End of year top ten 2015.

Hey Aimee, you got an end of year top ten list for us? It’s the end of the year. It’s list time. It’s what people do…

Sure, pretend person who asks me questions to prompt blog posts. Of course I can do that for you. Here you go…

PRETTY-SWEATY’S TOP TEN FAVORITE FITNESS THINGS 2015

10. FAVORITE WORKOUT PANTS: Athleta Chaturanga. Yes still. They’ll probably be knocked down a peg when I start really running again in 2016, because I doubt they’d stay up. But until then, the stretchy, never too tight, available in infinite lengths and colors and patterns, INCLUDING a new high waist version, are still my go-to. Because pants that never make me feel fat will never not be my favorites.

9. FAVORITE FITNESS TRACKER: UP2 by Jawbone. Best looking. User-friendly and nicely designed app.

8. FAVORITE PROTEIN BAR: Quest Bars, mother fucker! They taste like magic and are made of sparkles! Plus: fiber.

7. FAVORITE PROTEIN SHAKE: Sun Warrior. Chocolate flavor. It’s vegan, so it’s like you’re drinking a salad. (I tell myself.) Add spinach, psyllium husks, cocoa, a pinch of salt, and a little bit of stevia, and you’re good. It looks green, but it tastes like a Wendy’s frosty. Chocolate + Spinach works.

6. FAVORITE JOG BRA: Under Armour Armour Bra. I have faith that eventually I’ll find the Moving Comfort (honorable mention) bra for me, but it only took one trip to Sports Authority dressing room to find an Under Armor one. They’re color-coded for cup size, and they don’t have too many options, which is makes finding the right one for you quick and easy… If you know what size you are… Which I don’t because it changes every month. (Pregnancy should be considered a 2-3 year process for your body.) They have different impact ratings, but I don’t understand the point of anything that’s not rated for “Hi-Impact” (or why they don’t spell out “high”). Their H-I-G-H impact sports bra is called the Armour Bra. It’s well-engineered. Easy to get on and off (back clasps). And doesn’t cut into your armpit fat. In fact, it has special soft and stretchy bits around the armpits specifically so it doesn’t do that. VERY WELL DONE, UNDER ARMOUR! VERY WELL DONE.

5. FAVORITE WORKOUT: I still stand by a combo of boot camp and barre. Boot camp is basically the OG of HIIT. And any barre program will do. But I really like Suzanne Bowen’s Barre Amped series of DVDs as a lighter alternative to The Dailey Method. #yesiamstilloutofshape

4. FAVORITE FITNESS MAGAZINE: Experience Life. It’s put out by Lifetime Fitness, and it’s a healthy lifestyle magazine. A lot about nutrition, wellness, life balance, etc. It’s a good for when you get burnt out on Shape, Self, Womens’ Fitness, Oxygen, etc. It’s also great if you feel like you’re always swimming upstream while trying to live a healthy lifestyle. This magazine will make you feel like you’re not crazy, and not alone. (This is me: “Wait. People still eat pizza? Who? Who still eats pizza? …Wait. They still sell fat-free shit? People still buy fat-free shit? Where the fuck am I? Has nobody read anything in the last ten years? What is going on in the world???”) Also: you won’t be bombarded with fitness models and celebrities. It’s a safe space.

3. FAVORITE NEW(ISH) FITNESS LABEL: Olympia Sport. Strong, yet beautiful stuff. Goddess wear.

2. PRETTIEST WORKOUT PIECE: ALO Goddess Leggings. Who doesn’t want to look like an off-duty ballerina? Nobody. That’s who. And that’s why these leggings are just so…I don’t know…lovely.

1. FAVORITE GYM: The shittiest gym in town, whatever town I’m in. I like the cheapest, most down and dirty, simplest, nothing but machines, little shit hole of a gym available. I don’t like big gyms. I don’t like “fitness centers.” The bigger it is, the more of “a thing” it is to go there. If the gym has STAIRS and multiple FLOORS? I’m out. I don’t even like studios that offer more than one kind of class. And if people can watch your class while they’re working out? Forget it. I’m not paying to be someone else’s entertainment. I like to stay anonymous. I don’t want everybody all up in my shit. I just want to get in, do my thing, not talk to a single person, not feel intimidated, and get the fuck out. If the walls need painting, and the ceiling is leaking somewhere, that’s a good sign. That means there aren’t too many people paying too much money for too much stuff. I LOVE a shitty little gym.

 

P.S. Sorry/ Not Sorry for no links or pics in this post. I’m tired, I don’t feel like it, and I’ve got other shit to do. You understand, I’m sure. The beginning of the year kind of blows for everybody, right? Right. TTYL. Love, Aimee.

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30 day challenge update and some postpartum bullshit

Remember how I was going to do Whole 30 and Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 4 for the last month? Here’s what happened.

Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 4: I’m still doing it. And I’m getting 10,000 steps almost every day.  I usually miss about one workout a week. I know deep down that these BBM workouts aren’t hard or long enough, but they’re great for getting into an every day workout habit. And I think they’ve been helping me get stronger in the pelvic floor, inner thigh, abs, and core. I couldn’t do mountain climbers (or any bouncing at all) when I started (because of pelvic floor issues) but now I can. Which is awesome. Also, I like doing them every other day, and doing both the strength and the cardio on the same day, back to back, so it feels closer to a real workout. So, that’s good.

Whole 30: Not so much. It’s been a rough few weeks. Some changes, some stresses, some challenges, and overall a pretty post partum depression-y time. So I said fuck it. I’ve been having some wine. BUT, I really did go a whole 30 days with no pop, sugar, fake sugar, or non-vegetable starches. (I count popcorn as corn, which is a vegetable. Wink.) But no pop, no protein bars, no sweetner in my coffee or lemon water, and no crap carbs…that’s not nothing, man! And I’ve felt good. Green tea in the afternoon instead of pop…less achy, more energy. Good stuff! And not hard to do.

Results? I’VE FUCKING GAINED FIVE POUNDS AND MY JEANS DON’T FIT. Yeah. I’M GAINING WEIGHT. No, it’s not muscle, I’m not an idiot. OK, I am, but not that kind of idiot. It’s belly. Flabby fatty belly. I had started to lose the baby weight, for about a second, and now I’m fucking gaining.

But there’s more to the story. I also stopped breast feeding. Which I was surprisingly ambivalent about… but I’m super glad to have my freedom back, to have my body belong only to me again, and to not have big hoots. YAY! My sweaters aren’t crop tops anymore!!! SUPER JOY TIMES.

Ah, but guess what comes with that change…A SUDDEN DEPRESSION because I’m not getting dosed with happy hormones (Oxytocin) multiple times a day anymore. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it a million times again: being a girl is bullshit.

AND, no breastfeeding means I’m suddenly not burning an extra 500 calories a day. A SUDDEN BIG DECREASE IN METABOLISM. So fun!

So I didn’t fail. I didn’t succeed. Other shit’s going down that’s fucking my shit up and getting in the way of weight loss. I’m pissed. And I don’t know how this next phase plays out. I don’t know if your metabolism/ hormones even out or if I have to live on carrots and lacroix for the rest of my days or what.

That’s what’s up with me. A bit of chaos in the neurotransmitters and hormones. But I shall keep moving forward because winter is coming and I have to wear pants.  Wish me luck.

EXP Core Review (Fitness fashion from Express)

Hey, guess who else has a new fitness wear line.  Express. Yep, that Express. It’s called EXP Core Performance, and they sent me an outfit to review, so I happily shall. Someone wants to send me clothes? YAASSS!

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Hello, EXP Core Performance.

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What they have: Workout Clothes for Women. A whole line of workout leggings,  workout tops, sports bras, and jackets.They say they’re “sexy, stylish, and built for maximum performance.” Oh. You wanna go after VSX Victoria’s Secret Sport? Ok. I hear you. Go for it.

They let me pick out from a selection of a few different pants and tops, and I chose these leggings because 1. I have too many crops right now and 2. HOLY SHIT CRAZY BUTTERFLY PATTERN I LOVE IT. And I chose the black top, obviously, because that’s what I wear. Black tops. And the lovely folks at EXP Core Performance sent me a sports bra to wear under it, too. Sweet!Outfit math expFullSizeRender

The workout leggings kind of rule. Ombre Animal Print EXP Core Compression Legging $69.90. And I’m not just saying that because I didn’t have to pay for them. The pattern is really fun, and it’s the first big, all-over pattern like this that has been flattering on my shape. ( Pear / T-Rex / Thunder-thighs.) The white at the bottom definitely helps because white looks bigger, so the effect is almost the same as if I were wearing bootcut/flared yoga pants. They balance out the thunder thighs. And the pattern at the top (read: the pattern across my ass) is dark and keeps the eye moving, so we’re good there, too. The only drawback is that this fabric is white with a print on it, so the inside of the pants are white, which means when the fabric stretches, it gets lighter because you’re seeing a little bit of that white come through. The black becomes dark grey when it is stretched across my thighs. So. Shopping tip: pay attention to the color of the inside of your workout pants. It’s not a deal breaker in this case, though. I think they still look good.FullSizeRender_2

But more importantly, they make me feel good. I feel like an olympic skier in them. They are edgy and obnoxious and you can’t really wear them and sit on the couch, because look at them! They are ACTION PANTS MADE FOR ACTION! Right?

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The tech and specs:

Fabric: They’re a slippery, almost bathing suit-type material, like Onzie leggings. Which means they wick well, and you could probably use them for bikram yoga or even swimming if you wanted to. Surfing? Maybe. But only if you get them really tight. There’s no drawstring. The fabric is not thick, and  that’s usually a deal breaker for me,  because: cellulite. But the pattern does the camouflaging that I usually count on a thicker fabric to do, so NBD.

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Fit: They have a high rise with a wide waistband, so that’s perfect. Everybody seems to be catching on to that now. As they should be. There’s no reason for anybody to have to have a muffin top. Hooray progress! Also, there’s a waistband key pocket, which is mandatory. I’m between sizes right now, so I ordered the higher size. So they’re not “performance” tight on me. (Except for on the thighs because everything is.)  But despite that, they didn’t slide down during a long walk, and they stayed in place pretty well during burpees and bouncing in a HIIT workout.

I’m impressed, Express. These are thoughtfully designed. Respect.

The workout top is a soft, drapey cotton.  Black EXP Core Strappy Tank $34.90. It’s loose enough and long enough, with some showy interest in the back. What more could you want? You might think “eh, it’s fine” when you look at it online, but it’s the kind of easy-to-wear piece you (I) will probably reach for first again and again. No brainer.

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The sports bra looks basic at first sight, too. (Mesh Back EXP Core Sports Bra $49) But the material actually has an almost shiny, leather-look, so it’s different and edgy, without being slutty.  The scoop of the neck and the width of the straps are flattering. It’s not too low cut,  and it covers the upper boob/ armpit fat. They know what they’re doing over there. And you know I don’t say that shit lightly. Of course, this is a “for looks” bra, not a “for running” bra. There’s no padding, and no special support structure. But it’s pretty slick looking. Oh yeah, and the back has mesh panels, too.FullSizeRender_3

EVERYTHING I got was thoughtfully designed. I’m pleasantly surprised, and actually pretty stoked. This EXP stuff is really flattering. For real.

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Seriously, you guys. When I saw Express in my email, I thought “I have not even looked in the window of that store since college.” And I’m 38. I shouldn’t be in there. But workout wear is for everybody, and EXP Core is a nice find. And you can order online so you don’t have to go in there and stand next to a size 00 seventeen year-old who hasn’t even put on her beer weight yet.

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Thumbs up for EXP Core.

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Wish me luck.

So. Girl who talks about workout clothes. Are you working out? What are you doing for fitness these days? Are you trying to lose the baby weight? Like, at all? Because…yeah. You might want to start working on that. You will have to wear pants soon. Winter is coming.

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Yikes.

Yeah. I am. For nutrition, I’m doing Whole30. Which is basically: don’t eat anything processed, and no starches, legumes, sugars, fake sugars, booze, or dairy. I do a lot of that already, but the hard part is ditching the Coke Zero, Pinot Noir and Quest Bars, and watching my portions. I basically live on Coke Zero, Pinot Noir, and Quest Bars, so…yeah. It’s going to be something.

And for fitness, I’m doing Bikini Body Mommy. I know. Worst name ever. I cringe at anything “mommy.” BUT, the program is super simple, the workouts are short as hell, they email you a link to your (free) workout every day so it’s duh-proof, and the lady, Briana Christine, is very real. She’s not skinny. She lost 100 lbs a while back, (in fact, if you’ve ever searched for fitspo or before and afters, you’ve probably seen her photo, below) became a trainer, has had kids and a miscarriage, and is just continuing the lifelong, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, mission to be fit. So she has expertise, and she’s done it, but at the same time, she’s in a “before” phase of her life and she’s huffing and puffing so I don’t feel intimidated. (I’m doing challenge 4.0.) Kind of a magical combo. I recommend it.

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This is the Bikini Body Mommy lady.

The workouts are very short, though. So I’m trying to get my steps and fit in some barre workouts, too. I stand by barre/ Dailey Method / Barre Amped / Physique 57 etc. as the quickest way to change your shape.

But the point is, I’m on turbo for the next 30 days and I’m not stoked about it because, ew. Effort. Change. Blech. Wish me luck.

WorkOutFits for Mom Boobs.

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Until my post-baby boobs return to pre-baby size, my wardrobe is highly useless to me. Seriously. Everything is cut for a different body. Boobs throw EVERYTHING off. Bless your heart if you want em, but I sure as hell don’t. All of my crewneck drapey sweaters? Nope. Any sweater that’s not a cardigan, actually? Nope. Any T-shirt at all? Nope. They’re all crop tops now. I live in tanks and cardigans, just like when I was pregnant. So until those jerks go back to normal, I have to work with the few things that DO work. Stupid mom boobs. Here are some things I’m loving:

  1. Racerback Tunics because A. Tunics, duh. and B. Big arm holes are about the only skin-baring feature that I can do right now. And C. you can layer fun sports bras with them. Cute + Coverage. Boom. Done. The grey one with the neon strip on the back is from Old Navy Active. (yes, they have some cool stuff. Maybe like one cool thing I can use per season. But still. that’s not nothing. And it costs next to nothing.) The pink one is Soffee, which is at Sports Authority and also cheap as hell.
  2. My Madewell black heart sweatshirt. It’s kind of somewhere between a sweatshirt and a sweater. So it falls instead of billows like a terry sweatshirt would. Simple, but with an uncommon twist. And the giant graphic camouflages like a boss. I like it with long leggings. (Long is key because short = more gym-ish and not OK for public.) If I were a skinny minnie, it would rule with boyfriend jeans and obnoxious pointy toed heels or something. But on me, that combo would look like Grimace in drag. In this pic I was just schlubbing around the house, but i think with a black boot and a long nicer t-shirt peeking out the bottom? Or maybe a white button-down shirt tied around the waist with my Ash high tops. I just really like the idea of a greyscale, almost goth twist on athleisure. That could be a good fall go-to. You know. Until I can actually wear pants again. Sigh. Fucking pants.

WorkOutFits post-baby, and what it’s like to watch your body change without your permission.

…or lack thereof, if we’re being honest here.

Here are my IG posts of workoutfits/ workout days from today back to when I was 36 month preggo.  IG = @iamaimeeschewe  Starting with today’s pic.

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Today: Day 8 of Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 4 and day 1 of Whole30. More on both of those later. 

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Self-tanner fail.

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Crunches and planks for all.

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I finally “fit” into my favorite green tunic again. And by that I mean I can put it on, but it sure as hell doesn’t fit like a tunic should. Also I lost my UP24 fitness tracker and I am TOTALLY BUMMED ABOUT IT.

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The good news is: where I live, you can throw a scarf on top of a WorkOutFit and you’ll be the best dressed lady around. That is also the bad news.

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All I want for birthday is some new fresh kicks.

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Sad about having no muscles anymore. I guess a year of not working out (basically) will do that to you. Babies. Jerks.

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I’m pretty into my purple and black tie-dye LuluLemon Wonder Under fold-over leggings. Fold-over really just means I always wear them unfolded/up over my poppin’ fresh dough. And of course, always, Nike Frees. The black tongue and laces really make this pair.  I love them to bits.

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Ah yes. This is me trying to get a feature from Fabletics on Lauren Conrad’s blog. I didn’t try very hard. Meaning I only sent in this one image. One time. But dang. Good hair day, right? Also, that is total angle trickery. Everyone looks skinny with their body cut off and from above. Try it. I do really dig that shirt though. Fabletics. Breeze top I think.

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so hipstergram.

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trying to psych up to get back into the swing of things. trying.

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Same Fabletics top. Different color. My wardrobe choices (read: what fits) right now are very 90s/ bold colors and black/ WWF/ Punky Brewster…purples, teals, black and bleachy tie-dye…not sure what’s going on. I actually wore the same type of clothes in 8th grade: tunic, sports bra top, leggings. Weirrrrrrrrd.

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See? What’d I tell you? Double black tie dye. So obnoxious. So Macho Man Randy Savage. What’s next? Zubaz?

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This is my cardio. Walking. I’m so hard core right now. Not. Can’t wait to be 100%. Srsly. 4rl.

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More with the teal. Hey, lets add neon green! Those are the mom boobs. Gotta say. I’m not a fan. I was totally fine with having smaller boobs and I can’t wait for these jobbies to go away. Oooh. Look how shiny my new fitness ball is. Ooooh. Silver.

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I was proud of my angles and art direction.

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So this was basically my all day post-baby uniform for the summer. Joggers and some kind of a baggy but with big arm holes so you see my bra type of shirt. The top and bottom are both Athleta. The top is sold out now (summer item) but the bottoms are the Metro Slouch capris and you can get them in full length for fall. I recommend them. Comfy. Not tight but not sloppy. If you have an ass, that is.

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This is me starting to work out again. And by that I mean doing my prenatal workout as my postpartum (that just means after baby, not postpartum depression) workout. Note the lack of waist and obvious tip toe leg-lengthening trick.

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Going further back in time, two months after giving birth, even less-little in the middle. Also, I braided my hair one day.

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angles and trickery!! I’m twice as wide when I’m facing forward.

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I thought I’d be using the Ergo Baby Carrier a lot. Too bad baby hated it. He likes the Bjorn.  We’ll try this one again when he grows out of that.

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This was right after my 6 weeks post-baby check up. When my doctor said I could work out again. But she also said I should go to physical therapy. So…yeah. Now it’s 6 months later and I’m basically still fixin’ to get ready to get back in shape. But that’s better than peeing myself for the rest of my life. Probably.

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And this was my belly at 36 weeks. I’m so glad to be not pregnant anymore! Love the baby. But man I LOVE being NOT PREGNANT. aaaaaah. The best thing about being pregnant is appreciating not being pregnant.

I haven’t posted a ton of pics because 1. I haven’t been working out a ton and 2. I don’t fit into much. I basically have three pairs of leggings that I rotate and two big baggy black tunics. That’s what’s comfortable and flowy and makes me the least sad when I look in the mirror. Your body changes a lot when you’re pregnant, and then again after you have a baby (and are breast feeding), and then again as time goes on, and then again when you stop breast feeding. (I hope.)

During pregnancy my waist got thicker before the baby bump showed up. And my boobs got bigger and hurt like hell. I am a pear / T-Rex (little in the middle but she got much back) with a medium-small upper body, so this was not fun for me. Me no likey big booby.  And I gained some cushioning all around. But it wasn’t too incredibly grotesque. Not as freakish as it could have been. I think the baby just took up organ space before growing out toward the world. Sure fucking felt like it. But not as bad as it could have been. I mean. I was still pregnant. It was gross and weird and a total alien parasite situation. But it could have been worse. So I’m thankful for that.

I walked a fair bit, but couldn’t do much more. I had no energy and bouncing was NOT an option. I stopped running pretty early on. It just felt like my organs were going to fall out. So…nope! I guess I didn’t do enough pelvic floor work before and during pregnancy. (be warned!)

Afterward, I wore a belly wrap corset thing and a hip minimizer (highly recommend, more on those later). And after six weeks I started walking again. And I’ve done some barre workouts, but I’ve been taking it very slowly and gradually because I’m still in pelvic floor rehab. (Long story. I’ll write a thing on that soon. I’m not “injured” any more than anyone else who’s ever carried a baby, but it’s important to rehab those muscles first so you don’t pee your pants your whole life. Other countries know this. America apparently doesn’t. Probably not a coincidence that my Physical Therapists are from New Zealand and India. )

Anyway, I’m just trying to give you an idea of what happens to your shape after pregnancy, even without workout out or watching what you eat too much. (me.) My waist is getting smaller on its own/ returning back to a more “me” shape. What isn’t changing is the boobs and upper body weight. Like the fat arms and armpits and upper back and whatnot. That’s still disorienting because it’s not my natural body shape and all of my clothes fit differently/ don’t fit because of the damn boobs. Everything is a crop top all of a sudden. It’s ridiculous. But that should change soon enough, when I stop with the breast feeding. I look forward to that.

I also don’t want you to think that not working out for 6 months is normal. (Or that I just said “Fuck it, I’m a mom!” I didn’t.) You can totally work out. And I could have gotten to this point quicker if I had been more religious about doing my physical therapy.  But I wasn’t. (I will be now, though. Promise. I’m sick of this.) So it’s taking a long time to get to the point where I can do all the fun high impact/ plank/ quick movement/ boot camp/ real exercise stuff again.  And to be able to wear my ninety seven different pairs of black workout pants.

Also, I should note that I’m finally realizing how much of this shit it is out of my control. Hormones tell your body to store fat because it’s going to use it or baby stuff and baby feeding stuff. Hormones tell your body you don’t need some of that anymore. Hormones tell you to lay the fuck down because your body needs all the energy for other functions you don’t even know are happening. I never went totally nuts food-wise or workout-wise while pregnant or after. I’ve just been normal, up and down, sometimes a total pig, sometimes not -me. Watching my waist get thicker and thinner despite my intake and output has taken some pressure off and given me a little faith in my body actually maybe deciding it wants to be smaller one day and it all happening pretty naturally. Maybe. I mean. That would be cool, right? Is that how normal people think and live? Huh. Must be nice.

But I’m for sure going to get more serious about my PT and keep on working in more working out.

And at least for a little while longer I’ll still be in tunics and leggings town. Hope you like purple tie dye and Punky Brewster…