catching up

Rachel: realizing we haven’t exactly been good about writing and updating

It used to be that I longed to write. I’d push off pressing matters just to sit–sometimes for hours–in my comfy clothes, laptop whirring, warming my thighs while I typed away, capturing some pithy story or long-ass reflection on the state of my state.

My writing started out as a personal blog named after the bar I would someday open, The Swandive. I loved writing and the friends I made in the early blogging community. Virtual and long distance friendships somehow made me feel more visible, more heard. But after a while I felt like my life ran out of stories or at least stories that made for interesting blog fodder. But instead of quitting I thought I’d try and make my writing a bit more topical (not so much navel gazing/public therapy inducing/oversharing) so the blog The Sweet Bi and Bi was born. There I wrote about the intersection of my being bisexual and identifying as a christian. I liked this blog. I still do. But like a favorite sweater or a new relationship it can go from hot & sexy to comfortable & settled in real quick (especially with the ladies, amiright?!). And so it was; marriage equality came to Minnesota, “the gays” were very hip, and I was left feeling like my material sort of dried up again. I found myself still wanting to write, but without much to say.

Finally a new topic for a new blog emerged: I fat and am going to do something about it, watch me (or it aint over till the fat lady sings and “we won’t sing”). This time I would not be writing solo; both me AND my sweetie would contribute. (You might not know it dear reader, but she is the backbone of all of my writing. She is my chief editor, my soundboard, the ying to my yang, my help and my heart.)

beforeWe started out hot and heavy, literally. I am not sure why or how I thought we’d have time to document our process/progress, but somehow we were able to. The pounds were melting off, the pictures got more and more amazing and we couldn’t wait to show/tell everyone all about it. But we’ve been at it a while now, the old habits made way for new routines, and the writing (and weight loss) has cooled down a bit. I’ve closed down the other blogs, and I don’t quite know yet where this one is going. I still want to write and be heard, but I am far less clear about what to say and how to say it. There is SO MUCH SNARK AND BAD NEWS AND SHIT out in the world and I simply have no desire to add to it. At the same time I feel a little stuck. But while I am sitting here, trying to get unstuck, I thought I’d write and tell you how and what we are doing since the last time we got all fired up and wrote.

meandsweetie

We did our 21 day sugar detox – all 21 days of it. I can honestly say we liked it–a lot–and will most likely do it again. We picked up a few new recipes and some ideas for staying low sugar long term. Full post-detox disclosure: we’ve also eaten 7 girl scout cookies, made and shared a wicked-ass yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles AND have had several squares of dark chocolate. Because.

We did not complete our 24 day challenge with AdvoCare (we were doing both challenges at the same time, maybe not the best idea ever). We really like the products, and have actually signed up to distribute, but when that last phase kicked in, I couldn’t continue. Oh well, live and learn.

We are finally finding our rhythm with the gym. We workout with our trainer once (or twice) a week at his bootcamp class (the most affordable ass-kicking in town at $10 bucks a class). We are at the YWCA Tuesday and Thursday nights, and starting this week we are shooting to add a Sunday yoga practice. No, I’m not kidding.

We keep plugging away, writing our meal plans and shaking our groove things. We are still slowly, but surely, losing pounds and gaining strength. But more than that, this has finally become a habit and way of life. And that seems to be a very good thing. What’s next? Hmmmmm…

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daylight savings time and other things one gets used to

Daylight savings Sunday, Rachel after a long time not writing

There I was, along with at least half of my other face-space friends, flipping through the feed wondering why-oh-why I was awake at 6 in the morning; it was FALL BACK after all. If you don’t know this about me, I’m a night owl, always have been. So the 5 am bladder, followed by the 6 am wake up and finally 7 am resign to get up is sort of a weird new thing. Oh how our bodies are a wonderful, frustrating and magical thing.

Right around 7am I thought what-the-hell, as long as I was awake I’d get up and go to the gym, get a run and a few 7 minute workouts in. I rolled out and ran some water through my bed head, brushed my teeth, laced up and headed down the block to the Y. When I was within viewing distance, I noticed there was not a single other car or person in the lot. Oh wait, here comes one person … what time do they open?

I was the second person at the gym, waiting for the door to open. What? Who am I?

A lot has happened since I last wrote, but when you experience it one day at a time, it just seems so insignificant. The workouts are good. The weight trickles off. The body you see in the mirror is still changing, but there is not much rapid or radical storytelling here. Until one morning you wake up and hardly recognize yourself. And you may ask yourself … how did I get here? [It is NOT the same as it ever was.]

How DID I get here? One day at a time.

One cold day in December I asked if Ratchet would be interested in talking to someone. She said yes. Then, we asked someone for help AND allowed ourselves to let be helped. We work out, we eat differently than we used to. We live and learn and try and fail and try again.  What’s the magic secret? There is none. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Shit is H A R D (but can be fun) and  choices aren’t always easy to make (but they get easier with results).

I am thinking of starting a monthly gathering of people who live in the Twin Cities and want to do the work that Ratchet and I have done and/or are interested enough to let yourself sit with other people and talk about it.  I imagine it might look a little like book club? Get together, exchange stories and recipes and laugh (and laugh) and help one another to keep trying. No money, no products, no hitch, just people. Interested? Holla.

by the numbers

weight-scale-400x400Don’t sweat the petty, and don’t pet the sweaty. – Nick, one of our trainers at Forte

I worked out today. I weighed in before hand and didn’t lose any weight. After 3 weeks of dropping dropping dropping, its hard not to feel bummed about “the numbers” but, that is all it is, a number, right? Sometimes to measure progress, one has to go beyond numbers and traditional measurements.

I keep a food journal. Every day, every meal and morsel I look at numbers; how many calories, fat, carbs and proteins I’m taking in. Most days I can’t fit all the meals in. The numbers are rarely above where they are supposed to be, a strange challenge indeed.

When I started this whole life change I weighed 238. I looked in the mirror every morning, and saw every ounce of it. I rubbed it, sucked it in, I wondered how I could ever look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. Today I weigh 224, and I still see the same. I don’t love numbers. I am caught in them, what with their measuring exactness.

I used to be the bookkeeper for the Bryant Lake Bowl. I used to love numbers. They’re so definite, either right on, or off. They don’t lie, they don’t judge, they just ARE. Oh sure, you can manipulate numbers, but really, when you add one and five together, no matter how much you want it to say ten, it will always say six. Always.

When I left working for the Bryant Lake Bowl I went to work for the Lord. Specifically I worked at the congregation I grew up in, which was an aspiring Lutheran mega-church. I was in charge of membership. We measured success by numbers. How many new members, how many new pledges, how many families were on the books? How many kids showed up at youth group and how big was our Sunday School program?

Something funny happened while I was there, measuring all that progress. People happened. A silly group of 5th graders made me laugh. A few friends somehow got me out of bed at 5 am every Friday morning to pray for hours, extemporaneously, and liked it. The progress of the program I was leading was still measured in numbers, but now the numbers had faces and stories and lives, broken and beautiful.

Now I work for a successful restaurant. And yes, we measure our success by the numbers. BUT—we also measure it in moments. Just the other day a couple got engaged in our photobooth. We have a family who has documented their growth in photobooth strips—from pregnancy to an almost 2 years old. We get comment cards and Facebook notes and guests falling over themselves to tell me how great their service was. The numbers are there, but truly, there is no higher praise than to be appreciated and seen, recognized and acclaimed.

Today I planked for a minute and a half. No knees dropping, no cheats. Today I successfully completed  3o seconds of Russian twists; much better than I attempted on Saturday. I did a minute of jump squats and spun on the bike and Nick our trainer told us we finished well. He reminded us that we couldn’t have done what we did tonight 2 weeks ago. We are making progress; today we are stronger. And for today, that is enough measurement to keep me going.