The Before

Here is a reminder of what my body looked like at the beginning of this year.

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Here is what it currently looks like.

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So it’s slightly better. But I hope to just get lean and toned with my new workout program. I start with my workout buddy on Friday and I’m so excited!! The workouts look like hard work. But fun. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

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Big stress = little waist

So my whole bettering myself plan hasn’t really happened this year. I’m easily distracted by things like work and tiredness, stress and sleep. Work is stressing me out to the max and instead of turning to exercise for relief, I turn to sleeping pills and fast food. I’ve lost weight, which is really nice as far as fitting into my old clothes goes, but it hasn’t been a healthy weight loss. It’s a stress weight loss, which for me, means not eating as much as I should be. And not eating the right things. So I’m slimmer but not any healthier. I’m very happy to be slim, but I want to use this bad weight loss as a jumping point for a new workout program.

I stumbled upon something on Instagram a few weeks ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. There’s a trainer in Australia named Kayla Itsines and she regularly posts result pictures that girls using her program post and tag her in. And they look EXACTLY like how I want to look! And many of them actually start out looking the way I already look – slim, but a flabby kind of slim. Then they lose fat and develop muscles and lean tone. Which is EXACTLY what I want! So, I finally bought the program today. I bought the eating guide, as well, because my diet is abysmal. I eat fast food for pretty much every meal. I’m a 500 lb. person in a skinny body (and my only saving grace is my major calorie-burning, labor-intensive job, plus some stress).

So, while I’m loving my bikini body this summer (thank goodness!), I know that I’m very unhealthy and I would like to change that. As you know. I’ve been trying FOREVER. I’m hoping this guide will be the change I need. I’m very low on energy (which is another thing that makes working out hard) and very high on stress so I need a huge change.

And, for those of you who told me that I should focus on ONE thing, this is my one thing. Another nice thing about stress, besides weight loss, is how it causes me to lose the ability to focus on many things at once. My brain sort of shuts down and I can’t think about much besides what’s stressing me out. So this one thing is what I will be focusing on. Thankfully, because of the guides, I will hopefully not have to think much. I will just have to DO. But doing is the hardest part.

By the way, this week, or just prior to starting this new program, I will post a current “before” picture. It will be better than my last one, and hopefully I will have more frequent updates to post! The people I see using this program have AMAZING after pictures just half way through the program. I hope to be one of them.

Whodathunkit?

Oh, man. I apologize for disappearing. It was not intentional. Let the excuses begin!

1. Unemployment was getting to me. I was getting stir-crazy, regular crazy, bored, etc. It was hard to motivate myself to do ANYTHING because I felt like I was never going to find employment or be a contributing citizen to society. 

2. The opposite of that excuse is this one: I found employment!! I started my new job on last Monday. Today was my seventh day in a row working. (The schedule is being worked out so I didn’t know until this morning, after I was already at work, that today was the start of my weekend.)

I actually wanted to talk about something slightly deep. Life always surprises me. The most frequent lesson I have learned during the last decade is that you really can’t plan life. Well, that’s a lie. I know some people who can plan much of their life. I am not one of those. It feels like things are really out of my control ALL THE TIME. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it feels like it, and it gets me really down, but then things turn out better than I could have made them myself.

Take my career path. I studied journalism and public relations (translation: a LOT of writing) with a side of marketing in college. My first job was with the marketing department of my college. It was great. It was so full of responsibility. It made me step up and show that I could be mature, trustworthy, intelligent, and get sh*t done. It mostly showed ME that I could do something. Before I graduated, I had really low self esteem when it came to future employment. My two best friends were the smartest kids ever and they were super successful in anything they did. They got the best grades, had lots of friends, were just awesome. And then there was me. I got A’s and B’s…some C’s (it was hard to really take things seriously when I didn’t care about them or have any interest in them [WORLD GEOGRAPHY – at the time]). 

There was this one time – maybe junior year? – in a class where we basically learned how to try to get a job (resumes, interviews, and all that jazz). Well, we had some fake interviews one night with real professionals who volunteered their time to interview us and give feedback. Well, my two best friends and I interviewed with one guy and mine was HORRIBLE. I felt like complete and utter sh*t afterward. I don’t remember if it was just that I didn’t know how to answer his questions or that he said something (I really think he said something) and I just realized: I have nothing to offer humanity. No one will hire me because I can do nothing for anyone. My bffs both left the interview feeling good. I wanted to jump off a building. I’m pretty sure I cried. I think I almost cried DURING the FAKE interview. It was that bad. 

Anyway, so you can see that I felt pretty bad about this whole “getting a job” thing. So my first job, that I got through the woman I had worked for IN college, was really good for me on so many levels. The most important positive, like I said, was that it showed ME that I am awesome and that I can pretty much do anything I want to. Literally ANYTHING. I managed a $200k budget – reconciling it down to the PENNY. I developed relationships with vendors, saved the university lots of moolah, had meetings with pretty much every bigwig on campus, convinced those bigwigs to let me control the social media for the school for six whole months (remember – temporary gig). Half of my job was actually supposed to be the job of the marketing director – of which there was none at the time. 

Ok, enough bragging. As a girl who has been unemployed five different times since she graduated college five years ago, I can’t really brag THAT much. 

Ok, so I was on the marketing track back then. After that temporary gig ended, I moved to St. Louis to live near my best friend from college and I took whatever job I could that paid rent. That job was as a bank teller. My intentions were to find a sweet marketing gig from there. Well, that didn’t happen. I moved jobs, the second one sucked, I found myself unemployed for the second time since graduation. 

Now, here’s where it gets crazy. I found an 8 week temporary gig that allowed me to stay in St. Louis until after the wedding of one of my best friends and then I moved back in with my mom. I NEVER thought I would move back to the city I went to high school in. I didn’t like this city. And I REALLY never ever ever thought I would ever ever EVER live with my mom again. Ever. 

See? Things I was never planning on happened anyway. 

But here comes the good part.

When I was in St. Louis I randomly started volunteering one day a week (I actually started before I found my temporary job, while I was sitting around unemployed) at a wildlife rescue center. And I LOVED it. That one day was the highlight of my week – and I was working for free! So I decided that I needed to make this my job – and actually get paid for it!

So when I moved in with my mom, she supported me for three months while I did an unpaid internship with the San Antonio Zoo bird department. At the end of my internship (which was for nothing – I didn’t need any college credit – I just wanted to get my foot in the door and gain some experience) I got hired! I NEVER imagined I would ever be a zoo keeper. Seriously. Even when I imagined working with animals as a kid/teen, I never thought about zoo keeping. Ever. But there I was. A zoo keeper. And I cared for BIRDS. I mean, who goes into animal care and works with birds? Well, I ended up LOVING working with birds. I got to the point where I never wanted to go to another department and get experience with anything else because I loved my birds too much. 

So, the point to this long story is that where I’m at, working these jobs that I LOVE, was never in my life plan. But things worked out better. 

My new job is as an animal caregiver at a sanctuary. We mostly have primates – but we also have some birds and cats. I’m a relief caregiver, so I’ll be working in 2 or 3 different sections throughout the week, when people go on their weekends. That means I get a great variety. So far I work with birds, a few monkeys, lemurs, tamarins, marmosets, African serval cats, and bobcats.

The basic purpose of this place is to give reprieve to former medical testing animals and animals who were once pets and were either abandoned, mistreated, or donated. And let me tell you – everyone loves these animals. We are trying to give them the best alternative life they can have. Though I can imagine that it wouldn’t be hard to surpass some of their past lives. Some of the medical testing stories I’ve heard about these guys sound AWFUL. Cringe-worthy. It’s crazy that these animals seem so balanced. I’m pretty sure I would have some irreparable neurological damage if I lived the lives some of these guys have had.  

So, crazy life, man. I’m doing something I never thought about, living somewhere I never wanted to return to (to live, anyway). The only thing I would really like to change now is my living situation. It is time to move away from home again. I used to live on my own. For a few years. Hopefully that will happen again. Maybe this year! That’s my big goal right now. Save up for an apartment. 

Ok, sorry for the boring post! But now you’re caught up and hopefully I can resume writing like normal! I’m a contributing citizen of humanity!!! 

I’m Worried

I’m not going to lie: my enthusiasm for getting fit and eating right is waning right now. I’m going to blame all the stress in my life. This whole not-having-a-job-or-a-car-thing is really getting to me. I’m stressed about how to find the right car. I’m stressed that I’ll never find a job I love. Or that I’ll find plenty but I’ll never get hired for them. I’m stressed about my finances since I haven’t had any income for a few weeks. I’m stressed that I won’t lose these last ten pounds. I’m stressed that I’ll actually start gaining weight again.

So many things to worry about, so little time.

This is a chronic problem of mine. I’m a worrier. And, if I don’t have anything to worry about, I make something up.

So whine, whine, whine, whine. That’s what I want to do right now instead of working out. But maybe, because I know it’ll make me feel so much better, I’ll go do one of my favorite quick workouts that I got from my friend Bethany.

10 to 1: Do 10 of each move, then 9, then 8, etc. Taking no breaks means you also get a cardio workout.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Crunches (or any ab move)
  • Squat jumps

Seriously, this workout is a full-body wonder. You’ll be sore and tired but the more you do it, the more you can do. I’ve actually upped this workout to 15 to 1 before. It killed me. In a good way. (Aka I took a step down my front porch after a 15 to 1 workout and I almost went sprawling to my death because my legs were SO tired and jello-y.)

Wow, just writing this post already made me feel better. 10 to 1, here I come!

The Importance of the Workout Buddy

Some people can, and love to, work out on their own. I am not one of these people. I was in school sports from 8th grade through my sophomore year of college. After I quit college track (shin splints), I played games and ran around with a couple of guy friends who’d also quit track. After college I worked out regularly with my friend M’Leigh, and sometimes my apartment building buddy *Brad. M’Leigh and I would laugh and chat, making our workouts more like social time. We didn’t even notice that we were working out anymore – and yet we totally ran those five miles just now.

Well, the time has come again! I found two workout buddies. One, my brother, has been trying to get me to go to the gym with him for a long time. He even got me my sweet gym membership deal a looooong time ago. But I just wouldn’t ever go. I didn’t want to lift weights like he was, and I hated wandering the busy gym alone. It was scary. Well, now that I’ve been working out pretty regularly all month, and attending classes at my gym, I’m not so scared. And I do actually want to do the workouts my brother is doing. The other buddy is my friend Sam. I convinced her to join Gold’s Gym but she got a level above me and consistently goes to a gym that is in that level – meaning she could workout with me at MY gym but I couldn’t workout with her gym.

Well, it was “bring a friend” week last week so I tried out her (crazy aerobic) Zumba class and came to the realization that her gym was way lamer than mine – but it cost more money. The next week she finally came to my gym for a random class (something called Body Jam with some super fun instructors – it was reminiscent of Zumba) and she, too, realized how much nicer my gym was. So I think I finally converted her! She’ll be going to her gym for Zumba with her fave instructor, but I think I can get her to join me for classes and the like more often. Yay!

Sam and I after an intense Zumba sesh at her Gold's gym.

Sam and I after an intense Zumba sesh at her Gold’s gym.

I have also gone to two Camp Gladiator workouts with my friend Bethany. Even if we don’t partner up for buddy-exercises at the camp, just arriving together is enough. And leaving together, high on endorphins, ready to devour some sammiches. That’s my kind of buddy system.

Speaking of workout buddies, my bro is headed to the gym now so I think I have to get off my lazy bum and go join him. Yaaay…..

Kind of a big deal…

Some choices I made tonight show growth – and since it’s related to diet, I feel it’s a big deal! Today is my younger (the middle) brother’s birthday. So we went out to dinner. For lunch I had a (footlong) Subway sandwich (not awful, not great). I walked some dogs for my boss and then I had to run to the grocery store before we went out. I got a good selection of tasty and pretty much healthy (or at least WAY healthier than I was eating a month ago) food stuffs. I was kind of hungry when I got my groceries to the car and I knew I’d be STARVING at dinner if I didn’t eat something before – and starving at a restaurant for me means absolutely no self control. What. So. Ever. So I grabbed one of my little bottles of chocolate milk (that I buy for post-working out) and a package of fresh blueberries. And I snacked on those two things on the way home. 

Once we got to dinner, I ate soup and salad. They weren’t the healthiest (potato soup and my salad had chipotle ranch dressing, croutons, and cheese) BUT I think they are way fewer calories than I would have eaten otherwise. I did have some of the bread and a chip or two with dip. But all tiny quantities. And I did have a slice of birthday cake.

BUT, the point is that, overall, this kind of day is way better than what I have previously been doing. And all it takes is some planning and having healthy snacks handy. (I bought snacks at the grocery store today because I’ve been struggling with a lack of them over the past week – made some bad food choices because I didn’t have something good to satiate me in the moment.)

So, it’s very small in the grand scheme of things, but to me it’s a huge improvement! YAY! Salad! (I hate lettuce. I wish the salad had been spinach. Spinach is wonderful. Dumb lettuce. Crunchy water. That’s all you are.)

Catching Up

What is up, my homies?

So many good things are happening! Ok, so I’ve had some ups and downs the past couple of weeks. I made out TWICE with the boy who most recently rejected me. ONE DAY after the last time I made out with him, Jeremy, Corbin called me up to hang out and I got drunk and made out with HIM! And then I wanted him, bad. He’s the closest I have ever come to having someone like me back and want to date me. And he’s so sexy. (TALL. Cute butt in dem jeans.) So I was pining away after Corbin, allowing me to get over Jeremy…then I got over Corbin. SO, I’m currently on track! I have not been on a date this year. I have kissed two boys who I have previously gone out with. I had some minor pining over each of them – but I am good and moving on! BOOM!

Then my mother and my brother helped me go through my one-bedroom-apartment’s worth of stuff in the garage (since it weirdly won’t fit into the single bedroom that I currently call my own) and I got rid of so much shizz! I still have a few boxes to go through, including my room, but I am on a ROLE. When things have been stashed away in boxes for five years (and in another state for three), it’s really easy to disassociate feelings with things and just get rid of it all. It was fun to rifle through some things from my first post-college job. (My first real job – out of the only two I’ve had.) I found lots of pretty doodles I’d done during meetings, lots of hilarious quotes from coworkers that I’d written down, cute little notes from coworkers and the like. I found sweet gems I’d forgotten I had. And it made me super excited to FREAKIN’ GET MY OWN PLACE so’s I can put up all my framed pictures, art, etc! My place is going to be so fun looking. So ME. Though, how could it look any other way. Decluttering isn’t just good for your home/storage space, it’s good for the soul. I feel like I’ve sloughed off some layers of dead skin. 

Last week I spent a day with one of my best friends, Sam. We went shopping (I bought nothing because I’m unemployed), we watched a little Grey’s Anatomy, we did some Zumba (with the perkiest male Zumba instructor ever – a first for me), and then we PAINTED! I hadn’t painted (anything besides walls – personal walls and work walls) since I lived in Nebraska (read: nearly five years ago) but it was a great experience. I painted flamingos (of course). One of them came out kind of derpy, the first one I painted, but the other one looked nice. I found a photograph online of some flams and just copied that. Image

My favorite part is the shadows. Now, I know this is very elementary, so no judging. It was painted just for fun. 🙂

I’m working out! I did a bunch of lifting with my “little” bro yesterday. My 10 pound weights looked ridiculously small next to the 85 pounders he was using, but since he’s my bro, I didn’t feel even a little intimidated. And since I was in the gym working out with such a beast, the gym itself didn’t intimidate me. Ever since my two Zumba classes, I already feel less intimidated by my gym. I also know my gym is a really good one, after doing Zumba at my friend’s (more expensive) gym. Mine is way better. (Both are Gold’s but her’s is a former-Spectrum/Ruby Level. Mine is just Gold Level.) So I plan on using my brother as a free trainer. He’s very motivating. No bullshit. When I whine about how heavy the weight is or that I want to stop, he just yells at me. Because he can. And I listen, while continuing to whine, because I can. 

Ok, related to the working out- I got weighed this morning at the doctor’s office, pre-eating, and it was high, my friends. I knew I’d gained a bunch of weight since I needed bigger pants, but putting a number on it just was a real slap to the face. My average weight, when being active and/or working an active, full-time job, is between 135 and 140. I’m very used to 135 being my goal weight to stay at. 137 at the most. Well, over the past couple of weeks, thanks to working out, better diet, and loss of appetite due to illness, I have lost a few pounds. When I was weighed this morning, I was 146. That means I was at LEAST 150 at my heaviest. Maybe more. People. I have never weighed 150. EVER. I really let myself go. I started this blog and renewed my workout initiative JUST. IN. TIME. Almost twenty pounds?! That’s like a pregnant lady. I did not have a child. This is inexcusable. And I know all that weight was bad. It was not muscle. I was getting weaker by the minute. It was all flab. All fast food. All crap. Dang, son. Dang. 

Tonight I’m finally going to Camp Gladiator. My other best friend got me a month of Camp Gladiator for Christmas, and it’s only good for January. Well, the first week I was able to go, I got sick. Stuck-in-bed sick. Last week I didn’t have car access very much. I’m still sharing with my family, so I use it whenever I can. But it’s rare. This week I have car access so I finally get to go! But that means I only got to use 2 out of 4 weeks of my gift. BOOOO. It was out of our control – neither of us saw my loss of car/illness coming, but still. It’s annoying. I don’t want to waste such an excellent gift. 

Yesterday evening I went to a birthday party for a two-year old. I wouldn’t have missed it because I love this kid and his family. And I don’t actually feel awkward being the only single/child-less attendee, but I always wonder what the other adults (who all come with a spouse and at least one child) are thinking. Of course, when they find out that the kids’ mom and I went to college and have known each other for almost a decade (I just realized today that it really has been that long. I met Lauren my freshman year, which started in 2005), they’re like, “Ohhh, ok. I thought maybe you were a neighbor.” Because, how else could I know Lauren if I don’t have children? How could we have ever met? What in the world do we have in common? Lots, dang it! We ran track together, we’re both Lutheran. Whatever. I do have fun at these kids’ parties, though. I mean, I love the kiddos and the adults that come are very fun, too. But I definitely stick out without a husband by my side and a kid on my hip. Suck it. Children love me.

I’ve been procrastinating on my Ornithology reading. The feathers chapter is daunting because I remember how hard it was for me to read two years ago – even though what I’ve read so far isn’t intimidating – and my mom has a three-day weekend so she keeps dragging me around to do things. Plus I’ve just been lazy. No excuses! 

Well, tonight is a busy one. I’m walking/feeding dogs for my part-time boss, hopefully doing Camp Gladiator with a best friend, and then my social volleyball team has a game at nearly 10 pm. Woop! Unemployed but still busy! Love it.