Death by Arc Trainer #FatGirlHustle #StillHustlin

lima beansSo one time in this book called Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, there was a character named Ace Jones who had a bad experience on an elliptical machine at the gym. Those of you who have read the book might remember the scene with the bag of frozen lima beans. Now, I’m not saying that I’m superstitious or anything but I will tell you that since I started writing, there have been times when life has indeed imitated art.
stalkerI’ve seen characters from my books in real life. I’m talking about random people that fit the description down to the tiniest details. The most recent (and by far the weirdest) was when a person started working with me who is an exact replica of a character in the book I’m currently working on (yes, finally!) and, to make matters stranger still, it’s a character that I created over a year ago. This character now walks past my desk several times a day and it is so effin’ off-the-chart weird for me. But that’s beside the point. Let’s get back to what I was saying about a certain piece of exercise equipment.
Now, an arc trainer is not the same as an elliptical (or so I’ve heard) but an arc trainer looks enough like an elliptical to make me very afraid. Which reminds me… I need to update y’all on how I’m doing with the Fat Girl Hustle and Scale Back Alabama. Okay, are you ready? Here goes: I’M DOING HORRIBLE! HORRIBLY AWFULLY TERRIBLY HORRIBLY BAD AND HORRIBLE AND AWFUL AND TERRIBLE! That pretty much sums it up. Yes, I’m still going to the gym on a regular basis and, yes, I can tell I’m getting in slightly better shape than I was before I started but SHIT! I cannot lose any weight! And the worst part is that I have no one to blame but myself and I effin’ HATE it when that happens!
Moving on… I’ve always had this theory that if I would just start a decent exercise routine and then implement a few healthy meals that I would lose weight. Especially if I hadn’t been gaining any weight which would mean I was maintaining, right? That would work, right? That’s a good plan, right? Well. Hell. To. The. No. That shit don’t work (yes, I know that’s improper grammar, thank you, but I doesn’t give a shit right now –okay). But I really think that system used to work for me. I really do. Maybe I was a lot younger when it did, I don’t know, but it’s damn sure not working anymore.
I’ve gone to great lengths to choke down some pretty awful tasting shit these past few weeks and, truth be told, I’ve also eaten a bunch of crap I shouldn’t have (I’m talking to you Krispy Kreme Mardi Gras doughnuts) but the whole entire time, I’ve been exercising my fat beautiful ass off. Not literally, unfortunately, or I wouldn’t be on here bitching about it. I have lost nine pounds since I began the Fat Girl Hustle, but the mathematical equation on that is as follows: 2 pounds + the same 2 pounds + the same damn 2 pounds again + Holy Shit 3 pounds! + Valentine’s Day + Mardi Gras = DAMN, I am a LOSER! But not the right kind!
So on Monday I decided –yet again- that I have got to get serious about this. Let me reiterate that I’m not trying to get down to Skinny Minnie Size 2, I just want to fit back into my size 12 Calvin Klein jeans. That’s all. Not moving mountains here! But still a sizable task (pardon that ridiculously idiotic pun).
gym-confusionAnd so I finally decided to stop avoiding the arc trainer. I decided this because 1) I feel like I need to take my exercise game up to the next level and 2) they put up a giant sign at the gym indicating only 20 minutes on that baby will get some shit done (or that was my interpretation of the advertisement for the new arc trainers). So I decided to give it a go…
I waited until twenty five minutes before closing time so my audience would be at a minimum should I go down cooter-first onto some random part of the arc trainer. I was thinking while I was looking at that monster of a machine that maybe I should invent some kind of padded cooter protectors for those of us who are elliptically challenged. But then as cheap as lima beans are, that might be a waste of time and resources. And just imagine how that would add to the fun of getting dressed for the gym. Jeez Lou-eeze! Think of a better way to stall, already! Since I was fresh out of dumb ideas, I figured the time had come to put my feet on those mobile footholds and get started.
It was shaky, at best, and I feared the worst. I grabbed the handles and hung onto those sons-of-bitches like someone gripping the outer ledge on the top of a 70 story building. The thing I really love about exercise machines is that I have to get it moving before I can select my desired program, level of torture, and (Richard Simmons help us all) my weight. So I took a few minutes, moved my feet back and forth a few times, and told myself I wasn’t that far from the floor and if I did fall, I probably wouldn’t die immediately. Finally, with a death-grip on one handle and my arm wrapped securely around the other, I poked at the little buttons to get myself started on a level one weight-loss program. And just like I always do when prompted to enter my weight, I pushed the up arrow, closed my eyes, and listened to that beeper sing as the numbers went up, up, up and far far away from my dream weight of 150.
pedl you sobThe good news is that I completed my twenty minute attempt without falling over, falling off, or getting tangled up in all that business and hurting myself somehow. Sure, I stopped four times and huffed and puffed until that rat bastard of a digital asshole screen started blinking at me to PedL, but I did it! I finished my twenty minutes on the arc trainer! I was so proud of myself as I hobbled down the stairs and out to my car. By the time I got home, I was aching all over and felt certain that being run over by a bus would be less painful. The next morning, I thought I would surely die. My fat beautiful ass was in so much exhausted agony that I didn’t go back to the gym for three days after that. But I went back last night and, bad as I hated to, I got back on that son-of-a-bitchin’ arc trainer. I wised up and only did ten minutes so today I’m only having a partial near-death experience as opposed the full-blown near-death experience that I had earlier this week.
Long live the Fat Girl Hustle.
Now someone bring me a doughnut.
Just kidding! HAHA! HA! Ha! Ouch, that hurt.


No Meat. No Cheese. No Problem. #FATGIRLHUSTLE

gross lasagnaSo last night for dinner, I made some kind of spinach lasagna roll up things that I found on Pintrest and they were pretty good… considering. I got the jump on the prep time by preparing the spinach mixture night before last while our low-fat fajita chicken bake was baking. How smart am I? Obviously, not very. Despite that impressive pre-game effort, it still took an additional 143 hours to get this delightfully low-fat dish ready to go into the oven where it had to bake for thirty minutes. By the time it was done, I was hungry enough to eat a cabinet door so then, of course, I ended up eating twice as much as I’d planned. So much for pretty pictures and planning ahead.

Anyway… The texture of the lasagna rolls was excellent and the flavor was amazing, but there was no denying that there was something missing from our dinner. I’d fixed the Little Man radiatori noodles with marinara but the Hubs was dining on the new dish. When I asked him how he liked it, he pretended not to hear me. I took a few more bites and then asked him again, “What do you think?” Again, he did not answer. Now, I have this long-standing tradition that every time I cook something new, I talk about it nonstop until I determine if Hubs really likes it or if he’s just being polite. Fishing for compliments? Maybe. But more importantly, I want his honest opinion because if we both hate it, then I won’t have to waste my life cooking a bunch of crap that neither one of us wants to eat. So I asked him again, “How is it?”


“It’s good,” he said, not looking up. “It’s okay.”


Then we both put a lot of effort into talking about everything we could think of that was right with our low-fat lasagna rolls but neither one of us would just come out and say, “I hate it and I never want to eat it again!” We were trying to keep it positive. We really were. Like when we had to get off the sweet tea, we made a point not to talk about how awful unsweet tea was and then, eventually, we just got used to it. But when he picked up the parmesan cheese, which he hates with a passion, and piled a bunch on top of his lasagna roll, I knew we had a problem.

*** ooy gooy

“Okay,” I said. “We need to talk about this, like, for real.” So then we had a conversation about my homemade pasta sauce that I make with a pound of Italian Sausage which was followed by a discussion about all the ooey-gooey mozzarella and ricotta cheese that usually accompanies our Italian dishes. But we ate it. We finished our dinner and then we weren’t hungry anymore. Yes, we survived the low-fat lasagna rolls with the longest prep time of any food in the history of the world. We survived and nothing was hurt but our feelings.


No meat. No cheese. No problem.


Moving on to the next meal…     gluten-free-chips

Meatballin’ Outta Control: Mostly in the Wrong Direction #FATGIRLHUSTLE

Okay, so I feel like I need to be really honest for a second. If you’re looking for life-changing advice or divine motivation, it’s safe to say you won’t find that here. If you’re looking for a cache of wonderfully inspiring and totally extconvincing reasons to never eat greasy cheeseburgers or pepperoni pizza ever again, I’m afraid I can’t help you. If you’re looking for jaw-dropping “before” pictures of super-chunksters in frumpy clothes and unbelievable “after” pictures of svelte bikini-wearing beauties with rock-hard abs, well, this ain’t the place for that either.

Now, if you feel like you deserve a Lifetime Underachievement Award for always losing the Battle of the Bulge, well, this blog’s for you. Especially if you just keep trying day after day, month after month, year after year. Because that’s what the Fat Girl Hustle is all about: Trying to get things moving in positive direction no matter how long it takes, dammit! So in celebration of amazing imperfection, I thought I’d share what I’ve done right and wrong these past few days…

Doin’ It Right #1: The Gym
When the Hubs and I were talking about joining the gym, which cost a whopping $45 per month, we took a moment to compare that figure to how much we spend going out to eat during the same amount of time. That was such a ridiculous comparison that it was almost funny. Just to keep things interesting, we went ahead and figured up how much we usually spend  in a four week time period on soft drinks, chips, and pure granulated sugar. Sure enough, that number was also higher than $45. So we went and joined the gym. #SMARTWIN

Doin’ It Right #2: Unsweet Teausa
This might not seem like a big deal for you if you aren’t from the South but if you are, then you understand what a colossal accomplishment this is. The Hubs and I have tried to ditch the sugar many, many times before and we always ended up the same way: Sitting at the table clutching our frosty glasses of sweet tea and saying things like, “I’d rather DIE than drink my tea any other way.” Well, we stuck it out this time and now we’re almost embarrassed it took so long. #STILLAWIN

 Doin’ It Right #3: Magical Snack-time Improvements
Quaker Oats Pops in cheddar or ranch are probably a little better than multiple bags of Lay’s Potato Chips in wavy BBQ, unwavy BBQ, Dill Pickle, & Plain plus a tub of French onion dip and maybe some Tostitos and Gordo’s white cheese. Probably Macadamia Clif Bars and Caramel Peanut Fart Bars-oops I mean Fiber One Bars might be a tad bit healthier than Reece’s Cups and Snickers. I think I’ve already mentioned my new yogurt and granola habit (still can’t believe my luck on that one). And I actually like all this stuff, which is why these improvements are classified as #MAGICALWIN.

 Doin’ It Right #4: Reading a Magazine on the Treadmill
Distracting myself from the complete misery of the treadmill equals #HELLTOTHEYESWIN

Doin’ It Right #5: Turtle-pace Jogging
Sure, I occasionally get passed by a Snow Bird on the track, but I don’t give a shit. I’m running, dammit! I’m running! Really slow, but I’m doing it. #SLOWBIRDWIN

The downside of amazing imperfection is that sometimes I feel like a real loser. But I’m keepin’ it real on the Fat Girl Hustle so here’s all the ways I’ve been effin’ up this past week:

Doin’ It Wrong #1: Doughnuts at Work
Just say no? Not hardly. If there’s a damn doughnut around, I’ll have one. Or two. Maybe three… Depends on how many there are. #MUCHODELICISIOFAIL

 Doin’ It Wrong #2: Piggin’ Out at Dinnerdiet fail
On the days there weren’t doughnuts at work, I would f—k it all up once I got home. I’m guessing it’s not healthy anymore after three damn platefuls. #SHITNOTAGAINFAIL

 Doin’ It Wrong #3: Pizza! Pizza!
On Friday night, we usually have pizza. This past Friday night, we didn’t have pizza and I’ve been crabby as shit ever since. #DAMMITIWANNAFAIL

 Doin’ It Wrong # 4 Water Me Please
All my life, I’ve drank lots and lots of water. But tell me I need to drink water and all I want is f–kin’ coffee or a Diet Mountain Dew. #MENTALFAIL

 Doin’ It Wrong #5 Birthday Party Like a Rockstar
Ten ounce steak for dinner? Yes, please. Extra bread? Yes, please. Baked potato with butter & sour cream? Yes, please. Birthday King’s Cake? I’ll eat it until I find the baby! Count me in, suckers!

I could go on and on with the things I do wrong, but I’ll just stop here because, like Daryl on the Walking Dead, I ain’t got all day. And I’m sure you don’t either.


I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that when I said I was going all out, I didn’t mean with my fork but that’s how it ended up this week. And so on Monday (because it should be federal offense to start or re-start or re-re-re-restart a diet on Saturday afternoon), I will start again and try to do better. Thank goodness I’ve been going to the gym, otherwise I would’ve gained ten pounds this week.

Fat Girl Hustle. I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on. Maybe I’ll get somewhere someday…


Oh me, Oh my, Oh Mysterious Work-Out Machine #FatGirlHustle #ScaleBackAlabama



There is this one machine that, every time I’m in the fitness center, I can’t stop looking at it. I’d take a picture of it but after today, I would not be caught dead near that thing never ever no not ever again. It looks like a cross between a gyno chair and that thing George Clooney built in his basement in Burn After Reading. You know the one (don’t act like you don’t). So you can all understand my curiosity which, speaking of curiosity, haven’t I already acknowledged on here that I’m well aware of what that did for the cat?

One day last week, after studying this mystery machine from afar, I walked over and took a look at the microscopic instructional label. As I suspected, the purpose of this particular machine was to work the inner and outer thighs. I turned and walked away, but my curiosity had been piqued and I knew that, at some point, I would get on that machine. Well, Day Ten of the Fat Girl Hustle happened to be that day.  It was almost time for the Rec Center to close and hardly anyone was in the fitness center. I looked around to make sure no one was looking before switching the knob to the lightest possible level of resistance. I mean, my thighs are big and chunky, but that doesn’t mean I can move a dump truck with them. After checking again to make sure no one was around, I eased my fat beautiful ass onto that skinny little worse-than-a bicycle seat. All I can say is, thank the goodness that thing was facing a wall.

Did I mention that I’d set the resistance to the lowest (lightest) possible level? I mentioned that? Good, because now you won’t be surprised by what happened next.

1358538306-burn-after-readingI positioned the padded gyno-stirrup things so I would be pushing out because I couldn’t bring myself to go full-on spread eagle even though I was facing a wall and there was no one was around. When I pushed outward with my thighs, there was no resistance so the padded gyno-stirrup things flew out in opposite directions before bouncing back against my thighs. Well, this scared the living shit out of me, so I jerked my knees together which allowed the weights to slam back into place and if someone fired a cannon ball through the glass wall overlooking the pool, it wouldn’t have made more noise. The padded parts of the gyno-stirrups were swinging back and forth and I realized that maybe I’d had them turned around backward and was supposed to be doing a thigh-master-style thighs-in-move rather than a just-sit-down-and-see-what-happens thighs-out move. When I finally got everything to stop clanging around, I very carefully got up and made a beeline for the machine for dummies in the corner. You know the one where you just sit down and push with your feet. Yeah, that one.


If I try out that bitchin’ mystery thigh machine again, I’ll be sure to let you know. But I might watch a few thousand “how to” youtube videos on it first. Just as soon as I figure out what the damn ridiculous thing is really called. I’ll also let you know when I get those papers from Scale Back Alabama telling me not to use their hashtag anymore.

Fat Girl Hustle. Holla!



The Official Initial Weigh-In at #ScaleBackAlabama #FatGirlHustle

The Fat Girl Hustle is all about getting things moving in a positive direction. We’ve established that. It’s also a support group for crazy people who want to improve their health in a sane way. It’s me wanting to run in a 5K with my kid. It’s Scale Back Alabama. It’s All About That Bass. It can be whatever it needs to be. The Fat Girl Hustle is all relative. And last night, it was me standing next to a set of public scales and not really wanting to take that next step. Which was onto the scale.


Y’all already know how last Friday’s DIY weigh-in went. And y’all already know I fell off the pitiful little metaphorical wagon this past weekend. And y’all already know how I feel about scales.


scalesI will say that I was glad I didn’t have to step onto one of those giant metal contraptions. You know the ones. They look like some kind of execution tool from the Dark Ages with that long metal bar and a weird little square chunk of metal that you have to balance just right. Those things creep me out. Getting on the scales in general creeps me out because I already know what the situation is, you know?


So I’m standing there behind the desk in the fitness center where the floor scale is conveniently located out of sight. Per the Guidelines for Participation, I’d taken off my jacket and my shoes so, technically, I was ready. Thankfully, the lady who was in charge of recording my weight (on a page of permanent record with an INK pen) was a lovely plump damsel as well. She’s from the Ukraine and I can’t pronounce her name yet but she gives off this wonderfully comforting grandmotherly aura. I was there with the Hubs and Little Man and she let Little Man step on the scales first, just for fun. Then it was my turn and, to be perfectly honest, I was terrified. Being terrified is very out of character for me so that was just as confusing as it was weird. I swear, sometimes it’s hard being so damn crazy!


Sensing my apprehension, Mrs. Sweet-hearted Ukrainian Granny with her thick Russian accent said, “C’mon, mama. It’s okay. You start here and do good.”

Sometimes a kind word can go a long way and this was definitely one of those times.I stepped on the scale, she wrote down my weight (in ink on paper), and I stood there with my absolute knowledge of the truth.

The truth is that I need to lose 20 pounds. Then, I need to lose 20 more pounds three or four more times. Actually, I need to lose about 40 pounds just to get back to being chunky. I know some people start programs like this with big plans to get skinny but, honestly, I would be ridiculously happy just to fit my fat beautiful ass back into a size 12.


So I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ll be going all out for the next ten weeks as Scale Back Alabama officially ends on April 12, 2015.

Fat. Girl. Hustle.


I’m taking this show on the road! #FatGirlHustle #ScaleBackAlabama

imagesSo I found out about this weight loss competition called Scale Back Alabama and thought I’d give that a shot. In addition to moving my fat beautiful ass in a positive direction, maybe a little friendly competition will motivate me to actually lose some weight. The first weigh-in is this afternoon and I’d planned to be there with bells on but then I saw in the Guidelines for Participation that you can’t wear overcoats or work boots or get on the scales with your purse. After I read that, I wondered how they knew exactly what I’d planned to wear. Weird. I just hope no one affiliated with that organization read my last post about all of those ill-fated scales. Oops. So we’ll see how that goes.


PapaRoccoIn other news, I found out where all the Snow Birds go when the sun goes down. They aren’t snug in their beds in their beachfront condos as I’d suspected. Nope, they’re all piled up at Papa Rocco’s Oyster Bar and Pizzeria down on Highway 59. On Friday, I walked in there to pick up a pizza (actually two) and that place was packed with the ‘Birds. There were Snow Birds in the booths and there were Snow Birds at the tables. There were Snow Birds sitting shoulder to shoulder at the bar and there was one really frisky snow bird up on the stage with a microphone in his hand. Mr. Song Bird had a few Snow Buddies up there with him and they were singing some Elvis songs that had everybody in there All Shook Up. I’m telling you, those Snow Birds are cool. I’m going to get myself some Blue Suede Shoes and start practicing my northern accent so I can be a Snow Bird someday, too.


And, yes. I had pizza Friday night but don’t worry, I didn’t drink any beer. Instead, I had a few shots of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. So y’all know I got crazy later. Rock and roll, right? Eh, not so much. I partied all the way from the kitchen to the living room where I laid down on the couch and went right to sleep. I couldn’t help it. My fat beautiful ass was tired.


Saturday, I did a little better. I only had leftover pizza. And then for dinner I had a Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich from Zaxby’s. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Dang, girl! You suck at this!” and I couldn’t possibly agree with you more. But if I was good at healthy eating, I wouldn’t be on here yapping about it because if I only ate horse hay and flax seed (which is what those high fiber bars are made from, right?) then I’d be skinny as a rail and wouldn’t have anything to bitch and complain about. Wait, I could probably think of something.


So I’m back on track now and re-dedicated to the cause that is the Fat Girl Hustle. I’m sure I’ll have to re-dedicate myself to the cause about 60 more times before it’s all said and done, but that’s fine. I’m working 40 hours a week now at my real job and, while it might not be the most fun I’ve ever had, I do like having a real job. I have a Kindergartner who is all about Disney Infinity and running as fast as he can wherever he goes and I do approximately 532 loads of laundry a week. Excuses, excuses, someone might say. And to them I would say, “Bitch, please. That’s real life. Now, good luck finding that front tooth I’m about to knock out with my empty rum bottle.” Feel free to use that comment as your own should the opportunity present itself.


And yes, I did go the gym on Sunday. When I left, I felt fantastic and not just because the exercising was over. Viva la Fat Girl Hustle! Holla!




Fat Girl Hustle Day Five Update: The Not-So-Great Weigh-In

Oh, may the good Lord help us all. When I rolled out of bed on Day Five, I was hurting all over and had to use more powder than a baby nursery fresh out of Butt Paste. Strangely enough, I felt amazing despite the aching pains in my arms, legs, back, and fat beautiful ass. To be perfectly honest, I was happy to be sore in all the places I’d like to downsize but I still had to take some aspirin before I could get really get going. I’ve only been exercising for a week now and y’all know I don’t go to the gym and get buck wild crazy with my exercise routine, so being stiff and sore led me to believe that I was making some pretty good progress. Plus, I’ve been getting up in the morning feeling good about life and coming home from work with a little more pep in my step.  And it’s all about moving in a positive direction, right? Right. So when I pushed the scales out of the closet (yes, that’s really where we keep our scales), I knew I hadn’t dropped fourteen pounds a la The Biggest Loser, but I thought that maybe I’d lost a pound or two. But before I tell you about my Day Five Weigh-In, let me give you a little bit of history on me and my relationship with various and unfortunate sets of scales over the years.


03a45e61d7286c273e832bed34db4b91 I go through scales like some people go through disposable plates. And, like disposable plates, sometimes scales don’t last that long. Sometimes they get dropped or kicked or drop-kicked into the next room. Sometimes they get stomped or smashed up or enthusiastically crammed down into a trash can. I know that blaming the scales is ridiculous, but at what point did I ever try to convince you that I am or ever have been anything other than ridiculous? I could be one of the most insanely ridiculous people the world has ever seen and, yes, I am proud of that accomplishment and, no, I don’t have to work very hard at it. Ridiculousness comes quite natural to me. I have, as I’ve gotten older (I won’t say more mature because, well, that would be damn lie) tried to keep my crazy ass from being so reactionary.  But it’s hard sometimes. Like when I stepped on the scale on Day Five of the Fat Girl Hustle…


My friend Mandi was probably the first person to diagnose me as a nutcase. One day back in high school, she said something along the lines of, “Stephanie, you know it’s funny how sometimes we’ll be riding down the road with the windows down and everything will be fine and you’ll be talking about the nice sunny weather and the birds chirping and then something will happen like your tape player will mess up and then you’ll pull that cassette tape out and be like, ‘This mother-f@#kin’ piece of sh*t! What the F$@K is wrong with this f@#kin’ piece of sh*t!'” Her impersonation of me was fantastically hilarious, but what she said was the truth. I will lose my shit in the blink of an eye. Mandi is still one of my very best friends and, if you’ve read Down & Out in Bugtussle, then you saw her name on the dedication page (because when you’re crazy, you have to appreciate the people who have the heart and guts to stick around). So it would not have surprised her or any of my other BFFs had I called them up on Day Five and said, “Hey, what’s up? How’s your morning going? I’m just sweeping up some glass because I threw my scales out the window a few minutes ago.” And that is exactly what I wanted to do when I stepped on those scales and saw that I had not lost one single ounce. I wanted to take those scales and, after beating the shit out of them with a hammer, throw them straight out the bedroom window. Then I started thinking about going to work and kicking that damn Chill Wagon down three flights of stairs to the bottom floor. But the scales just told me the truth. And the Chill Wagon was just sitting there, chillin’. The Chill Wagon didn’t grab my arm, pull me over there, and force two ice cream sandwiches down my throat. Nope, that didn’t happen. I walked right up to that thing and picked myself out some ice cream. I don’t know how y’all feel about it, but I find it to be positively infuriating when I have no one to blame but myself. That really, really pisses me off. And that’s how so many of my scales have ended in that great Weight Loss Place in the Sky.


So I started thinking about the definition of the Fat Girl Hustle:

The Fat Girl Hustle is a common sense approach to getting my fat beautiful ass off the couch and getting things moving in a positive direction.

Maybe I just don’t have any effin’ common sense. Maybe that’s the problem.  Yes, that could definitely be it. But I did get my fat beautiful ass off the couch and my scales are still in the closet (positive direction even if I did kind of kick ‘em back in there) and when I put on my jeans on Day Five, they weren’t quite as tight as the last time I wore them. HOLLA!

Coming up next: I’m taking the Fat Girl Hustle to #ScaleBackAlabama