Several years ago I went to a personal training gym where I worked out with an assortment of young, fit dudebros. It was a period of my life that started with an intensely embarrassing fat-measuring session and never really improved in terms of personal dignity. I did get in better shape, but it was at the expense of a lot of awkwardness and a truly shocking amount of money.

Since then, I tried a number of fitness endeavors, some that worked out awesomely (marathon medal GET!) and some that didn’t (No stank you, Crossfit). Eventually I entered a more . . . ah, sedentary phase, starting about the time I began working from home and culminating this summer in a back injury that I’m certain was triggered on account of my entire body preeeeeeeeeetty much looking like this:

Screen shot 2013-09-30 at 1.25.44 PM

Feeling self-conscious and unattractive is one thing, but I do draw the line at being unable to bend over without the aid of a weight belt, two hydrocodone tablets, and an agonized horror-movie scream.

My relationship with exercise and clean eating feels like one of those endlessly looping Vine videos: oh look, she’s getting in shape and feeling great about herself! Oh no, she’s hunched over a plate of cookies like those feral girls from Mama! What can I say any more, really. As far as wagons go, there are worse ones to repeatedly tumble from.

Anyway, I’ve been mostly on track since July, slowly getting stronger (core strength is related to lower back pain, you say? WELL I’LL BE GODDAMNED) and dropping a few pounds. (Emphasis on few. Cherish your metabolism while you have one, kids.) I began with exercising to DVDs at home and eventually worked up enough nerve to join one of those tire-flipping, wall-climbing, rain-or-shine boot camps. The woman who teaches the class is a personal trainer, and I recently bought some sessions with her. She’s friendly, funny, enormously inspiring without being the least bit intimidating, and her one-on-one workouts cost a fraction of what I paid in Seattle.

Getting back into the groove of challenging my body has been incredibly beneficial over the last few months. I have, as of today, 99 days of sobriety under my belt, and I feel healthier and happier in about a million different ways.

Sometimes it truly feels like the right things happen at the right time. I mean, I guess you could look at your entire life that way, couldn’t you?


34 Responses to “Stronger”

  1. Mary on October 1st, 2013 8:21 am

    First of all, congratulations on the last 99 days. That is awesome!

    I also fall off that physical fitness wagon with frustrating regularity. I have been doing well and being good to my body most of the time for the last month and a half, and it does feel good. I have a workout buddy to help keep me accountable, and I can feel that I am getting stronger.

    I am happy that you are feeling happier! You absolutely deserve that!

  2. Melissa on October 1st, 2013 9:08 am

    Congratulations! What a positive and inspiring post. Thank you for sharing with us.

  3. Courtney on October 1st, 2013 9:28 am

    Things really do happen for a reason! I’ve seen coincidences in my life that no one would believe in a movie.

    Congrats on the 99 days Linda. Big, big big CONGRATS!

  4. MassHole on October 1st, 2013 9:34 am

    You Rock.

  5. H on October 1st, 2013 9:55 am

    Congratulations! I’ve yet to figure out what I believe when it comes to coincidence. Chicken and the egg, maybe. It took me much too long to open my eyes to the vastness of opportunities I have to make into something or simply allow myself to go along for the ride. I’m so very happy for you because it appears you’ve figured this out at a relatively young age.

  6. Jenn on October 1st, 2013 9:55 am

    Huge congrats on the 99 days! And I think the cycle of falling off the fitness bandwagon is a common one; my friends and I often lament that we’re either training for a marathon or…on the couch. Sounds like you’re finding a great balance.

  7. Jillian on October 1st, 2013 10:26 am

    You go, girl. You’re an inspiration and a role model.

  8. Jeanette on October 1st, 2013 10:37 am

    Good for you!

  9. Jessica on October 1st, 2013 11:05 am

    You have been and always will be my favorite writer/blogger. You go girl!

  10. Jane K. on October 1st, 2013 11:12 am

    What a great post!! Thanks for sharing your timing is just right for me!! And 99 days is super great … you should be proud of yourself!

  11. Jennifer Davis on October 1st, 2013 11:35 am

    Congratulations on the wellness, fitness and sobriety milestones. It is entirely fitting that you take note and appreciate every step toward wholeness and health (speaking as one who has a whole pile of milestones waiting to be accounted for). I’m on my own wellness journey, with occasional potato chip and chocolate detours, and so I fully appreciate the way you are able to share – self-deprecating and honest and funny.

  12. Stephanie on October 1st, 2013 11:37 am

    I have read your blog for years and you were actually one of my inspirations for getting fit. I would read about your successes and see your pictures of your bad ass arms. I kept thinking, “I wish my arms looked like that.” It took me a long time to realize they could look like that if I actually out forth the effort. So even though you have been through a very challenging time, just know you inspired me once upon a time.

  13. Michelle on October 1st, 2013 11:37 am

    How’d you go about finding your new trainer? I’ve been looking into getting one because my own motivation is almost non-existent. I think a female trainer would also allow me to feel more comfortable as well.

  14. Nicole on October 1st, 2013 11:38 am

    99 days – Nice work! I started back at the gym 3 weeks ago after over 5 years away – 3 years of which were spent trying (unsuccessfully) to have another child. Now that all of those shitty IVF hormones are out of my system, I figured it was time to reclaim my body. Because dammit something positive should come out of so much disappointment and expense! Anyway… it’s going well, but my mid-section still looks almost exactly like your Blob Fish. At 40 though, it takes monumental effort to get pretty pitiful results. But I feel good about it. And that is what is important. I feel stronger already and working out 5 days a week (on my lunch hour) sure does positively influence what I choose to put in my mouth. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep it up forever, because I too have a bipolar relationship with fitness, but for now I’m proud of myself.

  15. Molly on October 1st, 2013 11:46 am

    That fat measuring post you linked to was freaking hilarious. For me it really depends on the time of year…I live in the hotter-than-hell south and nothing kills my motivation like 100 degree 97% humidity days. Thus I ran a half-marathon in April and have run like 4 times since. Ugh.
    Here’s to getting back at it!

  16. Mel on October 1st, 2013 12:49 pm

    YES!! CONGRATS!! Cheering you on from MD! While dragging my overweight ass to the gym for the second day in a row.

  17. Christine on October 1st, 2013 1:06 pm

    99 days! Woot!

    What’s that you say about core strength and lower back pain? I have to get my pilates DVDs out again? Sheesh. Being 40 is all kinds of fun.

  18. Katherine on October 1st, 2013 1:21 pm

    Yay 99 days! With regard to the core stengthening/exercise wagon, I know every inch of the side of that thing from pavement to seat. Well worn up and down grooves. Like your sobriety, I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I can stop pushing myself to stay up in the seat. No relaxing on that one. Just the way it is.

  19. Jen on October 1st, 2013 1:28 pm

    Well, well, well, this couldn’t be more timely. I went back to the gym in Sept. Logged 17 days of increasing cardio bad-assery and weights and swimming. Clean(isn) eating (trying my hand at something that isn’t an insane ALL or NOTHING approach to dieting/life) and well, I’ll be GD’d I gained .6 pounds this month. I really just want to throw in the towel, but 40 is looming (t-minus less than 5 months) & I just know it’ going to get worse without effort.

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s not going to come off like it did 5 years ago–or even like last year.

    Big congrats on the huge nine-nine.

  20. Nimble on October 1st, 2013 1:35 pm

    Good on ya! Exercise for me is always starting over and over and over. I am so glad you found an inspiring trainer/coach person who makes you feel better and not squinched. Onward through the ups and downs!

  21. JB on October 1st, 2013 3:18 pm

    99 days, Linda! Well done.
    I always enjoy reading your about your fitness “seasons”. It reminds me that all is not lost and a fresh start just takes putting on those workout clothes once. I don’t need a plan and a lifetime commitment… just today and its decisions. Thank you.

  22. Amy on October 1st, 2013 5:21 pm

    99 days!! Fuck. That’s amazing. I’m proud of you, pal.

  23. Michelle on October 2nd, 2013 3:09 am

    Congrats on the 99 days! Totally awesome. You inspire me constantly. Keep it up as you are totally worth all the effort.

  24. Laura on October 2nd, 2013 4:40 am

    Like like like like like. LOVE.

  25. Jean on October 2nd, 2013 4:55 am

    I agree, you rock! So inspiring in so many ways!

  26. Tia on October 2nd, 2013 8:15 am

    Happy day, happy day!!

  27. June on October 2nd, 2013 8:31 am

    You’re doing so well! I am proud of you.

  28. Maura on October 2nd, 2013 8:33 am

    You are an inspiration!

  29. C on October 2nd, 2013 10:46 am

    Sometimes when someone congratulates me on something really personal, I feel pretty self-conscious, even a little stupid–like, WHY do I even HAVE this stupid problem?!

    So, for all those times I’ve felt like that, I want to gift you with all that nonsense and say, hey, WAY TO F’in GO, DUDE! YEAH!!

  30. Melissa on October 2nd, 2013 1:55 pm

    I hate the fitness wagon, and I am currently off of it and my gut is proof. Hate it. For the record, every photo of you makes me say ‘damn, she looks good’ so don’t be too hard on yourself. You look and are fantastic.

  31. Betsy on October 2nd, 2013 8:50 pm

    99 days? Well done!!!!

  32. Jessi on October 3rd, 2013 7:53 am

    This is awesome. Congrats on it all falling into place.

  33. Megan on October 3rd, 2013 10:28 am

    First off – huge congratulations on 99 days.

    Second – You are totally an inspiration to me and I think that’s largely because you do fall off the fitness wagon from time to time which is just so refreshingly NORMAL. Most of us struggle with food & exercise and god knows its crazy frustrating. I always laugh at myself whenever I have a good month and my clothes are fitting better…”Wow diet & exercise actually works? What a novel concept!!” and then I smack myself in the head. Of course shortly after that I am distracted by laziness and potato chips.


  34. Barb on October 8th, 2013 2:43 pm

    Woohoo!!! 99 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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