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.

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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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Streeeeeetch Yourself

yogi nora

I love Yoga and stretching but I’m absolutely terrible about making time for it. I’d rather lift or do sprints every time. Even though I know if I take the time to stretch, my body will be grateful and perform even better the next time I want to do life or sprint.

So I’m working on being better. Like all things I know I’m lacking, I try and make an effort to improve (even if it’s minimal at first).

I’m making time once a week to do an online Yoga video (there are so so so so many on YouTube for free!). I discovered this one by a lady named Yogi Nora. She smiles a lot. Which is good. Because her deep stretches are very painful so I’m cursing a lot while doing them. So we basically balance each other out.

We did approximately 6 stretches in 30 minutes and I was nearly sobbing from the pain in each one. And I was sore for three days after the stretching because it pushed my body in a way I haven’t been pushed in a very long time.

And now I’m making time weekly to have this smiling yoga teacher put me through self-inflicted torture so I can get healthier. Maybe someday I’ll even stretch twice a week. Maybe someday I’ll even have a thriving yoga practice. Maybe someday I won’t start crying because it hurts so badly to move into a certain position because it’s so tight and I never take the time to stretch it.

Maybe. Or maybe somebody can shoot me now and put me out of my misery!

A Drink Per Day…

beer…keeps the doctor away.

For real.

There’s a study that just got published by Harvard School of Public Health that suggests moderate drinking is actually good for you.

Seriously. Read it yourself.

I’m not a heavy drinker by any means. I’m actually pretty satisfied with one drink any given night. When I really feel like going crazy, I might have two. If it’s an all-day party, I might even have three in the course of 8 hours. NUTSO!

So I’m not gonna feel guilty for the next few nights as I cuddle up with a seasonal beer and watch a Western. I’m actually getting healthier.

Sort of.

Back to School Schedule

school busI had to make a change to my schedule. I was pushing myself too hard. It was unsustainable. I was trying to get up at 6 am to get to the gym every morning before working for a while before going to my day job then spending late into the evening working on comedy. I was barely sleeping and usually sleeping through the gym. It didn’t work. Couldn’t keep it up.

So I’m trying something new. I’m letting myself sleep a little later to accommodate for my constant, inevitable late nights. Then I write in the morning before heading off to work, much earlier than I was before. Then I can leave earlier than I did before. And can go to the gym during that sweet spot after lunch rush but before “regular” people are out of their jobs. Right around the time when school gets out.

Maybe it’s not “ideal” to not workout first thing in the morning, but it’s more ideal to at least get to the gym and get a workout in than to regularly have to choose between sleeping a reasonable amount and working out. It’s counter-intuitive to miss either of these. So I had to make a change. And that’s what I decided upon. At least for now.

Plus, I’m done with the gym in time to clean up and still get out to the second half of my day- meetings, writing, rehearsals, shows, etc.

I already feel more well-rested, calmer, and more productive. And I’m making some inroads on getting in better shape. Because I can go consistently. And that feels good.

Plus, whenever I go, I get more stories for this blog. So really, it’s a win/win for all of us.

Coach Potato

fitness21No. I didn’t misspell couch. I meant coach.

I’ve been considering getting a fitness coach for a little while. Not a personal trainer (momma can’t afford that right now…) but a fitness coach. There’s this lady online named Rachel Nicole. She’s picture here. She’s in badass shape. And her prices are reasonable.

I even emailed her. I wanna buy the 3 month package. She gives you the whole nutrition and the fitness plan and check in with you weekly about your goals. And you get access to her via text if you need it or have specific questions.

I think that sounds perfect for me.

I’ve just been holding off. I was going to buy it several months ago, but instead I spent money on (more) improv classes. I have no regrets about that choice (even though they’re not yet paid off…), but I’d like to refocus sometime soon on getting in badass shape like this chick. If I had spent my money on this, I would have spent like 1/3 of what I spent on my improv classes. If that gives you any perspective about how expensive friggin classes are out here in LA.

I haven’t committed to it yet. I’m letting myself recover financially from some other choices and trying to get some money coming in from some of the (many) investments I’ve made over the past year.

But hopefully soon I can get up off my butt and support this lady who will in turn support me on my own fitness journey.

Until then, I’m considering myself a lazy coach potato.

I used (a lot) of parenthesis in this (blog) post. I (don’t) know why. I (do) know it’s confusing. I’m (very) sorry (?).

Gym Discovery

discoveryThere’s a gym in Hollywood I don’t frequent, but I’ve gone a handful of times. Part of the reason I like LA Fitness in the first place is because there are lots of locations so I can go to different places depending on what side of town I’m on.

The Hollywood gym, which is right in the heart of Hollywood just steps from the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, is one I go to on occasion. Part of the reason I don’t frequent it is because I didn’t see a free weights section. I figured there probably was one, but I never looked too hard. I just stuck with the easy to see machines and simple cardio.

But the other day… I kept walking. I walked down a hallway I’d been near before and decided to just keep going.

Why didn’t I do this before? I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know where I was going. But the truth is, I didn’t know where I was going. And the more important truth is, nobody was paying attention to me. And the most important truth is, even if they were paying attention, I don’t care about the opinions of strangers.

And there it was.

A huge free weights section I’d never seen before. A giant chunk of the gym that I had never before discovered. I was like Christopher Columbus (because there were already tons of people there who clearly knew it existed but I felt a weird sense of ownership because I found it for the first time myself which doesn’t really make sense but I felt proud anyway).

Lesson learned: Never stop exploring. You never know how you’re limiting yourself until you push the existing borders and boundaries of the world around you.

Also, every gym probably has a free weights section. So just keep looking.

If You Don’t Even Dream It…

Field of dreams…You can never achieve it.

I have a goal. It’s a little out there. Not in the general list of goals I have for myself, but just based on the reality I’m living in as I write this blog post.

I would share it with you, but I’m not ready. I already over-share, so please don’t feel slighted. I just want to keep this one pretty close to home for a while.

The seed of this goal got planted in my head from a few different outlets. And my first thought was, “Oh there’s no way I’ll be able to do that right now. Are you kidding?”

Then my second thought was, “But if I don’t think it’s possible, it will never happen. If it’s at all possible, I have to at least believe it MIGHT happen. Then who knows.”

I realize that’s a lot of thinking, but my logic basically boils down to this: It’s very possible that the goal I have in mind will not happen. Like I said, it’s out there for my situation right now. I don’t know how it could happen. I don’t see the ways in which I can make it a reality. Normally, I can at least have a plan in place to make something I want a reality. In this case, I’ve got nothing.

But as long as I believe it’s impossible, it will be. If I think it could happen, then I plant a seed somewhere in my brain (and in the universe). I start seeing connections and possibilities where I hadn’t previously. I open myself up to the possibility that this thing could happen. I maybe start moving in that direction. I start doing things I don’t even realize will make that dream a reality.

I had no idea what path I was going to take a few months ago. I had ideas and goals, but no real way to know where I would be or how I would get there. So who knows if these goals and dreams we make for the future can be reality. We have no idea where we’re going anyway, so why not make a small wish-list for the universe along the way?

It’s still possible I won’t reach it. But at least if I believe it could happen, it’s also possible I might. So I’m gonna choose to believe.  And I’ll build this small dream. And since I built it… maybe- just maybe- they will come.

Body Balance

I try and be good to my body. I try and exercise regularly and watch what I eat. i-love-healthy-eating

But there are times that my schedule gets out of control. Times when I don’t keep lots of nutritious food in the fridge. Times when I don’t have the budget to go get all the healthy items I want that I know my body will appreciate. Times when I have rice for breakfast, beans and cheese for lunch, and rice and beans for dinner.

I know this is because I’m choosing to focus my very limited resources on creative projects, so so I’m ok with this.

For now.

But I need to make sure to stay balanced. Because our bodies are forgiving, but they can only take so much abuse.

If I workout regularly, my body will crave nutrients. It will want the colorful veggies and fruits that will replenish it and give it more energy. And, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a weird palette  that naturally loves healthy foods. I’m lucky in that way. But don’t really have the financial resources right now to make sure that’s always a reality.

Luckily, we can go through periods of feast and famine and our body will forgive us. Thanks to years of evolution where food wasn’t as readily available, we can adjust easily to whatever out external environment.

But I do hope some of this changes soon. Because I love my fruits and veggies. And I would love to have them more regularly. And give them to my body as a little “Thank you” for all that it does for me.

Until then, it’s all about the rehydrated beans and rice.

Episode 59: Meditation – Show Notes

The latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast is available online streaming or on iTunes for free!meditation I talk about meditation- which is a subject I’ve written about before. I throw out some different kinds of meditation including Tibetan, guided, zen and TM. I talk about some meditation apps you can get at the App Store. All in all, I basically make the case for meditation. And I’m not the first person to do so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPLn1ZgGxos Catch ya next episode, friends.

Gym Date Night

Xena-Warrior-Princess0013I have discovered an amazing night to go to my gym. Part of me wants to hold back and not tell you when it is… but the other part of me knows that you’re probably busy with “having a life” anyway… so I’ll share.

Friday night. The last hour before the gym closes. I’m gonna call it: Magic Hour.

Why?

Because it was magical.

Allow me to paint the picture…

I walk downstairs to drop off my bag in the locker room, like I usually do, only to see it’s mostly abandoned. I guess the rest of the women who live in my area were out on “dates” or “hanging with their friends.” It was just me and the worker who was cleaning it. It was silent. And wonderful.

I step outside to my weight room to look for leg stuff. I figure if you don’t have much time to workout, might as well work on leg stuff to get the most bang for your buck.

I look around. There are a good handful of people there. And they’re all men. No women in sight. Usually I’m in the minority. I’m rarely the only one of my kind. Already I’m liking my odds.

I take another look at the men. They’re all in great shape. They’re all about my age.
And get this… I was actually noticed.

I’m gonna repeat that. Even though repeating seems silly in blog form because I could just ask you to re-read it. But instead I’m going to retype it. For dramatic emphasis.

I was actually noticed.

Magical instance #1: I was sitting on an ab machine. An anxious dude came up when I was done with a set and asked if he could sub out with me to use the machine at the same time between sets. Since he was nice about it (unlike the grandpa I’ve spoken about before), I allowed it.
After he was done with his set, he got up, wiped down the machine, and returned the weight to my weight.
You know what that means? He took note of my weight so he could return to so as not to inconvenience me any further than he was already doing.

Magical instance #2: I was doing squats (like a boss) and a man came up and asked me how many more sets I had. I told him one. He said, “Sure, no problem, sweetie.
He called me sweetie. Normally, I’d be annoyed. But this was an evening workout so I wasn’t sleepy and hungry like usual. Plus, he said “Thank you, sweetie” when I told him I was done.
I felt like a weight room Princess.

Magical instance #3: I was using the pulley machine to do an ab crunch. I asked a guy hovering near the machine if he was using it (because I’m not an asshole). He kinda mumbled something and started doing pullups right next to it. Unsure if that was a yes or no, I just looked around for a minute. A giant man doing the same exercise I wanted to do on the other machine right next to it, pointed to the other pulley thing and said, “I’m done using that. You can use it, honey.” That’s right. Another pet name.

I said thanks and started using the machine. After my first set, he put a mat right next to me. He had been using it for his knees during the same exercise. I hadn’t even though about that. I put it under my knees. It was luxurious. At this point, I felt like a queen.

While I can’t always make it to the gym on a late Friday night, I now know that if I’m ever going through another gym boyfriend slump, I know when and where to show up in order to be treated like a weight room Goddess.

Of course I never actually speak to any of those guys beyond quick interactions. That’d be too much. I adore from a distance. And I like it that way.