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School’s Out with Fever

May 13, 2010

Ash –

I have no idea how many of you watched Tuesday’s Glee. But it was really good. Maybe not as well done as last week, but definitely better than the first few episodes. Plus who else loved the song choices??? I got down right giddy during “Jessie’s Girl” (yes I’m a dork like that). And I’m not sure I ever thought they’d bring back “The Boy is Mine.” Monica and Brandy probably never expected it either. And the “Lady is a Tramp” was the first time I realized Puck could dance. Who knew?

I liked their concept though of choosing a song “that expresses your true voice.” Essentially the same thing we are trying to do in blogs. Write about our thoughts and experiences in a way that tells you about who we are. My high school English teachers are so proud at this second.

If I had to choose a song that expressed who I am (at least at this time) I’d probably have to pick something about summer. One of my high school traditions was to blast Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” during the drive home from my last final (corny but true). To be fair, that pretty much defines every college student at the moment (high schoolers will get their turn right after us). We’ll return to our usual selves in another week or two, but for now we have a one track mind toward summer. All things tan, sunny, and belongs at a beach.

And as a kid you only think about the fun to be had. But as an adult, I’m realizing summer marks the time everyone starts worrying about eating better and losing weight. For women, this is the daunting bikini season. Usually this body image “fever” starts a couple months before the official beginning of summer, but by summer it’s EVERYWHERE. When I dropped by Whole Foods to pick up some flowers, I noticed a “healthy” foods store, a frozen yogurt place, a pita restaurant, and workout equipment shop all of which hadn’t been there before. Even in the blogging world, “Weigh-In Wednesday” from Probably Tabitha is starting to catch on.

And honestly I’m all for it. I can’t pretend Matt and I haven’t chosen to eat better and workout more. You’ve heard way too much about Matt’s P90x and my Jillian workout. I think there is such a thing as taking it too far. Like the people who become obsessed about their weight and count every last calorie (“I couldn’t possibly eat that. It has 300 calories!”). These are the people who are doing 2 or 3 workouts a day and turning down dessert. I’m sorry but I don’t have that kind of willpower. Ice cream and summer belong together. But here is something you never knew about me. I used to be very overweight.

I've shown you Chisom before, but that's me on the right. This was my heaviest point during the fall of my junior year of high school.

At this point, I’m not embarrassed to say that I was 195 pounds (I’m only around 5’3″ or 5’4″ so that’s pretty heavy). For the longest time I refused to say my weight. I refused to even tell me people how I lost the weight. But I want to encourage women to lose weight the right way if you are preparing for bikini season. So let me share my limited pearls of wisdom.

  • Exercise. Don’t overdo it, but half an hour to an hour 3-5 days a week is EXCELLENT. You can find this exercise any way you want. For example, join a gym. My family is a fan of Lifetime. Pools, treadmills, ellipticals, basketball courts. Even a spa. What more could I want? Buy a workout video. You know I’m challenged by Jillian’s “Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.” Her “30 Day Shred” is a good place to start though if you haven’t worked out in awhile. Convince some girlfriends to join a spin or yoga class. They can be lots of fun. But most importantly create a music playlist that will encourage you to keep going while you workout.
  • Eat right. By no means am I saying cut out all dessert and other treats. My body would revolt. But work in lots of veggies and fruit. Especially the veggies. Plus make sure to get plenty of protein and fiber. I’m not a nutrition expert but check out Shape magazine or The Biggest Loser books. Also ask your friends for some healthy recipes. Definitely do NOT starve yourself! Your body will learn to burn more calories the MORE you eat. You just need to make sure that those foods are also good for you.
  • And if you are still struggling, don’t turn to those fad diets or diet pills. Try something like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. They are much more holistic. How do I know? Well, in high school, I was embarrassed to say I was on Jenny. It felt like it was okay for older women to use Jenny. They have important work schedules and might just need help with time management. But I was a teenager. Shouldn’t I be able to do it on my own? Don’t I have that young metabolism everyone raves about? I did, but I also needed that initial help. They taught me a lot, and in less than a year (not to mention 40 pounds lighter) I was ready to do it on my own.
  • Get plenty of rest. During one of my semesters in college, I worked out several times a week, but I was stressed and not averaging nearly enough sleep. I lost maybe two pounds total over several months. During the summer, I worked out a little more frequently, but even more important was that I got more sleep. Suddenly I was dropping the weight like crazy. So eating right and working out isn’t enough! Try to relax a little. Make sure to take days off. Sometimes I lose more weight on my days off than on the days that I exercise.

I’m not trying to say that now I’m itty bitty. But I’m happy with where I am. I workout and eat right for me…. oh and that beautiful wedding dress I get to wear in a year.

This was spring break a couple months ago. 4 years since I realized I needed to make a change.

Hopefully somebody finds my advice helpful. If not, that’s okay too. And thank you Glee for encouraging me to write this blog. I cannot wait to watch you next week, especially with your special guest star Neil Patrick Harris!!! It’s going to be legend…. wait for it…. dary!

PS If you have any questions for next week’s Texas Tuesday, don’t forget to send those in.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2010 5:59 am

    Matt –

    I’m really proud of you babygirl 🙂

  2. Judi Brenstein permalink
    May 13, 2010 6:44 am

    Awesome blog Ashley. That’s really putting “you” out there. And, as your mother, I could not be prouder of the way you take care of your body and your mind through consistent exercise and learning to eat foods that that are good for you (with the occassional treat!). Great blog! Really enjoyed it!

  3. Flo permalink
    May 13, 2010 8:31 am

    Way to go Ash! What a woman you have become! Your dedication to your health is inspiring – you can count me in as one of the inspired.

  4. May 13, 2010 12:01 pm

    I totally did that too! With School’s Out, ever since I first heard it on one of my dad’s old cd’s. I love that song! I was really happy when Finn sang Jessie’s girl. I want Finn and Rachel back together. That’s so awesome that you were able to lose all that weight. Right now I’m heavier than I’ve ever been except I wouldn’t even know it if I didn’t step on a scale. I guess that’s the plus side to being 5’7″. Aaaaand, last but not least, I love NPH!

    Question for Texas Tuesday: What’s your favorite healthy recipe?

  5. May 19, 2010 10:25 am

    Thanks for the shout-out! And oh my gosh, YES, I was totally surprised to hear “The Boy is Mine” on last week’s episode of Glee, and I LOVED it. I still know all the words. And this week’s episode? GAH I love Neil Patrick Harris. 🙂

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