Because LIFE!

There’s a debate going on these days about whether or not it is okay to tell fat people or fat children that they are just fine the way they are. There’s this odd fear that if you do so, you’ll be condoning their “self-destructive” behavior…that shaming or constantly reminding them of their need to change is the only way to move them towards “health.”

Sounds a lot like the fundamentalist Christian attitude toward the LGBT community, but I digress.

Here’s the deal. No one has any right to tell another person how to live their life. No one has any right to shame another person based on their looks.

I am 5’6″ tall and weigh 213 pounds. I waver between a size 16 and 18. And I’m done trying to be something I’m not.

In the past week, I’ve begun choosing joy. I’ve begun looking for happiness in the body that I’m in, rather than hoping for happiness once I’ve changed. There’s no time for that; life is now! I have a trip to London coming up that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. I couldn’t care less what my body looks like for it. I’m not going there to impress anyone. I’m going there to BE. IN. LONDON.

To just be. That is the point of life. To be you. And if you’re fat, be joyous. Why? Because you’re alive, you’re living, and there’s no one else out there that can live it like you.

And let’s look at the lean community’s blatant double-standard. They are so afraid of accepting fat people as they are because being overweight could shorten that person’s lifespan. So…what’s with all these extreme sports? How many lean people die every year from their dangerous sporting choices? A lean body doesn’t do you any good when something goes wrong on your base jump. But such obviously dangerous life choices are okayed and the newly-dead are celebrated because, as their grieving friends will say, “They died doing what they love.”

If we are supposed to celebrate someone who reveled in life-threatening behavior because it gave them joy, then stop staring judgmentally at the fat person enjoying an ice cream cone. You have no idea who they have helped, how much they are loving those who need it, and what contribution they are bringing to society in ways that have nothing to do with their size.

Life is to be lived as each individual chooses to live it. It doesn’t matter when you die as long as you’ve lived your life to your satisfaction.

Comfort

This sounds cliché but I am working hard on letting myself just be myself. I’m a plus size woman and have struggled with my weight all my life. Then I see strong, healthy people like Paul Walker get killed in a car crash and I think, “What did all that fitness do for him in the end?” All this energy and thought time we spend on fretting over our bodies…for what? A few extra years at the end of our life that we are not even guaranteed? I think what is really important (despite that darned desire to just fit in) is that we are giving love and receiving love. I mean, really, if that is happening, if love is happening in our lives then our jeans size begins to shrink in importance, if not in reality. :) It’s hard. It takes fighting decades of ingrained thought processes that make me see myself in pieces and parts instead of how I see my friends and loved ones: as whole people. Their body size is of so little importance to me; I want to see myself that way, too. It takes a huge burden off to let that go. And is a great comfort.

Circuit Class for One

Soooo…one of my worst nightmares is the idea of personal training. I really can’t imagine working out with one person watching you and pushing you to do more and more. It’s kind of like…hell.

I got to circuit class tonight and as time ticked away and the start time came and went with no one else showing up, the young trainer and I took a gander at each other. I had already been in one of Jesse’s circuit classes and he’s a good teacher and leader. It’s just that there’s usually more people. Like…Lots. More. People. It’s easy to hide and modify what you’re doing as you lope along after all the gazelles. But you need a bunch of gazelles. Otherwise there’s just no cover.

Intensity is my middle name.

Intensity is my middle name.

Jesse looks to be about, oh, 20 years old. He’s got a bright smile and kind eyes. Actually everyone at Inner Circle is awesome and when I realized it was just him and me, as the theme to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” played in my head, I thought, What the hell. Bring it.

And it was kind of awesome. Whereas in a circuit class full of people, I can’t keep up and have to modify everything, Jesse created a mini circuit just for me. Rowing, box step ups, lunges, squats, body weight rows…all things that were right up my alley. And he did all of them with me. I kept thinking this was probably equivalent to sitting in front of a TV for him effort-wise (he’s super fit), but I just kept going. And when we had done three sets of the mini circuit (he said only THREE SETS), that kid had the AUDACITY to say…”One more set! I think you can do it!”

Oh, good God! He’s doing the personal trainer thing! With his big smile he was like a happy puppy wanting to chase the Frisbee again. And of course I had it in me. I was really glad he pushed me, actually. It reminded me that I’m capable of so much more.

And now I’m sore. But in a good way. :D Tomorrow morning will tell that tale.

Battle of the Mind

It is so hard to battle my own mind when it comes to body image. I believe that changes in my body will only come when I learn to love and accept myself as I am. I know not all conventional wisdom goes that way, but for me, the more I’ve disliked my body, the more it has remained as it is. Honestly? I am healthy and beautiful, so if I don’t accept that simply because my body doesn’t conform to the cultural norm, I will probably remain where I am.

I am not limited by my body. Therefore, I will look at the world outside for opportunity, not naval gaze and despair.

This means quashing negative thoughts the minute they enter my head. All it takes is passing by a mirror for those negative thoughts to hit. It’s like a game of Missile Command in the ’80s where you have all those lines coming down on your forts and you have to shoot them out of the air as fast as possible. While Missile Command gets harder each round, I don’t think negative thoughts are as resilient. They will be for a while, but as I get better at defeating them, they’ll become less and less. Here’s hopin’! :)

Confidence

Confidence is a funny thing and hard to come by. I often worry and fear that the things I do or the choices I make are inherently flawed simply because, well, they’re from me. Where that comes from, I’m not sure, but I am working on overcoming it. I was really encouraged today by Greg from the “Inappropriate Conversations” podcast who gave “Greetings from Nowhere” such a great shout out.

It’s good to remember that we are all just stumbling along in our lives, doing our best to be ourselves and live in the moment. So, every day I walk a little taller. And so should you.

A Bright, Clear Day

Today is gorgeous. Bright, blue skies with sheer, barely visible clouds. Most likely cold–I haven’t been out there yet. But what a day! Soon I’ll be down at the Pressroom Theatre, helping with the move. Then down to Revolution Skate to swap out elbow and knee pads that were too small. And then more roller skating down by the river.

This is an easy day to practice not being judgemental of myself. We all know that we shouldn’t be judgmental with others, but we seem to feel free to beat up on ourselves. As many of my friends know, I’ve recently lost 25 pounds on the Medifast plan. But, boy, has it tanked since I hit that 25 pound loss. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but my old eating habits have come back with a vengeance. And along with them, the discouraging voice that is so familiar, I hardly even recognize that it’s there. “Why did I eat that?” “God, I have no self control!” “There’s no way I can do this.” Would I ever say those things to a discouraged friend? Why do I let me say them to myself?

This is where the battle is joined. This is when I’ve always indulged in food to make myself feel better. My body and emotions are tolerating the loss of 25 pounds, but they’re drawing a line. If I want to go further, I need to step into those unhappy emotions, the pain of saying no to myself and not getting what I want, the awfulness of living in and through whatever discomfort I’m trying to alleviate. Ah, the joys of changing ingrained habits.

But as with anything that takes effort to achieve, I honestly believe it will be worth the pain.