My Husband Loved Me into Skinniness

Okay, listen. I need to know. Why did you click on this article?

Was it because you were already subscribed to this blog and a notification popped up and you knew that, despite the title, the content would probably be something unrelated? Was it because you saw the satirical title, knew me, and figured it was probably some sort of a joke and needed to know what on earth I was talking about?

Or was it because you wanted to genuinely know how my husband “loved me into skinniness” like it was some sort of diet fad or strange controlling relationship where I don’t even realize I’m being manipulated into becoming his perfect woman while losing myself in the process?

What was it? Was it the click-baity title? Because that title is a joke. And I’m worried about you if you clicked on this thinking it wasn’t.

Well, sure, it’s somewhat inspired by true events. But as inspired by true events as like the movie Titanic. The Titanic really sank (I’ve genuinely lost weight) and people were on board (my husband does love me). Otherwise, most of the in between is make believe.

Fine. Let’s get into it. Why even write a title like that?

I found a video of myself on my old archives (when I was actually looking up stuff for my old show Femoir which is now the name of my ongoing podcast – check it out!). The video was an early performance of my touring show and one of the first times I ever visited Los Angeles. I was living in Chicago at the time but came out for a festival being performed at a now defunct comedy theater right on Hollywood Boulevard. I was so excited to be out amongst the showbiz hubbub. At the time, I figured I’d probably move to LA but I didn’t know when and wasn’t in a hurry. I enjoyed the show, had decent audiences, and got to tell people I performed in the heart of Hollywood. And I saw some celebs come in and out of the theater, so all in all a very exciting event.

All this was long before husband. It was when I was either dating someone forgettable (they all were) or when I was single and being rather forgettable (I often was boringly focused on my work).

I saw this video and started laughing because, boy, I had a few extra pounds on me if I do say so myself.

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 7.39.49 AM.png

I wasn’t laughing because there’s anything wrong with carrying some extra weight. Nor was I laughing at myself because I looked weird or was shaming former me. I was laughing because, until that moment, I had honestly never seen it on myself.

See, I always had the gift (curse?) of plenty of confidence. I loved athletics and my body is and has always been pretty strong. Though I’ve gone through phases of being more toned than others, putting on some extra weight never really bugged me. I guess you could say I knew how to work it. And I still felt plenty beautiful. (And still snagged hot dudes because I was (and am) funny AF.) Or maybe, at least, I was so focused on being funny I really didn’t care too much what I looked like.

Seeing that video made me realize for the first time why people were, as of a couple years ago, starting to say “You look great” or somehow imply I had lost weight. I didn’t really get it. I knew that I had begun running more and (and this is the big one) become absolutely obsessed with yoga. Eventually, I did notice that my clothes fit different. I had a bit more confidence about how I looked in some slinkier outfits. But honestly? Overall? I felt about the same despite getting markedly more in shape (thank you again, hot yoga).

So what does my husband have to do with any of this? Welp, he started dating me when I had slightly more weight in inconvenient Santa Claus style places (as you can see in the picture). Maybe not as much as what this picture shows (this was Chicago weight – the result of 9 month winters and a genuine love of beer). But I wasn’t good at taking care of myself generally. I’d workout enough – I have always really loved/needed physical activity. But I never pushed myself to hard out of my comfort zone. And, more than anything, I ate garbage.

Nutrition always had to come at the expense of my genuine love for acting and comedy. I felt like I had to choose. I could eat rice and beans and butter to feel satiated in order to have enough money to pay for classes and shows and all the stuff that goes along with it. OR I could eat somewhat healthy. But even healthy eating meant time I didn’t want to spend meal prepping when I could be writing or creating. I was obsessed and simply using coffee, sugar, and chocolate to push through the plateaus of adrenal exhaustion.

Enter: Hubs. He’s provided a lot of wonderful things in my life. But, for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the fact that he’s a great cook and an extremely healthy eater. From the time I started dating him, I started getting much healthier food in my life more regularly. He makes this salad – a SALAD of all things – that’s incredibly filling and delicious (and healthy).

Before dating him, I honestly thought of anything green as a pointless filler. They were the useless stuff on hamburgers that restaurants were obligated to put there so it looked prettier. You needed to take them off so you could just enjoy the burger and the buns. Now, thanks to what I’ve seen in terms of my physical health and energy levels, I try and figure out ways to insert something green in every meal like a freaking weirdo health monster.

When he transitioned from boyfriend to husband, the benefits have only skyrocketed. We now take time to meal prep. We both are committed to eating healthy and sticking to a budget when doing so (so I can’t go splurging on my sweet tooth anytime it tickles my fancy because we’ve got goals bigger than that chocolate bar now). And, because he’s a good cook, he gets on my case if all I’ve eaten is rice and beans. He’s shown me ways of eating economically but still balanced and way better overall for my body.

Over the past several years, my body hasn’t slimmed down crazily, but it has toned up significantly. And a huge part of that is largely because I live with a healthy, happy guy who has helped me become as healthy and happy. He treats food like fuel not like something you shove in your mouth so your body stops yelling at you so you can move on. I’ve found balance and actually enjoy spending time cooking with him (not to mention enjoy having healthy foods readily available because it makes my body so happy).

He didn’t force me into being skinny so he could love me more. He just loved himself enough to take care of his body and understand what it needs. I saw that and took it on. And he supported me because that’s what good partners do. And, I gotta tell you, it feels great. I highly encourage all of you to find love in a hungry place.

I feel good and I look good. And that’s largely thanks to my husband. And, of course, my beloved hot yoga.

 

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Quiet Time

I’m not always great about finding time to do the things I love. For whatever reason, they tend to be the first things that get pushed by the wayside when I get busy.

Writing is one of those things. And in some ways, as you can tell by my more inconsistent posting, it’s fallen a little by the wayside.

Part of that is genuinely time. As I promised not long ago, my schedule is dramatically changing. While I’m still writing and creating, it’s taking different facets. I’m also juggling a few things at the moment that will all hopefully shake out soon so that they don’t all have to be juggled at once because one of them will take off. But until then, my time is even more limited.
So I’ve had to get smart about the free time I have available. I’ve had to learn to combine certain things I enjoy doing to make sure I’m always getting the most out of every activity. And that has meant combining two things I love that I don’t make enough time for right now- exercise and meditation time.

I know it’s the norm anymore to bring music with you to workout or run. It really can help pass the time. For a long time, I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts, stories, audiobooks and lectures while working out. It keeps my imagination stimulated while I get my sweat on.

KIDquiettime11 2But lately, I’ve been in a bit of stimulation over-drive. For good reasons. So I’ve had to shift my focus. Now, when I’m running or lifting or yoga or whatever-ing, I leave the music at home. I don’t even bring my phone with me. I don’t want the distraction. I want to just enjoy the sights and sounds for a short period of time and let my own thoughts take over. Those thoughts, as I know from my (unfortunately sporadic) meditation, like to run wild. But as long as I breathe and keep a mantra, whether it be “just to that car” or “I feel good” or “I trust myself” or “don’t look weak to the passersby,” I can get through it. And when I get back to my apartment and I finally start letting the world back into my headspace, I find I’m much calmer and more in tune and in touch with what’s going on around me.

Plus, sometimes I even say “hi” to another runner. Or pet a giant loveable dog named Hero and have a conversation with the owner because I was open and not distracted by my podcasts.

That being said, I still love my podcasts.

But too much of a good thing, even imagination stimulation, can be detrimental to your mental. So don’t go mental. Be sentimental. And get quiet.

Not super proud of how I ended this but, heck, it’s been a while so cut me some slack.

Exercise for Sleep

Tpuppy snuggleshere are multiple excellent reasons for exercise. I write about them constantly.

One I rarely talk about is the fact that it helps me (and most people) sleep soundly.

I have a lot of energy. I’m a pretty energetic person. I’m actually really aware of my energy level because it’s a good indicator of my inner mood. If I’m exhausted midday, it’s likely because I’m doing something I don’t want to be doing. If I’m sleepy at night just before bed, it’s been a good day of accomplishments. If I’m still anxious when I’m going to sleep, odds are I didn’t exercise and/or be productive enough that day.

Exercise, for me, is the opportunity to not only clear my mind and gain some perspective on what does and does not actually need to be done in the day. It also gives me a place to let out some of the pent up steam from various projects or interactions throughout the day. It energizes me if I’m feeling drained (and know it’s not from lack of sleep) and it calms me for the rest of the day.

I use my energy level as an indicator. And it typically directly corresponds to my exercise consistency.

Yet another reason to add to the long list of why getting up and getting moving is good for you.

 

Attitude Adjustment

attitudeI had to check myself before I wrecked myself the other day.

It was the first Saturday of the New Year and I went to the gym in late morning. And, to no surprise, it was packed.

And, unfortunately also no surprise, I immediately became a brat about it.

As I walked in and looked at the crowds of people on the machines and on the equipment, I got testy. I kept thinking somehow they were in my way. I felt so self-righteous that this gym was my gym. And that they were in my way. And how dare they even consider slightly inconveniencing me.

In short, I was a little biatch about it.

But halfway through my workout (when the endorphins started kicking in and I was calmer than before), I realized I was the one with the problem. Here are a bunch of people who, sure, don’t really know what they’re doing yet at the gym. But you’ve got to start somewhere. They were not at all getting in my way. It’s not like I go there with a really clear training plan of certain exercises I have to hit and certain goals that have to be attained. Usually I go with a body group that I’m going to focus on for the day. And then I look around and see what’s available.

These people weren’t my enemies. They were my new friends.

Sure, many of them may not stick around past February. But some of them will. Some of these people will have made it their New Years Resolution to get in shape and go to the gym all the time, and this will be the very exciting start of that journey for them. These are more people I now have something in common with. New people with whom I can talk working out with. New people who can complain about the lazy people who don’t return their free weights with.

It’s so easy to think you’re entitled to something. So much of our world today makes you believe you are entitled to whatever you want in the exact circumstances you want it and exactly when you want it. IWWIWWIWI, I believe is what it’s called (I Want What I Want When I Want It). I wanted to have the gym completely quiet and to myself. I wanted to be able to choose any time and go without any convenience to me. I wanted to have access to all the equipment I could possibly want for my workout at any given time even if I wasn’t using it or didn’t end up needing it.

Entitlement is gross.

I’m not proud of my attitude that day. But I am glad to be reminded that it’s so easy to fall back into a negative mindset. It’s easy to forget that other people are not your enemy. I live in Los Angeles…like millions of other people. If I start getting frustrated at crowds or traffic or whatever, I’ll never be satisfied in this city. Or any city. In fact, if I start wanting everything in my environment to be exactly how I want it without any distractions, I might as well move to a tiny hermit shack in Montana and hide from the world.

I’m not proud to say that I’ve considered this at times.

Then I remember, I love people. I love LA. I love being out of my comfort zone and having shared experiences and the excitement of a crowd. The only reason there’s even a gym close to me is because there are lots of other people who are members. I don’t keep it alive on my tiny membership fee alone. If there weren’t lots of people who belonged, I’d have to go somewhere else.

We need each other.

So I have to wait an extra few minutes for the leg press machine in January because some girl is doing 20 sets of 10 lbs. Whatever. No big deal. She’s gotta start somewhere. And I’m not going anywhere. So I’ll wait.

And I’ll be sure to check myself before I wreck myself.

Armband

armandI got a little luxury lately.

It’s really not a big deal.

It’s a minor change. Something I used to have but didn’t upgrade and lived without for years.

Can you guess what it is?

I’ll give you a hint.

It’s pictured here.

I got an armband for my iPhone while I workout.

I’m really excited about it.

It’s so simple, I know. I just never made the commitment to getting one because I always tucked my phone (which I keep around for music purposes not for phone calls, silly) in my pants. Or sometimes in the back of my bra.

Yeah, it was sweaty. Yeah, it often slipped down and caused me to embarrassingly have to go chasing for it. Yeah, it was uncomfortable. But it was cheap so I liked it.

But I finally caved and got an armband. Well, to be fair, my mother bought it for me for Christmas. Because we all know I don’t spend money on such frivolities (god, I really do sound like such a scrooge!).

The point is, I’ve used it every day. And I love it. And it’s wonderful.

Sometimes you really should invest in the little things that can make such a big difference.

Back to Running… Reasonably

homerI’ve talked a lot about running and lifting on this blog. If you don’t feel like getting totally caught up, here’s the story in a nutshell: I used to run a lot. Then I hurt myself. Now I lift a lot.

There. You’re basically caught up on two year’s worth of posts.

There is a part of me that misses running regularly. It won’t ever become my go-to exercise since I think I’m much more suited for the lifting lifestyle (and a much bigger fan of the results). But I find running to be extremely honest. If you run regularly, you will get better at it. If you haven’t run in a long time, you cannot fake being good at it. It will hurt. And you have to push yourself through the pain (but not too hard… otherwise you’ll end up with problems like me) over and over again until you get back in shape. And it’s humbling. And I like to be humbled.

But this year, I’m prepared. I’m of course going to continue my regularly scheduled gym routine (because I find it the most efficient and effective for me), but I’m also going to add back in little bits of running. Even if it’s just a mile here, a set of interval sprints there, ten minutes on the treadmill…whatever. And I’m prepared because I got a specialty running sock that supposedly helps when you’ve got a messed up club foot like I do.

It’s not a traditional club foot. I call it a club foot because it hurts like I’ve been standing in heels in da club for hours after ten minutes of running.

Anyhoo, I’m excited about it. And because I’m all about being reasonable this year, I think it’s a reasonable compromise between my present lifting self and my past runner.

Tennis Ball Masseuse

Tennis_ball_01It’s quite simple, really. Your back hurts. You’ve got a knot somewhere and you can’t reach it. You live alone. You’re too proud to ask for a back rub. You’re too poor to go get one yourself. So you figure out a way.

That way, for me, is to use a tennis ball.

You lie on the ground and roll around with a tennis ball beneath you. Find the spot it hurts the most, hold until you can’t stand it, then release and move on.

I used it constantly on my feet for my plantar fasciitis. And it works like a charm on all sorts of tight muscles.

I’d pretend I’m the first one to come up with this idea but there are hundreds for pictures that come up with you google “tennis ball massage”… so I’m just another of the believers.

Gymversations

Shut up.talking-cell-phone-bench-press-set

Sorry. Not you.

Unless you were  the asshole on his phone the entire time he was lifting last week. If that’s the case, SHUT UP.

Allow me to explain my rudeness (which is brought about by your rudeness).

I get it. I do. You’re super busy and important. You have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany. And you quote movies to make people laugh because you probably don’t have a lot of original jokes of your own. I get it. And I get you.

But I don’t want to hear you. I’ve got my headphones in. Do you see? Of course you don’t. You’re not looking at me. You’re staring at yourself talking on the phone in the mirror and you’re enjoying what you see. Meanwhile, the rest of us are wondering if you’re going to be giving up that coveted flat bench anytime soon so we can actually use it.

But you don’t care. You’ve gotta talk to your buddy about that chick you got digits from last night. You haven’t called yet. You’re playing it cool. Playing the game. As a woman myself I’ll be surprised if those digits were actually real. But maybe you knew that. Maybe you called immediately when you got home to tell her goodnight and realized they weren’t real. And your feelings were hurt. And you cuddled up with your blankie and watched The New Girl to feel better. But you don’t want your bro to know that. So you’re gonna pretend like you didn’t call. And that you’re totally the man. And that you’re amazing.

I hear you.

No. I mean I physically hear you.

And you’re annoying. And you’re saying nothing of import. And this conversation can wait. So get off the phone and get back to that bench press. Or I, the only chick in this weight room, will throw you off of it. And that’ll be embarrassing for you. And your bro on the phone. And no amount of New Girl will be able to laugh it away.

So hang up, shut up, and please get back to lifting.

I thank you.

I Hurt Everywhere

Bad-Personal-TrainerI’ve mentioned before that I get a personal trainer every once in a while. It happened again recently. I was grateful because I needed a little physical boost. I hadn’t been great about getting to the gym so I figured a personal trainer would be a great excuse to really go hard and get a good workout in.

The result… I hurt everywhere for three days. This guy really did me in. He’s a good trainer. He’s excellent at intuitively knowing how to push you just past your limit. We did metabolic training. I don’t do metabolic training on my own. I was breathing hard and screaming profanities a lot. I knew it would hurt.

And it did. For a few days. I walked slow and went pee carefully. Everything was sore. Nothing was easy.

And I’m grateful for it.

It was the best workout I’ve had in a very long time.

Pants Trick

pants_too_largeAs usual, I put too much on my plate. And as usual, my workouts are suffering as a result.

I don’t foresee a time when I can really get back to the gym at the level I want until after my birthday on August 15 (Happy early birthday? Awww aren’t you sweet! Thank you!). I’ve got a lot of great things happening up until then and I’m gonna have to rest on my laurels and do some quick at-home workouts until then.

So to keep myself from going crazy, I’m going to have to watch my diet more rigorously so I don’t expand like a balloon. And I’m going to do the old pants trick. Where I wear a set of jeans a bunch of times before I wash them. Not because I’m trying to be gross. But because they stretch out. And in stretching, they make me feel skinnier. Like I’ve lost weight. When I know I haven’t… but at least my body thinks it’s still in good shape.

Hooray for poor hygiene!

*If you don’t want to hang out with me until August 16 when I return to regularly scheduled washing of my clothes… I’ll understand. But I’ll still expect a Happy Birthday text on the 15th.