Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No F-ing Way

The other night I did something against my better judgement. I went to a "Panty Party".  Settle down, it's not as risque as it sounds.  Essentially, a bunch of women get together at this local lingerie boutique to drink champagne and try on bras. Okay, maybe it is as risque as it sounds.  But that has nothing to do with why I didn't want to go.

In case you didn't already know this, I'm a bit self-conscious about my body - especially my boobs.  If I had to choose one part of my body that I would never have to look at again there would be a knock-down-drag-out between my boobs and my muffin top. Muffin top would probably win, but boobs would definitely go down fighting.

So, it's no surprise that the thought of trying on bras with other women - women who happen to be younger, thinner and higher/fuller/more appropriately-chested that I am was not high on my list.  So, why in the world would I go?

First, I adore the friend who invited me.  The combination of the Spicy Chicken's travel, the girls' school/sports schedules and my influx of work lately has allowed little room for anything else. I was really craving time with girlfriends.  Secondly, I caught myself saying - aloud in front of M - that I didn't want to go because I "hated" my body. Yep, get out the cuffs because I totally deserve to go to Teen Parenting Jail for that one!  While my girls are not oblivious to my weight, I have always tried to make a point of telling and showing them that I love myself regardless of my size, and that my focus is always on my HEALTH. Oops.  So I had to do a little doubling back to show her that I wasn't afraid of getting naked with all those skinny bitches because damn if I'm not proud of the big 'old boobs that God gave me.  And lastly, I really actually needed some new bras.

I ended up having a really good time and - as a bonus - got to spend some quality time with a few friends I hadn't seen in awhile. While some women were completely okay with trying on bras in front of other people, some were not -  either was totally acceptable.  I kept to one of the back dressing rooms with the curtain closed, of course, but nobody seemed to care - or even notice for that matter.  While I admit it completely threw me off when the saleswoman brought me a 34F to try on, my boobs looked so freakin' awesome in that bra that I bought two of them!

Moral of the story is - sometimes you just have to let go of your insecurities because they are just that - yours.  The people who love and know you don't care what size pants or shirt or bra you wear.  They love you for who you are - and if you spend your life hiding behind your weight you will miss out on a lot of good times.  And that, my friends, is the f-ing truth.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Too Old

The other day I mentioned that I participated in the Red Shoe Cville Chili Cook-Off only because the Spicy Chicken wasn't able to attend.  I am sure you are dying to know what could have possibly been so important that he'd miss something like defending his title in a chili cook-off?  Well, it happened to be his grandfather's 90th birthday party.  There are few things he'd miss the chance to cook for, but his grandpa is definitely one of them.

There are a million things that a person could say about Glenn Dody.  He's 90 - he's been through, done, seen and said a lot.  He currently lives in what he affectionately calls "The Compound" - a double wide park in Mesa, Arizona, where he's surrounded by "youngsters" in their 80's. He's known for his dumpster diving skills, using the pool as a "shower" and his lifelong dedication to exercise.  He has a "mind like a steel trap" and isn't afraid to tell you what's going on inside it.  He eats one meal a day at Wendy's, where the "nice kids that work there" know his name and his order. He still participates in the Senior Olympics. He's one hell of a man. 

When I was cleaning out Spicy's suitcase I came across a folded piece of paper covered in handwriting.  When I asked him if it was something he needed his response was  "Grandpa asked me to read this at the party. You have to read it." This is what it said.

"I would like to thank the people who have made the exercise program successful.

Of course, the people who attend every exercise class are important.  Last year we had 395 people attend the classes. We will make room for anyone who joins us, no one will be left out. This year's classes will be even bigger than last year.

You are never too old to chase your dreams.  Last month Diana Nyad was a good example of this.  She is now 64 years old and had swam the route between the USA and Cuba four times without completing it. The course is 133 miles long and takes 53 hours. This year, her 5th try, she completed it. My point in telling this story is that you're never too old to exercise. 

The classes will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9AM at the exercise room.  

Thank you."

Glenn Dody is a 90 year old veteran who has lived a very full life.  He doesn't have a weight problem; the possibility of having a stroke does not scare him; heart disease is not a concern; diabetes will never know his name.  He could choose to sit at home in front of the television all day, but he doesn't. Instead, he gets up and walks himself to the gym to teach exercise classes to 395 of his closest friends.  Next year it will be even bigger.

I know the "What's Your Excuse?" post by Maria Kang became pretty controversial this past month, and I even understand why, but as I read the words of my 90 year old grandfather-in-law I can't help but ask myself the same question.  I'm pretty sure Glenn Dody never had one. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Heart NYC - I Hate Cancer

Although I have been on a bit of a roll this week with blog posts I will be taking a break for a few days as I head to The Big Apple with my girlfriends. Woo-hoo!

Last year was the first time the four of us took this trip so I guess that makes this our 2nd Annual NYC Weekend - which is awesome.  It's also awesome that while on this trip we get to spend some great quality time with Lynne and Fletch, Chrissy's mom and step-dad, whom we adore.  What is NOT awesome is that Chrissy can't be with us.  Although I know she's watching over us and is always with us in our hearts, it's obviously not the same.  We miss her so, so much.

Cancer sucks, people. It really does.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Good Thing

As I was reading the comments on my "G-Free" post yesterday it occurred to me that I may have come off as being a *little* whiny about the reality of having to give up gluten.  Okay, maybe a lot whiny.

The truth is, however, that I really am grateful to have finally found something that is making me feel better.   In addition to the shrinking finger and shoe size phenomenon, I've dropped 6 pounds in the less than three weeks since I gave up gluten; am getting considerably more work done in a day (as I'm not running to the bathroom every hour); am no longer wasting all those fancy greens I buy and - oh yeah - I feel so much freaking better!  This is a good thing. 

My friend Jen also pointed out that this is a good time to be gluten-free because it doesn't actually have to mean giving up things like bagels, bread, pizza and beer.  There are TONS of gluten-free products on the market now - and some of them are actually pretty good. I will say, however, that on my first g-free attempt I filled our cupboards with things like Glutino's Berry Sensible Beginnings Cereal, Udi's Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodles and Mary's Gone Crackers Pretzels only to find that what worked best for me (and what truly makes the most sense from a health standpoint) was filling myself up with whole, unprocessed foods.  Eggs, beans, fruits, vegetables and good 'ol H2O are my new best friends (which I realize they should have been all along or part of my inner circle at the very least).

Another bonus of being g-free now is that there's this gigantic support system out there that I never knew existed.  Within 24 hours of publishing my G-Free post I had messages of support from friends I hadn't heard from in years, recipes from people I hadn't seen in months and even several great blog and cookbook links from a high school best friend's mom (thanks, Nancy!).  Google "gluten-free blogs" and you're given 26,400,000 possible results in just .18 seconds.  Gleaning through just the first three pages worth gave me at least 2497 Pinterest-worthy recipes alone!

And then there's the fact that it's just a gluten intolerance. While it did make me feel crappy and occasionally mess up my life, there's actually something I can do about it that in reality isn't all that hard.  Sure, there will be times when I am really, really craving pizza (and, let's face it, there will probably be times when I give in to that craving and just deal with the consequences), but I have a choice in all of this.  It's now up to me. And that is a good thing.

Monday, October 21, 2013


FYI - this post, though relevant to my journey, could be filed under "TMI" for some of you...

About 6 months before The Spicy Chicken and I got married I had a physical. When the doctor asked if I had any issues I wanted to talk about I reluctantly mentioned that I often suffered from a painful cycle of constipation and diarrhea.  She smiled politely and told me it was probably just the stress and nerves of planning for my upcoming nuptials.  When I mentioned that I'd been dealing with this since I was a teenager (long before I met The Spicy Chicken) her response was that I probably had something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but about the only thing I could do about that was limit my stress and/or just accept it.  Unfortunately working two jobs, attending graduate school and planning a wedding didn't leave a lot of time for stress relief, so I went with Option #2 - just accept it

Though this was not a particularly comfortable option, by the time I was in my mid-twenties I had, sadly, gotten used to living this way.  It wasn't until college, when I was living in close proximity to and sharing bathrooms with lots of other women, that I even realized it wasn't normal.  (Yes, I actually thought it was normal to be painfully constipated one day and have explosive diarrhea the next. It was all I knew. Why would I think anything else?).

It wasn't, however, until recently that I finally decided to do something about it.  (This turning 40 thing has sure made me wise!).  I'd done enough research on IBS to know that certain foods tend to trigger reactions for some people (plus, let's face it, you don't have to be a doctor to recognize there's probably a link between food and digestion...). I first removed red meat from my diet for a month to see if it would help.  This, however, resulted in no significant change. So, I went to the next thing on my list - dairy.  Unfortunately, 4 weeks later the results were the same - nothing.  Last on my "List of Things I Should Try to Give Up For Better Digestive Health" (you have one of those lists, don't you?) was gluten. 

Gluten was last on my list for several reasons. One - I have very close friend who suffers from full-blown Celiac's Disease. While my digestive issues are no fun, I certainly don't suffer as badly as she does, so I kind of convinced myself that gluten couldn't be the problem. Secondly, "going gluten-free"  has become such a trendy thing to do lately that I didn't want to seem like I was just following the latest diet fad. And lastly - and let's face it - most importantly - I put off giving up gluten as long as possible because it freakin' sucks. I, like many other people, love all things gluten. Pizza - pasta - crusty Italian bread....don't even get me started...

But as I said earlier, with age seems to have come a little bit of wisdom and I knew that I had to at least try it.  And five months ago I did. Within days I felt changes happening in my body.  That achey, arthritic feeling I always have in my hands? Gone.  The unexplained mood swings? Minimal.  Middle of the afternoon naps? A thing of the past. My ring became too large for my previously fat little fingers.  My shoes required tightening. And m digestive system actually started to feel....normal.

Hooray, right?

Well, yes, but did you notice, by chance, the sentence where I said I did this five months ago? Yeah, it was hard, and I fell off the wagon hard after about 5 weeks.  You know that old Kate Moss quote "Nothing tastes as good as looking good feels"?  Apparently Kate had never tasted Dr. Ho's Bellisima pizza!

But here I am back on the "G-Free" wagon again.  It took me a long time to hop back on it and trust me, it was not done without a lot of research, consideration and several preemptive Bodo's bagels.  I knew, however, when I added gluten back in five months ago that it was eventually going to come back to this.  There was no doubt in my mind that I felt 100 times better when I was eating gluten-free, and that it was going to have to be way of life eventually.

I spend a lot of time and money doing things to make my body feel it's best: hours in the studio at Clay - miles walking and hiking with Scout - buying organic and hormone-free groceries - even learning to cook for myself....There's no reason for me to not be doing this one additional thing (that I know makes me feel better).  
So, this is it - Week Three G-Free - here I come!