mom in beast mode

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life32 Comments
I’m writing this blog post standing up, contrary to the image you see directly above in which I am clearly sitting down. I’m trying to stand more and sit less. They say it makes you healthier.

I tell you this because this post is going to be about the State of the Union in terms of my personal fitness and overall health. Don’t worry. I’m not going to bore you with my triglycerides and cholesterol. Instead I’m going to talk about how I feel about being overweight and what I’m presently planning to do about it. One thing I’m going to try? Writing blog posts standing up. It’s the little things, really.

I need to take better care of myself and I need to work on my overall attitude about health and beauty.

I’m a 49-year-old, post menopausal woman. There are some real bonuses to the fact that Aunt Flo packed her bags and split about two years ago, namely, I HAVE NO PERIOD. But there are some downsides and one of them appears to be that I can now gain weight simply by breathing. (Read: metabolism shifts are legit.)

I’ve written about this a lot here in this space. Sometimes I whine. Sometimes I’m super matter of fact. Today I’m just re-stating my intentions to take better care of myself and to be kinder to the reflection I see in the mirror.

I don’t presently love it. I wish I did. I’m sure some of you out there don’t have a problem with this and I envy that. I really do. In fact, whenever I do sit down to write about this stuff, I imagine all those women who have this shit all figured out and look at me, shaking their heads, thinking, “Oh, Cathy… enough already and just fix this.”

Do you ever do that? Not necessarily in regards to health and fitness, but just in general… think that a lot of people have this whole life thing figured out, except for you? Because good God, social media sure enforces this myth, doesn’t it? But that’s a post for another day.


I recently ordered myself a tank top, the one you see in the photo at the top of this post. It’s from this cool company called Thick to Thin. You can read more about who they are here.

I put the tank on last week and while I don’t presently feel like I’m in true beast mode, I am here and I’m not just throwing my hands up and saying, “I give.”


So much of this comes down to attitude. How I think about all of this stuff is more important that how many pounds I can drop.

I also recently stumbled across Beauty Redefined on Facebook. Initially, I was a little skeptical of their messages. It seemed a little too crafted on some level and then I started to let it in a little; let it touch my mind and heart. I think I was protecting my right to be a mess about all of this stuff, if that makes any sense. I thought, “How can you change the way a woman feels with a message on a Post-It note?”

Then yesterday I read their blog where they shared this post (many of you may have read the “Dear Mum” post at some point over the past few years) and it reminded me that it takes a conscious effort for many of us to change the scripts that play on an endless repeat in our heads. And that is completely on me to keep showing up and chipping away at this ridiculously unattainable standard of beauty in this country.

So maybe that is mom in beast mode after all.

I plan to spend more time reading through the posts at Beauty Redefined. Hell, I’m even considering taking their online workshop, Beauty Redefined.

There’s work to be done. For sure.

Cathy Zielskemom in beast mode

32 Comments on “mom in beast mode”

  1. #1
    Kimberly O.

    Cathy, Cathy, Cathy, I hear you!! I stepped on the scale this week and found that I am about 10 pounds over the weight I want to be. Now, saying THAT…. it doesn’t sound all that bad. The weight I want to be and the weight I should be has a difference of about 30 pounds. (I like my size 12 180 lb body.) I’ve lost 162 pounds in the last few years and gained back 10 of those. You really wouldn’t know.. I’m still in my size 12/Large clothes.

    I’m going to start the Whole30 on August 1. It’s basically a way to reset your body and to help determine what foods may be causing certain issues. It consists of eating fruits, vegetables, and meat. No soy, added sugars (real or artificial), dairy or legumes. Er, no alcohol either. After 30 days, you start to gradually add those foods back in. If your symptoms return when you add a food back in, you eliminate that food again to see if you feel better. So I guess it’s an “elimination” diet of sorts.

    I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands (which sucks as a writer), osteoarthritis in my knee, and lower back pain. I’m hoping that 1) I kill the sugar-dragon, 2) reduce the inflammation, and 3) lose weight. There’s no tracking or portion control. You also are to step away from the scale for the whole 30 days. All of the Whole30 information is available free at their website ( or there are a couple of books about the plan.

    I was going to start this June 1, but I sprained my back on May 30 and was down for the count for a week with pain pills and muscle relaxers. (And my best friend was in a horrible car accident with her mom, aunt, and daughter, also on May 30.) They just took her mom off of life support on 6/5 and she passed away on 6/6). They suggest to not start the Whole30 before a big event or over a vacation… of which we have lots going on in July. Anyhow, that’s why I have an August 1 start date now.

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Oh man, I’m sorry to hear about your best friend and her family.

      I do believe in the sugar link to inflammation in the body. Most days, i strive for no sugar. Of course, that includes wine. Among other things. Good luck, Kimberly!

  2. #2
    Michelle t

    To answer your question, yes, I do feel that other people have this whole life thing figured out. Cause I certainly don’t. I do understand you. My problem isn’t my weight, but I still can’t look in the mirror, for other reasons. My appearance sort of took a beating the last few years. But hey, I figure that’s life, and I’m still lucky for other reasons. That will have to do. I will check out the website you mentioned, but I don’t know how much that will help me. If it means anything, or helps you in any way, you are inspiring, and I admire you. Michelle t

  3. #3

    Love everything about this post, Cathy, and identify with almost all of it, as if you read my mind. (Exception being I’m 45 and pre-menopausal, so it’s like you’ve given a peek into the future…)

    I will follow those links you included. Needing all the reassurance I can get at this point.

    Thank you always for keeping it so very real. You are a rock star, and the best kind of beast.

  4. #4

    Hi Cathy! Thanks for keeping it real – as always! I’ve joined you in several of your Move More Eat Well classes and have loved them!

    I hate the way media depicts women and causes women to hate themselves. It is because of that and having a just turned 9 year old daughter that I am turning the focus of my photography business to tween girls and making themselves feel good about themselves. The project is in it’s infancy but I have SO many plans for it! Minimal makeup (none for girls under 12), NO photoshopping of the girls’ faces or bodies – just great use of natural light and overall photo enhancement (color correction, sharpening). The change in direction came due to my own negative thoughts about myself and weight/beauty and my own daughter turning 9 last month and seeing how the struggle is already starting with the girls in 3rd grade and even younger! I’m working behind the scenes on a new website and have a brand new instagram feed at cbc_tweens. I have just become SO passionate about this project! Thank you for sharing the Beauty Redefined FB page – love it! I want to share businesses who have this mindset and help girls feel good about themselves.

    Have you seen the Embrace documentary that is being produced? I funded them on Kickstarter and I think it is an AMAZING message! You can see the trailer at

    Good luck to you!!! Can’t wait to read about your journey!

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Cindi, yes! I funded it, too! Looking forward to seeing the full thing. 🙂 And good on your for doing photography to uplift!

      My best friend Tara Whitney doesn’t monkey around with her photography either. She believes people should be seen as they are, that is where the true beauty lies. 🙂

  5. #5

    Would love to see a picture of your stand up set up. I have been wanting one for a while now to at work.

    1. #5.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Judi, it’s just me standing next to my scrapbook cabinet! Lol. Typing on my daughter’s laptop. I need to actually find a better solution.

  6. #6

    Cathy, I’ve been where you are for the last several years. Then, in January this year, I just said, “Enough. I’m taking care of this now.” But I had no idea how I would do it. Then, by shear luck stumbling on a random Facebook post my friend made about a program and a company that I’d never heard of, I found the answer. I started the 21 Day Fix by Beachbody on Feb 2nd. They offer the nutritional plan that I needed, the superfoods that my body craved and best of all – accountability. I have a great group of like-minded souls to check in with and they keep me from slacking. I don’t want to let myself or these good folks in my group down, so we cheer each other on and I’ve seen nothing but results from it. And let me say that it’s a lot nicer to go through this process with others than it is alone. Since it’s all online, I don’t have to worry about looking like a fool as I huff and puff around in my living room. That’s a plus in my book.

    And 12 pounds later, I can finally say that things are moving in the right direction. Am I at my goal? Nope. Will I get there? Yup, you bet I will eventually. Do I feel better physically? Oh, God yes. Do I feel better about myself and about what I can accomplish if I just have a little balance, perspective and patience? Yep – and that’s the best part.

    Portion controlled clean eating, superfoods to fuel by body and a 30 minute per day workout is all it took to make the weight come off and my self esteem come back. 30 minutes is a sit-com episode. I figured I could spare that.

    This program is the only one that has worked for me in a dozen years of starting and stopping on this weight-loss roller coaster. And I’m sharing it with as many people as I can because no one should feel like I felt – stuck and not quite sure what to do about the problem. So please get in touch if you want me in your corner. I’d be happy to cheer you on!

  7. #7

    One of the things I’m really working on is accepting ME…the ME with the flappy arms, saggy eyelids, big belly, double chin, etc… accepting that my family and friends do love ME regardless of how much I weigh and that I deserve to love MY SELF as well. Doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on trying to be healthier weight-wise but it does mean I can now look at my unclothed body without being disgusted and confidently wear a bathing suit in public! And with temperatures reaching eleventy-billion degrees (it’s Texas, y’all!), tank tops and sleeveless shirts are the only way to go in the summer!! Besides, I realized that wearing something with sleeves didn’t magically make people see me as thinner and I’d much rather be comfortable. If someone is bothered because my flappy arms are exposed that’s THEIR problem!!

  8. #8

    Every year for the last 5 years I have consistently put on 5-7 pounds and have never got them off. After A year I decide that’s just my new normal and deal with it. But then the pain and immobility started in.

    I will not tolerate not being able to sit on the ground criss cross applesauce and scrapbook!
    Or bend down to pick up the laundry (God forbid someone else do that for me)

    So for me its not about supermodel thin its about growing old gracefully and being healthy. I can’t stand pain and I can’t afford to be sick. Also my husband of 25 years is smoking hot and he deserves a better me!

    My saving grace has been My Fitness Pal app, yoga and spinning. I exercise 4 days a week, cut back on the calories and I do not weight myself. Try a spinning class its the hardest and best exercise ever.
    And of course Pray!!!
    Best of luck

  9. #9
    Annette Davis

    Hi Cathy,
    You are not alone!! I turn 50 in a few months and man is it hard to get off that weight! I currently have one pair of shorts that are comfortable and I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that wine is my enemy. I live in CA with vineyards everywhere, but it goes straight to my waistline and makes me puffy! Eliminating that along with my much loved bread and cheese saddens me, but makes my body happier. Be kind to yourself…we’re all on this journey together.

  10. #10

    I appreciate and respect the vulnerability it takes to talk about your weight and what you think about it. I know for sure I’m not alone in that.

  11. #11

    Hi Cathy,

    I was where you are at about 3 months ago. Basically, I had thrown in the towel. Each month I would say, “this is it!….after this weekend of binging and drinking, I am going to start Monday!” Only…Mondays continued to come and go and I never started. I clocked in at my highest weight on March 1st.

    I finally had a “Come-to-Jesus” with myself (and I think I commented about this on one of your past posts)…..I felt powerless to the food and drink and generally lethargy. Inertia is a very powerful force. I decided that I could not get myself out of the abyss by myself. I needed help…so I hired a personal trainer. I told him the honest truth about myself and abilities. He promised to meet me wherever I was physically…and he did. We work out 2 times per week and we started with BABY STEPS. Dude….I was a marshmallow…no muscle….no flexibility… endurance…achy joints….and lots of adipose tissue. I am happy to report that we started on April 1st and as of today, I am 20 lbs lighter, a shit-ton stronger, and wicked flexible. I am still a work in progress, but now I see a way out. I need help and someone to be accountable to. There are no making excuses or skipping workouts when someone is waiting for you at the gym.

    I supplement everything I do with the trainer with my own cardio 2-3 times per week. I make sure each day I have a reasonable amount of activity (via my Fitbit) and I do make better food and drink choices. Every Friday, I have lunch with my girls and have some wine. It’s all about moderation.

    Once I get to my goal weight (about 15 more lbs.) I will scale back the personal training sessions (because they can be pricey) and just keep working out 3-4 times per week….maybe touching base with my trainer a couple times a month.

    At the end of the day, I could not do this alone. I just couldn’t. But now, three months in, I am so thrilled I reached out and got help. Consider working with a trainer.

    Good luck!

    1. #11.1
      Cathy Zielske

      So you’re saying I should kill the HBO subscription and put that money towards a trainer? 😉 I know I would like to do this. And at some point, if my finances change, I might take the leap. I love hearing how it works for other people.

  12. #12

    Cathy, As a health coach I can assure you that “all those other women” don’t have it figured out. One thing to remember is that you body is doing its job. Storing fat is a system that something is out of balance. Your body wants to be in balance. It is taking care of you. Love your body for doing that, then keep making small changes to support and nourish your body so it can do its job. Keep at it, keep trying, keep writing about it, Mom in Beast Mode. 🙂

    1. #12.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thanks, Karen. I do so appreciate that it’s here, it’s healthy and it lets me experience this thing called life.

  13. #13

    i didn’t want to read and run like I usually do. That post, its message, never ever gets old. Its is the same battle that a lot of us fight every single day. Today however, i pushed my chair back and worked the rest of the morning standing up. Its the little things like that. Having an adjustable desk and standing up for part of my work day is just a little step forward that I can make today. Tomorrow who knows? But right now today is the only thing i can control. so thank you!!

  14. #14
    Kathleen S.

    We can still be flexible and active post-meno with the new hormone brew messing up life as we knew it. The real change is that those pounds go on fast, and come off slow, real slow. And no one talks about that part, only about hot flashes and osteoporesis. Take a look at some of the pin ups from the 1940’s or so. Those ladies had cushioning & curves. Marilyn Monroe was no stick lady, but she wouldn’t make the cover of Vogue today.

    The bottom line is that no diet is deemed successful unless the loss has been maintained for a minimum of two years. And when the weight goes back on, it usually adds ten pounds to the original loss. We gain roughly ten lbs. a decade as an average of body types and metabolisms. Sound familiar?

    What does work is slow loss, like roughly 30 lbs. over a year. That loss tends to stay lost. But it doesn’t give us the rewarding feedback of the fast and furious Pounds Away Diet (of whatever sort). Another interesting tidbit is that going into ‘advanced old age’, as they say, with lbs. to spare is actually healthier. Go figure, but notice we don’t hear much about that fact.

    So I think we need to be more realistic about being satisifed with ourselves. Tinka’s comments are one measure of that. Instead of looking at others looking at us, let’s try looking at ourselves. Let’s start with deciding we like what’s inside. Then decide whether the belly flab, or whatever, changes who we are, or if we’re simply accepting the bullying of outside standards? In the last analysis, what’s in the package is more important than the wrapping paper and bow.

    So if svelte is what will really make you happy, go for it. If being comfortable in your clothes, whatever the size, makes you happy, wear that. But do it for yourself, not because of all those airbrushed pictures or articles hectoring you to shape up. You really are nice just the way you are.

  15. #15

    The shirt Is amazing! I need to go order one for me…..

    I always love reading your blog, how you keep it so real & honest. Thank you! And Keep it up 🙂

  16. #16

    Five years from now, you will be able to post this exact post. It will always be about the wine and crackers or whatever the vice. You will still be fighting with the wine and crackers, whether you are successful or not. Whether you are wildly successful, strutting your size 6 self or where you are today, the struggle doesn’t change. Statistics are not on your side, big time. There is a 95% chance you will not succeed. If you do, it will be a struggle every day of your life. That is where you need to focus. Start anew every day, no expectations, no atta boys. You will learn in spurts and will not always make the right choice. Be prepared. Train everyday. Forgive yourself when you need to. Love yourself everyday. Good luck, my friend.

    1. #16.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thank you for this. I do need to live in reality. I just want to be alive and functioning.

  17. #17

    Last night I saw a pbs special on Aging Backwards by Miranda Edmonde-White (not sure of the spelling of last name).
    Though I think portion control and our eating habits are important to monitor, moving and staying active is the key for overall well being.
    I do believe in your motto “Move more eat less!”

  18. #18

    Hi Cathy,

    sometimes – when I’m in that special *CZ mood* – I read your blog and very often I think that you write down exactly what I think about life, kids gaining/loosing weight…. You are always five years ahead with everything but I have that feeling I’m kind of following your ups and downs in a crazy way… strange…I know!
    So maybe here’s something interesting for you: I stumbled over PALEO and especially Coconut Oil and what it does to your system. It’s kind of low carb…but better. I started a few weeks ago and didn’t loose one gram on the scale till now. BUT the clothes are fitting better and I feel MUCH better… not so tired anymore. I’m still in the beginning but I really think the whole thing makes sense… so maybe you want to check that out?!

    But whatever you do – you are really not alone!

    An thanks that you share your thoughts with us – it’s comforting

    1. #18.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I do love me some coconut oil and coconut milk! I definitely want to explore more paleo eating. Basically, I need to curb those carbs that are bread and sugar and wine. 🙂

  19. #19

    Okay Cathy, love love love the post! Please take this undertaking with one purpose in mind…do it for you and only you! Maybe your body is supposed to be the way it is…comfortable 🙂 I like to believe this about myself! Are you happy with your life, love, work, spiritually. This is what really counts…oh yes I do realize that being healthy is an absolute to live that life but healthy is different to all of us and that is what makes it all so amazing. The latest fad’s are great, for a minute for most, some for a life time. Moderation is key to a life filled with everything you love and enjoy! Be happy and most of all Be you! Just love all your posts and your view of life! PS What ever happened to that mail order bra you were going to try and let us know about?? Odd PS but I was just looking at them on line and thought of you, I would love to read that review 🙂

    1. #19.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thanks, Lisa. I will take all this in. 🙂

      That bra… well, it is truly comfortable, but I will tell you this: I ONLY wear it when I go out in public. In fact, it is the only bra I own that is comfortable. But it’s still a bra and I feel like bras are all meant to torture me.


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