Fitbloggin? #NotFitBloggin

Y'all know that I love me some Fitbloggin, and I love my Fitbloggers.

HOWEVER, I won't be attending Fitbloggin13. 

My friend asked me to be in her destination wedding right before the dates for FB13 were announced.  At that time, I couldn't justify two major trips one month after the other.  So I chose my friend over FB13.  And then...I just couldn't find reasonably priced flights to the Dominican Republic (the total cost of the trip was pushing $2000 for 4 days).  With a heavy heart, I asked my friend to let me rescind my offer of being a bridesmaid.  She was so extremely gracious, saying that she didn't want any of her wedding party/guests to stress about attending/the cost of the wedding. 

And then Spike cat was diagnosed with diabetes (this just months after the ordeal of treating Jack cat's bladder stones (to the tune of $1500)).  So not only was having to give my cat twice daily insulin shots a learning curve (I may have thrown up the first time I tested his blood sugar), but it is a new consideration for my finances (the cost of his supplies -- needles, glucose testing strips, special food (for both cats), and the insulin) as well as my schedule (keeping his shots regular helps keep him healthy and safe).  No longer can I just let the cats hang out at my apartment for 2 days without supervision (catnip parties aside...).

I don't know about you, but I know I'm just weird about finances.  Growing up, my dad had a great job and a decent salary, but by no means were we rich.  The town where I grew up was pretty affluent (it was Long Island, after all), but we were the 3br/1ba ranch house across the street from a house with a 6-car garage.   Mom taught me to clip coupons and roll coins. After mom died (hospitals, funerals are expensive!), I was a bit more aware of our family's finances. 

When I graduated from college, I went straight to work waitressing/bartending at a place that barely covered my expenses (rent, car, insurance, etc.) and I didn't have any health insurance (got pink eye once on a three-day weekend, had to go to the hospital, cost $500).  Six months later, I was working in an office, with a regular paycheck (the benefits would come later, as I worked as a temp for 11 months before they officially hired me **eyeroll**).  That has helped to ease my mind a bit, but I still have the residual grey cloud that follows me.  The other shoe will always drop, right?

Having my neck surgery covered 100% by insurance was a huge relief. The next financial hurdle is paying off my credit card (there's not much on there, but it still bothers me to have any balance).  And then, maybe then, I'll consider taking a vacation (I have 40 days of accrued leave), and exhaling a bit.  But yeah, being an adult with adult responsibilities, and adult worries is stressful.  And I'm doing well.  I feel like such an asshole saying this knowing that some of you aren't as secure as I am regarding finances and outlook. 

So anyways, I'm just writing this to say thank you to my friends out there who understand that while living life and having fun is important, so is having a safety net.

Swing and a Miss

My office announced that the Ben & Jerry's Truck would be coming around to distribute samples of their Greek Yogurt FroYo.  The masses rejoiced.  I, however, was dubious.  Why?  I (and others) knew better than to trust Ben & Jerry's to honor the deliciousness that is Greek yogurt. 

Case-in-point, Exhibit A -- Banana Peanut Butter:

It clocks in at 200 calories for 92 grams. My favorite ice cream -- Breyers Vanilla Bean -- is 181 calories for the same amount.  Okay, so it might not have the bells and whistles of the banana and the peanut butter... but the bells and whistles aren't getting you much of anything.  Look at the whopping 100 mg of salt!  And it has a measley 6 grams of protein (my vanilla bean clocks in at 4 grams of protein). 

(1) Liquid Sugar
(2) Sugar
(3) Corn Syrup Solids

What the hey!?

There's a happy ending to this story -- I didn't eat this.  But someone saw me on my way to toss it and said "you gonna eat that?"  And I started to tell him why he shouldn't want it and he said "You could tell me that it had arsenic in it, and I'd still say it was delicious."

That, dear readers, is why so many people are overweight and obese -- because how they feel about food is more important than what the food provides them nutritionally.


For a while I've been using the #WTFOkCupid hash tag to document some of my frustration with the kind of guys that I attract via online dating. (I thought about consolidating my experiences with Match as well as OkCupid under the #FGvWDates hashtag, but then other people started using #WTFOkCupid to share some of their interesting messages.  Hilarity ensued.)

At first, I was considerate -- blurring out the faces and/or screennames of the offenders, and then I figured that if they didn't care about how they presented themselves to me, I wouldn't care about protecting their reputations.  I should be careful to note, that I don't need anyone to defend me or attack the men.  I can take care of myself, but I just want to defend myself that I'm not the only reason that I'm single.
The other day I got into a Twitter conversation with Ms. Plus Size Princess herself and Deepinky about how some men fetishize having sex with larger women, and how others think that they're "tossing a bone" when they offer to have sex with us (what charity!).   And it got me thinking in general....

I've gotten lots of dating advice lately about my standards (the things I need or want out of a partner, and how flexible I am regarding those needs/wants) my expectations (how a man presents himself, how he reveals himself to either meet or not meet certain standards), and how to present myself (apparently I'm intimidating).  My expectations are pretty low and generally are about etiquette -- (1) don't be a jerk, (2) respect me and my time, and (3) be who you say you are.  I've discussed my standards before, and by-in-large I think I'm pretty flexible (except re smoking cause it's gross).  Most of them have to do with a man's character.  I do have some aesthetic preferences, but there's one I'm particularly inflexible about -- height.  I like a guy that's taller than I am.

These jerkwads (yep, there's more than one) aren't the only ones that are telling me that I need to manage my expectations (um, they're as low as they get) and reconsider my standards (which again, are pretty flexible and are pretty understandable, imho).  To this I say


This is where I'd like to hear some feedback -- because in my experience, all my gorgeous and fit/thin* friends seem to get different advice than I do:  people tell them "don't worry, the right guy will turn up, have faith" and they tell me (the amazing, but fat girl) "you're lucky to get what you get."  Erm, what? I think this attitude even bears out regarding how guys** treat me (I don't know about you other ladies) -- they'll date the thin/pretty girl, but the larger girl is the one he keeps on the down low.  

I know the whole "fuck buddy"/"inability to have an adult relationship" culture of my generation is also a factor in all of this, but I really resent both notions:  (1) that because I'm larger I don't deserve to have my needs and/or wants satisfied (and/or that someone who is a 10*** has the right to ask for what they want/need but not me (I don't know what my number is, nor do I care); and (2) that because I'm larger I should allow a man to treat me less than the way I deserve to be treated (that is, don't be a jerk, respect me and my time, be who you say you are).  

I think Fei-Fei said it best -- "I'd rather be single than settle." 

I think it really pisses people off that I have the confidence to say that.  I know what I bring to the table.  I'm all that and a bag of chips.  My milkshake does bring all the boys to the yard. I am sexy and I know it.
It's okay if someone doesn't think I deserve to have standards or expectations; they don't have to live my life or sleep in my bed.

I have faith that the right guy will see me as a tame kitten (vs. intimidating), rise to my standards, and meet my expectations.  He wants to be that man for me cause what he gets in return will be priceless (me!).

*Disclaimer 1:  I know you gorgeous, fit/thin girls also have problems dating -- please let me know if you experience any biases because of your appearance.  I'd like to know the flipside of this coin.
** Disclaimer 2:  I know that not all guys are like this.
*** Disclaimer 3:  But there are guys like this, this, this, this, and this.  Dare I go on? 

Also:  thanks for this story, Fei: 

Just under the surface....

I'm always dubious when magazines claim "Must Read!" on the cover, but in Cosmopolitan--June 2013, the "Must Read" turned out to be something worth sharing:

I've posted a few links on Facebook and Twitter regarding Mika Brzezinski's new book, "Obsessed: America's Food Addiction and My Own."  I think that the book and all the interviews (check out this one) surrounding the book point out a really important issue, not just for our weight loss/health gain community, but a larger issue that addresses the biases and prejudices we have towards how we view other people.  I will state here that I have not had a chance to read the book. 

To look at Mika, you'd see a thin, beautiful, successful woman (she's a co-host on the TV show "Morning Joe") and mother.  You would never guess that she is a disordered eater (Mika is a binge eater, bulimic, food restrictor, and an exercise bulimic).  She makes a good point that "Eating disorders affect women of all shapes and sizes.  I think that's important to talk about because so many women need help." [men too!]

In other words, you could look at someone (a friend, a family member, a stranger) and be jealous of the body (thin, toned, etc.) they have and have no clue as to their daily struggles. (For instance -- time when I asked this very thin woman in a store how she stayed so thin and she smiled, revealing some of the most medieval-looking braces you've ever seen.  She said it was because it hurt to eat.)  You could look at someone who is overweight/obese and assume that they're doing nothing to take care of themselves (*makes stink eye at the random guy who once told me to "put down the Twinkies."). 

And because we make these assumptions, we don't ask people how they are doing.  We assume they're okay, or aware of their own problems and are addressing them.  We assume they are getting adequate support.  The book was born out of one friend (Mika) telling her friend (Diane Smith) that she was worried about her weight (Diane was 75-100lbs overweight).  But the other half of the conversation was a confession that Mika was miserable, that she was slowly dying in her war against her body.

Mika and Diane realized that though they were on different sides of the spectrum, they had many of the same issues regarding balancing the need to eat and the terror of food, issues regarding body image and societal pressures/perceptions.  Together, Diane lost weight and Mika is learning how to be okay with having gained 15 pounds or so. 

The weight loss/health gain community is wonderful, but I must admit that I see some people that choose to put on a sunshiney veneer when they're actually having trouble.  I worry that some people write one thing and do another.  Then they go radio silent because they're ashamed for not being perfect all the time instead of reaching out for help.  Or deep down they know that what they're doing isn't healthy, and so they try to hide it.

Supporting someone is easy when you're applauding their successes. But I think true friendship and love is when you're willing to risk that friendship/love to say "Talk to me.  I'm worried about how you are treating yourself" instead of choosing to look away. 

The whole point of this post is just to remind you (yes, YOU) that even if you feel like you're alone and no one understand your particular struggles, that every single human being understands what it is like to struggle.  Struggle is the pathway to empathy.  And the more we talk about this with each other, the more we bring into focus what it truly means to be healthy both physically, emotionally, mentally as individuals, as a community, as a society.