Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Bunny Trail, Not a Check In

I feel overwhelmed by quantifiable data right now (as a side note, I felt very impressed with myself that I spelled quantifiable right in the first try and even did that thing where you just slam the key board, like so aoishdfalhsdfh, to see if it's working).

What do I mean by that? Not that I am a scientist deep in research (that'd be cool if that's where this story was going). No, that I am constantly trying to gather numbers to support my worth and growth.

I obsess over:

How many clients I see a week.

How much money did I make seeing said clients.

How many views did my blog get.

How many papers did I grade.

How many likes did my Instagram post get.

How much weight have I lost.

How many inches.

Gather, gather, crunch, crunch, gather. Data. Data. Data. Data. Proof. Proof. Proof.

And, shockingly, it's never enough.

Cognitively, I know I could sit there and say, "I saw 522 clients today, made a najillion dollars, my blog and Instagram broke the internet with all my attention, and I lost 100 lbs," and still not feel good enough. Emotionally, I feel crippled by my imagined failure because the numbers just don't seem to say otherwise and I believe if I could just. get. one. more. I'd be able to rest in the knowledge that I'm enough.

I'm bruised and battered by my need to prove my value, my contribution, my goodness. I cut myself up with my scrambling to gather the data, and then rub lemon juice in the cuts with my mental agony when there just isn't enough proof.

It'd be nice to end this on a note of - "but it's okay e'rybody, value isn't quantifiable, it's qualitative and I'm a delightful human being." But, I'm not Barney (which would also be cool if that's where this post was heading), or any other childhood cheerleader. I'm a person, a person who struggles to know my inherent worth. A struggle many other's can relate to.

If you are feeling like I do, know that you are not alone. I'm sitting there in the mud with you, thinking, well hell, I won't ever be able to clean up enough.

But we will. We're delightful. And if I have to go all purple dinosaur on you and myself to be heard, I guess that is where this post is heading.

Oh! Unexpected twist. Go be awesome. Because you are. And so am I, numbers be damned. I, mean, I can spell quantifiable in one try. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Week 1 Was No Fun

Continuing the theme of running around like a penguin with my ass on fire (if you get the reference, high five. If you don't, go get caught up on Doctor Who because the new companion, Bill, is everything), I'm late in posting my promised weekly update.

That actually is thematically appropriate with how the past ten days have gone - I'm making progress and sticking with the plan, but about every third step is a misstep.

OVERALL: I've never known true lust, until I was sitting in Panera enjoying my blessedly allowed coffee while making googly eyes at the bagels. The things I would have done to get a bagel are embarrassing. I get that these changes are suppose to be profound and deep, valuing the energy and life that carrots give you. I don't really care. Carrots will never stir in me what bagels do. Here's looking at you, Asiago Cheese.  

WINS: I stuck with my meal plan the whole work week, even in the face of wanting to throw it all away on Friday.

I went to the gym twice.

That's about it.

NOT SO MUCH WINS: Weekends man. I gotta get a new strategy. Or someone to walk behind me yelling at me about my choices. We had three parties this weekend, including one at my mom's house. And my mom can throw down in the kitchen. I had a tectonic struggle with the queso - words were said, insults thrown. I am proud to say that I won that particular scrimmage, but mostly because I was stuffing my face with tequila lime chicken wings.

I can't even bring myself to tell you about the whooping I took from the margaritas. 

I went to the gym twice.

Based on the fact that I'm suppose to go six times a week (or work outs can be done from home, so really my excuse machine is real delusional), that's a solidly failing grade. 

I also had two EPIC melt downs. I was going to write about them (my mental issues around food are PROFOUND. I'm a professional, I can assess these things), but honestly it deserves it's own post. Just know that my husband is a saint and there's a 75% chance I'm severely unbalanced.

MOVING FORWARD: I'm being hard on myself above, mostly because I respond well to self-imposed criticism. While it's good to reflect, and mildly shame myself with Friends' memes, the important point is that it is about progress, not perfection. And I made progress dang it. All I can do is tackle each second as a new second.

And get a restraining order involving all things tequila. 

I bought adorable gym clothes as motivation - look how cute!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day 1 - General Discomfort with Discussing Weight

Holy eight months of not blogging, Batman.

Between being gut wrenchingly busy externally, a ball of mess internally, and struggling with wicked writer's block, I've had nothing to say.

There's only so many times you can pop in and say, "hi! I'm a mess!" or "hi! I'm still a mess!" before it moves from transparent and endearing, to whiny, self-indulgent crap. So, I've been keeping to myself with said crap.

Additionally, let's be honest, there's not a lot that's funny in the world these days. Even in the darkest of times, I believe in the value of focusing on the light. That said, I've just personally not been up to the burden of trying to combat the dumpster fire of reality of the world right now with pithy stories of banana costumes and gas leaks (one day I'll tell that tale).

I'm not back at this point to regale you with my humorous retellings of stories (none of the above has changed), but because I'm fat.

GASP. Awkward silence. Uncomfortable mutterings, "oh no, don't say..."

Shut up. I can say what I want. And I have some things I need to say that involve facing the elephant in the room (no pun intended - no need to make this mean).

My blog is called "America Made Me Fat," largely because I'm large (ha! I am still pithy). I've written before about my struggle with weight, the ups and downs, the feelings, the shame, the hope, the embracing of self, blah blah blah. And, really, by blah blah blah, I mean those are good things to write about and process and share and I don't take them back. BUT ENOUGH.

I'M FAT. Full stop.

And I don't want to be anymore. I don't mind being curvy or having a rack that makes everyone envious. I don't need to be a fitness model. But I need to stop having to frame every picture around masking said fatness. I need to feel comfortable on airplanes. I need to feel fine sprinting up two flights of stairs. I need to not avoid the doctor because I know what they're going to say. I need to go on vacation without little girls shrieking with laughter and calling me, "La Gorda."


So. This blog is changing directions for awhile. It's going to be a documentation of a journey I'm embarking on. It probably won't be your cup of tea. But, I'm doing this for me.

I'm starting a program called "Fit Girls." Don't worry. I cringe every time I say it, too. It's equal parts endearing, inspiring, and silly. Which, let's be honest, is right up my ally. It's an easy to follow meal plan and exercise plan. It's all about self-love, and part of self-love being get your shit together because you deserve better.

SO! I'm starting with the 28 day jump start program. Today is day 1. I have a whole new Instagram that will also be part of documenting this. The whole point of over sharing all of this, weekly blogging and daily Instagraming (@fitinspiteofamerica if you'd like to follow), is for me to hopefully be accountable.

I wish I had some really on point wrap up paragraph that would make you laugh and inspire you. I don't. Wish me luck.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Rocking Life

I’ve seen an inordinate amount of blog posts recently about hints and steps to optimize your life. This ranges from the “Most Perfect t Morning Routine Ever in 167 Easy Minutes” to “How to be a 50s Housewife in 27 Easy Daily Steps” to “How to Kick All the Ass at Work All the Time and Still Have Time for a Massage.” Needless to say, they overwhelm me, make me feel a smidge inferior, and end with me eating peanut butter by the spoonful. I’m really glad to know there are successful people out there, and I do hope those articles help people. I decided to make my own, possibly more realistic “How To” complete with examples.
My 10 Steps to a Successful Day:

11 .       Start on the Right Foot
Real Life Example: bargain with yourself in the mornings. How I execute this tricky step: I open my bleary eyes, look at the time on my phone, and then start a serious of calculations involving minutes until I have to leave, minutes per task that has to be completed, and other such factors and an epic internal debate to shame any scholar, and make mental health professionals question how many people live in my head.

“All right. If you don’t do your makeup, you can have seven and a half more minutes of sleep.”

“Pft. Please. Like that will convince me to get up.”

“Okay… if you drink coffee at the office instead of making it at home, you can stare blankly at the back wall of the shower for four minutes and 23 seconds. “

“Nope. Can’t make me.”

“How about if you wear the same thing you wore yesterday, with a spritz of Fabreeze, you can hold your dogs for three more minutes.”

“LALALALA. I can’t hear you.”

“FINE! Just get up and brush your teeth and you can watch a half episode of Buffy.”

“I just have to brush my teeth? That’s all I have to do today? Fine, deal.”

22.       Follow Through
Real Life Example: stare blankly at the back of the shower. Obviously, you must up hold whatever bargaining chips were utilized to complete step 1, else you will have no power the next day. I find this a particularly useful approach, because it’s basically like still being asleep with the added bonus of feeling like you are making progress.

33.       Eat a Nutritious Breakfast
Real Life Example: stare blankly at your refrigerator. Give up. Go to Starbucks. We all know balanced nutrition is a must for a successful life, and that packing your own food is always the better approach. I figure, A for effort really goes a long way for breakfast; additionally, coffee and nutritionally valueless sugar free syrup make a nice compromise to a home cooked meal.

44.       Execute a Daily Plan
 Real Life Example: bumble your way from task to task. My typical day involves at least three different work hats, at three different locations. I like to keep expectations nice and low, so making a screaming entrance and equally chaotic exit is essential. Try and forget important things as well, whether it be paperwork or tasks you were supposed to complete.  

55.       Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Real Life Example: be willing to sell your soul for a nap. It is important to know your heart’s desire and to work towards your goals.

66.       Utilize Your Commute
Real Life Example: Stare blankly at traffic. Finding that perfect balance is always the goal – this is a nice way to keep you morning and afternoons centered on the same theme.

77.       Practice Gratitude
Real Life Example: be so grateful to be home that you stay on the floor for 30 minutes. This example really only applies if you are an introvert. As I am the poster child for Introverts United, Separately and from our Own Homes, this step is crucial. You often have periods of time that you are not using to full potential. I encourage you to really look for those so you can fill them with tasks that are life giving, like lying on the floor crippled by the overwhelming feelings of angst of being around people all day and delight at being by yourself at home. The occasional groan pulled from your soul is encouraged.

88.       Cultivate Communication
Real Life Example: complain about all the things. It is important in our busyness to find time for the important relationships in our lives. I like to whine about everything in a big onslaught to my husband as soon as we are both home. Bonus if you are also whining via text message to other people. This is rounded out nicely if you end it with a half-hearted argument about what’s for dinner at the end.    

99.       Stay on Top of Chores
Real Life Example: rewash that load of laundry for the third time, since you aren’t sure if the last attempt was this week or the previous. ‘Nuff said.  

110.   Meditate on Your Day

Real Life Example: feel deep existential angst about your failings during the day, come up with elaborate plan how tomorrow will be different, go to sleep knowing it will totally work this time. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I'm Not a Hot Mess, I'm a Mess Mess

First, and most importantly, if you're a Coloradan go here and read this, it's an important and necessary ballot initiative that people should learn about (and in my opinion, support)

Any who, on to the meat of my story.

9 times out of 10 I am a hot mess. Or as I like to say, minus the hot, with extra mess. So... a mess mess.

Last Wednesday was no exception - I was in rare form. At my (very new) part time job, a chunk of our staff works remotely so every few months we have an on sight staff meeting. The day before the staff meeting, we got our agenda for the next day and a note that said casual dress was fine.

The agenda was: breakfast, rally for a ballot initiative, staff meeting, Rockies game. Got it. Rockies game and casual dress, that means Rockies' t-shirt. Check.

I show up at breakfast in beach capris, pig tails, and this shirt:

I look around and notice everyone else looks much more presentable and businessey.

Hm. I misunderstood casual. Awkward. That's all right, now I know for next time. 

Embarrassment level: 1.5 (for a girl who had to negotiate the fire department, police department, and a 300 person company during a gas leak while dressed in a 6ft banana suit, this is small potatoes)

After breakfast we load up to go to the rally.

Now. I hear rally... I think pom poms, signs, hot dogs, maybe a few high fives.

Nope. Not even close.

This was more... important politicians, news cameras, maybe a few firm hand shakes.

As we walk in to the Aurora City Hall, I notice I am now beyond misunderstanding about casual to woefully under-dressed for an important event.

Embarrassment level: 3.5 (banana suit fire drill aside, important, well-dressed people in echoy marble halls filled with flags up the ante)

Well, I'm uncomfortable. That's okay, I'll just hide here in the back.

As I'm doing my best to blend in with a sea of pant suits, in my neon purple shirt, I'm told that I need to go up front with the other staff members. Nope. No. Hard pass.

Apparently hard pass is not as strong as I think, because moments later I'm at the front of the hall, behind the podium. In front of the camera. Behind the mayor of Aurora, a senator, and other people whose shoes are so reflective I can see my own distorted face.

Embarrassment level: 5.5 (cameras. 'Nuff said)

I'm telling my co-worker that I'm rapidly descending in to the "I can't move" level of embarrassment, when someone walks by saying: "the Governor will be here in five."




Embarrassment level: 7 (Sure)

So. Me. Purple shirt. Purple shirt that says "Purple Mondays." It's Wednesday. Cameras. Fancy marble hall. The Governor.


So I do what any high functioning, level headed person would do. I hide behind tall people. Successfully, might I add.

And then take a derp selfie to document all of this.

Don't worry. This is my fancy derp face, you can tell from my double chin.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I've Heard it Both Ways

I've been watching the show Psych. And by watching I mean completely, unhealthily binging. Like all the time. I love it. One of the continuous bits is the plethora of jobs the main character has had. I was thinking to myself - haha, silly Shawn Spencer, no one has had that many jobs. Wait. I have. 

I've had many, many a job - partially since I started working right when I turned 16 and partially because I spent many a moon being a lost little ship.

I've decided to list the various life lessons I learned at some of my past places of employment.

My very first job was at a DRY CLEANERS:

- Humans are disgusting. Like, grosser than you could ever imagine. Like, clumps of downstairs hair in zippers gross. Shudder. Some things never leave you. 

I then moved on to work in the three year-old class room at a DAYCARE:

- If you can get 30 three year-olds into swimsuits and their 30 different sunscreens on, there's little that will intimidate you going forward in life. The saying should not be"herding cats" but "herding a gaggle of three year-olds hopped up on sugar and excited for swim time all greased up with sunscreen."

My first job in college was as a TELEMARKETER:

- This job sucks just as much on the making side as the receiving side. "THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AHOLE!" is an appropriate expression for a variety of settings. 

Spent a summer as a file clerk at a TRASH COMPANY: 

- The variety of trash related problems in the world are shocking. And the passion people feel about these trash related problems is much, much larger than you'd guess. Don't take not having trash problems for granted.

Another summer as a PERSONAL ASSISTANT:

- Me woken up at 6am: "Snergfhhh. Yup." Her: "I need a car charger for my phone in the next thirty minutes." Me: "Gah. Where are you? What kind of phone." Her: "Home. It's orange." Click. Yup. Devil Wears Prada is a real thing, but with less fashion and more confusion. If you speak with enough authority, apparently people will just do things for you.

Another summer as a DOG WALKER:

- I am not equipped for anything outside of man to man coverage when it comes for caring for things that are alive. Like dogs. They smell incompetence. 

I proceeded to spend most of my college years at a BURGER PLACE:

- I know how many 2 oz condiment cups it takes to empty a Crown Royal bottle between three people. I also know you shouldn't let three young adults be in charge of or left alone at an establishment.

Also in college I was a YOUTH INTERN:

- Despite the above life lesson, they let me work with impressionable young people... and I have never learned so much or felt so hopeful for the future as I did in that job.

My first job out of college was as an executive assistant at a NON-PROFIT THRIFT STORE:

- I actually learned a lot at this job, largely because my desk (and who I reported to) was between two married people who had a ... volatile... way of relating to each other. I learned how to hum loudly and lose myself in Farmville. Also, people are capable of much more than we give them credit for and organizations that strive to help people who are shunted by society are to be commended... regardless of how loud the executive assistant has to hum to not go bananas. 

My next job was as a HR ASSISTANT: 

- With great power comes great responsibility. Oh. The secrets you find out. The power. THE POWER. It was too much. Fade to black.

After we moved to Denver I started working at an OB/GYN:

- You CAN make this face for a year straight.

I then moved to NEUROLOGY:

- There are not many places or people where I don't feel like sass is appropriate - all sass all the time. However, neurosurgeons are the exception to this (and I include sassing rocket scientists in this statement). It's hard to argue with someone who operates on brains - successfully. However, McDreamy is a big, fat false advertisement. 

During grad school I worked at an INSURANCE COMPANY:

- Working with some of your best friends is a hootenanny. Working in a male dominated field, not so much. Making it rain every time proving all the sexists wrong, brings us back up to hootenanny level.   
I am now a THERAPIST (among other things):

- People are crazy. I'm crazy. We're all crazy. Isn't it glorious? 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Obviously, You're Single

An open letter to the man I met last week.

When you stated to me, "well, you're obviously single" and gestured up and down my body a la Hiccup's father from How to Train Your Dragon, you joined an illustrious group of people.

The lady at the grocery store who pulled me aside to ask, "do you need help picking out vegetables since you don't usually buy them?"

The doctor who stated, "you'd be so beautiful if you could just lose thirty pounds."

The dietitian that said, "it's a good thing your husband does not mind fat chicks."

As I sat across from you trying not to cry, because by George I have my pride if nothing else, many thoughts and feelings crossed my mind.

There's so much I could say that is empowering and truthful. I'm not attractive despite being overweight, I'm hot as hell. Period. I could site a plethora of empowering, body positive thoughts and mantras. I love myself. You don't get to take that away from me. I could tell you all about my supermodel eyebrows or my baby doll skin; that I don't just feel attractive a lot of the time, I am attractive.

I could wax poetic about how there's nothing wrong with my husband for thinking I'm spectacular,
even though, yes, I'm fat. Gasp! He loves me anyway! He'd choose me over any other woman, every time - the horror! Sorry. I descended into sarcasm there for a bit. Yes. My husband is an Adonis, the total package. He's handsome, successful, intelligent, humorous, and caring. And he's crazy for me. He thinks I'm the total package. Not despite my weight. Period.

We could journey down the long road that is a frustrating mixture of nature and nurture that has lead me to this hefty predicament: my slow metabolism, my poor coping skills, various cognitive distortions that have created an unhealthy dependency on food, America. There could be an explanation of if there was an easy fix (just stop it! stop eating!), I'd do it, damn it. I do worry about my health. I do care about my future. I'm not dumb.

I could bear my soul and tell you how I cry in dressing rooms because I hate seeing myself in those three way mirrors with the lighting from Satan himself. That I hate myself when I lay down to go to sleep, if I have eaten something that does not have 100 percent nutritional value. How I explore the infinite ways life could be better if I was just skinnier. The fear I live in to see pity or disgust in peoples' eyes, or worse, comments like the one you made. To know they are justified and it is true, my weight is shockingly noticeable.    

I could say all of that, or none of it. It does not matter. There is nothing I can say that will change the snap judgment you made about me, based on my weight. The fact that in your eyes my value was summed up and discarded in lieu of my rotund appearance.

There's not really a point to this letter. You can't take back what you said. I can't deny how it cut me to the core, how it stirred up so many things inside of me. What I can do is put some of it in writing. For you, and others, to see weight is not a simple issue. It is not simple how I "got" this way. There is no simple solution. It's not simple if I even want a solution. There is no simple way to sum up how it impacts me.

All of that said, you sir, are an asshole. Unlike my body and image issues, that's pretty straight forward. I hope you get a permanent paper cut and have to juice lemons the rest of your life.

Best Regards,

Anna Kristine