No Makeup, No Men, and No Mirrors

(This post is sponsored by Curves® International.)

I’m taking a little break from talking about heavy stuff to bring you something FUN!  When I entered recovery earlier this year, I mistakenly assumed that cutting out the 1,000 or so calories per day that I was ingesting in the form of cabernet would cause me to drop weight. And I did, at first, because going through the detoxification process made me really, really sick.

After I got through the first 14 days of sobriety, I started to crave things like Skittles and jelly beans and Coke — stuff I normally would not eat or drink. My body, accustomed to getting a certain amount of sugar from alcohol, craved insane amounts of garbage, and because I was desperate to make my cravings for wine go away, I consumed it allllllllllllllllllllllllll. No, really. All.

I chowed down on 1-pound bags of dark chocolate M&M’s. I ordered everything on the Starbucks menu (side note: their “morning bun” is divine). I ate cinnamon rolls and french fries with cheese on top and deep fried things and full-size ice cream concoctions from Dairy Queen. I ate pizza and drank Ice-es and ate snowballs with condensed milk poured on top. It was very much like the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I was the Very Hungry Sober Lady.

Everyone assured me that this was normal. Most women in early recovery spend their time crying and eating simple carbs, and that is pretty much exactly what I did for three whole months; by the time I was 4 months sober, I’d packed on 12 pounds. By month 6, I decided it was time to get serious about getting my weight under control, or at the very least, getting physically stronger. My mind is healing, and my body is, too. It would just be nice if there was a little less of me.

When I got the opportunity to spend a full month at Curves, one of the world’s largest fitness chains for women, I jumped on it. The closest franchise is only about a mile from my house, and since the workouts are only 30 minutes, there was really no excuse for me to NOT say yes.

I’d heard of Curves before, but had never been inside one. Isn’t it mostly full of old ladies? I was dubious, but willing to give it a shot.

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This is me, right before going inside Curves for the first time. #skeptical

 

The informal motto of Curves is “No makeup, no men, and no mirrors!” I have to admit, I can get on board with the no men and no mirrors part, but I still have to wear some makeup. Yes, I realize that’s stupid because no one cares and I’m just going to sweat it off. This is why I’m in therapy, people.

I find the people at Curves to be incredibly welcoming, helpful, and kind. I went through an intense assessment process (hello, body fat measuring thingy) before completing my first workout. The set up is a big room with a bunch of different equipment around the perimeter. You just jump in and start the circuit, and move to the next station every 30 seconds. I like the variety and the pace; 30 minutes flies by quickly.

When I was observing the other women exercise, I noticed that they were moving REALLY slowly on the machines, and — don’t judge me — I stupidly assumed it was because they are old.

Nope.

The machines are hydraulic and they are really challenging to use. It’s been a pretty humbling experience — I mean, I normally do Spin! Shouldn’t I be able to keep up with old ladies?! I’m in worse shape than I thought.

I roped my friend Megan into going with me every Tuesday and Thursday morning after we drop off our preschoolers, so I’m excited to see our progress through the month.

STAY TUNED!

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Photo credit: my friend Megan.

 

(This post was sponsored by Curves International, but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.)

 

Real Pants.

Located at www.someecards.com. Because I don't want to get sued.

Located at http://www.someecards.com. Because I don’t want to get sued.

Yesterday, I invited some people over and I thought, you know, maybe I should put on some real pants.

A lady at the gym asked me today what I mean when I say “real” pants. “Aren’t all pants real?” she asked.

Um … no.

“Real pants” are pants that do not contain any stretchy ingredient such as lycra. They don’t have any give. They must be worn a minimum of 6 hours before they fit comfortably, and you fear washing them because they might shrink.

The final and most important characteristic of real pants is that they contain a button closure and a zipper. That is the part that can really just make life suck. I think you know what I mean.

Pajama pants, yoga pants, leggings, tights and adult-sized onesies: these all qualify as not-real pants. They also happen to be what I have been wearing as pants for the past 2 months as I ate my way through the holidays, so you can imagine my disdain today when I pulled out a pair of real pants today and couldn’t button them.

I sadly pulled my tired, old, not-real pants back on until further notice and resolved to eat less and bitch more. Because hungry people are bitchy, yes?

We’ll try the real-pants thing again in a month.

All About That Bass.

I am so over the self-hate. SO OVER IT.

My body is not perfect. It will never be perfect. I’ve had three children, and I wasn’t exactly bikini-ready before I starting having them. Honestly it’s surprising to me that I can fit into some of the outdated fashions of my pre-pregnancy years, but the clothes don’t look the same. I have to stuff my muffin top down and hoist the girls up and some things don’t zip. Which is fine, because if I wore that thing from 2005 I would look like a mom who just managed to squeeze herself back into her favorite pair of wide-legged jeans, and is that really a good look? I submit no.

I’m active. I can chase kids down. I can pick them up. I can load and unload children, laundry, and groceries. In ways I’m fairly certain that I’m stronger now than I have ever been.

I exercise because it makes me feel better — because when I don’t do it, I start feeling like I need to be medicated. I can drop my kids off for two hours at the gym nursery and be alone with my thoughts in a brightly-lit gym with clanking weights and sweaty strangers, and for now, that’s enough.

Recently I stripped down and informed Robbie to take a good long look, because short of spending a large portion of my day consumed with diet and exercise (unwilling) or getting plastic surgery (unable), it’s not going to get any better than THIS RIGHT HERE. 

I was half-drunk when I made this proclamation and also half-kidding, but it was so empowering that I’ve been telling all my girlfriends they should do it. Like, today. Not when they lose 5 more pounds. Not when their period is over and they aren’t so bloated.

TODAY.

To my surprise (Which kind of makes me sad, because why is it so surprising?) my husband is more than happy with THIS. And then I had this thought: Maybe if I strip down every single day from now until we’re 65, he won’t notice the subtle changes. Maybe he will think I look exactly the same as I did in my early twenties.

Maybe I, along with every musician who ever sang about big butts, am an effing genius.

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source: amazon.com

Shouting From The Internet (instead of rooftops).

Today is an important day because I zipped myself into my favorite old pair of jeans without feeling nauseous because they were so tight. They are snug but wearable, and when I realized I got into them without sucking in I ran into the living room and demanded that Robbie take a picture so I could document this blessed event … which I am shouting from the internet because running around my neighborhood yelling, “OH MY GOD MY PANTS FIT!!” in these jeans would be difficult.

I’m self-conscious just like any other woman, and this is a big, exciting milestone.

BUT.

As soon as I looked in the mirror, I noticed that my stomach still pokes out a lot more than it used to (before I had three children), and instantly thought ahead to the next goal (clothes from forever ago when I first got married). And then I got MAD. Why is it that I’m never completely happy with myself? There is always something else to work on, and I feel like I’ve spent my whole adult life working on something. I need a respite.

Today I just want to revel in the fact that I put on these pants, wore them to Target, and didn’t pass out.

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I decided it’s time to let myself be proud of how far I’ve come, and just enjoy it. Tomorrow I can go back to worrying about how I look in a bathing suit when skin tight denim isn’t holding everything in. But as my friend Elizabeth said, and I quote:

“I think this stage of our lives calls for a more forgiving view of ourselves. You have three small children, you manage the majority of your household duties, you take good care of your husband. You need food to fuel you. Exercise is great, too, to help you be strong enough to fulfill your responsibilities and to feel good. But I think the idea that we need to be chiseled and toned at this point in our lives is just silly. Your body is beautiful and it is nurturing people all day, every day.”

Elizabeth is one of my internet friends. I’ve never met her, but I think we might be kindred spirits. She has a way of bringing us all back down to what matters. I wish we could all remember and internalize exactly what she said, because she’s so, so right.

So YES, Elizabeth, I will be forgiving of myself. Today. Next weekend when I’m at the beach, I may need another pep talk.