The Great Change, an origin story [Fitness and Health]


The first few weeks of a brand-new lifestyle are clumsy and disorienting. I’m disoriented. I feel like somebody jarred me awake, threw me out of bed into an artic tub, poured hot water on me, and injected me with Super Power Alertness.
I have this strange fluffy, tickly feeling – a butterfly-esuqe flutter that rests just behind my chest, and sometimes moves toward my throat or drops down into my stomach. My eyes shoot open and stay open, so wide sometimes that I need to shut my eyelids and jiggle my head a little bit to shake my eyes back in their sockets. I’m hyper aware of everything around me and the voices discussing ideas in my head are getting louder and more demanding. I get home at night, curl up on my bed and stare at the blank television, not wanting to turn it on. I would rather run around the park, go on an adventure. That fluffy tickle deep in my chest keeps nudging my tissue like a child tugging on the hem of his mother’s shirt, saying, “I want to play.” This all sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
What’s disorienting, though, is that I also still have that lead-finger, heavy-limb, dreadful weight within me. That debilitating heft of depression keeps pulling on my insides, dragging its feet as it tries desperately to keep me in bed. This is safe! This is fun! Feel how comfortable this bed is! I’m experiencing a simultaneous dichotomy, witnessing two of my personalities at this tug of war, and it abandons me in a paralyzed shell of a meat suit with a mind whizzing around my noggin at Super Speed.

The wonderful news in all of this is that this is the third time in my life that I’ve made this drastic change, and I know how it goes now. I understand it now. I know the steps, I know the challenges and the curve-balls, and, most importantly, I know myself. I know me, my habits, my feelings, my traps and tragedies, and my milestones.

So, why can I do it now? To be more clear – why couldn’t I do this before? If I know all of this, why haven’t I been working and fighting for my health and physique? The only answer I have to that is, “I didn’t want to.” BUT SAM! How could you not want to? Who wouldn’t want to be lean, strong, and beautifully sculpted? That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Well, yes, you’re right. And that’s why I can’t explain it. Of course I didn’t want to be getting fat, but, for some reason for which I haven yet to find an adequate description or explanation, my dread of getting fat, my self-loathing and disgust weren’t winning the battle against my self-destructive habits, and any glimmer of a desire to take care of myself was always inexplicably and immediately extinguished.

Perhaps I didn’t notice how unhealthy I was getting. No. Every girl has their special spots. The secret corners of their bodies where they can monitor themselves without the shame that comes with a scale, measuring tape, or BMI measurement.

My Small Collection of Spots:
1. Clavicle: I run my fingers over a spot on the front of my neck at least twice a day. It’s right in the pit where the inside ends of my collar bones want to meet. When I’m thin, this pit has a thin layer of firm skin stretched over it, making it dip between the inside edges of my clavicles. However, the more I resemble my bed, the softer this area gets.

2. My Wrists: I heard that Ray Charles would know if his female fans were thin by touching their wrists when he shook their hands. Once I found this out, I immediately started paying attention to my wrists. I turn my hand to the side and I look at the degree of the slop from my forearm to the base of my hand. My hands are bear claws – they always have been and they always will be. I will never have thin fingers, but my wrist is usually pretty flat with a goya bean-sized bone that juts out toward the outside, except when that starts to disappear underneath my forearm.

3. My Lower Back to my Ribs: The last major spot is the skin and muscles that cover my L-5 vertebra in my spine. I know this specific spot because it’s right where my back is deteriorating, causing the excruciating back pain I live with daily. I am constantly touching my back, massaging that spot, punching it, cracking it, stretching it, trying desperately to relieve any of my pain.
From this habit, another has formed. After I touch my back for whatever aforementioned reason, I then run my hand up my spine to right below my ribs and I measure the distance from one side to the other. When I was a cheerleader, I would put my hand on the flyer’s backs in that exact way. My Grizzly Paws on their slight frames would reach across their entire waist. I could hold them steady with one hand. Now, I know I am built much differently, but I can still measure how much padding I’m digging into, how much cushion is bulging over my fingernail. I also know what my back muscles and my ribs feel like when I’m fit.

So, what changed, you ask? That’s an amazing question. One morning, on my way to work, somebody flirted with me. Somebody half attractive, too. He must have liked my eye makeup. I found myself smiling and flirting with. I gave him a little flutter of my eye and my famous smirk, and, still smiling, I turned the corner and caught my reflection in a storefront window. My reaction was sharp … harsh. I was slammed with disgust and shame. I wanted to retreat into my shell and cry. I was so embarrassed about having flirted with him. I mean, look at me! Who did I possibly think I was? How did I have the gall and the arrogance to think that I was worthy of him? I felt like somebody slapped me across the face, spat on me, and called me disgusting. And through this brutal self-abuse, I recognized a glow within me. It was like a part of me – one of my brighter personalities – was awakening in the back of my mind. Cracking her bones, rubbing the eye feh out of her eyes, and she spoke up. It was faint. It was so faint and far away, but for the first time in months, I heard myself think, “Look at your eyes.” This simple command breathed new life into me.

With that, I craved exercise. I craved the feeling I get after I exercise, the tightness in my muscles, the encouraging tenderness of sore muscles, like a little high-five to Me. I craved that unparalleled feeling of freedom and control that only an empty gym at midnight can give me. I looked at myself fully and honestly, and I had an understanding with myself that this body was not going to change quickly. I must consider how this body has been pushed further than it ever had before and that it is older. Remembering the other recent changes that have been happening, I made peace with the fact that this journey was going to be a long one. A long adventure in the quest for the New Me. This journey is one that can bring me treasures along the way, and I will not go through this experience with my eyes on the prize, always reaching toward the end and thinking about the end because, if I do, then there will be an end. An end to this journey will open the door for the beginning of its unraveling. Instead, I will look forward to certain milestones, specific changes in my body, my mood, and my quality of life.


I can’t wait until I can walk up the E 96th St subway station stairs without gasping desperately for air (not matter how poorly I try to hide it.)

I can’t wait until I can get through every single song during a ZUMBA class without half-assing one bit of it, and doing the more advanced moves.

I can’t wait until I can commit 100% to every combination in BodyCombat

I can’t wait until I can put 20lbs on each end of the barbell during Bicep Curls

I can’t wait until I can successfully execute 90% of the pilates class

I can’t wait until I can fit back into my purple skirt

I can’t wait until I can do 5 full straight-legged pushups

I can’t wait until I can hold myself in a pull-up position for 2 full minutes.

I can’t wait until I can bench press 60lbs (barbell, BodyPump class)

I can’t wait until I can see my collar bone

I can’t wait until I get rid of my back fat

I can’t wait until I get that little bend in my inner thigh muscles


So what am I doing, actually?

I’m going to the gym every single day, for as long as I possibly can. I’m taking as many classes as I can fit into my schedule, developing my own workouts and using online workout tools. I will share all my workouts on this blog, and be sure to put [fitness and health] or [workout entry] in the title so you know which is which. I will share all my resources and sources of information. I’m taking the stairs at every subway station – not using an escalator and walking as far as my punctuality will let me.

As far as the changes in my eating habits, I am eating clean. I will only eat organic and natural foods. I am sticking to superfoods and vegetables/fruits. I am eating “vegan,” only because, at this stage, it’s easier for me to monitor that I’m eating the right things that way. I don’t know how to cook, and I don’t make enough money (nor am I fiscally responsible enough) to go grocery shopping all the time. Basically, I’m finding all the vegan-type, organic food, juice bar-type places. All the places that have a real juicer. I want to do a juice cleanse, too, if I can figure out a way to do that.


Amt of Weight Lost: 0 lbs


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