On body positivity and personal accountability

gym

I can’t believe I’m posting this pic, but I need to — for myself. So shit’s about to get real.

I’ve had some happy-yet-stressful life changes within the past few weeks and have been funneling my anxiety and frustration into eating everything in sight. That’s my go-to stress-reliever/celebration/punishment and always has been since childhood, which has given me quite the fucked-up relationship with food, something I’ve written about here before.

Because of this, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, as I’ve also written about many times before. The last few years I have really let myself go, and I hate myself for it because me — and only me — can prevent forest fires in myself.

I would NEVER allow anyone to treat me in such a manner, so why the hell do I allow it from myself? But I do, and the results are:

  • I stuff my face with the most unhealthy food I can find instead of what is best to fuel myself and my body.
  • Since I work from home now, I exclusively wear yoga pants day. in. and. day. out.
  • I don’t take care of myself, at all. That includes getting hair cuts and the eyebrow wax that is, embarrassingly, MONTHS past due (thankfully I wear big glasses that (mostly) hide the caterpillars) and getting no exercise beyond multiple daily walks with my rescue pit bull, Kona.
  • I avoid looking at myself in the mirror at all costs because I absofuckinlutely hate myself that much, which means that I very rarely feel as confident inside as I may appear or pretend to be outside.
  • I have terrible insomnia, clocking just a few hours a night.

As someone who supports and is so inspired by the Eff Your Beauty Standards movement, I’m not very good at supporting or inspiring myself, obviously.

And that needs to change — right fucking now. For real. For good. I owe it to myself and my body. It’s put up with a lot from me the past 42 years, and I sure as hell am not getting any younger. In fact, if my grandmother and mother are any indication, I’m in for a really rough road as I continue to age, one that can (hopefully) be avoided if I start taking care of myself.

My first step toward body positivity: The gym.

After coming home a sweaty mess after Kona’s first walk this morning, I decided there was no time like the present to make my way from hating myself less to becoming body positive. That my old standby, “I’ll start Monday after having one last weekend hurrah,” was not good enough. Because we know all too well what’ll happen Monday.

So I put my sneakers back on and headed down to our building’s gym for the first time in who knows how long. I stepped onto the treadmill and for the next 30 minutes, booked it in a way I haven’t done in quite some time since there’s not a lot of fast walking with Kona Sniffs-A-Lot.

The entire time, I stared at myself in the darkened TV monitor attached to the treadmill. I stare at myself, no matter how upset it makes me, to entice myself to do better than the person staring back at me. To be the change I want to see in myself because I’m the only one who can do it.

As unhealthy as it may be, I hate her, that me in the reflection, I really, really do. Every time my foot hits the treadmill, I imagine I’m striking her for being stronger than me all this time. And I kind of get off that we’re facing each other. That she’s going to see me coming and stampeding her one day, hopefully soon.

When I stepped off the treadmill after my cool down, my very confused legs legit wobbled, and I thought I was going to face plant a la Bridget Jones, but luckily I stayed upright.

And then I took the above photo of myself. I felt disgusting when I snapped it, knowing I’d never be one of those athletic, fit women who post post-workout photos of themselves looking like they’ve hardly broken a sweat with nary a hair out of place and showing off their thigh gaps the size of Utah.

Nope, in it I’m sweating so profusely I had to take my glasses off because they kept slipping down. My double chin is on full display. My forehead is glistening, I’m trying to catch my breath, and my hair is frizzy and sticking up every which way.

I’m posting it because I hate it. Because I want to remind myself that I can’t let that version of me in the TV monitor win anymore. I’m too unhealthy and unhappy with myself to let her.

To put her to pasture once and for all, I’m going to have to push myself harder, further and more often than I’ve ever pushed myself before.

I know that eating right is going to be just as important as establishing an exercise regime. I need to once and for all end my co-dependent relationship with food, and I think it’s going to be even tougher than forcing my ass to the gym. Food has been a key relationship in my life since I was a little kid, and it ain’t going to be easy to switch from salty, shitty, bad-for-me snacks and food to healthier fare. But, it must be done, and it’s something I’ll cover in subsequent post(s) I’m sure.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you’ve got any advice or personal stories you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

~ Nikki

Resolution check: July

Well, I was determined to get back on track in July, and back on track I did get, exercising 23 of the month’s 31 days.

I went to the gym a bunch, did some pilates and yoga at home and walked an astounding (for me, mind you) 48.6 miles over the course of the month – including some monstrous hills in Long Island – in the hellish heat that has been rampant this summer here on the East Coast.
And those are only the miles that I kept track of! I had a big walk around New York, did countless miles on the treadmill and wandered the scene when the Vans Warped Tour came to town (my least favorite walking of it all, by the way). 

August is off to a great start with a fantastic 30 minute jaunt on the treadmill, a one-pound loss and my 25th day in a row logging into My Fitness Pal. My next goal is getting that retched scale down at least five more this month.

What’s your goal for August?

Nikki

Treading my way

I went.
By 6:05 this morning, I was booking it on the treadmill (after a five-minute warm up, of course), and proceeded to do so for the next 35 minutes.

I was pretty exhausted, especially considering that I didn’t sleep much after I woke up around 1 a.m. from nightmare that I was possessed by a demon – and was growling/speaking in tongue at my father, who was played in said dream by none other than Stephen Collins from “Seventh Heaven.”
I still haven’t decided which was scarier: Actually being possessed or having him as my father. Either way, it was very unpleasant. 
(Though there is a certain something about Mr. Collins, but I’d rather not delve into that chestnut – ever.)  

But I digress.
It felt good being back on the treadmill – and, I cannot tell a lie, getting my workout over for the day.
Bring it, Wednesday (because I know you will)!

Hope you all have a great hump day – and workout whenever you choose to do it!

Nikki

Blood, sweat and … gross

I’m fixing to make a bold statement here:
I think the people who don’t wipe off their machine after working out at the gym are despicable.
Quite frankly, I think they’re just as despicable as the influx of people I’ve been seeing – no, hearing – every time I’ve been to the movies lately: The people who won’t. shut. the. hell. up.

The past few times I’ve been to the gym – which you’ll recall just started happening on a regular basis last week, so you’re probably thinking, “Who the hell does she think she is?” but just forget you know that now that I’ve brought it up – I’ve seen so many people sweat it out on the treadmill/elliptical/bike. They wipe themselves off with their T-shirts the way I do, then touch the buttons or hold onto the rails, eventually hitting “stop” before they get off and walk away – never to return with the paper towel dripping with disinfectant.

Ugh. It burns my liver, as my old man used to say.
And then, especially when I go after work when there’s not a lot of open machines so someone hops right on after Gross Sweating Person, and they touch the same buttons that were just touched by GSP, oh, it turns stomach (as it burns my liver, of course).

Sorry, Planet Fitness, I know it’s a “judgment-free zone” – and I love that it is – but I’m totally judging the people who don’t clean up after themselves. Just sayin’.

Nikki

Early bird gets the … workout

So someone was at the gym at 5:55 this morning … and … what?
There were … other people there? And there were actually a lot of other people?
Who are these freaks??

Well, this morning, I became one them there freaks because I knew I wouldn’t be able to work out tonight or tomorrow after work, so I last night I thought to just be proactive and get there this morning.
It’s not like I sleep well anyway, so I might as well take advantage of that blasted insomnia.

Sure, it pretty much sucked driving in darkness to my brightly lit Planet Fitness, but once I finished my five-minute warmup on the treadmill and did 15 minutes of walking/jogging, that circuit room was looking mighty attainable, and for the second time this week, I made it my bitch – and I think it enjoyed it almost as much as I did.

Nikki

HIITing the gym again

OK, OK.
Since I wrote this on Feb. 23, I’ve not seen the inside of my Planet Fitness until tonight after work.
Hey, it’s better than the six-month lapse before that date, yes?? 

I’ve had all these grandiose plans of exercising at home in the morning and hitting the gym post work (that has pretty much been my plan from the moment I started joining gyms many moons ago), but as you know, that never goes according to plan.

I hate exercising after work, I’m usually too damn exhausted, hence why I shine as an a.m. exerciser – and the gym is close, but not close enough to run there before work, come home to shower, etc. then head to work.
Yes, I am one of those people who cannot shower in public. It is what it is.

But today, I packed my gym bag and ordered myself to go – and I’m so very glad I did because I finally did some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) that I’d read about in a recent SELF, and it really felt good.
If you’re not familiar, HIIT involves bursts of high-intensity movement (in my case, running on the treadmill for two minutes, speed(ish) walking for two minutes, repeat). It’s supposed to improve fat burning and is great for short-on-time workouts. 

After I did that for 25 minutes, I was going to skulk out as I most often do (when I go, of course), but decided against it and headed to Planet Fitness’ circuit room.
I’d entered there before, but always got self-conscious around other people and did a few of the 10 machines and, yes, skulked out.

Today, I said , “Screw it, no time like the present!,” and the second that light turned green, I started stepping at the first stop … and kept up with every single stop after until I hit No. 20, where my body was pretty much begging for mercy – which was a truly fantastic feeling.

What a great workout! I was there for about an hour, and it went so fast. What the hell was I so afraid of? Feeling better about myself? Maybe finally kicking myself up a notch and actually – GASP – enjoying a workout that wasn’t in the comfort of my own home?

Oh, silly, silly Nikki.
It’s just a room with exercise equipment.

So tell me, have you tried HIIT? Do you have any advice for me?

Nikki

The prodigal exerciser returns – to the gym

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been to the gym since Aug. 31.

My gym may be a "judgement free zone," but I can't help but judge myself for not going since August.

Let me break that bit of info down for you.
– That means it’s been nearly six months since I walked through the doors of my Planet Fitness.
– That means I’ve pissed away $60 of my hard-earned money to not walk through the doors of my Planet Fitness.
– That means that I could have/should have been far more on track … how much better shape would I be in if I wasn’t lazy/too busy/forgot completely about my damn membership/(insert any other viable excuse I’ve used here)?
Answer: A lot. I could have been my goal weight by now!

Now that the self-beating has been inflicted, it felt good hopping on the treadmill and losing myself, ironically, in a show on the Travel Channel about the best steaks in America. Really good. I just zoned out what had been a slightly crappy day, focused on putting one foot in front of the other at a brisk pace, upped the speed and incline a few times and before I knew it, 35 minutes had passed.

Returning to the gym had been one of my resolutions this year, and I’m glad I finally made good on that almost three-month-old list. I think it’ll be the start (or restart) of something beautiful for myself.

Nikki