Wanda Says…Jumping rope is hard.

In my never-ending quest to bring sexy back, I’ve been trying to incorporate some oldies but goodies in my workout routine.  I still haven’t mastered the jumping jack, but to be honest, after my last humiliating attempt and fail at that childhood standard, I haven’t put much effort into it.

And recently, my fellow blogger, Elizabetcetera at da Vinci Total Hysterectomy 2014, encouraged me to try jumping rope.  She assured me the experience would not be at all similar to my experiences using the jump rope as a child.  And she was absolutely correct.

jumping ropeAfter attempting to jump rope during my workout today, all I can say is that gravity is an asshole.

I was able to jump rope, but half the time I couldn’t get both feet up off the ground fast enough and I ended up tripping on the rope with one foot while the other cleared it.  And forget the continuous jump-bouncing of the past.  Now I remember why teenage girls typically lose interest in jumping rope after going through puberty.  Even with a sports bra on, my boobs kept trying to spring up and slap me in the face.  Not cool, girls.  Not cool at all.

I’d like to be all ‘I’m not a quitter,’ and tell you that I won’t stop until I master the beast, but the truth is that I am totally quitting this.  I have no interest in doing that again, ever.

Wanda Says…Losing weight is hard.

women workout 2In a recent post (Move your ass, sister!) I talked about some of my challenges with physical fitness and weight loss over the years. I also discussed how in recent months I’ve overcome some of my motivational barriers and begun working out regularly.

I’m still working out six days a week and surprisingly, I’m enjoying it. I like the way I look after a workout, all covered in sweat and red in the face.  It’s validation that I worked hard.  I feel my body getting stronger in some ways, especially through my arms, and I am definitely less fatigued throughout the day and have more energy.  However, I’m losing weight at a snail’s pace, and it’s incredibly frustrating.

When I first started increasing my workouts, in the first two weeks I gained four pounds. Four fucking pounds!  Everyone said, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re probably just gaining muscle.  This happens.”  Despite the fact that I was calorie counting and working out daily, these four pounds just sat there, shaming me every time I got on the scale.  After a couple of weeks the scale began to slowly eek its way down, a half-pound at a time.  To date, I’ve lost those four pounds, but only those four pounds over a nine week period.  At this pace, I need to change Operation Hot by 40 to Operation-Hot-By-The- Time-You-Stop-Giving-A- Fuck-About-Being-Hot.

I talked to my doctor and she didn’t have answers for me. I’m very healthy and my bloodwork is always great.  The logical answer is for me to look at my diet, and admittedly, I could be making some better choices.  But I will never be that girl who can survive on salad and lemon water.  I enjoy food, and while I understand calorie counting and calorie quality is important, I believe in moderation versus elimination.  I know from experience that if I’m too extreme in my diet or calorie reduction, it will just set me up for failure.  I start to feel sick and lethargic for days, and then ultimately throw the diet out the window out of frustration and physical misery.

Angry Woman SpeaksMore importantly, I get cranky and snappish when I’m hungry.   Have you spent time with super thin people who don’t eat?  They’re assholes!  And they should be crabby because they’re starving!  Living in LA, you hear about this stuff all the time.  It’s really popular for people to take appetite suppressants or other drugs to help control their weight, because God forbid, if your thigh is wider than your arm, California may just kick you out for not conforming to the standard.  If there’s some actress or model throwing a fit on set because her imported bottled water isn’t the right temperature, I guarantee you she probably isn’t really a bitch as much as she just needs a sandwich.

green shakeI know liquid diets are really popular these days, too. That’s one thing I will never be able to wrap my head around.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry I want to feel like I really ate something.  I want to chew my food.  I love the flavor and texture and aroma of good food. I can’t just choke down a green shake made from ten kinds of lettuce that tastes like horse piss and feel even remotely satisfied.  Can you?

A girlfriend of mine tried this diet where she had a list of all these different drinks she had to rotate through in a day. It was so complicated everything had to be written down to keep track, and there was a different mix or shake you had to take every hour or two. And then for dinner she could have a small salad with an ounce of chicken.  An ounce of chicken!  That’s like two bites!  But I would call her to offer support and encouragement because that’s what friends do.  She can usually make it to day three or four before she goes crazy and eats an entire pizza by herself out of desperation, and honestly, who could blame her?

healthy foodI just can’t live like that, but I know that I have to find a balance between my diet and exercise if I’m going to make this work, and I feel like if I don’t get this right, all the hard work I’ve done so far will be for nothing. I’ve recently started a new diet I found floating around Facebook.  It requires me to eat five small meals a day with a lot of protein, vegetables and whole foods only.  I’m on day four and so far I’m not starving and I don’t have the urge to kill people.  In my book, that’s a win!

PS–If it goes well, I’ll do a follow up post to share the details of the program.  🙂

Wanda Says…Do these wrinkles make me look wrinkly?

spa girlLately I’ve been having a lot of facial skin issues and it’s stressing me out. I’m a firm believer in rocking what you’ve got, and my good skin has always been an asset that I don’t mess around with.  I buy good skin care products, wash my face every day and moisturize.

I don’t know if it’s my hormones, but the texture of my face right now is similar to that of a 13-year old girl. I haven’t had to buy Clearasil since I was a freshman in college.  Last week, I had to go buy a tube of that shit, and guess what?  It doesn’t work!  It’s like I have mutated, zit cream resistant acne.  I had to go through puberty once to become a woman, and now I have to go through it twice to become an older woman?  WTF?

Now let’s talk about all the wrinkles and lines that have appeared on my face in the past month or so. It’s like I just woke up one morning with crow’s feet and saggy eyelids.

Shar PeiI’m pretty conservative with makeup during the week since I’m usually home with my kids. If my husband and I have a date or plans to go out with friends, I will wear more makeup, depending on the occasion.  But I’ve noticed lately that even my makeup is aging me.  For example, any eye-shadow with a shimmer to it makes me look like an old hooker.  And despite the fact that I don’t wear a ton of makeup, when I do it’s like it just settles into all the lines in my face, making me look like one of those Shar Pei dogs.  (And if you’ve been reading my blog from its inception, you know how I feel about being compared to dogs!)

So today I went to Sephora seeking the advice and support from cosmetic and skin care professionals. I’m typically leery of asking for help in that store, because it’s so easy for them to ply you with over-priced makeup and products, convincing you that you need all this crazy stuff if you want to be beautiful.  It can be overwhelming, and I’m already vulnerable and feeling insecure about my appearance.   Today, I was their perfect customer.  It went like this:

Me: Hi.  I need help (cringe) picking out some new foundation.  The one I’ve been using is a powder and it’s making my fine lines appear worse.

Sales Girl: Are you wearing a primer?

Me: No.  What’s a primer?

SG: Well, that is part of your problem!  (She parks me in front of the makeup mirror and hands me a makeup remover towel).  Clean all the makeup off your face and we will start from scratch!

Me: (thinking, “Oh Fuck!  I’m in for it now!”)

face creamSG: We are going to start with something called a Truth Serum!  This is a fantastic product that has Vitamin C and it’s essential for hydration, brightening the skin, anti-aging and protection.  You will love this, and the small bottle is only $48.00!  Don’t you just love that citrus scent?  It’s so refreshing!  Now I am going to apply this moisturizer, and then some makeup primer.  The primer fills in all the lines and wrinkles.  It’s basically like spackle for your face!  Isn’t that fantastic!  Oh, look how much better you look already! Now we will apply some foundation…whah, whah, whah, whah, whah, whah (to be read like the adult voices in all the Charlie Brown shows.)

And what’s sad is that I’m so desperate to resolve these skin issues and get back to normal, I allowed myself to drink the Kool-Aid.  I allowed myself to be worn down emotionally by a barely 22 year old girl with no wrinkles wearing enough makeup to make her look like a clown, or an extra in an 80’s Robert Palmer video.  I’m not proud.

I walked out of there with a whole new skin care system (including the Truth Serum), Mark Jacobs foundation, fancy makeup primer (spackle) and new mascara for just under $200.00.  My silver lining is that Sephora has a great return policy.  If it doesn’t work or you don’t like it, and you’ve used less than 50% of the product and have your receipt, you can return anything.  It sort of takes the sting out of buying a $30.00 tube of spackle.  🙂

Move your ass, sister!

fitness at 40These days it seems like everyone is embracing some sort of fitness craze.  I’ve seen the phrase, “fitness is the new mid-life crisis” floating around the internet quite a bit and it really seems to be true.  I think I’m ready for a mid-life crisis.

For me, there’s something about my 40th birthday, which is looming around the corner that creates a sense of urgency when I think about my health and overall fitness.  It feels like if I don’t have my shit together by then, it may never happen.  My window might be closed, forever.

I’ve always wanted to be more active and fit.  What I’ve lacked was the drive.  I’m not athletic, and I don’t enjoy physical activities that cause pain.  I try to avoid pain whenever possible, and a workout including lunges and squats will have me limping for days afterward.  And I’ve always found the atmosphere at gyms to be very intimidating.  It feels like I’m surrounded by health freaks who are judging me with their tight fitting workout clothes and bulging muscles.  There’s nothing like working out next to a woman wearing tight panty shorts and a sports bra to make you feel like Martha Dump Truck in my baggy sweats and t-shirt.  No thank you.

I’ve had a life-long, love-hate relationship with dieting and exercise.  You name a diet or exercise gimmick, and I’ve probably tried it.  I used to love watching infomercials on the weekends because I was convinced that the next great thing would really work for me this time.  The Thigh-Master?  Been there.  The Great North American Slimdown?  Done that!  The Cabbage Soup Diet?  I don’t recommend it.  Tae-Bo?  I can still demonstrate an impressive high kick with a side-punch!    Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem…and the list goes on.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my life is that you have to love yourself and be happy with who you are.  And I do.  I would just like to be a physically stronger version of myself.  A less tired version.  A mom who can play tennis with her daughter, chase my son on his scooter at the park, and still have enough energy to come home and make dinner without passing out in the salad.  Part of ‘embracing my Wanda’ is about pushing through my barriers, and my weight gain, and fitness abilities (or lack thereof) has been a significant physical and emotional obstacle for me for many years.

So a couple months ago, I began “Operation Hot by 40.”  I realize that only giving myself a couple months to get hot before my 40th birthday was a bit optimistic, but a girl’s gotta start somewhere.  And when I say ‘get hot,’ I’m really just talking about losing the extra baby weight I’ve been carting around for the past four years, and toning everything up a bit, because we all know gravity turns into an asshole after 40.

So a few months ago I started working out regularly, about three times a week.  This is a big deal for me. I hate working out and my usual routine involves working out once, and then feeling like I did my due diligence for the whole month.   I also purchased one of the fitness trackers that are so popular now.

My first day wearing the tracker was enlightening.  That is to say, I was enlightened to what a lazy ass I really am.  I was shocked to see the level of activity it really takes to lose a pound a week.  The first day I was constantly checking the display device on the tracker to see where I was with my steps and calorie burn.  I did a 40 minute moderately intense workout, my usual 30 trips up and down the stairs, and running around the house doing stuff for the kids.  Then while making dinner, I found myself doing squats while standing in front of the stove.  My daughter walked up behind me and was like, “Ummmm, what are you doing?  You better not be sweating in my dinner!”  While talking on the phone to my brother, I was going up and down my steps in the hallway.  Up and down, up and down, just trying to boost my numbers so I could meet my goal for the day. It was exhausting!

Is this what it really takes to lose weight and be healthy?  This continuous squeezing and flexing of my muscles, all day long?  And the crazy truth seems to be, yes, this is what it takes.  And that just blows, because I was never good at this!

But…I’m not sure what’s changed…but…wait for it…wait…for…it…

I’ve now progressed to working out every day.  Did you hear that?  I’ve been working out every day!  And I am super-fucking proud of myself!!!! It’s only been a few months since I started working out, and just a few weeks since I increased the frequency of my workouts, but I already feel myself getting stronger.

I’m finding my attitude is slowly changing about my workouts, as well.  I’m starting to look forward to them. I’m not trying to avoid them anymore, but actually plan my day around when I can do it. I never, in a million years, thought I would become that person.  The person who likes to workout.  I’ve always envied those people, because isn’t having the desire to workout half the battle?

Today, while I was jogging on the treadmill, I realized two things.  One, I liked the sound of my feet hitting the belt, because that’s the sound of my ass getting smaller, and two, every step feels like a journey I’ve been trying to take for 20 years.  And for me, that’s pretty amazing.