Monday, July 29, 2013

I Work Out

No, really. I do.

If you would have told me a year ago I would not only work out in a gym where there are men and women and lights that make it possible to see me whilst I bop around on a machine but that I would ENJOY it at the same time I would have probably given you a dirty look and then never talked to you again. Okay, I exaggerate. But seriously, I wouldn't have believed you.

Yet here I am.

A little bit lot of back story here- (feel free to skip this part if you're not into details)

{{There has never been a time in my life when I have not been chubby. In fact, that was my childhood nickname. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and even sometimes parents would all call me Chubby. It didn't bother me when it was just a cute pet name for a chunky little kid. When I got a little older and realized society did not deem it cute to be chubby, I became embarrassed by my moniker.

Fast forward through nutritionist appointments, diets, teasing by family, pressure, and depression and I managed to make it through high school with just a sliver of self confidence. I was told by doctors if I didn't diet and lose gobs of weight I would be 300 pounds by the time I graduated high school. They were wrong. Way wrong. I was active. Always have been. I played intermurals in college, went on hikes, took long walks with friends, walked Scooby two to three times a day as a puppy. I also loved eating and managed to maintain my figure that soon went from "she's chubby" to "she's curvy". My confidence began to grow as I began to find clothes that flattered my shape. I worked at a summer camp during the summers of my college career and I swam and rode horses and played ultimate frisbee and chased kiddos and friends. My curves became flattered by toned legs and arms. I felt really good about myself.

Then I began teaching. I didn't have time for summer camp; couldn't handle the work load. I didn't know anyone where I was teaching; I didn't have anywhere to go exercise. It was just me and Scooby, so I got used to eating crappy food that was within my budget; which included lots of take out because cooking for one wasn't always fun.

Soon after I met Josh- the first man to see me at my worst and best and still ooze with love in his eyes when he looks at me, a goofy grin breaking up the scruff on his face. The man God created and knew would be the most perfect partner for me as we do this life together. He has never once criticized me or tried to force me to work out. He has expressed concern for my health and well being, but has supported every decision I have ever made.

Now, I have been fighting a battle against a syndrome that has brought about a 40-50 pound weight gain. That number the doctors hung over my head is ever present and thankfully I have yet to face it. The decision to begin working out came about as a result of a few things. I was having difficulty walking after sitting for a while; I could feel how strained my legs and feet were and developed bone spurs in each of my heels. I never had enough energy for the day. No matter how much coffee I drank. Finally, the hardest and most heartbreaking: Infertility.

It is very hard to have "done everything right" (degree, husband, home; all in the "right" order) and then watch people around you giggle about getting pregnant "without trying" while you fight month after month for the two lines that promise a new chapter in your lives; a family.

Before you are tempted to unlock the secrets of making a baby for me, please trust that I have been given every piece of advice regarding reproduction; the most common being-
"Stop trying, that's when I got pregnant."
"It will happen when it should happen."
"Just trust God."
"Go on vacation, that's when it will happen!"
"Do x, y, z in the bedroom and you'll be pregnant in no time!"
"Maybe it's not meant for you."
"You can always adopt."

I understand and appreciate the compassion these words are meant to convey; but they hurt. When someone is longing to start a family with her husband, the best advice to give is none. It is best to just offer an ear and shoulder and let it be. And just as an aside... It can be really hurtful to poke fun at a couple about when they are going to have children; you have no idea the journey they are on and the comments that make infertility hurt the most are those demanding to know why we don't have children yet and why it's taking so long. It is a private matter between husband and wife and should never be made grounds for public conversation- especially over social media.

The best way to combat my syndrome is diet and exercise. And after over a year of an unsuccessful journey to start a family, I'd had enough.}}


Josh and I joined our local YMCA at the end of June. Being a teacher where I live I get a great discount and we were stoked that we could afford a membership!

That Monday I began working out with an awesome friend. We greet with her and her husband at church and she is great! We meet 3 times a week and she helped teach me how to workout and is so good about pushing me to go a little bit further without being forceful or critical. I would not be where I am now without her. If you are like me (a little chubby around the edges) and you are nervous about working out, it was SO helpful to me to have an experienced friend be willing to lead the way and stand by my side.

I've been at this new lifestyle for a month now, and I have already noticed some changes:
-I have ankles again!
-My calves are becoming defined and muscular again
-My thighs have shrunk. A little. (with a LONG way to go!)
-The muscles in my arms are toning and becoming more defined
-My face is getting thinner (thank goodness!!)
-I can walk through a parking lot or around my neighborhood without being bothered or gasping for breath.
-I don't feel so fatigued
-I don't drink as much coffee
-Working out clears my head and relieves stress
-I sleep better at night
-My husband is seeing and enjoying me in a new light

It's awesome. So awesome. I'm doing this. I'm really doing it. So, for those of you out there who were like me a year ago that would read this stuff and say "Psh. That's great for her but won't work for me." I give you:

A Chubby Girl's Best Advice for Other Chubby Girls that {might} Want to Work Out-
-If you are intimidated, find someone that will support you and do this with you (my husband and friend Kacey are awesome!)
-Get. good. shoes. My sneakers are in bad shape and really hindering me right now. I'm hoping to be able to afford these soon.
-Get.a.good.bra. This is self explanatory. I snagged this one on Clearance at target and like it.
-Invest in some comfortable workout clothes that make you feel good. I love these pants. They are the cheapest I have found and smooth everything out while being very breathable and low friction. These tops are the best fitted and priced that I have found and are very flattering and comfortable for a woman with curves.
-Focus on cardio. If you are trying to slim down, weight lifting will not do it. That will just build muscles underneath your fat. Instead, I do 30-40 minutes (I started with 20 and have been working my way up) on an elliptical machine. It is very low impact and does not hurt my knees. I avoid treadmills because my knees can't take the impact. Then we will do arm workouts with light hand weights and lots of reps on one day, leg workouts on the leg machines with light weight and lots of reps another day. The goal is to get your heart rate up and keep it up for at least 30 minutes. This boosts your metabolism and endurance. Make sure you stretch before and after to prepare muscles and then work out lactic acid. A good stretch after keeps the soreness down and helps you cool down and get your heart rate back to normal.
-Build a playlist that pumps you up and gets you excited and motivates you! Then use it and feel encouraged by the fact that you are being a good steward of the body given to you!

I'm not a medical professional, but I have become very passionate about taking care of my body and being my best self. I want the life I live to be full of experiences and memories; not hours on the couch wishing I could go for a hike or that my ankles would quit hurting and back would quit aching. I want to be able to chase my children or get in the floor and play with them. Josh and I will have a family one day and I will be an active mom on the go able to keep up with her kiddos.

So this was just about a novel, but one of the most important posts I believe I have ever written. I thank God for the motivation every day to share love, press on, leave no regrets, and take care of my family.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I normally post a lot more during the summer, but I have to be honest- I've been savoring every drop of this summer break (and keeping quite busy!). I'm normally a project-a-holic and have tackled a few things, but the theme of my summer thus far has been soaking up quality time with people I care about. And I would not change a thing about that! 

I find myself thinking I must be dreaming when I stop to think about all the blessings around me. I have a beautiful home that keeps me safe and welcomes friendly laughter over meals, tea, coffee, and even video games; I have a job that is hard- but the good kind of hard that makes you smile at the end of the day- and I am so very passionate about; I have in me the capability to nurse puppies back to health and return them to be adopted to forever homes; I have loving, funny, supportive family all around me cheering on the life Josh and I have established and are maintaining; I have a comfortable, dependable vehicle with features that make me feel sheepishly spoiled as an American; we have a variety of friends that keep our glasses filled and our eyes bright with laughter; and I have him. The man who knows how to push every button at once, yet when fear begins to crowd my thoughts wraps me up in two very strong, tender arms. He is home to me and I adore him. I can barely believe I get to keep him my whole life as my husband. I would rather live in a cardboard box fighting every day with him than be catered to in a mansion with anyone else.

This summer, I am enjoying home.