If you give a girl a glass of wine, she’s gonna want another.
And if you give her another, she’s gonna want a third.
And if she wants a third, you’re going to have to listen to her debate out loud about whether or not she should have a third.
And if she decides to have a third, you’re gonna end up staying later than you thought.
And if you stay later than you thought, she’s gonna get hungry.
And if she gets hungry, she’s going to want pizza. So bad.
And if she wants pizza, you’re going to have to listen to her debate out loud about how she’ll feel sooooo fat if she orders it, but how badly she wants it.
And if she decides to order it, she’s going to eat two slices.
And if she eats two slices, she’s most definitely going to want three.
And if she has three, she’s going to blame you for letting her order this in the first place.
And if she blames you for the pizza, she’s going to force you to eat the same amount as her.
And if you eat the same amount as her, she won’t feel as badly about herself.
And if she doesn’t feel as badly about herself, she’ll consider you a true friend.
And if she considers you a true friend, she’ll tell you all her secrets.
And if she tells you all her secrets, you’ll realize she doesn’t really have many besides the fact that she has fantasized about some weirdo celebrity before and sometimes doesn’t shower for days on end.
And if you question why she doesn’t shower for days on end, she’ll tell you it’s because she doesn’t want to have to wash her hair EVERY TIME she works out (which is at least three times a week, if not four-five).
And if she talks about working out, she’ll start to feel disgusting because of the pizza.
And if she starts to feel disgusting about the pizza, she’ll promise herself to go harder at the gym tomorrow.
And if she goes harder at the gym tomorrow, she’ll fret about it all day.
And if she frets about it all day, she’ll text you about it all day.
And if she texts you about it all day, it’ll be stuff like “Ugggghhhh, I DON’T wanna go.” “I’m so tired from last night’s wine. I just hope I get more energy soon.” “Is it so bad to miss ONE day?” “Is 3 slices of pizza and missing a day at the gym gonna ruin me?”
And if she sends you these kinds of texts, she’ll expect you to be the true friend she thinks you are.
And if you’re the true friend she thinks you are, you’ll guilt trip her about the gym in a subtle yet effective way.
And if you guilt trip her in a subtle yet effective way, she’ll end up going to the gym.
And if she ends up going to the gym, she’ll spend half the time texting you about it.
And if she spends half the time texting you about it, you’ll gently have to remind her she’s at the gym and needs to focus.
And if you have to gently remind her, she’ll resent you for a split second before realizing you’re right.
And if she realizes you’re right, she’ll buckle down and do werk.
And if she does werk, she’ll be so glad she went to the gym.
And if she’s so glad she went to the gym, she’ll love you even more than she already did for making her go to the gym.
And if she loves you even more than she already did, she’ll invite you over again that night or the next for another wine night.
And if she invites you over for another wine night, you’ll obviously go because you love her.
And if you obviously go, you guys will split a bottle of wine she bought because she loved the design on the label.
And if you split a bottle of wine, that means she’ll have a sizable glass.
And if she has a sizable glass, she’s gonna want another.
And if she wants another, you’ll pour her another.
And if you pour her another, she’s gonna want a third.
And if she wants a third, the cycle starts all over again.
This is a realistic story about a girl who isn’t stick thin and isn’t obese, but just sorta average with a few pounds to lose.
*Disclaimer: If you came to this post looking for my weight in pounds or before/after pictures, you’re fucking with the wrong girl’s blog.*
Although I never actively recognized it, I was thin throughout my youth. I never struggled with weight, not really. I was a naturally small girl. Sure, my breasts made their appearance at an age younger than what my peer group was used to, but it wasn’t anything explosive or anything I showed off. I just had B’s before my friends had A’s, C’s before they had B’s, so on and so forth.
I’ve always had a naturally bloated belly. I don’t know why or how, but it’s just how it is and it’s my absolute biggest body insecurity. I can look at a piece of food, and my stomach extends. Unlike the majority of my best girlfriends whose digestive systems work properly resulting in always-flat stomachs, mine is like NAH. It’s been this way since I can remember. Smallish arms, smallish legs, extended tummy that I could give AP courses on how to suck in like a pro, and boobs. However, in the grand scheme of things, not all that bad of a hand to be dealt.
Literally the only time I’ve seen my stomach flat is during the saddest times of my life, when food wasn’t going into my mouth (AKA the rarest occurrence ever). Fortunately for my overall mental health but unfortunately for my body and stomach, there have been very few saddest times. So the flatness of my stomach was always short-lived. Almost like a dream that never happened.
My thinnest in adulthood was right after college, believe it or not. It’s like I woke up a few months after graduation and all the beer/pizza/shots/pizza/beer weight had just disappeared into fat air. On top of that natural weight loss, I was in a mind fuck of a struggle dealing with whether or not to remain with my college boyfriend, from which the anxiety was so intense, I was eating half as much as usual. So, in 2009, I was rocking 0’s and 2’s like it was nobody’s business. But, of course, I’m sure I still made statements like “I’m gross” or “I’m so fat” because I have a vagina and that’s just what happens. So.
^ That’s me in 2010, y’all. I was a TINY human. You know someone’s thin when they can tuck a form-fitting WHITE tank top into a pair of shorts and have absolutely zero qualms with stomach or love handle issues. This is a world I only knew for a very, very short time and will most likely never get to revisit.
So, cut to a few years down the road into the real world, and I was a much happier person who had adjusted to a different type of lifestyle and was eating normally again, thusly putting back on some of that lost weight. But NBD. I knew I wouldn’t stay that thin forever, so I didn’t kill myself over it (clearly, because I’m here typing this).
But then. BUT. THEN. I made a career change. I went from being in the world of sales to actually pursuing my dream of writing and joined the twisted world of advertising. I went from an office with a built-in, very health conscious cafeteria, A GYM, and a building full of gorgeous, thin, 20something girls to a traditional advertising office full of beer, whiskey, and men who DGAF. Quickly and surely, my body started to adapt to my new surroundings. And by “adapt” I mean grow. At first, I didn’t notice. I was all “Whatevs! I can still fit into my clothes so who cares even.” The gym culture is not a popular one within advertising, so it’s not like I had coworkers running off to the gym every night after work, indirectly motivating me to go. They motivated me to have another beer, stay longer for more whiskey, or order food to fuel our fire as we worked late.
And, a year and some odd months later, it blew up in my face. And by “it” I mean my jean’s button. Just kidding. That has never happened, thank the good lord. But I’m sure I’ve gotten dangerously close. They say to always go by the way your usual clothes fit, and the day I realized it was either stretchy pants or moving up a size, I knew things had gotten really bad. I hadn’t made eye contact with a gym in an embarrassing amount of time and was on a self-inflicted rewards program wherein I would have a few salads throughout the week, then reward myself with queso and dessert another few times a week. I was that girl. I just didn’t give a shit, I guess. It wasn’t anything out of control, but there was literally no awareness going on at any point of any given day. I’ve always been a 0% or 100% type of person: whatever I’m doing — be it healthy eating, frequent gym visits, Instagram stalking — I’m either all in or way the fuck out.
But by this past December, I did the adult thing and came to grips that I was heavy… for me. 13 pounds heavier bad to be exact. 13 fucking pounds. Now, to the untrained eye, it was next to not noticeable. But to the eyes that know me, see me enough, and know how I used to look, I’m sure it was somewhat noteworthy. And I’m also sure that haters whispered to themselves, “Oh YES. She looks kinda like shit.” As I said at the beginning of this post, I fully aware that I am by no means “fat” or “overweight,” but if you’re used to being a certain way and you have done nothing to take care of maintaining that certain way, things inevitably change and it affects you just as it would anyone else of any size.
So, starting on January 1 like a true NYE resolutioner (but mainly because I like well-rounded, perfectly configured dates to start new things), I said NO MORE and buckled the fuck down. And guys…
What? It is. I’m not writing this to be like “And OMG, y’all. I don’t miss pizza AT ALL. Carrots are GOD and ice cream is the devil. Give me a heaping bowl of cucumbers for dessert, AMIRIGHT?” If it were that easy, everyone would be slender as hell. However, I promised myself on January 1, 2015 that this wasn’t just Emma on one of her health kicks. No. This is Emma now. This consistent workout schedule, subbing salad for fries at least half the time if not more, eating way more vegetables for dinner and snacks: This is my life now. It’s a lifestyle. As much as it can absolutely suck in every way imaginable, it’s for the long haul and I mean it.
Every day since Jan. 1, I’ve eaten breakfast.
I’ve weened myself off sugar in coffee (although, I still use my Coffeemate fat-free hazelnut creamer because SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE).
I’ve mastered how to eat a pile of roasted brussel sprouts or cauliflower with a side of quinoa for dinner and halfway ENJOY it.
I’ve tried really hard to choose vodka over beer even though GOD DAMMIT I LOVE BEER.
I’ve woken up early 2-3 mornings a week to workout for the past almost six months, and made up for the missed mornings in the evenings and on weekends.
I’ve gotten fairly used to not stuffing myself at every meal. More than half the time, I leave some food on the plate to be sent to a place where uneaten food goes. This is huge for me since I’ve been a top ranking member of the Clean Plate Club since I can remember, and a firm believer in Louis C.K.’s method of eating until you hate yourself, not until you’re “full.”
I’ve subbed carrots for chips at lunch, and have tried my damnedest to reserve drinking alcohol for weekends only.
I’ve somehow convinced myself that a portion-size serving of healthy trail mix is filling (it’s not. It’s just a game you have to play with yourself).
The bottom line is: I’ve changed. I’ve changed the way I operate with food on a daily basis, and it has not been easy. In fact, it’s been incredibly hard, and the results have been slow to show themselves. As of today, I’ve lost somewhere between 5-6 pounds and maybe a half inch off my waist and hips. And I still have a long way to go (for me, personally).
It’s progress, for sure. But it’s not at all what I thought it’d be by this point. And that’s kinda why I felt inclined to write this. Because I want every other girl out there who might stumble upon this blog to have a more realistic idea of what it looks like and feels like to lose weight the “right” way. To not crash diet, kill yourself by deciding on a 1200 calories/day intake (which, by the way, is impossible. It’s like one carrot and a piece of air), or expect to be at your goal weight in just a few months. If you’re in it for the long haul, it’s the worst fucking marathon you’ve ever run. There are no short-cuts. There is no one BIG secret weight loss tip. It’s just you, making smart choices, working out as hard as you can when you can, and being mindful.
But of course, you must cheat. Duh. The first step in ruining this for yourself is not cheating ever. That’s just dumb. Everything in moderation, right? It’s really 80/20, so Monday through lunchtime on Friday, you do the absolute best you possibly can. Eat those veggies. Choke down that water when all you really want is a soda. Then, come Friday night, all bets are off. You’re going to fuck up on weekends, ok? Just accept it now. Because if you don’t, you will make yourself crazy about it come every Sunday night. I mean, don’t spend Friday-Sunday literally taking shots of queso and doing lines of eggs benedict. Control yourself, but let yourself enjoy life. Then, get back to it Monday. Oh, and workout at least one weekend day. It helps distract your mind from what you did last night and what you’re probably going to do tonight.
If nothing else, remember this: you didn’t put the weight on overnight, so it’s going to take a while to get it off. But, done the right way, hopefully it stays off (that’s the goal anyway). Keep at it, don’t get discouraged, and keep in mind that you can only do so much. You’re a fucking human being who loves food and wants to have fun and go to dinners with friends and drink alcohol and LIVE LIFE. So let yourself have that by kicking your own ass at the gym, eating boring shit, and indulging when necessary.
I don’t know when or how it happened, but one day, I woke up and realized: I’m the last one. That’s it. It’s just me. I’m in this alone.
Slowly but surely, my closest friends dropped like it was hot, one-by-one, until I became the last single girl standing.
And yes – I’m not that unaware. I knew it was happening all along, right in front of my face. There was no stopping it. It was its own force of nature, with 80 MPH winds chockfull of emotions, romance, and commitment. It just forgot to sweep me up in its path.
One friend met her soulmate at 19, never having blinked or second-guessed it since.
Another met hers during a sporadic weekend trip to a different city, and they both just “knew” right then and there.
Another friend had just moved to Dallas, caught the eye of a mutual friend a few weeks later, and they’ve been together for three years.
Another had to go through a somewhat minimal amount of frogs, the last one being the worst, until she met her prince who moved in with her after six months.
And it’s not that I’m not happy for all of the couples out there – I am. But I’m not writing this to play nice and stay neutral to both sides. I’m writing it to say that
Being the only single one in your group of friends fucking sucks.
“But you get to play the field!” They’ll say. “Ugh, I miss that beginning feeling of something new,” they’ll moan. “Just knowing anything can happen has to be so exciting!” They’ll insist.
But they’re wrong. They’re so, so wrong. Because, in this day and age – this “hanging out” day and age – wherein no one under the age of 30 (and even that’s stretching it) has any desire to commit to anything but a Netflix binge, it’s hard to get excited about much when it comes to the opposite sex (or same sex).
Sure, “playing the field” is fun, but also rage-provoking and anxiety-inducing. No one plays games, yet everyone plays games. Everyone’s sick of the bullcrap that comes with dating, yet they’re the biggest part of the problem. Oh and that “something new” feeling that everyone seems to be so jealous you still get to experience? It lasts for about one date until the wondering and worrying when/if you’ll ever hear from or see them again comes charging into the front door of your mind, setting up shop for weeks on end.
As much as you love your friends, you know and they know it’s just not the same being social with friends who have boyfriends. At the end of each night, they’re going home to their partner. Even if they don’t live together, they’re going home to call them or text them or sleep easy knowing they have them. The mindset of staying out just to stay out isn’t one they can fully grasp any longer. So, because of this, you’ll be practically forced into “branching out.” You’ll try with every fighting effort to “put yourself out there” to find new girlfriends, and you will. These are not friends you have history with nor have taken the time to build trusting foundations with, so an underlying layer of side-eye will be ever-present. These new friends are not the type you can count on to check in on you at random or sit comfortably in silence while you watch a movie together. You keep each other around specifically for social outing purposes, and that’s usually where it ends. The first time two of you find yourselves vying for the same type of male’s attention, it’s over.
But, for a while there, you’ll feel somewhat better about your situation. You won’t feel as alone in this singlehood endeavor, and soak up any opportunity you can to get dressed, go out, and take pictures with your new, unattached lady friends. Your coupled friends and you will probably suffer a bit of distance, but this is normal. They know you’ll be back soon.
You’ll realize that your go-to in case of an emergency are your friends, and each of her’s is her boyfriend or husband. You will begin to realize you’re being “squeezed in” on weekends and weeknights while they save the bigger blocks of time for their loves. But you don’t blame them – you’d do the same damn thing if you had the chance.
Everywhere you turn, it seems everyone’s moving on without you. Moving in together, going on trips together, shouting to the world “HEY. WE’RE A SERIOUS COUPLE JUST ICYMI.” And, you swear to all that’s holy, if you see one more social media post about an engagement, marriage, or pregnancy, you may pull your own eyes out and be admitted to a psych ward.
Why you’re alone will remain a mystery to you. Some days, you’ll be super positive about it, knowing with every fiber of your being that it’s going to happen for you. It’s just a matter of time. “You’re a late bloomer,” one friend will say and you’ll whole-heartedly agree. But other days, they’re all full of shit and are clearly not telling you what’s wrong with you. You can’t imagine how the hell anyone actually gets together, and you can’t foresee any possibility in which you would be coupled up. Ever.
But then, you have one, maybe two, great dates with a new prospect. And, against every natural inclination, you allow yourself to get excited. You feel hopeful. Rejuvenated. Perhaps on your way to something great. And, for that moment (however long it may be), being the only single friend and having to have dated around for so long isn’t so bad. At least you’ve got stories for days.
It’s my last week at my job before I start my next unpredictable adventure in #thisadvertisinglife. I don’t have too much going on as most of my projects have been transferred to other writers, so now the countdown to my good-bye happy hour tomorrow starts. I’m supposed to be “mentoring” our interns this week, but because I barely have any work to mentor them with, I decided instead to write-up a short list featuring my top three pieces of advice should they choose this industry as a career path. In the grand scheme of things, I’m still “young” in the advertising world, but I feel the experiences I’ve had thus far have already instilled in me some serious life lessons that can’t not be passed on. So, here’s what I emailed them this morning:
1. Never post anything on social media that even subtly has to do with your job.
No, really. Don’t. Not a picture of your desk. Not a beer you got from the beer fridge or beer cart. Definitely nothing negative — e.g. “ugh. counting down the hours until 5,” “ugh. the bathroom smells like s***,” “ugh. look at this coworker’s ugly shirt she doesn’t know I m posting and making fun of.” Just… don’t post anything that involves your job, ok? This is how I was fired once, true story. It was ridiculous and an over-the-top reaction for something so innocent, but the company I worked for didn’t see it that way. Keep yourself entirely separate from your job when it comes to social media with the exception of listing where you work on Facebook or LinkedIn. You are a completely separate entity from your place of work. Know this and live by it.
2. Know that, for the first few years, everything you create will most likely be crap.
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get all dark and moody with your creative-self. Just know that it takes a while to hone a specific craft. No one is going to expect you to be a genius at writing or creating right off the bat. If you are, that’s great. Good for you. But chances are you most likely have “a lot to learn” (you’ll hear this a lot during reviews and it’ll be annoying), and it takes watching experienced creatives come up with ideas to spark the same kind of thinking within yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you pick up along the way. Just be patient with yourself. You’ll get it, and when you do, you’ll feel invincible for a brief moment before you go back to doubting your talents and feeling insecure more often than not (such is the nature of the advertising beast).
3. BE NICE TO FELLOW CREATIVES.
Do you hear me??? This business, just like any other, can be catty. Don’t add to that. Yes, being a creative lends itself to this sort of naturally instilled competitive streak. But watch yourself. At the end of the day, we all just want to be heard and we all want to be thought of as awesome. Don’t be an asshole to other copywriters at your job or prospective art directors who reach out to you, wondering if you have connections. If someone else’s idea gets chosen, support them. If you are having trouble coming up with something for a certain project, don’t be proud — ask a fellow creative for their insight. This industry is already unpredictable and crazy enough — the least we can do is not add to it by being competitive, petty weirdos.