Category Archives: Fitness

Something A Bit Heavy.*

Editor’s Note:  Although I wrote this post last week, I was a bit behind on my blog reading and missed the announcement for Caitlin’s (of Operation Beautiful & Healthy Tipping Point fame) “Change the Way You See, Not the Way You Look” week.  It’s going on this week, August 2 through August 7, as a way for bloggers and readers to think and talk about body images issues.  I am participating and submitting this post!  Check out Operation Beautiful and Healthy Tipping Point for more information or if you’d like to participate.

CTWYSNTWYL 

Old School 1
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Remember this scene from the movie Old School?  Mitch and Nicole go have coffee at the diner, and the waiter gives them their meal for free, because Mitch, of course, is The Godfather of the fraternity the guys have started on campus.  My favorite part of that scene is when Nicole leaves the diner in a huff, and the waiter leans down to Mitch and says, “Love.   It’s a mother-fucker, eh?”

So why am I bringing this movie up?  Because today I want to take a time-out from DIY, guest lists, butterflies and rainbows and talk about the pressures we brides feel to look our best on our wedding day.  What does this have to do with Old School?  Why, this, of course:  “Self-esteem.  It’s a motherfucker, eh?”

The bridal industry, and the world at large, it seems, puts a ton of pressure on brides to look our best on our wedding day.  Every bride—EVERY one—is trying to lose 10 pounds, get in shape, or is generally worrying about how she’ll look on her wedding day.  Everywhere you look in the bridal industry, you can’t escape it:  from the uber-thin models wearing gorgeous dresses in the magazines, to the popular wedding websites with entire sections dedicated to “looking and feeling your best,” and even to a whole crop of bridal boot camps now gaining momentum in the fitness industry.  “Lose 10 Pounds!” “Slim your thighs!” “Tone your arms!”  These are just a few of the headlines you might see on a popular wedding website or in a wedding magazine.  I think the worst sort of pressure, though, is the type we put on ourselves.  We’re inundated with these images and articles and boot camps and we suddenly feel we have to be perfect.

And while there’s no doubt that every bride wants to look and feel her best on the big day, this constant pressure is sometimes, I think, too much.   I’ve been really struggling with my self-esteem lately, and I know others have too.  I never used to be a person who was obsessive about her weight.  Sure, I might be a bit pudgy around the edges, but I generally make good food choices, enjoy quality exercise, and like to yoga it up now and then, too.  Lately, though, I’ve been all-consumed by a lot of the following thoughts:   What will I eat?  When will I eat it?  When can I get to the gym?  How much weight have I lost?  What if my dress doesn’t zip?  Must. Work. Out.  I’m so tired I could cry.  Ugh, I look and feel fat today. What’s for lunch?  How many calories are in that?  Get. To. The. Gym. 

It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?  One day, you have a pretty healthy perspective on your weight.  Sure, you might feel bloated some days, but generally, you like the way you look and you feel good about where you’re at.  Pretty soon, though, you can become someone you’re not.  Someone who worries constantly that she looks fat.  Berates herself internally for not working out enough, or eating too much at dinner one night.

This, friends, is not who I normally am.  I am not the girl who is obsessed with exercising, calorie counting, or the like.  I am the girl who loves good food and wine.  Who ran a marathon.  And who, two days ago, decided she had had ENOUGH of the pressure she was putting on herself.

First, I read this.  And thought, Ah yes, how profound.  She looks lovely on her wedding day, and her weight was the furthest thing from her mind.  And her post was directly intended for people like me, who were suddenly feeling the pressure a little too much. 

Then, I talked to a good friend.  Who told me to step back, re-evaluate, and stop beating myself up about my weight and my looks and start celebrating myself for the things I’ve accomplished. 

And then, I went shopping.  I found some beautiful undergarments for my wedding gown, a lovely dress for my shower, and a gorgeous, sexy number for our rehearsal dinner.  In a size 6.  And only then did I realize how ludicrous my self-deprecating thoughts had become. 

So, girls, I am here to spread the message:  stop beating yourselves up. You’re going to look lovely on your wedding day, no matter how much you weigh.  If you’re not where you want to be at, not a big deal—being heavier than you’d like to be on your wedding day will not, in the least, detract from the huge commitment you’re about to make to your partner or the love and joy you’ll share with your family and friends.  So let’s try to remember that from now on, ok?  Myself included.  And when you need a pick-me-up, go visit one of my favorite websites:  Operation Beautiful.  Consider this YOUR Operation Beautiful post-it note, girls—you are ALL beautiful, no matter what your shape and size. 

*Pun intended.

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Fitness Friday

I know, I know…there hasn’t been a fitness Friday since, well…the first one.  But!  It’s not without good reason.  Things were a bit screwy at the gym for awhile with my fitness eval person being fired (sadness, I loved her), my trainer being sick, and me just not wanting to take the extra time to go in for an eval (bad Amy, I know!).  I am happy to report though, that things in the gym have finally settled down and I am scheduled for my next fitness eval next Thursday!

I am excited to see how much muscle I have gained in the last few months—I know I definitely feel stronger and I work out with much higher weights.  Truth be told though, I honestly haven’t lost much, if any weight, and in fact, have been weighing in a bit higher than I’d like to lately.  With my first dress fitting looming in late July, I finally got my act together during the last two weeks…and I am definitely feeling much more healthy and motivated now!  With that in mind, I thought today I’d share with you some of the things that have been working for me:

1.  Eating at least six times a day.  I tried the six small meals a day idea, and I love the concept…but I found that it was either too much food or too little food at certain times of the day.  I am one of those people who needs a bit more in the morning to jumpstart my metabolism, and not so much during the afternoon…so, I tweaked the concept.  Instead of eating six small meals a day, I just make sure I eat something six times a day.  A typical day, for me, consists of a heartier, heftier breakfast, a morning snack of fruit and nuts, a lighter lunch, an afternoon snack with veggies and protein, and a light dinner followed up with some berries or soy ice cream for dessert.

2. Similarly, try for protein at almost every meal.  This has done wonders to keep me satisfied!  I am a huge carb-aholic, but I have been trying to be very mindful of how much and when I eat carbs.  I load up in the morning and try to eat very few, if any, with dinner. 

3. Log your food and exercise.  Many of you know that I am a member of the weight loss website CalorieKing.com.  Just checking in there every day to log my food & exercise and see what my carb-protein-fat ratio is has done wonders to keep me in check.  I know exactly how much I am eating and how much I am working out.  Calorie counting isn’t for everyone, but it has served me quite well in the past, so I will continue to use it to get to my goal.

4. Get exercise anywhere and any way you can.  I’m lucky in that I get an hour for lunch…so every day that the weather has cooperated, I have taken the first 20-30 minutes of each lunch break to go for a walk.  It’s a great way to get out of the office, enjoy the weather, and catch up on my reading (yes, I read a book while I walk.  MAJOR DORK ALERT).  I really look forward to these walks every day!

In July, I am taking my workouts up a notch as I embark on a crazy challenge:

Triathlon Challenge Logo  
Not many of you know this, but this is the first summer in two years that I am not actively training for a long-distance endurance race.  Two summers ago I was training for a half-marathon, and last summer I was training for the big one—a full marathon.  I didn’t think I would miss training, but I have to say I have been feeling a bit restless with my workouts and not having a particular “schedule” to follow.  When my friend Terrie from CalorieKing mentioned that her gym was starting a triathlon challenge, I asked her the particulars so I could do my own challenge at the gym…so this month, I will be attempting to run 26.2 miles, bike 86.5 miles, and swim 35,000 meters over the course of July.  Only what I do AT THE GYM counts, so any walks or runs I take or bike rides I go on outside of the gym don’t count towards this goal.

I bike, swim, and run/walk regularly already, so this is really just going to take my workouts up a notch and force me to focus on a particular goal.  The swimming, in particular, is going to be a pretty hard goal to meet—our gym has a 25 meter pool and I will have to swim 5 days a week—about three more days than I normally swim—in addition to the biking and running to hit 35,000 meters.  But I am ready for the challenge…are you ready to cheer me on?!

The training plan:

Triathlon Challenge

I’ll keep you posted each week as to how I’m doing…and if you want to join in, please do!  It’ll be fun to cheer each other on.

What are you doing to get in shape for your wedding?

*It goes without saying, I ain’t no doctor.  So, you should do what works best for you, and take my advice with a grain of salt.  Also, if you plan to do the triathlon challenge or take up any new fitness regimen, make sure you check with your doctor first, y’all!

*Triathlon Challenge logo by me in my favorite design tool, good ol’ Microsoft Word.  Feel free to steal it if you want to participate!

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Fitness Fridays

I recently signed up for a year’s worth of personal training sessions at my gym.  Frankly, I wasn’t feeling happy with how I felt or looked, and I always have a hard time pushing myself.  Yes, I ran a marathon, but it seems that in handling a  day-to-day fitness & health routine, I sort of mail it in.

A bit of background on my health & fitness history:  I have always been thin, but lately, I have gotten a bit pudgy around the edges.  My arms, abs, and thighs have seen the worst of it, and I definitely don’t want to look back on my wedding day pictures and wish I had done a little extra to take care of myself.   Back in February of 2008, I joined a weight loss site called Calorie King.

CK(Source)

There, I logged my food and exercise and blogged daily about my feelings on my weight, health, and life in general.  Calorie King is actually what got me started on blogging…and I still blog there daily. I quickly lost 10 pounds and felt great.  Around this time, I also took up interest in distance running, which led to participating in several 5Ks, a half marathon, and eventually the marathon I ran last fall.   I have made many wonderful friends on Calorie King (several of whom read this blog), and have even met some of them in real life.  I cannot tell you how much I love the community, the ideals and the science behind the Calorie King website. 

Recently, though, I’ve fallen a bit off the wagon; hence my want for personal training sessions.  Are they expensive?  Yes.  Are they worth it to me?  Yes.  Why?  Because it’s not about getting toned for the wedding, it’s finally about getting to a healthy weight and shape to maintain for the rest of my life.  Combined with regular cardio, my personal training sessions, and logging my food on the Calorie King website, I finally feel like I am back on the right track to health and fitness.

 Buff Bride
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So, now that you have the background, I thought I’d introduce Fitness Fridays once a month here on the blog.  Every month, during the week that I weigh in, take my measurements and fitness tests, I will post my results for you here…sort of a really public form of motivation, I guess!

Here’s my starting stats:

General:
Height:  5’3” (this obviously won’t change!)
Weight: 141
Body Fat Percentage: 33.4%

All of the following measurements are in inches:
Neck: 12.5
Chest: 35.5
Shoulders: 40
Waist: 30.5
Hips: 40
Biceps: 11.5 (evenly matched on both sides)
Thighs: 21 (evenly matched on both sides)
Calves: 13.5 (evenly matched on both sides)

Fitness Tests:
Upper Body Strength: 40lbs is my 1 rep max
Lower Body Strength: 230lbs is my 1 rep max (Thank you, Marathon training!)
Flexibility: 0" (This is piss poor for being a dance teacher. I will say that I was not warmed up at all and their flexibility test is weird. You stand on a step and bend over, and they measure how far from the top of the step your fingertips extend. I could touch my toes but not extend beyond, so that’s why I got 0. Sort of dumb, right?!)
Muscular Endurance: Sit-Ups 27 in one minute, Push-ups 25 in one minute

I have had three training sessions so far and I LOVE IT.  It’s torture…but I somehow manage to look forward to it?  Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Are you doing a shape-up for your wedding and beyond?  Share your motivational tips and tricks in the comments!

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