Hubs and I loved meeting and hanging out with Siobhan Muir last month at the Hot Mojave Knights Reader Event in Las Vegas – so when we learned she’d recently started working out, we invited her to be interviewed for our Stay Sexy column.
Welcome, Siobhan, and thanks so much for joining us to talk about staying sexy and healthy! As you know, hubs and I launched our weekly column, Stay Sexy, in February. Both of us have faced some health challenges, and we’ve thrown ourselves into learning and doing whatever’s in our power to maximize our health and our future.
Over the last year we’ve noticed other erotic romance authors posting about weight loss, diet issues, workouts and health challenges, so we decided it would be great to involve you and others like you in the conversation and give our readers a chance to benefit from what you’ve learned.
Adriana: My first question is, what are the health-related changes you’ve been focused on recently – what are your goals?
Siobhan: My goals are to be happier with my body as it is in reality and to change my perception of what beautiful means. The media would like us all to believe that size sub-zero is the goal, but I want to be beautiful for my husband, who likes boobs, butts, bellies, and hips. Can’t have that at sub-zero. I’ve changed my diet (that doesn’t mean “gone on a diet.” It means changed what I’m eating and how much), decreased the amount of sugar, and increased my exercise regime to keep my body functioning for a long time.
Adriana: What prompted you to begin making this change?
Siobhan: I was tired of feeling like “frump-girl” as Nina says in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I used to wear men’s t-shirts and baggy jeans, and I can’t believe my husband found me at all feminine when he first met me. But one day I decided I wanted to look like a woman, not just a graduate student, and I started buying more form-fitting clothes to show off my woman’s body. When I didn’t particularly like what I saw, I decided I had to make an effort to improve the image in the mirror.
Adriana: Is there a particular person or event that serves as inspiration and motivation for you?
Siobhan: Heh! The event that sticks out in my mind was Authors After Dark Reader Convention in New Orleans in 2012. I was going and they had a costume event that necessitated a corset. Uh-huh. So I started running on my elliptical for 30 minutes a day for 15 days straight. I released several pounds and a couple of inches by the time of the event. And I looked and felt great. I’ve just continued to run to keep releasing all the extra weight I’ve accumulated since having kids.
Adriana: I love your wording, “released” several pounds instead of just “lost” them. You’ve let them go! “Looked and felt great” are terrific motivators. I, for one, never frown at having appearance as a prime motivator – especially with your balanced and healthy view of what’s an attractive appearance.
What about these changes has been most difficult for you?
Siobhan: Fighting the urge to not do it. It’s easy to say you don’t have time or you’re too tired or it’s too hot, too cold, too late, too early. There are any number of excuses you can throw at yourself to avoid running. But in reality, it’s just your mind, and I had to train my mind to remember how good I felt (both physically and mentally) after I finished running. Not an easy thing to do.
Adriana: A daily struggle, at my house, too. When you bump up against one of these hurdles, what are your most tried and true tactics for overcoming it? What works for you?
Siobhan: Putting on my shoes. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But once I’m dressed in my sports bra and shorts, and tying my shoes, I can’t back down from actually getting on my elliptical and running. The conversation goes something like this:
“I don’t wanna run!”
“Aw, hell, I’ve already got my shoes on and I got a free half hour. It’s not that big a deal. Where are my headphones?”
“But it’s hot.” *insert whine here*
“And the shower afterwards will feel awesome, along with the huge glass of ice water. Let’s do a workout.”
“It’s gonna be hard.”
“And it’s gonna feel so good when we stop. Ready?”
I don’t let the whiner win because I feel better at the end, even if I’ve kicked my own ass.
Adriana: Putting on your shoes doesn’t sound funny at all! It’s amazing how taking that first action step, however tiny, can start the entire action chain. In some ways, the tinier that first step, the easier it is to “just do it,” and then keep going. I do the same thing: I start by just standing still and swinging my arms front to back. Once I’ve done that, I’m already “moving,” and positive inertia sets in: it’s easier to keep on moving.
What do you find most rewarding so far?
Siobhan: Other than my looks and the compliments I’ve received from folks who haven’t seen me in a while? That I feel good about myself and I like what I see in the mirror. The compliments are great. My own satisfaction with my appearance is even better.
Adriana: Sometimes we start out with one purpose and goal, and as we get going, we find that the changes we’re making spill over into other areas of our lives, hopefully in a good way. Has anything like that been happening for you?
Siobhan: I don’t like feeling sick. At all. I hate to throw up or have an unhappy stomach. Since changing my diet, I no longer get sick to my stomach, or throw up, or get some of the other nasty things that happen to women. I no longer get yeast infections because yeast feeds on sugar and my choice to decrease my sugar intake has cured me of nearly monthly infections. It was awful. So in addition to releasing the weight I carry on my belly (which is bad for diabetes later in life), I stopped eating so much sugar (which also encourages diabetes) and stopped getting sick.
Adriana: Thanks for sharing about the yeast issues – it’s not just localized yeast infections that are affected by sugar. Systemic yeast infections have huge negative consequences for our entire bodies, and can be nearly eliminated if we avoid refined sugars. Plus, did you know that sugar depresses our immune system? It’s no wonder you’re feeling healthier all around!
What has been the reaction of other people you’re close to?
Siobhan: “Oh my god, you’re so slender! You look great.” YAY! Everyone has been very supportive and they share some of their food choice changes with me. It has been a very positive experience for me.
Adriana: Have you written a character who faces any of these same issues? Tell us about him or her.
Siobhan: I haven’t written one. I think I see so many women writers going through weight issues that it never occurred to me to write about one. However, ALL my female characters are “normal” women with normal bodies that range between the sizes of 8 and 16 (and 8 is on the small side because she’s petite). I feel very strongly about changing what is considered beautiful in the public eye. We have to start taking back what the media says we should think is beautiful. We have to start looking at those supermodels and hand them a pizza because women should have boobs, butts, bellies and hips. It’s what makes them feminine and sexy. Metabolisms aside, ribs and hip bones shouldn’t be visible to be beautiful.
Body appearance is huge in the feminine mind. Particularly the primal side of us that says we must attract a mate, and keep him once we’ve got him. Men in particular are visual so we worry about our bodies to keep him interested. I have one character, Sarah Flanagan, who is a single mom and has stretch marks from the birth of her son. She’s nervous about what the hero Alex MacLaren will think of her appearance (since the media says we should be afraid to show our stripes). As I recall, he growls (he’s a Hell Hound) when she tries to cover up. Men like women in all shapes and sizes, and beauty shouldn’t be dictated by companies trying to sell products. This story is entitled A Hell Hound’s Fire and is free everywhere right now.
Adriana: Thanks for that – I just downloaded A Hell Hound’s Fire, looking forward!
What advice or tips would you like to pass on to our wonderful readers?
Siobhan: Just like writing, never give up, never surrender. The only one holding you back from getting that better body or stronger body or better health (and beauty) is you. Don’t believe the media on what’s beautiful. Make your own decision. And when you look at yourself in the mirror, don’t say “how awful.” Tell yourself, “I see the beautiful person in there and here are some of the changes I can make to bring her/him out.” Look in to changing your diet and cutting down sugar. Look into increasing your exercise, even if it’s only walking. Little things add up and make big changes. And you can friend me on Facebook and see when I kick my own ass again. http://www.facebook.com/siobhan.muir.35
Adriana: Great advice! Thanks so much for visiting with us today. Hubs and I truly enjoyed meeting you and spending time with you at Hot Mojave Knights – it’s great to be “neighbors” (relatively speaking) here in Las Vegas!
A Hell Hound’s Fire
Love can be found in the most unlikely places, even the heart of a Hell Hound.
Alex MacLaren figures he’ll never find love again after his mate dies. As one of the rare Hell Hound werewolves, his chances are slim to none. And slim went home. When the local Morukai shaman calls on him to protect a lovely Irish werewolf and her young son from demons, he can’t help but take the job.
Sarah Flanagan is desperate to save her son Liam from the deadly monster trailing them, but she’s out of options and places to hide. She lost her mate the last time she encountered a demon, and with Liam depending on her, the stakes are far higher this time. After meeting Alex, she’s not sure about the Hell Hound, but she’s no fool. He’s their best hope for survival… and hers for another chance at love.
This is a short story introducing Cloudburst, Colorado, a new series by Siobhan Muir.