Comfy Dress Mondays

Case-of-the-mondays

Mondays are hard enough as it is. You’re rudely awakened by the alarm at the ungodly hour of way-too-early-o-clock, and you have the whole week to get through. Do you really need to add the discomfort and negative feelings associated with the weekend’s indulgences?

Nah, I didn’t think so.

Something I’ve found was a trend for me for the longest time was that I’d be pretty bloated on Mondays, and up a few pounds. This would likely be because I’d binged on something “bad” over the weekend, or I just ate too much food period. It would send me into a cycle of restriction (I’d swear off of sugar or treats or grains or any indulging of any sort), followed by more bingeing by the week’s end (because I felt deprived all week), followed by more bloating.

Talk about a blow to my positive energy.

TRUTH: On Monday, I might have been up a few pounds and my pants fit too tightly. But in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t gaining weight – I’d lose it all, the bloat and the extra pounds – by the week’s end. I wasn’t gaining and losing actual weight – it was really just water. But even if I intellectually knew this, on Monday mornings, emotions got the best of me and I would feel bad about myself.

Nowadays, I still often find I am bloated on Mondays. (I don’t weigh myself then – no need to add fuel to the fire; I know it’s temporary.) It was simply because I ate more, ate more salt because I ate out, or just ate differently over the weekend. It happens because I’m just generally enjoying life – not because I’m an out-of-control slob. I no longer panic. Now, I recognize it for what it is. I’m  realizing there is absolutely no association with a little bloat and my self-image.

But in order to help ensure I don’t fall back into this negative mindset, I declare Mondays “Comfy Dress” days. If I am feeling a little out of sorts, I have a few things in my closet that I reserve just for these days. A comfy dress is often the go-to choice. It’s not restrictive around the waist, and it’s flattering. Instead of feeling restricted by too-tight pants, I can go to the office feeling confident.

Therefore, I encourage you all to declare “comfy dress” days whenever this situation arises. It doesn’t have to be a dress, of course. Stretchy pants or anything loose around the waist works. The key is to wear something that you enjoy wearing. It will help you think more positively of yourself, and you can go on about your day and focus all your energy on being awesome.

COMFY DRESS MONDAYS – IT’S A THING. DO IT.

On the Sidelines

Pouting on the sidelines

I don’t truly call myself an exercise addict. I have never worked out for endless hours upon hours, mostly because I don’t really have that much time. But I am faithful to my workout regimen. I give it my all for 30-40 minutes every weekday morning, plus I have indoor soccer three times a week. I try to get as much NEAT as possible to hopefully combat my sedentary job. But 2-a-days and multiple Zumba or spin classes? Nope, not me.

But when you tell me to take a “rest” day, or to take it easy, I feel that uneasiness start to well up. Anxiety. You see, I’m proud of what my body can do. I feel accomplished when I can add more weight to the bar and can lift what I couldn’t a week or two before. And I love, love, LOVE soccer. But take that away, and I worry. My mind goes a little crazy.

I have backed off in the past few months from the balls-to-the-wall workouts. I don’t do tons of intense intervals every single day. My body doesn’t recover from it. I even manage to take a morning off sometimes, either because my body needs it, because I need sleep, or just because I’d rather spend a few precious moments with my hubby. Mentally, I’m in a good place with this. I’ve actually benefited from the additional recovery time. This has been a positive process with little-to-no hiccups.

But now, ladies and gentlemen, I have sustained a hiccup.

I pulled my groin Saturday during a soccer game. It’s not terrible, thankfully, but it is indeed sore. Sore enough for me to reluctantly sit out from any workouts involving legs for a while. And the old, familiar thoughts are back.

What if I become a slob? What if I lose strength gains? What if I gain weight? I’m not doing enough!

Realistically, I know that I won’t become some fat slob and gain a bunch of weight from resting for the time being. It’s ridiculous, exaggerated, anxiety-induced thinking. But the thoughts are still there. Hanging out in the back of my mind. I’m telling them to shut up, and it’s mostly working. For now.

Hoping for strength here. I know it’s such small potatoes, especially when I compare it to issues others face on a daily basis, but these little demons are what rob my days (and my husband’s days) of peace. So it’s in our best interest to squash them!

Love The One You’re With

proud of my body

I’ve always thought I wanted that model figure. Lean and willowy. Maybe some of it stems from being thin as a kid; but most of it is likely due to the fact that the media seems to celebrate this figure. I wanted that figure that allowed clothes to hang just “so” and look amazing.

But guess what? I’m not quite 5’4″. That’s not really all that tall. I have wide hips. I have thick legs. I will always have a butt – even if I was starving to death, my butt would be there. It’s genetics. It’s the way I’m built. My Mom and sister are built the same way. We are not size 0 girls. It’s just not gonna happen.

I knew this, but yet I fought it. I fought it every time I got on the scale, every time I scrutinized the size tag on my pants, and every time I looked in the mirror. I tried making myself smaller through diet, through tons of exercise, and generally making myself miserable. Just to be something less. To be something I wasn’t.

In the past 4 months or so, I’ve really reframed that. I have started lifting weights. After all, I look to my Mom. She wasn’t terribly active, but she was strong, especially in her legs. Naturally. She passed those strong legs onto me, so why not use them to my advantage?

I was watching the National Women’s Soccer League final the other night, and while Western New York lost, I was admiring one of my favorite athletes, Abby Wambach. She is strong and talented. And I was thinking about her if she, instead of choosing to embrace who she is, she worried about being thin and conforming to society’s “ideal body”, she would not be able to be SO AWESOME.

And then I found this bit from her interview last year with ESPN: “I’m a confident human being, but my body does not bring my confidence — it’s my heart and my head. Confidence is the most important factor about your body, whether you’ve got five pounds to lose or 100. If you have the confidence inside, that will exude on the outside, regardless of what your body looks like. Yes, I’m a professional athlete, so I’m more fit than the average person, but I’m also bigger. There are so many different sizes and so many different shapes that you can’t compare yourself to another human being. That would be unfair. You can’t look at a model or even a professional athlete and think, “Oh, my body isn’t as fit,” because all you are doing is putting yourself down and not feeling good about yourself.”

Obviously, Abby gets it. Comparing yourself to another, wanting a body/shape that someone else has – it’s not fair.

Now, I’m learning to love what I’ve got. And by nourishing my body adequately, and lifting some heavy things, my body is loving me back. I might not be fitting perfectly into all of the latest fashions (the designers seem to forget about those of us with thick thighs and an ample behind), but there are some pieces I’m learning to rock. Like skirts. Where before, I only saw “fat” legs, now I see shapely, strong legs.  I’m certainly not a professional athlete – I have to bring home the bacon by riding a desk 40+ hours a week. But I’m proud of my body and what it can do. It feels sexy. I feel good. I’m strong and getting stronger. I can do more things with my body than before. I’m beautiful. Not because I’m rail thin. Not because I’m any specified ideal, actually. I’m beautiful and awesome because I’m me, and I’m on this journey with myself. And I’m loving that.