Diary of a Former Chubby Trainer/Nutrition Coach – another entry

Diary of a Former Chubby Trainer/Nutrition Coach

My story starts in grade school. My story is a long one and it’s not a pretty one. It’s full of winding roads and uphill climbs and some straight roads. I feel like I have been aware of my body image and aware of food my whole life. It became evident to me that my body wasn’t ideal. It became evident when a coach, someone I looked up to, would be the one to tell me my body wasn’t ideal. This started a snowball effect of dieting and bingeing and purging. The snowball got bigger and bigger and bigger. 

I was told to lose ten pounds when I was in gymnastics. I was a sophomore in high school. I weighed 116 at the time. Not 115, not 120, but 116. I remember that detail like it was yesterday. On my 5 feet 4 inch frame that is pretty much considered “ideal.” I have never considered myself ideal. 

There was a time previous though that it was also evident. I was in 6th grade and the school lunch program came out with weight watchers meals. Not the business Weight Watchers, just weight watchers as in watching our weight and what we were eating. In other words they were letting us chubby girls know that we should change. Our school lunch program gave us that option, in 6th grade, a billion years ago. Why? I remember eating tuna, with nothing on it. It came in a styrofoam cup container with carrots and celery. As I type this right now, I wonder if I was even chubby then. I mean, I must have been, right? The indecision runs deep. The trap runs deep. The emotions run deep. 

I take responsibility for my own actions and while I am not very damn happy about my gymnastics coach having a hand in really pushing me over the edge into an eating disorder, I know I made the choices. I did. It was me. I tried every diet. I really did. I couldn’t stick to anything. My after school-before practice-snack was a Reese’s double peanut butter cup and some kind of diet pop. Tab was a favorite. Because the diet pop canceled out all those extra calories, right? Interesting, the ignorance, the irony. 

I always wanted to be skinny. I was always muscular. I was always strong. I thought that was good. I thought it was what it took to succeed in gymnastics. It did take strength and muscles, but at that age, how was I to know I could be strong and muscular and not overweight. That train of thought carried me for years. Strong and muscular became my motto.

I struggled with my weight for what seemed like forever. Years and years. If I tried a diet I would lose some weight, never over ten pounds, but then would just eat what I wanted again. I could never maintain a weight loss. This yo-yo dieting was ridiculous. Bulimia became my eating disorder. It owned me. I couldn’t control it. I finally overcame the eating disorder after a few years. I was very fortunate I didn’t damage my body. 

The way we perceive ourselves is real. The negative self-talk is real. Have you ever looked in the mirror and called yourself a fat ass? I have. Have you ever looked in the mirror and told yourself you were a fucking pig or a lard ass? I have. 

Fast forward to about 2010. That sounds weird to fast forward to the past, but you know that I mean. I became a trainer and a coach. A personal trainer and nutrition coach, something I had always wanted to do. I am not sure what held me back. As I unpack things in my life and am growing in figuring my shit out, I actually think it may have been because I felt like I couldn’t be a trainer because I wasn’t skinny. I didn’t really look the part. I was muscular and strong. One would think that is what a trainer should look like, but in reality that was an excuse. It was an excuse for being overweight. I steadily gained every year. Up by 5s. 

I used strong and muscular as my excuse, my go to excuse. I used it all the time. I TOLD myself this all the time. I told myself I looked good. I was getting really good at lying to myself. 

I got fed up with it though. Every time I weighed myself, which wasn’t that often, because hey, you go by how your clothes fit, or hey, you go by how you feel, so why should I need a scale. Well, when your biggest pair of jeans become tight, it’s fucking time to pull out the scale and take a peek. I was shocked. How could this happen? I told myself again, I was muscular and strong. I let this go on for months. I kept gaining and gaining some more. Here I was a personal trainer AND a nutrition coach. What the hell? 

I was done. Bottom line is I didn’t have a slow metabolism. I didn’t have any thyroid problems (I got tested). It wasn’t my hormones. I didn’t have any kind of disease that would cause the weight gain. I was eating like an asshole, plain and simple. This was not rocket science, not at all. This was called eating way too much. No calorie deficit for this girl, no fucking way. I was eating way tooooo much. That was the problem, not that I was strong and muscular. 

I told myself to wake the fuck up. It was time to take responsibility. I was the only one who could change this. I had to. I was feeling like crap. I was tired all the damn time and I didn’t even care if I worked out. My skin looked like crap and my sleep was miserable. I had hit rock bottom. It was time to change.

I hired a coach. Shocker, right? It shouldn’t be. Even though I am a trainer and nutrition coach, I needed the accountability. I really needed it. You would be surprised how many trainers have coaches. Everybody needs a coach. 

I could feel this time was going to be different though. There was something different about this way of eating, whatever you want to call it, flexible dieting or if it fits your macros or macro budgeting. There was no magic pill. There were no magic powders or wraps. It was hard work. It was changing what I normally did. It was holding myself accountable. It was not eating whatever the hell I wanted when I wanted. It was portion control, which is really what I needed.

My excuses were done. 

I am still in a losing phase and so far am down 38 pounds and about 11 inches off my waist. I made myself a promise that I would never go back to that ridiculous number on the scale. Who cares if I am strong and muscular. That was an excuse and a big whopper of an excuse. 

No more. Losing weight is easy. The hard part is keeping it off. I plan to show up for the hard part. I plan to do the hard part. I plan to make myself a priority and to respect myself enough to stay on track. 

I am doing it. I have finally connected the daisy chain into healthy habits, into learning, into being accountable, into not eating like an asshole anymore. I feel like I am the healthiest I have probably ever been. At 55, I’ll take it. 

The pic is in black and white. Why? Because in color it seems so much worse. I still struggle a little bit seeing the before pics. I know I have come a long, long way, but there is still that inner voice, who sometimes has to pop in and just give you that tiny bit of doubt. I can squash it most of the time and I really, really do. It’s just once in a while…

I can say I finally have my shit together. It only took 55 years. If you need help getting yours together, get a hold of me. I would love to help you!

Timing is everything…

A series of near misses.

Tuesday started off like any other Tuesday. I was up at 4 am. I took a shower and got ready to go to the studio to train my morning clients. I let the dogs out and then put them back in the house. I gathered my many bags and coffee, trying to balance everything and getting down the steps safely. I put the bags on the passenger side of the car and walked around and got in my car, backed out of the garage and headed to the studio. It was about 4:50 a.m. I pulled out of the garage and headed up the driveway to the highway. I had gone about a mile when I heard a loud noise. Suddenly it was really loud inside the car. I turned off the radio and listened. The car was moving a little bit, like it was really windy out. It was pouring rain so I really wasn’t sure about the wind. Then my warning light came on. The warning light that tells me my tires are screwed up. Great. I figured I must have had a flat tire. I slowed way down and turned around when I could. I was about one and a half miles from the house. I didn’t want to go fast and risk ruining the rim, so I limped the car back to the garage. I got out and walked around to the back. Crap. Not only did I have a flat tire, I had a blown tire. It looked like it had just disintegrated. Well, now what? 

I decided to take the pickup. I have never driven it before. It’s giant. It barely fits in the garage. I hopped in. I couldn’t find the garage door opener button or the steering wheel tilter. I had to get back out of the pickup, walk through the garage, squeezing between the pickup and the wall and then up the steps and then to the garage door opener buttons by the door going into the house. The pressure was on now. I had to find the button in the pickup in order to close the garage door, otherwise I risked being soaked by the pouring rain. Yeah, it was pouring and it was also pitch black (what does pitch black even mean?). I backed out of the garage without ripping off the mirrors. I was impressed. I finally found the headlights switch and the windshield wiper switch. I couldn’t find the steering wheel tilter yet. So the steering wheel felt like it was way up on the dash. I felt like I was driving an 18 wheeler. I made it to the studio without further incident. 

I was really impressed with my parking abilities on this day. I managed to not hit any other vehicles while parking and backing out of parking spaces. 

I am sure you have all heard the saying, “Timing is everything.” Today, timing was everything. I was grateful I wasn’t out on the Interstate and having that tire blow. It would have been a way different scenario I am sure. Timing is everything.

Many times today that phrase came into play. I picked up a friend’s daughter from dance and took her home. They live by us, so it was an easy favor. On the way home it was still light and traffic was non-existent. We were about a half mile from home and all of a sudden a deer came flying out of the ditch and ran across the road. It wasn’t really flying, but you know what I mean. If we would have been going the speed limit, which is 65 miles per hour or been there ten seconds earlier, we would have hit the deer. Timing is everything. 

Later that evening, John loaded my car on a trailer and we hauled it into town so it could get some new tires. We were a few miles from town. There was a pickup in front of us. All of sudden that pickup slammed on its brakes. Oh crap. We had to slam on the brakes, which is a little difficult when you are trailering a car and your pickup weighs a ton, literally. It’s a little difficult to stop quickly. We were a few feet away from smashing into the pickup. A very small pickup with three dogs in the back was in front of that pickup. We didn’t know that and we didn’t see that until the pickup took a left turn. I don’t think he used a blinker or had any brake lights. Timing is everything. 

In life, timing is everything. Every single one of these situations could have turned out vastly different if it had been 30 seconds on either end. I definitely had my guardian angel working overtime today. I am grateful I didn’t have to find out how I would have dealt with the flip side of those situations. I am very blessed and I know it. 

right here, right now

How long? How long are you going to do those meal replacement shakes? How long?

How long before you wake up one day and think of all the things that have passed you by because you were busy chasing a less than ideal body. A less than ideal lifestyle. A less than ideal mindset. You can’t live off shakes forever. Your body wants to feel satisfied. Chewing food satisfies the cravings. Chewing food helps the digestion. The texture of food satisfies you. 

When we are constantly chasing skinny, you are missing out on your life. Why are we chasing it constantly? Why can’t we just be healthy? Why can’t we just eat instead of constantly dieting or finding the next magic pill or the next magic power? Why?

How much life have you missed out on because of hating on your body? Have you ever been to a party or a social gathering and totally deprived yourself of any fun because deep down you were disgusted with your body? I have. I am willing to bet a lot of us have. 

Maybe you should try something different. Try something that is out of your comfort zone. Try not being so hard on yourself for how your body looks. Try loving yourself where you are right now, where you are right in this moment, where you are in this space. Then and only then can you start to heal from the chase. 

Start giving your body the fuel it needs to function optimally. Think of food as something your body needs and wants in order to make it easier for you to walk up that flight of stairs. Feed your body. Feed your soul. When you eat better, you feel better. 

Eat real food. Enjoy real food. Learn to taste your food, instead of shoveling it in your mouth so fast, you don’t know what you even ate. Learn to slow down. Quit using food as feelings. 

Food and feelings go hand in hand. I know it can be super complex. I know these behaviors can be used as a coping mechanism. Changing our behaviors can be extremely hard. We often start out with great intentions and then just plain struggle with being consistent. What’s keeping you from making this lifestyle change? Do the benefits outweigh the cost of what you are doing right now? I say yes. I say you can do this. 

I say, get curious about why you do the things you do. Work on it. Every single day. Work on yourself. Love yourself. Right here. Right now. Begin to heal. 

Let’s try…

I sent out my weekly email on this morning and I got A LOT of comments, so I wanted to add to this a little bit and publish it here for my weekly blog. 

The fitness industry is an interesting thing. The industry preys upon people’s weaknesses. The quick fixes, the pills, the powders, the wraps, always trying to persuade the public to buy them. Always promising they work. We know they don’t. We know it’s a farce. We all know it. I’ve told you a million times eating good food consistently and exercising consistently and practicing patience will make all the difference.

I want to unpack this a little bit more though. I want to know why are we always wanting to change how we look? Why do we let ourselves be defined by a number? Why do we let ourselves be defined by what others might think of us? Why do we spend seemingly our whole lives trying to change? What is wrong with us that we feel we need to? Think about those questions. Think about how you react to them. 

We were always told from a young age to accept people the way they are. To accept our friends as they are. To not judge people. To not judge period. Yet, it seems like that happens more and more and more. People are getting judged for how they look or for how they don’t look. There are so many judgments being thrown at everybody. We are constantly judging ourselves as too. 

When did that become a thing?

Growing up, I don’t ever remember my mom worrying about how she looked or what she weighed. I do remember my grandma, however, always worrying about her weight and how she looked. Has being overweight always been something to hate on? Or do we know being overweight is not healthy and that may be why we are constantly trying to change how we look? Let’s take it one step further. How did we get overweight in the first place? If we were eating healthy and moving a little bit each day how did we get overweight enough that we feel we need to change? What is the tipping point?

We spend so much time focusing on our appearance that we forget to live. We are so obsessed about if this outfit looks good or if that outfit makes us look fat that we totally lose ourselves. We miss out on so much LIFE because we are living in a world of judgment.

How about we try and live our lives and stop stressing about changing. What would happen if you weighed ten pounds less? How different would that make you feel? Why did you want that in the first place? I just wonder what is different. Your confidence? Your self -esteem? Your whole life? Why?

One of the comments I received from an email reader was that for her it is how she feels in her clothes and how they fit. She also does not care about the size, it’s how she feels. I totally agree with this. Who cares if we have a bigger or smaller size than the “ideal” size for those judgers of our bodies. If it fits and you feel comfortable, who cares. 

Another reader said it was about health for her and not so much looks. I LOVE this statement. I think we all feel like we could be a little bit healthier. Me included. I enjoy my life though. If I go out to eat, I’m having the glass of wine. I’m not going to have 3 or 4 and I’m fine with that. I do not feel deprived at all. One is plenty. That took me a long time to figure out. I used to feel like one was not enough and the next one was too much. It’s all about perspective and mindfulness.

Another reader talked about how she feels way better eating healthier and working out consistently, yet will go back to eating not so healthy and then feels like crap. That usually stems from feeling deprived. That’s why I feel like it is okay to eat off plan. What usually happens is we are excellent eaters during the week and then here comes the weekend and the whole damn train derails. We feel deprived during the week and go all out like it’s our job on the weekend. Plan a few off plan meals or treats during the week and see if that doesn’t help you during the weekend. 

We all want to look good. We do. Don’t pretend you don’t. Don’t pretend. But my point is find a place where YOU feel good and where YOU feel healthy and where YOU feel confident and then rock it. Don’t worry about what anybody else says or thinks. This is for you. Make sure you find your reasons for change. Make sure you want to change for YOU. And if you don’t want to change, awesome!!! I love that we have the choice. We have the power. Find your reasons. Whatever choice you make, make sure it’s your choice. Change or don’t change for YOU!

I also think we all need to be a little less hard on ourselves. We need to be a little bit nicer to ourselves. We need to back off a little and just live. We need to learn to live without constantly worrying about how we look. We need to stop obsessing. Live your life.

Let’s try. 

Ebb and Flow

As I was sitting down to write today’s blog, I was having a hard time thinking of something to write about. Sometimes, it just isn’t there. Most of the time it is. Today it wasn’t.

I started to reflect on 2017, so I decided to write about that. I decided to write about my 2017 life.

Life ebbs and flows. Business ebbs and flows. Eating healthy and working out ebb and flow. It’s a constant. It’s not any different than it has ever been with anybody. It’s the way of the world. Some ebbs are lower than others. Some flows last longer than others. All in all, that’s what happens in our lives though.

I had some things fade away that needed to fade away. I had some things fade away that I don’t know the reason why yet. I had a lot of progress in 2017, and a lot of good movement.

I learned a lot about myself. I worked really hard this year. I launched an online training business and worked hard to learn the ins and outs of all things related to it. I learned I could do it. It was hard as hell, but I persevered and did it. I built my own website and sent out weekly emails to a list I set up and created. I released training programs and sent out a lot of free content to my list. I also put together a Women’s Retreat, Body Image Without Prejudice, this past fall which was really fun and eye-opening. I believe women shouldn’t have to worry about how they look. I feel like we shouldn’t be told how to look. It is a super important issue for me. It is a passion of mine.

I wrote 65 blog posts. My goal was to write one every single week. I did that and more. My writing style is my own. I don’t try to copy anyone else. The words land on the paper the way I would say them if you were talking to me in person. It’s how I am. I feel I am real. I feel I am honest and kind and authentic. I don’t like fake and I don’t do fake.

I became a certified nutrition coach through Precision Nutrition. It is a habit-based nutrition program. Level 2 was a year long study. So was Level 1, which I finished in 2016. I also am working on a few other certifications. One is strictly geared toward women, specifically pre and post pregnant women. It is so interesting. It is just taking longer than I wish. I am also working on an online trainer certification, which is also going slow.

This year I learned that stress has definitely affected my health. I presume 6 plus years of 12 plus hours a day tends to catch up with a person. I wasn’t eating right, I was drinking too much wine and I was definitely not getting enough sleep. I have corrected those things and feel much better now. My body has been out of balance, huge ebb, and is now heading toward the flow. I am starting to feel more “normal.” I am progressing.

I have done a lot of forgiving this year and it has freed a lot of energy and creativity for me. I have let go of a lot of things from my past. I can’t control them and I won’t let them control me. It feels great.

I learned that I can do whatever I want to do. I learned to not hold back and to just go for it. I didn’t want to look back and wonder. I just didn’t.

Heading into 2018, my goals are simple. I don’t do resolutions. I do real. I do realistic. I want to continue to grow my business. I am going to be launching some exciting programs in studio. I want to read more. I want to finish up the projects I have going on now. I want to finish up the certifications I am enjoying right now. I want to finish what I started.

30 minutes with “The Chestee” sports bra

It was Friday. It was the first day of December. The now.

I was planning on going to the play Calendar Girls with a couple of girlfriends, after dinner and drinks. We wanted to support a friend of ours who was in the play.

My day was going great. I had a facial earlier in the day and then was home cleaning and writing. As you know, if you read a few blog posts ago, I am struggling with pullups. I had a good training session today though. The pull-ups hurt my forearm, but the chinups were feeling great. I felt accomplished.

I was relaxing for a while before I needed to take a shower and go meet Cara and Laura. I had a glass of wine and just felt chill.

I was going to wear a sweatshirt that has a bunch of holes in it and part of the neck cut out, because I like stuff like that, and don’t really care if anyone else does. It’s my style. It had ME cut out all over it.

I went upstairs to take a shower and noticed the very cool Chestee sports bra that I bought on Black Friday. The Lulu. You know the company is serious when they name all their sports bras. I thought it would look good with the sweatshirt. The bras are geared towards women and lifting. Specifically padding up near the collarbones. Not that I do any of that kind of lifting, but they make them so nice looking that why the hell wouldn’t people buy them. They aren’t cheap, but the quality is excellent. I have a couple other ones that I bought on sale and when I went to order this one, I remember thinking to myself that because it had a different kind of bottom part, maybe I should size up. But I didn’t. First mistake: Always listen to your gut.

I took off the tags and held up the bra. I looked at the bottom part trying to figure out how it goes on. I pulled on it a little bit and thought it seemed a little tight. Not a big concern, because most of these bras fit pretty snugly. So I put the bra on over my head and thought, holy crap, this is tight. I got it down over my boobs feeling the whole time like I just had a mamogram. So damn tight. Second mistake: Never try on sports bras when you are sweaty or having hot flashes.

Okay, so it’s on now and it’s tight, but I think it’s okay. It took at least five minutes to get it on and in place. That should have been a clue for what was to come. Time to take it off so I can take a shower. Well, it is so tight I can’t even begin to get it off. I was thinking what the F? I finally got it up to above the boobs, after the second mammogram of the day. I kept trying but couldn’t get it up any further. I kept thinking, how the hell am I going to get this off? Shit, I’m going to be late. Why isn’t John here? He’s usually home early on Fridays. The dogs sure as shit won’t be able to help me. What am I going to do? Tayler isn’t here either. I’m home alone. All those thoughts are running through my head trying to get this stupid sports bra off. I haven’t moved like that since high school. Pretty sure I invented some new dance moves or some awesome ninja moves. I was trying and trying to get this thing off of me. I reached back over my head and grabbed the straps. I pulled hard. All I heard was seams popping and ripping, but nothing moved. UGH!!! Now I’m getting pissed. I was wondering if I laid down I could somehow get this thing off. Ummmm, bad idea. Writhing and squirming and bouncing, nothing worked.

I’m pissed because this bra was EXPENSIVE and I didn’t want to ruin it. I thought if the seams just popped or stretched a little, it would still be okay. I tugged again. Nothing! I’m stuck. See, I told you the quality was excellent. My thought process here was that because of the pull up program that has been kicking my ass for the last nine weeks it has also made my lats so big that I will never get this bra off. No matter what I did, I could not get the bra over my lats. I tried to shift from side to side to slide it up. No luck. No big break. Not happening. What the hell??? I’m sweaty as fuck now because I have been wrestling with this sports bra for ten minutes with no luck. It doesn’t help that I am having hot flashes the whole time too.

Now its getting serous. By this time, I am going to be late. If I don’t get this bra off in the next few minutes, I am going to be late. I don’t do late. I just don’t. I wrestled with the bra some more. Nothing! I cannot get this thing off. I walk over to the drawer at the bathroom counter. I open it. I look around for the one item that will get this damn bra off me, the scissors. I pick them up and start cutting. The dilemma was killing me. I didn’t want to ruin this bra by having to cut it off me. I have never had to do this before with a sports bra. Why now? Why with one that had to cost so much? Why such a cool looking one?

I cut it. I had to. I had to escape the sports bra. I had to, I had to, KILL it! Bye, bye Chestee so cool sports bra. So sorry we couldn’t live in peace with each other.

Lessons learned: Always listen to your gut and never try on sports bras when you are sweaty or having hot flashes.

hey fat ass

Hey, fat ass!

My in-my-own-head voice would look around to see who was talking. My in-my-own-head voice would berate me for being a fat ass. My in-my-own-head voice would call me that all the time. My in-my-own-head voice was an asshole.

If you have read my blog posts at all, you know I had some giant issues with body image and disordered eating. Some days I still struggle. I remember so many times feeling so much despair because I didn’t look the way I thought I should look. I didn’t look the way other people thought I should look. Giving a shit about what other people think of me kept me small. It kept me from having any confidence. It kept me from having any positive self-esteem. My self-worth was super low at that time.

I remember weighing myself every.single.day. I remember feeling so frustrated every.single.day. I remember feeling depressed every.single.day. I let the scale define me. I let the scale tell me what kind of mood I should be in every day. I let it control me. I let it.

I remember trying to camouflage my perceived fatness. I would use patterns that made me appear less fat. You know, the vertical stripes, never horizontal stripes. Black, because slimming. Baggy clothes because I thought they would make it look like I was losing weight or that I had lost weight. If the jeans felt big, I felt small. Hoodies, because they hid a lot. Ummmm, okay.

I never wanted to undress in front of anyone in gym class. Never. I always admired the ones who could just throw it off and not give a shit. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to feel okay about it. I wanted to feel comfortable. I wanted to.

Body image issues were pretty prevalent when I was in junior high and high school. I remember a friend in gymnastics who was anorexic. Her knees practically knocked together and the hair on her arms stood straight up. I bet she weighed 80 pounds and she still saw herself as fat. Another girl sat in class and would feel the side of her butt and thigh, feeling for the fat because she thought she was fat. So many others struggled with feeling like a fat ass. The pain of the fat ass syndrome – like stepping on legos.

Obviously, something triggered this blog post. I have been thinking about it and trying to figure out what it was. I have been struggling with pull-ups lately and have been working hard for the past 7 weeks and still haven’t gotten one. It has been extremely frustrating. I think the in-my-own-head voice is trying to convince me that it’s because I’m a fat ass. I broke my golden rule and have been weighing myself. That’s the first problem. The scale is a bitch and I’m not liking what she is saying. I’m not liking that number. My in-my-own-head voice is trying to creep back in and tell me how I should be thinking and feeling. It’s trying to.

I have been extremely frustrated with my progress. I have been extremely frustrated with my workouts. I need to pull myself up out of this hole (get it, pull up) and keep fighting. Not even the in-my-own-head-voice gets to tell me what I should weigh or how I should look. It does not get permission to do that. The inside-my-own-head voice is being a bully right now and I’m not going to continue to listen to it. I won’t.

The negative energy is being cleansed. I know when those negative thoughts start creeping back in to the in-my-own-head voice, it’s time to change my attitude and quit being so hard on myself. We all struggle. We all have things that are hard for us. I know when I finally get that pull-up, I will be grateful for the struggle. It has definitely made me stronger and more grateful.

Looking back at that those chapters of junior high and high school, I am grateful I had those struggles. The struggles and the inside-my-own-head voice have given me a unique perspective of which to get inside other people’s heads and try to change their in-my-own-head voices, so they can stop saying to themselves, “Hey fat ass!”