Sweating Off the Pounds

Sometimes I feel as if I’m sweating so profusely much that I must be losing weight from all of the nasty liquid dripping off of my body. Why is this our reward for working out and doing our very best to stay fit?

I ran about 3.5 miles today, and people won’t know that from looking at my toned legs and tighter stomach, they’ll know from the sweat that sticks in my hair and clings to my face, not to mention the circles of perspiration continuously residing under my armpits.

But does this really upset me? No! Because all of that sweat is proof that I’ve been working hard and pushing myself to new and more fabulous limits. Sometimes we just need to look horribly disgusting for hours at a time so that on certain days and in the right lighting and under a full moon and with certain accessories and when squinting with one eye and with our body tilted at a certain angle, we actually look pretty good.

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The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos

I love this post (as I knew it before it was famous) and wanted to celebrate the fact that someone has deconstructed the messages that we (as fitness wannabes) are being sent regarding health. I don’t know when we stopped motivating ourselves though internal pride and started relying on unrealistic and hurtful comments and pictures. But I am most definitely glad that these messages are being questioned. Stay fit for your health, stay happy for yourself.

Reembody

The Reembody blog, up to this point, has been a thoughtful exploration of human movement, a subject about which I am extremely passionate.

Today, however, I’m mad and I’m going to tell you why.

I have been planning a blog post for a while on fitness misinformation, and it was originally going to be the same kind of thoughtful deconstruction found in my other installments. But then I read this and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever found in my newsfeed: so beautiful, in fact, that the rest of the health and fitness propaganda floating around Facebook like turds in a pool started to really, really piss me off.

So thoughtful deconstruction has been postponed for another day. Instead, we’re going to take a good look at a few of those turds and get pissed off together because, when someone preys upon your insecurities in an effort…

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Free to Be Me

I take after my cat in terms of laziness.

I take after my cat in terms of laziness.

Summer has found me reverting back to the person that I’ve come to be while at home. Lazy, gluttonous, mellow, and satisfied. A bump on a log with the occasional bouts of movement.

But, after a brief visit to my college, I could already feel inspiring emotions and traits coursing through my veins in a way that brought new life into my worn and too well rested body.

In just one day, I felt the confidence, drive, motivation, enthusiasm, and sheer pleasure accompanied with the healthy lifestyle that I learned to lead while away at the University of Maryland.

It seems that while you’re at college, you have the potential to be whomever you want. You’re not bogged down by the mistakes of your past, but are lifted higher by the desire to determine your worth.

IMG_2070At college, I have free time to devote to the gym, all of my friends enjoy exercising, I can control what foods I eat and am no longer at the whim of my mother’s poor dietary choices, and I feel so much more confident in every decision that I make. I am free to be myself, and it turns out that myself is a pretty healthy happy person.

In fact, my freshman year of college, I lost 10 pounds (of my then-usual 150 pounds) and was at the lowest weight of my young adult life.

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This year, I’d like to get back to that weight of 140 pounds. I’m giving myself the whole school year to drop 25 pounds. And I know that if I love life along the way and take time for myself, my face will be transformed from my tremendous weight loss and constant smiling.

Pictures? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Pictures! …Or Do I?

Many a time, when someone begins their weight loss journey, they take a “before picture” which they use to judge their future progress. These pictures involve revealing clothes, frowning faces, and shoulders hunched over from carrying the burden of excess weight and cultural expectations.

I have no such picture.

I take pictures of moments where I find myself immersed in life. I take pictures of cruising along the boardwalk at Ocean City. I’ve accumulated hundreds of photos of my cat (with and without her sitting in a box). And the pictures I have of myself find me enjoying life at school, hanging around with friends, and enjoying trips to the zoo. Never once have I had the desire to take a picture of my body.

I exercise and try to remain fit and healthy. I do this for my future and the knowledge that I’ll need to keep healthy for my family. I’ve worked out because I legitimately have a blast making a fool out of myself in Zumba class with friends following suit on all sides. And the steps I take towards health include ignoring the junk food perched seductively in our kitchen cabinet, taking a few extra steps before sitting at a desk all the livelong day, and drinking 8 glasses of water each day with a religious fervor. Never once Rarely, have I had the desire to stay fit to improve upon my looks.

I take pictures to celebrate my love of life.

I exercise to celebrate my love of life.

Wait, is that what I meant to say? Are both of those activities means to the same end? Are both done to love life?

All this time I’ve shunned before pictures as something photographers take when they’ve run out of subjects and as something people striving to lose weight take when their goals are more focused on body image than on health.

Though before pictures have the chance to pump physical and inspirational energy into a faded life, I’ve shunned the camera.

Though before pictures can provide a source of motivation towards movement, I’ve not witnessed the telltale flash.

Though before pictures provide an emotional, inspiring, invigorating, remarkable, tear-inducing look at the toughest journey you will ever complete in your life; though before pictures mark your successes for all the world to see; though before pictures have the potential to build your whole world anew from one moment in time when you happened to have a camera in your hand and a goal in your mind; my photograph remains wholly undeveloped.

All this time, I’ve looked at weight loss pictures as a mistake undertaken by fools. They were a way to cast the happiness that fitness inspires onto body image, a resolute and often negatively unchanging perception of oneself.

But now, I understand. It is possible for before pictures to come from a place of love and understanding.

When the joy of photography meets the joy of fitness (and any thoughts of body image are left by the wayside), you’ve found not only the recipe for beauty, but also the courage for success.

Today is the day I realized the true powerful and potential of the before picture.

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And even though you can’t see my face, I hope you know that my smile was just as wide as my tummy 🙂

Jealous for All the Right Reasons

yellow bikini

Never in my life have I noticed so many bikinis at the beach. I’ve also failed to notice so many fit and healthy girls who wear them. What I have definitely and repeatedly noticed? How I look in my lumpy bumpy clumpy frumpy bathing suit.

There once was a time in my life where the image of toned and tan girls strutting around in their itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis would elicit an outward grimace and an inner sigh of defeat. But, this past weekend, while enjoying the Ocean City beach, I was struck by a different perspective on a familiar emotion.

Jealousy.

However, there was no, “Look at that body, she must not eat a thing! Someone get her some chocolate STAT!”

No, “Yeah, her abs look great, but look at those highlights, gag!”

No, “Why couldn’t I be born looking that way?!?”

Instead, my green monster of jealousy took a big ol’ bite of humble pie and dreamily declared:

“Wow, she must have worked really hard to look like that.”

“I bet if I could really get a handle on my health, I could look and feel the same.”

“Someone should compliment her, but not me, because I don’t know her and that’d be creepy…”

Even though I was justifiably jealous over how fit other women were looking in their bikinis, I’m proud of myself for learning that not everything comes easily to everyone. If I want to improve on my already gorgeous physique, it’s going to take hard work instead of heated words.

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As long as this new found form of jealousy encourages me to focus on improving myself instead of projecting negatively onto others, I don’t see how I can lose with so much bikini body inspiration on my side.