Tag Archives: Fitness

Just Breathe

Sometimes, I just put way too much pressure on myself.

Losing weight is definitely one of those areas.

It’s been a really exciting feeling, seeing the pounds slowly slip off the scale. A first, for sure, especially of this magnitude. I’ve finally find a rhythm, though I’m still figuring out a few kinks. Testing different workout routines and stretching exercises, resetting my set point and hunger levels, adjusting to my constantly changing summer work schedule and still trying to figure out how to not go over my calorie goal on the weekends, are a few of those kinks I’m still hoping to hammer out.

Oh and not putting so much pressure on myself to continue losing weight.

I didn’t really realize how much pressure was weighing me down until I noticed a pattern, these past few weeks. If I miss a run, I immediately feel guilt. If I eat some mozzarella sticks at Sonic, I instantly feel like a cow. Every Monday morning, I have a sick feeling in my gut when I go to weigh myself. I’m constantly nervous that I’m going to gain the weight that I’ve lost back or that the progress I’ve made isn’t real.

And I’m not really sure why I’m feeling that way. Why I’m so scared if I gain a little weight back or if it takes me a while to drop down to 160 pounds. I’m putting so much pressure on myself to keep up this success, acting like if I experience one hiccup or one bump in the road, I’ll completely derail any forward progress and go back to hating the way I look instead of learning to love myself as I have these past six months.

But here’s the thing: my weight is going to fluctuate all the time. One day I could be two pounds heavier than I was yesterday and the next day, I could be a pound lighter than I was when I last weighed. That’s okay. That’s normal. So I shouldn’t be freaking out that it has taken me three weeks to lose one pound when I was averaging two-three pounds. I shouldn’t be so concerned or panicked that I’m going to gain a couple pounds back. I shouldn’t feel like, if I do, I’ve suddenly “lost” and it will be impossible to get back on track.

Because I’m smarter than I was before. I know about portion control and eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. I’ve come to love running again and enjoy the sensation of pushing myself to run a little faster or jog that extra mile (literally). I have a lot more control of what goes into my body and how active I am and I know how to live a healthy lifestyle. So even if every day isn’t the best example of implementing that knowledge doesn’t mean I’m not working towards creating healthy habits and choices for life.

Also, I need to take a step back and look at my real goal, here. Is it a number on the scale or is it living a healthy lifestyle? Is it losing X amount of pounds or is it working hard to sculpt a body I’m proud of and love in the mirror, regardless of that number? Though reaching 160 pounds would be nice, at this point, I’m just happy to be living a healthy lifestyle. If I continue living healthier and stay at 179 like I am right now, then that’s totally fine. Because I’m starting to love my body and the way it looks, even if there are still some things I’d change. And that’s an amazing feeling, too.

So a reminder to me, from me: just breathe. Focus every day on doing what makes you happy and keeping that happiness flowing. Stop focusing so much on weight and numbers and miles and steps and calories. While all those things are important, living life is ever more so. You’ll find the balance you need between the two. For now, just breathe.

Cheers.

Advertisements

Running Anxiety

I’m not sure how long you could actually label me a runner, but I’ve had runner’s anxiety for as long as I could remember.

It’s a really stupid feeling where you’re worried about what everyone else thinks concerning your own running style.

For the longest time, this anxiety was so intense, I would actually avoid running at all costs. I couldn’t run at the gym because it was always so crowded, everyone could see me, everyone else running would most likely lap me and inevitably everyone at the gym wouldn’t be focused on their own workouts or striving to achieve their own goals; no, obviously they’d be too focused on watching me and judging me. Running outside was off the table, too, because even though it’s less crowded, you never know when you’ll pass another runner and then you spend the rest of your run worrying about their impression of you.

Stupid, right?

Yet that fear was so real. For a very long time. So I wouldn’t run. And because running was my favorite form of exercise, this meant I just wouldn’t do any physical activity at all. I was too concerned with what everyone else thought. About my running form and whether I was doing it properly or not. About my physical appearance and how I was “too big” to run, how you can see my thighs jiggle or my arm flab shake, how my face gets really red, my breathing labored and my entire body just becomes a sweat bucket. About my running speed and how when I claim to be running, I’m actually jogging or fast walking at a really quick pace (which translates to running at a really slow one). On average, it takes me between 14-15 minutes to run a mile. Not very fast.

For years, I let all these concerns of fleeting judgments and the opinions of strangers stop me from achieving weight loss and strength building goals surrounding my own body that I had for just as many years as I did the anxiety, if not even longer.

But then last November, my heart was a little confused and a lotta hurt by this guy who ghosted on me. I’d cried too many tears, yet a mix of emotions was still raging inside of me and I just wanted to be rid of them, and crying wasn’t doing the trick. I had no idea how to release them. So I went for a run.

And for the rest of that day, felt amazing.

 running dogs puppy parade GIF

Not all of us can be this cute when running. Or smile and run at the same time. 

Granted, my heart still hurt and my body was sore as hell, but I experienced something I hadn’t in years, the main reason I love running in the first place: that natural, endorphin-driven high you get after running, i.e., the runner’s high. I didn’t realize how much I missed that feeling. So I kept running, for five weeks straight, before winter’s cold kinda ruined my groove. And though I haven’t had a streak that long since, I have been running more consistently since November, even if more consistently is only one or two runs a week.

It’s July.

If you read last week’s post, you’ll see there has been some progress made in my self-love journey thanks to that change. Progress that could have been made years ago, if I could have ignored my anxiety and pushed forward anyway. Because honestly? That anxiety was really pointless. Nine times out of ten, any other runners aren’t thinking about you at all when they pass you on the trail. If they do, the thought or judgment is fleeting, at best. At worst, it might be a comment like, “I saw this slow runner on the path today” they bring up to their family at dinner, but hopefully, it’s followed by a positive spin like, “but I was really impressed that I saw them on that trail. It’s obvious they were trying.”

Because here’s the thing, friends. So what if I’m a really slow runner? So what if my body jiggles when I run? So what if I don’t pump my arms enough or my strides are short instead of long? The only point is: I’m running. I am trying. Sure, a 15-minute mile isn’t exactly impressive generally, but for me personally, all I care about is that I completed that mile. And then ran another (and if I’m feeling really motivated, even a third mile in one run). It’s about completion, not speed.

The most ironic thing is, any time I see a runner, whether while I’m running, too, or just out on the street while I’m driving by, I’ve never once judged them. Usually, my reactions spanned from being super impressed, being super jealous or feeling guilt that I wasn’t out there running, too. Quite frankly, the larger the person, the more impressed I was, because I understood how difficult that was for them, yet they were doing it anyway. Who knows how many times I’ve motivated a stranger to push a little harder or impressed someone because I was out there running? Not to mention the number of waves, smiles or thumbs up I’ve gotten from other people during running. Or how amazing I feel afterwards. It’s gotten to the point that, when I didn’t run at all last week, my mood actually blackened and depression kinda took a hold of me again. That’s how important running has become to me.

Looking back at all the anxiety I felt–which was very real, but not very logical–I could almost laugh, but I mostly just shake my head and wish I’d conquered my own mind a little bit sooner and didn’t wait until running was my last resort and only option to release some pent up emotions. I can’t lie and say there aren’t times when I’m passed by a really fit runner or I’m just having an off-day, that anxiety doesn’t creep up again and whisper in my ear.

I’m pretty jazzed that I’m now able to tell it to shut up and keep on running.

Cheers.


One of the Neatest Things

Since last November, I’ve lost 19 pounds.

That’s something I never thought I’d write, let alone be my reality.

It is…one of the neatest things.

Part of me wants to apologize for even writing this post, because how braggy can someone get? Yet if you’ve ever stumbled upon this blog or have followed it for years, chances are, you’ve read a post about depression and self-hatred. You’ve read about the struggle I’ve had loving myself, most particularly the way I look. You’d know I’ve been fighting this battle for a long, long time.

You understand how monumental this feels for me.

So my apologies if I brag here for a moment.

 disney supernatural sherlock marvel dean winchester GIF

Like I have so many times before, last November, I told myself, “You need to lose weight. You need to become healthy. You need to create a body that you can look in the mirror and love.” For my height, the healthy weight range is 140-165. My goal has always been to get to 160 pounds and as the years have gone by, the amount of weight I’ve needed to lose to reach that point has only continued to increase. In high school, I was around 185 pounds, but by my senior year of college, I had finally hit that dreaded (to me) point and passed into the 200 range. I had reached the point where I had to lose 40 pounds to get to the higher end of my healthy weight range. I felt hopeless and discouraged in a lot of ways. That sort of weight loss was impossible to achieve.

Eight months later, I’m at 181 pounds. One more pound shed and I’ll be halfway to my goal. Two pounds and I’ll be in the 170s. If I lose a pound a week, I could reach my goal by Thanksgiving. Of this year.

Friends, I am floored at this progress. At this milestone. Of wanting the same thing for so long and finally actually doing something to achieve it. I’m floored to actually be able to feel and see the difference. I’m floored that, every once in the while, I look in the mirror and I smile at what I see. There is still plenty I want to change, but damn if I’m not stoked at where I’m at right now. The lowest weight I’ve been since I was in high school. Shaping the body that I want.

The journey itself has been a bit of a whirlwind. There were plenty of weeks where I gained weight or fluctuated between gaining and losing the same few pounds. There have been weeks where I’ve killed every fitness and eating goal I’ve put ahead of me and weeks where the only movement I got was reaching into the chip bag while sitting on my couch. It’s been a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. There’s been times when I’ve had to forgive myself and times I knew I needed to push harder. I know that this journey will continue to change and evolve, as it’s one I’ll have for the rest of my life, because it certainly doesn’t end once I hit 160. I know there will always be hiccups and struggles and roadblocks and setbacks. That’s okay.

But for the first time ever, I’m confident that I’ll also see progress.

That is…one of the neatest things.

So thank you for your support. For encouraging me and challenging me in this journey. For telling me I’m worthy no matter what my size is (because that’s a capital T Truth). And thanks in advance for the future support and the understanding when I decline that dessert you offer or don’t go back for seconds, even though that food was bomb. It’s a lifestyle change that I’m so excited I’ve finally taken control of and I think it’ll always be a work-in-progress, but your encouragement, support and understanding is phenomenal. And I couldn’t do it without you.

Oh, and just for fun (and because I am so frugal and never spend money on anything), I also wanted to share my rewards for the next 20 pounds to lose. I think having a little extra incentive never hurt anyone, especially as I have a feeling the second 20 pounds might be harder to lose than the first.

  • 20 Pounds: New Tattoo
    • Granted, I’d already planned to get this one in August, but I’m going to cheat and count it as my reward.
  • 30 Pounds: Mass Effect Sweatshirt
    • This one might seem silly, but I’ve been eyeing this Mass Effect sweatshirt for many, many months. And it’s $60, which might not be a lot to you, but that’s always been unjustifiable to me. And I think losing 30 pounds is more than enough justification to get a kickass hoodie that I’ll never take off once I own it.
  • 40 Pounds: Die Hair
    • Again, I hate spending money, but especially on “frivolous” things like doing my hair (even though I feel so fantastic after getting it done). It gets expensive and a lot of the time, I just can’t let myself do it when I should be saving my money. But I’ve always wanted to die my hair darker professionally, even though doing so and getting it cut, too, is a bit pricey. But reaching the weight I never thought I’d reach and having my hair look amazing? Yes, please.

If you have some goals or dreams that you’ve always wanted to achieve but never seem to reach that finish line, I really encourage you to take a scary look at what you’re actually doing to achieve them. Before last November, while the dream of loving my body was very real, the actions I was taking to make it a reality were non-existent and thus, the dream was out of reach. And trust me: you want to know what it feels like to work towards what you believe to be impossible dreams and see yourself make progress, with the knowledge that you yourself are the reason you’re achieving them.

It really is one of the neatest things.

Cheers.


The Little Things

When you’re trying to change the way you’re body looks, it’s so easy to get caught up on the numbers on the scale; so easy to get frustrated when you fluctuate between losing and gaining, when you can’t get past that one number or, worse, when you trip up and gain everything back you lost in the weeks prior. It’s easy, when you’re still so far away from your goal, to still look in the mirror and notice all the ways you still need to change and improve; how much work is still ahead of you. It’s easy to maintain old habits and continue to avoid mirrors all together, to get discouraged when your weight goes up instead of down, to feel queasy when you weigh yourself to begin with or to wonder if you’re ever going to reach your goal.

It’s easy to focus and nitpick the little things.

The way your legs still look like cottage cheese. Those love handles that stick out over your pants. The stretch marks. The way your triceps are still flabby. How your calves only look slim at certain angles. Your thighs rub together. Your back fat. How no part of you looks good good in pictures.

You nitpick so much that those little things become something bigger, to the point where you get discouraged, you lose hope or you give up all together.

It’s not as easy to focus on the little things that matter.

Like how the scale went down .2 pounds since last time. How you cut off 10 seconds off your mile time or ran for five more minutes. Adding weight when you’re lifting. How you don’t breathe as hard walking up the stairs. The way you sometimes pause to look at how your jeans fit in the mirror. The slight definition you feel in your muscles, even if you can’t actually see it yet. The moment when you buy a pair of shorts instead of capris to wear over the summer or you wear that two piece despite how your love handles stick out. How you can wear a skirt and your thighs don’t chafe, even though they’re touching.

There are two paths of thought being described, here: the path looking at how far you need to go and the path looking at how far you’ve already come. The former can be dangerous, even detrimental, towards achieving your goals. It’s dark, and once you step onto it, it’s very easy to continue on until you don’t remember the light anymore. The latter is well lit and promising, encouraging you to push forward, no matter how long it takes or how small the proof of progress is. It’s also the harder of the two to choose, especially consistently.

But you must.

In my fitness journey, I get so caught up looking at all the ways I still want to improve that I forget to appreciate how far I’ve already come, only six months in. Sure, the progress is small and the journey is still long, but the progress is present. And if I quit now, I’ll have no second, hopeful path to strive towards. Instead, I’ll slip into a third path of regrets, laden with What ifs, as all I can notice is how I went backwards, instead of forward–even if going forward includes fluctuating numbers on the scale, cheat days with sweets, still avoiding the mirror and feeling like you’re never going to make it. Because if you push forward, if you continue to choose hope and work and effort, you’ll make it. You will.

I want to be excited for a year from now, two years from now, five years from now, to be able to see and feel exactly what traveling down the path of little things that mattered helped me achieve; to reach the goals I’ve had for most of my life yet never reached.

Here’s to the little things, both the ones that push me and the ones that try–and fail–to stop me.

Cheers.


My Varying Degrees of Perception

Perception is weird, friends.

As many of you probably know, I’m trying to improve myself physically. And that comes in many forms–working out more consistently, eating healthier (yet not dieting), buying clothes in the right size, drinking more water, etc. I’ve always had this “ideal” or “dream” image of myself (and it’s evolved and changed, once being too influence by the impossible societal expectations while now, I think my goal shape is a much more healthier and realistic vision). I’ve never reached it, despite trying–with various levels of seriousness and dedication–for years.

This year, I think I’ve definitely been the most consistent and it’s been twelve weeks since I started working out more. Though I’m still nowhere near where I want to be, I’m definitely making strides–or so I thought. And that’s where perception comes in and that is where my confusion lies, because depending on the situation, my perception of myself and my current level of progress/success changes.

For example: ever since I started working out, when I’m dressed, I think my clothes fit a lot better. Granted, I’ve also overcome the really horrible hurdle of associating worth with clothing sizes, i.e., I used to buy a size smaller than what I actually was because I was ashamed of being a Large. Now, depending on the shirt, I’m most often an XL. Same thing happened with jeans (I’m a size 16, btw).* It’s sorta obvious that wearing clothes actually made to fit you will automatically look better–I wish my high school self would have realized that. Yet I still think that they fit even better now, after twelve weeks of going to the gym/running an average of three times a week.

That’s Perception One.

Yet if I’m naked and looking in the mirror, I immediately want to cringe and run away. All I can think about is how massive I am: the stretch marks on my love handles and thighs, how I jiggle when I move, the sudden protrusion of fat at my lower back, how I have such an awkward and inconsistent shape (fit in some places and fat in others). The calves that I thought looked great in my latest pair of leggings suddenly look like massive rocks. My arms that I got giddy noticing slight muscles when I flexed are suddenly overshadowed by the fat that remains.

Perception Two.

My sister hugged me the other day and legitimately said, “Where did you all go?”, referencing to how much weight I’ve lost. My Mom–and Dad, which is saying a lot, considering he doesn’t notice anything–both compliment at my progress and how good I look. Grandma came in town? Same comment. Some people at work have complimented me, claiming I am looking good.

Perception Three.

Like the letters associated with clothing sizes, I’ve also always been terrified of the number associated with the scale. The last time I weighed myself, last year, I was mortified. I’d finally hit that dreaded 2-0-0. I had never felt so horrible about myself and have purposefully avoided the scale since. But after hearing so many compliments and feeling great, I thought I’d try again and see. I am truly stubborn about making working out a lifestyle and being more aware of what I eat this time around, so I was determined to not get discouraged if the number hadn’t changed…or even increased, since I started this quest. As of this weekend, I weigh 196. And though I still went to the gym today, still determined, I am slightly discouraged. How could I make all this progress mentality, that others have noticed, yet only weigh four pounds less?

Perception Four.

No matter what outfit I wear or how great I feel leaving the house, I avoid mirrors in public at all costs, because I believe I look like an over-inflated balloon or a beached whale.

Perception Five.

Yet sometimes, if I catch a glimpse in the mirror right after the gym, I feel beautiful.

Perception Six.

And seven, and eight, and nine and…

You catch my drift.

I think you can also understand my confusion. How can I have all of these perceptions of my appearance, sometimes running into multiple different perceptions in a single day? Which one is right? Can they all be true? Can they all be wrong? How do I maintain the positive thoughts while combating my avoidance of mirrors and my revulsion of my naked self? Will I ever be able to see actual progress, when it happens, or will my vision always be warped, depending on the environment? Will I ever believe it when someone calls me beautiful or will I always respond with, “Well, after I go to the gym for a few years, then…”

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to answer these questions.

Maybe there is no answer. Maybe I’ll never be fully accepting or loving of what my body looks like. But while that may be true, I’m also not full of hatred in every aspect and instance, like I once was. That’s important. I think it’s also important to just realize that yes, there are a lot of different ways I view myself. Sure, there may be no right answer as to which one is “true,” whether it’s Perception Two or Perception Four. Yet the positive perceptions exists. So why am I not fighting to believe in those and hold onto those, instead of focusing so much on those negative moments?

*hums as she chews on these thoughts, hoping they provided something enlightening or encouraging for you, as well*

Cheers.

* Notice how I told you those sizes (not to mention my actual weight) without being ashamed about it? That’s a sign of progress, if nothing else.


Quest for Happiness: Week Two

qfh

Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Go to the gym. Once.
    • Status: Success! I didn’t leave myself any room for error on this one. Tuesday was the first day I had time to go to the gym. When I got home, in-between jobs, I changed clothes, ate lunch and then headed straight there. By the time I walked in, it was too late to give into anxiety or fear what would happen once I arrived. And I surprised myself by actually loving it…and going two more days, making it three in a row for week one.
  • This Week’s Goal: Four days in a row!
    • Definitely doing babysteps. Eventually, I hope to be going five days a week, 45 minutes a day, and incorporating a healthier diet, counting calories (potentially), tracking water and mixing up my fitness routine. But for now, going one more day to the gym than I did last week is a good step forward.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit three books, write four new books and query at least one.
  • Last Weeks Goal: Write three times a week on BLOOD PRICE and outline another novel.
    • Status: Partial Success! I did end up writing three times last week (twice for almost an hour when the goal was 30 minutes and once for only 10 minutes but that is better than nothing). And I got to the point where I’ll be doing more new writing and reworking than I will be editing previously written stuff, so I’m really stoked about that. Didn’t outline another novel. So guess what I’m doing this week?
  • This Week’s Goal: Write four times. Outline novel.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Read every night before bed.
    • StatusSorta? I read four days last week, usually during meals and cranking out 60~ pages per session. Yet I never read before bed, because I was just too dang tired once I got off work. Plus, reading Lynch requires my devout attention, not sneaking in a few more pages with heavy eyes.
  • This Week’s Goal: Finish The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Try out new blogging schedule and see if it works.
    • Status: Partial Success! I do really like the new blogging schedule, but I missed it by one blog post for each blog. I think, as the routine grows, I’ll be able to keep it up, but it was a nice trial run week.
  • This Week’s Goal: Write three blog posts for each blog.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Balance checkbook for the week.
    • StatusFailed. While I did manage to save receipts to track spending, I definitely didn’t write anything down and actually balance my checkbook. I could blame it on forgetting my pen at home and not having one in my purse, but…
  • This Week’s Goal: Actually balance checkbook. Talk to manager at second job about keeping consistent hours.

For the first week, not a bad start! I really like the routine I got going, even though it has me going nonstop Monday through Friday, making it hard to squeeze in anything else. I loved that I was able to jump over some mental hurdles (making it the gym, writing words on the page again) and prove to myself that all of these goals–even the ones I fell short completing last week–are all very, very possible and achievable. It’s simply a quest to get there.

And I’m stoked to be adventuring.

Onward to Week Two!

Cheers.


Inspiration from a Bastard Named Kip

Well, how’s that for a catchy title, eh? Eh?

So I believe in my review of The Broken Eye I posted a few weeks ago, I made a reference about writing a post about how a certain character inspired me and how I hoped to “use” him as motivation. That character is Kip Guile. You might have heard of him, if you’ve read the books. If you haven’t read them, I will try not to spoil too much for you (as you will read them, if you’re smart and enjoy fantastic literature), but Kip is a bastard–a royal one, but a bastard nonetheless–who is fat. Kip knows this. Kip accepts this, usually making the jokes before anyone else can make them. And sometimes, he seems okay with this. It is what he is. Yet more often, he is ashamed by this. Always, he is aware and thinking of it.

And boy, have I never resonated with a character so well as him.

When I first discovered Kip, his awkwardness and his rolls while reading The Black Prism, as a writer and a reader, I was excited that he was fat. Kip was the hero of the story! Finally, a fat protagonist. Though, after reading the first three books out of a five book series, I don’t think there is a cut-and-dry protagonist or hero or villain. There are many players at work, yet Kip is no mere secondary character. He’s a mover and a shaker and he’s fat. And I was excited about that, mostly because I understand him. Finally, a character who I can resonate with because of our mutual struggles regarding our appearance. After my initial excitement, however, I became sad. Because I understood.

I understand knowing what it is like to constantly be thinking about your size, constantly being aware of your own body, but only because you’re constantly worrying about others perceive you. That is my life, 100%. Now that it is summer, it has only gotten worse. And least in the winter, I can hide under large sweatshirts. Here, let’s go inside my head:

Swimming or no swimming this year? Swimming requires a bathing suit and bathing suits require exposing skin, so…yeah, probably not. Oh, I love this tank-top, but my bat wings make me self-conscious. Time to throw on that cardigan, because I’m to sweaty to wear a t-shirt alone. Dammit muffin top, you’re ruining everything, including any chance at confidence or someone of the male variety to be interested in me. Stop that. Your biggest size is large? Guess I won’t be buying anything from you. Oh, I’m going to buy this online…and now it doesn’t fit. Of course. 

Then, when I’m around people, like Kip, I feel the need to point out the obvious before someone else does it. Like Kip, I don’t do it tactfully, though I’m not as brave as he is. I usually say “curves,” as if the word makes the rolls and jiggling more attractive. Right.

Though Kip lives in a different time and age, I saw the parallels in our thought processes and our ultra-awareness of our size went hand-in-hand. While I avoid taking pictures at all costs–and if I have to, definitely neck-up only–Kip doesn’t have to deal with that. But I know he would react the same way. Just like I know, if I was forced to join The Blackguard–an ultra elite bodyguard group where fitness and being skilled in being fit is everything and essential to making the cut–I would be terrified, too. Kip and I, we are kindred souls.

kip_guile_by_avisnocturna-d82ir77

Artwork Credit here

I’ve included some fanart of Kip, just so you all can get a reference. You notice I didn’t include any of myself. Purposeful, that. However, I’ll describe myself for you, in case we’re only internet friends. I’m roughly, what, 200 pounds, perhaps (gosh, that hurts me to write and publish)? I have non-existent triceps that cause my arms to flab and look horrible in pictures. I have what I label as a doughnut as a waist, comprised of lower back fat, saddlebags on the side, a nice pouch in front. My thighs touch and I wear size-16 jeans. I’m this awkward combo of fit and overweight. For example: I have nice biceps and shoulders and calves, because I used to play soccer and I used to work-out more regularly. Yet having those features, paired with the features that give away my love for Southern food and extra helpings, makes me a weird looking individual. I’m not ugly, but I’m nowhere near gorgeous, either. Of course, I know plenty of people, lovely-hearted souls that you are, who would disagree with this description of me. But this is how I see myself, complete with a lens tainted by society. Like Kip, only I can change my perception of myself, regardless of whether I’m right or I’m wrong.

Come to think of it, I think Kip is actually bigger than me, but his pain and struggles are very similar. And that’s why Kip is such an inspiration.

You see, without giving away too many spoilers, Kip is forced to join The Blackguard. He is forced to run, to train, to fight. And he does. And he fails. Yet he also succeeds, but not immediately. Throughout the three books, we follow Kip on his journey and his journey isn’t to get skinny, though I’m sure he thinks it would solve a lot of problems. His journey is to discover who he is, discover his role in a very complicated world and to make it into the Blackguard, which requires hard work on his part–often times, putting in extra work, hours and effort compared to his comrades. Does he make it in? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

Reading about his journey inspired me in more ways than one and gave me some important reminders. Despite Kip’s size, he made friends. He had people who loved him. We even have similar situations regarding the romance department (similar until the end of The Broken Eye, in which case, Kip, good luck with the headache you got yourself into, bud. You know who I’m rooting for). He could be successful and use his size to his advantage or be successful despite of his size. And though he does tone up a bit, I think Kip learns to slowly accept himself as he is.

I would love to do that. To sound cocky, I kinda love the person I am. I like my awkwardness, my nerdiness, my quirkiness, my personality, my beliefs and values. I hate my body. I hate how self-conscious I am about it and how much I hate it. I want to love my body. I want to accept myself regardless of my size, my curves, my fat. Yet I haven’t gotten there yet. But it is something I want to work towards. And though I know I have supporters and friends and family who will love me no matter what size I am, reading about Kip and seeing those same type of bonds was a good reminder.

Kip also taught me that you can overcome your obstacles, even if it feels impossible. He reminded me it takes hard work. It takes determination. It takes sacrifice. It takes the desire to want it and then acting upon that desire. You can’t just want it and do nothing. You can’t just complain and expect change. Also, it is okay to fail. It is okay to have a bump in the road. But more importantly, he showed me two things: focus on your goal and remember the realistic time it takes to reach that goal. You see, Kip’s ultimate goal wasn’t to get fit. It wasn’t to get skinny or become hot. He wanted to join The Blackguard. He wanted to do something for himself and make Gavin and Ironfist proud. Becoming more fit was a requirement to reach that goal. And that didn’t happen in one chapter. It took three entire books and it isn’t over yet. He’s still going.

1034 … lighbringer 14-18 kip guile 04 _ Full post: http://mais365coisas.blogspot.com/2014/12/1034-lighbringer-14-18-kip-guile-04.html

Artwork Credit here

We’re surrounded by the desire for instant results. We expect to be able to workout and suddenly be ten pounds lighter the next day. And we always give ourselves a deadline, when trying to get fit: I have to get fit before summer, I have to drop ten pounds before the wedding, I have to get into size ten jeans before school starts. Or, almost worse, we compare ourselves to others: I have to workout so I can be as pretty as X, Y and Z, because I can’t be considered pretty unless I am like them. Yet those aren’t healthy motivations, expectations or goals. And Kip reminded me of that.

So, what I am going to do with this inspiration, you ask. Well, I’m going to start working on changing my lifestyle and my mindset. Getting healthier, walking more, working towards a better lifestyle, without a deadline. I don’t want the pressure a deadline brings or the mentality of, “Once I lose ten pounds, I’m done.” I want to be healthier for the rest of my life and I want to do it so I can love myself wholly, not love myself except for my appearance or weight or body size.

I made a tank top that says, “Training to Join the Blackguard” on it. My plan is, while I’m living at home, to walk the family dog every day (because the pup could afford to lose some pounds, too) for at least 30 minutes. Today marks four days in a row for us, average 1.75 miles a day. And, I joined a “Walking to Rivendell” challenge that started today and goes until Mid-August, to help me stay accountable with others and walking every day.

Once I move into my own place, I’ll start running at the gym, also 30 minutes a day. By that time, the walking will have strengthen me up to running. I’d love to lose 40 pounds, whether that takes a year, two years, five years, ten. And at each 10 pound weight-loss mark, I’ll make a new tank top (one will say “Training to Save Thedas” and another “Training to Save Skyrim” because the female characters I created in those games are basically aspirations of what I wished I looked like). The fourth tank top will say, “Training to Join the Mighty.” It’s another reference to Kip, but one I won’t explain so I don’t ruin it. However, I will say this: the significance of it means that I made it. I did it. And I absolutely cannot wait for the day, years from now, when I post on this blog a picture of me wearing my “Mighty” tank top, telling you all I followed in Kip’s footsteps and I persevered, despite it all.

Until then, I plan to work. I plan to fail. I plan to try and love myself, even if I never lose forty pounds–even if I gain ten more. I plan to try and build my confidence and start working out not to lose weight–though that is a goal–but to live a healthier lifestyle. Focus on that, not the numbers, not the scale. Focus on improving. Because, like Kip has taught me, while others may define you by your body size, you are so much more than that. You don’t have to be limited by your body size and you don’t have to hate yourself, regardless of how big or small you are. You can love yourself, even if it is a struggle.

Here’s to loving ourselves, fat rolls and all.

Cheers.