Fitting in my skin

Anyone who met me after my late high school and college years would probably never guess that I once battled an eating disorder. Looking back now on that period of my life, I can recognize it for what it truly was.

It was never really about food. It never is, I suppose.

It was just one more way to torture myself, one more way to try and make the physical pain on the outside match up with the emotional pain on the inside. The more things went right in my life, the more hellbent I was on destroying them.

My friend, Betty, told me once that it was like I was choosing from a Chinese food menu, the way I seemed to pick new ways to hurt myself. It’s true–my appetite for destruction was once insatiable. I chose one option and then moved onto another as soon as it stopped satisfying me.

I slept until I was forced to wake up. I starved until I was forced to eat. I drank until my stomach protested and people began to notice. I got high until I ran out of drugs. I hung out with and dated guys until they actually started getting serious about me. I tortured myself until I couldn’t hide the scars.

I moved back and forth through the menu, either finding some new way to hurt myself or moving back to one I’d tried before. I slept. I drank. I burned. I cut. I got stoned. I starved. I lied. And I pushed away the people I loved the most.

And what did I do in between? I went to class. I had conversations. I went out. I spent time with friends. I talked to Betty and played with her children. I worked.

I lived, just like everyone else.

The eating disorder was just another symptom of my emotional trauma and self-loathing. At the worst of it, in the midst of the binge drinking and the marijuana-fueled mania and the anorexia, I was tipping the scales at just under 95 pounds.

Let me tell you something, folks, 95 pounds on this frame is anything but attractive. I could have had a walk-on roll in season three of The Walking Dead and played a very convincing decaying zombie.

It took a lot of therapy, a lot of love and support and time spent working on myself to repair and damage and rebuild my life. But I made it, and I’m better for it, and I can look back now and appreciate the view.

For the longest time, I was afraid that everything I put myself and my body through in my adolescence and early adulthood would haunt me later, and yet somehow I’ve emerged from it all relatively unscathed. I have battle scars for sure, but they are superficial, and I think I’m a much calmer, wiser, and more intuitive person because of my experiences. I can sit here today, happily married, the mother of a sweet and sassy 4-year-old, surrounded by friends and family, happy with my life and my career, knowing deep in my heart that all is as it should be.

Am I perfect, or perfectly comfortable in my skin? No, not really. And maybe I never will be. I’ve got about 30 pounds of extra weight I’ve been carrying around since Cadence was born that I’ve set a goal to finally get rid of. But that’s okay, because I’m at a place in my life where I can do it and be healthy and feel good about myself. And if I have to do it one ass-kicking dance workout at a time, so be it.

Yeah, I got this.


Insanity, Romano-style

So Steven and I finally decided to dive in. We’re tired of being overweight and out of shape. We held onto our membership to the YMCA for a year, but just couldn’t seem to get into a good rhythm or keep ourselves motivated. Plus, it didn’t help that immediately after we moved, Cadence started going through some severe separation anxiety and wouldn’t allow us to leave her side for more than three minutes at a time.

Hard to get a good sweaty workout done in three minutes.

So, we’ve been trying to figure out what we wanted to do.

During one of my late night photo-editing sprees, I happened upon the Insanity infomercials and I was intrigued. Then, a fellow blogger that I follow started Insanity herself, and I figured that was my sign to give it a go. You can read about her experience HERE.

Of course, I know that any exercise regiment is only as good as what you put into it. Hell, I bought into the Tae-Bo craze back in high school, and it kept me in great shape for sports until I fizzled out. In college and shortly after, I was a big fan of the 8-Minute workout videos. I tell you, you don’t think 8 minutes sounds like a lot, but damn those videos will make your muscles burn, and they kept me in pretty good shape.

Since then, I haven’t really kept up with anything. Life just seems to get in my way. It’s too hot out. Cadence is crabby. I’m too tired. I’ve got sessions to edit or articles to finish to meet deadlines. There’s always an excuse.

This time, Steven and I have decided to go for it as a team. We ordered Insanity, set our clocks for 6:00 am, and this morning we began.

It was, in a word, insane.

Seriously folks. All we really did today was the “fit test”–a series of stretches and exercises that we counted to see how many we could actually do in the allotted time–and it kicked our asses. No joke. We were both lying on the floor in the garage in our own personal pools of sweat by the time it ended.

The results of my fit test are in…I am not fit.

I gotta say though, I’ve felt pretty good all day. Yeah, I’m tired and my muscles feel sort of exhausted and gelatinous, but it’s a great feeling, an accomplished feeling, and I always love that.

So, we’ll see where this journey takes us. We recorded our measurements and our weight and the results of our fit test today. In two weeks, I’ll post them alongside some updates and we’ll see if there’s any difference. For now, the difference is that it’s 9:00 and I’m beat, and tomorrow I’ll be waking with the sunrise to start the Insanity all over again.

365 Project – Day 200 – Ouch

There is nothing that really prepares you for the realities of adulthood–things like monthly bills and mortgages, downsizing and job hunting, budgeting for groceries and hearing the doctor tell you that you have to start eating healthier, relocating and actually having to share your life, your property, your bed and small living quarters with a person you swore to love honor and cherish in both good times and bad. And there is certainly nothing that prepares you for the day you have to come face to face with the fact that you are not as young and invincible as you fancy yourself to be.

I’m getting old. There’s really no denying it anymore. I’m not going to be one of those people who celebrates their 29th birthday every year and lies about their age. Really, what’s the point? You can deny the cold, hard truth all you want, but unless someone actually finds the legendary Fountain of Youth or comes up with some sort of elixir like in the movie Death Becomes Her, we are all just being pushed slowly through the same inevitable aging process.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m only 30, so unless something drastic happens, I should be sticking around for quite a long time still. Even so, I’m not quite as footloose and fancy free as I used to be. And I guess there have been signs that I’m not quite as young and spry as I used to be.

Case in point–today I ended up with a rather painful injury at the YMCA gym. I wish I had some crazy or exciting story to share about it. Something like, I was using one of the weight machines when suddenly the band snapped, pinning me beneath the machine while all the onlookers stood helplessly. Then, just before it managed to crush me to death, I mustered one last burst of superhuman strength, heaved it off of my chest and managed to tear a muscle in the process.

But, no such luck. There was no death-defying accident, and I didn’t save others from being maimed by throwing myself in front of them, taking the painful blow myself and sparing their lives. Nope, not even close.

Here’s what did happen…

I spent 30 minutes going at a good clip on the elliptical machine, and then spent another 30 minutes making rounds at the weight machines, working my abs, my legs, my arms and my back. I was just finishing up my final rep on the ab machine when I saw Steven in the mirror, heading my way. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was nearly 7:00, so I figured he had already finished up.

I went to turn my head to talk to him and CRACK! I heard something in my neck snap and a bolt of pain erupted in the right side of my neck and ran down my arm.

Now, I like to think that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I mean, in high school, I had mono so bad that my throat swelled almost completely shut before I complained about having a sore throat (resulting in a 3-day stay in the hospital). And then when I had Cadence, I was in labor for almost three days and had nurses coming in the room just so they could watch the contractions spiking off the screen while I lay in the bed explaining to them that on a scale of one to ten, I wouldn’t even classify the pain as a two.

But this, this was painful. We managed to go pick Cadence up from the Child Watch room and headed home to make dinner. By the time we got to the house, I could barely walk it hurt so badly. I popped a couple of Tylenol and relaxed on the couch for a bit while Steven finished dinner. After a hot shower and sitting with the heating pad on my neck, I’m finally starting to feel a little relief.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be right as rain, because the last thing I need is to have to go see the doctor and try to explain to him or her that I managed to hurt myself so badly just turning my head. I mean seriously, who does that? Old people, that’s who!

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to everyone out there who is starting to feel the sting of getting old. Believe me, I feel your pain.

365 Project – Day 189 – Running In Place

I never liked running. In fact, I can honestly say that I hate, loathe, detest, even abhor it. Running is one of those things that I would pretty much choose anything over. Lying on a bed of nails? No problem. Walking across white hot coals. Sign me up. Eating week-old sushi you forgot about in the back of your refrigerator? Just give me a moment to tie on a bib (and to cancel all of my appointments for the next three days).  But running? Running just for the sake of running or to keep in shape? Not no, but hell no!

Funny thing is, I’ve always been a pretty active person. Throughout my childhood and my middle and high school years, I loved playing volleyball, basketball and softball. I never minded the laps or sprints we ran to warm up, or running up and down the court or around the bases during games. Heck, I was even on the track team for a few years, though I only willingly participated in long jump, high jump, discus and the occasional shot put event. I say “willingly participated” because I had a coach that liked to sign me up for running events and relays without my permission. After the third or fourth time that happened (even after I told her that under no circumstance would I participate should she try it again), I quit the team and decided that my days playing high school sports were officially over.

When I was pregnant with Cadence and the unbearable heat of the Arizona summer was pretty much confining us to the house, Steven and I decided to buy a treadmill. It made perfect sense at the time. My dear husband loves to run. He ran on the Cross Country team in high school, and even though it has been years since he has run consistently, he can still manage to run a mile or two without even appearing winded.

Show off.

I’m lucky if I can make it to the end of the block without giving up.

Nevertheless, we figured a treadmill was the perfect choice. Steven could run to his heart’s content without getting heat stroke in the desert, and I could walk, add a little resistance by walking on an incline, or even jog a little if I was feeling particularly squirrely that day.

The big joke is that a treadmill is the most expensive clothes hamper or storage shelf you’re ever going to buy. Most people tend to use them for a week or two, and then they just sort of start collecting dust in the corner. I have to say, we actually stuck with it longer than a lot of other people might have. Steven definitely got a lot of good use out of it. As for me, my walking/jogging fell by the wayside toward the end of my pregnancy and after my c-section. I tried to pick it up again once my incision healed, but life just seemed to get too busy with a newborn, a new business, and some steady writing assignments.

Since the move to Nebraska, Mr. Treadmill has been banished to a corner of the garage. Right now, we just don’t have room for him anywhere in the house. Plus, I’ve realized that I just don’t have a whole lot of motivation to work out when there is only a treadmill involved. Give me an elliptical machine, an assortment of free weights or weight machines in the gym, or a pool to swim laps in and I am perfectly content to work out every day without complaint. Give me a pair of rollerblades or a bicycle and I can spend an entire afternoon touring the town. But stick me on a treadmill where I am forced to run or walk mindlessly in place (even with a TV or music for distraction), and I’m lucky to make it 10 minutes.

So, now that we made the decision to join the YMCA and exercise regularly there, it is time to say goodbye to Mr. Treadmill. He’s been good to us, but it’s time for him to move on now. I’m sure he will make someone else very happy.

Today’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to our dear friend, Mr. Horizon Treadmill. It’s been nice knowing you. We promise to find you a really good home.

%d bloggers like this: