Training For The Great Cycle Challenge 

I bought my first bike in 20 years. I literally have not ridden a traditional bike since I was 11/12. Yes you can do the math I’m 31.5 yrs old. I’m also about a hundred pounds heavier than I was then. I was a tiny little thing. I’m a little old and heavy to be entering a physical challenge but then again that is kind of the point, I am so out of shape that I need to challenge myself physically. 

I am proud to say I’ve made it around our diet driveway without an accident. It was considerably more difficult to pedal across the grass. But my cruiser bike was designed for concrete not off reading. 

I don’t know about doing 10 mile rides like I do on my stationary bike but I am going to work at building up so I can at least get a few miles in each day in June. My goal is 101 miles and I’m riding in memory of a beautiful little girl who cancer took before her 2nd birthday. Hopefully I can raise some money for the Children’s Cancer Fund. 

The Job Search

I have been looking for jobs. The perfect job. Well basically any job I am capable of doing in the hours I need… Which is a normal business hours day shift M-F. Its not easy there, but I am trying. I ended up turning down a great opportunity at a Animal Hospital. The hours were a bit longer than I would like for me since I am moving out and I have my son to consider. But I figured it all up, even in a cheap apartment after benefits come out, I would literally be left with $50 a month for groceries during months with higher utilities. Not to mention no money for occasional new shoes, jeans for Michael, basic necessities like deodorant. And lets be honest, deodorant should be listed as a bill when you have a almost thirteen year old son.

I have a few leads I am going to pursue here today. It sucks, I have IBS, anxiety, and then trying to provide for my son on my own, it doesn’t open a whole lot of doors. Benefits would sure be nice, if I can even afford to use them. Michael has insurance from his father, and it is a 5,000 dollar deductible. Seriously. So I can’t even afford to use his insurance to take him to the doctor.

I am almost done with things I need for the new house though. I think I am down to a microwave, desk chair, and then a new bed for Michael. Frame and mattress. Oh and the wood for my new weaving loom. Can’t forget that.

I love yarn. Seriously love it. And I have wanted a triangle loom forever. I plan on using it as a stress relief hobby, around my day job and my weekend summer photography services. But who knows maybe by winter I will have it down enough I can start selling shawls and lap blankets on Etsy or something to help bring in a few dollars in. But that is not my priority, I want to weave because I love it.

I will try to post more often, but life gets us busy. This week we finally had our family Christmas party. Michael’s paternal grandmother had a lung transplant almost a year ago. On Michael’s birthday at that! But she hasn’t been doing so well and is staying close to Rochester for her doctors and she needs 24/7 supervision. They went down and got her for the weekend and it was really nice having everyone together again. And then with my crazy work, sleep, and job hunting schedules I have basically forgotten to sit down and write…

My Magic Water Bottle

I am horrible about water bottles. I get hooked on a cute bottle. I go crazy carrying it everywhere. For about two weeks I am practically bouncing like a water balloon from all the consumption of fluids… I am just as bad with drink cups and thermos type cups. Even though I really don’t consume hot drinks. I am a no coffee zone. So occasionally a special tea or hot cocoa.

Well the magic water bottle of the week is this little 16 ounce bottle I caught sight of by accident at WalMart the other day. It is pink transluscent and said Reach for the Stars. Starts are kind of my thing. Really anything night related. I love the moon and starts. Yup… It was only 88 cents. So needless to say it is my newest addition to my collection that will probably be lost in a month. Most likely to be lost in the back seat of my car. But I am trying for now. It inspires me. It is nothing special yet totally awesome at the same time. Not even a week in and the letters are starting to scratch off.

I’ve ready blogs and articles that all say having the right bottle can make a difference. If you have an emotional attachment to your water bottle you are more likely to use it. I believe it is true to a point. Except for us really lazy folks.

I dehydrate easily, so one would think I would be better at getting my fluids. I’m not. But I try. I used to be really good. I would track it all on my Spark People logs. Spark People is kind of like Weight Watchers but only better in my opinion. Its free and full of amazing resources and support groups. Only when I lost home internet I found it too difficult to keep up with the subpar app. But the website is amazeballs.

I found a pretty cool app, I think it used to be called Where’s My Water. But now is called something Water Drink Reminder. I love the visual just tap the size of drink and go. I customize so my little 16 ounce bottle is there. I turned off the reminders because I work nights and even selecting my sleep schedule it warned me there would be notifications during those hours. I like that it factors in your weight and activity level in your needed water intake.  I guess I need 112 ounces a lazy day. And if it is hot or I am active then I can tick those boxes and it will add how much more I need. I didn’t even know bigger people needed more water. I guess it should have been a no brainer.

There are dozens of water apps and many fitness food trackers also have them, so I’m not trying to sell this one. I just think it is cool for my needs. I was inspired by a cheap little water bottle to try to work on at least one part of my health, my daily hydration. And since the bottle is only 16 ounces, it is small enough I am not feeling overwhelmed to be constantly chugging down fluids. I count any calorie free drink, like Crystal Light or Sparkling Ice. Not straight up calorie free soda though, like Coke Zero. And of course water, that counts as a no brainer. I can say just since I started typing this I have already finished half of the bottle. YAY. Except now I have to pee… I suspect I will be reminded often with the new increased fluid intake that I have the bladder of a toddler. Better not plan on any road trips for the next week as I adjust. Now perhaps we should plan a check in lets say a month from now and show my progress of keeping hydrated. Can I count on ya’ll to hold me accountable? I know I am still just a new blog, but I hope I can build up a little following that will interact and encourage me through my ramblings and various posts.

Love, Holly

A Little Side Note

As I was typing the title, I was about to type A Little Side Salad. I must be hungry. I rarely crave salad. I have become so picky in regards to my ranch dressing and it is the only dressing I can seem to stomach on my salads and I want lots and lots of dressing. Healthy no. Delicious, yes. But that is off topics. As this this entire blog, but hey it is my site, and I can write about anything and everything right?

I changed up the header image. While I loved the moody foggy path that was the image across the top of the blog, I felt like it does not really represent ME. What you may not know dear reader is that I am also a photographer. And I felt like I needed to add my own image on a blog that represents me as an individual. This isn’t a business or niche blog that can be slapped together with generic royalty free images. It is the story of me, so what better to be represented is my own work.

I admit I did toss this together rather quickly. I used the image I had made for my Instagram and it is not a full size/res image. But even with some of the sharpness softened out on the desktop version of my blog, I still like it. I love sea glass. The soft cloudy colors. And how it has been worn down by the crashing waves and abrasive sand. Unlike us, who might get jaded by Life’s assaults, it is softened with the abuse that might come its way, molded into something beautiful.

I am also deeply into black and white photography, so again for my Instagram, I had to do one without color.

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The odds are stacked. Are they for you, or are they against you? I like to think we decide and make our own future, but the truth is the future changes with each wave and breeze. Our plans may come toppling down and need rebuilt.

When I Realized I Was Fat

I was a tall and very slender child. OK I was borderline scrawny there for a few years. I guess nobody even realized it until they looked at photos later and discovered they could count my ribs through my swim suit. I had a healthy appetite. So my weight was never questioned. I went through a few years where I bruised easily as well, and I’ve always been a klutz, so more often than not I had a bruise I could not explain. But puberty came, and I started softening out. I was in a bra by third grade, and by 6th I was more endowed than most of my classmates. I remember always trying to hide my boobs under baggy t shirts in 5th grade. I had a class of 12, and only 4 of which were girls. Needless to say out of us 4, I was the only one who had really sprouted anything beyond little baby boob buds. So I was pretty happy when I hit 6th and we had integrated into a larger school district and I found girls with just as much development as I did. But I still gravitated towards shapeless t shirts, it had become a habit.

In high-school, I knew I was chubbier than the other girls. But I never felt huge. I never felt pretty, and was always self conscious about my body, but I didn’t feel huge and gross or anything. I started getting out of just t shirts and wearing better fitted tops. I think I maxed out in a size 15, but the beginning of my senior year I was down to an 11. I was pretty excited because I could actually wear a bunch of cute baby tees I had found on sale at JC Penney. I had developed more confidence in my body, and while I still didn’t wear shorts (long story but I was always most self conscious about my legs and arms more than my middle back then) I could rock these cute shirts. Yea, there was NO hiding the fact I had large boobs, but I looked really cute and I was happy with that.

And then a few weeks later I was sitting in a pregnancy clinic and being told that I was pregnant. At 18. Barely even 18. Which for the record had really nothing to do with the new confidence and clothes that sparked the reckless behavior. The confidence was me making peace in a horribly emotionally abusive relationship that had just ended and I was free and celebrating me. The pregnancy was me making a bad decision in the healing process and leaning on the guy I had actually lost my virginity to and one of the few males I really trusted to spend time with and needless to say I spent the next few months gaining weight.

My son was born right after graduation. Two weeks after. I did graduate. With honors. I gained 35 pounds and gave birth to a 9 pound 3 ounce baby. And a week later I was wearing those size 11 jeans again. Go me, right? Well I went back to work right away, and I worked at an amusement park. Part of what had gotten me slimmed down every summer, I was a very active ride attendant. Sweaty active work. But I was gaining weight. By August I was up to a 13. I was on the Patch and it was the logical explanation. I was starting to feel more self conscious about my weight and realizing I was definitely gaining and bigger than I wanted to be but I had no clue what to do. The next summer, I was a 15. And I went on Depo a year in a half after my son was born. I boomed to an 18 where I have pretty much stayed. Although in fairness, I was a large 18, nearly 20 often in the last decade. But it was then that I really started calling myself FAT.

I had a doctors appointment when my son was five or six, and I needed some lab work done. I was having horrible menstrual cramps pretty much always. Nobody could figure out why. Walking down the hallway to the lab I was reading the sheet my doctor sent me with, looking at the tests he had ordered and there in the diagnosis line was the word that crushed my spirits. Obesity was his diagnosis and cause of my pain and suffering. I’ve had this doctor since I was 11. He had watched me gain the weight after my son was born, and not once ever spoke up. Not once asked if I was concerned or wanted to do anything or needed help. Not once voiced his concern that I had gained so much weight in a few years. And then he could scribble that down and still take no action to help me.

I went home and cried. I cried hard. Obese. This was always a word used for these women who wheezed when they walked, couldn’t get up out of a chair without grunting and often needing help. The large women who waddled and wore Mu-Mus. Actually if you have ever seen the show on TLC about these 600 pound individuals getting gastric bypass surgery. Well that is what I was raised hearing obese describing. Not people my size. I was devastated. My confidence plummeted. What little I had left at this point. I battled depression through a lot up to this point, including another abusive relationship, and struggling being the mom of a special needs child. I had no worry about the size of my butt I knew it was getting big but the word obesity wrecked me, and I felt like a monumental failure at this moment.

In the last several years, I have done extreme calorie counting, everything going in, everything burned. I tracked it all. I joined the gym.  I did really good on goals. And I barely lost weight. I sort of yo-yo. Losing weight seems to be a very slow process for me. I am getting back on the wagon here very soon as I will be moving into my own place, just me and my son and it will be easier to control our diet and create home workout plans. My son is overweight now too, and of course I have to carry some of that shame and responsibility. Both of us have lost all the healthy progress I had made in my life when I moved in with my mother when we left to move and start a new life a and five years later with another state jumping move under us we are still cohabiting, but in a very small space. Which will be changing once I take the plunge and switch jobs and get my tax return back.

I don’t expect I will see size 11 again. It is possible, but it would be probably a very long journey. But I don’t care as much about size now as I do feeling good about myself. I am not the sloppy t shirt wearing dust bunny I was. So even if I don’t see fantastic results, just being healthier and happier is the goal. The rest will fall into place. I refuse to take pills, shakes, creams, or patches in a false attempt to make a miracle happen. If I lose inches it will be because I worked them off.

Every Blog Needs a First Post

It is 3 in the morning, I am suffering a horrible cold, and I am supposed to be getting up in five hours to get ready for church. So what am I supposed to be doing? Well obviously my brain thinks sleeping is the wrong answer.

I watch several videos on YouTube from plus size women. Mostly I am looking to see try-ons of clothing from websites I drool over but never actually take the plunge in buying from. And considering these are pretty cheap websites, that says a lot of me and my issues with taking chances lately. But I keep thinking about starting my own channel. Take risks, put myself out there. Maybe I can speak to crazy little chubbies like myself and I don’t know, spark a difference in someone’s life no matter how small that moment is in time. Perhaps it is a way to work past my anxiety and say Screw Off to all the haters and jugders that in my head are always ready to tell me I am not good enough. Who knows.

But this is probably the first step in that. I am better at the written word and I can still hold onto some mystery and such because in your head I could be anybody, and nobody all wrapped up in one. I am putting myself out there while still hiding at the same time.

I have blogged before. I struggle long term on niche blogs. Personal blogs, well I used to be the queen of vent and ramble. When I start new blogs, I come up with all these ideas to write on right away, and then after time I am burnt out because I started off strong, and then couldn’t keep up. So I am going to try to limit myself to posting just weekly, perhaps bi-weekly depending on what all is going on. I will probably schedule posts if I come up with multiple ideas at once just to keep things flowing consistently instead of glops of posts sporadically. Yes glops. I know it is not a word because of the annoying squiggly red line under it, but it feels like it should be a word in my vocabulary.

My goal for this blog is to be semi-personal in a journal like way. I want to open my life, beyond just simply being a bigger gal with any who decides to follow. Without getting into TMI zone of course. Not everything is going to be all Plus Size stuff, but since it seems to be a big part of my life, being a bigger gal, it is a pretty adequate description to the blog as a whole.

I look forward to this journey together.

Love, Holly