In a gung ho moment of fitness this past weekend I took my husband on an eight mile hike up the side of a mountain. On the way down I surpassed gung ho and went supernatural fitness geek and tried to run down the fucking mountain. I made it about a mile before I hit a soft spot, my ankle rolled past a 90 degree angle and I crashed harder then a Windows Computer. My husband said he was looking down, then looked up and only saw a giant cloud of dust from where I crashed.
This is it now...strangely bruised.
This is it right after...something doesn't look right.
The doctor gave me crutches and an air cast. Here is what I've learned so far:
*People take crutches very seriously. If the hospital gives them to you, everyone gets very mad if you don't use them.
*Do not ever for any reason wear a strapless dress with crutches. Your dress will fall down, and you will flash your office, and every parent at your childs swimming lessons. The creepy old dude will stair at your bra and smile.
*You can only wear certain watches with crutches. Otherwise the watch will cut off the circulation to your hand, it will go numb, and you won't be able to hold the fucking crutch.
*Crutches, plus the wet floor surrounding the swimming pool is a disaster. You will fall.
*My armpits hurt. Like way worse then any exercise I've done at the gym. Ouch.
*People will get very offended if you try and say you are going to the gym to do squats....while still in an air cast.
*I can do a single leg plank. Weeeee look at me.
*Everyone at the gym will ask you stupid questions, "Did you finally crash doing box jumps?", "Did your trainer finally push you too hard?", or "Did you dance too hard at 4th of July."
*I pee a lot. I know this now because I have to use my crutches every time I want to pee at work or I get yelled at.
*I apparently find injuries cool. I've never really had a fitness related injury and I'm just obsessed with it. I like to check the bruising often. I've posted tons of photos of my bruise on social media just to keep everyone up to date with it. I told the nurse at Urgent Care that it was just the coolest thing I had seen in forever because every side of ankle was bruised. I keep telling people, you can't get injured sitting on the couch. Having a fitness related injury is probably the most exciting thing that has happened to me all year.
*I'm addicted to the gym. I'm freaking out not working out. I'm totally losing my head not doing squats. I cannot handle not doing calf raises, and I am just itching to get on the leg press machine. When did this happen? When did I become codependant on the gym?
*You can't carry coffee with crutches.
Check it out this morning...rad huh
I'm having a new tattoo drawn up. Everyone is going to wonder where I will put it, why I need more, why don't I spend the money on something else. Here are the answers. Up until three years ago all of my tattoos were basically hideable. They weren't in places the whole world could see. This was strategic. Not because I worried about jobs or being judged, but because I felt I was too fat to have visible tattoos.
The day I got Lucille on my arm
Was also the day I had silently told myself I was going to get healthy. I put this tattoo in such a visible spot because I know that I'm the kind of person who can't have a tattoo like that on a huge fat arm. I've always wanted sleeves but I knew I was too fat. I realized one day that if I just went ahead and got the tattoo that I would have no choice but to get the arms that matched it.
From there I got my ribs done. I wanted encouragement to lose weight, to lose belly fat, to feel comfortable lifting up my shirt and showing someone that tattoo, or feel okay wearing a bikini and showing it off.
My next tattoo will continue down my ribs over my hip and onto the top of my outer thigh. Why? Because I need the motivation to keep losing weight, to keep working harder on my leg muscles, to not quit at the gym. If I quit now all of these tattoos will be wasted. They will be that thing I hate; a beautiful tattoo on a hideous canvas.
This is another reason why I get so bothered with people judging my ink. They have no idea that the Lucille tattoo on my arm probably saved my life. I've lost 51 pounds since I got that tattoo. Isn't that right there enough of a reason to not bother me about my ink, to not judge me?
I don't know that I will ever stop getting tattoos. I love them. I love seeing them in the mirror, I love looking down and catching a glimpse of the beautiful colors on my arms. I love when my feet are in the sand and I see my tattoos peeking out. I love working out and seeing the tattoos in motion. I love that as I lose weight my tattoos just look better and better and encourage me more.
Everyone has their own motivation for getting healthy. My tattoos were only one of the many things that motivated me. I encourage you to find your thing, your motivation and get started. You may hate every second of the workout and the healthy eating while it's happening, but damn will you love the rewards.
I realize that my weight loss has become a huge topic on this blog. I would apologize except in the last three days I've had four different people tell me that my photos and blog have inspired them to change their life. So I'm going to continue talking about it.
Yesterday I posted this photo on my IG showing off one of the new bras I bought.
I received this comment;
"My bras are so old...like over 10 yrs but I keep telling myself you need to lose weight to deserve something new...but maybe feeling good may help. You've inspired me to get new under clothes and to join a gym. After seeing this I'm more inspired. I keep saying I am worth it. Normally all the money is spent on the kids and the dogs. It's time for me I think."
I know people wonder why I'm so open with posting about my new Victorias Secret purchases and this is why. Comments like that are why.
One of the most important things I had to learn was that right now, during this it is OKAY to put myself first. For a long time I had to buy underwear at Walmart or, if I was feeling fancy, Target. I couldn't fit into the stuff at Victorias Secret. After I had lost the first twenty pounds my very very good friend who works there told me to just come in and try stuff on. I didn't want to I knew it wouldn't fit. When I went in I was shocked to find out I fit into their large underwear and their 38D bras. I tentatively bought a few styles of underwear and a couple bras. I noticed a change in myself immediately. No one can see what I'm wearing under my clothes but I knew. Walking around all day in a sexy bra and panty set made me feel so confident. Feeling confident made me feel happy and feeling happy made me work harder at the gym. The next thing she had me try on was their sports bra. Best $52.50 I ever spent. Having a sports bra that supports me magnificently while also making me feel sexy was a game changer. If I felt like I looked good at the gym I worked out harder. I notice a lot of people at the gym in baggy pants or huge Tshirts and I always want to tell them to change. Change into something that makes you feel good and look good, because the better and more confident you feel the harder you will work out.
After a while I noticed my new under things getting baggy and I realized I had gone from a large to a medium at VS. My bra size had shrunk from a 38D to a 34D. I could fit into their cute shorts. I could fit into their cute jammies. I fit into their cute shirts. I slowly bought new stuff. Matching bra and panty sets. Fun colors. Stuff that would make me happy. Yesterday I wore that bra above. My Beetlejuice bra. I love how that bra looked on me. It was so cute. No one saw it but me, but I knew all day how cute I was and it kept me smiling the whole day. When I arrived at the gym and I was changing near the mirror I looked up and saw myself in my super cute bra and awesome matching lace panties and I smiled. I knew I was wearing those pieces because of all of my hard work at the gym. I knew that more hard work would get me more cute lacy under things. I changed into my gym clothes and went out to kick ass in the gym.
My friend has also taught me how to curl my hair, apply some basic make up and how to accessorize. All of this makes a difference. Look at my cute ensemble
Last year I would have thrown on some baggy white shorts. A pair of flip flops. A pony tail in my hair and a baggy tank top. This year I bought shorts that fit. I put on wedge shoes that accentuated my calf muscles and made my legs look longer. I accesorized with jewelery that made my outfit pop. I put on some mascara and blush. I took the time to curl my hair. I've noticed such a change between then and now.
I bought a new white dress last weekend and I did a comparison to the last time I wore a white dress.
I don't have a picture of the finished look but this time when I got dressed I curled my hair, I ended up putting on a cute watch, necklace, bracelet and make up. I put on cute shoes and even wore perfume. Last year I would just throw on a dress and flip flops and feel like that was enough. My grandma commented to me recently that I look different now, I look like I care. That's an important point. Because I do care.
I think it's important to realize that before you can make any of these big changes you have to care. You have to put yourself first. You have to accept you might not be home for dinner every night. You might miss some work. You might not get home until after the kids go to bed. You might have to miss one baseball game. It's so worth it though. The thing is, I have years left with my kids. Taking a year and a half to work on myself in the grand scheme of things is nothing because they get the reward. They end up with a mother who is happy, for reals happy, who is healthy, who can run with them, who can play with them, who is going to live a long time.
Look at me.
I am happy. I care. I no longer drop off my kids at school and look like the mom who doesn't care. I don't look like the mom who couldn't be bothered to put herself together. I'm no longer the unhealthy mom who looks like she couldn't even run a lap with her kids. When I show up at the school with my kids now I'm smiling, I'm healthy, people stop me to tell me how different I look. How good I look. All of this is possible though because I made the choice to put myself first for a while. Sometimes as parents we forget about ourselves. Our lives become only about our kids and their happiness. However if I had continued on the path I was on my kids would have suffered. I was a risk for heart disease with my cholesterol, I couldn't run with them, or bike with them. I didn't want to go to the beach because I didn't want to wear a bathing suit. I was unhappy and cranky and self loathing. My self hatred caused me to be down in the dumps daily and never smile. I was not breeding positivity I was breeding self hate.
Last weekend my best friend and I loaded up my boys and took them to the lake on our own. I never would have done that before. I wouldn't have gone to the lake without my husband. I wouldn't have worn this bikini:
I wouldn't have spent the entire day at the lake with a genuine smile on my face feeling happy and enjoying the time with my kids. I would have covered up, felt ugly and projected negativity ruining the day. I'm on the road to learning to love myself but what I have learned is that I am worth it. I'm worth the money spent on new bras, I'm worth the money spent on buying two new bathing suits this year. I'm worth the new size 8 pants I had to buy because my old ones were too big. I'm worth the extended lunch breaks. I'm worth the time I spent at the gym and not in the garden. I'm worth the time I spent exercising and not cleaning the floors every week. I'm worth so much more then what I had let myself become.
I'm sitting here now in the cutest lace bra in size medium leggings and a size medium tank top and I am so happy. No one will ever know what my bra looks like, but I know, and knowing how cute I am capable of being and what all of my hard work results in keeps me moving keeps me motivated. When I feel like I don't want to work out tonight and I undress in front of the mirror, that cute little bra that everyone thinks is so silly is going to remind me to get my ass in my gym clothes and to the gym.
Sometimes it's the little things in life that help remind us of the bigger picture.
I have a lot of tattoos. I think it's sixteen, but honestly I've lost count. I've had tattoos since I was 15 years old. That means for seventeen years I've had to deal with the same shit regarding tattoos. So let me give some friendly advice about tattooed people.
Yes. They hurt. Tattoos hurt. Someone is forcing ink into your body with a gazillion needles, obviously that is going to hurt. Asking me if my tattoo hurt is the most obnoxious question ever. Do some hurt less then others, yes. But they all hurt. For me it's tolerable. I know what I'm walking into so I shut up and deal. I have gone in to get a tattoo and listened to girls crying, and screaming and squawking. I've seen grown men pass out. Tattoos hurt. Stop asking that question. It just makes you look ridiculous.
Yes. I like the SF Giants. I have an entire SF Giants tattoo on my left arm. It is very visible. Which is why I cannot fathom why at least once a week someone looks at the tattoo and says, "So you are a fan of the Giants huh?" I never know how to respond to this. I want to be rude and say, "no I just tattooed it on my body for funsies," or "No, I'm a fucking Dodger fan." If you want to start a conversation with me about my tattoos, starting off with that as your opener usually means I'm done with the conversation before it starts.
If I have a tattoo wrapped with plastic wrap and taped up it's a new tattoo. Walking up to me, pointing at the wrap and saying, "is that a new tattoo?" is annoying as fuck. Obviously it's a new tattoo. What is the point of asking me this?
Please, do not come up and tell me my tattoo looks nice just so you can then show me your tattoo. If I wanted to see your chest, arm, back, etc I would ask. Walking up to me in the store to comment on how nice my tattoo is, and then lifting up your shirt to show me your chest piece is annoying.
Please don't ask for advice you clearly aren't going to take. Here is my advice on tattoos. Pick a good place. Research it. I've used the same shop for seventeen years. The same people are there that were there seventeen years ago. That tells me they are good. Bad shops, and bad artists don't stick around. Find an artist that can draw your vision. I'm all for googling to get an idea of what you want, but after that find a tattoo artist, or simply an artist that can redraw your images into something different. Tattoos should be one of a kind. They shouldn't be something that millions of other people can have. They should be unique to you. With the exception of a few pieces when I was young all of my tattoos have been hand drawn by my husbands best friend or my tattoo artist. This means that if I ever see my tattoo on someone else (this has happened) I know they are copying me. This is fine. I would rather be copied, then to be the person who is copying someone else thoughts. You have to live with this your whole life make it original. Give the artist some freedom with it. Four of my tattoos started as nothing more then a few words. I told Jared my artist a couple words, "my grandpa passed away," "Waylons guitar," "Remember that song Happy Trails," and from there he created the most incredible pieces. None of which I had previewed until moments before I actually got the tattoo. I trust him just enough to know that he is going to take my idea, run with it, and produce something incredible. It might cost money to have it drawn, if you stick with someone long enough the drawing fee goes away, but that money is well spent.
I am a good person. I am covered in tattoos. However, I went to school, I hold down a job, I'm on the board of Little League, I've catered some of the most affluent houses in my town, I'm an incredible mom, I've never been to jail, or arrested, and I don't do drugs. For every person out there who sees my ink and assumes I'm something I'm not, FUCK YOU. There is a 90% chance that you have probably done worse things then me, been arrested, and the fact that you are judging my ink tells me your integrity and character are far less then mine.
Yes I know I will have these for life. No one gets a tattoo and expects that it will disappear when they turn sixty. Please don't ask me if I realized they are permanent.
No, I will not tell you how much I paid for it. That is not your business. Almost every single artist charges different prices per person, per piece, per situation. What I paid for my tribute tattoo for my grandpa vs. what I paid for my Waylon tattoo are very different prices. There is a reason behind that. I do not need to explain this to you.
I have no problem telling you where I got tattooed. Jared at Aces tattoo in Reno NV has done my work for seventeen years. Please, please do not ask me this and then tell me about another better shop, or about your friend who does tattoos who is going to do yours. First, I don't care about other shops. My work speaks for itself. If you want to have your friend do your tattoo in his garage, or in their new shop that they just finished apprenticing at...go for it. You're an idiot, but go for it. I have one tattoo on me done by someone who was a "friend" and it was a massive mistake. If I show you that tattoo as an explanation about why you should pick a reputable shop, heed my advice. I know what I'm talking about.
Be nice to tattoo artists. They can choose how good your line work is, how good your color is, etc. Being bossy, high maintenance or downright rude gets you nowhere.
I do not know how many tattoos I have. Stop asking me that. Why does it matter? I lost count at thirteen. Standing in line at the grocery store and asking me how many I have is so annoying. Why? Why does it matter? Is there a magic number that makes me more cool? If I have ten I'm cool, but if I only have nine am I not cool enough? Or is this question and so many others just bad attempts at pick up lines? Compliment my tattoos all you want, I will ALWAYS give the credit to my artist and his shop. I have nothing to do with having nice tattoos, besides having skin that takes color well. Please, do not ask me ridiculous questions though. I will almost always be annoyed right away because you obviously have a hidden agenda for asking me these questions.
Finally, just respect me. I'm a person, a mom, a human. There is meaning behind all of my tattoos. Before you pass any judgment on me next time, the one question I will never get annoyed with is, "what does that tattoo mean?" I will always stop and explain my tattoos. If explaining the meaning behind them helps more people understand why some of us choose to hang our art on our body instead of our walls, then I will always always take the time to explain it.
I've learned so many things while I've been on this weight loss journey. Three of those thigns are interesting so we will talk about them today.
The first thing is that when all of this started over a year ago I weighed 190 pounds. The strange thing about that, is that while I saw the number on the scale, visually in the mirror I was unaware that my body looked 190 pounds. When I lost the first bit of weight and got down to about 180 pounds a friend invited me to the pool with her. I had just lost ten pounds and in my head I looked glorious. I went out and purchased a new bathing suit, well three, and I promptly wore them to my friends pool strutting around like I was the hottest thing that ever existed. Following that I attended a wedding with my husband. It was a family wedding. Obviously I had lost a few pounds and I had deemed myself the sexiest thing ever. I had big boobs and a small waist and a nice ass. So I wore a skin tight low cut black dress. I felt beautiful.
Yesterday while going through photos in my phone I came across the photo of me in those bathing suits and the photo of me in that dress.
WHAT THE FUCK.
I was appalled. How could I have ever have left the house thinking I looked okay? It did not look okay. I understand beauty is on the inside, but there is a point where, a person should not dress a certain way for their body type. Case in point.
The lighting on the before picture isn't very good so my portruding belly is slightly masked but it reminds me of that Steel Magnolias quote, "she looks like she stuffed two piglets inside her dress and they are fighting." (or something like that). How did I not know? How did I not see what I looked like? How could I have ever thought it was okay to step out of the house in a dress like that?
Then I saw this. Here is the thing. (This is two of the three interesting things) I would not wear that bathing suit in public now. I don't understand how it is I can put this bathing suit on at 152 pounds and think, "Shannon, this is not okay for the public, you need to cover up," but at 180ish pounds I thought, "HELL YEAH PUT THIS MOTHER FUCKER ON AND STRUT AROUND THE POOL LIKE THE SEXIEST BEAST EVER."
What in the actual fuck! Even the way I posed in the pink bathing suit. I legit thought I was skinny. I really really believed that looked good. I realy believed I was some magnificant beauty. I had no idea how far gone I was.
Here is where shit gets even more fucked up. I'm 40 pounds lighter then I was in all of those before pictures, yet NOW I look in the mirror and I see fat, and cellulite, and just general ickiness. How does that work? How is it that I am smaller now, but the person I see in the mirror is bigger then the person I saw before? I have one theory, that looking at all of these before pictures where I thought I was so cute and realizing what I really looked like has made me aware that in a few months I could be looking at photos of myself now wondering why I thought I looked so hot in my new outfit, or new bra. If I thought I was thin then, but wasn't, what if I think I'm thin now but I'm not?
Which brings me to the third fact. When this entire thing started I had a goal. The goal was to go from 190 pounds to 152 pounds. 152 was my lowest weight since 2007 when I lost a lot of weight after Codi was born. I looked and felt good at that time. I have said again and again that if I could just get to 152 I would be happy. I realized this morning when I got on the scale and it read 151 that I have some evaluating to do. The first thought when I saw that number wasn't, "great job you've hit your goal," it was, "okay well now you have to get below 150." I stopped short and realized that I have gotten so caught up in losing weight that I didn't even accurately celebrate hitting a huge goal. I was stuck at 170 pounds for so long and then stuck at 160 pounds that when I hit 152 I focused on nothing but not being stuck at 150 (which omfg I cannot seem to get below 151).
I think I've reached that part of my journey where not only is this a physical thing, but I need to realize how emotional all of this is. My trainer told me he had a client who went from 250 pounds to 120 pounds and when he asked her how it felt she said, "I still feel like the same fat girl." I 100% understand that. I'm in the best shape of my life, the scale is dropping, I look pretty good but mentally I still see a fat girl in the mirror. Which is strange because when I was a "fat girl" I didn't see her.
So much happened in my life when this journey started. I know that the months before I joined the gym were the lowest months I've ever had. I've never experienced the level of self destruction I did during those months. Because my family reads this blog I will not go into detail about the methods of self destruction I resorted to but it's safe to say, the day my friend took me to the gym the first time was a life saving moment. I know the reason why I saw a thin girl in the mirror when I was anything but thin, again I cannot share that on here, but I know it and that matters. What I don't understand is how I've made such great progress now and I'm unable to recognize it. People compliment me and I kind of go blank. I don't know how to respond. I don't see what they see. I see issues with my ass. I see a soft stomach that isn't fit and tight. I see arms that still wave when I lift them. I don't see this person they claim to see. It makes most of my interactions a little awkward now.
I have had some major successes. Yesterday while being fitted for a bra I learned I had gone from a 40DD to a 34D. I cannot remember the last time I was a 34. My panties have gone from an XL to a Medium. All of the new panties I bought at Victorias Secret are slowly starting to be too big. My pants size has gone from an 18 to a 10. My dress size has gone from a 16 to an 8. My shirt size has gone from an XL to a medium. I haven't been a medium in so many years. I understand all of these changes, I can process them, yet in the mirror I cannot reconcile them. When I go to the store my instinct is to grab a large shirt, but then to also grab an XL just in case I haven't actually lost that much weight.
I've lost forty pounds. That isn't a small amount of weight. But my head has only caught up to maybe ten pounds of that loss. I can reconcile that perhaps I'm now a large instead of an XL. I cannot reconcile the thought that I could be a medium.
I've had a lot of people in my life accuse me of being a gym rat lately. They tell me I spend all of my time either at little league or the gym and that I need to relax and cut back some. I'm torn between thinking, "absofuckinglutly not, I cannot just stop now, this is a lifestyle change it's a forever type of thing," and "when will enough be enough, when you weigh 140 will it be enough? What about 130? Are they right, have I become obsessed?" I don't know these answers. I know that joining the gym and focusing on that saved my life. I never understood people who could be anorexic and not eat when they said it gave them control over their lives. I like food to much for that to make sense. Then I stopped and looked at the situation and wondered, "was goin to the gym and being so disciplined about this the only way I could see myself taking control of my life?" I think that could be the answer. I think that I had spiraled so far out of control and made so many bad choices that the gym became my refuge. It became something I could control. I could control how hard I worked out, I could control how often I went, I could control how many calories I burned. The gym makes sense. It's easy to understand. You put out the effort you see results. Nothing else in my life has been that clear. Everything for a long time was such a muddled mess. I was attempting to destroy not only myself but my marriage also. It's strange how joining the gym and making this progress has changed my outlook on my marriage. Suddenly I feel worth it. I feel like I deserve my husband. I no longer feel like he is better then me, or could do better then me. This is also the first time in about 10 years I've weighed less then him and it's frustrating to me that I put a value on my worth based on my weight.
I understand now why shows like the Biggest Loser like to stop and focus on the WHY of how people gained weight. I need to focus on that. Why did I feel so worthless I let myself get that big? Why did I feel so ugly that I tried to purposely destroy a marriage so my husband would leave me and find someone worthy of standing next to him? How did I get there? How do I avoid ever getting there again?
I have no intention of cutting back my workouts. I want this to be a lifestyle. I want to be athletic. I want my kids to grow up with two healthy parents who will outlive them. I need to work on my head though. I need to learn to look in the mirror and see myself accurately. I need to work on celebrating my loss. I need to realize that there will be a stopping point with the weight loss. I cannot keep going "just ten more pounds, just ten more pounds." There has to be a stopping point right?
One step at a time. Baby steps. I'm working on this. I can get it together. I just want it to be sooner rather then later. Weight loss is a bitch.
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