A Real-Life Fairy Tale

This post isn’t really fitness-related, but I feel it’s important in terms of understanding me, and if you like a good love story you might like this one. Here in Arizona, my main people are my husband and my son, and how I acquired my husband is a bit of an interesting story. Do you know how we met? I’ll tell you how…

Third grade. In 1990. We were eight years old.

He was my best friend third grade through fifth grade. I was pretty sure his parents were millionaires or something… they lived in a big, nice house by a lake. His mom drove a Mercedes, and was always willing to take us places. She actually taught me how to swim. We were paired up together to do the maypole dance for May Day in 5th grade. I remember “rehearsing” in his driveway with both of our moms watching and sort of laughing at us. And because we keep it real here, and we really like embarrassment, here is the oldest existing photo of me and my husband together that I am aware of, courtesy of my mom:

We both had lead roles in the class play in Mrs. Webster’s 4th grade class… this photo is probably from early 1992, though it could also be late 1991. Weren’t cameras great then?

I remember him as being a huge geography nerd. I came in 2nd place in the school geography bee in 5th grade, losing first place to him. He was into cartography. He could draw an extremely accurate map of any U.S. state from memory. (This will be relevant later, believe it or not.) We both liked “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”. In 5th grade for Valentine’s Day, our teacher had us make little heart-shaped books and we were supposed to pass them around and write something nice in everyone’s book. He drew a state in everyone’s book. He drew Illinois in mine, along with a note that said it was his favorite state to draw. (We are not from Illinois. I’ve still never even been to Illinois.) I remember thinking it was cool that he drew his favorite state in my book. It was the beginning of a nerd-crush.

At some point during our 5th grade year, his millionaire parents (okay, not millionaires according to him, but considerably more well-off than my family) took him to Hawaii on vacation. When he came back, he had a gift for me (which I suspect his mom made him get me). It was a ring carved out of a seashell. I remember I wore it every day until it got accidentally broken in P.E. class. I was quite saddened by that, and I actually kept the pieces in a box well into my adulthood. This will be relevant later.

At the end of 5th grade, my family moved to another town about an hour away. I only saw him once after that… his mother drove him all the way out to our new house to spend a day. There were two litters of feral kittens under the front porch (our new house was out in the country and people would dump unwanted cats in our area) and we spent most of the day trying to catch/tame kittens and getting scratched up and bitten. Good times, right?

I called him once or twice after that, but it was kind of… weird. We didn’t really have too much to say anymore, and eventually we lost contact entirely.

I married my first husband in 2001 (who I’d gone to high school with) and had my son the same year. We were separated before our son’s first birthday. I barely even dated for the decade that followed. I had a long-distance quasi-relationship with a guy I met online who lived in England, but nothing super serious. I was full-time single-momming, working up to four (yes FOUR) part-time jobs at a time, and I didn’t really go out or have a social life. As time went by, I decided I was just meant to be by myself and I was cool with that.

Out of the blue, in late June of 2012, while sitting at my desk in the office of the apartment complex I’d only started working at two months prior, I got a Facebook message. All it said was, “Hey, remember me?” Hell yes, I remembered him! Because I’ve never known anyone else with a weird, Finnish last name, and I told him that exactly. By that point, it had been nineteen years since we’d last seen each other. Last time we saw each other, he was just barely eleven and I was almost eleven. Now he was just barely thirty and I was almost thirty (our birthdays are almost exactly 4 months apart). We exchanged a lot of Facebook messages catching up, then exchanged phone numbers and switched to text messages. My sister (who had been two years old last time he saw her) was getting married the following week, and I half-jokingly asked him if he wanted to be my date for my sister’s wedding. “Hell no!” was his response. (What, you thought that was going to be our first date? Please…)

We made arrangements to meet up the Saturday following my sister’s wedding, which was the first Saturday in July. I was actually sort of hesitant about it. I was like, “I haven’t seen this kid in almost twenty years… he might be a serial killer for all I know!” So we met up at a McDonald’s on a very busy street corner. I walked there. I didn’t want him to even know what my car looked like at that point. I had zero expectations for this meeting. I figured I’d have a cheap lunch with an old friend, and if he was completely wackadoodle I could just put him back out of my life.

By the time we were done with lunch, he was trying to convince me to get in his car. He said he wanted to take me to the beach. Knowing full well that we were a three-hour drive from the nearest ocean I was very skeptical, but he persisted. In the end, though, I got in his car and let him take me to his “beach”. It turned out that his intended beach was less than half an hour from my house, and it was on a river, not the ocean. Also, it was right next to an airport, and I quickly learned this wasn’t an accident. My geography nerd had morphed into an airplane nerd. Every time a plane took off overhead, he’d tell me the airline, the model of the plane, and a likely destination city based on direction of travel and the time of day it took off. Yes, he studied flights well enough to know roughly what time of day planes departed that airport for certain cities.

In between airplanes, we were sitting side-by-side on the beach, staring across the river to the city on the other side (which was in another state). He started drawing in the sand, and I wasn’t really paying him much attention until he elbowed me in the side and asked, “What’s that?” I looked, and he was pointing at his drawing. “That’s Illinois,” I said, recognizing it immediately. He quickly erased it and proceeded to draw a few more states and have me guess them, then he moved on to foreign countries. So… no change there.

My son was spending the day at my mom’s that day (he would spend every Friday night with her and I would pick him up Saturday evening). By that Saturday evening, we had ended up at my apartment and were playing board games. So much for not letting him know where I lived… I finally told him I had to go pick up my kid, but we should hang out again sometime, and he agreed and left.

“Sometime” ended up being the very next Saturday. And on the third Saturday, when I told him I needed to go pick up my son, he said, “Maybe I should go with you.” I was like, “Why?” and he said something about not having seen my mom in twenty years or so and wanting to say hi. But this also meant introducing him to my son, which I was kind of on the fence about. Eventually, though, I agreed and he rode with me out to my parents’ house, complaining about how it took “seven hours” to get there (it was 45 minutes).

The next Saturday he went with me to pick up my son again, and then suggested that we should all go to the river on Sunday. I wasn’t quite sure why he wanted to hang out with both of us, but my kid loves swimming. So I agreed.

I should probably point out at around this point in my narrative that I am not good with subtlety. It is completely lost on me. I am also a bit emotionally incompetent, and very slow to pick up on emotional things. This is about to become really relevant.

One Saturday night, he suggested I go out with him and two of his friends, who lived in a nearby city. They were a couple. The man was an Air Force friend of his. The friend’s wife seemed very interested in me, and asked me all sorts of questions about myself. Finally, she asked me, “So what exactly is your relationship to Train anyway?” (“Train” is my husband’s Air Force nickname, and what most of his friends call him.) I had had a couple of drinks by then, and I sort of shrugged and said as far as I knew we were just hanging out. She immediately got up, seized her husband by the arm, and dragged him outside. Strange behavior, I thought, but I wasn’t too worried about it. Moments later, they both came back in and the husband grabbed “Train” by the arm and dragged him outside. “Wow, these people are odd!” I was thinking at that point.

Finally, they came back inside and “Train” came and sat down next to me. He said, “So, it’s been brought to my attention that you’re unclear about the status of our relationship.” Thoroughly confused by that point, I made some comment to the effect that I hadn’t been fully aware there was a relationship to have a status of. He said, “Well, as far as I am concerned, we are together and we probably will be for a very long time… as long as that’s okay with you, that is.”

As we were walking back to the other couple’s house that night, the wife was walking with me and she was just gushing. “I knew he was into you!” she told me. “He was talking about a girl, and I’ve never heard Train talk about a girl before!”

Things moved pretty quick after that. By that point he was spending Friday night and Saturday with me, then Sunday with me and my son. I gave him a key to my apartment so he could wait for me to get off work (I managed the apartment complex I lived in at the time). Once I got a text from him while I was still at work telling me that he’d cleaned my bathroom. And on Sunday evenings I would walk out into the parking lot with him, watch him drive away, and be sad. I’d always been very territorial of “my” space and not wanted anyone in it. I wanted him in my space. He moved in with me at the end of August. Told you we moved pretty quick.

One of our earliest “family” outings, about a month after he moved in with us.

We went to my parents’ house for Independence Day the following year. As I was helping my dad grill burgers in the front yard, he said, “So… when are you two going to get married?” I said that we hadn’t really talked about it. My dad said, “Well, I think everyone just assumes it’s going to happen at some point. And I like this one. I didn’t like the last one, but I like this one.” (“The last one” was my ex-husband.) I told him his opinion had been noted and kind of shrugged it off because dads are weird sometimes.

Not too long after that, “Train” started trying to convince me that we should all three go on vacation to Hawaii. And he told me about how much it would cost. I balked at that, I’m not going to lie. I grew up poor, and spending that much money (which was still an amount I could barely even wrap my head around) just to go to a place for fun was almost incomprehensible to me. He seemed so disappointed when I told him I didn’t think we should spend that much money just to go somewhere that I eventually changed my mind. He got all excited then and started telling me that he wanted to go to Maui, where his parents had taken him when he was about my son’s age. And suddenly I was like, “I remember when you went. You brought me a ring.”

“I did?” he asked. He clearly had no memory of this, lending credence to my hypothesis that his mother made him do it. I told him about it, how it had gotten broken and I’d kept the pieces until right before I’d moved into the apartment we’d first lived together in… only a few months before he’d contacted me on Facebook. He laughed and said he’d get me another one if I wanted.

We went to Maui in December of 2013. All three of us. We did all the touristy things… we snorkeled at Molokini Crater, we went up Haleakala, we hung out on the beach. Train made a topographical map of Maui in the sand, and then went on to add the rest of the Hawaiian islands (“But it isn’t to scale,” he said, dismissing his own handiwork). The hotel we were staying at was in Lahaina, and we spent a fair amount of time just kind of wandering the downtown area. And he kept disappearing and reappearing. I remember my son remarked on how Train “got lost a lot”.

I had sort of a weird side quest in Hawaii… I was trying to find a ring like the one he’d gotten me in 5th grade so I could make him buy it for me. I couldn’t find one anywhere that looked like the one I’d had before. Finally, on our last full day in Hawaii, we were in Kihei and I found a whole basket of them at a roadside stand. They were all too small… like for child-size fingers. Whatever sort of shell they were carved out of apparently didn’t get that big. I was a little disappointed, but pleased that I’d at least been able to prove that these rings existed, which Train was beginning to doubt.

On our last evening in Hawaii we went to the beach. Toward sunset, I noticed that purple flowers were washing up in the surf. They were the same flowers that were used in the leis that the hotel handed out, and I assumed someone had worn theirs into the ocean and it had broken, but for no reason really I was running in and out of the surf trying to pick up these flowers. I had a whole handful of flowers and I turned around and there was Train. Down on one knee. He had a ring for me, and it was made from a shell, but wasn’t like the one I had as a kid. It was made of abalone.

Suddenly all his disappearing in Lahaina made more sense. I told you I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes. And I did say yes, if you’re wondering. My son was nearby and saw the whole thing, and he immediately ran over and asked if that meant he could call Train his step-dad now. We told him not until after the wedding. But as it turned out, the entire trip to Hawaii was a plot to propose to me on the beach at sunset, which was why he’d been so disappointed that I’d initially vetoed the idea of the trip.

I don’t have any cool proposal photos, but we did take this picture shortly afterward. Hair done by Pacific Ocean. Makeup done by Not Applicable. And apparently still worth marrying.

Just a couple of weeks later, after discussing getting married “in September maybe”, we were at my parents’ house on Christmas day (Train’s parents had both passed before he and I reconnected, which is why we never do anything at their house). Train was looking at airfare, which is a thing he does for fun. And he said, “Remember how I told you I’ve always wanted to go to Bora Bora? Well, there’s a really good deal for tickets right now… but it’s at the end of March. Should we go?” I said, “Well, that sounds like a honeymoon trip to me…”

We got married on March 22, 2014, just barely three months after he proposed to me in Hawaii. Neither of us was interested in a huge wedding (we’d both been married before), and I was in fact advocating for a courthouse wedding. He said he did that the first time and wanted a real wedding this time, but a small one. So we did, and it was vaguely tropical themed. I got most of the decor at Dollar Tree, and my sister did amazing things putting together centerpieces and my bouquet with $1 items. She also made our cake.

I don’t think I’ve worn that much makeup since March 22, 2014.

A week later, we set off on our honeymoon to Bora Bora. Like, somehow I married my best friend from elementary school, got proposed to in Hawaii, and honeymooned in Bora Bora. I’m not sure how on earth this fairytale story happened to me, but I am grateful.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Bora Bora is awesome.

See? Told you it was awesome.

At the time of this writing (about 11 PM on 3/8/19) we’re about 14 days away from our 5th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together for almost seven years. We’ve been through a lot together, and I can’t imagine my life without him now. He’s been the dad I always wished my son had when he was younger. My son doesn’t call him “dad” (he’ll sometimes say “my father figure” because he has my sense of humor), but they both know the sentiment is there. And Train has taken us both lots of places that I never would have thought to go on my own… most recently to Europe. My little boy is 17 now… almost grown up. Before we know it it’ll be just the two of us in the house, and who knows what kind of trouble we’ll find to get into…

2/27/19 – I “murdered” him with yoga. Yes, he is using a yoga block as a pillow.

Meaganmorphosis – The Butterfly Years

In my last post (go read it and the one before it, if you haven’t), we left off at the end of 2016. Me depressed, unhealthy, and longing for a change of some unknown kind.

My husband is former Air Force staff sergeant, and used to work on A-10 aircraft. In late 2016, he received an unsolicited job offer from a company that was getting a contract with the military to maintain the A-10 aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona.

I have no illusions about why he agreed to take the job. He doesn’t like working on A-10s. He doesn’t love Arizona/Tucson (he lived here for 5 years while still in the AF, and served at Davis-Monthan). He hates the heat. He came here for me. He knew I needed to get away from Oregon and away from the job I was in. And I am extremely grateful to him for this because, in retrospect, moving to Arizona was the best thing that’s ever been done for my well-being.

We moved to Tucson, Arizona in early March of 2017. I didn’t have a job yet, so I had time to explore and time to think, which was quite a change from working 50+ hours a week at a job that was slowly destroying my soul in Oregon. I drove for a ride-share company for a while to make a little bit of money while I was looking for something more stable. I set up my yoga space in our new house but didn’t use it much. Found myself a more permanent job as a pharmacy technician trainee. My husband quit the job we moved down here for after only a couple of months because it was quickly destroying his soul, and he found one he liked better less than two weeks later. I think that job had served its purpose… getting me to Arizona.

During 2017 and most of 2018, I didn’t do too much in terms of exercise, other than some hikes and climbing around on rocks and stuff at Saguaro National Park and at Tanque Verde Falls. I was too busy unlearning everything I thought I knew about myself and trying to establish my own identity in a way that made sense to me.

Without any societal pressure to behave or think a certain way (because I knew absolutely no one), it was suddenly like I was free to be whoever I wanted to be for the first time in my entire life. I hadn’t realized how much pressure/stress I had from just trying to behave a certain way until I didn’t anymore. Not feeling like anyone was watching me or cared what I did was very liberating. And it turns out that, unbeknownst to me, my husband is a founding member of a motorcycle group down here in Tucson. Four bikers I’d never met showed up to help us unload our moving truck when we got to our new house. I learned to ride a motorcycle last year, and am currently a “prospective member”. And now I’m some strange biker/yogi hybrid, but I digress…

Anyway, I just sort of skated along not doing much of anything extraordinary until late-ish in 2018. Trying to remember to take my birth control while traveling in Europe had been problematic, and I was sort of tired of being on birth control in general… even though I’m obviously good at it, since my only child turned 17 a couple of months ago. I started looking into the idea of getting an IUD, and made an appointment with a gynecologist. Turns out, the IUD, insertion, and appointment were all fully covered by my insurance. I paid a $20 copay. However, like a responsible doctor, she did a full gynecological exam and a breast exam. And she found a lump.

In the space of twenty minutes I went from, “I’m not super-healthy but not dying” to “maybe I have cancer.” It was a huge eye-opener for me. Diabetes runs in my family. So does colon cancer. What else might I have that I don’t know about because I haven’t been to a doctor in over a decade other than to get birth control? I was near panic. I had to do something to take control of my health but I didn’t know what. And that same evening I saw an ad for PB Resolution.

Let me begin with this statement: I solemnly swear I do not work for Erin Motz/Bad Yogi in any capacity (currently, unless she wants to hire me… lol). I am not being paid to say any of this. With that being said, I had been peripherally aware of Bad Yogi since my early days of messing around with online yoga classes. I was even aware of Erin’s prior program, the “Perfect Body Yoga Program” (PBYP) which operated on the premise that the “perfect body” was the strongest, healthiest version of the body you have now. I liked the logic, but found it cost-prohibitive. So in one of my darker moments, I stumbled upon an ad for her new “Perfect Body” program, “Resolution” (PBR, as we call it). A 12 week program, yoga mixed with strength training. It looked doable, maybe even fun. And I liked Erin and the whole “Bad Yogi” thing. And also there was a Black Friday sale. I signed up, even though it was still cost-prohibitive (I am not wealthy by any means). I did the installment payment option and put it on my credit card. I was scared enough for my health to take the risk.

I started PBR on November 26, 2018, along with a whole bunch of other “bad yogis” who started what was then a new program at the same time. To be perfectly honest, when I started I was expecting to probably end up deciding it wasn’t for me and asking for a refund before the 30 days were up. But surprisingly, I stuck with it. There is a Facebook group where we encourage and support each other and swap tips and stories. PBR and the Facebook group are among the best things that have ever happened to me.

I will not say it was easy. It was hella hard at first, in fact, and there are days it still is. I think I was sore the entire first couple of weeks. But one thing PBR encourages you do to each week is to find your “why”… why are you doing this? What are your goals? What keeps you going? I made “accountability” posts in that Facebook group every single day. And gradually I went from “I can barely do a plank” to “I can hold a 1-minute plank”. When I started, my knees were still so bad that I could do about 5 squats and I couldn’t do lunges at all. I don’t know how many squats I can do now, but it’s upwards of twenty. Last week I did a proper lunge for the first time. And on the yoga front, I can vinyasa with the rest of the class now. Down-dog actually feels like a resting pose.

Christmas is weird in Arizona because it’s usually around 80 degrees F (27-ish C). Also it’s weird because all my relatives are in Oregon and usually it’s just me, my husband, and my son, and we cook a ham and eat it ourselves. This year on Christmas, after only about a month of PBR, we decided to go to Saguaro National Park and hike up a small mountain. I used to have to stop frequently when hiking uphill because my knees would complain, and I’d have to be even more careful going downhill. I stopped a few times on the way up to catch my breath, but my knees were fine. On the way down, I actually beat my husband to the bottom of the hill, because he was getting tired. I was practically running down that hill, jumping from rock to rock like some kind of deranged mountain goat and laughing about it! Score one for the Samurai Pixie! (see photo caption)

Christmas Day, 2018, up on a small mountain. I tried to pull my hair back and my husband said I looked like a “Samurai Pixie”. May have helped that I was wearing galaxy-print leggings that day and a tank top with the phases of the moon on it.

I completed my first 12-week session of PBR on February 16, 2019. During my first go-round, I lost 12 lbs and 13 inches from my body, but I gained a lot of strength and confidence. I feel like I have a tool now that I can use to help improve my health. I’m even flirting with running again. On 1/22/18, I tried the very first C25K “lesson” again, just to see if I could do it. I did it actually fairly easily. I was sore the next day, but apparently being roughly 20 lbs lighter than I was last time I tried it was helpful. And since I’m just laying everything out there in this blog, get ready for some “progress pics”. I don’t post these to highlight my weight loss, but rather to highlight that my body is changing as I get stronger. If you don’t believe me, look at my butt.

12/7/18 on the left, 2/17/19 on the right. Same outfit.
12/7/18 on the left, 2/17/19 on the right. Same outfit.

So anyway, when you “finish” a program that has been life-changing for you, what do you do? Well, if you’re me, you tweak it a little and start all over, and also start a blog. As of the time I write this (it won’t post for almost a week after I’ve written it because I’ve already got a couple of others scheduled in between), I’m on Week 2, Day 2 of my second journey through PBR. To switch it up a little bit, I’ve decided to work in a weekly C25K run. It will definitely take me more than 8 weeks to be able to run a 5k, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from PBR it’s that slow progress is still progress.

That brings us up to the present day, so now we can start talking about other things. I have a couple of ideas, but do let me know if there’s anything you want my two cents on. I’m not afraid to research things and come up with an informed conclusion if it’s something I don’t already know about.

Also, while it’s absolutely true that I don’t work for Bad Yogi, I did ask if I could be an affiliate after I finished the program. What that means for you is that if you want to give it a try, use my link the coupon code “frienddiscount” and you get $25 off the price of the program. I also get $25 if you sign up, so win/win. And if you think a yoga/strength-training hybrid is not your jam or is too intense for you, there’s a yoga-only version of the program as well. I haven’t done the yoga-only version, but it’s an 8 week program made from the classes that are in PBR, so I’ve done the classes. Both have a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you try it and decide it’s not for you, you can get your money back. But you’ll like it… as I’ve said before, the Facebook group alone is worth the price of admission! Both of my affiliate links are below.

PB Resolution 
PB Resolution Yoga Only

Stay tuned for my further adventures in getting to be a stronger, fitter version of myself! And next on Saturday, another “background” post telling the story of how I came to be married to my husband, which is the closest thing to a real-life fairy tale that I know of, but I may be biased…

Oh, and just realized I left you hanging there. Finally had a mammogram in late January 2019, after much wrangling about with doctors and insurances. The diagnosis I got was “probably nothing”, but since I have no prior mammograms to compare to, they want to see me again in six months just to make sure. Apparently I have very dense breast tissue. Yay!

Meaganmorphosis – The Chrysalis Years

If you didn’t read the last post, I recommend going back and doing that. Otherwise you will have missed my entire childhood!

Today we pick up at around age 18 years. I was newly pregnant, newly married, and around 240 lbs. (109-ish kilos). As my pregnancy progressed, I started to actually lose weight. My doctor was extremely concerned. There was a lot of weighing and measuring. Finally, the conclusion she reached was, “You’re getting smaller, he’s getting bigger… so far as I can tell, he’s eating you.” As I touched on before, having a second metabolism in my body was the best “diet” I’ve ever been on. Shortly after giving birth in December of 2001 (just barely 19 years old by that point), I was down to 209 lbs (95-ish kilos). That remains the lowest weight I have ever been at as an adult.

By my early 20s, I was already a pretty accomplished dieter. My earliest brush with dieting was when my parents did Nutrisystem for a while when I was probably 7 or 8. At some point while I was in high school, my mother and I did a terrible (in my opinion) “cabbage soup diet”. You could eat unlimited quantities of cabbage soup! Small problem… I hate cabbage. So mostly I was eating whatever the other allowed food of the day was, which might be “two bananas and some milk” (I don’t like milk either), or “8 oz of hamburger”. Yes, I lost some weight because I basically wasn’t eating. It was terrible, and I don’t recommend it.

Also in high school, we did the “Weigh Down Diet”, which is a faith-based program for those who haven’t heard of it (I grew up in an extremely conservative Christian denomination). Basically it was teaching what we now call “intuitive eating”, which isn’t bad, but I wasn’t very good at it. Spoiler alert: still am not good at it!

Around the time I was 20 or 21 (and by that point a single mother), the Atkins diet got really popular. By that time, I had found my way back to my pre-pregnancy weight. So guess what I did?? Yep, did Atkins. Lost some weight, yes, but it wasn’t sustainable for me because I love me some carbs. Fell off the “wagon” and gained it right back with reinforcements.

My life wasn’t devoid of exercise during these years. Dance Dance Revolution was also popular in my early 20s, and I had a PlayStation version of it. One of my friends from high school and I would have “dance battles” on a regular basis that left us both sweaty and dying. I also discovered Zumba in my later 20s when that became a thing, and for a while I was going to classes once or twice a week. For a while, I had a membership to a women-only “Curves”-type gym where you went around a circuit of different machines every 30 seconds and I was doing some Zumba classes. That time period was probably the best shape I’ve been in as an adult (aside from now), but my weight was still in the 230s/240s.

When I got to age 29, I did probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my fitness level. I got a job that wasn’t strictly a desk job and involved climbing a LOT of stairs (I was an apartment manager). After working at that job for about three months, my weight was down to around 235 (106 kilos). So I immediately followed that up with one of the worst things I’ve ever done for my fitness level… I started a relationship with my current husband and got “comfortable”.

When we started dating, both of us were at relatively low weights for us. He had been working an extremely physical job and was down to 215-220. I was at 235-ish. We moved in together, changed jobs, and ate out a lot. By the time we got married in early 2014, he was back around 237 (which is where he is still… his body seems to live there no matter what), and I was back up around 245. 240-245 seems to be where my weight always goes when I’m not really doing anything especially healthy or especially unhealthy… it is my body’s happy place. I have seen articles use the term “set point”, and if I have one, that’s it.

Me and my son in September, 2012, about 5 months after my now-husband and I started dating. I was just barely 30 in this pic, my son was 10 going on 11. I was at a relatively low weight for me at that point, but still not far below my “set point” of 240-245.

We did some things during the early portion of our relationship. My son took up karate for a while and my husband and I both did it with him for a bit. I liked kicking things. I was good at kicking things. (Told you in the last post that’d come up again.) Also, the church we were attending at the time started up an adult kickball team to play in a local league, and my husband did 3 seasons on the team. I did two. (Again, kicking things!) It wasn’t really enough, though, and it was only during the short “non-rainy” season in Oregon.

If you were hoping for a happy ending to this post, sorry. Between 2014 and 2016, through a combination of a massive amount of job stress (by that point I was an “executive” at the property management company), cheap/unhealthy meal choices, and seasonal depression + Oregon grayness, I managed to get to the worst health and highest weight I’d ever been at simultaneously. I stopped looking after the scale hit 281 lbs (127 kilos) in 2016. I may have gotten heavier than that, but I can’t prove it.

My cousin married a woman (I affectionately call her “Coachy-Pants” to this day) who had lost a huge amount of weight through running and had become a Beachbody coach. She did it all… running, P90X, you name it. I wanted to be like her very badly. So I did my first flirtation with C25K. (“Couch to 5k”, for the unfamiliar. Basically it builds you up over 8 weeks so you go from non-runner to being able to run a 5k.) I had dropped some weight by then, but I was still a little over 260. It killed my knees… bad. While I did get to where I could run a solid 5 minutes without stopping, I gave up about three weeks in because I couldn’t even walk up the stairs in my house and my knees still haven’t fully recovered from those three weeks.

So I let “Coachy-Pants” try to coach me. I got the Shakeology shakes. I tried the “21 Day Fix”. It didn’t fix me. I bought Beachbody’s “Pi-Yo” program, which I now believe was on the right track but just a tad too intense for where I was at back then (that there is called “foreshadowing”… in the next post all will become clear!). I tried the “lite” version of P90X (I forget what they called it). My knees were so bad I couldn’t do most of it. I knew I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what it was.

In October of 2016, I was messing around on Pinterest and came across a pin that had cartoon drawings of I think twenty basic yoga poses “that anyone can do”. I am extremely “anyone”, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I got a cheap yoga mat for about $9 at Walmart (utter crap, by the way… pieces of the yoga mat would stick to my feet and I’d track them all over the house). I started doing yoga in the loft of my house on a cheap mat, and I fell in love with it. I started looking up online classes on sites like Yogi Approved, Do You Yoga, and just on YouTube in general. I did a few classes from Yoga With Adrienne. I also did a couple of classes from Erin Motz’s (a.k.a. “Bad Yogi”) 30 day yoga challenge. I never completed any programs or anything… I’d just do a class here and there and play with things on my own.

An accidental Groupon find led me to try an actual yoga studio. I won’t name the place, but overall it was great. They did Baptiste method Power Yoga in a heated room, and I would drag myself out of bed at 5 AM to make their 6 AM class. Yes, I was absolutely the only fat person there, but I was never made to feel like it was a huge deal. My favorite instructor was a woman named Mallory, who was fairly young at the time… I’d guess 22-23. She was hugely helpful and encouraging, and once told me after I’d been taking her classes for a month or so that she was so proud of me and she could tell my practice had grown so much just since I’d been there. I tried a couple of the other instructors, but never liked any of them as much as Mallory.

One morning Mallory wasn’t there, and teaching in her place was the owner/founder of the studio, who I also won’t name. I did not enjoy this woman’s class at all. I could not hold chair pose for one minute (again, my knees, at that time less than two months after that three weeks of running I did). In what sounded at the time to me like a very scathing tone, though my perception may be colored, she told the class, “I’ve never had a student who couldn’t hold chair for one minute! Come on!”

I never went back.

Even my home practice became inconsistent after that. I was too fat and too broken to even do yoga properly. Which anyone was supposed to be able to do. I would try occasionally, but there was always something I couldn’t do, something that was too hard. I had lost the joy in yoga that I had initially found, and I didn’t know what to do about it. Actually, by the end of 2016 I had lost the joy in most things.

I’ve never been diagnosed formally with depression, but some things you don’t actually need a professional to tell you because they’re pretty damn obvious. I’ve struggled with depression on and off throughout my adult life (the time toward the end of my first marriage was so bad I don’t even clearly remember most of it), and it always got worse during Oregon’s rainy season, which basically lasts 9-ish months, so you don’t get a lot of recovery time before it starts over again. By the end of 2016 it was clear something had to change. Something had to give.

And then my husband got a job offer. In Arizona.

Meaganmorphosis – The Caterpillar Years

I met this caterpillar in Germany last year. Pretty sure his name is Hans, but I could be wrong.

I don’t know what it’s like to be in shape. It’s never happened. And, lest you should think I’m being dramatic, the first time I remember another kid telling me I was “fat” in school, I was six. Even I don’t know how I got this way, to be honest. I mean, as an adult, sure… I could tell you how I’ve stayed this way. I’ve been mostly inactive/working desk jobs, and I have a long history of low income/terrible food choices. It’s not exactly rocket science. But how I got this way before age six I couldn’t tell you.

I remember dreading gym class as early as third grade, mostly because I knew that if there was a game I would be picked last and if there was some sort of physical fitness “test”, I wouldn’t pass. I couldn’t climb a rope, I couldn’t do a pull-up or even a push-up, and when we had to run laps around the gym I would always finish last. Yeah, I was that kid. Toward the end of elementary school, though, I did discover I was pretty good at kicking things. We had this game we’d play in the tennis courts where we had to kick the red rubber balls over to the other side and try to hit the fence without any of the kids on the other side of the net catching them first. Kicking things I could do, and this will be sort of relevant later, I promise.

Fast forward to middle school… My family moved to a different city in between the end of fifth grade and the beginning of sixth, so I got to start middle school as “the new kid”. I was also obviously “the fat kid”, and when it became apparent that I was also “the smart kid” and “teacher’s pet”, I became everyone’s favorite target. The day they made us run a mile in P.E. class, I finished dead last while all the other kids who had finished fifteen to thirty minutes before me relaxed on the grass beside the track and watched me struggle, laughing among themselves. That was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life, and also the day I decided never to run again.

There was even one girl who (unfortunately) lived near me and was at the same bus stop as me who never used my actual name. She referred to me either as “Fat Cow” or “Tub of Lard”, and she’d start before the bus even came, follow me all through the school day, and not let up until we got off the bus and started heading our separate ways. She got a few of her friends in on it too. Things actually got so bad that year that my mom pulled me out of public school and I was home-schooled in seventh grade.

Looking back, though, I wasn’t completely anti-sport. One of my primary forms of entertainment prior to age eleven was riding my bike up and down the street in front of our house. I also rode my bike or walked to school every day. My cousins and I would roller-skate in their basement, and when rollerblading became cool in the 90’s we did that too. The only thing we ever did in P.E. class that I actually liked was a unit on gymnastics in the sixth grade. I checked out books from the library about gymnastics (I was a total bookworm) and tried to teach myself gymnastics at home. I also tried to self-teach ballet at one point, and I can do a decent fifth position for never having actually taken a ballet class ever. In the eighth grade, after I went back to public school, I even played on the school’s basketball team. Basketball remains one of the few sports I have any real understanding of, thanks to my time as a Maple Grove Mountain Lion.

High school was a mess, and I’m beginning to believe that’s normal, no matter what anyone tells you. High school is a mess because you’re a mess, and anyone who tells you they weren’t a mess in high school is lying. I did no sports in high school, and since I went to an “alternative” high school, our P.E. class required us to walk to a nearby gymnasium at an empty high school campus, and then we were allowed to do “whatever you want as long as you’re moving”. You could literally just walk laps around the gym the entire time and they didn’t care, and most of the time that’s what I did. I would occasionally play basketball with a few of the guys I was friends with, and we also got into some fierce wrestling matches one time when the high jump people left their landing mats in the gym, but I’d say my physical activity level in high school was pretty minimal.

By the time I got pregnant when I was eighteen (I’ll spare you the details around that for now), I weighed about 240 pounds (109-ish kilos). And I’m 5’4” (about 1.6m, for those of you in countries with sensible measurement systems). So I’m very short and very round, I assure you.

I tell you all this just to highlight my long-term love/hate relationship with things that could be classified as “exercise.” In my next post, I shall explain my relationship to physical activity in early adulthood (which we’re going to call ages 19 through 29-ish), and tell you about all the times I tried to “lose weight” and failed. Spoiler: pregnancy was the best “diet” I’ve ever done.

Why I’m Here

This is the first time I even kind of held crow pose. It was last week… lol

Hello! I’d like to introduce you to me. I’m Meagan. I’m currently 36 (as of this writing), a wife, mother, and all-around pretty average fat person. So, you know, I decided to start a fitness blog. Makes sense, right? Totally. I knew you’d agree.

I’m going to say it real loud for the people in the back: THIS IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS BLOG!! Real talk, that’s not what I’m here for. I’m all about getting to be a stronger, fitter, healthier version of my current self, no matter what the number on the scale says in the end. Will that number probably go down if I do my job right? Yes, because I’m currently at a very unhealthy weight. Do I have a “weight loss goal”. No. Is there a specific number I’m looking for on the scale at which point I can declare myself successful? Hell no. For me, this journey is all about being stronger/more able to do things than I was yesterday. That is all. I anticipate a few changes in my body shape to be inevitable, and I may even eventually share some before/during pics, but “skinny” is not my goal.

Here’s what I’m here for: I want to share with you the honest, non-Instagram-worthy truth of my personal journey to fitness, which has been in process for 13 weeks as of the time of this writing (more on where I got my start later). I’ll tell you about what’s working for me and what didn’t work for me. There might be product reviews (non-sponsored unless I clearly indicate otherwise). There will be general discussion of things in the “fitness” world that intrigue/irritate me. There will be yoga, and also general discussion of things in the “yoga” world that intrigue/irritate me. Images of a fat person (me!) doing yoga are likely to be posted, and there will probably not be much in the way of filters/fancy photo editing at this point. We’re keeping it super real up in here!

Let me make it clear that I am NOT a certified yoga instructor. I am not a certified fitness coach. I’m not a certified much of anything at the moment. I used to be a Certified Apartment Manager, but I changed careers and let that credential lapse, and I am not yet a Certified Pharmacy Technician (probably coming in mid-2019). But I am definitely NOT certified to tell you anything definitive about yoga or health or fitness. All I’m telling you is my opinions/experiences, and what worked/didn’t work for me. That is all!

The first few posts are going to be the “backstory”… just letting you all know how I got into my current, sorry state (which is getting a little less sorry every day!). By the time I’m done with that, you should know me well enough that we can move forward in our relationship and start having deep conversations about interesting things like I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. I felt it important, however, that you get to know me a little bit first.

Although I’m an introvert in real life, people are often fooled into thinking I’m an extrovert because I fake it so well. That being said, I absolutely DO want to hear from you! Use the comment thingie-majig and tell me what kinds of things you want me to weigh in on. Tell me your stories, your successes, your failures. And if you happen to figure out what my purpose in life is, please do let me know… been trying to figure that one out for YEARS.