Exercise? I Thought You Said Extra Fries

Uhg. I saw a picture on pinterest the other day that said “Exercise? I thought you said extra fries.” If that ain’t the truth I don’t know what is. If I wasn’t meant to eat salt and potatoes then why the hell are they so delicious? The greatest invention of the modern age was Red Robin’s bottomless fries. Now, I’ve only ever been there once because if I went back that would be my grave. I would eat those fries until I died. I just love food. And by food I do mean all food. I know the popular and right thing is to say I love whole organic farm to table foods blessed by the pope and Dali Lama. Well, I do love those foods. I also love and can annihilate a bag of Doritos before you can say “But think of your heart!”

The other day my friend texted me the picture below and said “I finally understand why you work out so much”. Uh, yeah. Because one fry becomes the whole bottomless bowl. One Dorito becomes the whole bag. Hey, kids, here’s a math problem for you: How many bowls of bottomless fries can Ms. Nancy eat? The answer is obesity because America.

everything is on fire

Diets are the worst. But when your pants don’t fit– that’s also kind of the worst. Last year I lost upwards of 25 lbs and felt awesome. And then I went back to work. Have you ever heard  that roughly 25% of being a teacher is resisting the horrible food that shows up out of nowhere multiple times a week? Yeah, I hadn’t either. But there it is, the teacher’s lounge inexplicably packed with doughnuts and muffins. Randomly. On a Tuesday. When you least expect it. Had I known there would be treats I would have picked up my cheeto chain mail or my +1 muffin defense shield. Or you know, avoided the teacher’s lounge. If that’s not bad enough, then let’s not forget when kids bring you whole homemade apple pies. Yes. I received a whole pie in May.

The question for a teacher who receives a whole home made apple pie then becomes: Do I eat this pie because it’s f*cking May and I need something, some sort of metaphorical arm floatie to get me through the deep end that is the last three weeks of school? Or do I munch on an apple and get a cramp and drown in this train wreck pool metaphor because obviously PIE ALWAYS WINS.

Fun fact: I ate most of a whole pie in May!

You’d think pies and doughnuts and my love of the sweet, sweet nectar of life, potatoes, would surely have unraveled my weight loss from last year. Despite how much this post makes it seem like I have zero self control (False. I have at least 10% self control) I didn’t gain much weight back. Which, you know what? I’ll count that as a win because I had to go to work everyday where doughnuts were just handed out for free all willy nilly! I mean, who just brings free food to people who work with kids all day? Are you insane? Are you trying to kill me? Have you no respect for emotional eaters? We teach 12-year-olds. It’s lucky that we don’t all walk around with a flask and a side satchel full of cheetos and those mini chocolate covered doughnuts.

Luckily, though, I didn’t descend into flask/ doughnut satchel and since getting back on the logging food wagon (Blech. Nobody wants to know how many calories are in a vegan cookie. It’s vegan. Obviously it’s made from plants, the sweat of protesting feminists, and free range macrobiotic chocolate. See nutritional information: zero calories, your daily intake of the strength of a thousand men) three weeks ago my skinny shorts are not only fitting comfortably but loose. The download said

Take that, pie, you sucker!

I’m sorry I said that. Never leave me.

Anyway, my healthy eating/body transformation (oh my god sorry. Body and transformation should never be used together in a sentence.) isn’t over. I’ve wrangled myself some new goals that started on Friday. Let’s rehash it together, shall we?

Dumb bells, check. Yoga mat, check. Dog who thinks  jumping around and swinging shit means play time, check. Begin lifting, not so ba- Oh, Christ I should have started with 5 lb weights. Have I torn my arm off? No. Arm is still attached. Am I sure? Yes, ok, arm is still there. Move on to core work. Small tiny crunch and then yelling to husband in the next room, “If this is what it takes to stay in shape then I DON’T WANT IT.” Continue to exercise/weep intermittently. Try some squat roll back jump up thing, discover that even though I’ve been standing since I was wee I can’t seem to get off the floor. Anger. Punch the floor. How many reps of angry Nancy am I supposed to do? None? Damn it. Husband tries to calm me down, succeeds in demonstrating squat roll back jump up thing which of course only makes me more angry because I AM NOT A TURTLE SO WHY CAN’T I GET OFF MY BACK.

True Life: Fries. All of them. … I never did get off my back with that exercise but the others were marginally more successful. I think I already see a difference. Or, the overworked muscles have been spasming so much that I’ve given myself muscle definition by way of pure undiluted pain. Either way, I’m sure I’ll have a six pack soon (snort) like all those gals on youtube and pinterest who do one thousand squats while smiling and not sweating. If I smile during a work out look again because it’s probably a grimace used to swallow a sob because no matter how much I work out it is never a breeze. But I guess pushing yourself is how you get all those nicely defined muscles. Maybe after that you get the smiling and not sweating? I don’t know how MollyFitness (TM) and Holly Squatsalot are so ripped, and keep a clean house, and even have children, but damn do they seem able to easily crush a can with their abs while applying makeup, smiling, and not sweating. I try really hard not to compare myself to people who have already achieved maximum sweatless fitness. Hell, I try not to compare myself to anybody because I do actually like who I am and what I look like. So I’m not going to. Instead, this will be my mentality: You can always set new goals, which is where I’m at this summer.

Last year I proved to myself that I could change the way I ate. This past school year, despite eating one too many pies, I proved to myself that I can keep the weight off. I also showed myself that if the weight comes back on, even just a bit, all I have to do is realign and get back to what works. It took me until this month to fully realize that, but sometimes you’ve got to live it, you know? Jesus. Sorry. The pinterest quote is really strong with me today.

Last summer I posted a list of things I wanted to achieve before I went back to work. I checked many of those things off so I’m going to do the same again this year. Here goes:

  • Lose those last lbs
  • Tone up with weights, hiit workouts
  • Continue healthy eating
  • blog more about life, food, workouts
  • read at least 12 more books
  • work on the house
  • take time to express gratitude
  • proofread more because half of this list is not properly capitalized

So, before I put up a motivational quote, I’m going to go work out.

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The Summer Of Not Doing Much– But In Reality, Accomplishing A Lot

An update on The Summer Of Not Doing Much– But In Reality, Accomplishing A Lot

This Summer: It’s been great. I’ve watched a lot of movies. I’ve spent lots of time cuddling and playing with the Beans. I’ve exercised just about 6 days a week. I’ve tried out lots of healthy new recipes that we both really enjoy. And! I’ve lost somewhere in the range of 15-20 lbs since late March.

Left -- in March. Right--- Last Week. A new haircut, too!

Left — in March. Right— Last Week. A new haircut, too!

 Yesterday I had my yearly health assessment for my insurance. I’ve lost 6.5 inches around my waist, although it’s probably more since I was doing a great imitation of a roller coaster with my poundage. I still have a little ways to go, but not much. For the first time in a three years ALL my clothes fit. Actually, many of them are bordering on too big now and I’d like to thank strength training and lean muscle for that one. I feel good. I want to eat healthy food. I don’t even want pizza. I know. Somebody slap me back to my senses! No, don’t, because I’d like to relish in this moment for a bit. This is pretty much the first time in my life where eating and exercising are a balanced part of my life.

When I was a kid/teenager, I never routinely exercised.  When I was 16ish, my family changed our eating habits and I lost 40+ lbs in the course of a year. It was great, but it all came back on with college stress and life changes. By the time I was a sophomore, I knew I had to do something. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. During a nutrition and health class required by my major, I realized the thing I had to change was the plod/sedentary pudge I had become. I started working out at the university’s high tech gym. Back then it took me 45 minutes to run 3 miles. And that was after working up to three miles. But I haven’t stopped working out since. Now, I have pretty awesome endurance. I love, love, love the mindlessness of cardio and regularly do an hour to an hour and a half of it. But even with all the exercise, when life got stressful about 3 years ago, a lot of the weight came back. Not all, thanks to massive amounts of cardio, but enough that I’ve been slowly yo-yoing back down for three years.

This year sucked. And all the weight I lost last year came back. I see now that I was on auto-pilot. I knew what I needed to do to lose and then maintain a healthy weight, but it was hard, and I didn’t care, and when I cared too much I became discouraged and if you’ve ever been discouraged you know that feeling tastes a lot like a box of cheeze-its. Which is where my hand would find itself on particularly bad days/weeks.

Me in a dress that I bought and never fit into. UNTIL NOW.

Me in a dress that I bought and never fit into. UNTIL NOW.

This summer I told myself we would do better. We owed it to ourselves. I really owed it to me (ok, pinterest quote, settle down). I wanted to actually reap the benefits of all the work I put into my workout. I also want to live for a long time but not as a sedentary cheeze-it pudge. So I stuck to my commitment and I’m glad I didn’t give up.

These are some of the things that really helped/ are helping to keep me going:

  • The Lose It! App – you can log everything you eat. Need to scan a bar code? No problem. Do most of your own cooking? Cool, you can input recipes and see how much you’re actually eating.
  • The South Beach Diet (but the vegetarian recipes, because animals)- This is the lifestyle change my family made when I was in high school. The hubs and I choose the best sounding/ my favorite old recipes. It’s simple, delicious, and healthy food.
  • Limiting carbs-  I love carbs. If I could hug every potato in the world, I totally would.  If you told me I could never have bread again, I’d punch you right in the mouth. But I hold these carbs so dear that I can actually eat a whole loaf of healthy bread by myself. And still have room for potatoes and pizza. So, I’ve tried to limit those favorite carbs. And it’s been pretty ok!
  • Vegan recipes- In the name of limiting carbs I had to find alternatives to those things that I love, those starchy, starchy things. I stumbled on vegan recipes like this one, and this one, and this one. While not all of those are a replacement for the love of my life, starch (Just kidding, Chris! I love you the most! Especially if you are cradling a potato!), it doesn’t matter because the food is so. damn. delicious.
  • Moderation- I can still have beer. I can still eat bread. I just can’t do these things every day. BUT THIS IS AMERICA! I SHOULD HAVE ALL THE BEER AND POTATO CHIPS I WANT. Yes, but, you turn into a catatonic salt and vinegar dipped in beer infused version of yourself, Nancy, and you don’t like that aftermath. I allow myself a “cheat day” or an occasional not as healthy treat during the week. It can’t be every day, but if we are at a friend’s house and they have pie? I am probably going to still have a small slice. And so help me if I ever have to give up beer. I can’t! But if I limit myself to 1-2 beers once a week, it’s a treat and not a part of my unbalanced diet.
  • Exercise- I already worked out a lot. I just wasn’t getting any benefit because I wasn’t paying attention to my diet because apathetic Nancy was apathetic. Even on the days that I don’t run for 8 hours, I can see/feel the difference it makes because I’ve finally balanced eating and exercise in a way that works for me.
  • Chris-  He signed on to eat better. He encourages me when I feel like a pudge (and makes sure to tell me I am emphatically not a pudge). He started exercising too. He lets me try all sorts of crazy/new vegan and vegetarian recipes. The hubs is pretty much the best person ever and this would have been many cheeze-it boxes harder if he wasn’t so helpful.

So that’s all really. It’s been a summer of loss and Netflix. I’d call that a success. I hope if you’re trying to push through your own healthy hurdle that you are seeing positive changes, too. If not, keep going. Avoid the cheeze-it aisle. You can do it (ok, motivational kitten poster, nobody takes you seriously)… (but really, you can do it.)