Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Praying What I Preach {...and dammit! I like my curves!}

Most of the time I'm in workout type clothes. Most weekday mornings find me changing from sweat drenched Zumba clothes into workout capris or leggings, a sports bra and a tank top (with a shower in between, of course). It's not that I'm addicted to working out or the clothes that go with, but rather I just change right into what I will be wearing later in the day when I teach Ballet and/or Contemporary Lyrical (3 nights a week) or a Mat Pilates class. I tend to be one of those people that, once I'm comfy in my clothes, I don't want to change. I say all that to say that I don't necessarily check in with all my jeans as frequently as one might think. I don't have that many and tend to favor certain ones. Warm weather has me lovin the Spring dresses.

So last Saturday (weekends I dress in "regular" clothes) I reached into my jeans drawer and grabbed a pair I hadn't worn in awhile. Gotta backtrack a bit here. A few years ago I made a big overhaul to how I eat and how I feed my family. While I wasn't necessarily heavy, I had definitely filled out. I had gotten rather curvy compared to my 20's early 30's self. The first thing a visiting friend of ours who hadn't seen us in a number of years said upon our reunion was, "Whoa! You have boobies now!" Which in fact I finally did! All my other squishy parts were fairly filled in as well. My friend wasn't pointing out the changes in my body as anything negative. She was just surprised. We have know each other since our teens and she hadn't seen me in quite awhile. To tell the truth, it was the first time I had ever felt really womanly and sexy. In past years, years closer to my youthful ones, I spent many of those years in a much more waif-ish state. At times, dangerously waif-ish. As well as dangerously miserable.

Like I said, I was feeling sexy, but I also starting to suspect that I was going to continue in what I termed as my  "I Finally Have A Bra Size/ Ass Expansion Program". In addition, there were some other issues that compelled me into changing my diet, and consequently how I worked out.

Anyhow, going back about three years, I lost around 25 pounds and significantly changed my body composition. I leaned out, especially in places that I'm not really prone to leaning out in, my backside. I felt pretty good about the changes in my appearance. Overall, I had dropped 4 dress sizes. Suddenly I was in a size that I hadn't been in since I was in my early 20's. Except now I was eating pretty dang healthy, getting plenty of protein, healthy fats and nutrients. I had to phase out most all of my pants and shorts and replace them with new ones (thank goodness for ROSS and the clearance rack at Target). One thing started to bug me though. I had pretty much lost my booty.

In my younger years my backside had always been one of my best features. Even more so in my older years, especially once I started filling out in my mid-30's. Once I lost the weight though, I noticed that my funk in the trunk had pretty much deflated. That's the best way I can describe it. While I had started doing more resistance training with weights, I really hadn't put focused efforts into strengthening the muscles of my glutes and quads. Plus, I started noticing some other things; if I didn't really keep track of how I was eating I would lean out a little more than I really wanted to, making me feel not quite right. I also noticed that my hair was thinning out. Yikes! I started to seriously think about trying to rock this style-

Sonya Tayeh. I love her!

I tweaked a few things since then. All's well.

So, back to me and my jeans. Last Saturday I grabbed a pair from my drawer and threw them on. Well, I didn't necessarily throw them on. Actually I broke into a bit of a sweat doing a mix of Sumo wrestler type moves and punk rock Pogo dancing. After fastening them I had to check the security of the seams by executing some squats. While presentable for public viewing, I had to think twice about any moves that would require kneeling, crouching or deep bending. I also felt a little pang of panic and started to wonder where I was going wrong, seeing as how my pants were revolting against me. As soon as possible, later in the day, I peeled (like a second skin) them off and put on comfy p.j. pants (the sun was still high in the sky). The next day, having grabbed another pair of jeans that I haven't worn in a while, the same thing; a struggle to get the opening of the pants up and over my thighs and butt. I got mid-thigh and thought, "To hell with this!" Tossed the pants aside and just as I started to go into the brain-space of failure mode I realized something. I'll get to that something in just a second.

But first...

I'm not a fan of frequently weighing one's self. Especially if you've been doing things with diet, lifestyle and exercise (especially the exercise thing if you've been doing muscle building resistance training). Most scales just tell one side of the story. Not even a side really. Just a number. I can fill a bag with dirt and another with gold, each bag equaling 10 lbs. The number on the scale tells me nothing of the value or possibilities contained in each bag. Just how much they weight.

Ever seen the difference between what a pound of fat looks like compared to a pound of muscle? Or in this case, 5 lbs.

Image source;

I know! Crazy, huh?

I tend to recommend that one should go by how their clothes fit, and not necessarily by what the scale says. I do weight myself, but only about once a month. If I even remember to.

So, in praying what I preach, what do my tight pants mean? Over the last few years I've fluctuated in a 5-7 pound range. Nothing that should be of concern, at least not to me. Especially considering the complexities of women and hormones.

So if my pants are tight, but my weight isn't drastically different, and what have I been eating, and will I have to now go up a pant size, and should I exercise more, and, and, and (cue screeching car breaks, random items crashing to the floor off of a collapsed shelf, maybe a surprised cat).

I LIKE HOW MY BUTT LOOKS! (Oh, yeah. That's the something I was talking about earlier)

Certainly if by some work of wizardry I could exchange it for a slightly different model I would certainly entertain the idea. But reality being what it is (plastic surgery is not wizardry. It has a failure rate, possible side effects and a recovery time), I'm pretty okay with what I've got to work with. Mostly because of work I've been doing to try and build up my glutes, thighs and hamstrings. Basically, my legs as a whole. Squats, lunges, step ups, dead lifts, one legged dead lifts, good mornings, Bavarian split squats, and the gluteal work I do in mat Pilates and Balletone. All of my dancing takes care of the quads. The rest, maybe I've filled out a bit. But (do I intend a pun here?) I'm okay with the results. I would say even damn happy about it. I'm not exactly where I want to be with my "Dream Booty" (seriously? I'm not sure if I can even take myself seriously with that!). My legs look strong, and most importantly for me, like they belong to a woman. Because that's what I am. A woman. Not the media or Hollywood's version, not Photo-shopped into unrealistic ridiculousness version, and definitely not a woman who's worth is determined by her jean size or weight.

The Universe doesn't care what my size or weight is when I'm laughing on the couch with my husband and kids. Or when I'm sharing special moments with family and friends. Being of a certain size and weight mean so little in the great big picture of everything that goes into what makes me me.

The exact same thing is true for you.

Yes, eating healthy, at least most of the time, is important. As is getting exercise (find something you love, stick with it. Do some resistance training whether you love it or not), getting enough sleep (raise your hand if you struggle with that one...

...yup. Me too)

and trying to reduce stress in your everyday life. Health and wellness are gifts we should all strive to give ourselves.

Before you bristle over what the scale says or how that one (or two) pair of jeans fits, stop and ask yourself if you even care. Stop and take notice of your amazingness (Urban Dictionary says it's a word). That, my friend, cannot be quantified by a mere number on a scale or item of clothing.

And find a comfortable pair of pants to wear.

Okay, funny stuff!

Thanks for hanging out and reading!

Enjoy the dance that is life!