Feeling the Fat Stigma

So today I got insulted. I’ll spare you the details, but it had to do with my body size. I got insulted by a little girl (who may or may not have known better) and her mom. I could go into a whole diatribe about how we need to have more a culture of discussion about body sizes, etc. I would rather say this: I understand why people hide. I understand why people become hermits. I understand why people wear all black. I understand why people hide in the back of a room. I understand why people don’t go to parties. I get all that.

The fat stigma isn’t fun. And it isn’t funny. It hurts.

But I won’t hide. I won’t be beaten down. I won’t stop living, and, quite frankly, neither should you. Dance like nobody is watching (because they probably aren’t). Live exactly like you want. Have fun. Laugh. Love. Live.

And drink kombucha. That’s what I’m doing. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.

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Happiness Really is an INSIDE JOB!!!

About a week ago I experienced a confluence of energies and ever since then I’ve had choices to make. One of my very dear friends, whom I’ve known for twenty years, called me up and encouraged me to keep digging toward finding the answers I’m seeking. He told me how much I mattered to his life and said “I need you in my life, so keep working at taking care of yourself.”

The thing is he meant those words. And he doesn’t expect me to be anybody but myself. I can’t explain how lucky that makes me. I live in a world where people expect certain behaviors from me. And it makes them uncomfortable when I don’t meet those behaviors.

I’m in a weird vortex where I’m working at figuring out exactly what I do want. The answers don’t always come easily, nor do I want them to. It’s also not about knowing the answer; it’s about living in the moment. It’s about being happy in the moment and not allowing that happiness to be affected by outer circumstances.

A wise friend once said to me that all outer circumstances are neutral; it’s our reaction to them that determines our behavior. The goal is to work at remaining even minded. I’m not there yet, but I’m a centimeter closer than I used to be!

I share these stories because I want each of you to know that being happy really is an inside job. Be happy. All else will follow. It may not happen the way you want, but if you feel happy no matter what, the events and circumstances will manifest a reality far greater than anything you could ever imagine.

With that, I’m going to go get ready for my day, and you’d better believe I’ll be wearing my tiara and a SMILE!

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A Gym Life

Years ago when I first joined a gym I felt hesitant and fearful. I weighed over 400 pounds and felt like a gym was the last place I belonged. That might sound irrational, but it’s how I felt. I think I feared most how people would judge me and judge me they did. Heck, they still do. The difference now is that I don’t pay as much attention.

For several years I belonged to 24 Fitness and found it to be a sufficient gym, but not great. The location closest to me always seemed a tad dirty and it was always a battle to find a parking spot. I stopped going when I moved into a complex that had a decent gym and the fitness area was almost right outside my apartment door.

A couple of years ago I moved to a nicer complex that, ironically, had a lousier gym, but tons of divine hiking trails. A few months ago I decided I really wanted to do some serious strength training but the machines and weights at my complex just didn’t cut it, so when I saw a Groupon for Total Woman I figured I’d try it.

After a couple of months I decided to join because 1) they were clean!; 2) I could always find a machine without waiting; 3) it’s actually nice to not listen to the clanging of weight machines that often comes with testosterone; 4) and the list goes on.

With membership they offer you a fitness evaluation, and herein lies the whole point of this entry. When I first joined 24 HR fitness and had a fitness evaluation there, I found myself on the defensive and rightfully so because the trainers there had attitudes, but this time was different.

I wanted to see the best way for my body, in this moment, to use the machines, so I left my ego at the door and went into my fitness evaluation with an open mind. It’s important to note here that I chose the trainer who would give me the fitness evaluation. I saw her helping someone one day and was impressed with her knowledge.

Yesterday I wore my finest cheetah print outfit and spent an hour and a half learning lots of new tricks on machines. I had been doing three sets of 15 but she suggested 1-3 sets of 8-12 with tightly controlled movements to make sure my muscles were doing the work as opposed to momentum doing the work.

I woke up this morning feeling sore, but also feeling excited to try all the new moves I learned. I also knew that part of the free fitness evaluation would be an attempt to sell personal training packages, but I also knew that’s not what I wanted. I’m in this for the long haul, and that means I need to be able to motivate my self to get to the gym or to yoga or to whatever workout I’m going to. As I progress beyond the moves I learned that maybe it will be worth a session or two to learn new tricks.

The whole point of me sharing that last part is that I knew what would be coming but I wasn’t defensive about it. I listened and said it was something I would think about. This is vastly different from the days where I’d dread what I knew would be a high pressure sales situation and I feared what would happen if I said no. I always used to think I had to say yes. Now I know that’s not true, in all situations. Thinking about it and making a decision is a far healthier way of being, in all areas of my life.

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Today: Just Because

Today I took myself out to lunch: just because. Just me, myself and I’ve heard it said that the best way to relate to others is to relate to one’s self first. Since I have an issue with food, I believe it’s important to work on how I interact with food (and without food too, but that’s for another entry).

So I took myself out for an Indian buffet. I enjoy the taste of Indian food but find it complicated to cook. I also find that I can trust myself at an Indian buffet because I only take one plate and I do NOT pile it high. I take small amounts of the dishes I want and then take my time eating. Well most of the time I eat slowly. I don’t always succeed!

Today, though, I made a point to savor each bite. I worked at tasting the food I ate and savoring each bite. Then I’d check in with my body. If I wait too long to check in with my body I’ll eat too much. It takes time for the body to catch up to the mind or however that works!

I’m sitting at home now, feeling very much at peace. And relaxed. After lunch I started to think of all the things I could do and then I remembered that I could just be. I had a sixteen plus hour day yesterday, so today I need to just be.

I wish I had some more profound way of expressing the above. I can’t stop eating (with other addictions one can stop) so it’s nice to have some time where I can make peace with my demons. That’s a moment worth embracing.

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Random Thoughts on Bullying, Food, and a Book

Several weeks ago an advertisement for a book, Gorge, about a woman who climbed Kilimanjaro popped into my mail box. Oh and this woman happened to weigh 300 pounds. So much of this book resonated with my core, with my story. She didn’t wait to climb Kilimanjaro until she was skinny. She didn’t wait to live until she lost weight.

I’ve done that so much of my life. Thinking I had to wait until I lost weight to do this or that. It’s nuts in a way. Because all we have is this moment. All we have is right now. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve traveled long distances at my highest weight. I’ve traveled to England and Paris alone.

I have so much to say about this incredible book, but today I want to share with you a bit about how I relate to the author in terms of food. For much of my life I was a secret eater. Nighttime snacks. In the car binges. It goes on. I didn’t want to be seen. I wanted to be alone with food. I suppose that might sound pathetic, but it’s my truth.

On a side note, people are mean. They really are. I can remember walking around the mall and having groups of older teenagers loudly taunt me, and no one stopped them. NO ONE. Now that’s pathetic. Because in their silence they condoned the bullying abusive behavior. They said it’s okay. I was younger then and much more vulnerable. It’s actually a bloody miracle that I’ve done as much as I have in life given how horribly people have treated me. And how others have allowed that to happen.

Anyways, back to food. I love food. I don’t eat perfectly and I don’t pretend to. But the difference between now and then is that if I want a “treat” I’ll eat it in public. I won’t go home and eat it with the curtains closed. Or if I have a treat at home I’ll put it on a plate and enjoy, not eat it out of the bag.

I love the taste of pumpkin. LOVE IT! When pumpkin season starts I salivate. In one part of the book Kara Richardson Whitely describes her love of pumpkin and how she’d inhale the pumpkin scones: “I’d already inhaled two iced-pumpkin scones (at almost 500 calories each) earlier that week while waiting for the barista to hand me my coffee……” She writes that as she describes how she will order an “overcooked egg circle, mashed between two cardboard pieces of flatbread” when going out to eat with her husband and daughter.

Okay, this is where I confess I’m pretty sure she’s talking about Starbucks; although she doesn’t name the store. I do like their pumpkin treats, but they are loaded with sugar, so I know IF I choose to have one I will eat one when I have time to sit down for at least ½ hour and taste each bite. That’s really the only way to do it. Otherwise the food is gone in a flash. Have you ever stopped to watch people eat at a coffee place? They’ll get their treat and then while waiting for coffee, they’ll inhale the item. It’s gone in seconds. I know. I’ve done it. And what’s the point in that? There’s no point really!

Enjoy life! Enjoy food! If that’s what you want to do. I’ve had it with tasteless food. These days if I make something tasteless or order something tasteless, I won’t eat it. No point really.

I also recognize the point where I’m not really having a craving or I should say I recognize if a craving is from an emotional place. I’ve learned to sit on my hands and wait it out, fifteen minutes at a time. Eating while emotional isn’t eating at all. It’s a form of self-abuse. Period. Obviously if you need to eat and you’re emotional, that’s something else.

As I write this I find myself craving one of my favorite home-made juices as of this moment: kale, green apple, carrot, beet and ginger. Now that’s a craving I can live with! I’m going to go make it and have it for my Saturday night dinner, and I’ll enjoy it!

Happy Saturday night y’all!

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The Nature of Fear

As I climbed into my car today I somehow noticed a bee in the crook of my elbow. In that moment I screamed and jumped out of my car, frantically flailing my arm about as if my very existence depended upon the immediate removal of the been from my skin. I felt a puncture and wondered if I’d been stung. I’ve never been stung by a bee so have not a clue what that feels like. Apparently I still don’t. Any stinging I felt came from the incessant slapping intended to scare the killer bee away from me.

Once I realized the bee had fled the vicinity (or had it?) I climbed back into my car and sat there calming my breath. My actions were mostly instinctual, as though a serial killer threatened my life. This moment started me thinking about the nature of fear:

When does fear begin? Where does fear come from? How do our instincts come into play with fear?

I am not afraid of death, perhaps of dying, but not death. I actually started thinking that perhaps I had a greater fear of living. The process of being fully alive and awake and aware: a wondrous thing, but I hold myself back. I hold myself back by allowing thoughts to consume me. What if others are mad at me? Not all others just certain ones. Yet I need to let go of that. It is too much pressure to always behave in such a way that others will always like me. That type of behavior got me into this obese mess.

I don’t really like the word obese. I used to fear it. Well not the word exactly, but the prejudice behind it. When most people use it they do so with the intention to demean others, to demean fat people, to show that they are better by virtue of their thinness. That is a truth that makes people uncomfortable. It makes people close to me uncomfortable. Why? I’m not quite sure.

Back to the nature of fear. When do we learn it? Do we learn it the first time our hands are slapped when we try to cross a busy street? Do we learn it when our parents pull us away from scary looking people? What do scary people look like anyways? How do we know people are scary? Are they scary? Or do we condition ourselves to think they are? Some people are definitely scary—I do get that.

I don’t really fear bees; although, I do fear their sting. But, yes, I do think more than anything I fear my light.

I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t mind apologizing. I’m not afraid of that. It’s too difficult to be right all the time. I don’t like screwing up, but that’s how I learn, and I like learning.

Maybe tomorrow I won’t be afraid. Maybe tomorrow if another bee lands on me I’ll have a conversation with it about the nature of existence, of its existence and of mine. And then when it flies away, instead of watching I’ll take off in my own unique and special direction, with no destination in mind, just a desire to feel the life flowing through my veins.

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Sugarlicious Cravings

I sit here in front of my computer, having made it “through the rain.” The cravings have been absolutely horrid the past few days. And I know why. The why doesn’t exist in the present. It doesn’t even exist in the past. It lives in the dark addictive reaches of my brain.

I worry about things, events, people outside myself. I live in fear of something, but what? Disappointing people? Standing up for myself? Saying no? It’s an interesting thing, if you can call it that.

I have a hard time saying no. But I’ve been getting better. I have a hard time saying no when people don’t ask, but make assumptions.

But all of that doesn’t really matter. See, sugar is smart and addictive, very addictive. It plays on the emotions, makes you think it will help you feel better. Tells you it’s always there for you. And it is, if you feel like living a long slow death. I’m not talking about literal death. I’m talking about the dullness that comes from not experiencing life. That’s what sugar does—it dulls life.

Winning the war against sugar happens one battle, one moment at a time. Sure there are setbacks but focusing on those doesn’t help. So I focus on this moment. And in this moment I resisted temptation. Just like I resisted it yesterday. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow because it’s not here yet.

Sometimes winning the battle means holding on tight and sitting on my hands for fifteen minutes at a time. I did that tonight and after an hour the worst of the urge passed and I knew then I’d made it through the rain…………….

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