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Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

I’m about to do something I’ve never done. See below. (And I’m not sure why my hair looks gray on top. It’s not.)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen on the Weight Struggle Bus:

I know your pain. I was with you in more than spirit a year ago. As a reminder, here’s a photo from Trish the Human’s wedding on Sept. 9 last year:

I cringe when I see that photo. I’m clearly trying — and failing — to hide behind Dominic.

Here’s a photo from a year earlier:

Notice the body language. (I’d say to notice the dark, slimming colors, but I wear black despite how much of me there is.)

I was MISERABLE. How to hide in photos was the least of my worries.

Bigger worries:

  • High cholesterol
  • Inability to give campus tours without getting out of breath (especially up one particular hill)
  • Ridiculous amount of self consciousness
  • Negative self talk
  • Wardrobe reduced by 80 percent
  • Snoring
  • Sleeping even less than I do now
  • Hot all the damn time

I’ve shared with you my turning point. It’s different for everyone, but let me say this about that:

It is NEVER going to get easier.

There is no magic pill.

Surgery can be a fix for some but still requires changes in eating habits.

You have to decide you are going to do something about your health. Then DO IT.

The program I chose worked for me*, but may not work for you.

Despite the fact that I’m married to someone in the CrossFit Cult (or maybe, actually, BECAUSE of that), I hate exercising. I lost almost 50 pounds by controlling what went in my piehole.

Now that I’ve lost the weight, I go to the gym three times a week for my Biddy Boot Camp.

I hit my goal weight in April, and I have maintained it with very little effort.

I FEEL GREAT!

That’s what I say to anyone who will listen. People not even living with me notice the difference.

To that end, I’m going to do something I’ve never, ever done — and never would have done if I hadn’t lost the weight: Publicly post a bikini pic. No filter. No cropping. No Photoshop.

Here we go.

I know I still have some work to do, but I feel more confident than I have in more than 15 years. I’m brave enough to take and share this photo, anyway.

And if this move inspires even ONE of you to make a change for your sake and for the sake of your family, then my nervousness at doing it will have been worth it.

If I can do it, you can too. I believe in you.

Love and all my best wishes for a healthier you,
Beth

 

* Eddie is now a coach in the program. Send me a message if you want me to hook you up.

 

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Dear Industrious Signmakers*:

While I appreciate your enthusiasm, we need to talk about execution. Have you read my earlier posts on the subject (here and here, for example)? I’ll assume you have not.

For two of you, I will allow that maybe the impending arrival of Hurricane Dorian and the subsequent Coastal Georgia mandatory evacuation scared you so much that you couldn’t concentrate.

Perhaps I should say “evaculation” so you understand me.

What’s an “inconveniece?” Your sibling’s daughter is a nun?

And you are close as in proximal to evaculation evacuation?

If so, I’d like you to meet another signmaker who is right there with you.

There’s a third one of you who has no excuse because he/she is nowhere near the hurricane. And this is a semi-permanent sign. And he/she works at a university.

Are the staff deficient in some way? Or is it just the proofing skills that are?

Sigh.

I know you likely are in a hurry, but just take a hot second to review your work.

Yours in appreciation,
Beth

 

* Thanks to Aimee for sharing these while she ignored the governor’s mandate.

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Dear Students Taking My Public Speaking Course,

I just met you this week, and already I’m channeling Dug from “Up.”

This semester is going to be so much fun as I help you unlock your best self — capable of any kind of public speaking. Some of you may not be the next Aristotle, but you’ll be good. Or at least better than you are today.

In return, here are some (nonnegotiable) things I ask from you:

  1. Please use my proper title in email and in person. I’m even fine with “Dr. Beth,” “Dr. C.” or even “Doc Con.” “Miss C” and “Hey” are not acceptable. I worked hard for my doctorate. (Blog readers remember.) And as my teachers said in high school, “Hey” is for horses. (Yuk, yuk.)
  2. Turn in your work on time. That’s in the syllabus, but I’m putting it here too. You may have the best excuse anyone has ever had, but you also have known what is due and when well in advance thanks to that magical syllabus.
  3. Show up to class, and show up on time. You can’t learn anything if you aren’t in class. Again, I don’t want to hear excuses — especially about traffic. We are in Atlanta: You should know to budget an extra hour to get anywhere.
  4. If you do miss class, DO NOT ask me if you missed anything important. Dear God. That’s the WORST. What am I supposed to say? “No, we just sat around and mourned your absence.” Look at the syllabus, and figure it out. Or ask a classmate. Also, I’ve put all assignments online. SIGH.

In return for following these (really quite simple) rules, I promise to make class interesting. Here are some testimonials from your fellow students:

I love you all equally. It’s true; I promise! Read this.

And I can’t imagine my life without teaching — even if it is only one class per semester.

I’m looking forward to seeing you next week when you will deliver your first speech!

Don’t panic. You’ve got this. I’m here for you.

Sincerely,
Dr. Beth

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Dear People of the World:

I think a little etiquette lesson is in order.

If you are in a public place, you cannot behave like you are in your living room.

For example, if you are eating at a restaurant, even one as casual as The Varsity, you CANNOT talk on the phone as loud as humanly possible.

Don’t be this guy, who shared with the entire place his distaste for some cashier’s long fingernails.

Why do I know this? Because I was 20 feet away and could hear him clearly. He made me want to wolf down my fries and flee. And YOU KNOW Varsity fries are to be savored.

I’m so annoyed.

Similarly, you should not watch a video on full volume in a public place, ESPECIALLY not a fine-dining restaurant. Yet that is exactly what my cruise friends and I witnessed in the ship’s steakhouse. All 11 of us turned to face this rude man with looks of shock on our faces.

To no one’s surprise, he didn’t notice. He was too engrossed in some YouTube video — for at least FIVE MINUTES (which is a long time when you are peeved).

If you need more lessons on what’s acceptable (and not) in today’s society, check out this Forbes piece.

Your fellow humans will appreciate your attention to this matter.

Thanks,
Beth, a considerate and quiet person — in public

 

 

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Dear Parents of Older, Non-teenage Boys (i.e., Survivors):

I need your advice. As you may know, I have a 14 year old who tests my patience.

But I just spent a week on a cruise with him. It was … interesting.

It started out in typical fashion. He was cranky:Once on the boat, it seemed like he would fall into last year’s freak-flag-flying habit of making a face in every photo:

But then he got sick:

And kept everyone up three nights in a row by coughing. So I got back at him in my own special way: by harassing him mercilessly:

You can tell he isn’t feeling well:

And here he is being nice to his “cousin” Mia:

But we Lysoled the place every day to reduce germs:

And soon he was back to normal, making sure the stingray was a girl before he would kiss it:

And harassing his father:

And Ryder:

And telling me he planned to troll the hot tubs to score numbers (in this getup and baby glasses he found, no less):

So my question for you is this:

How do I keep the funny, silly Dominic and get rid of the one who is such a pain on the reg?

Not fix his phone so he’s forced to communicate with us? (He’s shattered two.)

Or just accept that he is 14, hormonal, and PERHAPS too much like me?

Thanks in advance for words of wisdom.

Gratefully,
Beth, Mother of a Dragon

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Dear Lisa (aka Goat Yoga Lisa),

You are a great friend. One of the best. Not only do you play Bingo with me, write guest posts, and let me stay in your house all the time, but you also loan me your husband.

Well, Rob loaned himself, really.

And it truly was a shock to all of us hanging out in your living room.

When I said I needed a dress to wear to do the weather* because the chroma wall hated the one I brought, you said you would go with me.

But then Rob piped up and said, “I’ll go with you.”

You, Gunner and I swiveled to look at him. Silence. Two eye blinks each.

Me: “Wait. You will go DRESS SHOPPING with me?”
Rob: “Yeah! I’ll go.”

Maybe it was the wine talking. He vinoteered.

Or maybe he is jealous of all the blog space devoted to you.

Or maybe he just wanted to hang out with his pal Beth.

He might have regretted it in the morning. But then I brought him bacon in bed. (That sounds way saucier than it was. You were there. You made the bacon. You suggested I take it to him.)

He might have regretted it when we got ready to go. But then he filled a to-go cup with wine for fortification.

He might have regretted it when we got in the car. But then I put the convertible top down and fired up a great rock playlist.

Rob seemed to be having a good time in the store. This was his first selection:

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Thank God he was just joking.

Then he suggested a housedress with a belt. Ha ha, very funny.

We headed to the fitting room with three contenders. Rob, the fitting room lady and I unanimously chose the third option.

We were in and out of the store in 15 minutes. For real. He was in shock.

Rob: “It’s like a blur.”
Me: “You didn’t even finish your wine.”
Rob: “I was just sipping, but now I don’t need to.”

We did have to stop by the CVS on the way home. But Rob even helped with the ridiculous receipt.

We were back at your house just 30 minutes after we left.

Me: “Thanks for the date!”
Rob: “It was fun!”
Me: “Did you actually just say it was fun?”
Rob: “Yeah, it really was.”

I’m pretty darn proud of us.

To my additional astonishment (that Rob — full of surprises), he really took ownership of the situation. After my segment in the early newscast, you told me he said “his” dress looks great.

Then Gunner sent me this message:

And then the man, the myth, the dress baron himself weighed in after the later newscast:

So, I give thanks to you for the loaner spouse, and loads of thanks to Rob. He’s like my hubs away from home!

See you when I’m back in Savannah.

Love to you and the super shopper you married,
Beth

* I can’t believe I’m still filling in at the TV station after all these years.

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Dear Trish,

Hope you and Irv are doing well. I miss seeing you on a regular basis, trying new beers, playing Cranium, and complaining about Ed.

I do want to take this opportunity to say thank you for inviting me to your wedding. It turned out to be the catalyst for an important journey for me.

I didn’t realize quite how fat I was until I couldn’t squeeze into the dress I brought to Sedona for your big day. This dress had always been my go-to dress. (Full disclosure: It’s a maternity dress. It doesn’t look like a maternity dress. Nothing maternity about it except that it has an empire waist. I just like it because it’s a pretty green silk.)

But I had a rude awakening when I was getting ready for your event.

Houston, we have a problem.

The dress must have shrunk at the drycleaner, right?

My Spanx waved the white flag.

I’m sorry I ruined all your wedding photos trying desperately to either avoid the camera or hide behind my children.

Look here. Dominic is not large enough to cover me:Let’s take a closer look:

Yes, yes, I know this is counter to the whole body-positivity movement. But let’s be honest: We all know when we are not the size we should be.

No one wants to feel like their seams are screaming.

The week I got back, I went out to dinner with my friend Kim. She had dropped 30 pounds and looked great. We have the same feelings about diets and working out (i.e., hate them with a white-hot passion). She shared her secret (and I will too if anyone wants to DM me), and I was off and running immediately.

I started my program the last week of September. This week, I hit my goal weight.

I’ve lost 45 pounds. That’s like losing a first grader.

And three dress sizes for me.

Here I am in the wedding-attendance dress that I now need to have altered. (Dominic has changed considerably too.)

Here’s the side-by-side before-and-after image for your viewing pleasure.

And here’s one of me the day I started this journey next to how I look today.

I feel so much better about myself.

It’s not a physical thing — I could always do stairs and whatnot.

It’s a mental thing. Being about to reach deep into the back of the closet and grab pre-kid jeans? That’s some real joy right there.

This is not PC (Kate Moss even regrets saying it), but it’s true for me:

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

So thanks, Trish. Inadvertently, you started me on a better path.

Congratulations on your eight-month anniversary coming up.

Your not-so-fat friend,
Beth

 

 

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