Is It Me or Is It the Guy Next to Me?

This is part of a series that I like to call, “#gymproblems”. The hashtag should be included because, well, reasons.

You know when you finally hop on the elliptical or treadmill of your choice and you’re jammin’ along to the latest Ariana Grande song (which I may or may not have done more than a handful of times) and suddenly an older gentleman gets on the elliptical next to you? All is going well until suddenly you take a whiff of the air. “Oh, goodness,” you mutter to yourself. You know what that stench is and you don’t want to admit it. Body odor. 

Do not do this on the elliptical

Do not do this on the elliptical

Now, it’s not really the body odor that is bothering you, but the one question pops into your head: Is it me or is it the guy next to me?

This has happened to me on more than one occasion and it’s usually a 50/50 gamble we have going on here. I mean, I was working out pretty hard, so it is possible that I could be the one with the BO. But isn’t it a little strange how that guy suddenly made the air smell a bit different upon his arrival?

To this I ask: Should we be ashamed of our scent? Should we just rock on with our bad selves? Or should we request that the gym provide deodorant in the locker rooms?

My opinion: Who gives a shit. You’re a baller because you’re at the gym and you’re working on you. Although, you may just want to slap some Secret before you leave. I’d appreciate you even more if you did that!

What it Means to be on the Sloth Running Team

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I am not the best runner in the world. When I tell people about my running speed, I joke that a sloth can go faster than I can. You could safely place a bet that the sloth would reach the finish line before I did. That’s just how I run.

If any of you bought me this shirt, I'd just weep with joy.

If any of you bought me this shirt, I’d just weep with joy.

But let me tell you about the Sloth Running Team: It’s awesome. You wanna know why? Because even though I am going at the speed of a moseyin’ sloth, I’m still moving.

There is something about running a 5k without stopping (even though it may take you 45 minutes) that sets your heart a flutter. That feeling of pride and accomplishment that, yeah, man, you just ran 45 minutes straight! You know how many people can do that?! Well, uh, a lot of people can, but I’m sure there are a lot more people who can’t do that.

So, keep movin’, my fellow sloths. Keep movin’!

The Binge to End All Binges

The thing about weight loss is that we fall off the horse and we get right back up. Well, sometimes we get right back up. Sometimes we need a swift kick in the behind to finally climb back up on the horse and ride off into the sunset. John Wayne style.

I’m a big enough person to admit when I’ve failed. I’m even bigger when I admit that I failed on my website. I wouldn’t consider a binge a fail, but just part of that natural ebb and flow that I discuss about heavily.

On Sunday, I binged. And boy did I binge hard.

I went to the gym and burned a cool 700 calories during an amazing spin class. Went home and had a delicious egg white omelet, but then the rest went downhill from there.

Yeah! I ate this! And it was damn good!

Yeah! I ate this! And it was damn good!

I had a giant hamburger with french fries and polished off almost an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s. You heard me right.

Yes, I felt guilty the following day. I felt so guilty, in fact, that I restricted heavily and only consumed about 900 calories on Monday.

But let’s get down to the nitty gritty: We live and we learn. We must accept what we have done and forgive ourselves. It is not the end of the world to eat a (fucking delicious!) hamburger and (fucking delicious!) ice cream. The world isn’t going to implode. Hearts will still keep beating. And me somehow restricting calories the following day will also not help the situation.

Recovery isn’t smooth. It isn’t linear. It is just like weight loss: ebb and flow.

What It Feels Like to Wear a Bathing Suit

I’ll be honest with you, the last time I ever felt comfortable in a bathing suit was probably when I was 8-years-old. My family and I belonged to a pool club and I distinctly remember going to Shop Rite with my dad to pick up goodies before our day by the pool. I was wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh two piece. No shorts. No shirt. Nothing but my little bathing suit.

Granted, it’s adorable for a chubby 8-year-old to be wearing nothing but a bathing suit through a supermarket. Today, I would probably have the police called on me, but that’s besides the point. The point is, is that that little 8-year-old inside me came out yesterday. I channeled her and damn, did it feel good.

Yesterday, I wore a one piece bathing suit. A one piece bathing suit with nothing else. I didn’t wear a cover up. I didn’t wear a towel. I didn’t wear shorts. I didn’t wear a t-shirt. You know what I wore? A damn bathing suit.

And for the first time in 16 years, I felt fucking fabulous in it.

P.S. I’ve added some more progress shots right here!

Running Through Adversity

I was never much of a runner. If you go through my older blog posts you’ll see the continuous struggle that I’ve had with running. Either I run as slow as a sloth (or slower) or I just can’t get into the “mindset” of running. Running has always been my quasi nemesis. I ran cross country when I was in the 3rd grade and I was always the last one on my team to run through the finish line. My poor mother would be standing there cheering me on while all the other parents and their happy, athletic children walked away. She’d stand there for what probably seemed like hours just waiting for me to pass right on through. Running was never my forte.

2014 has been a struggle, to say the very least. It has been a theme of constant revolving doors. Things falling into my lap and things dropping out of my lap. I accepted and am constantly battling an eating disorder. I fell in love. I was dumped. And then to really add fuel to the fire, today I was fired or let go or whatever kind word there is for being told to clean your desk.

But you know what? Running has been there for me during these 6 months. I ran when I was feeling happy. I ran when I was feeling sad. I felt like I could run away from my problems and everything would be fine. I felt strong. I felt victorious. Plus, it really made me core tighten up a bit, so I’m really into that.

I might not be the fastest runner or run as long as I wish I could, but damn, I like running. I’m not running away from my problems anymore, I’m running towards the future. Running through my adversities to make me a stronger woman. And if that’s all that running is to me then I’m totally alright with that.

I Was the Weight Loss Success Story

I am allowing myself to be completely vulnerable here.

This post is about my struggles.


I had started to lose weight in January of 2013. Going to the gym, watching what I eat, but not counting my calories. I went to Japan and when I came back I was in full swing once again. Hitting the gym 5 days a week. Exactly one year ago tomorrow, I joined MyFitnessPal. I was counting my calories and measuring my food. Making sure that every ounce was counted and logged.

Back then it was easy. JanuaryMyFitnessPal told me to eat X amount of calories, well, I’d eat X amount of calories. If I had an extra 300 calories left, you’d be damn sure I’d be eating some of that cookie dough ice cream in the freezer. Those calories were just far too good to give up.

The pounds were falling off. 30 pounds 40 pounds. 50 pounds. 60 pounds. I could feel the fat just dripping off of me.

I was approached by my gym to be in a photo shoot back in July of 2013. I was told that the photos may or may not be used in pamphlets that would be handed out at events. I would just be a face in the whole scheme of the pamphlet. I took these photos not thinking about the consequences. I took these photos because, at the time, it was something fun. I took these photos because it was great to look at my weight loss from an outsiders perspective. In retrospect, I wish I never took those photos.

Before I knew it, I was being featured in magazines, newspapers, advertisements, mail flyers, and, of course, billboards.

Imagine your face in lights.

I’ll admit that it was fun to be praised for your accomplishments. To be commended for the insane amount of time, effort, and energy. I was some sort of inspiration for people to lose weight. “If Erin can do it, so can you!”

My progress pictures were plastered at the gym. When someone was about to cancel their membership, a sales counselor would run over with my progress picture in hand and say, “This is Erin! She’s lost 80 pounds here! You can be her!” When someone was about to join the gym, a sales counselor would run over with my progress picture in hand and say, “This is Erin! She lost 80 pounds here! You can be her!”

It also didn’t help that my trainer was pushing me to lose 100 pounds before his other clients. “I want you to be the first one to get that spot, Erin! Don’t let someone else take it!”

Imagine the pressure. 

began to spiral out of control. I was restricting calories so heavily. I’d look at food like it was the devil. Food and I were never really friends, but now food was taking away from my goal to lose 100 pounds.

MyFitnessPal used to tell me to eat 1600 calories. Those 1600 calories then went down to 1400. Then 1200. Then 1000. And finally I was only trying to eat a whole 900 calories a day. Anything above 1000 was leaving me disjointed, anxious, and upset with myself. 1780625_10201569222255910_602150569_n

But not only would I restrict heavily, but then I would “surrender” to my food and I would eat. I’d just binge all day long. All the restriction that I did was pointless after a day of bingeing.

As you would imagine, the weight loss plateaued. I dubbed my “Sprint to 100″ as a “Crawl to 100″. I was working out one day and my trainer introduced me to someone as, “This is Erin! She was sprinting to 100, but now she’s just crawling to 100.”

Imagine the pain. 

Here I am struggling with my body. Struggling with food. Struggling with my own mental image of myself.

I knew I had a full blown eating disorder on my hands and I didn’t know how to cope. I still don’t know how to cope. My world revolved around numbers. The calories, the time to eat, how many minutes I worked out, how many calories I burned working out. Nothing made sense except for the numbers.

I’d kill myself at the gym but then come home and cry. I’d call my boyfriend and beg him to come over because I needed help eating. I didn’t trust myself enough to even eat. I needed someone else to help me eat. Making it to 1100 calories consumed for the day was a victory.

Now what?

If you want me to be frank, I’m still fucked. I am trying to find a very delicate balance between eating, losing weight, and being happy with myself. It is a very fine line that I struggle with daily. If I wake up in the morning and I can feel my hip bones, well, it’s a good day. If I wake up in the morning and I feel like my face is a little bit rounder than it was before, well, it’s not a good day.

I don’t count my calories as obsessively as I used to. Vegetable calories are worthless to me. I don’t bother counting them. And now I really try to listen to my body, be mindful of what I’m eating, and just enjoy what I’m eating.

Why Share This?

20140414_092711~2Because I know I’m not the only one. I know that people have great intentions when they start to lose weight, but then somewhere along the line your goals and dreams get skewed. Your brain plays intense tricks on you. That little voice inside your head is telling you to keep restricting to lose weight faster, but another voice says, “You’re fucking killing yourself.”

 

I know your pain. I feel you. I hear you. I wish I could help you.

Most importantly: You’re not alone.

People Are Amazing AND a New Progress Shot

Let me start off by saying that people constantly amaze me. This entire journey has just been me doin’ me. I am always incredibly humbled and grateful when people tell me that I’m an inspiration or I got them started on their fitness expedition. I sincerely can’t even believe it.

Yesterday at work a woman came in to cancel her membership. She was set and ready to sign the cancelation papers. A manager came over and tried to persuade her to stay. My trainer, Matt, came into the office and tried to persuade her to stay. A manager called me in and introduced me as, “This is Erin! She lost almost 90 pounds here!”

The member was completely floored. Floored. She was like, “You lost that much weight? I can’t believe it! You look great!” I told her that my highest weight was 288 pounds. She immediately said, “I’m 280 pounds now!” I told her that my story was featured in a magazine and I made sure I got one for her.

The member then had a fitness assessment with a trainer and bought personal training. She said that my progress picture was going to be on her fridge because I am her inspiration.

I have no words. Amazing. If you’re reading this: Hi, Lynn!

I took a progress shot at work yesterday, so here it is:

Progress 11.2

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