It's been a while, but you know the story: I've been busy.
If any of you are still bothering to check in, I'd be honored if you take a moment to read this long post and see what I've been up to.
Amongst other things, I've been working out.
You might remember this post I wrote a while back, when I had just begun my journey with exercising again after a lengthy sabbatical.
Looking at it now, I am amazed at how far I have come.
About a month after I wrote that post, I started a new work out regime.
Here it is: for the past 3 months I've been waking at 5 am, 5 days a week, and going to Boot Camp.
And I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love it.
It has been a life changing experience for me.
There are at least 10 posts I could write about all the different things I've learned about myself, the ways I've changed, how I've grown, and the things I am doing now, but I don't have that kind of time.
Because of my early morning routine, I just can't stay up late writing like I used to.
And because there is just a lot more going on these days with schooling my kids, and with a busy, busy Davy, I never write during the day.
Hence the once a month, or less, posts on this little ol blog.
But I have to tell you, it has been so worth the break.
I am awake at 5 am every morning, facing the day with a smile, I work out in the dark with a smile, and I come home to my just waking up family with a smile.
I make breakfast for 6 people, pack Aaron's lunch, and start the morning chores all with a smile on my face.
It's a far cry from my old morning routine of begging the kids to be quiet while I simultaneously tried to wake up, make breakfasts and lunch, change diapers, wipe bottoms, get in a shower, and not snap at everyone because I was not a morning person.
Now I am doing jumping jacks while the coffee boils, and showing the kids how many push ups I can do while they eat their toast.
Who is this woman?!
(ps. how are there fingerprints at the top of the mirror?)
But the biggest change of all has happened in my head and heart.
I have such a new found appreciation for my body and the things it can do.
After 3 months, I am still not skinny.
And, if we're going by America's definition of skinny, I may never be.
I read somewhere that most Hollywood actresses are a size 4 or less.
I think the only time I was a size 4 was when I was 4 and wearing a 4T.
I'm OK with never being a size 4.
But, when I started this whole thing I really did want to loose weight, and that was pretty much the only goal I had in mind.
Oh, and being able to work out enough to eat whatever I want.
Because I don't want a skinny body badly enough to snack on rice cakes all the time.
I like good food, I like to eat, and I am not afraid to admit it.
So I thought: "I'll finally get skinny, stop hating my body and the way I look, and then get to eat chocolate and potato chips and not feel bad about it."
It hasn't worked out quite that way.
Instead, I started lifting weights, doing squats, running bleachers, working out my triceps, and doing crunches.
And I stared to see my body change.
And suddenly, my whole state of mind changed.
I wrote this testimonial for Long Beach Boot Camp, the boot camp I've been working out with.
I wanted to share it here, because it is a chronicle of my journey on this road to finding a healthy, stronger, leaner me.
It was not easy to write.
After all who of us enjoys sharing the things about ourselves that we don't like?
But it is my hope that you will share my joy in my triumphs, and if you've ever felt the same way I did, you'll be encouraged by my story.
Here it is.
All I Wanted To Do Was Get Skinny
I have boxes of clothes in my garage that range in size from 6 to 12.
5 pregnancies in 9 years can really do a number on a body.
And while I am always anxious to stow away that box of clothes I've lovingly labeled, "not pregnant, still fat," far too often I've fallen back on a great excuse for my weight gain, and why I never work out:
I just had a baby.
But that excuse can only last for so long.
My youngest turned 1 this summer.
Even though I had lost all my baby weight, I still couldn't squeeze into any of my shorts, my biggest pair of jeans were soon going to be too small, and every time I looked at a picture of myself, I cringed.
There was no way I was going to add a new size to my already too-big collection of too-big clothes.
Something had to change.
That's when I found Long Beach Boot Camp.
Just when I was at my lowest, feeling horribly uncomfortable, not just in my clothes but in my very body, I saw a coupon in my inbox for 1 month of unlimited Boot Camp.
"I'm sick of feeling this way, "I said.
And I bought it.
I was a little bit terrified to get started, and put it off for a while.
Sure, I chase my kids around all day, take them for hikes and walks, I'm an active person, but I hadn't truly worked out in years.
Lifting weights, doing sit-ups and push ups, running, I just didn't know if I could do it.
But I had to.
I wanted to get skinny.
That was my goal.
I was sure that if I lost weight, if I got into that one pair of jeans that I love, then I would be happy in my body, and life would be so much better.
I went to class all 6 days that first week.
My entire body ached from morning until night.
I huffed and puffed each time we ran, always coming back in to our mats dead last.
I could only do a few push ups on my knees before I'd have to stop and rest.
And every time we did crunches, the burn made me practice my labor breathing techniques.
It was hard!
But by the end of the second week, I could already see some little changes in my body.
Even more exciting were the changes taking place in my mind and heart--changes I never thought would happen.
I was falling in love with exercising.
Determined to get the most out of my 1 month membership, I attended class 5 or 6 times a week.
I slept in my workout clothes, and set 3 alarms so that I would be sure to wake up at 5 AM for class.
The terror of having to do extra burpees if I arrived late was a big motivator.
3 weeks in, my family went on a camping trip for 4 days.
I hated missing class, so I did my best to copy Boot Camp workouts on my own.
I walked through the middle of the campground doing lunges, and then sprints.
I did jumping jacks in front of my tent and ran on the beach for the first time in my life.
It was kind of amazing.
Even more amazing was the fact that I could now walk down the beach in my bathing suit and not hate every second of it.
I hadn't lost a pound, but the changes in my body felt so much better to me than just losing weight.
I was losing inches.
My stomach was getting flatter.
There were muscles growing in my arms that I had never seen before.
I looked at my legs and loved the way they were becoming strong and firm from lots of squats and running bleachers.
I couldn't recall the last time I looked in the mirror and felt proud of my body.
But there I was, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, flexing for my 4 year old daughter and saying, "look how strong Mommy's muscles are getting!"
That's when I knew that I wanted so much more for myself than to just be skinny.
I wanted to be strong.
I wanted to push myself, and see myself doing the things I'd always said I couldn't.
I wanted to worry less about what size I was wearing and focus more on how good it felt to be fit.
A short time later, something happened that made me realize fully the incredible change that had taken place in my life.
It had been a hard day.
All 4 of my kids had been very needy and by the time my husband arrived home from work, I was spent, cranky, and wanting to escape.
The usual way those nights play out is he says, "you should get out of here, honey," and I do.
I go get a coffee and a cupcake or a brownie, read magazines at the book store, or wander the aisles of Target.
But that night I said, "I think I am going to go for a run."
I never, ever, ever, thought there would come a day when I would choose a run over a cupcake.
When I got back home, I sat on the front steps breathing heavily, and feeling a sense of disbelief.
"Who am I? And where did that other girl go? The one who hated running, and said she'd rather sleep than get up early to exercise?"
I think that girl is gone for good.
Because every morning when I'm at Boot Camp, I find myself grinning from ear to ear and whispering to myself, "I am so glad to be here!"
And I run a little harder, or hold that plank a few seconds longer.
It's not an exaggeration to say that attending Long Beach Boot Camp has been a life changing experience for me.
I started out wanting to get skinny.
But getting skinny was just about changing the way that I looked.
Instead, I am now changing my whole state of mind.
I am changing inside and out.
I owe such a debt of gratitude to my Long Beach Boot Camp coaches.
They have encouraged me every step of the way and helped me find parts of myself I never knew were there.
I can't help thinking that this is just the beginning and I am so excited to find out what lies ahead!
Like I said, there are at least 10 more posts I want to write about all of this.
I'd like to talk about body image, and mindful eating, about becoming a runner, and how supportive Aaron has been in all this.
But I'll have to save all that for later.
Do check back in for those posts--they're sure to show up.
And now, I must sleep.
5 am comes early.