The Fight to Stay Fit

December 2, 2010 at 7:32 am | Posted in Fashion, Fitness and Beauty | 19 Comments
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There is always an excuse, always a reason not to work out.  It takes real effort and determination nowadays for me to prioritize fitness.  But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when I worked at the local gym.  I worked out five days a week: a half hour on the elliptical, then on to the weights and abs, alternating days between upper and lower body.  I had things going well.

In college, there was an added bonus to working out.  I could get credit towards graduation!  I took water aerobics, kick boxing, and weight training classes, and then I taught weight training.  I really loved working out, particularly lifting.

Just last week I joined the gym for the first time in three years. Yes, I went THREE YEARS without a proper fitness routine.  When I started working full time, I found it hard to fit fitness into my schedule, and it only got worse from there.  After I got my dog, he demanded a lot of attention.  Being out of the house ten hours a day, I couldn’t stand being apart from him any longer, so I went home and walked my puppy.

I did try to find a fitness routine that worked from home.  I bought a body bar, a yoga mat, and ankle weights, and being a self-proclaimed expert in weight training, I knew I could make use of these items.  But I’m not the type of person who can just up and lift weights in my apartment.  I need to be out of the house, but it also needs to be convenient for me. Plus, have you ever tried to work out with a dog near you?  It doesn’t turn out so well.  I did try running this spring, but then it just got too hot and a week long business trip through me off course.

I really enjoyed classes, so I tried finding some kind of class I could take without joining a gym.  I was very close to signing up for a pole dancing class, but that fell through.

I reasoned that I get enough exercise.  I walk the dog a mile and a half a day and go up and down the 40 stairs it takes to get into my apartment several times a day.  I can still wear the same pants I wore in college. I am fine.

But here’s the truth — the real reason why many people work out.  They have a fear of gaining weight.  And rightfully so.  You can’t have your cake, eat it, and stay thin while sitting on your ass.  I got real into working out in college for fear of gaining the freshman 15 (I didn’t) and as I get older I know it will only get harder to keep my size down.

So now the dog is no longer a puppy and with the live in boyfriend, he gets plenty of attention.  I can get back to me now.  No more excuses.

My Boobies and Me

October 5, 2010 at 7:36 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 11 Comments
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In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am taking the pledge to blog for my breasts.  Now is as good a time as any to talk about what breasts have meant to me since I first sprouted and how I view them today.

I remember bra shopping with my mom in 8th grade.  I don’t really remember being too uncomfortable with this.  I didn’t have enormous boobs and I imagine the girls that developed large breasts had more discomfort than I did.  I was, however self-conscious about having small boobs, so when I bought that 34B and my mom said, “You’ll probably be this size for a while,” it was a major let down.  Isn’t bigger better?  That’s what society tells me.  And now I’ll never be bigger, I thought.

Let’s back up two years from this time to 6th grade — the year my grandmother died.  My grandmother was a cute little red headed woman with an apartment in the Bronx that had a piano, a tiny kitchen where she cooked amazing meals, and a den where we used to play card games.  One of the last times I remember visiting my grandmother, I saw her red wig in her bedroom, and this scared the hell out of me.  My grandmother had been suffering from breast cancer and had lost her hair.  I was too young to make the connection that while I was just beginning to develop that which symbolizes my femininity, my grandmother was fighting for her life because something had gone horribly wrong with that which symbolized hers.

Fast forward to my twenties.  Mom had been right that I would remain the same size for a while, but not forever.  I did continue to grow well into my twenties.  I’ve also now seen how other women feel about their breasts.  I’ve seen women who hate their large breasts, women so insecure with their size that they get implants, bras that give the illusion of bigger or perkier breasts.  While a lot of the pressure may seem to come from men, and maybe the fashion and entertainment industries regarding this feature, it’s really something we do to ourselves at the end of the day.  There’s not enough confident women out there.

What also went along with me growing up was the increase of attention and advocacy for breast cancer research.  There have been great improvements in the medical treatment options for breast cancer patients and the survival statistics have very much improved.  So when another person close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, I was confident that she would pull through, and she did, with flying colors, and minimal treatment.  I am proud to say that this person is a breast cancer survivor.

Women will always have a love/hate relationship with their breasts, and our breasts will continue to be connected to what makes us feel like women, but they do not define who we are as people.  In memory of those who lost the battle against breast cancer and in honor of those who won, we can all unite and stand up against this terrible disease to find a cure.

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