Holy cow, you guys! Check it out! This picture is from about 2001, so, eleven years ago. It’s my daughter’s 2nd birthday. (Is she the cutest or what?) Look at the size of me! I didn’t imagine it. I used to be seriously large! There’s no way that I weighed only 214, either. That lady is way bigger. I wish I knew exactly what I used to weigh. I’m pretty sure that number would mean I’ve probably lost over 100 lbs. I guess I’ll never know for sure.
DANG. I mean, I was practically spherical! But it was a rough time. Home alone with two small children and poorly-cared-for depression. It may have been undiagnosed at that point, actually. I can’t really remember. The house was a hot mess and I was one too. It’s easy to make funny jokes but truly, I feel only love and compassion for the old me. She was really struggling and it was hard. I’m in a much better place now, and it’s not because I lost weight. Rather, the weight loss is just a side effect of all the things that have improved in my life. So stay on your grind, fellow sufferers! I got better and you can too.
Got myself a thing to keep my ring snug on my finger. It’s loose enough now that if I give my hand a good shake, it just falls off. But this gizmo will scratch people if I wear the ring while working. So I will have to go back in a bit and get the ring actually sized down to my wee bitty finger. It just seems so permanent. If I gain weight again, the ring will be WAY too small. I guess this is it, right here, the moment when I get to decide for real if I plan to stay thin. The moment when I discover whether or not I truly believe in myself.
Luckily for my sanity, I don’t have to decide this instant. I just have to take the ring off while working. And I couldn’t leave the ring at the shop for sizing today because it takes a full week to get finished and I will need the ring this weekend when I am attending a family Bar Mitzvah. Although I fully admit that I did consider the wonderful opportunity for humblebragging involved:
MIL: Where’s your ring, sweetie?
Me: Oh, well. I lost so much weight that it doesn’t even fit at all anymore, so it’s in the shop getting sized.
LOL!!! But no. I got the gizmo on my ring for now, and I’ll just get it sized later. Get my engagement ring sized down too, I suppose. Funny feeling.
I was looking in the mirror at my OOTD (scroll down your dash to see it) and I had a sudden thought. I really just thought that I couldn’t imagine looking any better. Another funny feeling. A good feeling but one I’ve never really felt before, not even on my wedding day. This mental journey just keeps taking new turns, it really does.
I’m going to comment on this post. But before I add anything I will just say, wow, it is amazing when somebody has the courage to vomit it all out on the page like that. It’s not easy to do it. So intense.
But okay, on to the critique portion of this reblog. Read the post below, and while you read it, try to identify the false, self-limiting thought-forms which are trapping this poor lady.
There was this girl at crossfit yesterday who annoyed me. A lot. God, even thinking about her now annoys me so much. She was useless. And fat. And she couldn’t even do one skipping double under, out of the 200 that was expected. The 200 that everyone else could do. Including the new people.
And then on her last round she cried. So weak. Everyone had finished, and everyone was watching. And she broke down and cried. She didn’t want to finish. She couldn’t do any, and she knew how terrible, fat, useless she was, and so she cried. And cried. I suppose she didn’t know what else to do.
Eventually she finished and headed for the last part of the workout; the run. And a lonely run she ran. Still crying, of course. And it was on that run she felt her bad day consume her being. And she thought of the mean comments, the emails, the words she had read that day. And she kept crying. And crying.
And then she slowed to a walk and with people on the street blatantly seeing her red eyes and mascara stained cheeks, she felt like she was faking her life. Like she didn’t deserve anything. She didn’t earn anything. That she was a sh*tty writer/blogger, a lazy person, a fat, weak, slow, unfit person, that she had no career, money, or plan. That she had failed, at whatever it was she was doing.
I cried all the way home yesterday. On the tram. On my walk. And then in the shower. And I felt the embarrassment sting hard from crossfit. And yesterday’s comments… they were mean, and it’s hard not to read them, especially when they came in over and over again and were confirming something I often wondered. I deleted nearly 150. 150 people who had taken the time to wear me down. And they did.
And it’s easy to say don’t let it get to you. Turn the other cheek. It means nothing… But it did. Yesterday was a hard day, but despite still feeling my puffy face sting, today is a new day, with a new start, and so I trudge on.
The thing that fairly springs to the eye is the association between being fat and being lazy, worthless or incompetent. This is a textbook example of internalized fat bigotry. It’s a completely false idea, one that is painfully self-damaging. It is just not true!! Physical strength and competence are often associated with leanness. But I can give you 4 outstanding examples just off the top of my head: Sarah Robles, Holly Mangold, Brian Shaw, Zydrunas Savickas. Those are are some seriously chunky athletes. Man, I ought to do a whole post just about fat athletes. That’d be some fun. Anyway… fat is not what is impeding you, honey. Forgive yourself for being fat!
I know I’m beating it to death a little bit but it can be good to just say it all out loud. So let me just go all the way. Your fatness (which, btw, I’ve seen your pics and you look totally cute to me) is just not the real issue. Your fatness has nothing to do with your career, your money, or your plan. Your fatness has very, very little to do with your abilities as a Crossfitter. Also your fat is not keeping you from being beautiful, or from being beloved and desired. Obviously it did not keep you from getting to Australia like a boss. Your fat is not keeping you from… riding in a hot air balloon, or on horseback… or going hiking, or balancing your checkbook, or climbing the bridge in Sydney Harbor… it is not keeping you from enjoying a facial, or going canoeing, or learning to salsa. Pretty much the only thing your fatness may be doing is making shopping for clothing an inconvenient experience, and possibly making it challenging to cross your legs.
So please. Let go of this horrible and completely false idea. Forgive yourself!! And I apologize for doing this all out in public, but I’m pretty sure there are a few people out there who could learn something from it.
HA BUT I AM NOT EVEN DONE!!! There’s one more really self-limiting idea in that post: the part where you “trudge on.” Heck no, you are not trudging on. You are a beautiful, strong, talented young lady in the prime of life who is living the dream in lovely Australia. There is no trudging in that picture! Okay, sure, you had a seriously shitty day. But please don’t let this bad idea colonize your mind, this idea that you are struggling onward. Heck no. You’re not trudging onward. You are… swimming the English Channel or hiking the Rockies. You are forging deeper into the Outback on your own personal walkabout. You are surfing some huge, gnarly waves. (That one is my own favorite. I use it a lot.) You are free-climbing Half Dome like that crazy man Honnold! My point is, do not allow yourself to imagine your life in a negative, sad way. That just drags you down mentally. You can apply any mental metaphor you want to your life, so make it a nice one. I am speaking from personal experience here. I realize it seems like I’m making a big deal out of a simple word choice, but I’m telling you: working on this issue made a huge difference in my life.
Ooooookay. Well, I have chased you around enough for one day, huh? I love your posts and I’m following your progress with great interest. I hope this helps you and gives you something to chew on. Also I meant what I said: you’re gorgeous and completely fabulous, so just brush off the haters. They aren’t even worthy of you.
This pic is in honor of queenbliss, who posted her booty pic to mark the beginning of some sort of September Squat challenge. She was so brave and I couldn’t let her be out there alone. I shan’t be partaking of the squatting myself. But here’s my booty, doing Virabadrasana II, complete with a spot of back fat for garnish. Observe the brand-new Hanky Panky thong underwear. Yes, it really is impressively comfortable!
So there it is, folks. My ass. It will turn 43 this Thursday. It’s a good ass although there’s not as much of it as there used to be. It’s not perfectly smooth; there’s a smidge of cellulite. The poor-quality tablet-cam pic is pretty kind to my flaws. Technology win! But as I say, it’s a good ass and I like it. It looks pretty darn good for its age, and in jeans or a skirt it really looks good. Perky. Not to be too graphic for you youngsters, but my ass is well-designed for grabbing. So I’m pleased with it overall. I love my ass. It has served me so well and continues to do so. Thank you, ass!
Slept in today!! Having finally, finally, finally graduated YTT yesterday, I just felt like a wee rest this morning. The scale says 135.5, no change from last week. I don’t even know how I feel about it anymore. I’m becoming more indifferent or resigned about it. On the other hand, the thought of gaining, say, 5 lbs, provokes a wave of anxiety in my head. So clearly I’m not all that indifferent to the number on the scale.
But yesterday I had a very interesting experience. I was driving down to the post-graduation party, and I had to stop at a red light. To the left, I saw a very slender woman walking along the sidewalk, looking pretty great in her slim-fit running shorts/tank top ensemble. For a moment I was looking at her and thinking the same thoughts I always have thought, things like “maybe someday I could look that good… I wonder if she is insanely disciplined or maybe just genetically gifted… no matter how hard I work I’ll never be tall like she is… wow those legs are so thin; mine are still sort of jiggly…” and so forth. And then a difference voice spoke up on my head and it said, “Yeah, she’s fabulous. But you know what? I am fabulous too. I no longer have anything to envy in any other woman.” And a feeling of great pride and happiness washed over me. It was wonderful.
Also, in tangentially-related news, it turns out that the husband of my YTT classmate is a personal trainer, so I may be able to hire him for a good rate and learn to do KBs and TRX and other fun crazy shit and build some more muscle and work on my core strength this Fall. Now that I’ve seen the real-time benefits of cross-training for my yoga, I’m a lot more interested in what I can accomplish. He’s exactly what you want your trainer to look like: insanely fit with really, really low body fat. And hot. Did I mention hot? It’s ridiculous to even think about it since he’s my friend’s husband. But I can’t lie, getting to stare at him might take the edge off the pain.
And today, I pack up the kids to go to Philly tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing my folks. But honestly, I am really looking forward to next week. The kids go back to school and I can finally fall over on the couch like a puppet cut off the strings. OY.
FINALLY!!!! Finally, one of these pics actually shows a broad variety. Of broads. LOL yes I said it. I love this pic. It’s beautiful and delicious. And the women are not photoshopped or overly dolled-up with the wacky drag-queen-style makeup that has become the vogue these days and they are not wearing foot-crushing heels. What a relief to see this natural beauty.
Of course… I can’t stop myself from mentioning that none of these gorgeous women are black or asian… but I guess baby steps are still great progress.
How can you love others if you don’t know how to love yourself?
Well, I think it’s sort of the other way around for many people. It’s hard to love yourself, after all, isn’t it? Yet it’s pretty easy to love other people. It’s almost distressingly easy, really. People are so interesting, and then when you get to really inspecting them they are so funny and kind and gentle or fierce, all working on their own journeys … and soon you just love them. So maybe just work on loving other people for a while. That can be a bit scary at first, I guess. It’s sort of my hobby at this point; I’ve always made a special point whenever I meet a person to try to see whatever is really beautiful in them. So, Moxy, for example, you have terrific legs and a lovely smile, and your eyes have a twinkle in them that is so fun. Also you’re funny and tender and you like cats. You’re strong and such a hard worker. I love you already and I have not even had a chance to meet you yet. (Usually there is a LOT of good stuff to find in any person. However, I do have one relative where literally all I could find was that he had movie-star quality eyelashes. Every other aspect of his physique and personality was quite repellent.) So if loving people is hard or scary, just work on that for a while. Let yourself open up to loving your co-workers, the person who makes your coffee, your marvelous trainers and so forth. Not expecting anything, just opening up to the feeling. Loving people is a sweet feeling and also when you allow this to happen you will become more radiant. I know it sounds super-cheesy but it’s true.
The next step is this: just turn your attention to yourself and see yourself as just another person. All people are pretty lovable… and you are just part of that group. You are part of all people; there is nothing that sets you apart from everyone else at all. Tell yourself firmly and frequently that you deserve to be treated at least as well as your friends and coworkers. Don’t say things to yourself that you would not say to a dear friend. Treat yourself as if you were a dear friend. Just crack open your heart a smidgeon more so you can wedge yourself right in there.
That’s what I got. Love all people as best you can, and then include yourself in the same category as all people: admit to yourself that you are deserving of love unconditionally. Even if you feel fat, even if you are cranky, even if you ate carbs or skipped spin class, even if… whatever. The love you give yourself should be like a mother’s love: always there no matter how stupidly you behaved.
No change, held steady at 136. It’s all good. But I can tell something’s up with my body. Yesterday I got up to do yoga. I was all, wheeee, let’s do some twists and maybe some backbends! And my body was like, naw… let’s do restorative poses. And so I had to get out the blanket and the blocks and pillows and did almost 2 hours of restoratives. But then I had to work all day, and then this morning my alarm went off and I actually set it for later and went back to sleep some more. I will do my P90X, I swear. But it was weird waking up and feeling so draggy. Not enough protein yesterday, and then maybe too much fruit the day before? I’m starting to notice that what I eat really affects how I feel. Or maybe P90X is just kicking my ass.
As promised, here is a pic of my new booty shorts:
Doesn’t my room look awesome? I’m sure HGTV will be calling me any minute. Here’s the front view of my yoga-licious-ness:
Excuse the frowny face! It sorta looks like I’m resting my knee on the laundry. Too weird! The shirt is from LOFT, size small, the shorts are from the Gap, size extra small. I am getting sort of obsessed with sizes lately, I know. I think it’s just because I’m working on seeing myself as small. You know how it is: you lose weight but when you look in the mirror, you still just see yourself, so you think, gee, I guess I need to lose more weight. But I know that’s not true. I have a few more pounds to lose, maybe, if my body cooperates. But overall, I’m already there. I really DON’T have a lot of weight to lose. This right here is my destination. So clearly, the perception issue is in my mind. So I’m just working on myself to see this body as small. An interesting mental challenge. Hence the continually reminding myself of my overall small-ness. I need a SpongeBob T-shirt with Plankton on it, saying, “It’s true. I am small.”
Well I could ramble on all morning but daughter needs to get to camp!
TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES
“I’ve known many people who have spent years exercising daily, getting massages, doing yoga, faithfully following one food or vitamin regimen after another, pursuing spiritual teachers and different styles of meditation, all in the name of taking care of themselves. Then something bad happens to them and all those years don’t seem to have added up to the inner strength and kindness for themselves that they need to relate with what’s happening. And they don’t add up to being able to help other people or the environment.
When taking care of ourselves is all about me, it never gets at the unshakable tenderness and confidence that we’ll need when everything falls apart. When we start to develop maitri for ourselves, unconditional acceptance of ourselves, then we’re really taking care of ourselves in a way that pays off. We feel more at home with our own bodies and minds and more at home in the world. As our kindness for ourselves grows, so does our kindness for other people.”
(Taking The Leap)
Thanks to our friends at Shambhala Publications for Heart advice of the week. To get yours, sign up at
After weight gain, ‘650-pound virgin’ back to the gym - TODAY Health.flv (by spurtikus1)
So I ran across this thing on YouTube which basically illustrates exactly what I was talking about in my previous post.
This guy lost hundreds of pounds and was publicly cheered for it. But he gained a ton of it back because he couldn’t adjust mentally. He did drugs and drank and ultimately ran back to the arms of food. (Does this seem familiar to anyone else here?) He has issues and he won’t make progress without dealing with them. Pretty much like anyone who has a more typical substance-abuse problem, I guess. You usually can’t just quit drinking; you gotta do rehab and therapy. Same with abusing food.
Ok people I need some honest opinions here. I started this blog after reading Ben Davis’ story of weight loss and his journey to strength. He is the whole reason I started to do life. If he lost weight. I could lose weight (shut up, I’m still working on it)
Now forgive me. But… is it just me or is Ben getting fat again?
Here’s the thing about Ben Davis, as far as I can make out. I mean, I haven’t tumblr-stalked him back to the first post. So maybe I missed it. But in my experience, and I have been working on it for more than 6 years, weight loss is really a mental game. I don’t mean that you lose weight via the power of your mind. Obviously not! But it’s more that if your mind is not on board for any reason, you won’t lose weight, or else you will re-gain it.
Ben has done an insane amount of exercise. But I’ve not noticed a whole heck of a lot of posts about the psychological work involved. Just at the top, there’s the part where one must dig deep to understand what drove the overweight process in the first place: why did you seek comfort/love/protection/whatever in the pantry? Then learning to heal those issues without recourse to food. Forgiving anybody who might have contributed to those issues. (Hello, Pa Davis.) Just these steps can block most people’s progress. But there’s plenty more. Mourning the old lifestyle that must remain dead forever. Mourning the old self and also forgiving the old self for everything. (That one’s a tough one, the forgiving.) Letting go of self-loathing so that all of your actions can now come from a place of self-love. Learning to actually see the new self, another very tough step. (I’m obviously working on this one myself right now.) Learning to understand and accept one’s new position in society. Accepting the way that one’s relationships with close family and friends may be impacted by all these changes. Working through any ambivalence or outright prejudices that one might be harboring about fatness or thin-ness. And of course on a technical level, one must learn how to eat for maintenance which is not a negligible challenge.
This is just what I can think of off the cuff right now. I’m sure there’s more. Particularly since I have not gotten all the way down the path myself, so there’s bound to be some things I have not even gotten a glimpse of yet.
Ben’s only human, and he’s young, too. Doing all this emotional work is extremely difficult and there’s really not a lot of good instruction on it out there. Believe me, I have been looking. I mean, there are a few books. But not much. And very few people have written memoirs detailing the psychological journey of weight loss. They really gloss it over. So the whole thing is quite isolating. It seems as though nobody can understand or relate to it at all. So it’s quite a challenge to get appropriate support, when you don’t need someone to say, “get your ass out there and run,” but rather you need someone to say, “what is really bothering you right now? You need to face it and release it.”
So that is my take on the Ben situation. My take is: it’s really not at all surprising he has gained some weight, because he still has a crap ton of personal work to dig through. Good luck, Mr. Davis! I’m rooting for you.
[photo: poster with audre lorde’s quote that reads, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” in the bottom right corner there is black and white image of audre lorde wearing glasses and in the middle of speaking.]
Back in the day, feminists used to say, “the personal is political.” And I feel more than ever that this is very true. It is a radical act, an act of freedom and rebellion, to take hold of your life and your health with both hands. To care for yourself fully and with intention, not letting yourself fall into the greasy hands of those who would like to profit from somebody’s gullibility, laziness, ill health and weakness. To get up every damn morning and put your boots back on and start working all over again to build yourself up higher, stronger, and better. To jump up on your board and surf, not be swept under the waves. Resist the narrative that charlatan marketers want to write for your life. Write your own story, one in which you kick every ass and emerge completely victorious.
Here’s a picture of my belly today:
This is a picture of a 42-year old person. Today, I weigh 135 lbs. The brand-new undies I am wearing are size Small. (They’re Ex Officio brand from REI. Silky wicking fabric. So nice!) I wear a size 6 in pants now. This person, with this belly, can do a headstand or a backbend. She does P90X, she can run a 5K. She is, by most conventional measures, both thin and fit.
However, as you can plainly see, although I’ve lost weight and changed my whole life around, I have not been visited by the Magical Skin Fairy. My belly shows the traces of everything I’ve been through. Here’s another, even more merciless shot:
My skin is really damaged in this area, and I do still have a little over-hang as well, although the fat from the lower belly area is almost all gone at this point. I estimate that I could lose at least another 8 to 10 lbs of straight fat from around the torso, if we are being cold-blooded about it. Perhaps if I do that, the belly may become a bit less asymmetrical. But no amount of weight loss is going to make this skin firm up or become smooth. For better or worse, my belly has the soft, wrinkly, scarred surface of skin that has been through a couple of pregnancies and a whole lot of weight gain. Learning to make peace with this imperfect part of myself has been a big part of my journey.
I’m sharing it with you all today to get this message across: no matter how hard you work, it’s possible that some elements of physical perfection may remain out of reach. And you must learn to love yourself anyway. Learn to love yourself, learn to receive love, learn to give love, even though you are not physically perfect and perhaps never will be. This message of love has been brought to you by my middle-aged belly and I hope it sticks with you and maybe even helps you out when you get to feeling down on yourself. LOVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE RIGHT NOW!