.
As much as I would like to blame myself for how I looked, the cold hard truth is that Samsung phones obviously have software that tells the camera to magnify every single imperfection. I can’t prove it, but I’m sure it is true. Don’t believe me? Take a naked selfie with one.

Go on. I’ll wait. Okay then.

What is it that would cause any self-respecting, pasty, Midwest woman do that? Well, I can tell you what it isn't. It is not a diet. No, this is CONTEST. At the beginning of January some of the office peeps and I decided this would be a terrific way to keep that pesky ‘look-better-feel-better-live-healthier’ bullshit resolution on track. So each week we pay to weigh, and the highest percentage of weight loss will win the pot (money… not a dime bag...do those still exist?) on April 7. Feeling better and looking better are all fine and dandy. Being healthier is cool and shit. Contests come with a prize and bragging rights. Everyone knows that's better than health any day.
Image Source
Yeah... it will end up being a stack of ones. It's not like we're receiving financial backing. 


The contest started with 9 people. We split the group into two teams; Male and female. Realistically, we could have just been one team, but I recall from past contests that men don’t care as much about sharing their weight publicly as women tend to. Instead, I volunteered to share my weight each week with my whole team. Each could share their weight with me privately. The only thing shown publicly would be a percentage. The guys have decided to just weigh themselves in the office. I weigh myself naked so I opt out of that. I just take a time-stamped photo and send it on to the girls.

It's game on. We're currently eight weeks in, and it's going quite well. We lost 3 people a few weeks in, but for the most part everyone is trying. You know what I mean; Trying not to cry after super strenuous workouts, sore obliques, pulled hamstrings, tough days when everyone else is eating something fried or gravy covered, and the random week where no weight came off at all. On an even better note, every single person in the game is on the board with an overall loss.

The real challenge will not be winning the contest. The real work starts when the game is over and no one is paying to stay in the game and making wiser choices to maintain or improve on their previous efforts. According to the Health Status website, my recommended weight range is between 135 and 168 pounds. I will never hit the 135 mark. I'm more than okay with it. At 5'9" and 135 pounds I wouldn't have enough fat to fill out my face, and at my age I need that!

For anyone interested in some "diet" insights, here you go:

1. Spinach has no flavor in an omelet. If you need to add greens and hate veggies... there you go.

2. Lean Cuisine has some great "inspired" meals. The Chicken in Peanut Sauce and Beef Chow Fun are pretty damned tasty. The breakfast collection is pretty terrific as well.

3. Evening cocktails can be nice, but make sure you get a workout in first. You'll be less likely to over consume or delude yourself into thinking you should eat that bag of Fritos.

4. Avocados are fruit. Onions (root) and peppers are vegetables. That makes guacamole a Frugtable. I made that up, but cut down the mayo and it's pretty damned healthy and it makes a great condiment.

5. Stop looking at the BMI (body mass index) calculators unless you absolutely do not workout. People who maintain active fitness levels have more lean muscle mass than those who do not. BMI does NOT take into consideration what your muscle mass is. This also explains how someone at my height can have an acceptable variance of 33 pounds.

6. Sometimes you will cheat. Whether you choose to treat yourself daily, weekly, or whatever... accept that it will happen. Get over yourself. I did. See...
I performed a cake removal surgery on this doughnut.
I wanted a little cake and a lot of the chocolate icing.
Still saved some calories. I call it a win. 





Sunday, February 23, 2014

Screw You, Weekend.

I started out my Saturday with the intent of swiping on some mascara and lip gloss and heading to Wal-Mart. Nothing makes a person feel prettier and more confident than a trip to Wal-Mart, unless you count the dollar store of your choosing. My jeans we're fitting loose, and my hair was artfully tied up and pretty but not too pretty. I felt svelte and stylish. Wal-Mart success. My weekends are probably not what you'd call stellar. I take my victories where I can.

I went, I saw, I shopped, and I paid the bill. Still, as you leave there will always be the text from home that reminds you that there is something you forgot. That reminder will cause you to check the list and see various other things you forgot. Fortunately, we have stores closer to home. There is nothing more agonizing than having to go back for something when in the 3+ deep Wal-Mart line.

The local Hy-Vee is not far from home, and I swung by to make my forgotten purchases. I'm a speed shopper. I move around people like we're in some sort of speed skating event. Look for an opening and go! Ice melt? Check. Floor cleaner? Check. Urban Riot Energy 4 pack? Check!  Everything was good. I made my purchase and headed for the door. I was an Olympian of grocery store slalom.

Those of you who live by your Hulu and Netflix accounts for new shows to watch will understand the drought I've felt during the Olympics. Don't get me wrong, there are a few sports I really enjoy, but for the most part I cannot understand why all the other stations have stopped airing episodes for fear of losing viewership. Alas, that is the world I live in, and thus I decided to hit Redbox on my way out of the store to find something to watch on the treadmill while I sweat out the sins of my day. Gluttony is a bitch, and I like to be prepared, ya know?

My humiliation started as I stood at the unit with my purchases seeking movies I'd bother to pay $1.25+ to see. I hit the "next" button multiple times before I found anything. At that moment an older gentleman, perhaps aged 60-65, brushed behind me and looked back. He glanced at me and my purchases at my feet then said, "It looks like someone has an exciting weekend planned." Then he winked at me.

I don't know if I was more offended that he judged me by the fact that I was renting movies, that he based his opinion of my lifestyle on my purchases, or that he somehow determined I was single based on either factor, but I was making the "fuck you" face regardless. I bet Silver Fox had a date for tonight or he wouldn't have been so quick to judge!  Either way, I rented Last Vegas in his honor. Well, eventually.

The elderly couple behind me seemed content as I browsed through the selections in my 'screw you it's Saturday before noon' sort of way. When I'd made my final choices I felt sure that I'd taken the cream of the crop. I hit 'Check Out' and proceeded to slide my card not once, but twice, and stared at the screen waiting for some sort of indication that I'd fulfilled my end of the process. Nothing. I swiped again. Nothing. "Maybe my magnetic strip isn't working." I thought and I swiped a fourth time.

"I wish she would just hit the button." the woman whispered to her mate behind me. It was then that I realized I don't know how to use a god damned Redbox system, and I noticed the button that would allow me to proceed with my purchase. So I did. Immediately after, I turned to my slightly impatient and disgruntled Redbox compatriots and said, "Now that you've successfully witnessed the Redbox tutorial I will trust you to complete your rentals in a timely fashion." I smiled, but it wasn't a real smile. I hope they're happy.

So I'll just say I will spend the weekend scraping old tape off of woodwork, walking quickly in place on a treadmill, and eating egg white concoctions from my microwave while older people are all confident in their weekend plans and ability to use modern movie rental devices.

Screw you, weekend. Screw YOU!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Equilibrium

I hugged a friend on Friday and said, "You're so good to me. Thank you!" The response was, "We're good to each other." I laughed and replied, "We have to be. No one else wants to. Trust me. I've let other people try and no one wants to!" Right now that seems true, even if it isn't.

When we start out in life we're unstoppable. Everything is a challenge we can win. We stomp in mud puddles without caring if anyone thinks we're dirty. We raise our hands in class and don't care if anyone thinks we're nerdy. We wear what we want because it makes us feel cool regardless of whether or not other people think the color is wrong. We just do. We're bad ass. The world is ahead of us, and it is our oyster (shooter with cocktail sauce and extra horseradish).
Me in 91 with my chin up and dangling earrings all defiant and proud next to my super cute younger sister.

They say there is someone out there for everyone. They say that no man is an island. They say that when you meet "the one" you will know. What they don't say is who "they" are, how long it will take, how long before you're under water, or whether or not the other person will know as well.

Such is life, right? It's a balance of knowns and unknowns. Life is what makes you wish you'd paid a little more attention in algebra class so you could solve for x without tearing your hair out. Getting older adds more unknown variables making life a giant, advanced, cumbersome, algebraic equation.

I've talked before about relationship math. When I wrote the original piece I was not long into my 30's, still using a MySpace account, and willing to throw myself into a loving relationship with absolutely no concern for my own well-being. The only thing I wouldn't have sold at that point was my children's happiness. Oh those were the days. You can't tell by the picture, but I was open, sweet, kind, and loving.

Maybe I was bitchy because I didn't drink and shared my 1 brrm apt with 2 kids?

That's me at 30. Aww wasn't I unimpressed and completely angsty? There were probably signs of aging in my skin, but you can't see them because I was fat. Ah, life. If only I'd known what was in store. Denver was so expensive as a single mom/college student that I couldn't imagine the shit storm that was coming.

Ten years later I cannot seem to bring myself to look at things the same way. My hair isn't as bleached and my eyes have a few more lines around them, but I still make that unimpressed face. I'm still sweet, kind, and loving and... I want to say open. I just don't know. I'm not 100% that woman anymore. My eyebrows, without any specific training I might add, have grown into the questioning sort. I look at life differently. What is important will always be important, but my other priorities have changed. It has caused me to question what I expected from life and the future.

Perhaps this is where I was meant to be. It has made me a stronger woman; the sort that can take care of her children and herself without begging a man or kowtowing (kau tau... learn your origins, people) to a man to meet her needs.
Blurry, yes. But I sweat my ass off for a solid hour to earn the calories for this wine, dammit. I deserve to be blurry!

This is me on Valentine's Day 2014. After severing some connections, and falling back into my emotionally self-sufficient mode, I had resigned myself to a standard single person's Valentine's Day. There would be no chocolates or wines I didn't buy for myself, and the fact that I wasn't getting flowers at work was completely alright. I made it through the day as a single without shedding a tear or feeling a single pang of envy towards anyone who was going home to a partner or going out with someone special.

There have been changes in lifestyle, skin care, and I feel like I've finally settled into my face. Oh... I also have a glass of wine on occasion when I've exercised enough to earn it. Life isn't completely sad. Everything in my life is being maintained at an acceptable level. Nothing is at shit-storm level like it was 6 years ago. I have finally reached equilibrium. Now I'm just waiting for someone to come along and throw me off balance.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Baby, please. Let's start over.


Hi. How have you been? It's been awhile. I thought I might check in and see if you still think of me. I've been thinking of you. Some nights you're all I think about. I know I've been away awhile, and I don't want you to think it's your fault. I'm just terrible at this commitment thing. Sure, I kept up the appearance of it for awhile, but it waned... as things are wont to do.

This isn't a blogging booty call. I promise to really pay more attention from now on. It's not like I've been seeing other blogs or anything. I just needed some time to myself to figure out what I really wanted. This is the point where I beg you to take me back, you remember that you used to sort of like the way my fingers traveled over the keys, and we go back to having a real relationship. There's so much I want to tell you.

What if I promised more nudity? I'm usually at least half naked when I'm writing... except at work, ya know, because some people aren't comfortable with me sitting around the office naked and unashamed (me included). I could promise unabashed honesty, which will surely scare my family and friends who see these brief interactions. That's okay, I suppose. If they don't know me by now... (wait a second I'm launching into a bit of 80's nostalgia and singing pretty loud). Okay I'm over it. No I'm not... "You will never ever ever know me... oooooh oooooh." Okay now I'm done.

Regardless, I'm going to be back. I'll be haunting you regularly until you remember how much we used to love each other. I'm going to love you so much that you'll need an order of protection! Well, okay not that much because it's scary and realistically reading this is all on you. Don't blame me for your decisions. But I'll be naked (emotionally, you pervert) when I do it.


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