It takes a gym girl to know one, and lately I’ve been noticing a good friend of mine looking fierce on Instagram. Yes, even more fierce than the side pony I rocked last week at Crunch, but because of a common … Continue reading
I just turned 31, and in an attempt to continue on my quest of empowerment, am going to do the thing that terrifies me the most. I’m going to tell you how much I weigh.
In exactly one year, I’ve gone from 153 to 168. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that Dairy Queen opened in NYC.
Gaining weight is something I’m REALLY good at. When I was 13, my family moved across the country to California, and my friends were replaced with McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Value Meals. I went from a size 6 to a size 12, gaining 30 pounds in a matter of months. 30 pounds I have been fighting to lose ever since.
Sometimes to lose weight, you have to put it on first, and that brings me to my latest set of “Skinny Girl Problems”. Last year was all about cardio. I was at spin class 24/7, turned the treadmill into my part-time residence, and when I did use weights, they were the lightest ones possible.
The weight seemed to just fall off. The more I sweat, the more I lost. I got to my lowest weight since high school, which you might remember reading about last year. But I wasn’t strong. I couldn’t do a push up. My lower back was a mess. And strength training was a concept as mysterious to me as wanting to go to a Dave Matthews concert.
My workout instructor, the great Angel Ortiz at Crunch, starts every month by saying, “change something”, and this year I took that advice to heart. I traded out my spin classes for strength training classes, and now there are muscles where my fat used to be.
I earned every single one of the 15 pounds I gained this year through long-ass sweat sessions, crazy tough workouts, a gazillion squats, and lifting all the weights. I gave my whole exercise regimen an overhaul, and in doing so, lowered my percentage of body fat, went down 1-2 sizes (depending on the store), and am now considered “acceptable” instead of obese.
Push-ups have become something I’m excited for, because I can actually do them. I love the definition in my quads, right above my knee. I love that I just had to switch to even heavier weights because the lighter ones were too easy. And finally, I love that my hip problem has chilled the eff out, because my back is getting stronger.
All of this kind of hit me in the last month. I was lucky enough to travel to Bermuda, and had an insane epiphany. As I stepped out in my new bikini, 100% conscious of my rolls, stretch marks, and cellulite, I looked out at the bluest water I’ve ever seen, saw the palm trees swaying in the wind, and felt the soft, warm sand on my feet. It took my breath away, and I realized that the world is just too freaking beautiful to worry about what little ole me looks like in a swimsuit. I’m the only one thinking about my flaws because there are too many other incredible things to look at instead.
So now, a few days into my 31st year, it’s time as Angel says to, “change something”. And the thing I plan to change is the idea that my body is something to be ashamed of. Right now it’s the result of a crap ton of hard work, and I’m excited for what next year’s fitness milestone is going to be. Maybe by then I’ll be able to do a pull up, or have 1 or 2 abs.
A girl can dream.
We’re midway through January, which means one of three things:
1) You’re still keeping up your New Year’s Resolution to get fit
2) You gave up on the gym last week
3) You never went in the first place
This post is aimed at everyone in group number one. Congratulations! We’re all very proud of you.
Exercise isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be camping out for the new Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Core Ice Cream. Working out is a pain in the ass (and the rest of your body if you’re doing it right) and recently this tweet caught my eye:
This anonymous tweeter hit on something that makes a lot of people pack up their sports bras and quit. And as a gym regular, I’m here to help with a few tips on how to keep it fun.
-THE BUDDY SYSTEM
A lot of people skip the gym to hang with their friends, so make the gym the place you hang out. Find a friend to work out with who will hold you accountable, and be pissed if you flake. It’s easier to get through that final set, or a tough class, when you have someone sharing your pain. I also recommend getting to know the people who work at the gym, because when they say “see you tomorrow”, you want to prove them right.
-DRESS ALL CUTE
This might sound dumb, but ditch your old Garfield tee shirt and pajama pants for some cute gear, and I promise you’ll immediately have more fun. It’s like when you get a new dress or a sweet pair of kicks. You want to show them off, and the same goes for gym clothes.
And you don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Old Navy has a sale like every five minutes and their clothes last forever. My trick is to buy everything in the same color palette, which makes it easy to mix and match.
-LOAD UP YOUR IPHONE
One of my favorite things is the Nerdist podcast, and the only place I let myself listen to the Nerdist podcast is at the gym. Reserve a bunch of things to listen to and watch during your workout, and you’ll actually start looking forward to your time on the treadmill…
-DON’T DO STUFF YOU HATE
…And on that note, while the treadmill is my jam, you might find it to be super boring and repetitive. Simple solution for that, stay off the treadmill. You will never find me on the elliptical machine because I totally hate it. I’d lose my damn mind if I took more than two spin classes in a week, so I don’t.
You have to find the things you like at the gym and only do them. Mix it up, take the classes, and come up with a varied schedule that both challenges your body and leaves little room for your mind to wander.
-THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’LL FEEL AFTER
I know I’m not the first one to say this, but when I’m really having trouble finding the motivation to exercise, I always fast forward to how I’ll feel afterwards. If you think about it, you’ll only spend about 60-90 minutes at the gym, which means it takes three episodes of Mindy Project, or one and a half listens to the new Taylor Swift album to feel like a new person.
And in that time, those exercise endorphins will make you feel all happy, and you’ll earn the right to try some of that new Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Core Ice Cream. You’ll also sleep better, think more clearly, and feel like a total badass.
If all else fails, pretend you’re Buffy. How are you gonna kill all those vampires if you can’t run a mile or do a sit up? This might only work for me…
Click here for more on my weight loss journey.
As promised in my last Skinny Girl Problems post, I turned 30 this weekend, and I did it at my lowest weight since I was 16. Leading up to my birthday, I was set on losing 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks of my twenties, but that didn’t happen… BECAUSE I LOST THREE! It wasn’t a fluke, or due to a visit from the magic weight loss fairy, which I wish was a real thing, but rather a few minor changes that took some hard work. Here are what I believe to be the keys to my success.
MY FITNESS PAL
The first thing most nutritionists and personal trainers will tell you is to write down every thing you eat. They want you to account for every bite, every morsel, every drop of food you put in your body, so that they (and you) can see the reality of what’s going on. Back in the day, I was a HUGE advocate for the Livestrong App. It was the first thing I downloaded when I switched over to using an iPhone, but I eventually got frustrated with Livestrong’s limited capabilities (and not to mention lazy) and ultimately clicked “uninstall”.
At the suggestion of my spin teacher, who I’ll talk more about in a minute, I decided I should start logging my food again, and all signs pointed to My Fitness Pal. It had the most positive reviews, seemed to be the most user friendly, and was totally free.
After two weeks of inputting all my food, drinks, and exercise, my weight loss has been kickstarted. Turns out the little I thought I was eating turned out to be a whole lot more. Seeing the numbers in front of me has caused a decrease in my snacking, and an increase in my effort to maintain a more balanced diet. Which leads me to my next topic…
PROTEIN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN
For a whole bunch of reasons, I am a vegetarian. And because I am a vegetarian, protein is at a premium. I’ve been eating cheese all along… because, duh, it’s delicious, but few months ago, I decided to start eating eggs, greek yogurt, and milk again, especially after working out. The second I did that, my muscles started looking more like Britney at the VMA’s in 2001, and less like Britney at the VMA’s in 2007.
Aside from feeling more cut, protein has helped me feel more full and satisfied after meals. That said, getting enough of the all-powerful protein is a constant struggle. Something about the synthetic stuff rubs me the wrong way, so I’m constantly trying to sneak it into every meal through greens, beans, and nuts. But if any of you have any suggestions of foods I could be eating, please please PLEASE leave them in the comments section!
My one year Crunch-iversary is only a few days away, and is what got this whole thing started. If you’re going to join a gym, join this one. It’s affordable, memberships are month to month, the classes are out of control good, every machine is top of the line, they have Bliss products in the locker room, and it’s SO CLEAN!
Crunch is full of helpful, friendly rock stars who make the whole experience of the gym a great one, but I have to give a shout out to the people that have been clutch in my time there. First off, Liz Barkan might just be the best spin teacher in New York City. She’s so good that I wake my butt up every Saturday morning for her 9:15am class. Second, Angel Ortiz is a miracle worker. His cardio tai box class, which incorporates high intensity interval training, makes you feel like a badass and has helped me go down a size. Finally, I start most of my workouts with a high five from Wesley, who works at the front desk at the 38th street location. He is possibly the most friendly and helpful person I’ve ever met, and saying hi to him has become one of the highlights of my workout.
BATHING SUIT SEASON
I’ll be spending most of July at the beach, and being able to rock these new purchases has been a huge source of inspiration.
I still have ten more pounds I’d like to lose, and would love to hear about YOUR weight loss journey! Can’t wait to read your comments below!
I only have a month left of my twenties, and I spent the last ten years with the secret goal to not be fat for these pivotal years. Every time I saw a lucky penny or blew out my birthday candles, that is what I wished for, and the only reason I never told anyone about this is because I failed.
I spent a lot of time being insecure about life instead of living it, but for whatever reason that started changing about two years ago. Something clicked, and I was finally able to start making healthy decisions that equaled fitting into pants at H&M. I documented the process in my tongue in cheek “Skinny Girl Problems” posts, however since writing that last one, I kind of, sort of got fat again. But then I got small again, and here are the three rules that helped me find my inner Beyonce.
1) Decide to.
I decided to switch out sandwiches for salad. I decided to haul my ass to the gym most nights and get myself to the 9am spin class every Saturday. I decided to cut back on alcohol and all the late night eating it brings, and I decided to start making choices that I knew wouldn’t leave me feeling guilty. Then, rule number two helped me stick to these decisions.
2) Have a kick ass support system.
There was the time I had to text Emily and Ariele for help during a work meeting catered by Buffalo Wild Wings, all the progress photos Stickles and I share with each other, my boy Jon Best at work holding me to my gym regimen and my recent #NoSweetsForThreeWeeks goal, Staci-Lyn for being the kind of best friend who always lets me talk about my weight loss and keeps me on track, and all you good people who were down to get juice or sit in the park, instead meeting up for a drink, dinner, or all the ice cream ever.
Rule three has proven to be the hardest of them all, which of course means it’s the most important.
3) Keep calm and don’t lose your shit when you go off track.
I’m not even close to being perfect, and sometimes when I lose all sense of control and eat enough pizza and french fries to put me in the running to be the next Kobayashi, I am so blinded by my missteps that I can’t picture myself getting back in the zone. Or the times when work, travel, sickness, or other variables have kept me away from the gym, and immediately have me mentally preparing to be my former chubster self, who wears shorts under skirts.
In the past, these instances have been the kryptonite to my progress, and the game changer for long time success was being able to accept my moments of weakness, and move on from them quickly so I can get back to business. In the simplest terms, it took me a minute to realize that if I took an hour, day, or even week off, I wouldn’t immediately gain all the weight back. Pretty obvious, but also good to know.
In total, I don’t know the exact number of how much weight I’ve lost, and I’m not sure I want to. I’d rather focus on what I’ve gained; confidence, a general feeling of health, strength, and the ability to wear this dress. Here’s to starting my thirties accomplishing what I wasn’t able to do for the last ten years.
Up until very recently, I was the antithesis of a uniform dresser. As an art school kid, it was always about looking as funky as possible and amassing as many unique items as it took to set me apart. And after graduating, this habit didn’t change. I looked at my wardrobe as a way to keep up with the Jones’s so to speak, and used it as a way to compensate for something I’ve worked really hard to change. My weight.
By now you all are quite familiar with my Skinny Girl Problems, but for once I’d like to post about a Skinny Girl Perk. Now that my body is where I want it, I can dress in the way I’ve always wanted to, instead of in a way that caters to my insecurities. Despite my rock and roll tendencies, I’ve always known deep down that I’m kind of preppy. As a kid, I would ogle the Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger ads and imagine myself as that dancing skinny girl in the GAP khaki commercials. Now, because of the work I put in, I can indulge all of that. It isn’t about finding something that comes in my size anymore. It’s about wearing things that make me feel like me. And what I’ve learned is I am the dancing girl in the GAP ad, but instead of khakis, I’m shaking my booty in ripped jeans.
So when it comes to “The Uniform,” try to buy a few good things that fit nice, work together, and most importantly compliment who you are, instead of defining it. So below is my uniform, and in turn, the payoff for a lack off egg sandwiches, burgers, and pizza that only now seems worth it. Enjoy!
The holidays are over and as I sit here pretending this Fiber One 80 calorie, chocolate cereal is chilaquiles, I can’t help but think of the days when baby had a little more back. This newly skinny girl has gotten her eating back in control, but boy oh boy it hasn’t been easy. My date for all the work and family parties was a big ole hunk of cheese and now I’m paying for it. A few stomach aches and a tad bit more badonk later, this eating lockdown is necessary and totally sucky. Once you get a taste of the dark side, joining up with Luke and Obi Wan isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here now for you, 2013’s first batch of skinny girl problems.
Going Veg- Let’s talk about wontons baby, let’s talk about tur-ur-key, let’s talk about all the good things and the meat things I can’t eat. My fling with vegetarianism started in high school. I was driving home from a shift at Panera Bread, listening to midnight Metallica on X103, when all of a sudden a flatbed truck carrying about ten million live chickens pulled up next to me. That was all it took. For the last bunch of years, I’ve been on and off the meat, but for the last 6 months, I’ve been pretty darn strict with it. This strigency is partly due to my soft spot for the am-nimals and partly due to the fact that Billie Joe Armstrong is a veg, but mostly due to how much my diet improves without meat. I feel light as a feather and eat a million times more produce. The only problem is…
I WANT TO EAT ALL THE BURGERS- Umami, Shake Shack, Corner Bistro, oh my! The things I would do for a burger right now would make my parents very un-proud. You meat-eating, non-dieters, don’t know how good you have it. I’m at the point where I want to throw in the towel and say eff it. They opened a Steak and Shake in NYC… Have I gone? NO. Why? Because I’m a stupid skinny girl now. This blows.
I ruined pizza night- There I was last week crawling around on the floor with my nephews, when my sister suggested inviting over another kid and his mom for a pizza night. There were three parents, three kids, and one me. Out came the pizza menu for a classic midwest squares, not triangles, type of place, and I uttered the forbidden phrase, “Do they have any salads?” It was as if I had suggested serving hamburgers at a mosque. (Can’t stop thinking about burgers…) Everyone stared at me, and politely indulged my request, even though it was kind of a pain in the a-s-s. The salad I got ended up being a pile of spinach, a few strawberry slices, and the tiniest amount of feta cheese possible. OH AND IT COST NINE DOLLARS. It was a total ripoff, and totally not worth becoming the pizza night pariah. Lame.
I can’t be Lena Dunham’s body double anymore- I was all ready to dye my hair and everything, but the eight pounds overweight that she claims to be are eight pounds I don’t have anymore. And you never know, there may be a big roller skating scene on Girls where she needs a stand in cause maybe she can’t roller skate and I’ll be too skinny to be considered. This is clearly the biggest skinny girl problem of them all.
Now it’s time for the necessary disclaimer that this is all (mostly) tongue in cheek. I’m loving my new skinny girl/healthy lifestyle and wouldn’t trade it for anything… except maybe losing eight more pounds. And a burger. Fingers crossed!
For more Skinny Girl Problems, click this link. I promise you won’t regret it.
PS- For the record, Lena Dunham has a hot bod. She is beautiful, and I’m not trying to imply otherwise. Hooray!
So I started this week with every intention to do the Special K diet. It seemed like no sweat… Protein bar for breakfast, shake with green salad for lunch, and whatever I wanted (within reason) for dinner. I didn’t quite stick to it, but I didn’t go apeshiz on a cheeseburger and fries either.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my skinny girl problems and my whole food and weight loss sitch. The brief update is that I’m still losing lb’s and working hard to be healthy, however there’s obvi more to it than that.
Something happened yesterday that’s never happened to me before. To give some back story, my day started at 4am and I didn’t leave work until about 8pm. As I walked home from the subway, I felt hungrier than any wolf and ready for some serious grub action. This feeling caught me off guard until I realized I hadn’t eaten enough during my 16 hour day. Me not eating enough is like Kim Kardashian taking the day off from having her picture taken. It just doesn’t happen. The crazy didn’t stop there.
Instead of rectifying the day’s abnormality by hosting my own private food festival, I had a healthy dinner and an appropriately-sized helping of Sixteen Handles. And that was it. I didn’t go face deep in a bag of chips or take a walk to my block’s new Dunkin Donuts. I ate until I was satisfied, and that was that. Furthermore, making these choices wasn’t a hardship in the least. I didn’t go to bed counting cannolis and feeling wicked deprived.
Which might be why I didn’t go all the way with the Special K situation. Over the course of the week it became clear that I didn’t need to. I don’t need to be on a diet anymore. The way I eat now is a lifestyle where the baseline is eating the right amount of food for my body and making the right choices so said amount of food is rich in nutrients and the things I need. The bestest part of this is it makes it okay once in a while to go to Kin Shop or eat the best pizza ever with Emily and Ariele.
After 28 years, I’ve kind of finally figured out this whole eating thing, and I’m proud to say my biggest Skinny Girl Problem is no longer how to stay skinny. And just so you know, I’m determined to do more than cross my fingers to make sure it stays this way. Thanks, Special K!
On a side note, something new in my non-diet world is this handy chart weight loss rock star Viktoria posted on her FB. I’ve kind of been living by it these days, and it’s making a big ole difference. Mangia!
I didn’t have any cake on my birthday. I had a celebratory pinkberry, which was quite delicious, however not the same thing. Now before you congratulate me on committing to my diet hardcore enough to skip one of the bestest birthday traditions, you should know that cake did happen. It happened the day after. And it was good.
I’m at a new phase in my weight loss. In this phase, it’s no longer about completely restricting and just saying “no.” It’s now about letting myself indulge in things, while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, once I pop, I can’t stop, and I’m always one chip away from finishing the whole bag. So I’ve worked out a little system.
If I want something bad enough, I go out and get the best version of it. A one time isolated event of junk food eating that can’t carry into any other moment but the present. Pizza means a trip to Artichoke or Bleecker Street, ice cream cravings– Emack and Bolio’s, and on the odd chance I want a burger, I’m going to Shake Shack. Also, there’s a waiting process involved. The same way I force myself to wait 20 minutes to figure out if I’m still hungry after a meal, I try hold out to see if I can first mentally get over my appetite for diet destruction. This could be a week, a month, a few hours, a fortnight but in the case of my birthday, I only had to wait a day.
I was out with co-workers and kept getting texts from my roommate Staci about when I was coming home. This isn’t normal, but it’s not totally crazy either, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I finally did get back to the apartment, Staci and Marlo were waiting for me with this:
A birthday cake. And not just any birthday cake. THE birthday cake birthday cake from Momofuku Milk Bar. I’ve wanted this cake for two years and over the course of that time, during any trip to Milk Bar, one could hear me pointedly gushing to anyone who would listen that “that cake is all I ever want for my birthday.” Now, while a bunch of strangers never came through, my roommates did. And let me tell you, the cake was worth the weight. Pun definitely intended.
Decadent and sweet, it tasted like Katy Perry’s video for “California Girls.” The frosting on top was a little cream-cheesy and was covered in crushed cake truffles, encasing layer after layer of vanilla cake, sprinkles, and more of the amazing icing on the inside. If I had to hold out to eat my birthday treat, I held out for the best. And sharing it with some of my favorite people made it taste that much better.
So in the words of Janet Jackson, when it comes to treats, “let’s wait awhile.” Cause indulging isn’t entirely about eating the forbidden fruit, it’s the experience that makes it special.
In 8th grade I wrote a list of goals in my diary. One of those goals was to be a size 10. So many years later, 8th grade me has cause for celebration as I’ve finally reached that goal. For the first time in my adult life, I’m a perfect ten. In clothing sizes. The rest is still work in progress. Obvi.
When I made the decision to lose weight, I anticipated that the majority of the changes I would experience and have to deal with would be physical. I was excited to of course be smaller, but also do things like run faster, look better while playing my guitar, and walk around in a skirt all day without tights or shorts. After six months, I’ve achieved all those things, but have been surprised to find out that most of the changes are things shifting around in my head.
I am not the person I used to be. I have nothing to hide behind anymore. I know I was never the size of a house or even a small condo, but I’m starting to figure out that I used my weight as an excuse for so many things. Guys didn’t pay attention to me because I was fat. I wasn’t going to get that writing or acting gig cause it would go to someone thinner. There was no hope of looking good in a t-shirt. And I wasn’t allowed to be the center of people’s focus. All because I was a little bit bigger.
Now, if something doesn’t quite work out the way I want, I only have me to blame. My crutch has disappeared and instead of looking for the problem externally, I have to turn my attention inward. Maybe my personality wasn’t at its best or maybe I just didn’t bring the greatest idea to the table or maybe I came from a different point of view than the situation called for. It appears skinny chicks have a lot more thinking to do and the opportunities for self-improvement are all a little less concrete. I’m not going to fix things simply by substituting water for soda.
And I’m excited. I’m excited to figure out who I am and who I’m going to be without using my tummy as a scapegoat every time there’s a bump in the road. Now instead of being Brianna the chubby girl, I’m just Brianna. My security blanket may be gone, but I have a new one and it’s just me. Minus a couple pants sizes. Obvi.