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Lonjas, Spanx, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Cotton Blends

16 Jul

As I was looking through some pictures recently, I discovered something disturbing. Although I’m not a vein person, I do have shame and this very shame has taught me to wear appropriate clothing for my body type.

No Daisy Dukes for my grown-ass 36-year old body, unless they’re board shorts and I’m on the beach. And surely no midriff if I’m not sporting a six-pack, which I’m not. Haven’t had one since high school and even then it was a four-pack at best.

As I was thumbing through some photos, I noticed some recent pictures of me and a couple of friends. Now apparently there is a certain way to pose when you’re taking a group photo and being the Guat that I am, I had no idea that some of my friends had mastered the Oscars Red Carpet pose, even when wearing shorts and sandals, or jeans and t-shirts. Poses that make you look more appealing and hide what every woman wants to camouflage — the lonja — the love handles, the flabby stomach rolls hanging out under your t-shirt or blouse. But being in this Red Carpet pose means turning my back on my friend, instead of hugging her … and I’m big on hugs.

Now I am aware that my body isn’t in tip-top pre-baby form and I’m o.k. with that, but after looking at these pictures I wasn’t too happy with my lonjas making an appearance in these photos. Granted they are not very big and I’m sure everyone I know has a couple, but no one wants to check these out in a group photo. Mine are usually private and stay confined to the undershirt or tank top, but apparently they were not comfortable in the cotton blend shirt I was wearing.

In all honesty it shouldn’t have bothered me because I have a killer smile, great skin, and good hair, but there I was being a chick and scrutinizing myself. Then one of my family members walked in the room and asked me what I was doing, and I mentioned that I was just looking at photos, but that I felt kind of bad because my lonja made its debut. And then they said something that only family can say …

“Well maybe you shouldn’t eat all that chocolate …”

Now … I’m not a violent person by any means, but I felt the urge to become an Ultimate Fighting Champion at that moment and smash somebody’s face. Fortunately for them I’m trying this new ZenFour-AgreementsHappiness Project thing so I maintained my composure and kept flipping through the photos.

You might ask … is this true? Do you eat a lot of chocolate? And … Yeah. Yeah I do. But people know better than to say something this stupid. But the fact that I eat truck loads of chocolate has nothing to do with my lonjas.You might think so, but it doesn’t I work out. I play sports. It has more to do with giving birth to a kid and my stomach not being what it used to be five years ago. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re 36.

HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm The Midriff Episode

I guess this all could have been avoided by wearing Spanx, but I really don’t see myself buying a pair of those things, unless I’m walking the red carpet. But after this little photo shoot, who knows, I might just pick me up a pair.

But then I saw something on television and realized, maybe I don’t need Spanx as much as I think I do. After watching a rerun of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I felt much better.  It was the Midriff Episode. It’s a pretty hilarious take on Larry’s new assistant and her being comfortable enough with her body image that she wears a short tight t-shirt that exposes her midriff. However, Larry being Larry makes this entire episode pretty funny. And it made me realize that I needed to relax. My lonjas are not that bad, and even though everyone else’s don’t show in the picture, everyone has them. They just had better clothes. So I embrace  my lonjas  … yes embrace them! But let’s not get crazy and have them make another appearance in a photo shoot. Note to self … work on that Red Carpet pose. No … scratch that … that’s not you. I’m more of the Heisman Trophy pose. Let’s try again … Note to self pick a different shirt. 100 percent cotton seems to work best. No blends.

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Happiness Project Update 3: I Don’t Fit Into Skinny Jeans, But I’m O.K. With That. I’m an Athlete With Curves.

18 Jun

Being able to fit into skinny jeans … for some chicks and dudes, this is a really important factor in life. It’s all about body image.

And in truth, physical appearance is what drives some people and maybe in high school it even drove me. Although I’m not so sure whether that statement is true considering the fact that I wore jeans and t-shirts throughout my adolescent and teenager existence. But then again I didn’t show up in Levis to the prom either. So physical appearance does matter, but not as much as physical wellness.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

This was my happiness challenge for the week. Physical wellness. In my quest to seek happiness during my current state of is-this-my-life malaise, I decided to concentrate on “wellness” this month. Last week I focused on spiritual wellness, this week I concentrated on physical wellness.

What is that for me?

Working out, feeling good, feeling healthy.

But considering that I’m training for a triathlon, I’d say this was a good week. In truth, even if I wasn’t preparing for a triathlon, exercise would still be a part of my life. The only thing is that I like to workout without having it seem like it’s exercise. I know it may sound confusing for people who love going to the gym and hanging out in the Nautilus section working out on the elliptical or StairMaster machines. But the actual act of exercising is not much fun.

I’m not a big fan of the “no pain, no gain” crap. If there is pain, it’s really my body’s way of telling me “hey jackass, cut it out or there will be consequences.” So I just do something else. There’s no need for pain. I have enough of that in life, no need to add it to my body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good workout, but I need something fun.

Playing basketball, swimming in a pool, playing tennis, kickboxing, playing soccer at the beach, or going to the batting cages are awesome activities that produce sweat. Plus, it’s not work, it’s fun.

I think that’s the key, at least for me.

During the week I was having one of those days — the kind that everyone has when they’ve reached their patience limit with every human being in sight, especially the ones related to you. And this crazy bad mood washed over me and there I was swimming in it. Drowning in fact. There was no use counting to ten or meditating on this one, I needed some physical wellness STAT!

So I busted out my Hapkido brown-belt skills and took to the punching bag. It was the most awesome fifteen minutes of the day. I had only slept four-and-a-half  hours that day, and for The Guat that’s not enough. That’s zombie, cruise-control function mode in the morning. But for some reason a surge of energy rose out of this fifteen-minute-Bruce-Lee moment. I was feeling so good about this that I went to the track and ran a couple of miles for my triathlon training regiment.

As I stood there hunched over, stretching out my quads, and sweat dripping from my forehead, the stress and anxiety evaporated. They seemed to have vacated The Guat planet.

And I felt much better for it. I know all the studies tell you the physical benefits of working out and how great it is for my heart, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, energy, and on the random parts of your muscular body which attack body fat, but I’m all for the happy moments it brought during meltdowns.

But the happy moments could’ve been from all that wellness my body was experiencing from the vitamins. I decided to also take vitamins. Doctor Oz says they’re good for you, and I like him. So I went crazy at the vitamin aisle at Costco. B-12 rocks, as does the rest of the vitamin alphabet in this Nature Made Super B-Complex. I’m a fan of calcium and glucosamine, too. Apparently they help out my bones, which is necessary for the physical wellness factor.

So with the sports workouts and crazy vitamin surge I’d say this week was pretty good in contributing to squeeze more juice out of the lemon. I still don’t fit into skinny jeans, but I’m O.K. with that. I’m an athlete. I’m skinny enough, and I’ve got curves.

My Warrior Update #8 … Surprises

12 Mar

How you gonna change on me? I’ve been mentally and physically preparing my muscles for these obstacles? I’ve been training them not to fall down certain ways, because you know I can fall all kinds of ways … it’s the Guat in me. And now, I’m going to have to retrain these Guat muscles. It’s not easy people. Gravity is a powerful thing and then you’re gonna throw in five new obstacles in the mix that gives gravity an even bigger advantage? I can only do so many push-ups and squats.  Let’s not get crazy. 

But at least I’ve got about two more weeks. Warrior challenge indeed. The unexpected always happens. That’s a given … that happens all the time in every aspect of my life past and present … motherhood, sports writer, substitute teacher, designated driver, etc…. Expect the unexpected and then train like hell.

I’m glad I checked the Warrior Dash home page this week. Otherwise I would have been in for a surprise when I ran into the Road Rage, Vertical Limit, Barricade Breakdown, Great Warrior Wall, and Capsized Catamaran obstacles.

I think I’m gonna need more Glucosamine.

It seems that a few of them I can handle with ease. Road Rage has me “stampeding through a scrap yard of rusted wreckage.” I can stomp. I can climb cars. I can slide over the hoods. I’ve seen Dukes of Hazzard. This is one is not too bad.

In Vertical Limit I’m “scaling to the summit and sliding down the vertical drop.” I’m rock climbing basically. However, no harnesses or ropes attached to my body. But I’ve seen Sylvester Stallone‘s Cliffhanger…I’ll be fine. I’ve rock climbed before, so this one seems all right. I just need to remember to bring my Hapkido/Kung Fu grip so I don’t fall backwards. Thank God I don’t believe in manicures, I’ll be able to hold on tight without worrying about my Lee Press-On Nails.

 In Barricade Breakdown it’s pretty much hurdling over barricades and then trying not to breakdown as I crawl in the mud under barbed wire. I used to run hurdles in high schools. I know, I know with my falling record you would think, why? But sometimes you have to face fear head on. Did I fall? Plenty of times. Did I get back up? Yeah. I had to finish. So I’m no stranger to pain. Hurdling won’t be a problem. I didn’t break any school records, but I was a pretty quick Guat.

 The Great Warrior Wall seems like the Deadman’s Drop. Climbing a ginormous wooden barricade and then dropping or sliding down. I think they just put this one in so that your arms could feeeeeeeeeeeeeeel the burn as they hoist you and all your poundage up and over. I think I’m gonna drop and give myself 20 as soon as I finish this post. Just so my arms get used to feeling like jello after all the burn.

Last but not least is Capsized Catamaran. This one replaced a tall climb where waterfalls constantly splashed over you, like a hurricane. This substitution is unfortunate for me because the new challenge is a bitch.

I’m a little scared. It requires me to “swim, climb, stumble, and swim.” That’s a lot for one obstacle. And it’s the swimming. I’m not the best swimmer. I’m like my Dad … I’m a floater who splashes. The only way I can swim is the backstroke. When I did the triathlon I “backstroked” the entire swim. It’s the only way I made it, but this was in an Olympic-sized pool. The Warrior Dash will have murky waters and crowds of people rushing, swimming the normal way. I think I need to see where I’m going, can’t be swimming backwards. Maybe it won’t be a real swim, maybe I can tread water.

Definitely more Glucosamine needed … that and push-ups. 

Giddy up!

I Have The Music in Me … Sometimes a Little Bit Too Much

17 Feb

 A friend recently asked me why I didn’t use music when I worked out. She told me that studies say music was supposed to pump you up when you worked out. She’s the friend that constantly gives me information on what studies say, but never tells me where it was studied and who studied it. It sounds official I guess…studies say. I think I’m going to start using that just randomly … like studies say chocolate is good for weight loss. Stuff like that.

English: iPod line, September 2010

Image via Wikipedia

 

Anyhow I explained to her that there were two types of work-outs: the gym and the Great Outdoors. Since I am economically challenged at the moment, I exercise surrounded by mother nature. If I was at the gym I would probably use some sort of musical device MP3 player, iPod, Walkman maybe. If you can believe it, I still have one. But since I workout outdoors, it is a non issue.

She asks whether or not I get tired faster with no music, whether my energy level trickles down to low.

There are three reasons why I can’t work out with music. One: crazy slasher Jack-the-Ripper attackers. As I mentioned before I grew up in a tough inner-city neighborhood and whether you’re on the sidewalk or on the track you don’t want music blasting in your ears. I need to be aware of my surroundings and can’t have some pervert sneaking up on me. I’ve got to have all my senses on alert day or night. Especially if I decide to go hiking. Someone can come from behind and just throw me off the cliff and be off with my merengue playlist. Or if I do get attacked I might end up killing the dude with my Hapkido skills and then I get arrested. Not cool.

Second: I’m doing the Warrior Dash. There’s mud and murky waters involved. That music device will drown. And on top of that I’ll need to stay focused as all my energy will be directed to keeping my balance throughout many obstacles. I can’t concentrate while JJ Fad‘s Supersonic or Slick Rick‘s Children’s Story is blasting in my ear. I’m the kind of person who has to lower the volume on the radio when I’m parking into a tight spot. Concentration is essential, especially for this race.

Third: I’ve got the music in me…sometimes a little bit too much. It’s dangerous. One minute I’m sprinting down the field, the next I’m dancing like Bruno Mars at the Grammys. I got the old school in me. I got funk. I got merengue. I got cumbias … La Sonora Dinamita … watch out. I hear the trumpets, the tambores, the timbales, guacharaca, and then … that cow bell. It’s on. My New Balance shoes stop running and my hips start to swivel. I’m like a washing machine swishing myself down the track. There’s no running. The power of Capullo y Sorullo and Mi Cucu put an end to that. There’s arm pumping, hip swaying, fine footwork, the shoulder shimmy and sweet spin moves. I tried running two miles with music and instead I danced my way around 800 meters. It’s like I was  performing on Sabado Gigante.

So needless to say at the moment I need to stay focused. If it was a triathlon … maybe I’d consider music, but this Warrior Dash is serious. Sometimes I’ve just got too much rhythm.

Giddy up!

My Warrior Update #4 … An Unexpected Side Effect

13 Feb

All right. All right. All right. Weight Watcher, Jenny Craig and The Biggest Loser people don’t be upset. It just happened. I didn’t mean for it, I didn’t plan on it. It just happened. I know that’s sounds like a line from Melrose Place, Dallas, or Dynasty. But it’s the truth. I don’t blame you for being upset. I’d get upset at writers who say “yeah it just happened. I didn’t plan on it, but it just fell into my lap and I got a chance to write an episode of Mad Men and now I have an Emmy.” And here I am still a struggling writer.

What is that?

Ugh.

I completely understand if you send me hate mail. But just don’t get crazy.

In all this training and muscle pumping for The Warrior Dash, it didn’t even occur to me that I’d be losing weight. It was an unexpected side effect, like hair loss. But apparently this side effect is good for your health. I didn’t plan on it, but there it was … ten pounds lighter and counting. My face is slender, my arms are sculpted, and my legs are toned. But if it makes you feel better my pants are still tight and my stomach muscles do not resemble a six-pack at all.

I didn’t think of my workouts as weight-loss workouts but more of don’t-fall-on-your-face-at-the-race workouts — conditioning so that I’d outrun the sixty-year old Ironman chick racing beside me. I guess the anticipation of competition just pushed me. I don’t want to be last. And that’s how it happened. I lost weight the sneaky way. But losing weight or going down a dress size (even though I don’t wear dresses I’ve gone down a size, so if I chose to I could wear a smaller one) was not my ultimate goal.  Surviving those crazy obstacles in one piece is my main concern.

Stuff like the “Teetering Traverse” … yeah that definitely requires something. In this obstacle I’m supposed to teeter my way through a soaring track. Teeter … move unsteadily or unsurely … wobble. I’m supposed to wobble across a series of boards … like walking the plank multiple times. However, before reaching this test I’d run about a mile and hopefully survived a handful of obstacles.

Teetering … my whole life is teetering. You’d think I’d be good at that…but balance is not my strongest suit as many of you know… I’m a professional “faller” — forwards, backwards, up and down. I’m sure if I put my mind to it, I could remember falling sideways too.

Yoga … I should take up yoga.