Wearing Makeup At The Gym

mascara

A few months ago, I saw one of those ‘health’ articles with an attention-grabbing headline – something like ’10 Gym Laws You’re Probably Breaking!’

I’m always interested in articles like these, so I clicked straight through.

There were one or two good points on the list – things like ‘Always wipe down your equipment after you’ve drenched it in sweat’ and ‘2 earbuds in means Do Not Disturb’.

But most of the ‘Laws’ were silly and cosmetic, and left me feeling frustrated.

The author was heavy-handed as he asserted Gym Bossiness. “No makeup or jewelry at the gym! Where do you think you are, princess? A nightclub? Leave that ish at home – this is where we SWEAT!”

Fear of such Unwritten Gym Laws handed me an unpleasant dose of mortification last week, when I noticed the glint of a swinging sparkle reflected in the screen of my cardio machine. I had forgotten to remove my earrings when I changed into my gym clothes.

My face instantly flushed hot. I snatched out the offending accessories so fast my earbuds came out, too. I was mortified, scanning the gym to see if anyone was looking at me – judging my faux pas.

I was doing it wrong! I broke the “Gym Rules”!

Were people laughing at me??

Of course, no one was looking. No one was laughing. In 0.2 seconds I went from cross-eyed mortification to laughing at my own absurdity.

“Gym rules” are so stupid. Like we need a few more silly inhibitions getting between us and our goals!

Before I conquered my fear of the gym (and the bossy gym rats occasionally found there), I was afraid that the operative word in ‘Health Club’ was not ‘Health’ but ‘Club’. Gyms seemed like places with secret handshakes, codes I couldn’t crack, and rules I didn’t know how to follow.

As if the machines aren’t intimidating enough, there’s the scary gym-culture.

I didn’t grow up in a gym. I didn’t know the rites & rituals. Fear of doing the gym ‘wrong’ felt so potentially embarrassing, I let it hold me back.

Now I’m taking a stand for anyone who is intimidated by gym culture: JUST. DO. YOU. If you’re sweating, you’re doing it right.

My husband thinks it’s hilarious that I wear makeup when I work out.

One day not long ago, as I pulled the super-sexy minivan into the gym parking lot, I reached for the center console where I keep my lip gloss. I didn’t give it a second thought as I dabbed on just a hint of color. As I was replacing the cap, my better half burst out laughing.

“Did you just put on lip gloss to go do cardio?!” He couldn’t contain his amusement.

As I parked the car, I looked at the man I married a decade ago and asked “Um… have we met?”

Of course I was wearing lip gloss to do cardio. I was out of the house, wasn’t I?

I’m a very girly girl, and I don’t care to pretend otherwise. I have worn a small amount of makeup every day since I was 14. You think a change of venue is going to change that pattern?

I don’t wear *a lot* of makeup, but my ultra-femme side enjoys a little bit every day. Lip gloss, mascara & a dab of powder are in place whenever I leave the house. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to a formal function or making a run to the grocery store, I’m going to default to cosmetics.

Why should I make an exception for the gym? My waterproof mascara and lip gloss aren’t hurting anybody, and I’m happier with them. If I have to be panting and dripping with sweat, I can at least have pretty lashes!

Sure, you probably don’t want to cake on heavy foundation before a workout, because your pores will clog like nobody’s business. But – if your skin makes you self-conscious, don’t allow silly ‘rules’ about your cosmetics keep you from sweating yourself healthy.

There are gym rules that are in place for your safety, and those rules should always be followed. But the gym rules that are superficial? Take them if you like them, leave them if you don’t.

If you want to do Pretty Fitness, do Pretty Fitness! Mister Bossy Gym Rat is not the boss of you.

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It’s Not About the Cookie Dough

If you read the article featuring Happy Exhaustion in the August 4th issue of PEOPLE Magazine, you may have noticed a template.

The five of us each had a bikini picture, a ‘Before’ picture, a brief story, an example of what we eat now, and an EXTRA LARGE FONT example of an astonishingly unhealthy food or drink we consumed when dangerously overweight.

DUNKED AN ENTIRE PIZZA IN ONION DIP!

ATE 3 DOUBLE CHEESEBURGERS AT A TIME!

CONSUMED 6 BAGS OF CHIPS IN A DAY!

WENT THROUGH A 24-PACK OF SODA IN TWO DAYS!

When it was my turn to provide an example, I first thought of the dessert buffet I indulged in while pregnant with my daughter.

That wasn’t quite ‘gross’ enough.

After waxing poetic about my hot & heavy love affair with cheese fries dipped in ranch dressing (*cringe*… also, *drool*) I finally struck magazine copy gold. Cookie dough. Not even good, homemade cookie dough. You know those tubes of raw chocolate chip cookie dough found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store? THAT kind of cookie dough.

Now THAT was gross enough. We had found my giant font.

ATE A TUBE OF RAW COOKIE DOUGH FOR A SNACK

(I don’t have the rights to the image of that page, or I would post it here. Just imagine me in a bikini with that giant font next to my face.)

Quite an evocative statement, right?

Can’t you just see me? Size 24, utterly despondent, feeling powerless to improve (so why even bother to try?), ripping open the tube and eating it raw? Heaping fistfuls of dough being shoveled into my big, fat mouth until I pass out in a filthy heap?

raw cookie dough
Yeah.

Here’s the thing…

That happened. It did. My wonderful new friends at PEOPLE did not tell you lies.

But despite the huge-font text, you really shouldn’t blame the cookie dough.

My peak weight wasn’t cookie dough’s fault. My peak weight was the result of my consistent, long-term failure to prioritize my health.

Were there crazy high-calorie binges on deep fried treats and raw dough in the mix?

Yes. There sure were.

But is that all I ate? Of course not!

I did not reach 243 lbs because I was a pathetic slob.

Whenever I ate something I knew was bad for me, I felt guilty about it. I detested my own obesity, and I knew the way I ate was making a bad situation worse. But I ate processed crap anyway. It was quick, it was easy, and it tasted good. It was there, so I ate it.

Because I felt hopeless.

Because I was an emotional eater and comfort foods felt good on a bad day.

Because I simply didn’t care enough.

Not because I was a slob.

If you’re carrying some extra weight, I bet you’re not a slob, either.

You’re probably like me. You move through life like everyone else. You take care of the people you love. You’re good at your job. You’re a good friend, good co-worker, good parent.

You have priorities around which you organize your life, and you tackle them well.

Manifesting your healthiest self just hasn’t made the cut yet. It has fallen behind the other issues that consume your day-to-day.

I was only able to get fit because I made my pursuit of health a higher priority than it had ever been before.

My shift of priorities didn’t change who I am. I’m the same girl, just with a reprioritized lifestyle.

Would I eat an entire tube of cookie dough today? No. Since giving up sugar and processed foods, those kinds of things make me physically ill. The few decadent minutes of yummy flavors aren’t worth the horrible indigestion I’ll suffer for the hours that follow.

But, I DO occasionally release the reins and eat as many calories as you’d find in a tube of cookie dough in a single sitting. Usually it’s a date night with my man.

That doesn’t make me a slob now any more than it did back then. But I know that I live in a culture that equates an overweight woman eating raw cookie dough with a pitiful mess. I also know that such judgment isn’t applied to a fit woman seen eating a gigantic bowl of ice cream. And that’s just stupid fat-shaming.

I celebrated the completion of the PEOPLE photo shoot with a bowl of pasta, a cocktail, and two scoops of ice cream. It wasn’t sloppy of me. It wasn’t something I had to be ashamed of. It was a treat.

2,000 calories all at once is 2,000 calories all at once no matter who you are or what kind of shape you’re in. All that matters is what role those 2,000 calories play in your lifestyle. If it’s a regular event, and it’s not burned off with an active lifestyle, you can’t help but gain weight.

These days I don’t stress the rare calorie-bomb, because now I crave my daily cardio. I am a full-on endorphin-junkie. So, when a celebration or a date night create a major spike in my calorie count, I burn it off within days. Because I prioritize my fitness. Because I need physical activity and clean, whole foods for my healthy and joyful life.

When I avoided physical exertion at all costs, all of those calorie spikes added up and compounded themselves.

What this (often exciting, frequently harrowing) adventure has taught me is that I was never A Fat Girl (although for a while there I was pretty sure that I was) any more than I am now A Thin/Fit Girl.

I was a girl who didn’t prioritize lovingly caring for her own body. That’s what has changed.

It’s not about the cookie dough.

dough