Many years ago, someone bought me a very nice candle as a thank you for some work that I did for him. As I'm not the kind of person t...
**waves** Hi everyone -- I'm not dead, I promise. I started the new year very hopeful and then got the wonderful news that I have heel ...
1. Rebecca Scritchfield is my dietitian and my friend.
2. She did give me a copy of the book to review and enjoy, but not before I had purchased a copy for myself.
3. I may be a little biased because I'm quoted in the book (pg. 219)
It's taken me reading the book twice to really process a lot of Body Kindness. My first read had me thinking that the book was organized wrong, and the second read had me convinced that you could read each section out of order and see something you might have missed if you read the book from front to back. I realized that Body Kindness wasn't organized wrong: it was organized to undo a lot of the familiar harm (from easier to undo to harder to undo) we've seen in countless other diet/weight loss/fitness books and articles in order to open the reader up to a new way of thinking about not just their body but, more importantly, their life. I should have known that Rebecca would be sneaky like that and make the book a gigantic head fake (a Randy Pausch term for indirect learning).
Body Kindness is divided into four main sections:
- What you do ("Habits like eating, exercise, and sleep choices");
- How you feel ("The thoughts and emotions that influence your day-to-day choices and overall life satisfaction");
- Who you are ("Your beliefs and values that help you focus on what's really important to you and why"); and
- Where you belong ("The relationships every single one of us needs that provide the opportunity to be part of something greater than ourselves").
For me, it's humbling to think of my own life in the context of such miraculous and historical beauty [the Grand Canyon]. How can I waste another moment of my short years on this planet down-playing the miracle of this body I have been given? From tiny cells we become the most beautiful thinking, breathing, feeling creatures on earth. What an amazing gift we have been given, and how dare we squander and abuse it?
In other words, this book is about the pre-contemplation phase (I call it "foundation," but "re-calibration" also works) that every person must go through BEFORE deciding they want to make a change in their life. And, in my opinion, the first part of that epiphany is realizing that you deserve a life that you love–a life that's more than just going through the motions of what is expected or what you think others want you to be.
At the end of 2016, I was cleared to start working out in the gym again (elliptical, light weights) and I had all these visions of going ba...
At the end of 2016, I was cleared to start working out in the gym again (elliptical, light weights) and I had all these visions of going balls to the wall, of trying to reclaim what I couldn't do while I was injured or rehabbing.
Reading Rebecca Scritchfield's Body Kindness and seeing the documentary Embrace have kinda thrown a wrench into the works: I started asking myself:
The second thought was that I wasn't giving myself much credit for how far I've healed. I sometimes forget just how bad it was and what it's like to live in a body that's not in pain all the time. Why would I want to do anything to jeopardize that simply because of a date on a calendar? This is still a marathon, not a sprint. That has not changed.
I still need to be patience and aim for balance....
With that in mind, I announce #GoTheDist 2017:
Just got back from a screening of Embrace and I think I need some more time to process. My thoughts are flying in a few different directi...
But I want to put to you all a question that I asked after the movie to the panel (but I am going to ramble a little more here).
So much of society and consumerism feeds off of insecurity -- keeping us from feeling comfortable and secure in who we are and what we look like. Essentially, we question our own worth and value.
The parallel in boxing is instability--when we get too narrow. When we "get narrow" it makes it easier for our opponent to knock us off balance at the same time it limits our range and power. Getting narrow with self-love often looks the same too--trying to take up less space and disappear.
The response is to "square up" (widen our stance to create a better foundation) -- sometimes only a single step in the right direction to restore our range, power, and stability.
What do you think is one way we all can "square up" in the direction of improving our self-confidence and body image efficacy?
There really should be water in the glass. Sorry dairy lobby. It's about time I got to talking about diet. I've already writt...
|There really should be water in the glass. Sorry dairy lobby.|
Dad associates the word "diet" with fad diets and/or deprivation (like the time when he went on a super low fat diet; got results but was miserable).
I'm kinda on the other side of "diet" being a loaded word (thankfully). I've been able to disarm the bomb that is the word "diet" and see if for what it really is (my definition): the stuff you choose to put in your mouth, how much of it, with the intent of it helping you live (a healthy) life. The thing is, the focus of the definition is on the word "choose." Let that sit for a second.
Some people may choose to be vegetarian or vegan. Some people may choose to be paleo, do whole 30, or suck air. Some pick choose to pick up a magazine with pretty photos and promises of results. Some people choose to believe government guidelines. That's their choice.
But... what leads up to that choice? (what follows is my opinion)
(1) your attitudes about food (such as certain cultural beliefs, your preference/taste, etc.)
(2) your knowledge of what your own body needs (your relationship with your body/mind affects the decisions you make regarding food–do you need more calories one day? do you need to focus on getting a particular vitamin? etc.)
(3) your relationship with food (is it fuel? is it an emotional issue? etc.),
That feels super complex, but most of those choices happen subconsciously. When we feel that we need to change our diet for one reason or another, we begin to pay more attention to how the question of choice breaks down. We bring consciousness to our beliefs and habits. And sometimes it's gentle and constructive, sometimes it's harsh and detrimental.
We examine those ways we can choose what we put in our mouth and how much and for what purpose:
(1) Can you change your attitudes about food?
(2) Can you change your knowledge of what your own body needs?
(3) Can you change your relationship with food?
I think this is what most people are really doing when they "go on a diet"–they are reexamining those questions not through their own process and examining within, but instead relying on outside information rather than examining within.
I don't want to promote any diet over another. Everyone has different needs. But I do want to advocate everyone looking at their diet and asking themselves if it's working for them. And if it's not, I hope you feel empowered to try and make small, sustainable changes. Your body has a wisdom all its own–listen to it.
As for Dad, I drew my handy dandy quadrant diagram (still a work in progress). The whole point of it is that all foods can be put on a spectrum and you have to know how to rate food. In terms of volume (feeling full) you want nutrient dense but caloric efficiency. You can have red meat, but understand that as compared to some other proteins, you should probably have less of it because there's less "bang for the buck."
Long story short–"diet" is not a dirty word. It's the word that describes how we fuel our lives.
Say hello to my new friend. It's so hard to say goodbye to My Cruel Mistress , but that's what life is about sometimes -- ha...
But there were two HUGE new changes: we have an in-house NASM-certified trainer (**waves** hi Kat!) AND we'll have access to Workouts On Demand in the group class room.
It's been 5 months (as of tomorrow) since my surgery and I have been cleared to use an elliptical. My goal this morning was to do 3.1 miles, or 5k, and to do the other 3.1m/5k in a second visit. And that way I'll have earned my virtual "Beat The Blerch" 2016 medal.
Just as I'm about to cross 3.1 miles, I somehow manage to unplug the machine (the power adapter under the pedals, not at the wall). So there's no pic, but it did happen. Scout's honor.
But the title of the blog post is "Take the Win" -- what do I mean by it? Well in the 5 months since my surgery, I've only gained 4 pounds. And in my mind, that's statistically inconsequential (it can be a normal swing from week to week and/or after my period).
Andrew WK is a professional partier. He's a professional partier on a mission to spread the party lifestyle around the US and around ...
It's not about headbanging (and getting a bangover), or doing the things that help people escape from their daily life (drugs, alcohol, vices and distractions). Andrew WK wants everyone to reconnect with what it truly means to be alive and human. He wants everyone to step out from the darkness and choose to be in the light of hope, joy, possibilities.
Last night was more than just attending a speaking engagement by a rock star (with him taking audience questions and staying until after midnight to talk to everyone, take photos, and sign stuff). I think Andrew WK wanted to connect with everyone in the room and remind us of the joy in life.
I felt like a terrible audience member, but I took notes (via twitter) so I'd remember what he had said after the adrenaline had worn off. Here's some of his gems:
- "Getting to exist -- at all -- is the ultimate party"
- "Hope is an activated, motivated belief in possibilities."
- "I am here to serve this thing called JOY. It is counting on me. It is a part of a mission, a quest."
- "Anything you do can be a part of...the ultimate quest to be a human being." (on even mundane tasks being part of a whole path)
- "These hard times aren't necessarily bad times."
- "I would like to be the invisible friend cheering you on."
- "We can always get gooder."
- "Sometimes your dreams dream you... Do you have the strength to rise to the opportunity?"
- "We can no longer afford to squander these gifts... we cannot fix the world in a bad mood."
- [Regarding my question on how to connect with people who you may not agree with, paraphrasing] Hold on to the glimmer of goodness we see in other people that makes you love them. Overflow them with love and invite them to the love, the party.
- "Having a bad mood gave me something to push off against." (circa age 3)
- "Negative people want us to doubt the legitimacy of joy."
- "The naysayers... are just scared of letting things in their heart."
- "Sometimes life is giving us this inner vitality by any means possible. Like pain. It is how we use it."
- "Your mind floods your heart with all this distortion...."
- "We are meant to party with our demons."
And if you don't know where to start, send me a message (fatgirlvsworld at gmail.com or on twitter @FatGirlvsWorld) and we can brainstorm together.
My favorite places to volunteer/donate/invest:
- (DC) The Humane Rescue Alliance (formerly WARL) - www.humanerescuealliance.org/
- (DC) So Others May Eat - www.some.org/
- (DC) Martha's Table - www.marthastable.org/
- (DC) Suited for Change - www.suitedforchange.org/
- (US) Best Friends Animal Rescue - www.bestfriends.org/
- (Global) Kiva (micro-lending) - www.kiva.org
7th grade? Wearing my dad's polo and a sad bra. Every woman's best friend and style guru, Tim Gunn, wrote a scathing article of...
|7th grade? Wearing my dad's polo and a sad bra.|
Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12, and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.
It was mortifying when I was a pre-teen to have to exit the Juniors's section and venture into the Woman's section to find clothing that would fit me (anywhere from a 14-18, and a solid 36C), but would be unable to find anything because it was too mature for me. Same thing went with shoes. I was a size 9.5/10 in the 4th grade. I would quite often end shopping trips with more tears than clothing and a frustrated mother.
|8th grade, Goth Janet Reno|
Coupled with the deranged haircut that I got (nb: never get a drastic hair cut while you are in mourning --Aunt Christina should have stopped me from doing that), I think anyone looking at me would assume that I hated my body, didn't want to be fashionable, and didn't care about the clothing I threw on my body. On the contrary, I was desperate to fit in and have clothing that fit.
I didn't shop much after my mom died. I think partly it was just awkward to ask dad to go shopping with me (he always suggested the prep school look of plaid skirts and oxfords). I also wasn't the kind of kid to just ask for money and to be dropped off so I could do it myself. Nor was I the kind of kid to ask the women in my family for help (it comes loaded with their opinions as well). I do remember going shopping one time for my brother and asking to purchase a pair of boy's skater jeans -- you know the kind where you could fit a village in the legs. I wore them all through 10th grade. But outside of that I just wore my mom's old clothing (her rainbow collection of turtlenecks) and hand-me-downs from dad (his plaid shirts).
|With Steve S. Ah, what a crush I had on him.|
I had to have my Sweet 16 early (the problem of having an August birthday is that no one is around to come), and without any semblance of a tan, I look like a bloated ghost looking to haunt all my friends and family.
|My brother's friend's younger brother, Dan.|
Pity date? Cause no one asked me.
But somewhere in my delusion about style, I did find some peace in knowing that I wouldn't have to go to the store and find some hideous mother of the bride dress that was the only thing in my size, but still cut on the bias, with too many sequins in the wrong place, and no idea of how to make the wearer feel beautiful.
|I'm actually wearing this dress today, the main difference is my pink hair.|
But I will say this to Tim Gunn -- you're 100% right. It's not just the clothing that's the issue for plus-sized women -- it's the whole shopping experience. I can go into a store and be ignored or directly insulted, but the worst of it all is when I go into a store and I'm not even represented. And this is what I would want to say to designers and companies -- if your excuse is that your fashion wouldn't look good on my body, that's the fault of your design, not my body. Cause I can make a Snuggie look sexy as hell. If you can't step up to the plate, you lose my respect, my money, and my support.
|Yes, that's a Snuggie.|
(Oh and Tim -- if and when I ever get married, I'm totally going to ask you to help me find a dress.)
In my last post, I talked about the less obvious parts of weight loss as they relate to foundation work -- namely, getting your head/heart ...
Exercise is a deeply personal thing. Some people need to push their bodies hard and for other people, that doesn't quite work. Some people (like me) are coming back from injuries and need to learn to trust their bodies. Some people are working against a lifetime of equating exercise with punishment. And some people are thrill-seeking endorphin-philes that want to push their mind and their body to some unnamed limit. That's okay. You don't need to judge yourself by what everyone else is doing. Keep reading that last sentence until you hear the truth ringing in it:
I'm quite fond of saying that weight loss/health gain has 3 main components ( I used to say 4, but I now include it the other categorie...
I wanted to talk a little bit about the foundation work. That little slice of the pie can look very different for different people.
For me, the first part of the foundation was coming to grips with why I put on the weight to begin with (suffering the loss of my nana and my mother). I needed to understand that trauma before I could effect any meaningful change in my life. Otherwise, I'd be doomed to repeat the coping mechanism of eating over and over again. I spent a good year in therapy to deal with my anxiety and did more work with my dietician to help understand the relationship between food and my sadness/need for connection.
The second part of my foundation had to do with coming to grips with my health and my body metrics. I'm still going through this; starting over as someone with Celiac Disease and what that means for my diet and how I need to compensate. But when I was first starting out, I think I needed to exhaust myself of all the excuses that absolved me of responsibility (such as a thyroid condition). I needed to accept that my body was the result of my choices. I needed to know my baselines -- my body chemistry, my body measurements (weight and tape measure) and my physical ability.
The third part was about changing my environment, my patterns, and my relationships. It's not fun to take a look at your life and realize all the places that are pitfalls. I had to own all the places in my life where I was able to make better choices but didn't -- because it was easy, it was what I always did, or what everyone was doing. I had to be selfish and say "If I want my life to change, I need to change these things in my life." And there was a lot of pain here as well as catharsis. Doing this created space in my life to add things that would not only benefit me but benefit the people I cared about.
And the fourth part (that used to be its own category) is what I like to call "recovery." I said that I integrated it into each category -- and it looks different in each category. Foundation recovery is giving yourself the permission to take care of yourself and to let go of the rest. Let go of the pain that disables you, let go of the grudge that eats away at you, let go of the people that bring you more sorrow than joy. And then let go of the guilt of letting go. Know that you can do these things and still survive.
I've been talking to my dad about his foundation, his path. I said this to him privately, but I'll say this to you all (and to him) right here -- "I want your heart and mind to embrace this process. Nothing to fear or avoid." If you lay the foundation right, everything else becomes a product of self-discovery, of joy, of pride. And none of it is because you're punishing yourself. And that's what makes this time different than all the other times.