Getting Back on the Horse

Well, well, well. I may have fallen off the horse a little bit with my writing, but I am back again with a vengeance and an appropriate theme for the occasion!

As the famous saying goes: “Let he who has not fallen off the horse cast the first stone.” SOMETIMES, we all fall off the horse. I feel off pretty hard.

Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?

In elementary, I was the chubby girl. I have plenty of hilarious anecdotes I can share with you on what it was like being the fat kid at day camp or what it’s like going through those awkward puberty years as a girl who knew what chub rub was before she was in her first training bra. But, for another time…

High school hit and I worked my butt off. You know, you start liking guys and then there goes every sensible thought in your head. My friends and I would have sleepovers where we would do laps in the pool or hold each other’s feet while we did crunches rather than pigging out and binge watching horror movies like normal teens did. Then, of course, we all know how college goes, but all keggers considered, I stayed pretty thin.

It was when “real life” started that everything fell apart. You know, the time when you’re supposed to be self reliant and paying taxes and doing other adult things? Yeah, it was right about then that no more shits were given. I was living in NYC and poor. I ate dollar slice and other cheap meals. I got beer and shot specials at the bar because it was way more cost effective than slowly sipping away at a $12 cabernet. Basically, I embraced the “fuck it” school of thought. Unfortunately, when you start treating your body like crap, you start feeling like crap. Then your life becomes like those things people have on their desks where the bead on one end hits all the others and makes the bead on the other end swing and hit them again and repeat.

You know….

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Those things!

Anyway, then you are gaining weight, getting depressed, feeling unmotivated and it seems to happen overnight because you are unraveling so slowly that you don’t notice it.

I wasn’t even falling off the horse, I was subconsciously dismounting in slow motion and before I knew it the horse was running off without me. Into the sunset…

I was always the adventuring type: always looking for something to do, people to meet, new things to see and experience. I had energy, I was eager: if I could, I would be 100 places at any given time to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything! But, that wasn’t me anymore. I was embarrassed of my body so I didn’t like to go out. Because I never went out, I felt like I didn’t have anything of value to add to conversations anymore, no new stories of interesting places I’d been or amazing people I’d met. Boooooring! 

It took the humbling experience of moving back in with my mom for personal reasons to set me straight. I’m not sure why, because until that moment, I thought I was too far gone to ever be able to repair all the damage done. Somehow, instead of allowing myself to feel like a loser for taking a step backwards in my life, I saw it as a new beginning!

Here is where I came up with a motto I’m determined to stick with: “If things suck, fix them.”

I started walking. And walking. And walking. Then I walked some more. I started walking because I still wasn’t totally comfortable in a gym. Everyone walks, but it was hard for me to be the bigger girl in a fitness class. Here is where I am going to throw in that cliche: “If I can do it, anyone can!” I was SO out of shape. Like, seriously, so very supremely, disturbingly out of shape. 

After I walked a bunch, I did some kickboxing. After that, I tried running. After that, I did yoga and went hiking. I used to get winded climbing the subway stairs and now here I am, hiking up mountains! I’ve tried aerial yoga, trampoline aerobics, hip hop dancing, plilates, rowing and spin. I used to never want to leave the apartment, since I’ve been to a ton of new places like Barcelona, London, Panama, Mexico, California and road trips to awesome cities all over the country.

There is still so much else I want to try and so many new things I want to experience. I’m back to my old self!

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Left: March 2014 (220 lbs). Right: September 2015 (125 lbs).

The cause and effect of taking care of yourself is huge, and isn’t just limited to how you look – it impacts how you feel which impacts everything else in your life: your relationships, your performance at work, your confidence and your motivation. But you knew all of that!

While I hope I never fall off the horse quite as hard again, I am sure life will have its setbacks occasionally. I’ll stop writing for a few months, maybe I’ll slow down on exercise at some point, maybe this holiday season I’ll eat the entire fruitcake. Falling off is ok, but it’s always so important to get back on, don’t ever feel like you’ve fallen off so hard that you can’t catch back up. You always can and you always should! Make yourself a priority because you are SO worth it!

Happy to be back!

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Dress Appropriately

A lot of salad dressings are terrible for you. They are made of processed horribleness that totally kill your whole “I’m healthy because I’m eating a salad” vibe. Dressings, particularly the ones that claim to be “fat free” or “sugar free,” are diet dream crushers, dressed from head to toe in a web of lies.

Like most things, if you can’t explain where it came from or how it was made, then you should probably avoid it. Modified ingredients that cause certain food items such as dressing to be “low fat” “low carb” or “no sugar added” make up for these losses with other items, not natural to your body. Your body reacts to these foreign ingredients in a number of ways, typically with effects the opposite of weight loss. When your body is distressed or confused, it typically likes to play it safe, and hoards sugars and fats, which are useful for survival. But when we are trying to lose weight, we want our bodies to be preppin’ for thriving, not surviving.

I get it though: plain salad can be kind of lame. But its easy to make a basic dressing and get creative with other flavors without having to worry about ingesting the scum of the universe atop your mixed greens.

Make your own dressing!

Mix:
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Agave
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
Mix with any dried spices (+salt and pepper) or add avocado, juice from berries, etc. to mix it up! You can also look into some Greek yogurt based dressings! Also delicious and with great health benefits!

So easy! Oh yeah!

Let me know what healthy dressing recipes you come up with to stay away from bottled dressings!

Later,

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On the Human Condition and Mountain Goats

You have more in common with a mountain goat than you may think.

Aside from your extremely hairy body and hooves, you also have a great ability to climb things. The invention of the elevator, escalator and that moving floor thats always in airports and Jamiroquiai music videos has left us weakened and afraid of anything that has the power to take us up and down things, yet remains stationary – and that is quite unfortunate!

Benefits of taking the stairs:

  • People are less likely to think that you are an asshole when you take the elevator to the 2nd or 3rd floor.
  • Burns the same amount of calories as doing moderate exercise.
  • Waiting for the elevator can take a long time, if you took the stairs, you might get to your destination sooner.
  • Good practice for the end of days or a power outage.
  • Endorphins are released, which makes you happy!
  • You’re less likely to touch the disgusting escalator handrail if you take the stairs.
  • Your legs will look fly as hell.
  • Improved lung and heart strength.

Basically, just take the damn stairs!

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Decisions, decisions…

Once you opt for the stairs a few times, you’ll start to feel like you are part of a secret club, you’ll nod to your fellow stair user: you’ve separated yourself from “the masses.” 

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WOW! Amazing views!

Before you know it, taking the stairs will come so naturally to you, you’ll wonder why you turned them down so many times before. Don’t worry, every stair I know has always been eternally forgiving, and your heart and the people who work in your building will thank you!

Climb onward,

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Ice Cream Treat!

We’ve all been guilty of it at some point: we creep on some celebrity’s daily diet — Googling to see just what the Jennifer Anistons and Beyonces of the world are eating every day to keep their body fat percentage so ridiculously low, trying desperately to understand how they remain sane enough to maintain success in their careers despite such limited diets, yet never get fat.

 

Enter: Ice Cream Treat!

 

(Disclaimer: I’m putting this out there right away: I am a HUGE proponent of eating foods that are as close to natural as possible and do believe refined sugars are the devil. With that in mind, eat my beloved Ice Cream Treat knowing that this still counts as a “cheat food”.)
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This complex blend of high-quality locally sourced ingredients may seem intimidating, but I assure you, anyone can master this recipe with a little dedication.

 

Ingredient 1: Reddi Whip
Ingredient 2: Mini Ice Cream Cone

 

Directions: Squeeze Reddi Whip into mini ice cream cone so it takes on an ice cream-like appearance. This could potentially fool you into thinking you are having a luscious cone of ice cream rather than my pathetic creation that sounds more like what a desperate, broke and stoned college kid would come up with.

 

There are alternatives to Ice Cream Treat that are slightly more organic and nutritionally beneficial: you can replace the Reddi Whip with Greek yogurt and add some honey or fruit to add a pinch of sweetness. You can also make your own coconut whipped cream (higher in calories but all natural).

 

As long as you don’t go full-on animal with this, Ice Cream Treat is a great low carb and low calorie way to give into your sweet tooth without feeling full of sorrow and regret for the rest of the week. Your body will thank you and, while your friends might call you a pathetic loser to your face for eating such a tragic item, secretly, they’ll be enjoying it themselves!

 

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Famed Roommate and Fat Girls Fitness blogger, Dori, getting down with the sweetness…

 

I really hope this helps strengthen your relationship with your sweet tooth because it’s been asking me a lot lately why you never return it’s calls!

 

Later,
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For All the H8ers

I’d like to do a quick “real talk” piece.

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For the past 2 years, I have worked immensely hard to undo the amount of weight I managed to put on by being careless with myself and my needs. Recently, I have been able to “normalize” my life for the most part but the first year was hardly an awesome time. I gave up my social life 100%, focusing entirely on my goal. When I wasn’t working, I was working out, planning my meals for the week or getting a healthy nights sleep. I wasn’t going out to eat or for drinks with friends, because that meant taking in calories and wasting valuable workout time which would set me back or delay my progress. For a 27 year old girl, this made me a true lame-ass.

During the course of that lame time, I lost 100 lbs. While I still feel I have a long road ahead of me in terms of toning up and getting in shape, I do commend myself as the loss of general mass is now behind me. I have been committed to working out, trying new exercises and eating right to be the healthiest and fittest version of myself. (Of course, there is now the occasional evening reserved for wine and Chinese food, too.)

Now, I get it, when you look at my before and after pictures (which I will save for another day) you will think: “Wow, she is completely different!” And thats a good thing! Thanks for thinking that! I DO feel completely different: I am mentally and physically improved! Hooray! Right? Yes! BUT! (and there is always a “but-clause” to good things, isn’t there?) I can’t tell you how many people have been throwing madd shade my way in the form of implications and quite obvious accusations that I am a success story because I used some kind of crutch or have developed some kind of eating disorder. Many have asked in an accusing tone: “What did you take or do to lose that? There is NO WAY you did that all THAT FAST through just diet and exercise.”

Now here’s the weird part: I actually did!

I eat when I am hungry, I don’t when I am not. I am thoughtful in what I choose to eat. I developed a healthy relationship with food. We like each other now, and help each other out. I am diligent in being active and challenging/pushing the limits of my body constantly, and therefore, constantly impressed with how strong my body can be if I allow it the opportunity to work for me. YET, in way too many casual chit-chat situations, people have made comments that throw me back to the horrific and awkward days of middle and high school: days I praised the higher powers that be that they were over with: days when peers would make comments, some more pronounced than others, about how I was about to purge my McNuggets. And simply put, purging a ‘nug just ain’t my thing.

I thought in adult life you get past these comments and judgements, but I guess not. I find myself cautiously eating my delightful cobb salad knowing that taking too few bites could lead them to believe I’m anorexic and taking too many bites means I am bulimic and plotting my direct route to the porcelain throne.

This is distressing. We are all adults here.

I remember reading an article about an interview with a Victorias Secret model during the Victorias Secret Fashion show this year. The reporter asked the model what food she is eager to gorge on once the show is over. Insulted, the model pointed out that she doesn’t live by starving herself only to binge eat later when she no longer has to look beautiful for an audience. It was powerful, as the reporter, a beautiful woman herself, probably realized that she also feels the pressure of having to be “on” all the time in her job and how invasive questions about each persons journey to achieve and maintain health and wellness can be pretty negative and, well, judg-ey.

So listen here, folks – here is my story and I am sticking to it: I launched into obesity, just so happened to notice it and ever since have been working my ass off to ensure I never slide into bad habits again. Maybe you feel you are complimenting me when you say I am “too thin” but as a 125 lb, female at 5’6″, I am not in the danger zone and you’re just making me feel weird.

Let’s reel this all in because you are probably now all like, “What the hell is she rambling on and on about?” Here’s the short answer: These comments hurt and they’re just terribly rude. I have far from taken the “easy way out.” And, rather than honor my work, or throw some positive vibes my way, I constantly encounter people who have has just a little too much hater-ade.

Relax everyone! We are all here to support each other and lift each other up – especially us women. Come on, we are better than that!

Lastly, if you do see someone who is actually struggling with an eating disorder, what good do comments do anyway? This is a person who really needs help and support, not comments. Comments is likely what got them to where they are in the first place. Realize that body image issues are real, everyone, even the fittest most beautiful woman in all the land feels self conscious at times. We need to respect each other and ourselves in order to success and promote the success of others.

Be kind everyone,

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On Nutrition and Your Job Hunt

When I am not busy pretending to be a health and fitness expert, I am working my day job of being a recruiter. I hope, in some way, that one day I can measure the amount of calories I have burned through the constant meet-and-greet of all kinds of humans every single day of my life. While I am busy calculating that painful number, I’d like to share with you all some tips how how nutrition can affect your ability to interview well for a job.

Let’s start with the obvious, when you are face-to-face in a small room with someone else, particularly a recruiter, who (sort of) has your career in the palm of their hands, it’s important to remember to avoid eating anything heavy in garlic or onions of up to 24 hours beforehand. Even if you practiced proper dental hygiene prior to the interview, the essence of garlic and onions is released out of your skin for the next day or so. Don’t make people touch your sweaty onion hands.

Now some other obvious and lesser obvious choices:
 

Good Idea: Omega 3 (salmon, eggs, kale)
Why? It makes you think better in your toes!

Bad idea: Carb overload
Why? They can make you sleepy

Good Idea: Vitamin B (Eggs, broccoli, spinach, meat)
Why? They make you feel better about yourself and give you energy (no one wants to hire a depressed person with sloth-like qualities)

Bad idea: Coffee
Why? It gives you the jitters (which you will probably already have) and it also can cause bad breath and dry mouth. Just try to get a good nights rest before an interview instead!

Go get em,
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It’s OK to be the Scumbag Friend

I am not much of a morning person. The way Garfield feels about Mondays is how I feel about every. single. morning.

Tragically, the hatred of the beauty of an early dewy morn means that people view you as a worthless, lazy piece of crap. In the eyes of most, I’m not much unlike the good-for-nothing teenage boy who leaves single, random used socks around the house and sleeps till noon. I would like to argue this point, however, because I do happen to hold down a stable job, I work real hard, I work out several times a week, I have an active social life and I, as far as I can tell, have (almost all of) my shit together.

When I do work out, it is always after work. Despite many pleas from my colleagues who far more enjoy the grating sound of an alarm impeding upon their wonderful dream-sesh while they lay around with no pants on in their comfortable-ass bed on a daily basis, I cannot concede to their demands to get up, go to the gym, work out, shower and THEN start my work day. Does it make you feel awesome all day to work out first thing in the morning? Sure. But sleep also makes me feel awesome.

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Does this make you happier than back sweat in the morning?

 

If you are like me, let the haters hate cause working out post-work has it’s benefits:
  • You are much more likely to be able to use your own shower after you work out
  • If you forgot your deodorant pre-work-workout, your associates may #neverforget that you’re the stinky one
  • Going after work means you are less likely to just go home to sit on your ass, drink wine and watch nature documentaries on Netflix (who does that though?)
  • On that note, it removes idle time from your evening which is primetime for needless snacking
  • The likelihood of taking co-workers up on happy hour is lessened (provided you have awesome self-restraint like me)
  • Your muscles warm up as the day goes on, so you are actually much more flexible and less likely to hurt yourself
  • It’s a much more effective way to release the rage collected throughout your terribly stressful workday than committing heinous crimes such as property damage, libel or identity theft

I read something about accountability being more of a thing if you work out in the evening, as your friends are more likely to join you, pinning you down to the commitment. This is not true in my case, as I am the only scumbag of the people I know that is unwilling to accumulate sweat between my ass cheeks before I even have my morning coffee.

The sleep argument: Some say you are more likely to be something like an actual responsible adult and go to bed earlier if you know you have your work out at the (sweaty) ass-crack of dawn, however, after I work out, I am beat and just want to go home, shower and go to beddy-poo. So, I dunno about that one….

Some also argue that morning people are more consistent, but I have to disagree: when I am tired in the morning (which is usually), I am MUCH more likely to bail on a workout than I would after work when I’m already up, out and living my life.

Basically, as long as you stay committed to working out, whether you are a psycho who likes going in the morning or a normal, grounded person who likes going in the evening, you are doing awesome things!

You do you,

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PX90 Sucks

Some people don’t like the gym because they feel self-conscious there or find the atmosphere less than pleasant. For those people, a home workout seems to be the next best option.

IN THEORY this does sound nice – no one is there to judge you except maybe your pet hamster if he’s feeling particularly elite. BUT – even on the homefront, the excuses can arise. A recent popular trend was the PX90 videos. These videos suck for a number of reasons:

1.     They are unpleasant
2.     Your couch is really not that far from you when you’re working out
3.     Why is this stranger telling me what to do in my own home?
4.     Pushing the “play” button is so easy, yet so hard. Would you rather be watching South Park?
5.     No one is ACTUALLY holding you accountable
6.     Did you do that pushup correctly?
7.     There is probably wine on your coffee table

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Isn’t this so much nicer to look at than a sweaty person barking orders at you?

As a former gym-fearer myself, I get the idea of trying to commit to a crappy workout video instead. Just make sure you are actually keeping up with the commitment.

If you find yourself struggling with this, take time to build small victories in your day to day life to get that esteem up and get you feeling good.

1.     Weather permitting, a walk in the park will advance you to jogs in the park which is likely to even lead to running in the park.  (Pro tip: enjoy this with your dog, not your sassy hamster)
2.     Take the stairs every time  — not the elevator or the escalator
3.     Walk to places you normally drive to
4.     Park your car super far away in the parking lot
5.     Don’t put 84789471874 bags on your arms and cut off your circulation to save yourself the extra trip to bring your stuff into the house
6.     Take your bike out
7.    Ease yourself into workout classes: maybe not XTREME boot camp the first time around, maybe some slow-flow yoga just to get things going. I guarantee that once you start feeling good and collecting gym buddies, your fears will be magically washed away.

Related to numero siete (#7), the most effective way to stay active is to have a buddy and/or support system.

..I bet the PX90 guy doesn’t even know your name and that’s not very encouraging. If he does know your name, you should probably ask him to take you out for a nice (yet healthy!) dinner because I’m sure that guys loaded.

If you can manage to commit to these workout videos, good for you! I wish I had your style. But for the rest of us lacking in motivation, we need to keep at it to find better ways to stay on track.

If staring at the TV is what got us into this mess, it may not be the best way to get us out!

Over and out,

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Get Rid of Your Freaking Clothes

Maintaining a safe distance from your “comfortable” aka “fat” clothes should be treated the same way you’d stay away from the lady clipping her fingernails on the subway: the greater the distance, the better off you are.

I can relate to the need to hang to hang on to your unwanted clothing way beyond its need to exist on your life. This post comes from someone who can justify any purchase through sheer force of imagination.

The thought process goes like this. First you wonder, “How great would this look if I happened to lose 5 pounds while simultaneously finding myself in a casual dining situation in Morocco?” And before you can answer yourself with a resounding, “so great!” You realize that the purchase has already been made.

FullSizeRenderIdentify and destroy bad patterns of behavior. 

It’s time for you to release your cottony victims from your life, closet, or miscellaneous vacuum sealed bag.

Here are a few ways you can convince yourself it’s ok to let go:

• Watch Hoarders
• When you donate your clothes, they go to someone less fortunate and that feels good!
• Curse them with bad luck so you don’t want them anyway
• Wear it to an event where a lot of pictures are taken because god forbid you are twice tagged on social media wearing the same thing to two different events
• Witness a crime in your fat clothes

Clothes swap!

If, due to extreme poverty or a generalized hatred of shopping, you truly feel you have either your fat clothes or plastic bags to choose from – that’s cool.

Start a clothing swap with friends! This is a good way to not only pass on some sweet threads to a deserving peer, but also to have a meeting of the minds.

Those who are further along in their weight loss journey are also passing their motivation on to you. Perhaps your bestie’s pants are only a temporary stop before you step down to another size – free stuff! no commitments! One of my favorite things about pants is that they don’t judge. You can use them as much as you need to and drop them like a hot potato as you continue to drop the amount of hot potatoes you eat.

May your fridges and closets be wisely stocked!

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Don’t Be A Lameass

“‘I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.” – Louis CK

One of the top reasons people say they find themselves eating is because they are bored.

To this I say: the boredom may be a bigger problem than the food.

Ok, first of all, no one should ever allow themselves the opportunity to be bored or boring. Idle time leads to bad habits. Sitting around, snacking, watching too much TV and just a general lack of productivity – which is lame.

Don’t be lame! Be fun! Be un-boring!

Here’s an idea! Find awesome ways to fill your time.

  1. Find projects around the house you’ve been meaning to do
  2. Find a hobby: start a bowling league, paint some more, write some more, learn to do magic tricks (Did you know that people that pull rabbits out of hats tend to be 28% leaner on average than those who do not pursue this hobby #uncitedsource)
  3. Make a list of activities to do and keep adding to it. Even add them to your calendar and invite your friends: ice skating, hiking, going to a museum, going camping, making sculptures out of matchsticks (making and maintaining the list is an activity itself, doing these things are bonus points)
  4. Go for a walk!
  5. Get a tattoo on an area other than your face (plus it’s a great way burn through any money you may have accidentally saved up)
  6. Learn to spell accidentally (hint: it took me a long time to write #5)
  7. Write a manifesto, or at least make a zine
  8. Learn to play the jaw harp
  9. Write some angry Yelp reviews *
  10. Read the comment section on any Insane Clown Posse YouTube videos**While laughter burns calories, these activities are often enjoyed sitting, so not as highly advised, yet still very entertaining and good fodder for small talk at parties.

Stay fun, my friends!

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