Oh, life balance. Why do you elude me?

This is not me...because I am not a mannequin. But I do wish I had a purse like that.

This is not me…because I am not a mannequin. But I do wish I had a purse like that.

Because seriously, I am trying. This journey to badassery is just one piece of the somewhat absurd juggling act I call my life.

I’ve been trying to determine what it looks like to me to create balance with respect to my fitness journey, especially in the last few months following a little eye opening ” incident” I had.

Let me take you back to October…Sunday, October 14, to be exact.

I was at dance crew rehearsal, just shy of a week short of our first performance. I was definitely anxious about the performance, what with all my monumental “fat girl on the stage” fears.

As we were talking about expectations for the day of the performance–when to arrive, how everything would flow, etc.–Karin mentioned that we shouldn’t train on the day of the show. And then I did something I’m not proud of.

I kinda flipped out.

In my head, I frantically ran through my week’s schedule, trying to figure out when I would fit in a fifth training session if not Saturday morning, and coming up with nothing. The resulting panic I started to experience, and the way I behaved because of it, kind of embarrasses me now.

In a shrill voice, I questioned Karin. “Why? Why can’t I train in the morning? It’s hours and hours before the show! Why can’t I? When will I work out otherwise?”

Even as I sit here typing, recalling the way I interrogated my beloved trainer and friend in such a crazy and desperate way, I’m cringing.

I went on to alternate between anger and mounting panic for the rest of the rehearsal. I didn’t have any fun at rehearsal that night, which is just plain stupid, because dance crew rehearsal is my one thing that I do just for me because it brings me joy. That night, I wasted it.

This, my friends, is not indicative of balance.



Yes, I want and need to be committed to a consistent training schedule. But panicking, freaking out, and generally acting like a big fat crazyass because one week I trained four times instead of five? Not cool.

Balance in all aspects of my life is a huge issue for me. I am passionate about so many things, but struggle to find that perfect mix. And, as you may already have realized if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I ask a lot of myself, so that kinda adds to the pressure.

On any given day, there are a gazillion and one demands and questions vying for attention in my oft-addled brain. Here’s a sample, just off the top of my head:

  • Am I eating too much? Am I eating enough? Am I eating the right foods? I know they’re not the right foods, but why the hell are nachos and Oreos so delicious? I mean, really?
  • Why is my house such a disaster? Will I ever be able to keep it regularly clean? Or possibly afford a housekeeper?
  • How can I be a better mom/wife/sister/friend/daughter/member of my church community/co-worker/human being? Am I raising good kids? Am I making a difference for my family/in the community/in the world?
  • Seriously, why does my daughter throw her shit all over the house? (Oh, I think I just answered my second question…)
  • I wish I didn’t have so many commitments.
  • I wish I didn’t have so many pets. Wait, that’s a lie. I really do like my pets, but GOD, there are just so MANY of them!
  • Maybe I’ll ask my co-worker to train me in Photoshop. That would be a good skill.
  • Shit, I have to make a dentist appointment. I freakin hate the dentist.
  • Oh, that reminds me that my son needs braces. Better get those in the budget.
  • Did I turn the damned crock pot on this morning?
  • Did I pay the cable bill yet? Didn’t we say we were going to drop to basic and get rid of our land line? Are we still doing that?
  • Did I work out hard enough today? I felt like I was dying, and I kinda still do, but now I’m wondering if I could have done more.
  • How can I better support my husband at his new job?
  • Speaking of my husband, we haven’t had a date night in like forever. I wonder if I can get a sitter this weekend. Oh, wait, we can’t this weekend. Next weekend? Nope, not gonna work either. UGH!
  • Oh, hell, the hamper is overflowing again.
  • Am I stunting my children’s social lives by not making more playdates? Should I examine the possibility that I don’t make more playdates simply because of my utter loathing of the word “playdate”? Oh, God, I’m a terrible mother.
  • I should call my dad today.
  • I should call my mom today.
  • How can I be more organized? How can I teach my kids to be more organized?
  • Maybe I should start a Pinterest page for the Fit Fat Girl.
  • Maybe I’ll just watch Castle now.
  • Maybe I’ll clean up a little.
  • No, I really should be working!
  • Sonofabitch, I forgot to send the wrapped shoe box with a hole cut in the top for my daughter’s class Valentines. Along with additional materials for her to decorate it with. Why was that supposed to be in TODAY when Valentine’s Day is more than a week from now?!? Now she also needs 2 bags of mini marshmallows and “a hundred of something” by Friday. BLURG!

I definitely could have gone on for awhile, but I’ll spare you more of my madness. I’m pretty sure you get the point, and it’s definitely NOT that I have ADD. What I do have is a set of overly high expectations for myself and a very full plate…just like most of the awesome women I know. (Holla if you feel me!)

So this journey to badassery is a lifestyle–a lifestyle of doing the best I can with what I have where I am. And the fitness piece of the journey is just one aspect for me–a very important aspect, but just one.

If there are weeks when I can only work out four times, it’s not going to make or break anything. It just is.

If there are weeks when my nutrition is not optimal because of life madness or bad choices, ok. I’ll pick up and move on.

If the house isn’t “drop-by visitor ready” at every moment, so be it. (Please don’t drop by. Like, ever. I need at least 1 hours’ notice before any visitors arrive.)

This is life, peeps. And I’ve gotta make sure I’m actually LIVING it, not just enslaving myself to some absurd set of standards I’ve created in my head.

Balance, Daniel-san.

So going back to my no-workout-on-performance-day freakout…in the end, it was no big thang that I missed a workout on the day of the performance. (Duh, the outcome any reasonable person could have expected.)

In fact, by the end of the day, I had no recollection of even being concerned about missing a workout. I was on a total high from the performance itself…and the amazing unexpected outcome was my six-year-old daughter’s undying admiration after seeing me out on that dance floor. She was absolutely amazed and awed, and couldn’t believe that her mom was so cool (and neither could I, to be honest!) THAT was way better than any workout.

So I may forget stuff, I may not always have time for everything I want to do, and sometimes I may have to change my expectations.

I may teeter and stumble along this tightrope walk that I call my life’s journey.

I am far from perfect.

But as I struggle to meet all of my obligations, check off my to-dos, and work towards my goals, I must remember to enjoy it.

I can’t get caught up in the details when life offers me a chance to just live.

And I’m pretty sure THAT’s my definition of balance.






In Which I Live My Personal Nightmare: An Extended Metaphor

It was just an ordinary Tuesday morning, on my way to 6am class with Mike to lift some heavy shit and generally be a badass. You know, whatevs.

When suddenly, the powers of the universe turned against me and this happened:

*Disclaimer: I did not actually take this photo. But this is very nearly what I saw.

*Disclaimer: I did not actually take this photo. But this is very nearly what I saw.

Seriously, out of nowhere. One second, no snow. And the next…

And I turned into a whimpering lameass, just like that.

So ok, here’s the deal: I consider myself a reasonably courageous person. I push to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. I don’t hate snow or anything, and I *can* drive in the snow.

But…I am freaking terrified of driving in the snow. TERRIFIED. Like, literally white knuckles on the steering wheel, stiff back, every muscle clenched.

It is my kryptonite, probably because of a few car-losing-control-in-snow-or-ice-holy-shit-we-are-all-going-to-die experiences from way back when. I avoid driving in snowy or–god forbid!–icy weather at all costs, especially when there are hills involved.

My drive to the gym involves going down a very large hill on a highway. I have unabashedly cancelled workouts because of weather due to my crippling fear of driving on this hill in snow or ice.

So you can imagine my terror (yes, terror–go ahead and laugh at me for being a lameass, but it is true) when I got caught in what I can only call a “flash blizzard” en route to my workout.

I literally could not see the road in front of me. I was on a stretch of the highway with a 3+ mile space between exits, and the next exit was, of COURSE, at the bottom of the aforementioned terrifying hill.

I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t keep going. I COULDN’T EFFING SEE THE ROAD!

I whimpered a little. I may have even sobbed a bit. This was my nightmare, people. It was 5:45 and still dark, and the snow was, like, EVERYWHERE.

I considered my options:

1) Just sit there, stopped on the side of the highway, until it cleared and I could see better. And the trucks came to plow. Or someone came to rescue me. (This option would likely include more sobbing).

2) Keep going. (Let’s face it, this option would likely also include more sobbing.)

I’m proud to say that it only took me about 30 seconds to discard option 1 as completely lame and out of character.

So I sucked it up. I kept going.

I kept going VERY slowly, and driving on the divots in the side of the road–you know, the ones that make that annoying loud noise when you start to veer off the lane–because at least if I could hear that noise, I knew I was going in a straight line.

Of course I had to keep going, because by the time I got to the next exit I would have already done the hardest part–the hill. And once I got down the hill, there was no point in turning around and heading home.

So even as I’m writing this, I feel sort of ridiculous. It all sounds very dramatic. (Of course, if you know me at all by now, you know this is partly just me.) But even for ME, it’s dramatic and definitely so lame.

But we all have our fears that seem absurd and make us feel like total pathetic wimps. This is mine (well, I also have an almost-as-crippling fear of mold, but we can talk about that another day).

Pathetic wimp that I was, I put on my hazards and crawled down that hill at like 10mph. More whimpering occurred, along with some praying, and the full expectation that at any moment I could and most certainly would lose control, slide over the side and pitch down the mountain in my crappy little car.

Dramatic? Yes.

Real fear? Definitely.

Obviously, I made it and lived to tell the tale. I was only a couple of minutes late for class, and still kinda shaking when I got there. I’m not proud, but against my will, I had to face this kinda ridiculous fear and push past it. Because chances are, if I had known about the “flash blizzard,” I wouldn’t have left my cozy bed.

It’s a good lesson…

Thanks, MT.

Thanks, MT.

But I think there’s more to my little story than just the fear aspect. I really thought about it after, about what it was like sitting on the side of that road, trying to decide what to do, where to go from there.

I didn’t think I could go forward. I couldn’t turn back. I had no one but myself to rely on at that moment, and I had to dig deep, regardless of how silly the fear might have seemed to my rational mind.

At the end of my workout, I left the gym sweaty and feeling badass again. When I walked outside, the sky was perfectly clear as the sun came up. Like the little flash blizzard had never even happened. Son of a bitch.

Even when you think you can’t go forward, turning back isn’t the answer either. Weather the storm; it’ll be worth it.

It’s a pretty sweet metaphor. I’ll let you ruminate.

2012 Wrap Up and Stuff

So it’s 2013 and, Happy New Year, yo!

I try not to make too big a deal out of the new year because I want to make sure I remember that really, any day is a fine day for a new start. I used to be one of those peeps to make excuses about “waiting for the new year” just to procrastinate on any given goal I might want to achieve when I was, in fact, perfectly capable of starting to achieve the goal like, right now.

But it’s still true that we just finished a busy holiday season and the calendar change does provide a good opportunity to assess where we were, where we are, and where we want to be. Let the assessment begin!!!

I was just thinking about this today…specifically, where I was a year ago. Between me and you (and the entire interwebs, I guess), the truth is that last January I was inĀ  a very, very dark place. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I wasn’t working, after leaving a job that was a terrible fit. This terrible job was one I took after much deliberation about whether I should leave my previous job that I loved and hated in equal parts. I had no love at all for the terrible job. It sucked in every way possible and was soooooo the wrong place for me. I knew at the time that leaving this awful horrible j-o-b was the right thing to do, but as three months passed with no offers–including a job opportunity for which I put in more than 60 hours of work to prepare a kick-ass presentation, and got the “wink, wink…nudge, nudge” from the selection committee, only to get a big, fat “no thank you” middle finger a week later–I was really started to feel regretful about leaving the first job, and generally worthless for being totally unemployable and a complete loser. It is a horrible, horrible feeling.
  • I had just lost my aunt. On Christmas Day. Enough said.
  • I was turning to food to cope with my grief, sadness, and feelings of worthlessness (see bullet 1). The more I ate, the worse I felt…causing me to eat more. I starting no showing for workouts, making me feel even worse (and subsequently eating more…you get it.) Instead of fulfilling my goal of continuing to lose, I was gaining back. More serious suckage.

So for these crappy reasons, I was in a place where I felt like I was letting everyone down, including myself.

I was failing my family financially.

I was failing my friends by withdrawing.

I was failing myself in pretty much every way I could think of.

No matter what I did, I felt like I couldn’t climb out of the huge hole of sadness and alternating self-pity/loathing I found myself in.

Life sucked a year ago. Or at least, I was making it suck by my pitifulness. (I just made that word up.)

In my case, a year made a huge difference, and I am grateful for the changes I made in that year.

It was a year of hard work, persistence, and focus.

up and over high

Not a year of perfection, by any means, but a year of decent progress on many fronts.

A year where I truly came to appreciate how lucky I am to have amazing, wonderful people in my life to support me and keep me on the straight and narrow.

A year in which we took an amazeballs cruise–paid off completely in advance (a financial goal, MET)–and it was pretty much the best. vacation. ever. With seriously awesome peeps. (Heart.)

disney cruise vacation

Seriously. Amazeballs.

A year in which I landed myself a job that was waaaaaay better than anything I had applied for previously. I just had to wait it out for the opportunity that was juuuust right for me. (The waiting sucks, though.) In this job, I am recognized for my value and in 2013, I am looking at a promotion and a pretty sweet raise. Ka-ching!

2012 was a year where I steamrolled my fear of being seen as the “fat girl on the stage” and did this:


and this:



So I set some goals, I reached some goals. Others took longer than I expected but I kept the momentum going.

In 2012, I started this blog, and, even though from October on I struggled to find time to keep up with it, I put myself out there, got some interest from all you delightful people, and knew in the back of my mind that I would be back when life calmed down a bit again. (Here I am, and howdy!)

All in all, it’s a year I can be proud of. And I am proud! I rocked a lot of shit this year! (How about you??? What did you rock in 2012? Share in comments or on FB!)

But let us not rest on our laurels. That is so NOT what being a badass is about.

So, the big question is, WHAT NOW? It’s 2013. What’s next? What challenges and goals do we want to rip the heads off of this year?

Honestly, I’ve been struggling to create my goals for this year, so I guess I have to take my own advice and go back to the drawing board. I want them to be specific, and attainable, but still challenging enough to be scary and shove me out of my comfort zone.

So I’ve got some work to do.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, either share your 2013 goals with me and the peeps, or take some time to do your own work on creating badass goals so we can make 2013 as awesome as 2012.

Picture Time!

So just for fun, I thought I’d hit you with a quick photo comparison.

Me, about 4-ish months ago

Me, just this morning












Two disclaimers here:

1. DO NOT make fun of my hair. I wake up at 4:45am to work out, people. Good hair is not required.Come work out with me and we’ll see how pretty YOUR hair looks. (And if you do work out with me this early, your hair is lovely. It always looks much better than mine.)

2. I am pretty much wearing the exact same outfit. Shirts are same brand, style and size, and I’m wearing my fave workout pants in both pics.

Overall, I think this looks like decent progress!

While I am not falling out of my seat in amazement at a remarkable transformation, it’s a pretty damned respectable difference for four months of hard work. And, the good news is, because I am adopting healthy lifestyle habits, the change is slow but PERMANENT.

I like being impermanently fat. And less fat every day.

Gratitude, clarification, and a bit about a dead guy.

So, first things first.

You all should know how much I love you. I try to thank you on a regular basis. I’m doing it again, today, right now. I was so completely bowled over by the comments and outreach–both public and private–that yesterday’s post inspired, and once again I am grateful for all of you wonderful people who buoy me up on a regular basis. You really are my lifeline on this sometimes miserable journey.

Catlike gratitude goes well with catlike badassery.

I do want to take a second to clear up one or two things, though.

First and foremost, I have no intention of quitting. Not even for a second did I consider it.

That’s what I’m talking about.

I may be tired…physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted on this journey. But there isn’t a chance in hell that I’m stopping. I’m. Not. Finished.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to get frustrated. It doesn’t mean I won’t bitch or whine sometimes. It doesn’t mean every workout is going to be my best, and it doesn’t mean I won’t have moments when a caramel apple IS more important than my goals. Yeah, I said it. So what? It doesn’t mean I’ll quit, and in the long run, not letting a caramel apple (or two or three or seven) be the reason I give up is why I’m ultimately going to succeed.

caramel apples

Soon, my delicious friends. Soon.

I have no delusions that I will never have a treat. I have no delusions that I will look like a fitness model before Thanksgiving. And I have no delusions that I am special or different than anyone else–I know that I am only human and will flounder and struggle from time to time. I’ve been anorexic, bulimic, underweight, overweight, on the wagon, off the wagon, and under the wagon.

THIS IS DIFFERENT. It’s a lifestyle change, and my eyes are wide open as to the challenges I’ll face, and the commitments and sacrifices I’ll have to keep making. Over and over and over.

lifestyle change


Sometimes, that sucks. Let’s face it, a lot of the time, that sucks. Yesterday, it sucked BIG TIME, and I had a little tantrum. I kicked and screamed about how unfair it was that I wasn’t losing faster, that I had to work SO hard for SO long and still see such excruciatingly incremental progress.

When I started this blog, I committed 100% to making it an honest account of my journey, the good, the bad, the ridiculous, the miserable, the uplifting, and the absurd. If I didn’t write what I did yesterday, I would have given up on the commitment I made to myself.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read or care. That wasn’t the point, although I hoped at least a few cool peeps (like you!) would. It was more for accountability to myself.

But a bunch of you awesome badasses–some friends near and dear and some folks I’ve never even met–actually are reading, so now I’m accountable to you, too. So you’re going to get the highest highs, the lowest lows, and all the mediocre in-betweeny stuff. It may not always be what you want to hear, and it more often will be stuff I wish I didn’t have to tell you (like about the Cheeto incident of Sunday afternoon…) but it will always be authentically what I feel at the moment I write it.

Allow me to quote my old pal Emerson, a famous dead guy that I think had some swell ideas, even if he was a little arrogant…

emerson consistency

Absorb. Emerson was a heavy dude.

I will be genuine in every word on this blog, in the moment I write it. Even if the next day, I say something completely different.

Today, I feel much better about this journey, mostly thanks to you. I’m so grateful.

Shedding Some Unwanted Pounds

This post is about flab. Metaphorical blubber, I mean. That hypothetical muffin top that keeps drawing your attention and reminding you how much farther you have to go instead of letting you focus on how amazing your arms look.

I’ve written about this before, sort of. But it’s become a theme for me, and a huge challenge.

This post is also about haters. I say this only because I kind of like that word; it makes me feel a little like a hip hop badass to throw it around, AND there are some hilarious images to be found on Pinterest when one searches “haters.” Like this one:

hater cat

Look at this badass cat!

This cat rocks. Look at him. He’s like the freakin’ honey badger. He don’t give a shit about haters. He’s just that awesome. Why can’t I be more like this cat? Granted, I would prefer not to have to lick myself clean, but I would really like to adopt his attitude a little bit more wholeheartedly into my life, toward the “haters” and toward all the other crap that I allow to come between me and my badassery.

So, let’s talk about this unwanted fat in our lives. For me, there are two kinds of figurative chubbiness that I would like to shave off my figure: toxic people (the haters, yo!) and overcommitments.

Let’s start with the people. Ahhhh, the people.

Like I’ve said before, my life is bursting with amazing people that support me, laugh with (and at!) me, push me to be my best, cheer me on, and keep me going when I want to give up. (I bet lots of them are reading this, so THANK YOU! I heart you so very much and consider myself a lucky, lucky girl to have you in my life.)

Then there are the other people. You know the people I’m talking about, because you probably have some in your life, too.

These are the people that tell us–not necessarily in words, but in their actions and attitudes–that we’ll never meet our goals, or that our goals are not worthwhile.

The ones who tell us we’re not good enough.

The ones who tell us how annoying our obsession with health and fitness is.

The ones who tell us they don’t care enough about what’s important in our lives to recognize our struggles and progress.

The ones who tell us they are too miserable to share our happiness.

Toxic people. Haters.

When it comes to these people in my life, I can’t seem to summon that catlike badassery. Instead, I become the worst version of myself that I can possibly be, and that just sucks. It’s a constant struggle. As much as my rational mind says, “You rock, Steph. Those haters gonna hate and that’s their problem,” my heart always gives in to feeling hurt that everyone doesn’t love everything I do, and that some people are just unhappy and mean and I am a big, fat target.

So it’s time for this:

positive people


Yep. The bottom line is this: I’m cutting the fat. I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s cool. People who want to be part of my life as I’m living it can join the party, and people who don’t are free to go.

Whether it’s someone reading this blog who I’ve never even met that says, “This bitch is crazy,” and never visits the site again, or an old friend from high school who gets sick of my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (currently 235, in case you don’t know), it’s all good. I have my people, and they rock. I’ll tell them again right now how much I heart them.

Now, some of the awesomest people in my life love me DESPITE my possibly annoying focus on training and food. What I’m doing may not be their bag, baby, but they get it, and they support me so they tolerate my constant blathering about how much I can deadlift (235#, in case you missed it in the last paragraph.) An even bigger thank you to those amazing peeps who love me for all I am, even the parts they might not like as much.

So, my friends, I encourage you to come with me on this journey to shed your flabby-back-of-the-arm friends; the ones who only bring you down and keep your attention on the negative.

So besides the people, what about the other extra weight we’re holding onto? The commitments that don’t connect with our goals. The time-sucking obligations that we can’t seem to let go of, even though we hate them. Or, maybe we don’t HATE them, but we surely don’t LOVE them.

These obligations can keep us focused on the negatives instead of our badassery just as much as the haters, yo. (Is it just me, or should “haters” always be followed by “yo”?)

Let me tell you a little story. It’s kind of a mom confession, but you’ll probably understand whether you’re a parent or not.

My kids came home from the first day of school last night with a huge stack of papers. It was homework…for me. Five gazillion forms to sift through, read, fill out. Checks to be written for PTA membership, for lunch tickets, for the after school programs.

I came to the PTA volunteer opportunities form, and was suddenly crippled with dread. What lameass responsibility was I going to have to sign up for this year?

Then, I did something amazing. I put that goddamned form into the “recycle” pile, and didn’t look at it again. THE END.

(Now that’s a happy ending if I ever heard one.)

Listen, before you get all judgy and be like, “Oh, Steph hates the PTA!” let me tell you this. I have volunteered for shit at the school before, and my kids don’t seem to give a crap if I do it or not. Four years ago, I found myself on a planning committee for a Talent Show that my son wasn’t in, and never would consider being in, just because I felt like I had to be involved in some way. The people on the committee were nice and welcoming and all that, but in the end I remember thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing here?”

I’ve tried in other instances to be involved in ways that are more related to what my kids are doing. But, here’s the problem: I wasn’t having fun, my kids didn’t care, and frankly we don’t do much that involves the PTA. That’s just how our family rolls. My son plays lacrosse; I do the team organization and communication and my husband coaches. We are very involved in our church community; I am a co-chair on the Board of Christian Education.

You get the picture. The PTA stuff just isn’t our wheelhouse, so the volunteering stuff for it was like a giant piece of cellulite hanging off the backs of my thighs, drawing my focus and time away from things I loved doing.

So I cut that crap off. I paid the dues, but I don’t have the time or the energy to commit to something that my family doesn’t love and want to be actively involved in.

How often do you evaluate your commitments and think about which ones really matter and add to your life positively?I know I don’t do this nearly as often as I should. Many times, I just say yes, or sign up for something without even considering if I really WANT to do it enough to make the time.

For me, 5-6 workouts a week represent a huge time and energy commitment. What I have left has to be completely focused only on things that bring me and my family joy. That’s how I’m making decisions these days. If something comes along that might require my attention, time or energy–whether it’s a personal commitment, a night out with friends, a new activity for the kids, or something we might spend our hard-earned money on–if we are not like, “OH YEAH!!! That is awesome and I am SO doing that!” then it’s going in the recycling bin like the PTA volunteer form. Done. Boom.

The commitments are always easier to weed through than the people. But we’ve got to keep working at it, because when we keep our eyes on the positive, life is good.


So cut the fat, my friends. Stop zeroing in on the symbolic dimples on your booty, and focus instead on what’s really important: your catlike badassery, and the people and things that bring you joy.

It’s a hard re-entry. But worth it. (That’s what she said.)

Hi there. You haven’t broken up with me, have you? I know it’s been awhile. But there was vacation and school started today, etc etc, blah blah blah. But don’t lose faith. I’ve got tons of half-written blogs in the pipeline, so sit tight.

Let’s start with vacation. Ahhhhh, vacation.

I ate a lot of food: strawberry cupcakes, french fries, cheesy hash browns, birthday cake, ice cream, more birthday cake, an a-mah-zing plate of pasta with asparagus, chicken and tomato in a parmesan cream sauce, and yes, one Taco Bell taco. (That is less delicious and more disgusting. But we’re doing full disclosure here, so I had to share.)

I started to take pictures of the food to share with you (see, I was thinking about you while I was away!) but then realized that was incredibly cruel…to both of us. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it that the food was both lovely and delicious. YUM.

I also drank a lot of beer and wine. And I DID take this picture for you (and me. Mostly me. It was so good.):


Rocket Red, brewed right on Disney’s Boarwalk. Delish.

I didn’t train at all. Unless you count traipsing through the Magic Kingdom (which I don’t) or carrying a 57lb kid on my back for a 1-ish mile walk at the end of a long day (I might count that as like HALF a workout).

Here’s the deal, folks. I was really, REALLY anxious about this vacation. Like, to the point of driving my husband insane. When will I train? How will I control my eating? How will I get back on track afterwards? What if I lose all my momentum during vacation? Ohmagawd, WHAT IF I GO BACK TO BEING AS FAT AS I USED TO BE instead of the somewhat-fat-but-getting-fitter-every-second I am right now?

But once I hit that open road at 4:06am on Thursday morning, coffee beside me, kids nestled snugly in their seats, cooler, suitcases, and fun activities packed, I breathed out. I enjoyed. I let go.

I ate, I drank, and I reveled in spending time with the people I love the most, and nothing else mattered.

Cinderella's carousel

Look at those faces! MWAH!

Drew and Skylar

My husband–now affectionately known as Mr. Badass–and my adorable niece.

Family in Downtown Disney


Yes, vacation was a-mah-zing. Coming back? Getting back on track? It SUUUUUUUUCKS. But for me, my friends, the juice was DEFINITELY worth the squeeze.

Here’s the deal: we got back late Thursday afternoon, and I hit dance crew rehearsal that night at 8pm, followed by a 6:30am workout first thing Friday morning. This was NOT fun, but it had to be done. Think about your old college days, when you party your ass off on a Saturday night, then have to wake up the following Sunday morning early to clean up the mess before your parents come in for visiting day. The party was worth it, but the hung-over clean up completely sucks.

Of course, the other problem I faced was entirely created by my own choices. On Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday, I chose back to school shopping with my kids over meal planning and grocery shopping, so my bad eating continued throughout the weekend. I made that choice, and I accept the misery that it wrought. And, oh, was I miserable on Sunday. I felt like shit, had no energy and–big surprise!–I got sick. My body had just had enough with my shenanigans, and I don’t blame it one bit.

It was a total relief on Monday to have all my food ready to go and get back to clean eating. Today, three days back on track, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. I’ve been managing the cold/cough with my Neti pot and serious sweat sessions, and it’s working.

Trust me, I thought about bailing on dance crew Sunday night because I felt so lousy. But I went, and felt better. That’s what drove me to drag my sorry ass out of bed Monday morning when the alarm went off instead of sleeping in again. Guess what? I felt better after the workout. Again. Same thing on Tuesday. I’m still sniffling and coughing here and there, but the food and the workouts are crushing this lameass cold out of my system. Suck it, germs!

So the thing is this. I know I’m always talking about stepping out of my comfort zone, and encouraging you to do the same. Usually that’s with regard to working out hard, and really pushing your limits. Not this time.

For me, letting go of my strict clean eating and training on vacation was a huge scary thing, and it surprised me to recognize that. I’ve realized that working out 5-6 times a week and eating clean has become my new comfort zone, and I was terrified to step out of it. Terrified of what would happen with the measuring tape, the way my clothes fit, and yes, even the scale. I was also terrified that if I let go, I wouldn’t be able to make it back.

comfort zone

But when I let go, it was heavenly, just for that week, to not have to say “no” and always be watching everything that went into my mouth. To sleep in. To not obsess over how much I could lift today.

Instead, I got to experience how fit my body is when I didn’t get tired criss-crossing the Magic Kingdom all day, and found that it wasn’t really that hard to carry my 10 year old son on my back. I experienced how delicious a cupcake can be when you don’t eat them five times a week. (Really, really delicious.)

I also experienced a 6lb increase on the scale, and a little trouble buttoning my new, smaller-size shorts at the tail end of the trip.

But guess what else? I discovered that I can trust myself. That I really am committed for the long haul, because I’m back on track, and my shorts and the measuring tape will soon reflect that.

So, a really awesome vacation and a newfound sense of self-trust: 100% worth every moment of misery I endured during the re-entry to real life.