Category Archives: weight loss

On body image, sports, and fashion

WARNING:  This is likely to be a rambling and disjointed post.  Lots of stuff jumbling around in my head and I feel the need to get it out, but it might not be as cohesive as I’d like. [oh, and this has been in draft form for over a week... oops!]

I’ve been thinking a lot about body image lately.  Much of my thinking was sparked by this post from Jane which links to another post where a “bigger” girl was bullied online for wearing leggings.   As I’ve already established, I refuse to wear leggings.  But that’s not the point.   The point is that for the first time in, well, ever… I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin.

There are a variety of reasons for this (I’m at a comfortable weight, my boyfriend loves my curves, I’m secure enough to not want to be stick thin), but I think the biggest contributing factor is my participation in sports.  Through running and roller derby, I’ve learned to appreciate my body more as a tool and less as an object.  Not exactly a ground-breaking revelation, but still significant to me personally.

As much as sports have helped me feel comfortable with myself, it’s interesting to me how many *other* people assume that my running (and–to a lesser extent–derby) is about weight loss.   As if there is no reason–other than “looking good” — to maintain an active lifestyle.

People are always shocked when I tell them that I’m not running to lose weight.  Yes, I could stand to lose a couple of pounds… and it would certainly help my finishing times, but that’s really not why I run.   I run for the accomplishment, for the feeling of pushing myself towards a goal.  If it helps me look better in my jeans, great… but that’s not really the point.   I lost a whopping 2 lbs during my half-marathon training.  When I told someone this, they said: ‘well, it’s better than nothing.”

It’s also interesting to me how many people commented on how I *looked* after my half-marathon and not how I did.    I’m not one to turn down a compliment, and I really did look better than I performed, but I worry about people’s perceptions of me.   I finished that race feeling strong and confident and athletic… and I get “you look great.”   There’s deeper meaning  to unpack here, but I’m not sure I know where to start.

While thinking about all of this, I posted a question on facebook.  I asked my fb friends to name the compliment (physical or otherwise) they get most often.  Some of them happily played along while others made jokes.  One girl even said: “my legs and my hair– why do I feel weird saying that?”  We feel weird saying that because, as women (most of my respondents to my informal poll were women), we’re taught to be shameful of our bodies and to not “brag” about ourselves.  Note that I didn’t ask what people liked most about themselves… just what other people tell them about themselves.

Which brings me to the “fashion” part of this post.  The ladies over at academicchic are hosting Dress Your Best Week, which encourages people to dress to highlight a favorite body part.    They contend that we often dress to “hide” parts of our bodies that we find less-than-desirable, but we need to do more to flaunt those that we like.   To participate, I had to name 5 body parts I would like to highlight.    I apparently can’t follow directions, so I chose:  breasts, shoulders, and skin.

This week has completely gotten away from me, but look for a Foto Friday post highlighting at least one of my best features.

Potpourri for $100, Alex

Prepare for some utter randomness. . . 

Another Coat Sighting

My mom sent me this picture of me with my brother and cousins on Thanksgiving.  Guess what I’m wearing?  Yep, that’s right:  The Gap coat!

Me, Justin, Ryan, Thaddeus @ the Wayside, Pesotum

Me, Justin, Ryan, Thaddeus @ the Wayside, Pesotum

Lent

I’ve decided to give up gossiping for Lent.  I’ll admit that I like a good tidbit of gossip from time to time, but it’s just BAD.  It hurts people.  It sucks to be on the receiving end of it.  I’m just going to give it up.   I’m not Catholic (or Lutheran, or really even that religious), but I just think it’s a good time to start– kinda like a New Years resolution or something.

Speaking of Which…

A quick update on my resolutions:

100% smoke free:   Not 100%, but maybe 98%  (I’ve smoked ONCE since the resolutions post).  This one is the easiest. Probably because I’m not a “real” smoker.  Whatever.  My lungs thank me.  

Avoid fast food: I was on a bit of a fast food kick for a minute, but I’m off that train.  Fast food isn’t really that  good.

Finish more books: I finished 2 books this year, both in the Twilight “saga.” I have a book club book I haven’t finished yet.  I need to.

Learn to write fiction:  I’m enrolled in a non-fiction writing class at Parkland.  Not sure if it’s helping.  Yet.

Watch more movies:  I’ve seen 2 movies in the theater this year:  Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler.  Alas, I still have 4 Netflix sitting unwatched.

Be more honest:  I think I’m getting there.   See above about not gossiping.

Appreciate poetry:  Eh… still not quite there.  I got a book of poems for my birthday and I’ve read some of them.  Need to be more consistent.

Fighting Weight:  I think I’ve maybe lost 3 lbs.  Not good.  I  need to step this goal into high gear for a couple of reasons:  1) I’m in a wedding in 6 months and 2) I’m running a 5K in 6 weeks!    

I’ve decided to forego the Couch to 5K program. Instead, I’m working on increasing my running time with every workout in hopes of getting up to 40 minutes.  I figure if I can run for 40 minutes surely I can finish 3.2 miles.   That means I need to work out 15 days in the next 6 weeks.   I think I can do it.    I’ve decided I also need some “incentives” to keep me motivated:

Lose 10 lbs-- New running shoes

Finish 5K-- New bike (and then maybe I’ll start training for a triathalon or something)

Control Debt:   Eh… I’m not doing so hot in this category.  I haven’t even given up all the things I said I would.  Or, really, any of them. No reason, just lazy.  My tax return should help.

Be More Responsible–   I’m doing slightly better at this.   Only slightly.   See above about being too lazy to cancel cable.  Yeah.

Just for Fun

Check out this cool “Man of Honor” speech.  Soooo sweet.  And catchy!  

Biker Babe

I’ve decided to become a biker, as in cyclist, not a Harley Chick!

I got my old bike out of my mom’s garage, aired up the tires and took her for a spin.  I’ve been biking around town for fun and exercise, but now it’s time to take the leap and bike for transportation.

A fruitful trip to Target yielded a new bike lock (which I don’t 100% understand), a padded gel seat, and a backpack to carry my stuff.  I tried out all my new “gear” on a short trip to the grocery store.  Everything worked out well except I underestimated how much room my groceries would take up. I was hoping to get everything in my backpack, but I had to use a plastic bag instead.  Lesson learned.

Tomorrow will be my first attempt at commuting to work on 2 wheels.  It’s about 3.5 miles from my house to work and I’ve ridden it in about 1/2 an hour.  But that was at night. Without traffic.  I figure I’ll have to leave about 40 mins early to give me enough time to get there and “freshen up” before everyone arrives.

I still don’t know what I’m gonna do about the clothing situation.  Part of me thinks I should have seperate biking clothes and change into  my ” real” clothes when I get to work.  The other part of me is cringing at the thought.  Plus, my bag isn’t really big enough to hold an entire change of clothes.  I guess I’ll just see how tomorrow goes and then decide.

I’m pretty excited about this new adventure… I kinda thought it would be fun to do and write about my experiences.  Apparently so did the News-Gazette’s “roving reporter.”  She started last week.

A day late and a dollar short, I guess!!

Fit/Fat Camp: Day 1

To add some spice to my workout routine I joined FitCamps4Chicks with a friend of mine. Today was the first session and it went something like this:

1. Fill out paper work

2. Roll call/introductions

3. Warm up– running in place/high knees

4. Fitness assessments:

  • Crunches– do as many crunches as you can in 60 seconds with ball over your head. Shoulder blades must come off the ground and ball must hit knees. My best: 38 crunches; near the bottom of the pack
  • Wall sit– sit on wall (or, in our case a tree or fence) for as long as you can with your knees in a 90 degree angle above your feet. My best: 3:02; second highest in the group (first highest went to a girl who has done ALL the fit camps, so I’m pretty proud of myself!
  • Running test– run around a fence and then up the big hill at Centennial Park. My best: 39 seconds; fifth highest in the group… a little above average. But, I think the best time was, like, 30 seconds so I did pretty well, considering how much I SUCK at running!

As you can see, I’m pretty competitive and I’m bound and determined to do better on these next time. The camp meets 3x/week for 4 weeks. I’m excited for the next session!

Weight Loss TV

So, after writing the extremely lame last post, I plopped my fat ass on the couch to watch TV.  I was flipping back and forth between VH1s Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp (or whatever it’s called) and the National Body Challengeon the Discovery Channel.   I’ve also watched The Biggest Loser sporadically over the last few years.

I can’t quite decide how I feel about these shows.  On one hand, they’re supposed to be inspirational.  And sometimes are.  On the other hand it’s kinda like watching an anti-smoking commercial and getting the craving for a cigarette.

Celebrity Fit Club is by far the worst of the bunch.  These are spoiled quasi-celebs who are just doing it for a) the paycheck or b) the notoriety.  I haven’t really followed this latest season and I’m not 100% sure who the “celebrities” are, but one of them admitted to doing it for the money and another for the fame.  Except Tina Youthers.  She rocks.

This is the first time I’ve watched National Body Challenge, but it seems to have fairly good advice and realistic goals.  They’re doing a twin thing right now.  Wonder if my brother would want to go on.  He’s packed on the pounds recently and I *guarantee* this is something I could do better than him…ahahah!

As for The Biggest Loser, well… it’s inspirational alright.  EVERYONE on that show starts out bigger than I am and I figure if they can do it, so can I.  But if past seasons are any indicator, they don’t have a whole lot of success keeping the weight off once they leave the “ranch” or the “campus” or whatever they’re calling it these days.

At any rate, I have one week before leaving for a business trip, so I’ll just make it my goal to work out at least 5 times.  This should a) ensure I get my ass off the couch and b) drag me out of my current funk.

Thoughts on Weight Loss

(this “classic” post is especially sad considering I’ve actually gained weight since then… but I’m sure weight issues will be prominently featured in this blog, so I’m posting it anyway)

First published: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thoughts on Weight Loss

Thoughts on Weight Loss

I’ve been trying to write this blog for a while, but I just don’t know how to start….. First of all, let me make something clear: This blog is not about how to lose weight, nor is it my way of trying to weasel compliments out of my mySpace peeps (although compliments are always accepted–word!). What I’ve wanted to write about is how other people react when someone loses weight…


Here’s the deal: over the past couple of years, I’ve lost some weight. I lost some last year for my brother’s wedding in Jamaica, then gained some back over the winter and have recently lost some more. No big deal, right? Well, apparently it is…. I could be overly sensitive (wouldn’t be the first time), but it seems like lately weight loss, losing weight and my looks are the only thing people want to talk to me about.

Now I’m not talking about my good friends, really… mostly co-workers and casual acquaintances. People who I don’t necessarily talk to on a daily basis. But that makes it worse. I mean, how often do you–in your everyday life– talk to casual acquaintances about your weight, your body and your eating habits? Probably not much. Before I lost weight, I NEVER talked to people about these things, but now they find it perfectly acceptable to talk to me about it.


Don’t get me wrong…. the vast majority of people just say something like: “you look good” or “you’ve lost weight, haven’t you?” but I’ve also had a lot of people say really strange/inappropriate things to me like:

“So, what are you doing to lose all that weight?”


“Exactly HOW MUCH weight have you lost?”

“Hey, look, there goes the skinny ——”
(which made me literally want to crawl out of my skin)

“Congratulations”

(this one really weirded me out ‘cuz it took a while to figure out why I was being congratulated”Although I think most people are generally happy for me, I’ve been feeling some backlash lately. One woman even went so far as to tell me how before I lost weight I would wear a lot of dark, monotone colors and now I’m wearing a lot brighter colors. Well a) it’s summer… I always wear brighter clothes in the summer b) I’ve always thought I had cute clothes and c) what business is it of hers, anyway? This is the same woman who told me I’m much more ‘confident’ now so I guess I should take it with a grain of salt.

I’ve also found that some people, even though they act happy for me, seem to be using my weight loss as a comparison for theirs. That’s not healthy and it makes me feel bad. Like: “wow… if only I could lose as much weight as you.” It’s not a competition, people. JEEZ!

So, since I’ve been rambling on and on, here are the most commonly asked questions, and my responses.

“Have you lost weight?”


Yes, I’ve been losing weight for probably 2 years now. I started really trying before my brother’s wedding last July. I lost some weight for the wedding, gained a little back and then lost some more.

“How much?”

This question drives me crazy.

First of all… I honestly don’t know how much weight I’ve lost and I don’t care. I don’t own a scale and haven’t been on one in at least 6 weeks. I can tell you that I’ve dropped 2 pants sizes and many of my old shirts are now falling off of me, which is enough of a barometer for me. I could care less what the scale says.

What I find interesting is the reasons people ask me this in the first place. From my experience, this question sounds like: “so, exactly how fat did you USED to be?” Or they’re also trying to lose weight and are using it as some sort of comparison. I’m really not interested in either of these things.

And, sometimes, “How are you doing it” or “what diet are you on”?

I think people are looking for me to tell them I’m doing it with Weight Watchers or LA Weight Loss or some other canned program. They’re looking for the magic answer so they can go tell people: “well, so and so lost 45 lbs on weight watchers” or something.

I won’t go into the details because I have no desire for people to comment on whether or not they think I’m eating ‘right’, but I’m just eating less and exercising more. I also had a 6-week period there where I was under a lot of stress and—for the first time in my life—it caused me to LOSE weight instead of gain it. But keeping it off is due to old-fashioned diet and exercise. I wish there was a magic answer, but there’s not. Sux, doesn’t it?

So, next time you see me, feel free to tell me how amazing I look (‘cuz, well—you know—everyone likes to hear that sometimes), or compliment me on my stylish duds, but leave it at that. Talk to me about something else…. Music, movies, work, gossip… ANYTHING but the fact that my body looks different than it used to. ‘Cuz, frankly… I’m sick of talking about it.