The Weight

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

i-phone photo: Joshua Franzos

"Take a load off fanny, take a load for free."

Even the music I was listening to was mocking me, cuz that's what I needed to do. Take a load right off the fanny. The Weight, as in my weight gain, was the result of a convergence of things. Giving up amphetamines. Getting a puppy that needed to get up 2-3 X a night and then skipping the gym in the morning because I was too exhausted. Also, not altering my food or alcohol intake to account for less drugs and activity. After a couple months of this, I gained some weight. TBH I didn't really notice it until my pants began to hurt me. But the real slap in the face was when a nurse weighed me and the scale was on an upwardly mobile path towards 10 stone. (I'll let you google that if you really want to know, but since the goal of this blog post is NOT to get hung up on numbers,  maybe you shouldn't and should just keep reading).

Except for doctor visits, I do not weigh myself because it makes me crazy. It is easy for me to obsess. I'm an artist so it's a little weird for me to obsess over a number when I really despise all numbers, but I do. But I find that body weight numbers often don't give us the whole story. It doesn't tell you your fat to muscle ratio for one. But I tell you all this, because I want to peel back the fashion blog facade a little and be more real around here. The more personal I get, the more you, dear reader, seem to relate or at least view me as the imperfect human that I very much am. As a writer, my goal is to create multi-dimensional characters on the page and I feel like I should do more of that around here. I find myself, a blog reader as well, growing weary of everything being happy and perfect and on trend all the goddam time. I prefer our relationship to be one of mutual respect for one another rather than one-sided admiration.There are real people behind fashion blogs. I'd like see more of them and be advertised to a little less. So I thought I'd apply my own desires for other people's blogs to my own blog. Y'know, to show that I'm more than just a pretty face with pretty clothes. I swear. I drink. I don't have magical metabolism.

I've been in good shape for the past ten years. The best in my life, thanks to probably three things. Amphetamines. A gluten free diet. Working out 4-5 times a week. But I wasn't always in great shape. I was in the worst shape and in the worst mental head space right after my father died (17) until I was about 26. Most females are or have been in that toxic headspace at some point in their lives. The whole bitch of the matter is you don't even have to be in bad shape to have a poor body image!

Back when I had some abs. photo credit: Joshua Franzos

I was even a professional model with agencies in Michigan and New York during that period. Still no. Thought I wasn't thin enough. Most of us aren't explicitly taught to inhabit as little space as possible, but as females we tend to suck that message right up, almost osmotically. Be thin. Weigh as little as possible. Value what our bodies look like over what they can do. Don't even get me started on undervaluing the feminine mind. Ugh.

But then something changed. Maybe it had something to do with the onset of my thirties. Or maybe because I made a lot of brazen personnel and vocational changes so that I'm actually happy in love, happy in what I'm doing, and therefore, happy in body and my own skin. I don't know. But I do know that I'm done with the poor body image chapter of my life. I closed the door on that sadistic squatter in my head a very long time ago. But I tell you, almost two months ago, I looked at Doctor's office scale and I could swear that I heard her scratching at the door.

It would be easy to obsess over a number. But let's. just. not. I'm simply not going to look in the mirror and beat myself up or call myself awful names anymore. What do we hope to accomplish with that? Do we hope to motivate ourselves by shaming ourselves into action? How often does that even work? You wouldn't tolerate anyone else speaking to you like that, so why do it to yourself?


I decided that I couldn't afford to buy all new pants. I decided that I need to love, respect, and be patient with myself, but tired or not, I needed to move because moving my body and being active makes me feel like ME in the head. That's most important. I also like to surprise myself with my own strength and agility. But also, I really wanted my pants to stop being a pain in the ass and stomach and thighs. Life gets away from you sometimes. You're putting out one fire only to have two others spring up. It happens to the best of us, but your physical and mental health is so important and you don't even realize how good you have it until the moment you don't. Make it a priority and snap it back into focus.

So part of this blog is telling you about things or products that I've found or picked up that add style, joy, value, or ease to my life. I have to admit, given my recent state of affairs, I recently jumped at a perfectly timed ad in my instagram feed. It was for Kayla Itsines' BBG (Bikini Body Guide) via the Sweat App. I needed a kindly kick in the pants, so I did about five minutes of "research" before I just decided to commit to a one week free trial.  I found that I really liked the challenging excercises and the app function during my free trial. What I like the most about it is, I don't have to think or plan anything, just do. It's $20/month and it's a great value. It's less than one session with a personal trainer, but it's like having a personal trainer in your pocket every day. There's even some food plan stuff that I don't even utilize. (This is not sponsored by the way, I'm just loving on this app). 
BBG encourages photos to track your progress. (You don't have to share if you don't want)

I've been doing the workouts for 7 weeks now. I can't tell you that I lost weight. (as you know I don't weigh myself). Someone commented on my arms last week. And I am seeing some attractive definition in my muscles elswhere. I suspect I may have even gained some muscle weight. HOWEVER, the moral of the story is after 7 weeks my pants fit again. My pants fit again and I didn't have to emotionally abuse myself. I'm eager to see how I feel and look as I continue this BBG journey. If you're in the same boat as me, I just want to encourage you to try and set the scale aside and focus more on how your clothes fit. It's less crazy making.

Look. I know you want it to, but nothing truly great happens overnight. Results will come.You are a piece of art. A work in progress, honey. So be patient. Be kind to yourself. Do the work and trust the process. Overthink everything else in your life, but not exercise. Never overthink exercise. I know it sounds trite, to say so because it's a brand slogan, but I honestly can't say it any better or more simply than, just do it.  Just do it and love yourself and those around you.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,


  1. I needed that today, Meryl. Exactly that! Thanks for your fresh perspective and honesty. I've gained over 10 pounds in 2017, and I've become enraged as I watch the scale continue to climb. Time to do the work and trust the process. Keep on keeping on, friend!

    1. queue up Right Now by Van Halen and do it Momma! I'm rooting for you.

  2. I'll be totally honest: by the end of this post, I was tearing up, saying, "Yes, girl, yes!" So perfectly written, as always, but the message could not be more true.

    Of course I think you look amazing even in the. before photo (though I know that's not the point); I'm glad you found something that you love. I constantly find myself making excuses, mostly for work, and then getting frustrated with myself for skipping the gym. I need to adopt the "just do it" attitude.

    I've heard talks of BBG a good bit recently. How do you feel about the intensity of the workouts?

    1. Thank you so much Lauren! on BBG. There are 8 different exercises, broken into sets of four exercises to do within 7 minutes. If you do all four exercises within the 7 minutes, they seem to roll over so you can do them again and again. However much you can do within 7 minutes.There are 4, 7 minute sets total. I tend to just do a single set of the exercises per each 7 minutes, but on occasion I muster the strength to go beyond the single set. I find the exercises challenging, some more than others. I can do pushups longer than most, but burpees and other "explosive" type moves really punish me. I find the intensity to be manageable for me. But I don't really push myself to extremes, I'm trying not to hurt myself or my back. I feel like if someone REALLY wanted to push it, they can do as many exercises within the 7 minutes as they can, so it's flexible that way. Hope this makes sense.

  3. This piece is wonderful, Meryl. Your writing is so beautiful and relatable. Thank you for putting this out there. ❤️


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