Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cellulite, Fat Rolls, & Stretch Marks: Love Yourself Anyways

I've been thinking a lot lately about self love.  Not the naughty, "it's just a back massager" kind of self love, but the "'You is kind. You is smart. You is important." kind of love.  I have found myself lately keenly aware that many of my closet people might be lacking in their love of self...and it makes me sad for them.  And it makes me wonder why I am different.  And what makes someone confident and safe in their skin, while others spend so much time hating their bodies?

CLEARLY, I have been on the more confident end of the spectrum for awhile. Some...like my sister...may tell you that I came out of our mother looking for the camera and waving. Unfortunately, my mother didn't film my grand entrance into the world, so we can never be sure.  And sometimes my siblings make things up.  But, I am sure that the fact that I had a family that made me feel precious and cute (with the exception of my brother for the first two decades of my life) helped in my self confidence.  And even over 300 pounds, I tried to live like AT LEAST  a slim 200 pound women.  If you've followed me for long, you've most likely seen the pictures of me hip hopping around on the beach in a big girl bikini, toe-pointed, modeling for no one in particular and everyone at the same time.

And now, hovering around the 190's, I am far from "perfect".  But sometimes I feel pretty darn good about myself. Here is an example.  

Down here in the south, Mardi Gras is something.  There are parades. Stinky beads.  Drinking.  Well my wonderful friend gave me these here pants to wear to the Beach Parade.  I didn't really want to try them on as they seemed miniature and I feared would not do much in the cellulite camouflage department. But I slipped those suckers on and turned around to look at my ass and rear thighs...and guess what?!  


 But...and here is the important part...I looked at that hail damage for all of 6 seconds, turned back around and PRETENDED LIKE IT WASN'T THERE FOR THE NEXT 6-8 HOURS.

I mean so what?  I have cellulite.  I have stretch marks.  I have fat rolls.  I can still feel sexy.   I can still look good.  I can still stand up straight, walk with confidence, and know I am something.  I try not to dwell on the "bad".  What a waste of time it is.  Hating your body adds nothing to your day.  It adds nothing to your spirit.  Hating your body doesn't make things better.  And you know what?  I got TONS of compliments on my pants.  And perhaps, oh I am sure there were a couple of people out there who may have noticed my lumpy ass and had a comment, but I didn't hear them and I didn't care.  

And you shouldn't either.

People often say to me "amy, you never take a bad picture.  You are so photogenic"!  Well, just to prove my point, I have pulled some less flattering photographic evidence for you. Do you see my saggy inner thigh?  Do you see my huge leg?

Look.  Another one of my huge leg.  Look.  A muffin top and cellulite.

And see those stretch marks and see that fat?
It's all there.  It's usually all there all the time.  But I would like to think that you also see my smile.  And my happiness.  And the moments that I would have had to sacrifice if I had let insecurities hold me back.

In closing, I want to say a few things to my people.

To my friend that compares herself to all of her skinny friends.  Know that size doesn't determine your worth.  How you treat people, how you make them feel...that matters.  So hold your head up high, swing your size 12 ass, and be happy.

To my friend that worries so much about what people think about him at the gym, or in the airport, or at work, or on the street...if you don't know them, don't sweat them.  You have come a long ways from the boy with his trumpet and striped sweatervest in his senior pictures.  Somewhere along the way you even grew a heart.  Keep working on your shoulders.  But know that you are pretty hot.

To my friend that thinks she has to drink to be fun . You are perfect sans drinks.  You are kind.  You are dedicated.  And you are my friend.  So automatically, you have street cred. I promise you are worth it.  And I promise you are worth more than you think.

And to all of my friends in cyberland who hide from the camera.  I know that being the center of attention is not for everyone.  And taking gym selfies can seem slightly arrogant and tacky...but if you are hiding from the camera until you are thinner, or more fit, or skinnier...nah.  Life's too short.  Take the pictcha, slap a bitch up (sorry...Ludacris comes out from time to time).

And to anyone reading this thinking "If you love yourself so damn much...why are you always trying to lose weight...or get bigger muscles...?"

Loving yourself doesn't mean you don't want to improve on yourself.  It just means that in the process of improving, you aren't wasting your energy on hating.

Happy Tuesday Friends.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lapbands and Wedding Bands

Sometimes, when I am feeling really deep or thinking deep existential thoughts, I think about the butterfly effect, defined here by google as: In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.  

In other words, I think about how all the little (and big) decisions over the course of my lifetime have led me to that very moment I find myself in.  That's really why I don't believe in regrets.  I don't regret anything really...because everything brought me here.  And to Heather. And to my wedding. And to my current health.  

I know.  It's okay if you roll you eyes.  Sometimes I roll my eyes at myself.  But I wouldn't change my past because it has created my present.  

And getting the lapband certainly led me here.  It led to me to they gym at work where Heather taught fitness classes...which led me to the weight room where possibly inappropriate flirting took place.  And it led me to the workout room at our wedding venue...shoulder pressing 20's with my wife.  Life is crazy.  And most of the time, I really like it :)  

So welcome to our wedding!  I owe these pictures to Stephanie and her husband.  Stephanie is a fellow lapbander, and one of the originals from when we all started blogging over 7 years ago.  We met in Chicago during the first lapband girls meet-up, and after gay marriage became legal in all 50 states, her and her husband raffled off wedding shoot.  They drove all the way up from South Florida and we couldn't be happier with all the pics.  You can find their facebook page here.

I loved my dress...but had serious anxiety about it right up until the day.  I didn't think I wanted strapless, or a corset, or tons of ruffles, but the first time I tried this on, I fell in love with it...and myself.  My shoes were Betsy Johnson, on clearance...it all came together.  
 I love this photo because I am peeking around the corner to see Heather.  Because it was our wedding and we could do whatever we wanted, Heather walked down first with her parents, her TWO besties walked down after her, followed by my SIX, and then my parents and I brought up the train.  I didn't want to cry...so I had the following pep talk with myself in the mirror prior to walking...

Me:  Get your shit together Amy. You are an ACTRESS.  What is your role?  What is your character?

Me:  I am a stoic bride marrying for money.

Me:  Good.  Go with that.
 At the last minute, Heather wrastled (that's how you say wrestled) her parents into walking her down  the aisle...as they are both introverts and probably did not want to be the center of attention...

These are our wonderful centerpieces.

My parents don't mind as much...well maybe my dad...who appears to be sleeping.
 My beautiful niece married us.  I love this picture bc as I started reading my vows, my stoic bride was nowhere to be found and I was blubbering...and thus...Kaity started crying.
 But soon...it was over.  And we were free to party.
 This was my best man.  Travis.  All the way from Kansas.
 My matron of honor...who worked SO hard taking care of me and making sure everything went as planned.  I can't thank her enough.  Carmen is one of those people whose heart overflows with kindness and loyalty.  She came all the way from Alaska.
 Lisa is my oldest best friend...and I mean literally...oldest at 38.  Bahahah...just kidding.  But she has been my bestie the longest of all besties.  We met as camp counselor in upstate New York over 15 years ago...and although we only see each other occasionally (it had been almost 5 years), it's like we have never been apart.  All the way from Seattle she came.  Skinny thing.
 And Rachel.  You should be familiar with this little gem.  She is the other pea in my pod.  She has seen me at my worst and is beside me for my best.
 Kate.  Kate is sweet, sassy, and amazingly generous to those she loves and cares about.
And I have NO IDEA why there is not a picture with my sister!  Everything is kinda a blur...but my sister, 16 years my senior, is one of my best friends.  I love her and it was an honor she said yes to my invitation for her to be my bridesmaid.  I wish there were pictures of her from my bachelorette party...but that's another story for another time (someone who doesn't drink much found some a jug of rum punch....mmmkay)
And while I loved my sparkly wedges, those soon were shed for more comfy converse.  Here we are doing our best to Wobble.  
A couple of things I learned that night:

1.  For years, people have told me that I wouldn't have time to eat at my own wedding.  To which I said...OH I WILL EAT!  Turns out...not so much.  We invited 200 people, and there was barely time to catch my breath let alone eat.  On our way to the hotel that night I was starving (Heather was trying not to puke from copious amounts of Fireball and beer).

2.  Although Natalie and Gina SORT OF held up their end of the bargain and made sure that Heather's predrinking was under control...I should have assigned a baby sister for my bride for the after the vow drinking.  But it was kinda for the best, because even though she smelled of cinnamon whiskey, almost threw up in the hotel lobby, had to be put to bed, and woke up swearing off drinking for the rest of her life (that lasted 27ish hours), Heather had a wonderful time.  She danced, she laughed...she did a keg stand.  And for a girl who didn't want a big wedding....(her, not me), that makes me very happy.  And you ain't seen nothing until you see Heather do the Cotton Eyed Joe.

3.  We ordered way to much food.

4.  Everything goes by so fast.

5.  Weddings are exhausting.

6.  My mother worked too damn hard, but the fact that she hustled and stressed and planned and cooked and created just so I could have my dream day...well that means more to me than she probably knows.


6.  The day after the wedding, when you realize you never have to plan another wedding (because if this goes south I am moving to Maine, buying a little cabin to live in with all my dogs, and "entertaining" lobstermen and women when they come in to port)...is such a great feeling!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Monday Dudes

Well...Monday has found us once again.  And I need a nap.  And possibly a full body bamboo stick massage.  It's a real thing.  I've never had it.  But one day I shall.

We had a little race this weekend...the Ho Ho Hustle.  And it was..oh...around 4,623 degrees here in Pensacola, but I pretended it felt like Christmas as my face melted off of my skull.
 Me and my grinch.

Our group, minus Jon Jon (Rachel's husband...he was at the start being a serious runner).

Signing up for races is about the only reason I keep running.  And I really do use that term loosely.  I'm kinda like the Michael Myers of the race world.  He might be faster than me actually.  But hopefully we will never find out.  My foot is still broke, and gets a smidge swollen after a day of racing festivities...but who needs two working feet? Tough Mudder is coming back to Pensacola again in April...and we have signed up.  It will be our 5th Tough Mudder.  Sigh.  So there is that.

It's also holiday festivity time at work.  Ugly sweater contest was Friday.  I am not sure why this picture makes me look 5'4" and 192 pounds.  Clearly...it's distorted.  

Made this little beaut at 5:30 in the morning the day off.  I know what you are thinking.  I should start my own line.  I know.  I know.
Bowling has also started back up.  I would like to introduce you to Sylvia Sparkles the Wonder Ball.  We call her Sylvia for short.  Sadly, she failed me last week.  I could have been the fact that Sylvia was a Christmas gift from my sister who is bowling AGAINST us this season...or the fact that I did too much pre-drinking and barely knew which lane I was supposed to be on.  I will let you decide.

Hope all is well with you and yours.  Christmas will be here next week!  WHAT?! I think I am done with almost all my shopping.  Now, to plan the meal.  Food.  mmm.  Food.

Sorry...got sidetracked thinking of Stovetop Stuffing.  Don't you hate on me.  I love that magical box of whatever it is.

My family is coming down next Wednesday to begin our shenanigans.  Then, a few weeks later...


There are a million little details I need to get taken care of...but hell...there is still a month left.  Plenty of time.  PLENTY of TIME!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Saying goodbye to Bubba

Thursday we had to say goodbye to Codie "Bubba" Clyde.  It was heartbreaking...as it is every time you have to make the decision to help your fur babies cross the Rainbow Bridge.  He was 10.5 years old and his body and mind were giving up.  We had taken him a few days prior to get "crazy meds" to help ease some of his anxiety and barking at the air...but a couple days later...he couldn't make it out the doggie door in time to handle his upset belly...and when he finally did make it outside, he would go to the bathroom but just lay in the yard until Heather carried him back in and cleaned him up.  This happened all night.  So at 6:00 am, we took him to the vet.  Heather had told me years ago, when I had to put my Shelby down, that she wouldn't be able to go back when Bubba's time came...so I knew I would go it alone.  I feel like we owe it to them to be with them in the end...although it's so terrible when they take their last breath.  My sister came from work though and held me as I held him.  He was there.  And then we wasn't.

I didn't think I would miss that asshole as much as I do (and just like our kitty...he was actually kinda an asshole).  But it gets better as the days pass.  I still look from him when I get home...as he was always on the couch or chair...stinking it up.  I just miss him.  But I am glad I got to love him.  And I know he was spoiled and loved.  We will get his ashes back in a few weeks.  Heather said we may not bury him, and that we might just dig Shelby's ashes up so we can take both of them with us when we move.  Sounds good to me.

So I will leave you with a few pictures.  He had the cutest smooshie face, often smelled like an old vacuum bag, and didn't want you to pet him until he decided he needed it, and then didn't want you to stop until he was satisfied.  His farts were unlike anything you have ever smelled and would hang like a black cloud over your head.  But he was ours.


Our last family photo...Bear's nose is on the left.  I'm glad we did this.  It was the night before the last morning.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Santa is Coming!

And that chubby little lovemuffin is probably going to bring delicious foods, copious amounts of drinking, and my family to my doorstep!  I love Christmas.

That's really neither here nor there though.  SO many things have happened since last blogging...so let us look back and catch up together okay?

First, I wrecked my car.
It was super scary.  I haven't been in an accident since 2003, and that was when I was young and had a tendancy to tap the back of people's cars when I wasn't paying attention.  This was my first real wreck.  I was crossing traffic and this guy t-boned me.  I spun around and ended up in this ditch in front of Publix.  His car landed upside down next to mine.  We both only had minor scrapes.  Our cars were totaled.  We were both super lucky and both wearing seatbelts.  About a week later there was another wreck at this spot...but the lady didn't make it.  Do you want to know what flashed in front of my eyes as I was spinning?  It wasn't a quick recap of memorable life moments like in the movies.  All I kept repeating was "Heather is going to be so mad at me, Heather is going to be so mad at me".

Once my car landed I thought it was on fire (just the powder from the airbags), and I couldn't open my door because it was wedged against the embankment.  So I immediatly thought of all the ABC specials I have watched about how to escape from your vehicle if you are about to die, and I managed to crawl out the back door.  Heather was actually on the way to see her Grandpa about 80 miles away, and I was making a quick drop off at Goodwill before planning on heading home to color in my adult coloring book and drink and nap....so our friend Natalie and my sister were my first responders.  Long story short, that 5-star safety rating on my Honda Civic was worth it, and I now have this precious little girl...

A 2016 Honda HR-V.  I likes her.

I have retired from kickball and started bowling.  Bowling is so much better because there is no yelling, no potential fist fights, you get to dress up on theme nights, and there is pizza.
This was Halloween.  I was a meathead...or steakhead...

And this was crazy sock night.
I call these my drinking socks.  I did however make the mistake of taking my glue gun to the bowling alley with me, in case any of my bottles fell off...which one did.  I hot glued it back on.  And thus...the hot glue seeped through my socks and I will forever have a dime sized scar to remind me of the perils of gluing while intoxicated.

I also finally went to the doctor to find out what was wrong with my foot.  I was pretty sure I did something bad to it in February during a 9 mile road race...but I didn't want to hear about it and something always hurts anyways...so what's the big deal.  But after the bump on the side of my foot kept getting bigger, and after the shoe lady at the shoe store said she didn't want to sell me running shoes until I had it looked at...turns out it's a little bit broken.  BUT, it is apparently a hard spot to heal after surgery, so they gave me this magic little machine that I supposed to wear for 20 minutes a day and it MIGHT cause my bone to rejinerate (and maybe a unicorn will give me a ride to work).  If it doesn't work, we might do surgery.  But the doctor said no restrictions, not boot.  He said if I do something that hurts...don't do that anymore.  Duh.

So I have been taking it easy and only ran once for a little mud run.  But Tough Mudder is coming back to Pensacola in April so I have to at least stay midly conditioned, so I laced up my wogging shoes and harnessed the pups and we have been running a little bit.   I did a 5k this weekend with Rachel, Jon Jon, and my partner for a day Beau Beau.  36 minutes.  Not too shabby for a 190 pound 36 year old woman with a broke foot.  My best 5k ever was a 28 minuter.  I don't think I will ever see that again...basically because I don't have enough want-to.  And I'm old.  And shit hurts okay?
Heather's grandpa passed away last month.  It was hard because Grandpa was the head of their family and sweet in his old age.  But the Gainey's made it through.  We will be going up there in a few days for Thanksgiving and I am going to help Granny with the spread.  I always bring a few Workman food items like green bean casserole and hashbrown casserole, and they always look at both dishes like it's from Planet Mars...but that's okay.

We went to New Orleans for a night last month.  Kacey Musgraves was playing at a bar and I really like her.  It was hot as balls and we are all old...so we were in bed by 11pm.  Sad...but true.
The fair came to town and Rachel and I walked (it's about .75 miles from our house) to that glorious event.  We loves some fair...and fair food....and scary fair rides.  First stop was funnel cakes.  I flirted with the odd funnel cake man and he whipped us up a fresh cake with lots of powdered sugar.  It was wonderful.  
This dress was free...I'm not sure what's wrong with my face...but the other Heather Gainey (Sharika. is her nickname, she is Heather's cousins wife, you have met her before) gave it to me. It's a faux wrap dress.  And those are power spanx tights.  They make everything better. Except for breathing.  And peeing.

And lastly...tis the season.  This year is the first year the tree is in the living room.  Usually it's in the little strange area behind our living room.  Honey Mae is very excited as you can see.  I love Christmas.  

And finally...the wedding is fast approaching.  1.16.16!  We are down to the smaller details and I am excited and nervous and ready for it to be here!  I will post more about that soon.

Until then...and hopefully then is not as long as it's been since my last post...love and kisses.

p.s.  Spell check wasn't working so please excuse my spelling.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Putting It On Paper

My mother once told me, don't put anything in writing you don't want someone to see.  I'm pretty sure my mom told me that.  It could have been Maggie Seaver, the mom from Growing Pains...but I think it was my real mom.  

Anyways.  Some mom told me that.  And I never really listened.  And every once in awhile, I get the urge to journal.  I've only ever filled up one journal in my life.  Most I start and then grow disenchanted with the idea and it goes somewhere to die...in a drawer or my hope chest.  I do still have my journals from junior high, high school, and college.  Man.  We are stupid when we are young.  It's amazing we make it out as seemingly well-rounded human beings.   So I started a new journal today and thought I would share my first entry with you guys...because let's be honest...my blog IS my journal.

It has this cute little page where you can write where to return if found and how much you will pay the finder...

October 28, 2015

I've been lugging this thing around for nigh on 2 months.  I really had to have it.  I searched multiple places for the "perfect" little book? journal? diary? life catalogue? and finally decided on this plain, black Moleskin.

I have to admit, two paragraphs in, I am feeling pretty good about my selection.  The paper is like butter underneath my pen.  And I love butter.  Honestly, there are two types of people in this world...Those who love butter, and those who lie and say they DON'T love butter.  But I digress.

Starting a new journal can be SO anxiety ridden.  I mean, there are so many questions.  You have to decide HOW you are going to use your journal.  Shall it be full of self-doubt and self-loathing?  Will it be an Oprah-esqe gratitude journal?  Will you press the beautiful flowers your find while reflecting and journaling in a field between the pages?!?!?

So much indecision.  And in the end, shouldn't the expectation be that it doesn't really matter because it's only for your eyes?  Perhaps.  But let us be real.  Don't we all imagine that in 100 years from now our journals will be uncovered in some dusty attic of the future and our words will serve as a guide for some young teenage girl navigating the path of self discovery?  Don't we all think that? No? Yes? OH YES.  I think so.

And then there is the choice of writing utensil.  Pen or pencil?  I would choose pencil any day, but a pencil scribed journal will never hold up for the 100 year uncovering, so you have to use a pen.  

So ultimately, I just decided to start somewhere.  And here we are.

Today I am 36 years, 1 month, 2 weeks and 3 days old.  I actually don't know about those last few numbers, but I was born on 9.8.1979, so i you are some crazy mathematician and want to figure it out, go for it.

In less than 3 months I will be married to one Heather Ann Gainey.  Which means I have less than 3 months to lose a few pounds that show themselves when my corsetted wedding dress is laced up tight and my backfat (or possibly stomach fat that has been pushed up to my shoulders thanks to my corset) makes an appearance.  But not to worry.  My waist and booty look banging.  So perhaps no one will see the above mentioned backfat because they will be so mesmerized by the rest of me.

While I did not weigh today, we could estimate my current fighting weight is 192.  I am pretty much a size 12, hazel eyes, not naturally blonde hair, currently unpainted fingernails, wearing a dress and spanx tights.  Today was leg day at the gym...which I murdered.

Today's mood:  pretty chipper, but I can feel myself teetering on the brink of being emotionally needy and hungry for attention which could result in crying myself to sleep when those needs are not met.

And this is where I shall end for the day because my hand is cramping from CLEARLY the wrong pen choice.  May this journal be filled with magical writings, mood trackings, and yes...probably a few pages of self-loathing.  Until next time journal...be well.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Down 9 Pounds...Holding Until Monday

My first DietBet challenge has come to an end.  The goal was to lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks.  Mission accomplished.  I lost 9 pounds...so about .5 more pounds than I needed to lose.  But, it came down to the wire and required running about 3 miles in the Florida humidity on the day of weigh-in to make that happen.  Oh, and 7 days straight of just cardio prior to that.  WHICH, included a workout at the gym in a long-sleeved tshirt.  I have no idea how people do it.  It's not uncommon for Heather to workout in sweatpants and a sweatshirt.  But after just 13 minutes on the ARC, I WAS ON FIRE!

And I still had 47 more minutes to go.  I was looking around in panic thinking: I'm not going to make it.  I am burning up.  It's hotter than 1000 hells under this shirt.  Someone help me.  Can I take my shirt off and not get kicked out of Planet Fitness?

I made it.  But just barely.

That shit is no joke.

So here is my before and my after.  Heather could have told me to flip my bangs back in the after.

So, to keep myself motivated, I started another DietBet challenge for August 31st.  Same rules, same $35.  I figure if I am going to try and keep losing, I might as well make some money for doing it.  If you want to play or read about the challenge, the "team" name is Lovehandle Losers.  Or you can click here.

To celebrate my victory, my Rachel came over for some adult coloring book time and WINE.  It was wonderful.  I bought the coloring books from Amazon and had an assortment of coloring vehicles, such as crayons, pencils, and markers.  We colored and chatted and drank for almost 3 hours and didn't even finish one sheet!

And finally, we added some workout stuff to our garage last summer, and I have completed our home gym with three mirrors from Target.  I often go to Planet Fitness while Heather works out at home...one because I workout harder at the gym bc people are watching and I want to be impressive, and 2...I really like looking at myself when I am lifting (except when I am doing overhead tricep extension and my batwings are flying around willy nilly).  So now that I have mirrors at home, I can workout with more intention...

which usually involves twerking or other butt moves.