The most wasted of all days is one without laughter – E.E. Cummings

Tag: health

Fail-Free New Year

It’s that time again, folks. Every year we bottle up all of insecurities and doubts and then resolve in a 24-hour period to fix each one of them over the next 365 days. I love a new year full of promises that I likely won’t keep, nay, even think about once the summer sun is shining. Let’s be honest, by April I’ll be the Miss Columbia of resolutions: just as I think I’ve made some progress, I’ll be honest with myself and hand over my resolution crown to more worthy recipient.

My issue is that my goals are always astronomical – like not even Stan Lee could write them even to existence because nobody would believe it. In the promise of total honesty, I submit to you some of my most miserable failures to-date:

New YearI will lose 15 pounds a month for an entire year.

I will stop eating all sugar. . . probably forever.

No more eating out. Nope. Not economical.

I will hand-sew all of my clothes this year. . . Just kidding. I would never try to do this. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

I will get rid of everything in my house that doesn’t serve a purpose. (Husbands, beware of this one. If you don’t start helping out, you might just make the list. . . I’m just saying.)

As you can see, I’m not really a “realistic” goal setter; I’m more of the all-or-nothing type. I don’t just want to lose a few pounds; I want to be a contender for America’s Next Top Model by August. Stop laughing, you’re killing my dreams.

I’ve taken all the courses about SMART goals and I still don’t grasp it. I know all of the steps to being successful with your goals like, “A goal not written down is just a dream,” blah, blah, blah. If you ask me, I say a goal not written down is a SMART goal – smart because nobody can ever prove that you set out to do it in the first place so they can’t hold it over you when they try to prove that you are a failure. How’s that for thinking like the mafia – never leave a paper trail.

This year, however, I’ve decided to change things up a bit and bite off some New Year’s Resolutions that I think I can tackle. Once I started reviewing these on paper, I thought I should let you all in on the plan so that when your other, loftier, “5k by March”-type goals fall through, you’ll have something to fall back on and just continue to be proud about.

So without further ado, here is Carlee’s Guide to a No-Fail New Year:

Goal #1: Be Less Dumb

Some years (like this past one), I’ve set reading goals to try and increase my vocabulary and to have something intelligent to talk about (with my 3-year-old?). Anyway, by mid-year, I’m so sick of reading things that I hate and that are supposed to make me smarter (Christian Science Monitor, I’m looking at you) that I actually get sick of reading and find myself watching Netflix and completely avoiding the documentaries (remember, by brain is tired). It becomes counter-productive and I start to loathe an activity that I generally really love.

I have also set goals to watch more news and stay fresh on what’s happening in the world – a goal that I can promise you now will only lead to mild bouts of depression and anger.

So how do we fix this? How do we win the battle of the brain? Well, I’ve found two things that have helped me feel “less dumb” and they only take me about 20 minutes a day to chomp through. They are theSkimm and Highbrow. theSkimm is a daily e-mail (Mon-Fri, folks. I don’t want to hamper your weekends with thinking.) that takes the major news topics and breaks them down into really short, fairly humorous facts. By the time you are done reading it, you feel informed enough to make it through water cooler talk (they are all Skimming, too, by-the-way) without all of the heavy, Lester Holt reporting. It’s good stuff.

Highbrow was introduced to me by a guy that used to rock a mullet so you know it has to be amazing. It, too, is a daily email but it is filled with course-like information about a topic of your choosing. The information is concise and really entertaining. I’m in the middle of the “Short Stories” course (each course is 10 “episodes” or emails) and have thoroughly enjoyed reading E.A. Poe this time around – my high school English teacher would be so proud. When your course is over, you simply jump back on and pick another topic. Again, easy breezy.

Whatever your methods, the goal this year is to be less dumb. Don’t force yourself to read stuff you hate. If you feel like reading about the latest E! News controversy will add to your dinner table discussion, do it. If 20 minutes every day proves too difficult to start, just read something, anything. Cereal boxes are chalk-full of good info these days. Start there.

Take in more information this year than you did last. Goal #1.

Goal #2: No more Chocolate Cake Wednesdays

You know how every Wednesday, you sit down with a nicely covered chocolate cake and a fork and you just drown your worries in devil’s food. . . Now that I’m writing this down, I’m starting to think that maybe this isn’t as widespread as I’ve been telling myself. Dang it. But this is: EXCESS! Let’s talk about that.

Because it is so effective in the Bible, I like to use metaphors in my teaching. But then I take it a step further and explain the meaning, kind of like I’m talking to a little kid. Adults love that. You should try to be condescending in everything that you say. People will just think you are charming and fun. . .

I digress. The cake represents excess. The “Wednesday” represents regularity, and not the Metamucil kind although if you are literally eating that much cake. . . I digress AGAIN! Dang it.

My point? What was my point? I’m so distracted by cake. Oh yes, eating cake on occasion is great, no harm, no foul. But eating it on a regular basis is no bueno. Sure, it might improve your mood a bit but it’s just not healthy for your mind or your body.

The goal this year then? Pinpoint your “cake” and try to cut back a bit. If you shop too much, gossip too much, eat too much, drink too much, talk about CrossFit too much, whatever you do “too much” of, identify it and trim it back by 25%. That’s all it takes. Not only will you feel better physically, if your excess is some personality trait or talking about something in excess, you might actually find yourself with more friends because you’ll be that much less annoying (Vegans, I’m talking to you.)

Doing anything in excess is never wise which is why I’m limiting the number of marathons I run this year to six. Jokes.

While we are on the subject of exercise:

Goal #3: Netflix

You thought I was going to say “Watch More!” like this is some paid placement from Netflix, America’s leader is replayed television and original programming. You guys, I’m not a total sellout.

I was actually going to say: Let’s all resolve now that we will not binge watch more than two hours of anything without at least doing a lap around the kitchen. This needs no further explanation. I’m just trying to do my part to keep you healthy, you guys.

Goal #4: Be Nicer to People

This goal is a bit tougher than the others, particularly if you plan on visiting a Wal-Mart over the next year. Also, this requires you to overlook obviously idiotic moves by your fellow men and harness your inner Namaste. It’s hard!

So rather than saying “I’ll be nice to everyone, all the time” (a nearly impossible task if you own miniature humans/versions of yourself), we are going to make use of that “r” in “Nicer” and just be better than we were last year. A good place to start? Please and thank you, my friends. They’re called the magic words.

Remember that lady that slammed the door in your face at that little store on Main Street last year? It was probably me and I probably did it because you didn’t say “thank you” when I held it open for you the first time. That’s right, I’m guilty! But here’s the thing: I felt like my childish retort was justified because, in the words of my three-year-old, “You started it.” I admit my mistake publicly under the hope for a brighter future. When someone does something nice for you, say “thank you”. That’s includes even little things like holding doors, getting out of your way or helping you pick up something you dropped, even if it was just a cigarette butt. (I’ll still don’t understand why people keep getting upset when I hand those back with a “don’t litter” smile on my face. . .)

“Please” is another great word that insights kindness and giving. Smiling at people is good, not speeding up when someone is crossing the street and not looking disgusted when people bring their kids to dinner are also other ways to be “nicer” to people. Do what you need to but even starting here will turn your niceness factor way up, yo.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like my New Year’s Resolutions are really just lining up with the kind of person I want to be come 2017. I feel success in the air, my friends, and you should, too. Join me on this journey to change the world one kitchen lap at a time, will you? Together, we can!

Happy New Year.

 

 

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Diary of a Chubby Girl

It’s interesting how time can change perspective . . . on most things.  We grow, we change, other people change and our realities become altered by our new “normal”.  Not only do I continue to struggle with the challenges outlined below but after two kids, a couple of job changes and a good solid serving of life, I can now proudly add more eye wrinkles and a lot more gray hair to my list of imperfections.

I’m re-posting the most “brave” blog post of my life today, five years after it was originally posted, and I still feel every word of it.  This is my way of saying “thanks” for continuing with me on this journey, imperfections and all.  Hope you enjoy.

-Still the Chubby Girl

 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Diary of a Chubby Girl

I’m writing this post with total awareness of its implications – I just want you to know that.  Sometimes posts like this get written in hopes of receiving notes of encouragement or kind words and while your mental notes are appreciated, they are unnecessary here.

This was all sparked by an off-hand comment made to me today at work.  A co-worker and I were discussing an informational video that they had seen online and I asked them to forward it so I could watch.  After several minutes, they re-appeared in my office and said “No offense, but there is part of the video that has to do with obesity and the affects that it has. . .” This, my friends, is where I stopped listening and started internalizing what had just happened.  “No offense. . .”  What did that even mean?  I shouldn’t be offended that they talk about obesity or I should be more self-aware. . . I’m not really sure but in case there was ever any doubt about how I see myself, I’m going to clear it up right now: I am chubby.  Been aware of it for years.  There, the cat’s out of the bag.  Newsflash: The chubby girl knows!!!  I hope we can all relax now and stop filtering our comments about weight and health.

Most of the people that will read this know me well and know that this isn’t a new revelation.  In fact, it’s one that I’ve dealt with my whole life.  What I haven’t done (until this very moment) is have a very real, out-loud look at my self-image.  I’ve tried everything short of therapy to try and understand who I am and why the chips (mmm, chips. . . jokes, jokes) fell the way they did so maybe this will help.  Then again, maybe it won’t but here it goes.  

The battle of the bulge didn’t start last week for me – I didn’t wake up on Wednesday and think to myself “I think I’m a bit overweight!  How did this happen?”  As much as I wish this was a day-to-day battle over whether I liked how I looked or not, it hasn’t been.  In fact, I would dare say that there has probably been no more than a 30 day period in my life where I truly liked the way I looked. . . and man did I look good in those Pampers.  Do you know what it’s like to struggle with body image every day of your life?  Sadly, a lot more women than are willing to admit it fight this battle every morning.  I’ve been one of them. . .but I’m thinking about stopping.

diary of a chubby girlI’m actually a very normal girl with a very normal appetite.  I know that it’s shocking to the general public that people that are overweight actually do like carrots and I know that it shocks the hell out of most people when we ask for a box at the end of a meal because we can’t eat all of our food (thanks for staring at us while we eat, by the way . . . it’s very encouraging) but it does happen.  I like vegetables and fruit.  I also like pasta and French fries, just like your average eater.  I don’t over-indulge on a regular basis.  I don’t slap mayo on my 100% fried food in order to get it down.  In fact, because I struggle with my weight, I pay very close attention to the things that I put in my body . . . and I probably eat better than a lot of people.

I’ve been an athlete all of my life and I’ve never been prejudiced toward sports.  I have more belts and trophies than most people could dream about and they are NOT for serving water on the sidelines while I eat a donut.  I play basketball, softball, soccer and did karate . . . and I am decent at all of them.  I like to dance and lift weights and have run a 5k within the last year.  I will work and sweat and move more in a day than most people do every two.  Contrary to popular belief, overweight people aren’t all lazy.  I get up early, I work long days, and I visit family and contribute to my community.

I am healthy.  I have the cholesterol counts and heart rate to prove it.  My organs function as they should.  I’ve never drunk nor smoked a day in my life.  My mind is sharp and full of ideas.

I say all of this to prove a point.  Despite all of my efforts, all of my awareness, all of my try and work and sacrifice. . . I’m still chubby.  Does it bother me every day?  Sure does.  I’ll be the first to admit that I would adore waking up tomorrow and having the body that I deserve – the one that I’ve worked very hard for all of my life.  That would be ideal.  I keep waking up every day hoping. . .

But, more importantly, do I think I’m more than this?  Absolutely.  As much as I wish things were different and that this wasn’t such a tough battle for me and millions of other people, I’m better than that.  I’m better than taking “offense” to your comments and staring and judgement because this struggle has made me sensitive and understanding and mindful of other people’s struggles.

I know that it may be hard for some people to grasp but when you tell a chubby girl that she’s chubby, you aren’t likely telling her something she doesn’t already know.  So, you can stop staring and whispering and talking about how I could “let myself get like this.”  I’ll tell you how – I did exactly the same thing that you all do every day.  This is just my battle.  All things considered, I think that my ailment, while very visible, is pretty minimal compared to what I could be dealing with, no?

‘Nuff said. . . I need a carrot.

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