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What does your billboard say?

I was listening to a radio program on my drive into work one morning when the DJ asked his listeners what they would do if they won a bunch of money. A few called in with the usual answers: quit their jobs, buy a new house or car, go on a big vacation, etc. But one person had a very specific and revengeful answer. She said she would rent a billboard and have it say “FU” with her bosses name and “I quit!” I busted out laughing because who hasn’t felt that way about their job at some point or another? The DJ quickly reminded us that we all need to be better than that, but it sure was a fun thought.

The concept itself is very intriguing. I see my body as a walking billboard. Not only do I advertise for plenty of brands, like my work-place and lots of clothing companies, but my body itself tells the world a little something about me and how I take care of myself.

I am not particularly proud of my choices throughout my adult years, but they were not all bad. Exercise has always been a big part of my life, so my body has been healthy and strong all along, just at different levels. I was pregnant three times and that was when I let my guard down the most. I reveled in the idea of a baby growing in me and making sure she/he had plenty of nutrients. (When it comes to my children, I have tunnel vision and mixed up priorities.) As soon as they became real, I gave them 100% of my focus and did not give myself enough attention. Case in point: I am finally putting myself first after 19 years of raising children because one has graduated and the other is equally self-sufficient.

This weekend is a prime example of how my focus has completely changed. My oldest daughter went on her first big trip, without us parents, to Minneapolis, no less, where she stayed with friends and did who knows what. (I am going to believe she made all good choices.) My youngest daughter spent the weekend with a friend, too. First she was at her friend’s house for the day on Saturday and then they slept over at our house last night. They made their own food and did NOT want to be visited by parents while they watched movies and played video games. So that meant that I could wake up a take care of Me – feed ME – clothe ME – take ME to the gym, etc. The reason my little plan is working, is that I am giving it 100% of the attention it needs. I am truly making it a lifestyle change!

So both yesterday and today, I woke up, had a quick breakfast and went straight to the gym to take a class. I lifted weights for an hour yesterday and I did a Zumba dance class today. There is nothing more exuberating than expensing lots of energy to literally help you achieve your goals. When I go to my classes, I feel like the only person in the room. I could care less about anyone else. I push myself to my limits with weights and repetitions. I am a wet noodle when I get done with class, too. Go big or go home - that is one of my mottos.

But I didn’t stop when I got home, either. Both yesterday and today, I barely had time to take off the wet clothes before donning more exercise gear so I could go for a one hour walk with my neighbor/friend. (Bismarck, ND was blessed with amazing weather again this weekend. It was in the 50s both days and we are almost a quarter of the way into December!) We took my little black cock-a-poo named Buster and walked around the perimeter of our housing development. We found a new beaten path that follows along a tree line where I can let Buster be free and we can be away from cars and houses. (The fresh air, sunshine and fall scenery are exactly what a person needs to endure the seclusive-nature of this pandemic.)

After all of that activity, I gained roughly 850 food calories each day. Those are some much needed calories on a weekend, too! My family usually likes to eat out and snacks are more readily available, so it’s harder to eat less in general – especially when I am on a mission to lose 6 more pounds before December 31st! (I weighed in at 206 again yesterday so I have my work cut out for me!)

Yesterday, I had a protein shake for lunch and some light snacks in the afternoon, but then my husband and I went out for supper at a Mexican restaurant where I had chips and queso dip before eating my chicken fajita meal, which left me with a slight calorie deficit for the day. Like I said, it’s not as easy to keep calories low on the weekend, even when you are spending so much time on exercise!

So far today, I have had better luck keeping my calories down. I need to run to the grocery store shortly and get more of my staple foods: eggs, coffee creamer, fruit and veggies. I also need more meal ingredients so I can be better prepared for the week. I hope I can think of things on the fly. My planning bone is getting pretty tired, with all of this exercise and Christmas preparation activities taking up so much time!

Since its Sunday, I was hoping to take the day off from blow drying my hair, wearing make-up and dressing up, but after my shower, I thought differently. As much as I want to throw my hair into a clip and wear jogging pants and a big saggy sweatshirt into the store, I decided to take a little more pride in my appearance. It was not that much more effort to scrunch up my hair so it curls and then spray it with hair spray. I put on light make-up and slid on some jeans and a tighter-fitting shirt. They are not uncomfortable now that I have lost over 40 pounds! Plus, I should be (and I suppose I am) proud of my accomplishments and happy to show them off. (It kills me to write that, but why? When you buy a new car – you drive it! When you go on vacation – you take pictures!)

When I walk through the store with my head held high and my body a little smaller, I am showing the world who I am. Most people that will see me today will have no idea who I am, much less what I have recently accomplished, but I know. When I get dressed up and go out or post a picture on social media, I am, in essence, a walking billboard. Even if you don’t know me, you will see that my steps are confident and measured. You won’t see the smile under my mask but it will be in my eyes.

Believe me, I have plenty of sad memories of people calling me fat, treating me poorly and even just having sympathy when clothing items didn’t fit or carnival seats were too small. But now when those same mean people see me, they will have nothing to say. My body is screaming at them loud and clear, “I am NOT going to let you determine my worth!” Over the last 160+ days, I have defied the odds and lost 40 pounds! I think I look pretty good, damn-it and I am not done yet! I plan to gain more muscle, lose more fat and increase my endurance even more. In fact, I hope my presence is even a little threatening. Because if anyone tries to get in my way there will be consequences! (I am talking specifically to myself right now – ha!)

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