Scary Stuff. Or, Get the Hell Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Here’s a secret: I’m terrified of mold. Isn’t that absurd? Me, the girl who bravely faced down a most disgusting shower drain full of mold-covered long girly hair while my college housemates stood a safe distance back, gagging. I pulled that nasty crap out of the drain and was the hero of my house! We didn’t have to shower in ankle deep water anymore! I’m not sure when things changed, but I seriously cannot approach anything that I even think might have mold on it. (That’s what I have a husband for, after all.)

But, this post isn’t about mold. It’s about shit that terrifies me. Here’s something that makes me shake in my boots:

box jumps

I wish this were me! This is a fellow Tuff Girl seriously rocking some up and overs. You can’t actually see me in this picture because I’m curled up the fetal position crying. Not really. But seriously.

Yes, I am afraid of the step. We use them for box jumps, and up and overs, and a bunch of other crazy stuff and I am always shaking in my boots, expecting to go crashing off the side of the step and land on the floor in a big fat heap. Back in the day, I did just such a thing at a step aerobics class. And apparently, I’ve never quite gotten over it.

Here’s the deal, though, peeps: I refuse to let my fear get in my way. Do I let it make me feel like I might vomit? Yes. Do I let it push my heart rate to an even more accelerated level than it would have been from the actual exercise? Absolutely. Do I let the fear make me tinkle just a little bit? Sometimes. (Listen, this stuff happens after you’ve had a few kids. Get over it.)

But I refuse to let the fear stop me anymore. Ever.

Shall I list some more workout related things I am afraid of? Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll be happy to:

  • Pull ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Mountain climbers on disks
  • Mountain climbers on the TRX (are you noticing a pattern here?)
  • Sumo deadlifts
  • Surrenders
  • Ladders, most especially the ascending kind
  • Stair sprints

This could go on for awhile, but I feel as though I’ve made my point aplenty. Basically, there is something in every workout that makes me want to barf just thinking about it. Why do these things make me so skerred? Really, it’s about the potential to fail. The potential to look like an idiot. The potential to make a fool of myself in front of a bunch of other people. Obviously, these are the exercises that are the hardest for me, and so I am afraid to look ridiculous trying to do them.

I do them anyway.

Christa is always telling us that change only happens outside of your comfort zone. Were truer words ever spoken? I had gotten waaaaaay to comfortable with my life before, and I was afraid of EVERYTHING. Of people, of social situations, of exercise, of putting myself out there. You name it, I feared it. It was crippling me in every aspect of my life. My comfort zone was pretty much my house, and it was lonely and sad. Professionally, I was settling.

Since I’ve decided to acknowledge my fear, shake its hand and bid it good morning, and then proceed to steamroll right through it, I’ve done things I’m so proud of, that I never thought I could accomplish. I’ve lifted heavier weights than I thought possible, and pushed through intervals that I thought I could never finish without catching my breath.

In my work life, I walked away from a paying job when we really couldn’t afford for me to because it wasn’t for me. It sucked, actually. Guess what? When I refused to settle, I ultimately found something perfect for me, making way more money.

In my personal life, I have sought out friends and developed an amazing support system of awesome women that I love. My marriage is better than it’s ever been, and I’ve faced penis and vagina and sex talks with my kids head on without batting an eyelash.

Am I still afraid? Hell, yes. I wouldn’t be human if I weren’t afraid of stuff. But I’m not letting the fear stop me…EVER AGAIN.


Being the One Who Got Fat.

Be honest. If you were going to attend your 20 year high school reunion, what would you rather be?

  • The one who lost his/her job
  • The one who went to jail
  • The one who got fat
  • The one who died (okay, you wouldn’t actually be attending, but let’s not linger over the details)

I read a study/blog/article/something or other once that said that there was a significant number of women who would rather be dead than fat. (As you can see, I am committed to providing you with completely reliable and specific facts.)

You know it’s true, though, even though I don’t have the exact details. Watch any stupid movie about reunions, or mean girls, or any girls, and the cardinal sin is always being the one who got fat.

Hi. I’m the one who got fat.

I wasn’t fat all my life, I wasn’t an unpopular nerd in high school, I wasn’t an outcast or anything like that. But here I am now. And I’ve spent about 7 out of my 10 years as a fat girl trying to hide that from anyone who knew me when I wasn’t one. It is a sad and shameful way to live.

Why do we do this? Why did I do this? The fact that I gained all this weight does not make me a bad person, or less smart, cool or generally awesome. But I let it. I let it define me for so many years and, even as I got bigger, I became smaller and smaller inside. It. SUCKED. It still does.

So I have a post brewing about scary shit that I do to make sure I don’t live in my comfort zone too often…and one of these things is joining Karin’s new dance crew. I almost didn’t do it. It’s terrifying! Why do I want to be the fat girl on a dance crew? I don’t! But I knew that I wanted to do it, and that I had to make the commitment and set it as a goal. Then she created a FB group for dance crew peeps, and lo and behold I saw a girl I went to HS with on the list.

I’m not going to lie. I kind of panicked. I hadn’t seen this person in 20+ years. And, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m fat. I’m not proud of this; I’ve worked so hard over the last few years to change the way I view myself and know that even though I’m not where I want to be yet, that I am getting there. But I was totally thrown by having to see her.

I had no reason to believe that she would be unkind to me, and of course she wasn’t. She’s a lovely person and she gave me a big hug and asked me about my 2 kids and why I joined the dance crew, etc. You know, general catching up like normal people do.

Obviously, the problem lies with me. I have actually hidden from people I know when I’ve spotted them out in public–nice folks that I would be happy to catch up with and who likely wouldn’t likely bat an eyelash at my changed appearance. But I would imagine what they were thinking…”Oh, it’s Steph, she’s cool but MAN did she get fat! How did she let that happen? What a shame.”

Maybe some of them would think that. But who knows? Either way, it’s my hangup and I have to deal with it.

The other day, I told a friend about my interaction with the girl from HS, and how scared I was to see her, how I imagined her thinking, Why would she join the dance crew when she got so fat?

This friend looked me in the eye and said it didn’t matter, it was what was on the inside that was most important. I immediately tripped and nearly fell, generally making an ass of myself. Then I thanked her, because she was right, of course.

I know she is right. I know that I have some pretty swell stuff inside of me. I have a great job where people love me and my boss praises me and my contributions on a regular basis. I have good friends who like and respect me. I have created a fantastic family with a supportive and adoring husband, and we have two fun, cool, respectful and fairly well behaved kids. I volunteer; I make a difference in my community.

But still…but still. Being fit and LOOKING fit are two different things. I am fit right now. Like, seriously fit. Probably I could kick your ass. (Unless you’re one of my trainers, and in that case, Hi guys! See you soon!) But anyone I saw in the store would never know I heft 30lb weights in an exploding shoulder press.

What I need, what I want, for myself (and, yes, for the world to see) is for the outside to match the inside. Because really, being the one who got fat sucks. But guess what? Being the one who is super thin but a total weakling ALSO SUCKS. But being the one who can rock deadhang pullups and do burpees all day long, well that’s pretty awesome. And that’s where I’m headed.

In media res

If I kept waiting to start this blog, I would never start this blog. The problem is, I’m starting in the middle of things, but I can’t let that hold me back anymore. I. AM. STARTING. THIS. BLOG. RIGHT. NOW.

It’s the “do it now” attitude that got me just over 9 weeks into my “personal transformation journey” thus far. (Note to self: That sounds ridiculous. I will think of something better soon. Possibly “Journey into Badassery”. Must consider.)

So, yeah, here’s the deal: I’m fat. I mean, for now. And you might want to know what exactly I am in the middle of, I imagine. Clean eating and working my ass off. Literally.

So far I’m down about 18lbs, give or take, but I’m so much stronger than I was 9 weeks ago. I didn’t just start working out, but I did just start getting my shit together with my food, and that’s what is different this time; the combination of those 2 things for the long haul. Because I love food and am one of those people that lives to eat. But here I am, taking responsibility and owning my choices. Like I said, getting my shit together.

You know the old expression, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Well, I’ve fallen about a gazillion times. This is me, getting up again for the gazillion and one-th time.

My story isn’t so unlike lots of other women’s. I’ve always struggled with food, and have been both anorexic and bulimic throughout my teen years and 20’s. I got pregnant with my first child in 2001, and then the pendulum swung waaaaaaay in the opposite direction. I started eating and didn’t stop.

During my pregnancy, I gained over seventy pounds. My husband was politely surprised. My doctor was chagrined. My son was born. And I was fat. YAAAAY! Oh, wait…

Yes, I lost some of the weight. But then I gained it back and then some. Then lost a little bit. Then had my daughter and gained even more. Lost about 30, gained back 20. And on, and on, and on. Raise your hand if you’ve been there. If you are there. If you’ve tried every ridiculous fad diet because it sounded like a quick and easy fix (even though your good sense told you it was crap) and gave any crazy exercise plan a halfhearted shot, only to forget about it a month later because it was a load of nonsense. (*waves back* Hi there! It’s great to meet you!)

Two years ago, I started working out with an amazing, kick ass trainer, Christa Doran of <a href=””>Tuff Girl Fitness</a> (and I certainly wouldn’t want to forget the equally awesome Mike Doran and Karin Christley–my other trainers! You’ll hear me talk about them a lot. I love them, even when I hate them. Like this morning when I hated Mike because of how hard he pushed me during pull-ups. I needed it, but I hated it at the moment.)

Anyway, I started working out with Christa in spring of 2010. I lost 45 pounds over 5 months of hard workouts and changing my eating habits a bit. Just a bit, though. I was also training for a triathlon at the time. I felt like I was on top of the world when I crossed that finish line! There is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you meet a goal you worked hard to reach.

And then I stagnated. I got complacent. Yes, I had completed a triathlon, but then what? A big fat nothing, that’s what. I stopped losing weight even though I was still working out. I was fit and strong, and getting stronger all the time, but I was still fat.

The food. The goddamned food.

So over the last year and a half, I’ve lost and gained the same 15 pounds twice. Really, I’ve just been jerking around, thinking that as long as I’m working out as hard as I do 3+ times a week, I’m pretty healthy and fit and it’s okay.


My son just celebrated his 10th birthday. And it hit me, I HAVE BEEN FAT FOR 10 YEARS. A decade. Almost a quarter of my life. It hit me hard. I am so sick of being fat. I am so sick of being judged by how I look by people who are not fat, but whose asses I could handily kick in a burpee or deadlift contest. I am so sick of telling myself that eventually I will lose this weight, because it’s bullshit. I am sick of my outside not matching my inside, and I am committed to putting in the sweat and sacrifice over the long haul to make that happen. It’s all within my grasp, and I’m taking it. I am standing up again, and fighting harder than ever.

So that’s what’s going on, and this is me. Committed to not making any more excuses. Committed to being less of a fat girl, and more of a fit girl. Committed to clean and healthy eating, 90% of the time or more, and serious badass workouts at least 4 times a week. Hopefully 5 times a week soon enough.

And now that I’ve started the blog, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. See you at my lunch break tomorrow.