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Body Loving – Part One

The feedback from yesterday’s post about Fat Girl was overwhelming.  Thank you for all of the messages and texts and comments out there in social media land.  Inspiring and heartwarming and supportive.

Before I get into the whole Letting Life Happen plan, I want to take some time to share what I was feeling this morning.  I got up this morning and did a workout.  Not because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to.  My favorite workouts are my Zumba videos in the privacy of my basement.  (But if you know me, I am likely going to shake it anywhere I hear a good beat, including the aisles of Target or among the racks at Forever 21 – much to my daughter’s horror.)  This morning, I woke and thought, I want to get my groove on.  So I did.

When I was getting ready to hop in the shower, I took a moment to look at my body. I mean really look.  Here’s what I noticed:

I have scars that tell my story.  There is the c section line, from two of the most amazing days in my life.  I have scars on each breast, from two surgeries that occurred in the last 6 months.  I have freckles and beauty marks from time in the sun.  I have tattoos that each have important meaning to me.  My feet are bigger than I would like, but I like my toes.  My belly is a little soft around the middle and will most likely stay that way as I age.  My arms are toned.  My legs are stronger and leaner than they ever have been.  I have wrinkles around my eyes when I smile.  I have gray hair and roots that need touching up.  There are many flaws to my physical appearance.  But at almost 45 years old, there isn’t anything drastic I want to change.  I am loving my body just as it is.

More importantly, there is something I didn’t do today.  I did not get on the scale.  I took that batteries out and packed it away.  I had originally thought I would put a time frame on it, letting life happen.  Say June 1 – September 1.  No getting on the scale.  Just healthful eating, regular exercise and not letting a little number back-lit in blue tell me how healthy my body is.  But in the course of talking to someone wise, I was informed that putting dates on it was still control.  So why not start immediately?  That’s what I did.  I put the scale down and backed away.

That’s the first baby step.   I would like to get through the summer without weighing in.  I am going to let my body tell what I need.  Trust my gut on how I am feeilng.

I am still working on the next step in the letting go process, again – attainable and realistic.

I mean it’s not like I am going to give up ice cream…..

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Fat Girl Trapped (or O.M.G. you’re so skinny eat a sandwich)

I am a Fat Girl.  Trapped in a (current) Skinny Girl body.

Sounds a bit weird to say out loud (on paper) but it’s a true statement.

I often hear “Oh you can eat what you want, you are so skinny.” or “OMG would you please eat a sandwich?”  I don’t particularly care to hear those things.  In this day in age body hating is at an all time high among women and frankly, unless you have known me my whole life, you have NO idea what my struggles have been or how hard I work to look the way I do.

Weight has been a struggle for me, since those Freshmen 15 (or 30) in 1991.   Left to my own devices of the wonders of late night pizza delivery and dining hall food it was inevitable.  Who could argue that Cap’n Crunch and French Fries make for a well-balanced dinner?  My love of carbs, and lack of activity after being a dancer for 15 years, proved to be a combination that slowly crept up on me.

That first summer home, I remember the hours spent walking my 4-mile route and combing the pages of Self Magazine for toning exercises.  It worked.  The weight came off.  However when the fall semester started, so began what would be a decades-long yo-yo cycle.  The trail of fad diets, Spanx, counting points, quick fixes, gym memberships, and general miserableness is evidence of my struggles.  Short of surgery I have tried it all.  Sometimes successful, but most often not.

It was a roller coaster all the way to Spring Break 2017.  I finally put down the Big Mac and Supersized Fries.  It was hard at first to change the cycle of eating poorly and not exercising.  But it happened.  Little bit by little bit.

I started taking my lunch – a fresh salad – 4 days a week.  Eating breakfast daily.  I started, I’ll admit begrudgingly, running.  I took up yoga.  My mindset changed.  My body changed.  For the first time ever in the history of my yo-yo weight, I managed to lose 15 pounds.   Not only did I lose it, but I successfully kept it off and stayed with this new lifestyle for longer than I ever have in my history of dieting.  It was working.  Long term.  It was a life change, not a diet.

I knew the true test would come during the holidays.  I call the time from Halloween to New Years the season of Gluttonous Eating.  And as in the past, this recent holiday season took a toll on me.  Working at an ad agency, the constant food all around me was more than I could handle.  I ate.  A lot. I ate more than I should have, all willpower seemed to go right out the window.  The weight slowly started to creep back on.  I hate winter, and it was so much easier to snuggle under a blanket and binge watch TV than to brave the cold to hit the gym. I mean I could catch pneumonia going outside all sweaty, right?

Truth be told I started recognizing that I felt like shit and my stomach hurt all the time.  So back in the saddle I climbed.

Soon I was back to where I wanted to be.  Until life got complicated.  The roller coaster of the past 4 months has been a struggle for me.   A  TON of shit came my way.  I felt I was always overcoming something.  Job loss, surgery, etc.  There was always something.  Exercise became a way of outlet, but quickly it turned to an obsession.  In light of so many things I couldn’t control, my body was the one thing I had power over.  I had complete and utter power over what went into my body, how often I worked out, how my clothes fit.  I felt guilt when I didn’t wake at 4:30am to workout.  I felt guilt over a third cookie, or extra piece of pizza.  I logged into Myfitnesspal and watched the “calories burned” climb.  The more the better.

It hit me today….Every morning, I pull the scale out from under my bed and step on.  Every.single.damn.day.  Waiting for the little number to tell me what kind of day I was going to have. Using that number as a judge of success or failure.  When it was down, I was overjoyed but when it was up (PMS, too much salt, not enough water) I beat myself up.    This is not the way I want to live my life.   Self-awareness is huge for me.  The light bulb came on.

Yesterday I returned to yoga after a long hiatus.  I had built such a strong upper body, and yesterday I could barely do one push up.  I look good (not trying to be conceited) and the number on the scale is right, but I saw last night what I lost.  I want it back.  It isn’t a number on a little machine.  It’s a feeling of strength and beauty from the inside that matters.   I want to be healthy and strong not just skinny…there is a difference.  Healthy encompasses so many things. There has to be balance, enjoyment of life, and a good feeling that comes from the inside, right?

I love to exercise.  I love food.  The two can go hand in hand.  I have an almost teenager who watches everything I do.  Hears everything I say.  I need to lead by example with my lifestyle.

A change in mindset needs to happen again.  My body craves exercise.  My body craves healthful foods.  In the past year I have learned my body well.  What works, what doesn’t.  It’s time to let my gut (no pun intended) guide me rather than a app or a scale.  It’s a healthier approach to life, I am convinced.  For me at least.

I am formulating a plan, a summertime Let’s See What Happens. I am throwing caution to the wind and letting life rule instead of the scale.  So many people live a healthy lifestyle without being a slave to the scale, a slave to fitness apps.  I can do it too.  The details will follow in the next post.  It still has some kinks to work out, and I want it to be realistic.  Attainable.  Because I don’t want to add another fail to the list.

Stay tuned…more to come!

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Stranger Danger

I talk to strangers.

Daily.

And I talk to little kids and pet dogs I encounter.

Daily.

It brings joy to my life.  And sometimes maybe a little sparkle to someone else’s day.

I was thinking about this while I was on my (almost) daily lunchtime jaunt around the neighborhood.   I encounter all types of people, moms with strollers, elderly couples holding hands, dog-walkers.  I always offer a smile and a nod.  Sometimes I get an acknowledgement.  Often times, I don’t.

In the checkout line at Target I am known to play peek-a-boo with babies and make small talk about the weather with the cashier.

We are a dog-friendly office, and stopping to pet a furry friend is a great way to meet somebody new.

I realized while I was out today, that I need human contact.  I need that connection.  And I think a lot of us do.  But don’t know how to go about it.  I used to have a lot of insecurity in unknown situations.  Social angst.  I had fear of being rejected.  Until one day I didn’t.  I found myself asking more people how their days are going.  Or what weekend plans they have.  It catches people off guard.  What I have found is most people will answer.  Graciously.

And for those that don’t, I no longer take offense.  Not everyone is built to talk to strangers.

But I am.

Give it a go.  Because you never know whose life you might touch with a daily dose of friendly.

 

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Packed Up the U-Haul and Moved From Beverly Hills….(or where has Life In Beverly Hills Been for 3 years)

I always get a good chuckle from wandering through old blog posts.  There was a time when LIBH was my outlet for sarcasm, for venting, for human contact, for sharing the crazy positions I found naked Barbies in.  I don’t think any of the blogs I used to follow, over there on the right, exist anymore.  It was the hip thing for a long time.  Mommy blogging.

As my kids napped and I sipped away at that socially acceptable late afternoon Mommy Cocktail, I wrote. And rewrote.  And edited.  And posted about my life.  The little snippets I thought were funny and I wanted to share. And I waited….for comments. For reaction.  Stalking the number of views on my page.

This was before the world became overly obsessed with likes and tags and hashtags and snapchat and Instagram.   Before our president used 140 characters to set policy on a regular basis.  I’ll admit, Facebook as taken over as my outlet for the most part.  But I need more….I don’t vent my anger, air my dirty laundry, or use profanity on Facebook.  It just isn’t ladylike.  But here…well that’s a different story.

It was always sort of anonymous here.  In Beverly Hills. But that was before Beverly Hills relocated a little east.  There is nothing to hide here…the curtains are always open.

Not everyone gets a fresh start to get things right the second time around. But Beverly Hills did.  It wasn’t without pain.  It wasn’t without heartache.  It wasn’t without bumps along the road.   But there are lessons learned along the way that should be shared.  Victories to be celebrated.  And some failures that may help someone else who may be on the same journey I am, but perhaps a few steps behind.

Pull up a chair, grab a beverage, and sit back to enjoy the ride.

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Of Epic Proportions

I have a tween now.  A beautiful, smart and talented 10 1/2 year old.

She’s sweet.  Kind.  Courteous.  Loving.  Most days.

But I have one word for you.  Puberty.

Need I say more?  Well I think in these past 6 months I have become an expert on meltdowns of epic level proportions.  We are talking I-could-write-a-book expert.  It came on out of nowhere.  And with a vengeance.  The closest I can come to describing it is comparing it to a Pit Bull snarling at a rare steak dangling from a string just out of reach.  You get the picture.

And while I get that her body is changing in a manner that she can barely wrap her head around, I think the health video she saw last spring planted a seed in her mind.  See at the tender age of 9 (ok, two weeks before the big double digit birthday) the girls went into one room at school, and the boys in the other.  And they watched “THE VIDEO” about their changing bodies.  It covered your basic hygiene needs.   How their bodies are changing.  The usual stuff that I have covered with her in detail over the course of the last few years.

But the one thing they touched on that I had not covered with my best girl is the mood swings.  She heard those words.  And now it is used as a license to ill.   The reasoning.  The excuse.  And while I am not faint of heart by any stretch of the means and can see through pretty much any line of bullshit my darlings try to sell me…this one, puberty, might just end up breaking me down.

This week for example….the 5th grade had a field trip to the zoo. And the appropriate attire was necessary for a chilly February day in Michigan.

She picked out gray leggings and a short sleeved t-shirt.  To which I added a hoodie.  The only hoodie I could find in the pit that was clean and hanging in her closet.  It was also gray.   As the clock to departure time ticked away, the meltdown came on.  She was going to look like a gray buffoon wearing gray pants and a gray sweatshirt.   Once I managed to find a camo hoodie, to which I commented the animals wouldn’t be able to see her (a comment to which I got “The Glare”), it came to earring choice.  She hardly wears earrings.  But today, of all days, 5 minutes before she was to report for her safety post, she decided animal earrings were a MUST.   I came into her room to find every earring she owns spread across her carpet.  And more tears because she couldn’t find a matching pair.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, though, was the comments about how I never get to come to anything anymore.  Because Life In Beverly Hills is now a full-time working outside the home Mom.  It broke my heart.  Avery was inconsolable about all of it.  To the point where she finally went, splotchy faced, to school head hanging down low.  With cookie earrings, a camo hoodie, and a runny nose.

And there wasn’t a damn thing I could say or do to make her feel better.  My philosophy is that there isn’t anything that is a big enough deal that we can’t handle together.  We talk, we hug, we cry.  And we fix.  That’s just what we do.  To not be able to fix her 10-year-old emotions did a number on me.  And if I recall it wasn’t until I was about 22 that I realized my mom actually did know what she was talking about all those years.  It’s an uphill battle…to which I bring a sword and shield….and an endless supply of Kleenex.

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Is it too late? Will you take me back?

It’s a funny thing…reading old blog posts.  And seeing what things happened in my life that were “blog worthy”.  I dedicated a lot of time to the writing and upkeep of Life In Beverly Hills.  It was my baby.  Before I had two babies…

It’s hard to believe that this, what I used as the outlet for the funny and not-so-funny hair pulling, blood pressure rising moments in my life, has fallen to the wayside.  For a couple years there I was averaging 1 post a year.

Things have changed.  A lot.

CSM has officially retired.  The new ruler is Hockey Mom.  She’s a hoot.  You’d probably like her.

There’s the PTA Mom in me too.  Yet another humorous part of Life In Beverly Hills.

The peeps are now 10 and 6.

My Best Girl is on the verge of tween-ness.  I don’t recall this age of transition…but as I recount endless stories to my Mom, she assures me that I was just as bad.  If not worse.  Selective memory isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The pit that I call Avery’s room…the fact that I can’t see her floor and 9 out of 10 drawers are hanging open at any given moment … well it seems the apple doesn’t fall far the tree.

Carson is a maniac.  We survived Kindergarten.  Without one single call from the Principal’s office.  On June 12th I breathed a sigh of relief.  We made it.  Could be that he is growing.  Or it could be the dimple that pops when he gives a killer smile.  Not sure.  And I don’t care to know.  Only 12 more school years to go.

I have sprouted a few many gray hairs over the past couple of years.  And so duly noted by the gentleman at Home Depot who asked me if Avery was my granddaughter.  Um.  No.  Thanks, Jackass.  (That Home Depot trip was immediately followed by a trip to the salon for a color).

I survived a One Direction concert sitting on the main floor.  Without earplugs.  Even live every one of their songs sound the same.  Not that I could hear one lyric over the squealing of teen girls.

I sat for countless hours in an ice arena watching my daughter come into her own on the ice.  And watching Carson not listen to the coaches.

My life is full.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t need this place…and that I don’t need to be heard (read) by the three people who still, after all of this time, come around to see what is happening in Beverly Hills.

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It’s Not Always About the Medal

I have a confession to make…I am a Swim Mom.

It’s like a hockey mom or a soccer mom, but with sunscreen and flip flops.

And not only am I a *Swim Mom* but sometimes I  am ****CRAZY**** Swim Mom.

Those aren’t always proud moments but I sometimes just can’t control Her/Myself.

I guess I should backtrack and tell you how it all started.  I am a warm weather girl.  Hands down give me 100+ degrees and 150% humidity over -40 and snow any day of the week.  Any month of the  year.  So the opportunity came to join our neighborhood pool last summer.  And when we joined everyone said “You HAVE to do swim team”.  Um.  Ok.

I signed My Best Girl up, and took her to her first practice.  At an outdoor pool.  In May.  In Michigan.  I think her lips turned a permanent tint of blue at that first practice.  But she loved it.  She didn’t even know that she was in the  “Maybe swim team isn’t the best fit for your child” group.  You know it – the group that swims in the lane along the wall in case they start to drown.  Yeah.  That was Avery.  But she pushed on.  She swam all summer and when it was over, she asked if she could swim on a winter team.

And so we did.  We spent the fall, winter, and spring shlepping to swim practice 3-4 times a week.  And she continued to love it.  And she continued to improve.  Let’s face it, she worked her ass off.  She swam in every meet that was offered.  She picked hard events.  She didn’t come in first, and she didn’t come in last.  But she kept improving.  100 IMs, relays, 100 breaststroke events….she took it all on.  With a smile.  I’m not kidding.  She smiled down every length of the pool.

Extra Photo on Flash Drive - Qty 1 - 7074A

 

And time came for summer team.  So it seems that Avery has a good *swim* birthday.  I didn’t understand that until this year.  The cut off for determining summer age is May 31.   That puts her on the 8&under team.  She turned 9 on June 11th.   Got it now.  These young swimmers are limited to 25 meter events.  And this year, with a winter of swimming behind her, she is swimming in the points races.  She is helping her team earn points to win meets.  And she is doing well.  Her best events?  Freestyle and Butterfly.

You may be wondering where this post is going…well here’s the meat and potatoes of my point.

We had a mini meet this weekend and families/swimmers picked their events, unlike the dual meets where the coaches assign strokes. Avery was pumped that she could pick a 100 meter individual medley and a 50 breast stroke. And a rocking relay team.

The anticipated day arrives. We are at the pool at 7:30. Warmed up. Ready to swim. Wouldn’t know we had two factors working against us…

It was 90 degrees at 10am. And based on the events she picked we had 3+ hours between events. Time to wait. Time to wither. Everyone knew she was tired. Her coach told me later she knew something was off because she wasn’t chattering up a storm.

And without complaint, without tears….my best girl climbed up on the blocks not once, but twice, to face her challenging events. First the 50 breast. And secondly the IM.

She completed them. It was work. And she didn’t come in first. She didn’t come in last. Her attitude when she was finally wrapped in a fluffy towel with a Gatorade in hand??

“Now I have times in both events and have something to work towards improving.”

She didn’t care about the medal.  Neither did I.  I was proud of what she accomplished that day at the pool.

We packed up our cooler, deck chairs, 432 wet towels, snacks, sunscreen, and miscellaneous swim meet accessories and headed home.

 

As a little added treat…*Crazy Swim Mom* (aka CSM) came to our dual meet on Monday night.  She’s elusive…but Wendy caught a snapshot of her.  That’s her, crouched by the pool. yelling “Stroke” Or “Pull” Or “Kick”.  Hard to say.  Avery got her two best times in her events so whatever CSM yelled, worked.

Dana