Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Does Plus Size Mean?

   So Tuesday I was bartending and minding my own business,  entertaining my crowd--of two patrons when one says to me "For being a queen sized girl you don't have cankles."  For being someone who likes to drink he appeared to not get the correlation of not pissing off the bartender and the amount of drinks he would be served.  Perhaps,  he learned a little something from me that night about saying dumb shit.

   My first inclination was not even to be offended but it was to think "What the hell does that mean?"  Do all women who aren't tiny have cankles?  Does he know a lot of women with cankles?  Do cankles in some way determine your self worth?  This is all so confusing.  My exact response to him without even hesitating or blinking was  "I'm pretty as shit though".  I know I am pretty.  I feel everyone woman should know they are pretty.  I take very good care of myself,  get my hair done,  do my makeup, always dress nice, etc.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am worth something in this world.  I will be damned sure no large man at the bar is going to change the way I feel about myself.


First things first:  
1.  I have fantastic legs
2. I do not have cankles
3.  I am not a size zero
4. What the hell does plus size even mean?

    These legs and regular size ankles can do amazing things.  They can backsquat almost 200 lbs.  These not flabby toned arms can push jerk 150 pounds at a moments notice.  So, I  continue to contemplate,  what makes me "queen sized"?  Is it my boobs?  They are big.  Nothing I can do about that.  I was the first girl to get boobs when I was like 14-15.  It runs in my family.  One day I woke up and I was like...umm what are these?  It was kinda like Big where Tom Hanks wakes up and he's thinking...What happened here last night?  And he searches for Zultar in the machine to solve all of his problems.  Alas, for me there was no Zultar,  just big boobs. 

    I remember when Guess clothing was big when I was like in 9th grade.  I couldn't wear those clothes.  If the shirt said Guess on a small chested girl on me it would say GU on the front and the ESS would be stretched out under my armpit and halfway onto my back.  I still struggle with buttons.  I have accepted that about myself.  When I began my journey to fitness and physical health I lost 60 pounds.  You know where I have never lost an ounce?  My boobs.  They went from being a size 36DD to a size...36DD.  
    I did some research.  The average size of women in the United States is a size 12,  not zero.  So,  by that standard,  I am average.    This is what average truly looks like:

All of the women above are average and still astoundingly beautiful.   TAKE THAT 'Merica.

    Plus size would infer that my size has some sort of plus attached to it.  I have never seen a plus on my clothes.  I have never shopped in a plus sized store of a section of a store that has plus sized attached to it. And even if I did, would that make me less of a desirable woman? and Why?   I am okay with average,  why wasn't this man at the bar? and.....WHO GIVES A SHIT, is what this blogger wants to know.  

    No offense to the size zeros out there.  Go head with your bad self.  I have fond memories of when I was a size zero.  It does however date back to when my mom used to dress me.  I believe it was a size 0-3 months.  Sonny (Santino Joseph the cutest baby to ever live and the light of my life)
used to be size 0-3 months too.  But he grew.  We all grew.  That's what we do as humans.   We cannot remain 2 foot tall and tiny our whole lives.  Our bodies grow,  and if we care for them right we can be AVERAGE AND HEALTHY.    Average just got FAN-TAS-TIC as far as I'm concerned.  If I could feel as good about being AVERAGE in everything else I do as I do about being size AVERAGE my life would be grand.  Of course all of my work wouldn't be spectacular, but hey,  let's not get tangled up in the deets.

   I think because someone is not super model skinny we as a society determine they are not healthy.  This is not true at all.  I recently looked at something someone posted on facebook about "fatkini" and how it was taking over Instagram.  My curiosity got the best of me and I searched the hashtag.  Half the women who tagged themselves as "fatkini" were what I would call AVERAGE.  Not fat at all.  Like me,  they weren't tiny,  but they weren't fat.  Such a shame this society makes average women feel sub-par. Good for them that they except their size.  Just like me,  maybe some of them are super healthy.  I eat mostly organic clean meals,  exercise,  go to the doctors, get blood work, and take good care of my health.  Some  of them were rather large, and did not look healthy.  But last time I checked,  I do not have an MD.  I already owe Universities my first born,  no reason to have to give them my favorite puppy too to pay off my debts.

   I know a lot of skinny people who are not healthy.  Don't judge a book by it's size,  not all books are created equal, blah blah blah.  The assumption that someone is not healthy based on their size may be true in some instances, and not true in others.    My mom is a nurse so I get the health speech quite frequently.  When I was a kid we didn't even have good snacks in my house.  We had diet soda that was only for my mom to bring to work,  Gingersnaps, and hard pretzels.  Needless to say, my friends never came over because I had nothing to offer.  " Hey come on over and watch a movie,  we can eat hard pretzels and drink water as late as we want!!!"  

   I work with blind children and do you know what the most beautiful thing about them is:  they judge others based on how they are treated by them.  My one little girls once called a little boy "kind".  She liked him (as a boyfriend whew whew whew) because he was good to her.  He was nice to her, looked out for her,  and was KIND.  What a different world we would all live in if we based our assumptions of others on how they treated us.

   Back to the jean size thing,  this blogger feels if the world could agree on one UNIVERSAL jean measurement scale that women would no longer be at odds with each other.  We would all get along,  I assure you of that.  I go to Macy's and I buy a perfect $100 pair of size 12 jeans that fit awesome.  My but looks fab,  my thighs look amazing, and I am generally happy as a pig in shit.  Then I walk my size 12 ass down to Urban Outfitters and the girl tells me I'm a size 16 and I need the high rise jeans.  Did I gain 30 pounds on the walk over here?  Hello mom jeans and flat ass (no offense mom,  but let's upgrade your jeans).  I immediately scowl at the girls who suggested I am 4 sizes bigger than I actually am,  and mentally put her on the list of humans I dislike.  If this had never happened,  perhaps her and I could have been friends.  But,  jean manufacturers ruined that notion.  

 I think Meghan Trainer said it best in her new song:

I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No I'm just playing I know you think you're fat
But I'm here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Oh and to the man who called me QUEEN SIZED, thank you,  I've always known I was a queen.  Just been waiting for my crown........

Make it a size 12, please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Interview with a Crossfitter: Talia Giordano, Crossfit Novem

My next interview in my series is:  Talia Giordano,  my sister.  Her and I did our first ever Crossfit class together.  After,  I had a hunger inside lift more than her.  Although she still out lifts me in some ways,  I am more street smart so we both know I WILL SURVIVE during the Zombie Apocalypse.  Her,  that's debatable.   Although she can lift heavy and run fast,  I see her giving up before me.    Talia's deadlift is 300 something,  mine is like 280.  Talia's backsquat is like 220,  mine is like 195.  The point I am trying to make is..... I have slipped discs in my back.  That is the only reason she is stronger than me at this moment.

Anyway, on with why I chose her.  Talia,  she's one tough bitch.    She has been my best friend for the better part of 27 years.  She has always been athletically inclined,  even when we were kids.  I guess I always kind of looked up to her in that way.    Talia and I could not be more polar opposites.  She is tall and thin,  I am short and stubby. 
She has been through some trials and tribulations and she has always remained dedicated to fitness. She pushed me to keep coming with her to Crossfit even when in the beginning I felt like my legs and arms may fall off if I did.  She'd beep her  horn outside of my house every morning at 5:15am and I would think.... WHAT THE F.  But, I went.  I went almost every day until my back got really hurt.  Then,  after PT she encouraged me to go back.  So,  I went back.  And I keep going back.  A lot of that,  is because of her.

Without further a due,  let me introduce:

Talia Giordano
Affaliate: Crossfit Novem
Age:  28
Birthday:  August 3rd,  1985
Hometown:  Gibbstown, NJ
Current City of Residence:  Philadelphia, PA
Q: When did you join Crossfit?

a. October 2012

Q:  What made you want to join Crossfit?

a. A friend was opening a crossfit gym and suggested I couldn’t handle the workouts. Of course I had to prove him wrong. He was betting I would throw up on my first WOD, which has still never happened (Am I not working hard enough? Fran was the closest I have ever come). I also have always been athletic and was really getting bored of spinning and the treadmill and zumba (yes zumba – the bar saw many a zumba moves when I was attending those classes). Crossfit was becoming big and I saw it everywhere. It was very interesting to me - people really pushing themselves during their workouts – and I wanted that, I wanted something to push me (because the 50-60 year old ladies of zumba weren’t doing it). 

Q:  Can you recall any of your thoughts from after your first Crossfit class?

a. My first class was farmers carry, squats and singles jump rope. Of course my squat was torn apart, I was not low enough of course. I had to squat on a ball (which I loved because I felt like “yaaaayyyy I get to sit in between”). It wasn’t as hard or as scary as I thought and I liked how I was able to compete against others in the class to finish the WOD. I soon found out that crossfit is only as hard as you make it and I am WAY to competitive to not push myself harder and harder each day. My second workout I was taught overhead presses. I used just the 45# bar and it was SO HARD. I don’t remember how many I could do, but I know it wasn’t many. I kept thinking, “I have to do this in workouts? AND ADD WEIGHT????” Now overhead presses are my favorite and I certainly can lift much more than just the 45# bar. 

Q: What motivated you to want to become a certified Crossfit trainer?

a. Who wouldn’t want to be a trainer after doing crossfit is a better question? I love crossfit so much. It is like a piece of me now. It makes just as much sense to do crossfit everyday like it makes sense to be a social worker (my day job). And I want to get better and learn as much as I can. And Camille was one of my instructors so that was AMAZING! After my L1 I felt like I needed to learn even more so I got my crossfit gymnastics cert. That was SO much fun. I basically got to hang upside down and do head stands and handstands all weekend. Sadly I don’t have enough time in the day to work, coach and train, so when I devoted myself to one of those things at 100%, the other two had to drop down in priority. Plus I love sleep and need at least 9 hours a night so that leaves me less time in the day. One day when I’m rich I will be able to better organize my schedule to accommodate all of my passions. 

Q: Has Crossfit or Physical Fitness in General helped you in any other ways in your life?

a. Once i had to deadlift a large rock off of my grandmother to save her life. Another time I had to pull myself up into a tree to avoid a massacre of wild coyotes. Generally physical fitness has helped me in my everyday life by allowing me to walk without getting tired, getting onto and off of the toilet, and handstand walking when my feet are too tired for the job. Crossfit isn’t about helping me out right now, it’s about helping me out in the future when it’s the Day After Tomorrow, War of the Worlds, The Walking Dead, and Shaun of the Dead.

Q:  What are some feelings you had after your first CrossFit class?
a: I remember feeling.. “I should have beat that other person in that WOD! Next time I will try harder” and “thank goodness I didn’t throw up.” Haha, my competitive side got the best of me and I haven’t stopped since.  

Q:  Do you feel as though Crossfit has changed you in anyway as a person? 
a: Sometimes If I look in the mirror at the right angle I have a butt and abs. I think that is due to CrossFit. Otherwise I am physically stronger… like way stronger. I remember when I could barely lift the 45# bar and now I can jerk 160#, deadlift 315# and (newest PR, front squat 200# - holla). It has also helped me reconnect with my competitive and athlete side. You don’t feel like much of an athlete when you are running on a treadmill at the gym, CrossFit has definitely given that back to me.

Q:  Exercise is said to increase a persons happiness,  would you agree Crossfit has helped you with any struggles you've had over the last two years?
a: Exercise increases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t kill their husbands…. True statement. All exercise has always made me happy and helps me with stress. Going through a divorce (wah wah) definitely requires some exercise to help deal with all of the bullshit that goes with it. Not only has CrossFit given me the post workout happiness, it has also given me amazing, supportive friends that have really helped me deal with all this crap. For instance when I was looking for somewhere else to live, I was able to live with a great friend who I met through CrossFit. Then when I moved to Philadelphia, first time EVER living outside of NJ, I was unsure of my decision to move and was contemplating moving back to NJ… then I met amazing friends through my new CrossFit gym and I am so happy with my decision to be here.

Q:  What would you say is your biggest accomplishment thus far while doing CrossFit? 
a: Usually when I don’t feel like going to the gym I somehow force myself to and end up doing really great. I recently was thinking of going home to nap after work instead of going to the gym, but I somehow managed the strength (totally a pun) to force myself to go. I went and PR’ed my front squat. My first PR in like 10 months!!!!!! Basically my biggest accomplishment is forcing myself to go (almost) every day. Hallelujah.
Oh and getting my shoulder back to almost a completely healthy condition. That is actually the biggest accomplishment since I used to have shoulder pain every day, all day. Now I don’t (after lots of doctors, physical therapy and SHOULDER REST) and I’m back in full CrossFit shape.

Q:  Have you ever competed in a competition for Crossfit?  If so,  how many and how did you do? 
a: Hmmmm. I have definitely competed. Maybe 6 or 8. My best ever was the 2013 Baby Leave the Socks on Competition where I came in 11th out of 50ish for the final score and 3rd in the Deadlift workout.

Q:  What is the heaviest weight you have ever lifted? 
a: 315# deadlift.

Q:  Out of all of the movements that are part of Crossfit,  what would you say is your favorite? 
a: Box jumps & wall balls (thank you height advantage), double unders, sit ups (because who doesn’t love to lay down while working out) and hand stand pushups (because it’s so fun being upside down!)

Q:  What are your thoughts on CrossFit as a Community?
a: You can go anywhere around the country and even world and find a CrossFit gym that will accept you and support you. It’s honestly quite heartwarming (and sappy) to know that I could become a part of another gym anywhere and still get that.  I also think it’s very expensive to have that support – but I guess therapy ain’t cheap. 

Q:  What is one thing you would tell to someone interested in trying Crossfit for the first time?
a: PLEASE DO IT – it’s so much fun and you seriously meet the coolest, nicest, funnest people in the world – and they most likely will house you when you are going through a divorce.


Stay tuned for my next interview with:  Kate Conneen,  Crossfit Solstice

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Flounder Cubano with Tomato Marmalade

OMG, WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?  I am so sorry I left you guys for so long.  Soooo much has been going on.  I was down the shore, in Chicago, and most recently getting en epidural in my back!  Hopefully I am back at Crossfit by next week.  The excitement of that prospect is killing me.  You know what else has been killing me,  the need to share this recipe with you.  This is a clean recipe,  but I don't want you to think you are missing anything here on flavor.  The flavor profile is amazing,  and you could even serve it at a dinner party and people would never know how health conscious you are.  If you really don't want people to know your dirty little health secret----serve it with a huge chunk of bread to sop up all the sauce.  

This recipe was made possible by my cousin Lisa Dick.  Her husband recently went fishing so we all got to hit the mother load on fresh flounder.  She freezer sealed it into packaging for a bunch of us girls in the family.  Nothing says love like freezer packaged---anything.  Any time someone takes the time to freezer pack something,  thank them generously.  If it's your significant other who freezer packs---marry them.  If you've already married know.

Cubano Flounder with Tomato Marmalade
Prep: 40 minutes (roughly)
Cook: 40 minutes
 2-2 1/2 pounds of Flounder, about 6-7 filets
3 ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
4 green peppers
1 large white onion
4 cloves of garlic
4 large tomatoes (preferably Jersey or Hot House)
1 tbsp chile powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (weird,I know)
1 1/2 tbsp parsley (dried or fresh,  I like the fresh for the flavor it adds at the end)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp olive oil, divided
Olive or Coconut Oil Spray

1.  Spray a large grill pan with olive or coconut oil and allow to heat over medium high heat for 5-8 minutes until searing.
2.  Place cleaned corn on the grill pan and rotate occasionally, making sure the corn does not burn.   It should take about 5-8 minutes for you to make all of the sides golden brown.
3. While this is happening heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a deep pot that has a lid. 
4.  Remove the corn from the grill pan and set aside.  Remove grill pan from heat.
5.  Dice your tomatoes and place in your deep pot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and allow to cook down  with the lid on until a tomato looking marmalade has occurred, about 15 minutes.  Remove lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
6.  While your vegetables are cooking,  cut the grilled corn kernels off of the ear of corn.  I've found the easiest way to do this (I learned from Rachel Ray) is to put a smaller bowl upside down inside of a big bowl.  Then,  place the ear of corn on top of the little bowl inside the big bowl and use your knife to cut the kernels down off the cob.  All of the kernels are then caught in the big bowl  :).
7.  Once the tomato marmalade has finished cooking, dice your onion, green pepper, and garlic.  Place another tsp of olive oil, the onion, green pepper, garlic, and corn into the pot with the tomatoes. Season with a tad more salt and pepper, cover with lid,  and allow the flavors to meld together, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are translucent.
8.  While your entire vegetable concoction is cooking down,   mix all of your spices from the ingredients list onto a large plate.
9.  Dry your fish thoroughly and dredge in the spice mixture.
10.  Okay, this may be where you think I'm nuts.  Take all of that fish,  and place it directly on top of your vegetables in the deep pot (try not to overlap fish).   Cover with the lid and DO NOT TOUCH IT AGAIN.
11.  To finish,  remove the lid after 10-15 minutes have passed.  Your fish should be white and flaky.

12.  Per person serve 1-2 fish filets on top of about 1 1/2 cups of the marmalade.  

Dinner, served.