Body Image

Are You "That" Girl?

She holds a fancy Starbucks drink in one hand while the other masterfully flips through the pages of the latest book from the New York Times bestseller list. “That” girl. A Michael Kors bag is perfectly perched in the elegant space between her wrist and her elbow and her outfit looks like it was thrown together effortlessly despite the fact that it could be featured in the pages of Vogue. Her Essie manicured nails are perfect  - not a chip to be seen. “That” girl. Straight from your Pinterest board.

How did she juggle her morning coffee, her book, her purse and her metro card to step through the subway turnstiles like she was walking down a runway? How does she only have one small purse to get through the day, while I’ve felt like a bag lady since the second I moved to Manhattan? Because she’s “that” girl. A different species from you entirely, right?

Her hair is long and gleaming in the early morning sun and she’s outfitted from head to toe in Nike gear. This season’s newest fashions, of course. She looks like her morning miles in Central Park should be used in a commercial. “That” girl.

She’s floating, and girls and guys alike can’t help but follow her with their eyes as she makes the rolling hills of Central Park look like an enjoyable amusement park ride instead of a pain in the ass. “That” girl is who you will never, ever, manage to be – right?

We’ve all seen these women, and chances are you’ve asked yourself, “How do they do it? How do they make it seem so easy? So natural?”

Each and every morning I try to figure out how to somehow read my book (very rarely is it a New York Times bestseller – more like something I’ve pulled from the shelves of the New York Public Library), answer text messages I’ve failed to respond to, and get my metro card out from its Vera Bradley change purse. The change purse which resides in my backpack – not a Michael Kors purse that sits perfectly in the crook of my arm. But what does sit in the crook of my arm is a reusable bag filled with my food for the day – since I definitely can’t afford $12 Chop’t salads and $10 fresh squeezed juices every day. Adding a morning coffee into the mix? Heels? Impossible.  I’m just not “that” girl.

When my alarm goes off for a run in the morning my hair resembles a rat’s nest and I’m likely wearing Old Navy or some other running apparel I’ve managed to get on clearance for less than $20.

But this morning during my run I had an interesting thought. “That” girl ran by and I thought, “Does she know that she’s the object of envy?”

And you know what I realized? She probably has no idea. She probably groaned when her alarm went off too. And maybe her Uncle Bob works for Nike and gets all her pretty gear for free. And chances are her legs are burning up those hills just like everyone else’s.

And then my next thought was, “Oh my GOD. What if people look at me and think


making it seem so easy? Could I possibly be “that” girl in someone else’s eyes?” And honestly – yes. Any one of us can be. Because we all have admirable strengths and qualities and we all have days when we’re rockin’ it. Our outfit is on point. We aren’t a bag lady for once. Weeks of yoga has made it possible to make the commute in wedges instead of your Saucony’s. Weeks of hard work have paid off and Harlem Hill is a little less torturous. In those moments, we can unknowingly become “that” girl to someone else.

If someone saw me running up Cat Hill this morning, chances are they didn’t give me a second thought. But I was pushing the pace past Engineer’s Gate and my shorts were pretty cute – so maybe for a split second someone compared themselves to me. Without knowing anything about me.

“That” girl that you see in the morning and use to put yourself down and make yourself feel inferior – is probably doing the same exact thing. And she’s probably no different than you. With good days and bad days – confident days and days she isn’t feelin’ so hot.  

Are there girls that walk around


they are the shit? Yes. But those aren’t girls you really want to strive to be, are they?

Instead, take a little comfort in the fact that you 


feel superior. You can’t imagine someone looking at you and thinking that you’re one of the ones that have your shit together. 

We can’t imagine being “that” girl. But chances are that whoever we look at and put on a pedestal – feels just as insecure at times as everyone else.

So yeah,

we’re all “that” girl.

But seriously, there has to be a better way to juggle all my shit in the morning... 

Transformation Tuesday: Why I'm Over My Abs

On this “Transformation Tuesday” let’s talk about the transformative power of strength training.

“We thought you just ran lots of miles,” you’re probably thinking.

 Well, that’s true. For the past half a year, running has been my main focus. But now that I have some time before I need to start upping my mileage again in preparation for the Pittsburgh Marathon, I’m trying to get back into weights.

Yes it can be a little intimidating at first to step away from the treadmill and the elliptical and the safety of other girls like you, looking cute in your Nike and Lululemon.

But let’s be real. You dream of one day being that badass chick doing all sorts of exercises with the free weights with the guys.  (Or maybe you dream of being the badass girl all alone in your own corner of the gym because you’ve been that girl at the free weights with the guys, and they’re just obnoxious for the most part).

Well, I’m here to tell you that you absolutely should go for it.

There’s no excuse. You don’t know where to start? How to do the exercises? I’m pretty sure there are approximately 129308 ways to fix that. Google. Youtube. Pinterest. DailyBurn. There are literally infinite resources for you to find different exercises and study up on the proper form before you test them out yourself. More times than I can count I’ve printed out workouts, pictures, instructions and brought them to the gym with me. I’ve also watched YouTube videos with no shame.

Start simple, with a few basic moves. Get comfortable. The best part is that once you move to the weight area of the gym- you’re going to see people doing some crazy shit. And then you’re going to go home and try to Google it with weird terms like “crunchy side step weighted leg lift thing” and then say a prayer that Mr. Google somehow figures out what exercise the Hulk at your gym was doing. And then you’re going to research it. And then YOU’RE gunna do it.

Everyone in the fitness world says that cardio bunnies are doing it wrong. Sure, you can lose weight from doing a ton of cardio. I certainly lost weight when every weekend for 4 months consisted of running 15+ miles.

I was never sold on the idea that weight training was just as, if not more, effective in toning your body than cardio until my attention to weight training became almost non-existent. And now, I MISS MY MUSCLES :(

(I even used to have baby biceps when I wasn't flexing!)

At the gym a few days ago, I was doing ab exercises and was asked, “How often do you work on your abs? Your body is amazing.” 1) I thanked that person for the compliment and 2) Said sorry to disappoint you, but I barely ever focus strictly on abs at the gym.

Here’s me 6 months ago when I was doing a pretty good mix of weights and cardio. At this point, I was only dedicating 1 day a week to an ab-based workout. The rest of that came from all the core stabilization necessary to use free weights for shoulder, back, bicep, tricep, leg, and chest exercises.

I read about it all the time, and rolled my eyes. But looking back, it is so completely true.

So while most people use transformation Tuesday to show their progress- I guess I’m kind of doing the opposite. I have totally lost this strength, those obliques, that 2-pack. Those biceps. The triceps I worked so hard for. Gone. Poof. So sad. But I’m excited to get back into the gym to be reunited with dumb bells and kettlebells and squat racks in the hopes of getting toned back up. Looking at these pictures is rough because I know how much hard work I put into getting into that kind of shape, and part of me, of course, wishes I still looked like that.

But at the same time, RIP to that body. I could get it back. But I don’t think I want to. Now, or ever again.

Because that body meant saying “no” way too much.

No to delicious food, no to happy hour with friends, no to drunken nights as a single twenty-something in NYC, no to a coworkers birthday cake.

I was obsessed with never missing a workout. I was obsessed with seeing that definition when I looked in the mirror. Clearly, as demonstrated here, I was obsessed with taking selfies to track my progress (embarrassing…)

And for what? I don’t walk around in a sports bra my whole life. I don’t compete in fitness competitions. Quite frankly, it’s a waste of time and energy for me to look like this. It made me cranky and not fun. I like froyo. I like beer.


I also really like lifting weights and doing squats and learning new exercises and running and taking spin classes.

So I’m going to do all of the above. And what happens in terms of body transformation, happens. I am so over the days where my mood every morning was determined by whether or not I could see my abs.