The Message

I originally started this blog as a way to stand up for my wonderful fat self, to say that just because I'm overweight doesn't mean I am a bad person, lazy, or a failure.  Along the way, my blog became less about my own personal journey (though I still write about that) and more about the things I've learned.   I'm honored when people tell me that I motivate or inspire them, and I'm humbled when say that I've put words to their pain, their struggle, their journey.

Because of all of this, I do think that I understand the whole Clark Kent/Superman dichotomy a little better.  There's Robby -- the vulnerable person that still struggles, succeeds, and learns and there's FGvW -- the Superhero that advocates for the journey, the ideals, the pursuit of health.

The hardest part for Robby is when FGvW wants to speak up in Robby's personal life. 

Someone close to Robby said something along the lines of "I need a full-length mirror to remind myself of how disgusting I am.  That will motivate me."

Robby understands that.  Robby has been there.
Robby understands how hard it is to "make love of yourself perfect."  (the June 2011 #GoTheDist Challenge was by all accounts one of the hardest I asked people to undertake.)

But FatGirlvsWorld knows that if you start this journey from a place of self-hatred, that you will fail.
FatGirlvsWorld also knows that the only way you succeed in the weightloss/healthgain journey is if you start from a place of overwhelming love and acceptance.

Robby wishes that she could wrap that up in a little package and give the gift of the epiphany to other people. FGvW knows that the epiphany comes about as a result of either exhausting all the other options, or doing the hard work of fighting all your demons.

So Robby stands by, and hopes that the people she loves are inspired by the path she has taken, that they see the person she was and the superhero she has become and they decide that they want in on it. 

In other news ...

Last night I wrote on my (personal) facebook page
November/December/January/February were hard -- not being able to exercise, feeling broken, and not knowing what the future held for me/my health -- but after running my 107th mile this month, I think I finally believe that I can handle whatever the universe throws my way.
Bring it.
I feel like I've turned a corner on this injury -- not that I'm 100% healed, just that I'm not so handicapped by my mind.  I'm (rightfully) letting my body take the lead.

Also ...

I noticed that there was a typo on my last post.  Normally I'd go back and change it, but I think there might be a little bit of wisdom in it:   I meant to say "Lift like you've never lifted before" and instead it came out as "Lift life you've never lifted before."

Now, I have no idea what my brain meant by "lift life" -- but somewhere between my brain and fingers, I think I was trying to tell myself something.  In meditating on this, I remembered the book "The Things They Carried," in which Tim O'Brien describes soldiers in the Vietnam War by what they carried physically, mentally, and emotionally.  More often than not, they came across as burdens and weight that brought them closer to their own mortality. 

I wondered if the weightloss/healthgain journey can be likened to a war -- where we have to decide whether the things we carry with us (and more importantly the weight we carry on our bodies) are bringing us closer to life or bringing us closer to death.

Was "Lift life you've never lifted before" a challenge to engage life and elevate that engagement to a place higher and more important than our ties to our own burdens?

"There has to be an easy way to do this!"

I have a coworker who is extremely badass, mainly be cause she is so consistent with her workouts -- running outside in just about any weather and then coming inside to do a weights workout. 

Last night, she was taking a break between her sets doing leg extensions and I noticed she was a bit exhausted.  I had just finished my 5-mile run and stepped off to grap an antiseptic wipe to wipe down the elliptical. As I walked past her, I put my hand on her shoulder and said "You've got this." 

"There has to be an easy way to do this!" she replied. 

"Yeah, never putting it on in the first place."

"There's that."

"Or, taking it off while we were still young."

But every day she and I are at the gym, sweating at our own pace, trying to undo the damage that we did to our bodies.  It might not be the "easy" way -- but it's the way that reminds us (1) how easy it was to put on the weight in the first place, (2) how easy it is to neglect our health, and (3) how much effort it takes to reverse the course and swing the momentum the other way.

I hate it when people look for "easy" -- pills, a fad diets, juice fasts, cleanses, magic workouts --  because it doesn't change the wiring in your brain.  Do it the hard way.  Sweat in places you didn't even think you could sweat.  Have blisters pop mid-run.  Have a spin bike seat make it so you can't walk right for days.  Lift life you've never lifted before. 

Feel the soreness associated with doing the work. 
Feel the sense of accomplishment when you go one minute faster, ten feet further, or one pound heavier.
Let your body show your mind how it's done.

In my humble opinion, when you do it the "hard way" it's the testament to yourself and the world that you're worth doing the work, putting in the time, dedication, and focus, and more than anything, that the love you have for yourself is opening doors you never thought possible.

Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out.

Mile 4 of my 10 mile run yesterday
Sometimes when I dont have the words for things I will turn to music and lyrics for inspiration, consolation, or direction.

Enter Tom Petty.

Now that I've seen a -4 on the scale after four months of rehab and related weight gain, I feel a little less "Free Fallin" and a little more "Won't Back Down."

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin' me around
but I'll stand my ground, and I won't back down

This is a very good mental place for me to be.

Rehab is tough, but I'm tougher.
My body is delicate, but my resolve is stronger.
My weight fluctuates, but who I am never changes.

I am a fighter.

Parenting: Weight vs. Health

Image Credit here
In Vogue's April issue, there's an article about one mom putting her young daughter on a diet after being told by a pediatrician that her daughter was obese.  There has been a ton of backlash (both positive and negative) -- just Google "Vogue Diet Mom."  Here are some examples:

(Article 1) (Article 2) (Article 3) (Article 4) (Article 5) (Article 6) (Article 7) (Article 8) (Article 9)

Now, in the back of your mind, juxtapose this article with all of the Maury Povich episodes that featured obese toddlers with parents that said they had no control over what their kids eat, that they wanted to give their kids what they didn't have growing up, and that they were showing love by indulging/giving in to their child's demands.

In response, I want to focus on what I think the dialogue should be:   If a parent is, or learns to be, (mentally, physiologically, emotionally) healthy themselves, the greater the chance that they will be able to raise a healthy child, and have a healthy relationship with that child.  It's not perfect, and it's no guarantee, but I do believe it increases the probability of having a healthy kid.

Parents should be able to say "I have a problem with food/body image, and I needed to help myself so I can help my kids."  And they should have the resources (education, counseling, support groups) available to help make healthy and considered decisions for their kids.  Instead, I think we see some people having kids either before they've dealt with their own issues, or having kids as a way to work out their own issues.

Being a parent is not a right, it is a privilege that comes with responsibilities.  Among these responsibilities is making sure that your child is healthy.  I think the phrase putting your child "on a diet" sounds more pejorative than saying you're paying attention to and regulating your child's nutrition and health.  It's a semantic difference--between depriving them (of crappy food that has been making them sick) and giving them a life (full of emotional, physical, and psychological well-being).

If you've been following my blog, you know that I've talked about the issues my parents had regarding food and self image.  And hopefully you also know that, more than anything, I wish that their parents had done a better job of taking care of my parents.  But like Jack Kornfield says, "Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past."  I can't change those things, but I can do my best to understand and contextualize things.  I can also break the cycle.

That being said, as a child who had two parents with their own demons, I wish someone (a doctor, a relative, a teacher) had stepped in and said "do you realize your daughter has a weight problem?"  I wouldn't have wanted them to write about it in an international magazine, but I would have greatly appreciated them recognizing they were out of their depth and needed help. 

So that leaves me with a few questions
(1)   How are parents responsible for regulating what their kids eats?
(2)   Should parents openly talk with a child about the child's weight, nutrition, health?
(3)   Should the dialogue with a child be more focused about weight or health?
(4)   When should a parent be concerned about a child's weight?