Women Do Get Weary

I was having a chat with a Twitter friend the other day about the general state of dating, my recent past, my general past, where I am now, and what I'm looking for.  But we mainly focused on one issue that I have a hard time wrapping my head around:  whether a guy is truly interested in me versus whether I am a convenience.

Can I trust my instinct (which hasn't proven to be so keen at all times)?
Can I trust guys to be direct/honest?  Can I trust guys to be honorable?

I don't think this is a size issue -- I think thin girls go through this as much as bigger girls, just in different ways.
I don't think this is a gender issue -- I know just as many guys that are wary of women for similar reasons.
I'm not sure if it's an age/maturity thing -- because there's as much bullshit when you're 16 as there is when you're 30.

I think this comes down to me as a person as much as society at large.
I do not like being used.  No one does.
But more than that, I do not want my good nature to change.
I like being the person that is trusting, direct, and in touch with her emotions.
I resent the men who try to change that by abusing my trust.  I resent and refuse to play "the game."
And while I feel bad for me, I feel even worse for the guys have to deal with the fallout from my bad luck with their predecessors.

Being a princess in a tower sucks.
Waiting around for guys to get their act together sucks.
Slaying dragons on my own sucks.

So until then, I just gotta dish out as much suck as I take.
You know that "three date rule" you keep on hearing about?  Well I don't care.  If a guy is truly interested in me, not just getting some hanky panky, they can bide their sweet time until I can figure out whether they are legit or not.

Oh, and I can also invest in AA batteries.

Support Staff

Some of you on Twitter/Facebook already know that i became an aunt last Wednesday.  Among all the well wishes were comments/questions about how/whether I will be spoiling my niece.

My answer is that I won't be spoiling my niece.
I will love and protect her, but I will not spoil her.
I will teach and advise her (if/when asked and if/when appropriate) but I will not spoil her.

I will leave the spoiling to her grandparents, as is their hard-earned privilege. But I want to be the aunt she calls when she needs a confidant. I want to be the aunt that reminds her that her parents are people too.
But more than anything, I want to be the aunt that teaches her, by example, how to be awesome, healthy, and strong.

I will teach her how to throw a punch one day when she's much older, and how to make a proper cocktail when she's legal.

But I will not spoil her with food or toys, just all the love she can handle.

That's the kind of aunt (or as I want to be called, Tia) I want to be.

But I want to be a good role model for more than just my little niece. I want to be that for all the people in my family. I want them to see me chasing down the (long) life that eluded my mother (as well as maternal grandfather, paternal grandmother). I want them to live long, healthy, strong, and awesome lives.

But it starts with the commitment I've made to myself, and those promises I renew each and every day.

Hey Jealousy

A 200lb woman walks down the street gnoshing on an Adobo Bean Quesadilla from Whole Foods.
Is she:
(a) ZOMG a fat girl eating!! How cliché!
(b) an athlete nourishing her body
(c) neither
(d) both

For as much as I'm FatGirl vs. World, sometimes I just don't know if I'm FatGirl vs. FatGirl, herself.  My mind plays tricks on me.  My mind thinks it can push my body around, telling my body which days are good and which days are bad (oh, the nerve of it!).  My mind projects its own insecurities into how other people view me.  I wonder whether my own biases and perceptions are ones that other people have.  I wonder if I'm doing all of this to prove something to myself or to prove something to the world.

6 sub-10 minute miles? Yes please! 
The answer to those two questions is "both": 
I am a fat girl eating a fucking quesadillla because I just ran 6 miles and I know I need nourishment;  I am an athlete trying to prove something to myself (that injury and all, I can transform my health and body) and something to the world (that fat people aren't lazy couch surfers sucking on Twinkies all day).

I'm constantly having to remind myself of
New Rule Nos. 4, 4a, and now 4b and 4c. 

What is New Rule 4b?  I am on this journey because of the courage I had when I took the first step.
In other words, had it not been for the fat girl that had the epiphany, I wouldn't be who I am today.
People are always telling me that I'm not fat, or that I should change my name to FitGirl -- but the truth is that (1) fat brain never leaves most of us and (2) I owe a debt of gratitude to the 240lb version of me that survived all the pain and heartaches, all the injuries and rehabilitation, and came out strong enough to say "okay, this is the last time...gotta make it happen." She's my hero.

What is New Rule 4c? The journey is not a competition; it is a community, a movement, a calling.
I admit it:  I'm super jealous of all of your medals, all of your race shirts and bumper stickers, your milestones and your mileage.  I'm not jealous in the I'm-gonna-trip-a-bitch way, but in the "I'll never get to run with you" way.  But I really have to keep in mind that we are all doing this together, each in our own way -- proving to the world that we're not the number on the scale.  We're much bigger and stronger than that.  For whatever reason, we've all decided to share our stories, our highs and our lows, our victories and epic catastrophes.  We decided we didn't want to go it alone.

And on a more personal level, okay -- so I have to do it slower because of my degenerative disc disease, but I'm still doing it.  And you all are inspiring me to keep on going.  Which brings me to the codification of New Rule 8 (though I've mentioned it before, I never formally made it a New Rule):  Even on your worst day, you can be someone's hero.

So, so what if the world sees me as a lazy couch surfer sucking on a Twinkie?  People even judge/misjudge everyone else.  It's just a function of being human.  It doesn't matter how perfect or imperfect you think you are, somewhere out there in the world is someone who will completely miss the mark.  But, the opposite is true -- there's at least one person out there who can see the whole picture.  If one person out there sees that a 200lb woman can run 6 sub-10 minute miles uphill on an elliptical and decides to start their journey because of it, well then, it's not for nothing.  If on one of my bad days when I'm laid up in bed I can remember that I have done such epic feats, then it's not for nothing. 

And all that jealousy? Really it's just admiration and a desire to achieve what every one of you have borne witness to:  that is, the journey to be extraordinary each in our own unique way.  There are no rules and no finish line for that, is there?

On Track

Yesterday, I asked the #GoTheDist Participants how they were doing. 
I got a few replies from people saying that they were right on point, and a few replies saying that the participant needed to get back "on track" after going "off track."

This is something I've wanted to write about for a while.  It's something I talk about all the time.
I think weight loss has four parts, and I've listed them below in order of importance (in my humble opinion):
  • Mental Work -- 15%
  • Food -- 50%
  • Exercise -- 25%
  • Rest -- 10%
Mental Work:
I think the quote (from Women's Health) in this post says it better than I can:
His [James Prochaska, Ph.D.] fundamental belief is that the big reason so many people relapse on their New Year's resolutions by (you guessed it!) February, is that they didn't do enough to prepare themselves to take on those shifts. "Change is a process," he says, "not an event. And 80 percent of people aren't prepared when they start."

So how do you lay the groundwork? Getting ready involves moving consciously through several stages. In what Prochaska calls the "precontemplation" stage, change is just nibbling at your mind, and your job is to raise your awareness of the benefits of changing. That might mean thinking about the cool vacation you could save for when you no longer have those big credit-card bills to contend with, or the thrill of fitting back into your favorite skinny jeans.

Then comes the next stage, "contemplation," when you are seriously thinking about making a change. When you're at this stage, it helps to focus on how the pros of taking some kind of action outweigh the cons. Sure, you might miss your morning full-fat latte and your Friday-night pizza outings, but seeing the pounds melt off is so much more gratifying. "People who can't see a good balance of pros over cons are likely to give up and say it's not worth it," Prochaska points out. When you can list twice as many pros as cons, you're good to go!  
The article ends with this:
Remember: Change is a process, not an event, as Prochaska says. It takes time, and you're likely to hit the occasional setback or bad day. When (not if, but when) that happens, take a deep breath and remember that these are changes you want to make for the long-term. If on a particular day you find you don't have enough willpower to attack both challenges, look at it as a sort of muscle fatigue and ease up. Count calories today. Stick to your budget tomorrow. And over time, you'll build up enough strength to reach both goals.
I'm also a firm believer that most people are obese (not just overweight) because of some sort of trauma in their lives.  Until they start to address the trauma, they can't change the way they live and react to the trauma.

I'm of the Michael Pollan school of thought when it comes to food -- "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."  In other words, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, minimize the meat, and eliminate the processed junk.  Eat food that fuels your workout.

But more than that, you MUST do the math.  Know your caloric expenditure by measuring it with the BodyMedia armband, or estimating it with the FitBit.  If you don't have the money, estimate it using BMR x HBE.

Once you know how many calories you burn during a day, work backwards.  One pound is 3500 calories.  Either you need to burn an extra 3500 calories a week, decrease your caloric consumption by 3500 calories a week, or a mix of both.

To do this successfully, you must food log.  Once you've done it for a while (3 months minimum), you'll see that you've retrained your eyes, your appetite, your palate, and your idea of portion sizes.  The Center for Disease Control says that people who food log are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.

Exercise is going to look different for everyone -- the only thing I really want to say about this is that you should feel joyful when you're exercising.  Yeah, it sucks when you're first doing it:  your mind will play tricks on your body, you'll sweat from places you didn't know were possible, and you will wish for a quick death because you are so sore, but be thankful for this opportunity to move.  If being injured has taught me anything, it's that being able to move is a blessing. 

So, do what you can.  Do it as often as you can.  Be joyful that you can.

Rome wasn't built in a day.  Neither is this new body you're carving for yourself.  You have to have downtime (sleep and rest days) to allow your body to recuperate from the exercise that you're asking it to do.  Everyone needs a different amount of sleep time.  Just make sure you plan for it.  You plan for your long run or your lifting session.  Plan for rest as well.

SO.... that brings me back to my original topic about being "on track"
When you can't focus on one part of the journey, there are three other parts needing your attention.
If you feel like you've derailed, consider whether you've completely derailed or if you're letting a challenge in one area infect the others. 

Are you letting a failure in one of the four areas constitute a total failure?
Are you giving up without a fight?