27 February 2012

lovestock

Friday wasLindy Loo's birthday, so that night a bunch of us gathered at Prosperity Social Club in Tremont to celebrate the awesomeness that is Lindy (and she is pretty damn awesome). For my part I got her an Ask the Unicorn button (with multiple sounds!)



It's kind of like a Magic 8 ball, only way more magical and with a totally awesome voice. I also made her vegan no-bake peanut butter cookies based on this recipe only I, obviously, used peanut butter (what the hell is Biscoff, anyway?) and made sure the other ingredients were vegan. I had vanilla soy milk on hand which I think added a nice level of flavor regular ol' cow's milk couldn't. Apparently she liked them since she sent me a text the next day saying she managed to eat them all in one sitting.

I've done vegan cooking before but only recently have I started doing more baking or dessert type stuff, like the ice cream I made a few weeks ago. Luckily, Lindy is such a good friend that she's always willing to be my taste tester.

Saturday was Beanstock, a benefit held at the Barking Spider Tavern on the east side to support friend and local musician Maura Rogers. You see, Maura needs a kidney. She's on the transplant waiting list, but it's a very long and very expensive process both before and after the surgery. Honestly, she's one of the strongest, most amazing woman I have ever met: Were I in her position, I would have given up long ago. But not Maura. Despite everything she's gone through and going through, she continues to be a source of light and happiness.

So Beanstock was created as a means of helping her out. There was a silent auction and raffle prizes, adorable t-shirts and tote bags for sale, and plenty of entertainment from other local musicians and artists. It was an amazing evening, there was just so much love and support in that room it was breathtaking and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it. For more information, check out this site set up by Maura's fabulous girlfriend DuVi and if you're interested in helping out, donations can be sent to Maura Rogers c/o Bob Sammon/PO Box 935/North Olmsted, Ohio 44070.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 February 2012

the wind beneath my wings

It is perhaps unsurprising that I am a woman with a lot of friends who identify as feminists. We are all strong, confident, independent, and outspoken about women's issues, whatever those might be. One of these friends even helped organize the Cleveland Slut Walk that was held back in the summer, an event I, unfortunately, had to miss out on because my family reunion was the same weekend.

It's also important to point out that not all of us are female, either.

A few weeks before the event, some of us were out drinking and there was a guy with our group that was somebody's family friend. He honestly had absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into because we were discussing the upcoming Cleveland Slut Walk and it was quickly apparent he thought we were all against the idea. When it because obvious that we all supported it and were trying to educate him on the purpose, he said "Well, what happens when a real slut misunderstands and tries to join the walk?"

If only we had a camera to capture the astounded looks on each of our faces as we carefully pondered our next words.

Right, so, anyone who knows me also knows that I'm a bit, well, torn on the child issue. That is, I'm not sure I want kids, although I will confess that as I've gotten older I've begun to lean more towards the for children camp. I will say that if I could guarantee that my daughter would turn out like this, I would be all for offspring. The more the better. Seriously, this girl is my new hero and her parents should be proud. I mean, hello, she's a teenager talking about slut-shaming while wearing a Batman t-shirt.


Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 February 2012

she blinded me with library science


What My Family Thinks I Do:
source


What My Friends Think I Do:
source


What My Patrons Think I Do:


What Men Like To Think I Do:


source


What I Think I Do

source




What I Actually Do:
source



Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 February 2012

itsy bitsy teenie weenie

Since my reintroduction to swimming on Friday, I have been obsessed addicted to looking at new bathing suits. Which is so totally out of character. I mean, hello, I'm a self-concious fat girl. I don't really do bathing suits. Our annual family reunion used to be held at the home of an aunt and uncle with a pool and I'd spend the whole weekend sitting on the deck in jeans (I don't really do shorts either). The suit I do have was purchased for a one-time pool party at the home of some friends back during college. When I went to Kalahari with my cousins about a year ago, I walked around the park with a pair of loose fitting yoga pants over my bathing suit because I was so totally aware of my size.

But 64.6 (as of today) lbs later, something as silly as my weight isn't going to stop me from having a kick ass swimsuit. Like this one from Mod Cloth:


Fruity Suity One Piece, Plus Size

Besides, I can't continue my new-found love of swimming without one and I'm definitely going to need a new one soon. And can we also talk about how awesome it is that so many stores realize that us curvy girls want cute sexy swimwear too and none of that frilly little skirt shit? I have a Macy's gift card and am so totally tempted to use it on this:


Rialto Over the Shoulder One Piece

The really weird thing, though, is that I'm actually looking at bikinis. Not for now or for the time being -- I mean, hello, for all of my confidence now I haven't gone craycray -- but as the reward for myself when I hit 175. If Sissy and I do end up going to Florida once I hit my goal weight, I'm totally going to need a cute bathing suit.

I mean, hello how cute is this one from Pin Up Girl clothing:


Sailor Girl Nautical Bikini


Although this one is also uber adorable:


Beach Honeycomber One Piece


Really, though, the bikini thing is weirding me out and I'm thisclose to starting a Pinterest board to keep track of all the ones I find. I sorta figure that by the time I get down to goal weight, I'll be roundabout a size 10 maybe? Although I know exercise and toning will affect that. Recently I had to get rid of a pair of Torrid jeans that were several sizes too big even though they originally were purchased at the weight I am now. Inches, man. Crazy inches.

But, see, regardless of what size I get to, once I do get to goal weight (and I will, I don't care how long it takes me), I'll have lost a grand total of 151 lbs. That will be 48% of my starting weight. And you know what? I will freaking deserve a cute bikini at that point, amirite?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 February 2012

fish out of water

So it turns out that swimming is not quite the same as riding a bicycle.


That is, the theory being that once you get back on a bicycle after a long period of time, you intuitively remember how to, y'know, cycle. Yesterday I got back in a pool for the first time in years and couldn't remember how to, y'know, swim. I mean, I knew how to not drown. I also knew how to do an hours worth of laps in the pool. But my form, my technique, was so totally not what I had been taught in my childhood and elementary school swimming lessons. Like, my arms were doing a sloppy breaststroke while my legs were doing a normal kick. And I could not for the life of me remember how to do a freestyle stroke, even after watching one of the other two people in the pool with me. I tried it for about half a length and gave up.

The pool is located at one of the recreation centers operated by the city of Cleveland and it continues to amaze me that this is all free for residents. That on a Friday afternoon I can go play racquetball for an hour and then go swimming for an hour and it doesn't cost me anything (okay, well, it cost me a pair of goggles, a swim cap, and a lock for the lockers, but that's all negligible). The treadmill in my apartment complex? Also free. Y'know, with rent and whatever, but you know what I mean. In fact, while I now am someone who works out several times a week, the only thing that costs me anything is my yoga classes at The Studio and I always consider that money very well spent.

Last night I had dinner with my friend Missy at XYZ Tavern, and over a salad and side of fries I was telling her how sometimes when I take a moment and step outside of myself I have absolutely no idea who I am anymore. Not in a bad way, it's just, hello, I wake up at 5 in the morning to practice yoga. I did laps in the pool for an hour. I apparently like jogging?! Who the hell is this woman? It's good to find that you still have the power to surprise yourself, but man.

One of my rewards for myself is a new bathing suit. I've changed it to when I hit my original goal weight of 175, figuring that it's only 15 pounds above my new goal weight so the fit of a bathing suit shouldn't be affected by such a small change of weight. That being said, I think I'm going to have to end up buying a new one way before I get to 175 as the one I have now was feeling a little bit lose, especially in the bust area. Every time I started a new lap I had to double check to make sure the force of the water against me didn't make anything go flying out.

I had forgotten how much I love being underwater. The calm and stillness that comes in doing laps, having your lane all to yourself, no noisy kids splashing around and disrupting the peace. (Yay adult only open swim) There were only three of us in the pool and there was a lane between each of us so it was almost like having the pool all to myself. Not gonna lie, though: even at 30, there is a part of me that secretly wishes I could be a mermaid. My waist length red hair? All because of Ariel (true story).

Of course, it was only later that I realized something a little odd: One of my favorite things to do in the pool is walk on my hands. Don't ask me why, but I love doing it. The thing is, water isn't that stable. I mean, it's water. It's a liquid, there's nothing solid holding me up. So I can walk on my hands in a pool but I can't do a supported headstand against a wall because I'm afraid I'll fall over? That has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. Which means I know that I physically have it in me to do a headstand in my yoga class, I just have to get over the mental hurdle.

I have to remember that I am not Wile E. Coyote and going to plummet to my death in a canyon. I'm not even the Roadrunner. I, ladies & gents, am a fucking phoenix and I will figure out how to stand on my head.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 February 2012

inked

Of all of the rewards I set for myself, the one I'm most excited about is that when I lose 100 lbs I get a new tattoo. The list does need to be worked a bit since I've changed my goal weight from 175 to 160, but that one remains the same. I already have two tattoos -- Chinese characters for "author" on my left shoulder and the words "defy gravity" on my inner right wrist. Each holds personal significance, and while it took me eight years between the two, ever since getting the second one on my 29th birthday, I've been itching for a third. I even added it to my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list.

Of course, any time you're talking about making a permanent mark on your body, it's always a question of what. What design can you live with for the rest of your life? What idea or image will you still love when you're 90? At first I considered the most obvious: a phoenix, representing the transformation I've taken. Another option was my most favorite word in the entire world: Perestroika, which means "restructuring" in Russian. Restructuring of myself, my life, my attitude, all of it.

Then I came across this quote (and used dafont to make it all purty):

I mean, ultimately isn't that what this is all about? Sure, a concerned Sissy sending me an email a little over a year ago was the catalyst for this journey, but I've lost the 60+ lbs all on my own. I've had to, nobody else can do it for me. Nobody else is going to wake me up at 5:15 am to go to 6am yoga. Nobody else is going to get my ass to the rec center or onto the treadmill. Nobody else is going to be at the grocery store with me when I'm planning my meals for the week or at the restaurant when I'm looking at a menu.

But more than that, nobody else can want this for me. That is, while family and friends can (and did) hope for me to lose weight and get healthy, if I didn't want it for myself, their wishes wouldn't have mattered. It's not as though their concern was out of the blue: I'd ignored it for 29 years or only gave half-hearted attempts. The choice to change is entirely on me and it is up to me to follow through. I can have love and support, but I have to do this for me and not as a means of pleasing or appeasing anyone else.

You hear that all the time when it comes to making big changes, be it diet, exercise, smoking, etc. Until the person with the vice is ready to change, nothing will happen. You can't force a person to commit to something they aren't ready for or don't believe they are worthy of. Which, of course, brings up its own host of personal issues. Believing that you are worth the new life you are carving for yourself instead of being afraid of it.

The path is long, the road sometimes tricky to navigate. But with a little patience and perseverance, we'll all get to whatever destination we're aiming for. Look at me: a year ago, I never would have imagined I'd believe in myself enough to get this far. As it is, I'm only 88 lbs away from my goal and only 37 away from that tattoo. 37 lbs until I have lost a grand total of 100. Perhaps this really is the year of the phoenix after all.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 February 2012

the beauty of speed

I hated gym class. Hated. It. I was lazy and uncoordinated and so not an athlete, so when given an option of which activity I wanted to participate in, my friends and I would always pick the easy one. Like ping pong. Or bowling. And we must have done the weight training session about five times over the course of the year.

But the one activity we could never get out of was the mile.

Know what I hated more than gym class? Running the mile in gym class. Not that I actually ran, mind you. I was one of those twenty-minute walkers. Running four laps around the track was pure torture and I would not do it. Couldn't do it. Or maybe I could if I actually forced myself, but why would I want to do that? No, no, I was that girl who was encouraged by the gym teachers to "Run the straight section, walk the curves." I'd do that for maybe a lap and then just walk the rest of it. I mean, seriously. Unless I'm being chased by a freaking bear, there is no "run" in my vocabulary.



Like I said, exercise and I didn't get along.

But that is slowly starting to change. This weekend I, once again, spent my time watching The Biggest Loser on Hulu. I'm moving back through the various seasons and while last weekend I felt a twinge of disappointment at not losing weight as fast as the contestants, no matter how absurd their progress is, this weekend I kept reminding myself I've lost (as of today) 63.4 lbs all on my own. I feel happy and healthy and that is a huge accomplishment regardless of the number on the scale.

Then, though, I realized that these contestants -- many of whom weigh 100, 200 pounds more than I did even a year ago -- are running. They are on those treadmills at speeds of 7 or 8 and while they may only be running for a minute, that is a minute more than I can boast. And, really, what's my excuse for not running? I am unable to say I "can't" run when I've never even tried.

So I decided to go running.

Now, it's not like I just threw on my sneakers and did a few laps around my neighborhood. I live in a building with a mini gym, including a treadmill and I decided to do intervals: Walk for 30 seconds, Jog for 90 seconds at a speed of 3.0. Twenty minutes later, I had kept that routine up for a full mile. It's not earth shattering, but it's more than I have ever done in my entire life. And that is impressive

Thing is? I didn't just like it. I loved it. I loved the burst of adrenaline that came as soon as I started jogged again. I loved the power I felt in my body. I loved the sense of accomplishment at finishing that mile. I loved sitting down after and adding it up to realize that I jogged for a total of fifteen minutes. Oh, sure, it was hell and sucked. But even while doing it, the pros outweighed the cons. I did it about an hour after breakfast and later in the afternoon I even had a moment where I thought I should go run some more.

Oh em gee. I've created a monster.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 February 2012

fear factor

I have a habit of self-sabotaging after a big weigh-in. A big weigh-in being, say, losing 60+ lbs. So the fact that this monumental weigh-in coincides with my monthly baking spree is, well, not good (although the brownies and ice cream are good). Friday night I met up with some coworkers at The Corner Alley for dinner and bowling and while my plan was to get a salad, I ended up getting a burger. And fries. And a martini. And yes, it was a veggie burger with no mayo or cheese and yes I had gone to the rec earlier that day and yes I tracked all of the Weight Watchers points, but still. I had a plan and I completely ignored it. And I knew I was ignoring it as I was doing it.

Like I said: self-sabotage.

Thing is, despite this history and habit, I'd never really stopped to think about why I do this. I've always said that hitting big numbers, losing another "decade" freaks me out, switches something in my head. But what the hell does that mean?

One yoga pose that I continue to struggle with is the supported headstand. This is something I used to be able to do as a kid but, unlike The Wheel, my adult self cannot do it. Can't even come close. And while my yoga instructor encourages me, saying she can see the progress I'm making with it each week, I can't. This morning I even told her that I hate this pose.

Each class, I take my mat and move it up against the wall. I brace my head in my clasped hands. I lift my hips and walk my feet forward. I slowly lift my right leg. And I start to hop. Yes, hop, the idea being that I can get the momentum to swing my leg up and against the wall and that'll get the other leg up, too.

But, see, this is where I fail. I can hop in that position all day long. What I can't do is convince my hips to flex back enough to get the leg up against the wall. I know I can do it: I came very close a few weeks ago. This isn't a physical or even gravitational problem, but it wasn't until recently that I started to wonder what the mental block is.

Truth is, I'm afraid.


I know the wall is there. I know it's only a few inches away. Of course, it's easy to think and remember that when you're flat on your mat and not trying to invert 248 lbs. When I'm actually trying to flex my hips back, swing my legs up it's another story. You know those ol' Wile E Coyote cartoons where he's chasing the Roadrunner across an open canyon and he's running along until he stops and realizes he's in open air and then goes tumbling down? That's how I feel. I know the wall is there. But as my leg starts to raise up and swing back, I'm momentarily convinced it's going to hit open air, the support of the wall completely gone. And that temporary moment of insanity is enough to force me to lower my leg back down.

Call me curvy. Call me voluptuous. Hell, call me like it is: fat. Whatever it is, I've been it my whole life. I can't remember a time when I wasn't overweight and I spent my adult life, from 18 years old on, wearing my age. From college through my late twenties, my age was reflected in my dress size. Which is ridiculous when you realize that means gaining a dress size every single year. Although it explains how a little over a year ago I was 29 years old, wearing a size 28, weighing 311 pounds.

And there it is. Three hundred and eleven pounds. What the hell is that? I mean, seriously? I have times now where I look in the mirror or see a picture and the reality of weighing 248 is enough to horrify me, only to then have a realization half a second later that I used to be 60 pounds heavier. What the hell was I doing to myself back then?

But, see, here is where things get complicated. As much as I don't want to be overweight anymore, it's scary to be anything but this. This is what I know. I know how to move through the world as a Fat Girl. I know how to approach people and life. This isn't what I know: it's all that I know. I think that's why I self-sabotage: there is a part of me that doesn't want to lose weight. Not because I don't want to be skinny but because changing that much is scary and she'd much rather stay in the safe cocoon that she has grown accustomed to.

Because it's not just my body that's changing. It's me. I feel like I exude happiness and confidence these days, but there's so much more the further I go on this journey. It's a brave new world out there and while it's exciting to think about, it's also fucking terrifying. Just the simple idea of being able to, oh, I don't know, fit into a pair of Gap jeans or a Victoria's Secret bra is insane. And don't even get me started on dating. I've been single for two and a half years. After a shitty break-up that left me with a big ol' wounded heart for about 18 months, I now want to date but, sadly, don't exactly have a line of suitors waiting to take me out. I'm 30 and as much as I hate to admit this, don't have a lot of dating experience. While I don't want to paint a wide brush and say it's because all men are shallow, I do know that has to play some part in this. So right now maybe I don't put myself out there as much as I could because as much as I want to date, the fear of rejection is wide and well-established. So what the hell is dating going to be like ninety pounds from now when I hit my goal weight? I mean, hello, talk about terrifying.

But, honestly, no point in worrying about that now. Now I have bigger obstacles to tackle. Like that stupid headstand. Which I will get one of these days, Wile E. Coyote be damned.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 February 2012

the way we were

My mother, goddess love 'er, used to bribe me to exercise.

Back in middle school I really wanted the Double CD of Barbra: The Concert (true story). The deal was, if I logged a certain number of hours on my dad's stationary bike, my parents would buy me the CD. I don't remember how many hours were required, but I did them with that Jewish singing carrot in front of me and got the CD.

I say this to help you understand how much exercise and I don't get along.

Of course, this is coming from the girl who does yoga twice a week. A girl who
wakes up at 5am to do yoga on Tuesday mornings and then goes and works a twelve hour day. But yoga is different. Yes, Ashtanga is an athletic practice but it doesn't feel like exercise. All I'm doing is stretching and holding poses, but by the end of the 90 minute class I'm drenched in sweat. Plus there is a -- well, not necessarily spiritual since I'm agnostic -- but a cerebral experience that comes with yoga. I did belly dancing for about two months for the same reason: exercise that doesn't feel like exercise with a mental and emotional affirmation element as well.

Recently, however, I decided it probably would be in my best interest to add some traditional exercise to my routine as well. Which is why I was at one of the city's Recreation Centers earlier this afternoon. I didn't know what to expect. I just knew they had a weight room, racquetball courts, and a pool. Oh, yeah, and it's free to residents of Cleveland.

Now, I went wanting to use the weight room. Only, well, it's a free facility run by the city. So let's just say that as soon as I walked into the weight room it kinda reminded me of the rec center at the prison I used to work at. And then there was a guy in there who kinda gave me a How YOU doin' look and, just, yeah, no. So instead I decided to just go into one of the racquetball courts with just me and my iPhone.

I used to play racquetball a bunch with Papa G. back at the gym near our home. But I haven't played in years. And, of course, just vollying the ball back and forth by myself isn't the same as actually playing. But it still requires exertion and energy. In fact, I'd forgotten how much energy and exertion and fully admit that I didn't run as often to get the ball as I could/should have.

The thing is, when I entered the court I thought, Well, I'll just do 30 minutes and decide from there. In the beginning, I honestly wasn't even sure I'd be able to get through ten minutes. But then 30 minutes came and I didn't want to stop. So I said I'd do 45. But then 45 minutes came and I still didn't want to stop. So I did an hour. An hour.


The pool is scheduled and the "open swim" for adults isn't until 2:30, so I think next week I'm going to plan on going so that I can do an hour of racquetball and then swim for a bit. And, of course, I still have yoga tomorrow.

I guess all of this means that I don't hate exercise after all. It's really just a matter of finding the right kind of exercise to be successful. Getting into my car to go home, all I could think was that I have a gym bag again. And I like it.

I still have that Barbra Streisand CD, too, along with many of her others on my iPhone. After all: weight comes and goes but Babs is forever.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

08 February 2012

undomesticated goddess

Once a month, like clockwork, I turn into little Suzy Homemaker baking up a storm.

I'll let y'all take a wild guess which week out of the month it always happens to be.

I'll also let y'all guess what week it is right now.

On the one hand, it's great: I have yummy stuff in my apartment and I get to experiment. Once I made peanut butter and M&M cookies for my dad's entire office. Another time I used part of a Crate & Barrel gift card to buy their sugar cookie mix. Of course, the mix is still in my cabinet because I got distracted making Nutella Peanut Butter balls. Just last month I made up an ice cream inspired by a Girl Scout Samoa cookie (y'know, the coconut and carmel one).

On the other hand, I also tend to turn into this:





I wish I was exaggerating, too. Those cookies for my dad's office? Baked at about 1am. The ice cream? 11pm. No joke: I got off work at 9pm. Went grocery shopping for ingredients. Was home about 10pm. Within an hour of walking in the door to my apartment, I was making ice cream. And, yes, I have had to pour dish soap into my trash can to stop myself.

So, here we are. One month later, cycles of the moon and all that shit and of course I'm already planning on making ice cream and brownies this weekend.

After yesterday's dinner break, I went up up front at reception and saw a staff member was selling Malley's chocolate bars for the local high school. Fully knowing better, I peeked into the box. This was my thought process over the next five minutes:

Fuuuuuuuuck. It's the pretzel crunch bars. Damnit. Shouldn't have looked. Shouldn't have looked. Okay, it's only a buck. Whatever. I'll just throw it in my freezer and eat in sections. Hmmmm. Y'know, I bet this would taste really good with some peanut butter. Ooooooh. I wonder if I could make chocolate peanut butter ice cream with bits of pretzel in it. Oh, but wait. I don't really like chocolate ice cream. Oh! How about peanut butter ice cream with that awesome fudge ripple from the Samoa ice cream with bits of pretzel in it? Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

I posted something on Facebook about this and my favorite vegan Lindy Loo said I should make it vegan so she can have some. I think she was kidding, but I have been wanting to try a homemade vegan ice cream and utilizing my mad capital-L librarian research skillz (ie: Google), I found a vegan peanut butter ice cream recipe and the fudge ripple is apparently all ready vegan.

Lindy says I am one kick ass redhead.

I told her I know.

As for the brownies, well, yesterday one of my yoga buddies brought some of these Happy Herbivore brownies to class. As she was telling us all of the ingredients I realized I already had most of that stuff in my kitchen already (including the agave nectar. I know, I am a woman of mysterious means). They were damn good brownies, I'm tellin' ya. And, hello. They are made with black beans. That totally makes them healthy, right?

Although, I wonder how they would taste with the ice cream....

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 February 2012

girl disappearing

I spent the weekend watching episodes of The Biggest Loser. I caught up on the current season and watched almost all of last season. I'm always so torn about this show. On the one hand, it is incredibly inspiring to see these people change their lives but on the other hand how can anyone think this show is healthy? Twenty pounds in one week? That's crazy. Like batshit crazy. It's also crazy that the people who don't lose that much but still pull very respectable numbers, like 4 or 5 pounds, are made to feel bad. What the hell, people? This is a behavior and attitude that is meant to be encouraged?

But, at the same time, I watch this show and think Ohmygod. These people are doing in one month what took me a year to achieve and I suddenly understand the appeal of the Ranch and why people go. I remember, though, that I'm doing my own journey not because I want to hit some deadline but because I want to transform my life in a way that goes beyond just the number on the scale.

That being said, that number is important and this week I lost 3 1/2 lbs, bringing my total to 62.6. I am a mere 37.4 lbs away from 100! The idea that I could reach that goal is 2012 is becoming more and more of a reality. But it also means I get to have myself a mani/pedi this week!

I will say this, though: Watching The Biggest Loser has made me feel a renewed drive. To eat better, to exercise harder. I want to continue to do my yoga, of course, but add to it. I looked at the list of Rec Centers in the city to see what the ones near me offer, like an indoor pool and weight room. Some even offer Zumba classes, which I know Mama Marchand would approve of. This really is a lifestyle change. It's not a year or two of hard work and getting to goal weight (which I've lowered, by the way, after deciding that I was selling myself short) and then I'm done. This is something that I'm going to do for the rest of my life. Not because I have to but because I want to. Because I love the way it makes me feel, I love the way I look. I love my renewed energy and outlook on life and I want to continue to feel that way and just get stronger, faster, and become a better me.

Don't get me wrong: what I'm doing is great. What I've done is fantastic. But I know that I can always do more. It's not just about being skinny. It's not just about being healthy. Now it's about being fit.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

05 February 2012

small world

This past Friday was gorgeous. So sunny and only a little chilly. Having the day off, I decided to take advantage of the weather and walk up to West Side Market. It's only about a mile away, a mile that is now much easier (and faster) to walk than it was a year and almost-sixty-pounds ago.


About half a block away, I looked up to see my cousin's husband walking towards me. Keep in mind, this is someone I normally only see once or twice a year, so a serendipitous meeting along W. 25th was rather random and he, naturally, seemed just as surprised to see me.

He said he was picking up lunch at Nate's Deli. Ah, yes, I said, with a knowing nod. Best hummus in the city. His eyes got wide in that Ohmygosh, someone else who thinks that way and we went on to have a lovely conversation about how we don't know how Nate's manages to get their hummus so smooth since neither of us can do it ourselves when we make homemade hummus. After asking about my cousin and a hug goodbye, he headed back to work and I headed towards the market.

Moments like that are why Cleveland rocks.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 February 2012

under the pink

I know women who have had abortions. I know women who got pregnant as teenagers and decided to raise the child. I know women who are now moms because the birth mother gave their child up for adoption. I know women who have used birth control to combat acne, irregular periods, searing cramps, and chronic tension headaches.

There is a difference between being pro-choice and pro-abortion.


I believe in comprehensive sex education. I believe in late term abortions. I believe in affordable health care for men and women. I believe in access to contraception. I believe that overturning Roe v. Wade will bring back coat hangers and back alley abortions. I mean, it's not like Prohibition put an end to drinking, it just made it more dangerous.

I believe same sex couples should be allowed to legally marry. I believe same sex couples should be allowed to adopt. I believe it is ridiculous that Newt Gingrich is allowed to cheat on two wives and get married three times but my gay and lesbian friends and family who are in wonderful commited relationships are not. I believe in women born without vaginas and men born with one. I believe if a man wants to have two wives and both women agree and everyone is of legal age then let 'em get hitched. If a woman needs to have multiple abortions, let her. If Michelle Duggar wants to keep having kids, let her, too. I believe it is a woman's right to decide what lifestyle and life is best for her.

Instead of telling women how to dress, tell men how not to rape.

I think a woman should be allowed to have as many sexual partners as she wants and not be judged. I think a woman should be allowed to stay a virgin until she marries and not be judged. I think a woman should be allowed to not want kids and not be judged. I think a mother should be allowed to work outside the home and not be judged. I think a mother should be allowed to be a stay-at-home and not be judged. Hell, I think a dad should be allowed to be a stay-at-home and not be judged. Believe it or not, I also think a woman should be allowed to be pro-life and not be judged. I think it is ridiculous to say Don't Want Kids? Don't Have Sex. What about couples that don't want to be get married? What about couples who don't want kids?

I think the word "slut" is used out of jealousy.

I think we need to be realistic when it comes to teenagers and sex. I think we need to be honest with teenagers when it comes to sex. I think teenagers need to be aware of all of the options available to them before and after sex. That includes abstaining, mind you. Hence the term "comprehensive." I think it's okay to give your sixteen-year-old son a condom to carry around "just in case" and I think it's okay to put your sixteen-year-old daughter on the Pill "just in case."

I support a woman's right to choose and those choices go far beyond the "abortion issue." What her choice is of no concern to me. It's none of my business, actually, when you get right down to it.

And it's none of your business either.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 February 2012

attitude is everything

Over the past year, since I first started Weight Watchers (again), I've noticed a very distinct change in my approach to food and exercise and this entire journey.

source

Don't get me wrong: the fact that I still weigh over 250 lbs is very much a part of my daily thought process and routine. I mean, hello, it's kind of hard to forget that part. I'm still about 75 lbs away from my ultimate goal, which in itself is about 25 lbs over the recommended high weigh for me. But even that ultimate number I have set myself has had me thinking lately. I settled on it because it seemed like a manageable weight and would still let me hold on to my curves. But maybe that's just because I'm comfortable with my curves. They are a part of me. The boobs I've had since middle-school and I've always been a bit more, uh, plumper than my friends. Maybe I picked such a high weight goal not because it's where I really want to be, but because I'm scared to be any smaller.

There is a mental game to this whole thing. Getting thinner, losing weight, brings out its own unexpected emotional challenges.

My weight loss has been slow over the past few months. Some of it has been my own fault, some of it has been my body. It's one reason I set myself rewards. In the past, I would feel frustrated at this slow progress. Instead, it has given me an opportunity to reevaluate why I'm doing this.

How important is that number, really? We put so much emphasis on it, but as Dances With Fat points out, size is no indicator of health. And, really, health is what we should be focusing our efforts on. If we do that, the weight will follow. Maybe not as fast as we want, maybe not as much as we want, but it will come off. And if it doesn't, then consider all of the other healthy changes you've made in your life that are way more important in the long run.

As of today I have decided to take on one item from my 101/1001 list,which is to go a whole month without drinking any pop. Sadly, easier said than done. I've cut back, way cut back, but every once in awhile I still crave that fizzy caffeine (it's also kind of difficult when my go-to bar drink is a Malibu & Diet). In the beginning of the list, I created that item because I knew that switching from pop to water would help me lose weight.

These days, though, when I think about it, I know I should cut back not because of the weight loss factor but because water is better for me. I don't do yoga because it helps me lose weight, I do yoga because of the way it makes me feel. I leave class, especially my 6am class, feeling like a warrior woman, ready to take on the world.

That number? The scary one on the scale? A small fraction of the overall picture. I might weigh 251.8 lbs, but I know that doesn't define me. I've been vegetarian for four years and do yoga twice a week. I've never smoked, rarely drink, and love my eight hours of sleep. I know how little that number means when it comes right down to it.

So if someone else wants to use that number to formulate some kind of negative opinion about me without knowing the rest of the facts, I say let them. In the end, it speaks more about them than it does about me.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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