As promised, last Friday for Lil Wayne’s birthday, I uploaded a picture of myself next to Weezy and Tupac. Since this blog was the first to know about it, I wanted to make sure I shared it with you.
My abs look aite. They’re not at Weezy level of strength or definition yet, but they don’t look all that bad. Good lighting, angles and filters help of course. But, for those of you who have read any other article on this blog, you know that I consider my stomach my weak point. So I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’m slowly but surely turning it into a strength.
I think the look on my face really makes the pic anyway.
And in case you’re wondering, I wrote “HAPPY BDAY WEEZY” on my stomach.
And in case you’re wondering, this is for my character personality B-Eazy (@BEazyHipHop).
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I might be insane.
It’s no secret that women are hard on themselves. It’s becoming more and more prevalent daily with the ability young kids have to access information and see popular culture images.
But I’m not here to write a dissertation on body image issues. I’m just here to give my two cents.
I’ve had them. Everyone has them. There are still parts of my body I’d like to improve. But as I’ve grown through the years, I’ve had a significant perspective shift in how I view my body.
First of all… I work out. Often. I change it up. I push myself. Sometimes I’m running. Sometimes I’m lifting. Sometimes I’m hiking. Sometimes I’m swimming. Sometimes I’m just frolicking. Frolicking is my favorite.
But in working out my body regularly, I have naturally developed an understanding and appreciation for it. It’s responsive and healthy. And I’m grateful for that. By pushing myself a little bit every day, I’m slowly improving. I’m not going to have an amazing p-90x style change in a short period of time, but I am going to slowly but surely slim down and strengthen myself.
As I work out regularly, I want to give my body the things it likes. I don’t like eating bad foods mostly because it makes my body feel badly.
I don’t drink excessively because I don’t like how it makes my body feel. I do comedy. Of course I drink. Often. But very rarely is it excessive in any way.
I don’t eat tons of sugar because my body doesn’t respond well to it. I have a sweet tooth- that’s no secret. But I’m reasonable about and aware of my intake amount. Not because I’m a crazy health nut, but because I’m a reasonable healthy person who pays attention.
And instead of obsessing over the the things I don’t like, I recognize something that could use improvement and I work on it. For example, I’m not a huge fan of my stomach. I’ve talked about that before. It’s the most obvious place I gain and lose from. But instead of obsessing and trying to hide it, I’ve been trying to turn it into my strength. I do ab work every day. And I push myself a little farther every time. I engage my abs during every exercise. I am always aware of them. And you guess what? They’re improving. They’re not yet at Pink’s level but they’re a lot better than they were a year ago. And a year from now, they’re going to get even better.
I’m an athletic woman. I have bigger arms than your average petite lady. I will never have tiny arms. So what do I do? I work on them. I get them strong and cut. Why? Because they look awesome. I even got a compliment on them from a friend the other day! She asked me if I work out because my arms looks so strong! Can you believe it? It was so exciting!
There are times when I’m in better shape than others. But overall, I’ve found that simple exercise and body awareness have made me love it and stop obsessing over every little supposed “imperfection.”
There’s not a lot I can do to protect other young women from having body issues. I can’t hide images from the media. I can’t ask our culture to totally change our values overnight. All I can do is work on myself and my internal confidence and happiness with my healthy body. Then I can hope to make a small difference to my circle of friends, who can in turn make a difference to their circle of friends, who make a difference to their circle of friends, who can… you get where this is going.
As long as I’m always incrementally improving, that’s ok by me. Because if we’re not actively working on improving ourselves and learning from our past… we’re stuck. And who wants to live their life being stuck?
Except maybe a honey-obsessed person in a field of beehives. I bet they wouldn’t mind that. As long as there were no bees.
Alright. Be proactive about having positive thoughts and images about your body. That’s all. I’m done.
Mixed feelings on this one.
My friend showed me an awesome blogpost about a guy who takes down some of the most ridiculous fitspiration quotes. I couldn’t find it when I did my standard three seconds of research for this post, but I did find another pretty good one.
Here’s the thing… the critics of fitspiration are right. They can be unrealistic, dumb, and sometimes even dangerous.
But here’s the other thing… I don’t take them all that seriously. There are times when my body wants to stop because it’s used to just being lazy. There are times when I think I’ve hit the limit on something only to push through the plateau and reach a new strength or fitness peak. There are times when I do have to use my mind to talk my body into trying something difficult that it turns out is possible. So, to that end, these posters are absolutely right.
If you go into every workout with a mindset of pushing yourself further than yesterday and doing something you think impossible, you’re going to sail past your fitness goals in no time. Having a little healthy fitspiration picture with a great quote can help you visualize that goal and feel it even stronger. And there is nothing wrong with that.
If, however, you think you’re going to look like the girl in the picture if you go into the weightroom and push really hard without doing any research or listening to your body’s cues at all, you’re going to both hurt yourself and hate yourself for not looking like the picture after a week of working out.
Have realistic expectations for yourself. And if the fitspiration helps your lazy butt get to the gym, put that shit up all over. If it makes you feel bad about yourself because you don’t look like the perfectly photoshopped model who hasn’t had carbs since the 90s, get rid of that shit. But find something else that does inspire you to go.
Like anything else, see it for what it’s worth. If it adds value to your life, keep it. If it makes you feel bad, lose it.
I’m a bit of a sucker for cheesy inspiration, so I tend to love fitspiration pictures. Then again, I also love my chocolate so I accepted long ago I won’t look like the models. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try to get in my best shape by pushing my boundaries on the daily.
Speaking of, I gotta stop typing now and get to the gym. The weights are waiting wondering why the woman isn’t working out…whoops.
My very brave friend Shannon had me train her this morning at the gym.
I say she’s brave not because I’m an intense trainer (though that is true… I don’t like lazy and won’t let you do it). She’s mostly brave because it was 6:30 am and I had not had breakfast. And it was not my gym so I didn’t know where anything was. So I was a bit…ahem…cranky.
She was a good sport about it. She knows me well enough to read between my cranky words to get behind what I’m saying.
At one point, we had a little interaction with another woman in the free weights section. She wanted a weight I was using. The thing is… I was using it. She tried to argue this point with me. But the problem was…see…I was using it. And basic weight room etiquette is first come, first serve. You just wait until the person using your weights is done with all their sets before you use it. Especially if they’re mid-set. Using the weight in question. Like I was. Did I make that point clear?
She got a little snarky with me, so I gave her attitude back. Because, see, I was using the weight at the time so, no, I didn’t want to give it to her.
Luckily for her, I saw the actual weight I wanted to use had been returned to the rack (5 lbs heavier than what I was using, by the way…), so I said she could have mine and went to get the heavier. She said she only needed one. I told her I didn’t care how many she needed, I wasn’t using them anymore so just take whatever…I don’t care.
Shannon, seeing this interaction, let me know I’m getting a little “feisty” with her. I’m aware that I’m not the most chipper person 1) At the gym 2) Without breakfast and 3) In the morning (let alone the lethal combination of the three). But there is a standard weight room etiquette. Some things are more forgivable than others. Asking someone to use your weight while you’re using it is just about the biggest faux pas you can make.
About five minutes later, I’m looking over at the girl who wanted the weight and she was doing her “exercises” with the worst form I’ve ever seen. Now, again, I recognize I’m a snob for form. I was lucky enough to be coached on a lot of exercises through sports and weight training in high school and been practicing on and off for years. I’ve studied enough to know that I’d rather do three reps with perfect form than 30 with shitty form because I know those three reps do more than anything else. Anyone who’s done one pilates session knows that focusing on form is the single most effective choice you can make in a workout. Everything else will fall into place if you’re actually doing the exercise right.
Apparently, I made my disgust well known. Shannon claims I mumbled “She has the worst f***ing form I’ve ever seen. I don’t even know why the f*** she’s wasting her time right now or why the f*** she even need that weight, she’s doing herself absolutely no good and just taking up f***ing space in the weightroom where someone who knows what the f*** they’re doing could be…” or something like that. Maybe even more colorful. For the record- I don’t remember saying it. But also for the record, it’s definitely what I was thinking so it wouldn’t surprise me that in my delirious and angry morning state I had no filter on.
Shannon reminded me again to “Calm down there feisty. Not everyone has as much training as you.” And she was right. But people can have common sense. If you look like a total idiot, you’re probably not doing yourself any good (see my previous post that tells you how I feel about the elliptical machine where you really look like an idiot). You’re likely doing more harm than good.
So do everyone a favor and before you get into the weight room with the big dogs and do your research. Look up some weight room etiquette. Bring a friend with you (like Shannon did) who knows their way around a weight room until you feel comfortable enough to be in there by yourself. And for the love of god, look up how the eff to do the exercises you’re attempting.
Otherwise, you’re going to hurt yourself. Or I’m going to hurt your feelings by cursing at you. Either way, you lose.
And- for the love of John, Paul, George, and Ringo- do not ask someone for their weight while they’re effing using it.
That is all. For now.
I’ve got a new obsession.
I have a sweet tooth. No denying it. I’ve tried cutting out sugar altogether and “rebooting my palette.” Nope. doesn’t work for me. I likey the chocolate.
There are only two ways for me to get around my sweets obsession. One is buying chocolate bars with really high % cacao(like 85-90%). It gives me that little chocolate kick without the obsession that makes it impossible for me to stop.
The other option, are these:
They’re brownies. That have tons of protein in them. So you can pretend they’re healthy.
They’re hefty on the calories. I don’t pretend like this is a great idea. I just pretend like it’s not the worst idea.
I get my sweets fix but I’m also full for a long time because of all the protein in them.
So try ’em. I get the chocolatey ones. Because…well, I’m obsessed.
Yeah, yeah, yeah that title is totally hippy dippy, I know. But it’s very true.
Last weekend, I was in Las Vegas and was lucky enough to spend a major chunk of my afternoon lounging at a ladies spa located in my hotel.
It was awesome. For a very cheap price, I spent the whole afternoon (post-workout, of course) rotating between a crystal steam room, sauna, whirlpool, herbal room, rain temperature station, wave room, igloo, and even a salt grotto. It was so freaking cool.
Part of the spa was “clothing optional.” My friend and I decided we’d take them up on that. Rather than wearing our swimsuits, we were going to just let ourselves be free. We figured, “This is Vegas. Anything goes.”
When we finally got to our time in the spa, we dropped down to our birthday suits, wrapped ourselves up in the provided towels and went to experience the amenities.
It was so interesting because rather than most of the women being like us… *ahem* FREE… most of the women were wearing bathing suits in all the spa things.
Now I understand you could make an argument for hygiene. Sure. Whatever.
But let’s be real for a second. A spa like that is going to maintain its cleanliness really well. And, most of the time you could sit on your towel or be standing while enjoying the environment.
Besides, I don’t think most people were in their bathing suits because of hygiene. I think they were in it out of embarrassment.
Which is where this hippy dippy title comes from. When I looked around and realized I’d be the only naked person in the whirlpool, I got self conscious at first. Then my friend I was with (who was also naked) was like “Screw it. Clothing is optional. I don’t wanna wear my suit. I don’t know why everyone is being so weird about it. It’s just bodies.”
And I agreed. And we were the naked people amongst the suited. And after a while, I decided I was going to make the people in suits feel like the weird ones. I don’t care about your body. I assume you don’t care about mine. So let’s leave it at that.
I wasn’t looking at them. I don’t care. Not only do I prefer to gaze at muscly, manly men, but spas aren’t meant for judgment. They’re meant for relaxation and personal enjoyment. It’s quiet time with you and your body just to take care of it and say “Thank you” for everything it does for you. I don’t care about anyone else’s body. For once, I’m concentrating on mine. Yours means nothing to me. Get over it.
Plus, I think there’s this idea that permeates especially American society that we need to always be modest. It’s embarrassing to put yourself out there too much. People might judge you.
Whatever. I’m officially done with caring what people think of me in any capacity. You don’t like my creative work? Cool. I don’t care. You don’t like my opinion on a certain subject? Cool. I don’t care. You notice my body isn’t perfect because I’m nakedly walking around in a spa taking in all the wonderful amenities sans a swimsuit? Cool. I. Don’t. Care.
I love my body. I work it hard. I try to take good care of it, but to be honest, it is much more forgiving of me than I deserve. I feed it pretty well, but sometimes Guinness is dinner. I workout regularly, but sometimes I feel like watching Portlandia on Netflix instead of going to the gym. I put on sunscreen daily, but sometimes I just don’t want to feel like I’m a snake with second skin and I risk 10 minutes of direct sunlight to feel how the other side lives.
I bruise myself regularly for no reason and it heals quickly. I get anxious and can pick at my face and it heals the scars. I don’t sleep regularly and it stays healthy and energetic. I sometimes feed it poison in the form of a Coke Zero and it forgives me by not dying. I eat too much sugar- especially for someone who has a higher than normal risk for diabetes- and it metabolizes it normally.
My body is good to me. And I love it.
And you should love yours, too.
Sometimes, that means letting it be free when clothing is optional.
But only when clothing is optional. I’m not saying we should all be nudists…
Great post from one of my fave running blogs about something I’ve been bemoaning for months now!