A Love Letter/ #FebGTD

I've written a letter to my youth.  I've written a letter to my future self.

But after spending January watching the tv show, "How to Look Good Naked," I've been obsessed by the question of "what it would take to love myself right here, right now, as I am?" 

As it turns out it takes a lot.  It takes looking at myself long enough to see the good things (instead of scrutinizing to see the bad) as well as drowning out all the voices in the world that want me to think less of myself for any number of reasons.  It takes restraint from putting myself down, and patience in learning how to build myself up.

 So... #FebGTD will have a spreadsheet per the usual.

Pledge some miles (I've added a column on the particpant sheets for those who don't want to do miles, but do use a pedometer--to add in a step count), pledge days of strength training and stretching (but no need to quantify it, do what's right for you.  As always, Rachael's circuits are a great starting place or good for some extra challenge), and the water tally (as I have found that to be most helpful).  Change your own sheet around to track what you want.

But this is my challenge to you:  each day write down something that you love about yourself (there's a column for that on the spreadsheet).  It can be anything you want, but it has to be sincere.  At the end of the month I want you to write a love letter to yourself.  Tell the world exactly what is wonderful and deserving about you as you are right now

For those of you who are spreadsheet savvy, feel free to leave comments to other people (right click in a cell and choose "insert comment."  Don't forget to leave your twitter handle! 

1. Click on the SUMMARY PAGE (bookmarking it would be a good idea as you will be using it often)

2. Fill out a line on the "Summary" spreadsheet (do not use Columns F or G -- it automatically calculates)
Use separate lines if you want to do different modalities (i.e. one for running, one for biking).

3. Find your correlating individual tab (it should be "@[line number where you entered your info]") -- make sure your information from the "Summary" tab has been pulled onto this sheet (and not someone else's information -- if so, contact me).

4. Rename the tab "@[twitter name]" or if you don't have Twitter "[nickname]"

5. Fill out the sheet as you wish.

6. Update your own individual page as needed. The total mileage will automatically be updated on the Summary tab as you report on your individual page.

7. Follow #FebGTD on Twitter for support if you need it or to support others when they do, to announce achievements, and find new/old friends!

8. PLEASE DO NOT DELETE LINES OR TABS! Please do NOT move your page around!  You CAN bookmark your individual page using your browser to find it easily.


So Rachael asked everyone yesterday how their #JanGTD was going.

My answer? Not well.

In the beginning of the month, I was doing real well filling out the spreadsheet and staying motivated. And then I just stopped checking in.  I haven't been writing as much lately either.  I'm not in my body and I'm not even in my brain.  I really do feel that ever since the wedding, I have been without a major guiding goal.  For the wedding, it was fitting in that dress and looking good. That motivated me to do wonderful things. For as much as I've been trying to gear myself up, I am just flailing.

The biggest question, for me, is trying to figure out where I want to be.  I've been overweight/obese my whole adult life.  I don't know what my adult body is supposed to look like.  When I started this I thought my end goal would be 165.  In the back of my head I said that I would be happy at 175.  When I got to 188 (at the beginning of November), I was a bit overwhelmed with how much I could really still lose, by how much was still left. I'm back to 192 now and a bit frustrated that I've allowed myself to slip back (though I'm glad I'm not over 200).  I'm still overwhelmed by the thought of how much I've already changed (in terms of behavior, knowledge, and execution) and how much more could be done.  I don't know where to start, but more so I don't know if I want to stay the course or to really go for it.
Because of my back (and to a lesser degree, my knee) I also have had trouble wrapping my head around my biggest second mental hurdle:  that I wouldn't be able to do this at (1) the same speed you all are doing it; and (2) I wouldn't be able to do this at the speed I wanted to be doing it. I need to constantly remind myself that we all have hurdles to overcome.  And that this isn't something we win or lose, it's a constant struggle.

My #JanGTD goal was 20 miles. Twenty is low considering in October I ran 120.  I think I need to find the balance between feeling accomplished and not injuring myself.  I need to feel motivated once again (challenging myself to learn something new?).  I wanted to participate in the strength aspect of the challenge, but I hesitate because of my back.

So I'm going to challenge myself (and anyone who wants to) to meditate on and hopefully answer the central question of the Going the Distance challenges -- what does it mean to "go the distance"?


I know that what I'm about to say will be familiar to many of you:  Because of our fat bodies/fat minds, we choose to either live in suspended animation (e.g., saying you'll do things when the weight is off because the weight or the fear of the weight prevents you now, or that it'll be better when you're thinner) or we choose hibernation (hiding in a cave until we can no longer endure the self-imposed exile).

If you're reading my blog, either you have had the epiphany or you are waiting for it to wake you up and spur you into decisive action.  More than anything else, I've found that the epiphany emboldened me to do whatever is necessary to reanimate, to reawaken.  For some people, the epiphany might even be as simple as realizing that "anything is better than this." The vulnerability that has kept us from living our lives now becomes the method through which we reconnect to ourselves and to the people around us.

I often think of it like the movie "Pleasantville" -- as we start dealing with our issues, and confronting reality (jettisoning the excuses we told ourselves), we start to see things as they truly are.  Color comes into our lives.  One of the side effects is that we start to allow people to see us as we are too.  We drop the defense mechanisms and start trusting our sense of worthiness. 

This is all a bit of a set up to talk about what I really wanted to talk about -- something I've kind of mentioned before.  I really have my guard up when it comes to guys, and probably with reason.  But I think the more I get to know myself and just how strong I am, the more I trust that I don't need a guy to validate how I feel about myself.  Guys are starting to notice that I have reawakened.  In the past, I might not have recognized the players from the decent guys, or might not have cared.  I now know I am more than just fuckable, but I am truly loveable.

The only thing I will say is that because of certain things aligning in my life, I find myself working on on my list with a renewed sense of purpose. I now have a couch (so people have a place to sit when they visit).  I got rid of a lot of stuff that was mentally and visually distracting.  I have an apartment that is a reflection of who I am (my new comforter is a perfect example of my mix of feminine/masculine energy).  My wardrobe is getting there too (I now own more dresses than pants).

When I posted the picture the other day when I felt beautiful, it was a direct result of letting someone see (with a little bit of confidence in myself, a bit of trust in him, and a bit of faith in karma) my good, my bad, and my ugly.  It's not a test to see how much he can endure of me ((my dad says to be mindful of how intense/intimidating I can be, but I feel my equal can match or compliment my intensity, and sees me for the kitten I am, despite the roar)) but a natural progression, a journey.

But I wanted to say that you have all helped me.  You've let me be honest with you -- sharing the things that scare me the most -- and you still love and support me.  In this instance, the practice of friendship has prepared my heart and life for perhaps...more

There are times when I feel beautiful....

And I like to record it. Please forgive me my vanity.

And yes, that is a Snuggie.

To quote myselfI wanted to be this version of myself all the time -- the self where I felt beautiful, sexy, and powerful.  The pictures became a reminder to me that at least at one fragile moment, I was all of those things.
. . . 
I hope I will remember the lessons I've learned during this whole process.  My new definition of beautiful/sexy/powerful is the ability to allow one's imperfections to exist in the same place and time as the things he or she is most proud.

Detox & Cleanses II

I wanted to write a post about detox diets and cleanses, but I realized that I've already written it:
This is my Official FatGirl vs World™ Position: Why are you punishing your body instead of honoring it? What are you putting in your body that is so bad that in order to mentally rid your body of it, that you must starve yourself?

In other words, if you're eating a balanced diet full of fresh/seasonal fruit and veggies (in a multitude of colors), lean protein/fish (or beans/nuts/seeds if you're veggie/vegan), complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc.), and lots of water (with the occasional visit to the dark side... sweets, alcohol, etc.) why would you need a detox/cleanse?
I guess I'm not saying this loud enough, so I'm just going to have to sound like a broken record:


You are doing your body no favor by depriving it of the calories it NEEDS.  Your body burns calories just by living (dead people burn no calories and therefore they do not need to consume calories).  This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate.  If you consume fewer calories than your BMR, you will lose weight.  However, as anyone who has been through the journey will tell you, this is a very delicate balance.  If your burn/consumption defecit is too great, your body will beging to store those calories instead of burning them.  If you consume too few calories you also do damage to your body (see anorexia and bulimia). 

Many people who are overweight eat food to self-medicate emotional issues.  I think the biggest realization anyone can make is that food is also the cure.  Learning to nourish your body in a healthful manner (versus using food to inundate feelings) is the key to success for just about everyone (overweight, underweight, malnourished, unhealthy, etc.).  Food is the cure.  Get that in your head.

Your body self-regulates

POOP regularly (do you really want to be full of shit?)
Drink WATER until your pee turns faint yellow/clear by midday (this helps with digestion and cleaning your lymph system)
Eat FRUITS and VEGETABLES.  Minimize meat (you only need 1/2 lb of protein a week -- and it's better if you can get it from legumes and other sources) and startchy unrefined carbs (calorie dense, not nutrient dense).
Breathe FRESH AIR.

Do these things and you will have NO NEED to rid your body of "toxins" -- it's already doing that.  Depriving your body of the calories it needs to perform metabolic processes WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN

Focus on those words:  WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN.  So many people use a detox/cleanse to "jumpstart" their weightloss.  Seriously?  Weight loss is about SUSTAINABLE changes -- not one or two weeks of doing something ridiculous.

You want to truly jumpstart your weightloss? 
Start with information.  KNOW your BMR.  Start food logging.

I'm still here....

I haven't had much to say lately. Just trying to stay on the path and keep my spirits up.

The one thing I did kinda want to talk about is tangential to the whole weight loss process.
I have so many friends who have done the work -- lost the weight, found their self-esteem and in the process found out just how strong and wonderful they are.

And guys.... guys still are assholes to them.  My beautiful, intelligent, talented, strong, inspirational friends who have paved the way for me to go on my own journey are being treated so badly.  It really upsets me.  I mean, if guys do this to them... what's in store for me?

Is this what our grandmothers and mothers fought so hard for with women's lib?

A Single Girl's Dating Manifesto:

1.  It might be all bold and modern for a girl to ask a guy out, but we'd like to know your testicles are still attached to the rest of your body.  If you're interested, do the asking, or we'll just assume you're not interested and move along.

2.  Men and women can figure out if they want to have sex with each other in under 30 seconds.  But finding to have someone to have sex with is easy.  Harder to find, though, is someone I want to spend time with.  Allocate more than 15 minutes for our first date.  Better yet, allocate more than an hour.  An hour isn't much to risk even if the date is horrible.

3.  Women know that there's a communication gap between the sexes.  That being said, you still need to attempt to communicate.  Use your words and we'll try to speak your language of action. 

4.  If you are not interested in us, or have lost interest in us, have the balls to at least say it.  Do not just fade off into the sunset.  That requires no courage and makes you look like a wimp.

5.  Yes, we might be strong and independent, but we still need you.  Okay, so it might not be in the ways you are expecting (opening jars, stepping on spiders, or fixing a car), but we still need to feel protected and safe.  Do your best to show us that you will be there for us when times get rough.

6.  Okay, you're dissatisfied.  Either realize that relationships take work or break up with me.  Cheating requires no spine. 
[to be continued]

Guest Post: #DecGTD Wrap Up

In the words of the beautiful, talented, and ever-encouraging, Carrie/@CarrieSinCA ((Thank you, Carrie!!)):

Going the Distance in December

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts on the December Go the Distance challenge.  I’d say thank you for selecting me, but seeing as I was the only volunteer, you’re rather stuck with me. [hardy har har.... I'd gladly be stuck with you, Carrie :P] Robby has put together a fantastic challenge and I’ve really enjoyed it.  I’ve also learned so much and changed so much from when I did the OctGTD challenge.

When I set my first goal in the October challenge, I was freaked out.  I remember my hesitation after putting in my goal number and pushing enter.  Here I was telling the whole blog world that I was going to achieve a certain goal at the end of a month.  And all these people were going to watch my miles add up or not.  Scary stuff!

But I did it!   I realized very quickly that no one was judging me on what I achieved.  There were so many people who were just there to cheer me on, when I was doing well, or when I wasn’t.  This challenge was for me, not for them.  That first month, I set the goal rather conservatively for myself.  For November, I added to the numbers by what I felt was a lot and really got into ticking off the mileage after each workout.  For both months, I tracked running/walking and elliptical training.

On December 1st, I pledged to complete 70 miles only running/walking.  I’ve just begun an 8 week training plan for my first 10K on Super Bowl Sunday, so I looked at my plan, added up the mileage required and went with that.  My goal was basically to keep myself accountable to my training program and take advantage of the awesome support system of the GTD gang on Twitter.

After the first week, my hip flexor started to hurt.  I had to stop working out for a few days.  Then I realized that I can’t count and I had my weeks messed up, so my mileage didn’t increase at the rate I’d thought for the month.  By 12/18, I had only completed 26.85 miles (40% @ almost 60% of the month).  By then, my hip was feeling fine but I didn’t want to increase my mileage to the point of injury again to meet my GTD goal.

I had to adjust my thinking a bit to just be happy with my slow increase of mileage.  As a result, I noticed that I was actually getting closer to my goal.  All of a sudden, that 70 mile mark was within reach.  I did adjust my cross-training days to be walking with a few short jogs in order to get some more mileage.  On New Year’s Eve morning I had 1.5 miles to go, so I took my dog for a brisk walk to surpass my 70 mile goal by .5 miles!  I did it!

Thank you to Robby for organizing this challenge and for putting together the spreadsheet of all spreadsheets for us to track our progress.

On the spreadsheet, we were also asked to track our water intake and our fruit and veggie consumption.  Personally, this was the hardest part of the challenge and it was also the most informative.  For me, I had the hardest time tracking my water.  My reusable bottle is 24oz and on most days, I drink at least 3 bottles full (especially on workout days, I’d get 2 of them in before getting home from the gym).  My regular drinking glasses hold 15oz. and I know I’d drink one at lunch and one at dinner.  Just the mental tracking of the water made my brain hurt, so I decided early on that I’d mentally estimate and just give myself the 64oz. if I know I exceeded that.

The fruit and veggie tracking was even harder.  I have to say I didn’t Go the Distance in my tracking of this.  I’d record my efforts 1x per day.  I’d remember my meals and put in what I remembered.  What I did notice was telling – on days that I consumed the proper servings, I also ate rather healthy.  The days where I fell short of the RDA were also the days that I went overboard on sweets or overate in general.  For me, this was almost the best part of the challenge.  I’ve tracked food and calories and all that for a long time.  But, I have never broken out fruit and veggie servings separately and noticeably.  I’ll remember this for when I feel my eating getting out of hand – simply track fruits and veggies on their own and I’ll see how I’ve not eaten enough and therefore gone overboard with less healthy for me foods.

I’ve learned that I don’t usually tackle a project that I know I can’t complete.  I’m risk-averse in that way that I don’t want to set myself up for failure.  During December, I thought a lot about how I’d feel if I didn’t make that 70 miles.  Was I going to be okay with that?  I think it would have been ok since I had also kept up my mileage and only not been able to get the goal because of my injury.  If I had found myself skipping workouts because I didn’t feel like going or was tired or something, then I think I would not have been satisfied with my performance.

In wrapping up the month for everyone, I wanted to talk about those who may have not been so active with us this month.  Looking at the spreadsheet, there were approximately 25% of the original 72 people who didn’t record any progress.  Where did you all go?  Was it an additional challenge for you to commit and track publicly to the goal?  Did you work towards your goal and just not record anything?  I do hope you see that the challenge is a positive one and that all are welcome and all are encouraged to succeed in even the smallest of steps.

Going the Distance does not equal achieving 100% of your goal.  Going the Distance is about setting a goal and working towards bettering yourself.  Sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to step it up in order to see change.  Which brings us to January.  Robby has stepped it up for us with the help of the wonderful Rachael to bring a challenge that incorporates strength.  I’ve signed up to complete 75 miles and 12 strength workouts. 

What are your goals for January’s GTD challenge?  I can’t urge you enough to set a goal and do this for yourself.  Start the year off right and take care of yourself.  Happy New Year!

Other #DecGTD wrap-ups:
Simon has a little bit about #DecGTD here.

Last photo of 2010 and first photo of 2011

No makeup.
No bra.
No fear.