The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Restaurant Blues

What ever happened to being able to go out to a restaurant and have a peaceful experience? Those days are long gone and it’s really upsetting to me. My boyfriend and I like to go out to eat but we must do so knowing that we’re probably going to be annoyed. If it’s not a screaming baby, or a toddler playing drums with silverware, it’s a loud speaking adult sharing inappropriate stories or just plain being annoying. And don’t think that complaining will do any good. The most reaction we ever get is “Yeah, you’re not the only ones to complain, sorry.” WTF is that?! If people are complaining what is wrong with going over to the table and saying “Excuse me but your table is disrupting other guests. We’re going to have to ask you to keep it down or you’ll be asked to leave.” Back when I was a server I did this all the time. Why should people be allowed to go out and cause a disturbance to those around them?? I get that it’s not going to be silent. I understand that it’s not just about me. But whatever happened to manners? It really is a shame. I’m going to have to start leaving places that I like because the establishments act in fear of those being loud. It’s absurd. I bet if I went in somewhere and started cursing loudly I’d be asked to leave. I don’t see what the difference is. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is or how “upscale” the place is either. Noise and rudeness are everywhere and I’m tired of it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

If Size Was Only Just a Number...

Getting used to being fat is not easy. In fact it’s downright depressing. When nothing fits right anymore and no matter how you angle a mirror you still look fat…it’s hard to accept. I feel ashamed and embarrassed. And I feel disgusting.

I started gaining weight around the time I met John, last September. It didn’t become very apparent however until I had my foot surgery mid-February.  Being immobile makes it very hard to burn calories. Laying around all day makes it easy to eat a lot too. Mix those two things together and voila…weight gain central. It’s been five months since my surgery and I’m just now getting back to being active again. Well, kind of. I’m still very limited on what I can do. I discovered I’m nowhere near ready for running :( And I can only be on my feet for so long before I need to rest them. I’m not trying to make any excuses…I know it just means I have to work extra hard at the things I can do. I’ve been doing well with eating. I balance a pretty healthy diet. But diet alone isn’t getting me where I want to be.

When I had surgery on my right foot, around 10 years ago, I lost weight.  I thought this time would be the same. I kind of forgot that thing called age and how being fit becomes much harder the older you get…ugh. I also didn’t have someone by my side the entire time I was recovering last time to get me whatever I wanted, including food. So naturally I put on some weight this time around. I mean it makes sense to me…if I were anyone else. But since I am ME I think I’m a failure now that I am heavier. I know I will lose the weight that I want to but in the meantime, being fat sucks. I can’t imagine how it would feel if I were unhealthy too! At least I have my health but being larger than I’m used to is very difficult for me. I can’t bring myself to accept it. I know it’s my fault and that’s the hardest part. I feel like I really let myself down.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life's Little Changes

The choice to not have kids comes with some repercussions that aren’t easy to accept sometimes. Around the time all your friends start (and continue) having children their lives change. They are no longer available whenever, they can no longer guarantee anything anymore. Luckily for them, they are going to have other friends who are having babies who can relate. But what about those of us who choose not to reproduce?? There is a stage of loneliness that lasts until your friends kids are more grown up. During this time period you more than likely will flock to older friends or possibly even younger ones who don’t yet have children. We all have a need to be liked and to spend time with friends. The truth is it’s much easier to do when you don’t have children. It’s not impossible but it does become more difficult once a little one is dependent on you. Additionally your priorities aren’t the same any more (or at least they shouldn’t be!). Childless couples are still focusing on doing things for each other and their finances flow a bit more freely with no extra expenses to worry about unlike their counterparts.

Now I’m not saying that you will lose certain friends should you choose to have children or not have children BUT things do become a lot more complicated and sparse.  During this time you should try to remember that your friends aren’t abandoning you…they’re just simply busier now than they used to be. This is hard for me to remember sometimes. Occasionally it feels like the universe is punishing me because I don’t want children. Since it isn’t the norm it is hard at times. People are always asking why and how come and saying that I should and that it’s a pity because I’d make a great mother. Who’s to say this is true? And who’s to say THAT’S the reason why I choose not to have children? Trust me, choosing not to reproduce is not a pity nor is it a shame. Nor is there anything wrong with this choice. There are bouts of solitude however but it’s not painful enough to make my own mini companion.

I will always have friends who make time for me and other friends who share the same choice in life as I do and are therefore more available. But because it isn’t the most popular of choice, it is emotionally difficult at times. I suppose it’s difficult anytime your life takes a turn and heads in a different direction than your friends'—Kids vs. No Kids being one of the biggest ones. I suggest you keep your friends but also get some new ones whose lives are more parallel to your own. Once things settle down a bit you will be glad you have all your old friends and new ones as well. Just don’t get offended in the meantime if it seems you don’t have much in common anymore…you will likely find some common ground once again.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Body Realization

Yesterday I looked at some photos that were taken right after I bought my house in 2008. I looked at the pictures of myself and thought “damn, I look skinny.” Well compared to my size today I was. But that’s not what saddened me. What saddened me is that I remember that day. I remember getting ready and having “nothing” to wear. I remember feeling fat and ugly. I remember settling on something I didn’t feel very comfortable in but feeling like I really had no other options. The saddest part about this remembrance is that I have never felt comfortable with my body no matter what size it’s been. I thought this time would be different. I keep telling myself, sure I wasn’t comfortable back then but now if I were that size I would be. But um…I can also remember thinking that very thought on other occasions after ballooning up a bit and then back down. It didn’t matter, it was never good enough. I have NEVER felt good about my body. So as I try so hard right now to get into shape and become a healthy person once again I am disturbed by the fact that even if I lose some weight and get into the best shape of my life, I am still not going to love my body. Wow.

I have got to learn how to love myself inside AND OUT no matter what size I am. I have little idea of how to do this but I am going to try. I have never been taught to love my appearance. What I have been taught is how to pick people apart, pointing out all their flaws, including my own. I have tried to pick out certain features before that I DO like and try to focus on those but quickly I fall back into thinking “yeah but look at my _____”. I must put an end to this. Because if I don’t I still will never be happy with how I look. I want to keep tricking myself into thinking that this time will be different but that has never been the case and I must try something new that might work instead of failing over and over.

I am going to continue to eat healthy and work out to some degree daily. I have also decided to include Bikram yoga back into my life. This practice was so good for me not only physically but mentally as well. And mental reshaping is what I need most right now. I am also going to try to point out positives about my body and steer away from the negatives. We all have things we wish we could change. Someone out there is jealous of whatever you feel your flaws are though…try to remember that. I hate looking at pictures of myself right now because I look round and fat and it just breaks my heart to see myself like that. However, now instead of focusing on THAT I want to try and focus on how happy I look. And focus on the inner beauty I know I possess pushing through.

This is not going to be easy. But what a sobering thought to realize that no matter how my body looks I am never going to be happy with it unless I teach my mind to love it NOW. All these work out infomercials showing people happy and vibrant after they’ve lost weight is crap. I mean, they might really feel good and proud of their accomplishments, as they should, but the true reality is that I bet they still don’t have anything to wear. And I bet they still wish they had this or that or could just lose 5 more pounds. I vow to only wear clothes I feel comfortable in, no matter what size they are. And I vow to compliment myself on my appearance quietly to myself until I believe it. Those of you who also suffer with body dysmorphic disorder know how personal of a struggle it really is. Others could compliment me all day long and I still see myself as gross. It really is sad because it holds me back from so many things. 

Well, enough is enough. It’s time to start loving myself from the inside out. And it’s time to start doing so NOW.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Knowing When To Stop

In the past I’ve only considered two categories of fullness:

Full and Stuffed.

The first I thought was alright…I mean the whole point of eating is to fulfill a hunger so you should feel full right? And then if you go too far you become stuffed which is bad. It leaves you feeling gross and bloated and it’s just not good to overeat. Well, I have learned of a new category—satisfied.

I always equaled satisfied with being full but they really are two different feelings. Most everyone’s body does certain things when it gets hungry to alert the individual that “Hey! It’s time to eat!” but when do those feelings and sounds subside? When you take your first bite? Probably not. Or maybe for a second but then seconds later you will still feel hungry. So when does your body actually stop telling you it’s hungry? Whenever that point is, that is when you become satisfied, at least internally. I know that some people need to be visually satisfied when they eat and they might not achieve this at the first sign of hunger pains diminishing. My point here today however is to talk about becoming internally satisfied.

How do most people determine when to stop eating? Do you fill your plate and clean it with your tongue? Do you portion out your meals according to some guideline you know of? Or maybe you overload your plate and eat until you’re full, getting rid of the rest? I am guilty of all three methods. I was taught, as many were, to eat everything on your plate. To not do so is being rude. And sometimes pre-portioning is too little and other times it’s too much! Ahhhh! What to do?!?


This concept sounds easy and obvious to be quite honest. However, the reasons listed above about learning to recognize satisfaction over fullness and then doing it is not easy at all. This stems back to childhood. As kids someone else fixed our plates for us. We couldn’t be the judge of when we’d had enough to eat. Kids’ brains are not advanced enough to truly decipher what is best. And since we are conditioned to eat this certain way as kids, often it spills over into adulthood causing overeating problems.

Learning to eat healthy is one thing but almost as equally important, I believe, is learning to eat until satisfied NOT until full or stuffed. There are a couple approaches of I’m trying to learn. They are outlined below:

  1. Learn that it’s okay not to finish what’s on your plate. Foods can always be saved, even small amounts. And if you don’t want to save something small, throw it away! Throwing it away is much better than stuffing it in your face just to not be wasteful.
  2. Eat SLOWLY. Enjoy the foods you taste and really concentrate on what signals your body is sending you. This is hard especially when something tastes really good or when you have a time constraint but it is possible.
  3. When your body is telling you it’s not hungry anymore STOP. Even if this means you become hungry again in 30 minutes. If that happens, eat again in 30 minutes! It will take some practice to learn how much to eat at one given time to stay satisfied for around 2 hours or so. And until you reach this point, eat as often as your body tells you to. It WILL become less frustrating and inconvenient with time.
  4. Enjoy how you feel! You’re stomach will feel light yet satisfied. It really is a great feeling.

There are definitely times when this methodology is more conducive than others. I work at an office where I can have food on my desk at all times if I wish. A lot of people do not have that luxury. That is why it’s important to learn how much should be eaten to stay satisfied for around 2 hours until you can maybe take a break and eat again. I don’t know. There are always excuses of why people can’t or won’t do things. But I feel if becoming healthy is something that is really important to you, as it has become to me recently, then you can and will find a way to achieve your goals including eating until you’re satisfied, no more, no less.

This ties in with my blog from yesterday because I believe that if I keep my focus on being healthy, including this concept, transformation of my body in a positive way will take place. But either way, the great feeling of only being satisfied as opposed to full or stuffed is totally worth it to me…and hopefully you too :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Diet and Exercise Gold Mine

Do you know the reasons you diet and exercise? Those two words go hand in hand (or so media has us believing) to mean “ways to lose weight”. Then when the word diet became taboo its new meaning was synonymous with “food”. Saying “my diet consists of…” no longer means “my cut-back, healthy foods consist of…” but rather “my food consists of…” that way it can be marketed without appearing to be “special” foods to help you lose weight. So we are taught that we must pay attention to our diets (food) and exercise in order to lose weight. And while this is true whatever happened to the real reason we should be doing these things—to become and/or remain healthy?

I guess companies couldn’t make any money that way. Could you imagine an infomercial promoting a healthy diet and exercise plan for the sheer purpose of feeling good?! Of course not! That’s not good enough! We all want to shed some fat and mold our bodies into whatever these programs tells us is sexy. Right?! Wrong. Actually my answer was right until very recently when I decided to shift my focus.

I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember, as I’m sure a lot of you out there have as well. We all want to look good and be desired, we want to feel sexy and unashamed to strut out by the pool in a bikini. And guys want their tanned arms cut with muscles while wearing a sleeveless top and they want their pecks to be more than just some saggy moobs. All of this is fine but how about those of us who are miserable all the time…so uncomfortable in our own skin? We try so hard to eat right and exercise, hoping…waiting for the weight to come off and when it never does (or it does then rapidly comes back) we’re right back to feeling miserable again.

I was recently asked if I considered myself to be healthy. I didn’t have to think very long before I answered “Yes.” Blood work at the doctor later proved this to be right. Every test ran was in the healthy range despite the fact that I am overweight. And according to the BMI chart I’m obese! This is not true however as I have weighed heavy my entire life. Two different friends of mine, who are the same height as me, told me that when they weighed what I do right now they were at least 3 sizes in clothes bigger than me sooooo…I am not obese but I definitely am overweight and could stand to lose some fat…around 20 pounds worth but I do feel and am healthy.

I exercise regularly and eat healthy. So why am I not losing any weight? I’ll tell you why…because I have been “good” for the reason of wanting to lose weight and not to remain healthy. I do like to eat healthy now, just to be healthy (it took me years to get to this point though) but as far as exercise goes, my main reason for exercising has still been to help me lose weight. Boy, what a mistake this has been. When I don’t see results I get very discouraged which in turn affects my eating habits (sometimes even just subliminally) which as you well know, does bad things to body weight. What a vicious cycle I’ve been on for years!

I know how to diet (old definition) and exercise to lose weight but I know it’s only temporary. So I learned how to diet (new definition) to become and then remain healthy and now I need to get my exercising to this point as well. What this is allowing me to do is STOP WORRYING! I’m no longer depressed when I don’t see my weight decrease. In fact I got rid of my scale a few months ago and no longer have any idea how much I weigh. It has been nice. My body is not where I want it right now but at least I feel healthy. And that needs to be more important to me than trying to become “sexy”. Okay, so I have the food part down now what about the exercise part??

Going to the gym without the intent of busting as much ass as possible is going to be tough. That is what I am used to doing. My new intent needs to be to go and do at least 30 minutes at whatever intensity I feel like that day. I know to switch it up to condition my heart and other internal functions but other than that…that is all I need to be thinking about- at least 30 minutes of whatever. No more 1.5-2 hour sweat fests of killing myself every day to try to lose weight. Now if I spend that long at the gym it needs to be because I’m having fun and I don’t care if I lose weight or not, I know it’s a proven fact that exercise is good for my body—both physically and mentally.

I strongly believe that once I start behaving in this way I will become even healthier than I am now. That is probably going to mean losing weight but if it doesn’t that’s okay too. So I’m a little overweight! That’s okay. I know I’m healthy and I know how hard I work to stay that way. The other perks will follow. Until that time I will try and learn to love the body I have now, reminding myself that it’s a healthy body. I do think that one day I will be comfortable in my skin visually but until then I need to be focused and happy with the body I have internally. I know a lot of skinny people who are far unhealthier than I am. Skinny does not equal healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

MY NEW FOCUS: Eat healthy and exercise to remain healthy. Period.

Losing weight will naturally follow. I have to trust this. And more importantly I have to trust that if it doesn’t happen than it’s okay—I’ll still be one healthy broad! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tough Mudder Arizona 2012

“Why?! Why do you do these things to yourself?!”

That’s been a common question I’m asked when people see the bruises and scrapes I received from completing Tough Mudder this weekend. I mostly laugh it off because I feel that trying to explain it to them would serve no purpose. They will still just see it as a pointless activity that does harm to my body. Little do they know the rewards that come with each and every bruise, sore muscle, swollen joint, and multiple scrapes far outweighs the visible damage they see.

I will be the first to admit that I was in no shape to run the Tough Mudder event. So much has been going on in my life lately that my health routine got tossed to the wayside and I just recently decided to get back on track with it. I had planned on skipping this event altogether because I was embarrassed by my lack of commitment to train for what is called “The Toughest Event on the Planet.” I would surely be a joke and I had no business competing with the people who actually prepared. But that’s just it…TM is not a competition. It is a test of courage, strength, and camaraderie. Remembering that and receiving encouraging texts to still go from my buddy Dave, I decided I would not give up before I even started.

I knew my performance would not be nearly as good as I had originally hoped when I signed up several months earlier but I decided that I would have to be okay with that. My goal was to finish and to at least attempt every obstacle. I decided not to worry about my performance as much as just getting through it. Little did I know my calves would decide to continually cramp and seize up on me starting just before mile 5. The event was 12.5 miles long. Not even half way through and my legs were not cooperating. Great. How would I be able to complete the course with legs that kept locking up? Slow and steadily that’s how. I was not going to quit. I would never have lived with myself had I given up. I would have to continue on and do my best despite the struggles I was enduring.

I had planned on putting all fears aside and using my mind power to force me to do all that I am afraid of. Well, that’s a little easier said than done, haha. I DID do a couple things I’m afraid of but I also chickened out on some others. I’m okay with that though. I thought I’d be more disappointed than I am but I’m not. Individually, none of the obstacles were so difficult they couldn’t be done but put them all together and each one became that much harder. Wait, I take it back…the Berlin Walls were nasty. I cleared one and decided not to even attempt any of the other ones. At 12 feet high, muddy, wet, and slippery with no help up but a little slab of wood about 3 feet up and fellow Mudders straddling the top to help pull people up, this was not my obstacle. My fear of falling and lack of upper body strength kept me from completing the 4 sets of two or three through-out the course.

The most challenging event for me (besides those ugly walls) was the high jump into the 12 ft of water below. The climb to get up to the jumping platform was hard enough but once I looked over the edge fear came over me and I was petrified to jump. This really surprised me. I’m not afraid of heights but falling and water are not my friends. I stood up there probably 40 minutes (yes, you read that correctly) trying to convince myself to jump from 15 feet in the air. But my fear won and I ended up going back down. I was pretty disappointed but proud of myself for staying up there that long and not giving up right away.

The obstacle I surprised myself the most on was probably the one called Arctic Enema. Yep. You had to jump into ice water, swim underneath a board and come up the other side in even more ice. Sounds easy enough right? Well again, I have a fear of water and was really dreading this obstacle. Surprisingly I did it with no issues. I tend to get disoriented in water very easily but didn’t this time despite how cold and scared I was.

There were several obstacles I did modified versions of. For instance, jumping from mud platform to mud platform… Instead I jumped down in the ditch and pulled myself up the other side (with assistance most of the time). I think that was the more tiring way to go but I didn’t trust my jumping abilities. I enjoyed the obstacles that had us crawling or squeezing in and out of pipes or underground trenches. I thought those ones were fun and much nicer to my comfort zone.

And then there was my least favorite and most favorite obstacle. These obstacles were actually the same one if you can believe that- Electroshock Therapy. I loved and hated it for different reasons. I actually enjoyed getting shocked! I mean that shit hurt but it was such a different feeling. I have never been shocked before and it was surprising to me to experience what it does to your body! These were 10,000 volt shocks and when you got hit by one it would knock you down! I loved seeing big, strong me get thrown to the mud like sacks of potatoes! The obstacle was set up to where there was a few feet of mud water that you could either go belly down and scoot along or try to run through. The crowd could see when the operator of the obstacle would turn off the electricity and they would yell at everyone to get up and run! That was fine until it got turned back on and you were shocked repeatedly knocking you back down into the mud! The reason I hated this obstacle is because it was the only one that people weren’t polite about. When the crowd yelled “run!” participants didn’t care who was in the way, they stood up and trampled those of us on the ground. That I could have done without. But the experience of something new I liked. It definitely hurt though!

Overall the event was put together well and all the participants were very nice, helpful, and encouraging. It was great to see so many people come together and focus more on helping to assure everyone finished rather than making the best individual time. Everyone waited their turn and no one made fun of anyone for being scared to do any of the obstacles. I felt very comfortable and encouraged. I also had an amazing teammate who was held back because of me but never complained about it. He was very supportive and stuck by me the entire time. I definitely know the things I want to train for—jumping across things, pulling myself up things, and jumping into water from high up. I also need to work on my overall strength and endurance. This event put some motivation in me and made me realize that you really can do anything you set your mind to.

So why do I do these types of events? To remind myself that I am stronger than I think I am. To remind myself that mind really does win over matter. And to be a part of something that donates to a great cause and teaches you the importance of overcoming your fears and doing your personal best. I might barely be able to move today but at least I’m alive and able. Thank you to all the wounded warriors out there who allow me to live freely. It’s because of you that this weekend I became a Tough Mudder.