Me for Me

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It took me a while to come up with a good topic to write about for this one. I’m really good at writing about things that revolve around facts and information, but not so much in regards to things that are emotional – so I picked something that was a little bit of both.

Lately, I feel that people’s perception of women, their bodies, and what is considered ‘beautiful’ has become fairly skewed. This is such a huge topic, but we can even use my recent experience as an example.

I’ve started working out about five days a week because I decided that I want to get back to looking really toned. I posted a picture on Facebook of how I looked this time last year when I lived back in Texas for some motivation, and I also wanted to see what people’s responses would be, so I could figure out what kind of angle I wanted to take on this.

This was the picture I posted, and my caption was, “I got fat in Ohio. Ughhhhh! Well this is my new goal: to look like I did in Texas”. These pictures were not supposed to be used in comparison to each other, but rather as a “This is what I used to look like, and I want to get back to this”.

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There were a wide range of comments. Most of the women were very supportive. Some offered excuses for why I might not be on my A-game, some even reprimanded me for calling myself ‘fat’, and two could relate to my struggle but offered optimistic advice. The men mostly cracked jokes or cat-called, but there was one douchebag who called me anorexic and completely missed the point – although PROVING my point. We’ll talk about that gentleman later.

First and foremost, I know that I am not FAT. I am a healthy weight right now and probably about 30lbs of that is on my chest. However, I also know that I am not as physically fit as I could be or have been before. I’m aware that muscle weighs more than fat, so you cannot make this statement based solely on weight alone. (I’m not though.) I’ve gotten lazy and out of shape. I eat things I shouldn’t because I travel often, and it’s finally caught up to me. I also stopped smoking, which added to a few pounds I’m sure. I am not fat, but rather…..soft.

Fitness, to me, has always been a form of self-improvement. I work out for myself. I use it for regulation and routine in my life and as a goal to keep working towards. Working out helps me reach my goals of not only looking better, but achieving a healthier lifestyle overall. I feel better when I am active, I get sick less often, and I am generally happier all around. Not only that, but it’s a huge stress reliever.

I understand that I will probably not look like that picture above again easily. When I lived in Texas, my significant other was gone constantly and if I wasn’t at work I was in the gym. It became an outlet and a support system for me. I was probably there 6 days a week, multiple times a day: I had a trainer, normal workouts with a friend, and group classes.

I know that I probably won’t be able to put into it what I did before – but I’m at least going to try. My goal this time was to cut back on cardio and work in more weight training to see what it does to my body. When I was working out before, I did an incredible amount of cardio and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the result was that I became very thin and lean.

However, being thin and lean DOES NOT mean that I am anorexic. I’ve dealt with those comments a lot (especially when I was 18-19), and it’s always been really surprising to me. I’ve never actually taken that full-on approach before. I have tried it, I’m not going to lie to you. But not only is it super unhealthy – it’s pretty miserable. It was really just me yo-yo dieting, if anything. Like I said above, I use my body for regulation and routine. I will always have control over my body, even when I’m not in control of other things in my life.

I could never understand the anorexic comments though. That’s why when someone commented on the photo above and said the girl on the right looked anorexic and too skinny I was like, what?! I’m NOT a ridiculously skinny person. I have a smaller frame, but I have meat on my bones, especially if you compare me to other girls who model like I do.

This is when I realized it though: in COMPARISON to other women, I feel like I am a ‘full figured’ model. I’m curvy and natural looking. I’m nowhere near as skinny as the women I’ve stood next to in photo shoots. And let me tell you, there is nothing more embarrassing than posing and having a photographer tell you to “suck it in”.

It’s not meant to be offensive – it’s something that comes along with modeling. It has to do with the mechanics of it and how your body looks at certain angles, but honestly it’s still shitty to hear. So here goes my train of thought: if I’m being told to suck in, then that means I have something TO suck in, which means I have something to improve or change about myself because my stomach isn’t as flat as it could be. I want to look as attractive as possible. Being attractive is what we’ve been led to believe is important, right? People tell me I’m already skinny but sometimes I don’t see it because not everything is to MY standards. A lot of people have a distorted image of themselves anyways, myself obviously included.

But what exactly is attractive? What’s considered beautiful?

Scientifically, symmetry (more specifically facial symmetry) is actually a key component of human perception of attractiveness. So what are our choices if we don’t have a perfect face or money for plastic surgery? Work on our bodies of course!

We compare ourselves – at least I do – to people who are considered the media stereotype of attractive. Celebrities are mainly the ones who come to mind. They’re broadcast across our TVs every day and we willingly subject ourselves to it. You know, I too would probably look fabulous if I had someone doing my hair and makeup every day and picking out my designer outfits. Us ‘normal’ people have to do the best with what we’ve got.

We really just need to stop comparing. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be someone smarter, prettier, richer, or skinnier than you. Oppositely, there will always be someone dumber, uglier, poorer, and fatter than you as well. It really comes down to accepting yourself for who you are and being comfortable in your own skin. Something that I can’t even confidently say I am able to do yet.

I’m learning though. The more time I spend on my own, doing me for me, the more I appreciate myself and my own company as well as who I am as a person. I know I have a lot to offer and image isn’t everything. It’s just so unfortunate that our physical appearances have become such a big deal. We have allowed ourselves become so superficial.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not perfect on this subject either. I have an idea in mind of what I think is attractive in men – what I would imagine my ultimate guy to look like. However, I always surprise myself with the men I actually find myself with. I have no ‘type’. There’s either chemistry or there isn’t. It’s pretty straight forward and simple actually.

Every person has their own opinion of what’s attractive. Big breasted blonde bitches (BBBB) seem to fit the Barbie stereotype for some. Other people like athletic women, some like ‘alternative’ chicks. Some do like the tall, super thin runway models. Thankfully I think that exotic looking women are making a comeback. Apparently I qualify as exotic. I totally disagree with that statement, but whatever. It’s what I’ve been told. I also think natural women are making a comeback. It’s more widely accepted now to be muscular and athletic or to be curvy.

**Side note: This has gone in a weird direction that I didn’t anticipate, so I’m just going to go with it because quite honestly, I’m mad it’s taken me like three days to write this. ALSO CAN I JUST POINT OUT — that most of the women in Game of Thrones are curvy and natural looking? And they are so sexy! Plus, boobs. Come on. Boobs > everything**

I guess it truly all comes down to the individual person and what they perceive as being attractive. Fuck society. You can’t please everyone and you never will – so you might as well at least make yourself happy. (And there’s no need to ridicule others because they don’t look the way you think they should.)

So I’m going to do what makes me happy – whatever that is. It might change constantly until I figure it out – but so be it. I’m doing this for me.

 

My 24 Day Challenge (Intro)

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I’ve decided that I’m going to *try* to do the 24-Day Advocare challenge. It’s a 24 day program that is designed to help you lose weight AND/OR get off a fitness plateau if you’re on one. I’m not really interested in losing weight, but I want to look better. It’s a common misconception that if you weigh less then that’s the only time that you’re losing fat – but that’s not true. Muscle weighs more than fat, and with me doing crossfit I’m going to weigh more at the end of these 24 days than at the start. So I’m just not going to weigh myself.

** More info on the challenge here **

I got the kit in the mail last week and decided that I would start today. So I went to the gym this morning, and then promptly went grocery shopping after. I’ve already come to two conclusions: 1) I need to actually GET UP earlier so I can get all these meals and stuff in, and 2) Eating healthy is fucking expensive.

Let me elaborate:

So, I woke up at 9am this morning so I could drink my pre-workout (this forces me to actually drink some form of water, because I am awesome at being dehydrated) and make the 10am class. Well, by the time it was over it was 11 – and by the time I was done buying groceries, it was like noon. I hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet, so there went my ‘routine’ for today.

I guess I have to get up earlier. I like doing a fasted work out though, so my ass either needs to get up at 5am and make the 6am class, or I just need to accept the fact that I won’t be doing fasted anything anymore. The challenge comes with a daily schedule that tells you when to take what etc, so I just decided to combine the morning and the afternoon for today since I’ve already fucked it up. Oh well, live and learn – plus it’s only day one. I just should have thought this out better.

I took before pictures, but I don’t feel like posting them because I feel like it’s absolutely necessary to look as fat and unhappy as possible, so you get the most awesome results by the end. And no one really needs to see me all gross and unhappy without the result pictures to follow. Deal with it.

Moving on to point number two – I picked up what I thought was a weeks worth of fruit and vegetables for a little under $20, but after meal prepping everything when I got home, I realized I had MAYBE three days worth. What the hell.

I also went out and tried to find fresh “free range” chicken, because the 10lb frozen breasts you get at the store that can literally feed four people at a time are disturbing. Can you imagine the amount of antibiotics in that shit?! No thanks. I’d rather just omit meat all together, but let’s be realistic here. I’m not dumb enough to try to convert to vegetarianism AND do some program at the same time. That’s really just setting myself up to fail considering I don’t have much experience with either of those things to be able to do it and stay healthy. Being anorexic is not what I’m trying to do here. This is going to result in a lifestyle change and I want to be safe about it.

I also attempted to find some fresh eggs. Locally, my city has decided that people are not allowed to own chickens within city limits, so this makes it slightly difficult to find eggs that haven’t been ‘tainted’. Luckily, I was able to find some. This made me think back to when I tried to do this before though, and I just have to point out how food labeling is incredibly misleading. (I’ll do a separate post about that later though.)

So…5lb of chicken tenders later, I paid another $20. That’s like $40 for just one week (but remember, my fruit and veggies didn’t even cut it so I have to go buy more). And the only protein I bought was chicken. So let’s say after everything is said and done for 3 meals a day, for 7 days – I’m paying like $65 or so a week. Multiply that by 4. $260 a month on groceries for ONE person. That’s without snacks or anything else. How can a family of four afford to do that?!

Let’s not even talk about convenience. I need to set aside an entire day just to be able to meal prep for the week. Not only that, but buying fresh produce also means more trips to the store. In order to be less wasteful and to save money, I really need to know exactly how much I will be consuming in a week. That’s gonna take some careful calculations. And I get to carry around a cute lunchbox with me when I go to classes two days a week now and cross my fingers I can find a microwave. Score! Or I can go to the cafeteria and spend more money on an overpriced salad.

No wonder our nation is so obese. You can eat conveniently and cheaper if you consume things that are terrible for you. You also get more of them. Seriously though! People from other countries come over here and are surprised at how big our portion sizes are. We don’t even notice it now, but when you talk about restaurants to other people the most emphasized thing is “How much do you get? Is it worth it for the money?”. The fact of the matter is, that if you are not active enough to be burning off all those calories – you don’t NEED to be consuming as many.

Now let’s talk about what I’m paying a month for fitness. I go to a crossfit gym, and I get a discount for being military but I’m paying $100 a month for classes I can attend every day. But I’m thinking about trying to get a trainer to help me with my form. If I do that once a week, that’s another $20. So $180 a month to work out, and that doesn’t include access to a treadmill. Thankfully it’s finally starting to be nice outside, so I can run outside BUT STILL. I need to run. I know crossfitters will yell and me and say that I don’t need to, but to achieve the results I want – I need to incorporate cardio AND weight lifting. Plus, running is kind of therapeutic.

So I guess being physically fit and healthy depends on how badly you want it. It takes determination, discipline and hard fucking WORK. (Oh, and money. It takes a lot of money.)

I’m definitely not saying that it’s not worth it, because it certainly is. But I can understand why people have a hard time with it. It also needs to be understood that not everyone is well educated in this area. Most people don’t even know where to start when it comes to losing weight or changing their lifestyle.

This is kind of why I said I’m going to *try* to do this 24 day challenge. Hopefully, I’ll learn some things doing it and once I come up with some kind of routine it’ll become easier and easier to STAY healthy.

We will see how it goes! Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.