I’ve received some very positive messages regarding my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, and some requests to share more of this journey.  I appreciate all the encouragement!  I don’t know of many people who strive to make dramatic changes in their lives that will say it was easy.  I am nearing the completion of my first month working out three times a week with a personal trainer.  My goal was not just to lose this extra weight that I’ve been carrying around for the past few years, but to get stronger and make a lifestyle change.  The number on the scale does not mean as much to me as the way I feel in my own skin.  While recovering from an ass ton of surgeries the past several years, I had to spend a lot of time lying around recovering.  As a result I gained a good deal of weight.  My self-esteem tanked.  I have always been somewhat vain, and not only did my physical appearance change dramatically, my personality changed as well.  I battled with depression–hard–and turned into someone I did not particularly care for.  I have struggled to remain optimistic.  I know how lucky I am in my life, trust me.  But when you are caught in something so completely all-consuming as depression and self-loathing, it affects everything (and everyone) around you.

A turning point came when I could no longer fit into my “fat” jeans.  They were a size 13.  After that, I wore nothing but yoga pants.  After the mastectomy and subsequent surgeries, I wore a lot of cami tops.  They were one of the more comfortable options that were recommended to me, as there would be no more underwire bras, which I’d worn all my life.  Sports bras became my best friend.  I even had to sleep in them.  Clothing became all about my comfort, and I suddenly disliked how I felt in shirts with sleeves.  I don’t know what it is, but I cannot stand sleeved shirts now.  Despite the large areas of numbness that exists not only on my breasts but under and behind my arms, shirts with sleeves–particularly short sleeves–became irritating as hell.  I rarely wear anything but tank tops and yoga pants, and frankly, I’m sick of it.

On the first day, the trainer asked me what my goals were.  Where would I like to see myself at the end of my fitness journey?  I showed him this photo:

70

Ernestine Shepherd, World’s Oldest Competitive Bodybuilder

 

This is Ernestine Shepherd.  She holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest female competitive bodybuilder.

She is 79 years old.

What.

The.

Fuck.

I am decades younger and she could whip my ass.

I watched a short video of her story, and was instantly ashamed of myself.  She didn’t begin working out until she was 55 years old, battling depression, anxiety, acid reflux and high blood pressure.  At the age of 71, she decided to enter the world of competitive bodybuilding.  As I listened to her tell her story, I realized it was time.  It was time for me to get off of my ass and do what I needed to do.

I know where I want to be; I just need to master the steps to get there.  There is no doubt that exercise improves not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.  Even after struggling to get through a workout that for many people would be fairly easy, I left the gym feeling exhausted but accomplished.  I look forward to working out.  I may throw around several F bombs and call for my mommy while I’m there, but I still look forward to it.  I look at each session as a stepping stone to where I want to be.  Each session brings me closer.

At that first session I was also given a nutrition guide.  For the first month I was to stay in the first column of the guide, which is strictly lean protein, vegetables and healthy fats.  I will not bullshit you by telling you that I have stuck by that list 100% of the time.  I’ve slipped up a few times.  I have, however, made sure that I did some form of exercise if I were to eat or drink something not on the list.  Lattes, for example.  Good night how I love lattes.  The trainer told me that he would rather me taper down than to try and stop everything cold turkey.  I went from a latte every day to one twice per week.  I purchased a cappuccino/espresso machine so that I could froth almond milk at home and make my own, “healthier” lattes.  I have done well sticking with the guide, though, and am proud that I have been able to do as well as I’ve done with it.

Some time ago I’d begun using stevia in an effort to cut down my sugar intake.  I am not a big eater of fried foods, cakes, cookies, etc.  What I do love is carbs.  If I could marry sourdough bread, I would.  I stopped eating it a long time ago, but every single time I smell bread, I want to eat it.  All of it.  It would not be a lie to tell you that I want to get in fabulous shape largely so that I can eat sourdough bread from Boudins on my trips to San Francisco and not want to hurl myself off of the Golden Gate afterward because of the guilt.

After nearly a month, I do notice a difference.  In my body and in the way I feel.  We are not focusing on weight right now, but on inches lost.  We measured at beginning of my journey, and soon we will measure again, to see what improvements I have made and in what areas.  I have already been warned that things I love are going to have to start dropping away.  That’s ok, because that means this fat and all of the bullshit that comes with it will also start dropping away.  There’s no question which I’d rather live with.

It was also brought to my attention recently that I don’t post that many pictures of myself.  When I went to the BlogPaws conference in Nashville recently, I met quite a few others who are similar in that their blogs have so many photos of their pets but few if any of themselves.  I am a visual person, so I can appreciate that this whole physical transformation journey I’m on might be a bit more impactful with some photos of myself.  So, here is a photo of me feeling particularly feisty as I headed out to the gym:

megym1

 

I promise I’ll get better with posting more photos of myself, especially the Before and After shots!  You know the After shots will be SUPER AWESOME!  This will also allow me to be in better shape for all the trails I hope to do with the dogs this coming year.   Yay for Fit MOM!