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Huffing and Puffing

Once upon a time there was a girl who used to be very physically fit. This chick could crack walnuts between her thighs and hurl coconuts clear to the moon. Then the girl grew up to be me.

I don't know what happened to my competitive drive but I lost it about the same time I gained the jello roll around my middle.

It's not like the jelly rolls appeared over night. They took some time making their presence known. It was a slow transition from firm and fit Tanis to soft and sloth-y Tanis. Heck, I managed to harbor three baboons babies in utero and squeeze back into my regular sized jeans within days.

*Yes. I was one of those annoying broads who looked like she never had a baby moments after giving birth. I have made up for this by now walking around looking like I'm five months pregnant permanently.

When Shale died I lost a crapload of weight. I was already thin, but I got thinner. Gaunter. Sickly looking. Apparently a child's death is not conducive to eating. Within a year I was down to almost a hundred pounds. I made Tori Spelling look fat.

It wasn't till my husband told me he was getting tired of feeling like he was poking a bag of bones when we engaged in carnal activities that I noticed how thin I was. It was hard to see anything other than a haze of grief let alone how I had suddenly transitioned into an over-sized prepubescent 12 year old boy. Minus the dingle berries of course.

So I began to eat.

And eat.

And eat.

While sitting on my laptop typing out glorified stories of blue bushes and beaver fever. Contrary to personal delusion, sitting on one's duff pecking at a keyboard while slurping back cans of soda and munching on pistachio nuts is not exercise. No matter how hard I try and sell it as such to my darling Boo.

Eventually I gained back all the weight lost post death and packed on about 25 pounds more. That's when the jelly roll appeared. It's fantastic. I can hide a burrito in the cavity known as my belly button. This baby has back. And back fat. And a jiggle in her wiggle.

Now my husband, the man who can't make up his damn mind, tells me he's scared to poke me and get lost in my rolls. Or wake up to find himself smothered by the growing girls on my chest.

There is no pleasing the man.

But since it would be nice to fit into the wardrobe I have thoughtfully purchased over the years which is now just hanging in my closet collecting dust, I decided it time to de-jiggle. Not a lot. I like actually having curves. Just lose enough to be able to bend over and put my socks on without wanting to duct tape the roll of flesh around my middle so that it doesn't get in the way of my knees.

Or maybe, set my goal a wee higher and not break into a full scale sweat and start wheezing when running from one end of the house to the other when trying to find the cordless phone my children seem to like to stuff under their pillows or in mounds of laundry.

It's a health thing. Really. It has nothing to do with the fact my father recently commented to my husband that I used to be thin and attractive and now resemble a pasty marshmellow stuffed into a too tight sausage casing.

(Oh yes he did say that.)

So I took the proverbial bull by it's horns and I cowgirl'd up. Taking into account my over active schedule of chauffeuring my children between here and there and the fact I paid for a gym membership only to go twice and have the old people laugh me out of the gym, I decided the best way to get fit was to try to do it at home.

On my own terms where no scarily fit geriatric people will point and laugh at the middle aged mom I've become.

So I emptied out my refrigerator of all things soda related and fed the pistachio nuts to the dogs.

And then I bought my very own personal overpriced clothing storage system treadmill.

To which my husband rolled his eyes and explained that owning a treadmill won't get me fit unless I take the clothes I've tossed on it off the dang thing and actually get on it myself.

treadmillHe literally spoke slowly when explaining this to me and offered to illustrate his point. It was then I hurled a pillow at his head and threatened to sit on him and smother the life out of him with my giant jelly rolls.

He promptly shut up but he was still smirking.

Like the road to good intentions, my road to fitness and healthy self-esteem is a miserable trek to hell. This body? Is not as young as it once was. Age and a few too many cheese burgers have caught up with me and the once physically fit machine I called my body.

I find myself no longer motivated by picturing myself in a bikini or wanting to fit into a svelte pair of jeans.

I'm old enough to know I don't need to base my self worth on my waist size. Although it would be nice to be able to see a bowl of cottage cheese and not be immediately reminded of my backside.

Still, I was am determined. I figure I got myself into this larder, I can sweat my way out of it. Which would be infinitely easier if I enjoyed the trickle of boob sweat that springs up whenever I take three steps on the damn machine.

My children aren't much help either. Encouraged by their father to help inspire (and by inspire I'm sure he secretly meant mock) me on my path to glory and health they've taken it upon themselves to demonstrate how physically superior they are to me and run marathons on the damn machine while I start huffing out of breath just watching them.

They haven't figured out that showing me how it's done isn't inspiring me to try harder. All it is inspiring me to do is to think of creative ways to make them work harder since they apparently have so much energy to burn off and rub in my face.

I've now banished them from watching me run after a few elephant comments were made and my son decided to bring in a skipping rope and use it as a faux-whip. Every time I started to slow down he thought it would be hysterically funny to flick it at my arse and tell me to 'giddy up.'

Funny he wasn't laughing when I chased him out of the house and threatened to give him a wedgie moments later. I would have too but my lungs exploded and I saw stars.

Still, I'm persevering. Slowly. One treadmill step at a time. It's not pretty. I have to keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times for at any moment the friction of my thighs rubbing together could start a small fire, but I'm doing it.

I'm 34 years old and I'm running in circles on a treadmill. Oh how the dreams of my youth have evaporated with time and fat. I no longer dream of winning Olympic medals or climbing mountains while flirting with a sherpa.


Now my dreams include being able to buckle up my pants without feeling like I'm about to lose circulation in my lower half.

How far I've fallen.

But I'm not going giving in to middle aged complacency all together.

No. I'm going to do what women all over are doing to fight off the doldrums of getting fat and old.

I'm going to buy some damn Spanx. After all, I have a treadmill I can store them on when I'm not using it.
« Real Work by a Real Writer. Or Gibberish produced by the clinically insane. You decide. | Main | Through the Looking Glass »

Reader Comments (64)

Nothing wrong with losing weight, my wife and I are doing so as well, but I would decidedly prefer the bit (or abundance) of curve to the 12 year old boy look.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRandom

Go the spanx route, most definitely!

I find that wearing them to the gym makes it look like all those aerobics classes are doing something good (and besides, lycra and jelly rolls just don't work together in a way that's pleasing to the eye).

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpixielation

I recently got a membership to a gym so I could not so much lose weight as tone up the weight I currently have, because it was starting to ripple in the wind. But I found myself having a hard time staying motivated and my entire family was making fun of me, so I did what ever self-respecting mom would do:

I broke my foot.

Now, I actually CAN'T go to the gym. That'll show 'em.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLona

I wish I had your motivation. All I do is look at treadmills on Craigslist and I find it EXHAUSTING.

Good luck to you, I think you are hot either way. :)

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZDub

I've been attempting to lose the alleged baby weight I've been carting around. You know, since my baby is 4 and all. It's been really tough. The spanx do help, though. Though I must admit, getting them on is a BITCH.

Are you possibly/maybe/don't-want-to-but-might-do-it interested in Weight Watchers? You don't have to do the meetings, etc. I've done it a couple of times and it really works to drop the lbs. But you have to want to do it (I know I know, no one really WANTS to do it.) If you can stick to it for even a few weeks you'll see a difference.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBinkytowne

Instead of focusing on weight loss, why not set a fitness goal? Choose a 5K race and train for it! That way your focus is on your getting ready for the race, not on losing the jelly rolls. And miraculously, the jelly rolls fall off when you're not looking.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCoach J

Thanks so much for the funny tweets & laughs every day! Snort!.....don't start any fires. LOL At 61 & still working (in my own business) my only exercise is jumping to conclusions and flying off the handle or chasing grand kids. I miss my treadmill and may actually try to dig it out of the garage this winter (or not). :-)

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Duren

I'm really trying to get that bug again. Why have I gone to this fat place so many times in my life. I know I will do it, but why don't I learn from my mistakes and remember the pain! It ain't easy but feels so good when I do jump on my treadmill, which has kids swinging from the hand rail like they're on the monkey bars at the park. Hey at least we have a treadmill I remember my mom saying she was going to start exercising, grabbing onto the back of a chair swinging her left leg up 3 times, then the right, and that was it! LOL
Good Luck girly girl!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiana, The Doggy Mommy

tanis - you continue to make me laugh, although i know fighting your weight is a real bitch. get on that treadmill so you can catch the little guy the next time he tries to whip your ass into shape.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertiffany

So you don't want me to send you homemade Oreos once I make them, then?

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Its sooo hard, but spanx do help! they are great. I could never use my treadmill, but walking the dog worked for me. and the dog. good luck!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterheather

Tanis, did you read about the 500# prisoner in Houston who hid a gun in the fat-folds of his stomach? I live in Houston too, and at the rate I'm going, I could be toting a gun. LOL You've motivated me to do Weight Watchers on line (again). Worked before. Good luck!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue Jenkins

Sweetie, sit down, have a glass of wine, these insane thoughts will pass and you won't hurt yourself. It worked for me, I've become quite fond of what my teenager refers to as my "jiggly"

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Spanx rock.

I'm almost 21 and I settled down with my boyfriend a couple of years a go..
Being settled equals getting fat apparantly..

Once a superfit, tight 16 year old blonde with great boobs.. Now I'm turning into a brunette with a whole lot of hip,thighs,jelly roll in the middle.. the whole JAZAM.. (but the boobs are stil a-okay!)

BUT! I decided a couple of days ago to go to the gym and untill now (3 full days, hooray) I'm actually still going (a new record for the whole JAZAM!)

Anywayz, you gave me some more inspiration to work out! If I (the laziest person ever to walk on this earth..) can do it, so can you!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBelldandy

lol, i feel your pain , i have been trying for a while now and i stated i wanted a treadmill and left pictures on counters and hinted for awhile , finally i get this surprise we got you something to motivate you to loss weight and its a rowing machine "we did not think you could handle something that does not involve sitting , (pause for laughter on their part) when you loss enough to handle other machines you can buy a new one" i am not that over weight only by about 50 pounds.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermistress pink

I recently decided to embark on self gentrification and it sucks a fat d*ck. If you ever want to read about seriously Fatty McFatterson, stop by Breaking Up with Ben & Jerry at breakingupwithbj.blogspot.com. It's where I blog about my diet success (and by success, I mean it's been three days and I haven't quit yet).

My treadmill has become my best friend for the last month---I am not watching the scale at all---I can get all obsessed with the number thing and if i don't lose when i think i should have lost i get discouraged and quit. I am just feeling better and that is what counts.
Oh and by the way-----I also DESPISE the trickle of boob sweat that springs up---I'm just hoping it will put out any thigh fires I might encounter!!
Thanks for the laugh Tanis!!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSunnie

I love you. Seriously.

I'll be 39 next month, and for the last five years, things have headed south (by which I mean my ass has).

Like you, I've been skinny most of my life, so it's not fat, but losing whatever tone I once could lay claim to.

Then we started doing some major home improvement projects.

Amazing how well sweating in 100 degree plus heat, clinging to ladders for dear life, swinging a hammer, etc. can tone you up.

And my guy's lost almost thirty pounds during all of this too. =)

Good luck, Tanis. You can do. This is way easy compared to some of the other things you've dealt with.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScath

To bad winter is coming. Jogging on a country road is way more fun than a treadmill you could even brow beat Boo & the kids to go with you. By the way I am one of those people you probably hate. I`m a walking bone rack. Been that way all my life and I have to run around twice in the shower to get wet, that is what being a runner can do for you.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob Devine

Damn, some writer I am. That was 'You can do IT'. [head desk]

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScath

Oh girl....I feel your pain...but at 46 I'm just hoping I still have the energy and determination! Gonna try my best to lose the 20 pounds!!! Keep up the hard work and please let us know how you're doing.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

I can relate! I have over 100 pounds to lose and I'm 48. My back is hinky and makes it hard for me to walk, but I'm not giving up. I do what I can and you know what? I'd tell your husband and kids to keep their snarky comments to themselves. I like your idea of thinking of work to keep them busy since they have so much energy tormenting you.

Don't give up! Any journey does start with the first step.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Avitable is going to hell (this brought to you by the Department Of Obvious Observations).

As you already know, I have just started back on the painful path of righteousness after a mandatory break for surgery and recovery. It sucks starting from scratch. I lost sixteen pounds from the peritonitis then gained eighteen from the keeping-the-stomach-full-to-not-be-queasies. Now that my stomach is mostly behaving itself and I have clearance from my surgeon I am running and crosstraining and god it sucks. But it'll be worth it someday, right? Yummie Tummies are pretty cool. You saw the picture. I assure you it doesn't look like that without the shapewear. I am determined to not need that by January though. Because...well, just because dammit. Good luck!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMFA Mama

I, like you, was skinny most of my life. Now two kids (17 & 8), arthritis and a hysterectomy I am over weight. Most of it brought on after the surgery (3 years ago) and the wonderful medicaiton I was put on in April. I have gained 17 lbs since going on it and my husband told me that he used to be scared of breaking me in 1/2 before but now he is scared of popping a hole in me (men are pigs). I liked my curves before April now I despise them. With winter setting in and the bones hurting I need to get off my ass before I balloon up over 200 lbs! Sad thing is I am only 38!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

good luck with the spanx!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkyooty


Sorry. Had 2 cocktails (St. Germain's Elderflower Liqueur--ROCKS!) and the brains a bit, uh, fuzz bally.

I meant to say Spanx are so totally worth the $$.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Running AND Spanx? You'll be able to dress as Wonderwoman for Halloween.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLady Mama


hey, whoa, whoa, let's not be hasty here. i actually live in the same province as treadmill-packin' mama here, so you just put extra postage on those suckers and send em a little farther north.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStone Fox

i try not to let myself get *too* motivated. that just ends up in me setting the bar too high. i like to keep my expectations low in order to not disappoint myself.

treadmill? nay. recumbent bike where i can sit on my fat ass while "working out" and either read a book or watch tv? SURE!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStone Fox

I've heard that a tapeworm is a good way to lose weight. That is, if you don't mind being host to a parasite.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBadass Geek

@Stone Fox, ah, but Tanis sends me naked photos. What have you ever done for me? :)

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

i am guessing that nude picture of you on Avitable's blog got you inspired jerk off a few pounds?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertony

Yes, get the Spanx - apparently they do wonders. Good for you for wanting to be healthy and stuff, but some rolls are all just "more to love" and "more cushion for the pushin" and all that kind of stuff. You're a wonder woman in ay respect, babe. Do your thing. Love yourself. You totally rock the hard jam, whether you're 100 pounds or two hundred pounds... and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Happy Gobble-Gobble!!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGrumble Girl

@Avitable, Mmmmm... homemade Oreos? Sign me up please? Montreal ain't THAT far away either...

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGrumble Girl

working out sucks the big one. walking is all I can take. even that makes me bitter!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthatgirlblogs

OH Tanis, Tanis, Tanis

Sometimes wooomennn like to wear the stretchy pants! Lycra/spandex running pants are freaking fantastic! They rock my world on the treadmill. I just blogged about them recently on my weight loss blog. No thigh pilling or fires!! I promise! LOL

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSlender Swan (to be)

No need for a fire extinguisher when there's Body Glide!


October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebTurtle

I have not been here in a while. Life has been kicking my butt...but I thought of you tonight, not sure why, thought I would come over and see what you have been up to. I was kind of him a funk mood, thought it wouldn't hurt. Thanks to you I have a big grin on my face.
I hate to hear of you going thru this. But I guess at sometime we all have to think about that. I wish I just had the jelly role, but mine is more like a BIG tire. LOL. I have come to accept it, its not going away anytime soon. I joke around about it all the time, and I love to call my self fat, those skinny girls get so uncomfortable at that. And its worth it just to see them boney things squirm, LOL.
Well good luck. I know you will need it. Instead of making such drastic changes try little ones. It might help.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBillie

What would the child you were... think of the person you've become?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterQuestioning

Is it wrong of me to eat Nutello from the jar while reading this? Or worse because I was too lazy to get up and get a spoon/apple slices? Or even worse-er that I'm actually commenting this "out loud"??

Good luck----you CAN do this!!

(do you feel any better now?)

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKari C

Very cool, darlin'. You inspire me. xo

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie, dammit

I am quite familiar with the jelly roll. I recently hired a babysitter who, when passing my wedding pictures, remarked- "wow, you were so pretty! and so skinny! I didn't recognize you!!" Needless to say, I haven't called her back, but my ego was bruised. I need to get off my ass and get onto my treadmill. Tomorrow.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScary Mommy

I did the "losing jelly rolls" marathon a little more than a year ago. Best thing I did for my health both mentally and physically. You will feel awesome as soon as the rash on your upper thighs from running goes away. I've learned to love (read choke back) salad and go for walks daily with the pooch. Those spanx are history and it feels good. I'll be cheering you on sans skipping rope whip!

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'm proud of you.
I think you look fabulous and after hugging you tight as hell, I felt no rolls. But, I know what I'm supposed to look like and this sure as hell ain't it.. so, I getcha.
I'm going back to aerobics (read. step/weights/hell) tomorrow. Here's to hoping next time we see each other, we can compare muscles :_) Love.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrachel-asouthernfairytale

Wow - first posting of yours I have read, and you got me! Smart and funny and so true!

You are right -- we cannot judge ourselves by our waist size, and that being said we all have the moments of sitting on the sofa eating pringles when promised myself would go to the gym.... aaargh... maybe tomorrow!


October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrahm

Ya had to remind me that I am paying for a gym membership didn't ya? I have conquered the tobacco demon as you may recall and now it is time to lose that weight that is called "wow that stuff tastes SO good now that I have taste buds again" One step at a time I say. I recommend doing your workouts when the critical ones are away from the house. Let Jumby be your motivation I don't think he would EVER run you down !

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

Oh, I don't even believe you. You're perfect. A little treadmilling never hurt anybody, though. Soldier on, sister.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanity's Fare

What kind of an answer do you want... can any one answer that? Hopefully bigger.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnswering

Good luck Tanis! I just started the Couch to 5K program (for the 5th time, shhh) and highly recommend it. There are free podcasts you can use that tell you when to walk and when to run, no thinking required! I know a lot of runners who started with it and are now doing marathons. I'm not seeing THAT in my future quite yet, maybe someday. ;)

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

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