Monday, January 31

Shiner On!!!

Today.
Bootcamp.
HOLY CRAP.
If I told you it was hard, I’m not sure you’d believe me. Because lots of people whine about how tough things are when it hurts. I know because I am one of those people. Whining is important to finding success. But today, this post isn’t about whining.
It’s about accomplishing incredible things. And what happens when you push yourself. I mean really really push yourself.
So I show up at bootcamp like a good little dieter. 8:45am. My buddy Alyson was there, and thank heavens for that. She makes me laugh my head off. Our fearless leader, Abby was in full force today- totally ready to whip us into shape. If she weren’t so stinking sweet, I’d almost like to hate her. But it’s impossible. She’s tough on us because we need tough love.
Tough sweaty love.
We get started on the workout, laps back and forth. Skipping from one side of the gym to another. Running with knees high. Running while kicking our own butts. Lunging down. Crawling back. It was 9:05 and I was already exhausted.
Then walked in my longtime friend Brandy. She and I go way back. The first time we met each other, we wound up in a loogie hocking contest in the parking lot behind a church. I think she and I are the classiest dames I know.

(FYI- she beat the pants of me in that contest!)
Brandy has this great way of being sweet and tough at the same time. And just knowing she was there made me work harder. I was pushing myself to the outer limits of what I am physically capable of doing on one cup of coffee.
My body was screaming, but my mind kept moving it forward.
Then we came to the steps. Running up and down steps. This has been my fear for a few weeks now, because I am terrified of falling down. If I would break an ankle, I’m not sure what I would do or what would happen to the diet while casted. So I usually plug along slow and thoughtfully on steps. Except that while running steps, you have to move fast or others get annoyed. (Well, I’d assume they would. It would bug me if I was in a rush!) I did my absolute best to go quickly but safely. Up and down for 5 minutes. Then we got a drink and did it for another 5 minutes.
And my body kept screaming. But my mind kept moving it forward.
Finally we got to the “Abby Abs” portion of the day.
I am going to say this with all the love in my heart. NOBODY EVER IN THE WORLD WILL WORK YOUR ABS HARDER THAN MY ABBY. It’s just not possible. I’ve done lots of classes with lots of teachers, and no one else can hurt me like her. And I’m not complaining- this is a very good thing! I’ve started noticing that my belly is changing drastically, and I’m in full support of that.
So much in support, in fact, that I was DETERMINED to be the hardest working cruncher in the whole gym. Working harder than all the thinnys which include Brandy and Alyson. (I’m competitive like that!)
And we began the Abby Abs.
Crunches. 4 sets of 8.
Circle crunches. 4 sets of 8. EACH SIDE.
Bicycle crunches. 4 sets of 8.
Jack knife crunches. I wasn’t even counting anymore.
Abby yells “YES YOU CAN! BREATHE!”
I was breathing so heavy I could hardly hear her. My abs felt like I was wearing a newborn size one piece bodysuit. It was so tight I could hardly move. So I grunted. And I pushed. I strained. And YES I COULD!!!
Reverse crunches. Oh my stars, I was losing steam.
Abby hollered across the gym “I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS!”
Pretty sure she was talking to me.
Reverse crunches with picking your shoulders off the mat.
Oy VAY this hurt! And by this point, I had tears streaming down my face. Because it was painful. But nobody in that room needed those crunches more than me. They were tears of pain, but my mind was racing with delight! I WAS STILL DOING IT! EVEN THROUGH THE AGONY!!!!
Finally they were on the last set of full on situps. There was no way under heaven or anywhere else that I was going to pull those off. So I double timed regular crunches.
And finally, we got to stretch. We had made it through the class.
We stretched our abs, our arms and our legs. That was when a miracle happened.
“Alyson!!!” I screamy whispered, “LOOK! I’m touching my OWN toes!”
Of course, no one realizes that I have not been able to touch my own toes since high school. It wasn’t a big deal to the thinnys in the class. But Alyson knew. And Brandy understood.
What I didn’t anticipate was that we would get the giggles about it. And after having our abs Abbyfied, laughing made me see stars. But I laughed anyway. Because I had made it to the end of the class, and gave it 125%.
As we were walking out of the class, Brandy and I were chit chatting, and she said “What’s wrong with your face?”
“I’m hot and sweaty.”
“No, above your eyes it’s bruised. Kinda. Did you get smacked in the face?”
“NO! I didn’t! Alyson, you have seen my face after bootcamp. Does my face look weird?”
(God bless Alyson for not walking through THAT open door!)
“No,” she said. “You just look red like normal!”
So we all stood around talking for a few minutes, and eventually walked out to our cars. When I got in the crappy van, I looked in the rear view mirror.
Hmmmm…. My eyebrows did look like they were swelling a bit. And a little on the lavender side.
I drove out to Dollar Tree to purchase my “Snowmageddon” supplies that I still needed (we are supposed to get 1 or 2 feet over the next couple days) and checked my face before I walked into the store. It was a little more lilac.
Alyson ended up shopping there too, and we had a BLAST getting our batteries and flashlights together. And everytime I laughed, my face hurt. I warned her not to go into the aisle with the greeting cards (cause I sneaky farted right before I saw her), and went into the bathroom at the store to check the face damage.
Yep, little more eggplant than before.
Nuts.
So the lesson of the day is this:

If you give it your all, you can be a shiner star of your class!!!!

SO SHINER ON!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 28

How to be a Rockstar when You Feel like a Karaoke Queen...


Today I'm feeling kinda reflective about my journey. There's lots of BIG NAME bloggers out there who get jagillions of blog hits and inspire masses of people. Me? I'm just a teeny tiny blogger with a heart of gold and a scale addiction.

So when it came to my attention that one of my sweetest and favorite friends is feeling defeated about her diet journey- it made me stop and think.

If I can't touch people in my REAL LIFE, how can I expect to reach others?

So I'm fixing that today.

To my dear friend who is stuck in a slump with the diet-
(I'm not gonna say your name but you know who you are)

I have watched you go back and forth on the diet for almost a year and a half now. You have experienced major ups and downs emotionally, an injury that really set you back, and now I am seeing that you are kinda giving up.

Honey- I understand. 100%. I've been there too.

And I wouldn't be worried about it, except that we have had this discussion lots of times. I know you want this. For you. For your family. For your life.

I see you kicking yourself over and over again because of the weight you have "put back on." Like that makes you a failure or something. But it doesn't make you a failure anymore than wearing foil on your head makes you an alien!!! You aren't failing at all. You are just being challenged!!!

I'm the first to admit it's incredibly frustrating. Cause I know. I've been stuck on plateau after plateau. I've lost and gained the same 10 pounds too many times to count. Does that mean I've failed?

NOPE.

Do I feel like a failure sometimes when I think about it?

OF COURSE I DO!!!

Somehow, we have to change our mindset. If we go into this whole business of losing weight thinking "I CAN do it!" then we set ourselves up for failure. If we say "I'll NEVER do it!" then we don't really start running with the option to lose weight at all.

What we have to say is "I WILL TRY MY BEST TO DO THIS. NO MATTER WHAT."

When we say that we will try no matter what, that gives us freedom to explore our choices. To have good days that bolstier our confidence. To have bad days without beating ourselves up so much we give up.

We can think of every single excuse in the world to NOT do it. That's why dieting is a trillion dollar business. They bank on the fact people are going to give up on themselves long before they lose weight, and they become official Yo-Yo dieters, bouncing from one program to the next, dropping money instead of pounds.

But you? YOU???

You are better than that. You are a wonderful person who has turned your life around. I've seen it. You've become a wonderful woman who loves deeply. Who cares for others beyond their wildest dreams. You showed up at my door and loved me exactly as I was.

And it's about time I returned the favor.

My sweet friend- you have every reason in the world to NOT focus on your health. I know that. But because I know exactly what you are capable of, I don't want you to give up. I know if you set your mind to it, you can do amazing things. You can get your body into better shape. You can make yourself more mobile and strong. You can make the outside match that INSANELY FANTASTIC PERSON YOU ARE on the inside. I'm not calling you out on this because you need to change. I'm calling you out on it because there's no reason in the world you couldn't change.

I love you dearly and completely. Just as you are. And even if you say "Charlie, I'm finished." then I'd still want to have lunch with you. And call you. And maybe even take walks when the weather warms up. Because you are important to me.

But I want to make sure you know that even if you don't believe in yourself right now-

I have faith in you.

I'm begging you--- don't give up on yourself.

I know we started off as Karaoke Queens back in the day. We partied and goofed off and made lots of memories we probably won't ever repeat unless we are alone or with folks we trust.

But now- right here- today- we have the chance to be Rockstars. To be really awesome and help others believe in their dreams. You helped me when I was struggling because you never gave up. You were a good example when I was sneaking oreos. You made me feel like a winner before I ever was one. Well, guess what?

YOU ARE A WINNER TOO. No matter what you think, I know you are!

So please, brush yourself off, don't listen to the negative voices you hear, and just TRY. Just start taking those baby steps again. Putting one foot in front of the other. Slowly, thoughtfully- you know how it works. I'm gonna say it again.

I BELIEVE IN YOU.

I HAVE FAITH IN YOU.

YOU ARE A WINNER.

I'M NOT GIVING UP ON YOU
BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GIVE UP ON ME.

Much much much much much love-
Charlie (who's hopefully still gonna be your friend after this) 

Thursday, January 27

Tornado

Tuesday, January 25

Welcome to the Gun Show

This is what I do on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights and Saturday mornings with Tricky Nikki and McMuscles.

We lift weights.

Lifting weights still feels like a very "manly" thing to do. But the benefits of lifting outweigh my "genderfied reservations" about it.

I cannot tell you how strong it makes me feel! My muscles change from weak and wimpy to activated and exploding! Plus, the more muscle I gain, the slimmer I look, regardless of the scale. So, I totally dig that!

We don't do a ton of exercises, so it's not like cardio where I'm puddling with sweat. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Especially when we hit muscle failure, then McMuscles steps in and has us do "forced repetitions" which means he helps us a little, but it still hurts like heck.

See how my face looks?


Then, McMuscles makes sure Tricky Nikki and I are working really hard. He pushes (or pulls, as the case may be depending on the machine) and makes us do the negative movement. I almost wet myself when he did it on the above machine. Because it HURT. But I loved it, as it means that I am achieving my full range of motion. And that means my muscles are getting stronger and toner and I'm getting slimmer.

NICE.

Then on (what we call) the BOY machines, McMuscles makes us pull out all the stops. I think it's a matter of personal pride with him, because he knows every guy that works out over there. And he pushes us harder than the fellows. Not because we are women, but because he knows what we are capable of getting if we push it. And push we do.


You might notice that there was no weight on the big sticky-outie part of this machine, called a T-bar Row. That's cause the part I was pulling weighs a lot by itself. Last night, I managed to eek out 15 reps with a 25 pound weight on it. But that was HARD HARD HARD. I had to work for it. Tricky Nikki too. We use our perpetual "competition" to joke and laugh while we work out ("I got 15 reps, how many did YOU get?") but really, it's a good bench mark for us. We know if one girl is out-repping the other, then someone's not giving it 100%. It's good to have a buddy to hold you accountable. And I've got my Nik. Thank heavens for her!
 
McMuscles doesn't need anyone to hold him accountable. He's a machine. Sheesh, the man has been doing this for a long time, so it feels natural for him. And he makes it look so easy! Since I keep talking about the man, I figured I'd give you a sneek peek into the gun show Nik and I get when we workout with him.
 
 
 
 
 
video
YOU ARE WELCOME!!!!!

And personally, I just like standing next to him cause he makes me feel like a teeny tiny waif.

I TOLD YOU HE WAS HUGE!!!!

So, I know lots of us like sticking with our bootcamps, yoga, zumba and walking. But I encourage you to go out and try lifting weights! If you have a gym membership, the owners/workers will most likely give you a hand so you know what to do. And I promise if you try it- it will transform your body.

Have you included lifting weights into your workout routine yet? 
 

Monday, January 24

Not hard, just new

 
Nothing is hard. It's just NEW.
 
She was answering a question from a reader regarding Pilates, and if it was hard to do. 
 
And that little phrase Sheryl replied with has been taunting me all weekend long. I always think things are hard. Tough. Rough. But if I change my perspective a little bit, and looked at unknown challenges as just being new, could I push myself harder? I'm always up for new adventures!!!
 
That being said, I'm on a mission to win the Planktastic Plankathon Challenge over on Yum Yucky's blog. I don't stand a chance, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to shoot for it! 
 
Because it's NOT HARD. It's JUST NEW. 
 
 
 
  
video

Friday, January 21

The Plus Side of Looking Like Crap In a Bikini

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS PICTURES OF STRETCHMARKS
If you are offended by my body instead of inspired, don't comment about it on this blog. You send me a nice little email instead. You know what? Don't even do that! Keep it to yourself! I feel fantastic about this, even if I don't pull off a bikini with the pizazz of a supermodel. So only nice comments, please. Don't rain on my parade. This is hard enough to do without fearing the backlash of folks.
So as Queen of the Blog, if you say something I don't like, I'm gonna delete your comment.
Just putting it out there. Moving on...


I wasn't even sure if I was going to post this or not.

Stupid bikini. 

I need one that has a gun rack attached to it, to carry the goods properly. And to find the bottoms. I wore them on Halloween, and now can't find them anywhere! So I went with the thickest pair of skivvies I own. It's not the end of the world, and if you have issues, please re-read the first paragraph of this post.

Nevertheless, I looked at the records, and according to what I have down, this is where a girl and her body can go with a 10 pound difference. That's the difference. (or so I am assuming, because I'm not weighing myself. If I'm at 168, it's a 10 pound spread.) The pic on the left was taken last March.
The right one I took tonight. Well, Matt took it. Cause he's a good sport.

But seriously- WOW. I didn't realize my body had changed so drastically! 


I'm learning how to love my body again. I'm not going to sit here and play it all cool and confident.
I am still struggling to be positive about this post. I can see a difference. But when will I really feel that the difference is enough to be applauded by society? I don't know.

But when I put the picture from today next to the first swim suit picture I ever took...
(and I know, the sizes of the pics are kinda off compared to one another. Oh, well.)


Well, that right there makes me applaud myself. No matter who else is clapping.

Today, I am loving myself by saying "Charlie, you are doing better than you ever thought you could."

And THAT, my friends, is the plus side of looking like crap in a bikini.

Thursday, January 20

The NEW Program, and McMuscles' Triumphant Return

Tuesday, January 18

My Strange Addiction

 
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