Fat girl fear debunked: my right to bare arms.

My mom is a photographer, which means that several times a year, whether we want it or not, we’re subject to family photo shoots. Most of the times I’m grateful for beautiful, professional portraits at no cost — I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? Good photography is expensive (but well worth the cost. Don’t get me started on that — pay for a professional for your wedding, your maternity and infant portraits, and your professional headshot. It’s SO WORTH IT! Memories last forever, and so does a crappy underexposed selfie of yourself on LinkedIn).

Beautiful Photography by Lynnette Joy. 3/4 sleeves for the win!

Beautiful Photography by Lynnette Joy. 3/4 sleeves for the win!

She’s taught me and my sister how to pose to slim our bodies, but there’s one body hangup that I KNOW drives my mom crazy. My fear of my arms! Why does it drive my mom crazy? Because if I’m sleeveless in a photo, I ask her to photoshop my arms to be smaller. Ridiculous, right?! She probably wanted to kill me as she designed my wedding album because I asked her to photoshop my arms in like, every picture. And that was 30 pounds lighter than I am now. Hahahah. Vain and horrendous, but at least I’m being honest! I carry most of my weight through my abdomen, ass and arms (AAA!). My arms, no matter how much weight I’ve lost in the past, still remain pendulous and large, reminding me of bat wings. I need to get over it.

Behold, my unphotoshopped arms on my wedding day!

Behold, my unphotoshopped arms on my wedding day, now on the interwebz for the world to see!

My mother lovingly slimmed down my arm in this photo!!!

My mother lovingly slimmed down my arm in this photo!!! Can you tell?

My self-consciousness about my arms means I own more cardigans than anybody on the planet. Gray, black, white, turquoise… I’m a cardigan fiend. It means that I wear these cardigans even when it’s 103 degrees out, like it was today. But today, I did something pretty brave. I left the cardigan in the car when I got back from my lunch break. And surprise, nobody said anything about my arms, and I was a lot less hot than I would have been in my cardigan. Stupid insecurity? Yep.

My husband notices my weirdness about my arms, too. In Mexico, I had put on this  adorable, polka dot tank top with a little bolero, a fancy little short sleeved jacket to COVER YOUR ARMS. He asked why I put it on and I sheepishly had to admit I was self conscious about my arms. And that was in front of my HUSBAND — the man who’s seen the worst of me probably a heck of a lot more than he’s seen the best. We’ve been together almost 11 years and I’m pretty sure he knows me better than I know myself. A little pep talk from my hubs and the bolero came off, and once again, nobody said anything and my arms lived to see the light of the day.

My husband helped me get over my arms in Mexico. Cute tank top, eh?

My husband helped me get over my arms in Mexico. Cute tank top, eh?

Despite all these arm-fearing situations, I have come a long way in accepting my arms because three years ago, I would have never stepped foot in the gym in a tank top. It would have to be sleeves all the way, because god forbid somebody see my big fat upper arms. Ridiculous! It’s only when we take a step back sometimes out of our own insecurities that we see how stupid and miniscule they really are. Letting my insecurity of my arms affect my physical comfort is stupid. My arms may be big, but like the rest of me, they’re a work in progress, and quite frankly, I highly doubt many people have looked at my arms and been like “LAWD! She should NOT be wearing that tank top!” And if they do… well, who gives a fart? (You thought I was gonna drop an F bomb, didn’t you?! I didn’t!)

I have a right to bare arms. I have a right to show off my arms no matter what state they might be in. I have a right to say yes to tank tops, tube tops, strapless dresses, deodorant, arm tattoos….you name it. Arms are arms are arms. So this is my new mantra… I have a right to bare arms.

Who’s with me? What ridiculous body insecurity do you have? Let’s get it out in the open today and I’ll comment back with my thoughts… this is a safe place! Get it out in the open. When we address our inner demons, they become a lot less scary! Take the power back and tell me, what’s a stupid body insecurity you have? Why?

Turning fluff into firm

I have always been a fan of touching soft things.  Whether it’s my golden retriever’s fluffy fur behind her ears or plush and luxurious throw blankets in the aisle at my local shopping store, I am just simply addicted to the feeling of softness upon my fingertips.

I’ve always been that way too.  As a child, my sister Alyssa and I would constantly be “gully gullying” (our family word for cuddling) on our blankets and huddled up against each other, appreciating our soft blonde hair and soft skin.  Occasionally though we would appreciate soft skin that we probably shouldn’t have.

My sister and I were notorious for feeling up our grandmother’s soft arms.  To us, we loved the way her skin would move so easily with our little hands and how it felt as we squished it between our fingers.  Little did we know that what we were doing was actually setting us up for a future of the same kind of arms.  Now I have the children I babysit for feel up my arms and squeeze the flesh between their little fingers and now that I’m an adult, I know why my arms are so soft to them.  THEY’RE SOFT BECAUSE THEY’RE FAT.

UGH.  I know both of us would like to apologize to our poor Grandmother for always playing with her wonderful arms, to us we never thought of them as fat, we just thought them as the arms of one our most beloved women in our life.  I hope she felt that way too though but if she felt the way that I feel when kids squeeze my arms, I know it hurts way more on the heart than it does on the arm.

Even when I lost the fifty pounds years ago, one part of my body that had no significant change was my arms.  My bingo wings.  The arms that made me “Princess Fat Arms”.  (yes, those are all words that have been used by others to describe my arms, thanks guys)

This time around though on my weight loss conquest I refuse to let my heavy arms keep me from flying any longer!  I’m registered to start tennis in a month for four hours a week for 8 whole weeks so I look forward to the work out my arms will get then.  Until then, my homegirl Melody and I are crafting together a weight-training plan.  Tonight while I was at the gym, I made a make-shift map of all the weight-training machines our gym has and coded them by letter and wrote down which major muscle groups they worked.  This way, it’ll be easy for Melody and myself to make a plan of which machines we want to work on for the day.

Tonight I worked on my legs and chest and was impressed that I could do thirty reps of 170 lbs on the “seated leg press” rather easily.  When it came time to do the “Rotary Incline Chest” machine”, I could barely pull out fifteen reps at 15 lbs.   It’s obvious where my strength lies.  I’m excited to do a fitness test with Melody to see where our bodies are at currently and it’ll be fantastic to see the progress we can make.  Basically what I would like to do is test out the maximum weight of each machine and see which weight level I can do without being too strenuous that it would cause extreme pain.  Once we know what we can handle, we’ll start a routine that targets specific parts of our bodies a few times a week and set goals to achieve.

I’ll let you guys know the results of that test soon!

After I busted out my thirty minutes of cardio and seven machines, I made my way home to enjoy a delicious frothy chocolate hemp protein shake from Trader Joe’s.  I bought this the other week and just tried it with milk and didn’t like how flaky it seemed.  Tonight I mixed it with a banana, some ice, and a little cinnamon and it was AMAZING.  It was JUST like a chocolate milk shake… except it lacked ice cream.  Boo.

About to enjoy my delicious protein shake after my muscle building work out!

About to enjoy my delicious protein shake after my muscle building work out!

But still, I was definitely enjoying it for a solid two minutes before I knocked it over on my desk, spilling all over my exercise planner.  Good thing I planned on redrawing my weight-training map anyway because now it looks like the paper that would line the bottom of a guinea pigs cage.  Oops.

How many of you incorporate weight training in your work-outs?  What are your favorite machines to do?  Which ones do you have trouble with?

I put a big star next to the “Rotary Incline Chest” machine because I felt pretty shameful that I could only do 15 pounds.  That’s going to be one of my big goal machines, for sure!

I hope everyone has a great weekend full of fun ways to burn calories!

I’m going to burn some calories by going on a BEER HIKE thanks to San Francisco Beer Week teaming with the Alaska Brewing Company and Sutro Stewards.  It’s a four mile hike through the city and then after, we drink beer.  I’ll probably only have one (there).  I’ll be good.  Haha!

Click here in case any of you Bay Area folks want to check it out!

PS: We’re hosting a DietBet! We’ll have more information for you next week – but it starts on Friday, February 15 and  it’s $15 to buy in to the pot. If you win 4% of your weight loss, you’ll get your $15 AND split the pot of winnings! We’re also donating 10% of the pot to No Kid Hungry. Join us now!

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur