Sunday, April 27, 2014


The comments I've been getting lately rock.  I'll be honest.  I kind of love them.  When I was shopping the other day, I ran into two people who haven't seen me in many years.  One didn't recognize me.  One's jaw literally dropped.  When I walked into the gym the other day, one of the other trainers said to his wife "I don't know about you, but I barely recognize Kim because she's getting so skinny."  And today, when I tried to put on the goofy glasses with a mustache for Holy Humor Sunday (yeah, that's a thing.  And yeah, we did it.  It was pretty awesome.), one of my congregants came up to me and said "They wouldn't stay on because you've lost so much weight." (To which I did not reply-- though I was thinking it-- that's not the only thing that won't stay on... or up. Uhem.)

But I'm also getting to the point where people ask me why I'm so intense, and if what I'm doing is healthy.  They gawk when I say that I still have thirty pounds left to go.   I'm not yet brave enough to tell them that that's only my initial goal-- the one that will get me to a healthy body weight for my height.  I don't say that I'm actually shooting for 20lbs less than that.  I've only said this to a very few people (and sort of hinted at it here), because it sounds crazy. I've come a long way, but to hear someone my size say "I want to be a bodybuilder, and yes, I'm going to compete" doesn't sound rational.  Or believable.   Or smart.   After all, aren't people like that genetically gifted or something? Maybe the people with unbelievable bodies sort of came out of the womb like that, and only had to do a little minor tweaking? Whatever.  So there.  I've said it.  I want to be a body builder.

Over my vacation, I sat in the sun and read Robert Andrew Powell's Running Away.  Kindle advertised it, and I took a chance and bought it.  And it gave me the courage to name my silly, laughable, not sane goal.  Outloud.  He's never been a runner, but he hits rock bottom.  He's overweight and in bad health. He loses his job and his wife, and he's pretty much aimless. He decides he's going to train for the Boston Marathon, and in fact moves to Bolder, CO to do it.  Because that's where serious runners are.  People laugh at him, including the kind people in his running club. One of the big questions of the book is "why?" He answers it over and over: because his dad qualified for Boston a year after he started running, in his very first marathon.  And more than anything, he wants his dad to be proud of him, and that's the only way he knows how to do it.  To follow in his dad's shoes.  It's enough to push him through crazy runs and flagging motivations and a host of other things that serious athletes face.

As I was reading, I was thinking about my own ridiculous goals.  Only they don't feel ridiculous to me.  They feel like something I have to do. People will ask me why, as my body begins to shift more, and I become to them too intense. As I give up nights out because tomorrow is leg day. As I don't drink or eat according to social pressures because of the annoying toll it takes on my mind and dedication.  As I ask He-who-trains for more intense workouts.  As I don't take normal vacations because I can't find a gym that meets my needs in driving distance.

So here's my why.  And it's enough to push me through motivation sucking plateaus and challenges my body has given me and people who laugh.

It's a weird goal. It's probably not one many pastors have. I know, I know.  I could take up something normal like running.  Something less outlandish.  But being a body builder is my goal, and I won't stop until I get there. Why? Because I've been the fat girl who believed she was doomed to being trapped in a body she hated.  Because I've known what it is to be so overweight that I regularly cried because my knees hurt so badly.  And cried at how I felt in my body.  Because I've known what it is to to want to hide, and to settle for being a wallflower because that was somehow easier than having to meet people's gaze.  Because I've known what it to hate having pictures taken.  And because I now know that it doesn't have to be that way.  Because I now know what it is to have a goal bigger than my excuses.

There will be scoffers and laughers and well-intentioned worriers.  And when the question comes up as to why I'm doing this, I will smile and say, simply "Because I want to be proof that change is possible."

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Healthier Holy Week

Holy Week is always an exercise in madness for preachers I think.  Bulletins and services and stuff, oh my! I've been ordained for six years now, and every year it was the same story... I'd get so busy that I'd forget to take care of myself.  And then the inevitable too-tired-to-move-the-entire-week-after-Easter bit. And usually post Easter sickness. But for the first year ever, I handled my stuff, instead of being handled by it. I ate well.  I went to the gym and busted it as planned.  I slept.  I didn't stress.  And I had fun.  (And I realized yesterday that I've consumed nary a peep... and I love peeps!  I kept thinking I would buy one package but I just never got around to it.) When He-who-trains used to give me the schpiel about this being a lifestyle, not a diet, I thought I got it.   But maybe I'm just now understanding:  Health isn't only about body weight or what you put in your mouth-- it's about the whole proverbial enchilada.  When I started The Pudgy Parson, this is what I envisioned for myself.  All the pieces coming together in a way that works for me, that leaves my body as a faciliator for all the things my brain and heart dream up.

During Holy Week, there was a day of remembrance for me.  April 15 would've been my best friend's birthday.  We were friends since we were children, but she was killed in a skiing accident in 2001.  Every year since her death, I've marked the day by having a private birthday party for her, including eating a rich dessert in her honor.  Even last year, I celebrated with cheesecake.  But this year, I just couldn't bring myself to do it, at least not like I had.  She was athletic (a gymnast) and health mattered to her.  And she always wanted me to take care of myself too.   Her family had a pool, so we spent hours in it, but even as a kid I was heavy-- and she always knew how much that bothered me. So this year, I still wanted to mark the day... I had a few bites of mexican flan (seriously, maybe an 1/8 of the dessert) and said a prayer of Thanksgiving for who she was and all she meant to me, and it was enough.  Some part of me believes she'd be thrilled, with the celebration, with who I've finally found the courage to become.

On Saturday, He-who-trains had my workout partner and me in the martial arts room doing kicks for cardio.  I've not spent any time in there since I first started at the gym, which was well over a year ago. I remember it being horrible-- not having to do the kicks, but having to look at my body in motion in all those !@%* mirrors.  I couldn't even focus on the kicks because I was so distracted by what I saw. I wanted to cry at what I had let myself become.  But when I was in there on Saturday, it was a completely different experience.  I didn't love it, but I could at least accept it.  I could see my belly jiggle and squish up, but that wasn't all I saw. I saw how different my legs looked.  I saw my collar bones.  And I saw a face that stared back at me fiercely that told me there is a fighter inside, and she will not back down until she wins this one. There is no obstacle too big.  There is no food I want to eat badly enough to sabotage myself.  There is no room for excuses.  I know what I want, and I will get there.

In effort to practice self care, I'm doing a staycation this week, where I'll work a little bit-- long range planning and things that I can't ever seem to find time to do, but I'm actually energized. I'm gonna do some artsy things like paint and draw and take pictures.  I'm going to read books for fun.  I'm going to sit in the sunshine.  And I'm going to breathe deeply, because this, I think, is what it means to be alive... and well.

Monday, April 7, 2014


I keep hearing that I'm obsessed.  People think me strange that I don't eat just because I'm in a social situation that expects it. (Though it did make me smile to hear a church member say to a kindly, food sharing visitor who offered me some sort of fabulous dessert, "Oh she won't eat that".)  They find it odd that the gym is the first thing I schedule in my day, even if it means going at weird hours. Even my family, who is obligated to love me, thinks me kind of crazy because I plan my day around eating well.  And I'm fine with all that.  I've told myself that this sign is true.

Except that I am beginning to wonder if there is some truth behind it. I'm on a mandated three day a week workout plan, because it's intense enough that I need four days of rest.  Whining did not seem to change the mind of He-who-trains on the matter.  It never does.  But my whole day has felt off knowing that there was no gym time scheduled into my day.  I feel antsy and grouchy.  I don't quite know what to do with myself or my time.  I'm not in the mood to do house work (though the house is in decent shape except my piled up laundry that I really should fold) and I can't settle down to read. I might actually get killed if I went out for a run (or at least if I got caught), but even knowing that, I still want to  am having to fight myself not to do it anyway.  Even though my knee is puffy, which I know means that I should plant my butt on the couch and ice and advil.  (If any trainer, especially mine, happens to be reading this... that's what I wound up doing. Promise!)

I know I'm doing all of this for my health (and to show myself that I can... and to have a body I've always wanted...and to wear the cute clothes I see), but some times I think I lose sight of the health aspect.  I know that health means getting enough rest. I know that overtraining is stupid and could sideline me for way longer than I have the patience to take. It no longer feels right to not be at the gym when I feel perfectly fine.  I feel weak and silly and lethargic and whiny and grouchy. If you'd asked me this a year and a half ago, I never would've imagined it. But I'm pretty sure that gym going has become part of who I am--it's a piece of my identity now.  The people are my people.  The world makes sense in the gym.  I feel like I've achieved something, which is pretty remarkable considering my job rarely has quantifiable results.

I just swore to myself that if He-who-trains asked me one more time what I thought about this workout plan, that I'd tell him the truth.  That I actually love it, except that I can only do it three days a week, which is far crappier than the fact that it nearly makes me puke every time.  But then, this:

And I'm only a little bit embarrased that that lifted my mood considerably. (This post was cut short upon receiving it... I actually had more whining to do! Clearly, it's in the best interest of the world that I go burn off some of that energy.  Other wise I'd be (more) intolerable.)

Obsessed? Who? Me?  Nope, no way, nuhuh. And I'm definitely not about to stick this quote on my refrigerator, beside my pic of my body goal.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Visuals and Notes from the Peanut Gallery

I have thirty five pounds of flour sitting on my kitchen counter.  It's annoying.  It will be in the way.   It will make me angry. And I'm not moving it.   Because it represents the 35 annoying, in the way, anger provoking pounds I'm carrying around that is too much for my body. It also reminds me that there was an ugly day when I would've had 20 bags of flour instead of 7. I'm all about visuals.

 Or at least when I'm sitting here, post workout, sore and tired, and wondering why I thought it was a good idea to give He-who-trains carte blanche to help me meet my goal.   Of course, he's pretty helpful--especially in the texting department. (Hmmm...clearly I wasn't super functional when I sent that text though.)

My bikini motivational squad of a cousin is also pretty helpful, though I didn't seem to get any sympathy from her either.  But on the upside, she is mailing me one of her bikinis to put up at my house. (My goal weight  for beach week is close to her weight, and we're built a lot alike.) I'll be like that Yoplait commercial, where fittingly, the song "Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" plays and the woman dilligently eats her yogurt while staring at the bathing suit.  And then of course, the yogurt is so awesome, that the shoulder strap falls right off when the girl finally wears it.  Yeah, that. 

Today's workout wasn't quite as awful as Thursday's.  Maybe my brain decided today that it is entirely too nice outside to die right now. Or maybe, having lived through it once, I at least knew what to expect. And my lying, motivational workout partner was even more rockstar--ish and kept telling me that I had this. She even volunteered to do the post-workout run with me.  I was busy trying not to fall on my face during the awful plyometrics, but I'm pretty sure He-who-trains even said that I was doing great work.  He (unfortunately) does not feel inclined to blow sunshine my way so I'll consider that a pretty big compliment.  Of course, he at some point followed that with "Just wait until you do that with weights in your hands... and then heavy weights."  And "In, two weeks, your rest periods will decrease by a third."

I will never admit this for fear that he will take it as an invitation to figure out new ways to torture me, but I kind of like this way of training.  I'd take going as hard as I can and (safely) pushing my limits over a pansy workout any day.  I love that feeling of proving myself wrong when my first thought is "There is no way I can do that." I love having to dig deep to make it happen.  I even kind of love the soreness (I say that until I wobble around in heels trying to lead worship tomorrow) because it tells me I did something, it reminds me that I'm alive and well, and that I've got things I want to achieve.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bikini or Bust, 2014

I blame my cousin, who of course got good genes and has a lovely athletic body, and has probably not owned a one-piece bathing suit since she was six.  She threw down a decree that after years of me hiding in frumpy hide-it-all and suck-it-in bathing suits, that this should be the year I finally wore a two piece.  Actually, I'm pretty sure she used the "B" word... and I don't think she meant a particular group of islands. So I looked her in the eyes and said I'd think about it, while I silently resolved that I'd make it happen.  It's after all not about the bathing suit.  It's about being a really new person, and finally being free from an old image of myself.  But that was like 6 months ago, and I thought I'd have made more progress than this. Now, family beach week is just a little bit over three months away.

So I stupidly sat down with He-who-trains, and told him about this problem... and tried to ignore the grin that spread across his face as I told him that I wanted to go all in for the next three months.  I asked him to make a meal plan for me, which explains why there is stinky fish cooking away in my oven as we speak.  I also told him that, in essence, he could do whatever he wanted to train me.  He could get in my face, and push me harder than I wanted to go.  He said (and I quote) "You won't like it." To which I replied with utmost sincerity, and even believed that I meant it: "What I like is irrelevant." Note to self: Uh, seriously... you said that? Out loud?

He-who-trains thinks he's funny.  Post
workout instructions: "Hobble Home...Cuss me.."
Because he grabs a pen and smiles away to himself while he designed a workout to increase my endurance.  Or you know... my vocabulary of things that I shouldn't say outloud.  He told me to "eat the biggest Snickers bar I could find" (long story but I needed more carbs in my body) and to bring a puke bag.  I'm pretty sure I should've run away screaming... but wait, I also begged him to let me run again, so in effort to give me every. single. thing. I. wanted. he decided that I could run AFTER the fun workout he'd designed for me.

I'm pretty glad to have had a workout partner for this one, because we were both dripping with sweat, and this was definitely a misery loves company sort of event.  But she rocks, and she's a great cheerleader. She'll gently correct my form which is a far superior thing to having He-who-trains do the form correcting.  She'll lie to me and tell me I'm doing great and that I've got it.  And I'll turn around and lie to her and tell her the same thing.  This is a spectacular time to have a lying friend.  I highly recommend it.  It wasn't pretty, but we survived.  And when He-who-trains came in to check on us and said "Planned assassinations of the gym nazi will not be tolerated" (and again, with that big stupid grin) we managed not to admit that we were too tired to think about killing him, or you know, think about anything.  And nobody needed the aforementioned puke bag.  That's a win, right?

Of course, because I shot off my mouth about wanting to run and how well my knees were doing, I wasn't done. I headed down the road for a jalk, which was spectacularly fun for a couple of reasons.  1) I hadn't run in 6 months.  2) My legs were jelly from all the plyometrics that I'd done. And oh yeah, 3) I had already used all my energy trying not to die.  Of course, He-who-trains is also a sadist, so he ensured that I ran the road around the gym where I couldn't hide from all the gawking people driving by.  At least I didn't yell "What?! Beet red looks good on me!" or "No, really, I swear I haven't been drinking and the fact that I don't have control of my muscles is perfectly normal." I had to spend a couple seconds walking here and there because of a side stitch, but it wasn't as bad as I guessed it would be.  But then again, I was pretty much just pleased that I was still capable of being in an upright position and moving at all.

So I got what I said I wanted.  On the upside, except a small twinge, my knees held up fine. And at the end, when he snarkily asked how I was, I could say... and mean... "I'm good."  Being spent, having given more than I thought I had, leaving it all at the gym.  Yeah, that's good.

New mantra until July: Bikini or Bust.

Oh, and this is my wallpaper these days, in case I'm tempted to cheat.