Staycation

I’m not having the best week. Work is hard. Working out is hard. Food issues and body image issues that I thought were behind me are creeping up again. In general, life is hard. 

But now I’m taking care of me for a few days. 3 vacation days (plus weekend). Starting now, I’m taking 5 full days where I’m turning off emails, politics, drama. I’m looking to feed my soul. I’m focusing on friends, loved ones, family. 

We aren’t going anywhere. I’m not setting up a “to-do” list. I may or may not run. I may or may not sleep till noon. I plan on having a lot of sex and alcohol may or may not be involved. 


Most of all, I’m taking a vacation from judging me. To celebrate, I’m taking a beautiful sunset walk. Lots of pics. Lots of rests. Lots ofcontemplation and introspection. No thoughts of shoulda, coulda, woulda. 

For five days. Ready? Set. Go! 

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Week 1 Goal Met

Thursday’s cross train was tougher than I expected. 16 min of an work left me with 2 days of everything aching. I had planned to rest Friday and run yesterday but ended up not even walking either day.  Part of it was a work crisis, but mostly I just felt ick.

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This is how my brain has been working the past few days. My sense of empowerment is outnumbered!

Two days rest was enough for the nagging nellies in my head to gain control and tell me what a failure I was.

So this morning I decided to shake it off and start over (again). New week, new goal, new chance to do it.

And then I checked my Fitbit and was shocked/thrilled that I had met my weekly goal after all.

img_0340Apparently Fitbit starts the week on Monday, not Sunday. You would think that after 4 years I would know that, but since I’m always willing to think the worst of myself, I guess I forgot.

So despite all the things I had said and thought about myself I had, in fact, met my goal. 3 runs, 1 cross train in the week. So I’m putting The Fierce Queen in my brain back in charge again and sticking Doubt, Fear, Shame, and Despair back in the corner where they belong.

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Everyone’s happy when the Queen is happy!

Run Two

I almost didn’t get my run in today.

I was going to run when I first go up, but I woke later than expected and needed to get some emails out by deadline.

Then I was going to run before driving into the city, but I couple of calls for work distracted me.

All this was before 9 am. I finished a meeting at two  (about 45 miles from home) and had a conference call at five. It was tight but I managed to get a run on the treadmill between these two appointments.

I don’t like running in the tread, but it wasn’t quite nice enough weather for an outdoor run.  I really think I could have talked myself out of the run, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Run 2 isn’t as momentous as run 1. It doesn’t have the same gravitas. I think that makes it harde, but you never get to run 5 or run 25 or run 200 if you don’t get through run 2.

First Run

The only way this works is if I start over; pretend I never ran before. I’m not looking at time or pace or distance. I’m looking at “did I get it there and run.”

I’m the unfaithful lover That has to earn back trust.

I’m the prodigal son who doesn’t deserve another chance but gets one anyway.

Loving my body means loving it when it can’t perform, and I’ve failed miserably on that front, but I’m ready to make amends.

So I ran today.

It was hard and lovely and just the beginning.

I promise to care for my lovely body that is sometimes amazing and sometimes fragile.

Just Not 40 Anymore

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I’ve been blogging for 10 years! Hard to believe.

In less than 6 weeks I’m turning 50. It is supposed to be traumatic, turning 50, but I’m actually kind of excited about it. It seems cool to me that I’ve lived this long and I get to look back on all that I’ve accomplished. I’m in better shape at (almost) 50 than I was at 40, 30, or even 20.  I can run farther and faster than I ever imagined I could.

Being excited about being 50 might have something to do with how I feel about my health and my body right now.  If my 40’s taught me anything it is:

  • I love my body; it can do amazing things
  • If I treat my body like I love it; it will love me back

fitfatrunIn fact, there is only one thing I don’t like about turning 50, and that is that I feel it is time to give up “fatnforty” as my twitter and blog name.  I tried an experiment to see if I could get the “40” to mean something besides age, but after a few weeks that plan fizzled, and I realize it wasn’t meant to
be.  So now I’m officially closing this blog and changing my twitter handle.  After much debate I’ve come up with a new name: FitFatRun.  I will post re-directs to my new blog for a few weeks, but then will most likely archive this site.

Thank you so much for all who have sent words of encouragement or posted your own inspiring accounts over the past 10 years.  I hope you like the change and decide to follow me on my new adventure:

 

 

 

 

A New Year Start

happy new year2015 was a great year for me, health wise:

It may be the first time in my life that I maintained my weight (staying within 5 lbs) for a solid year. No drastic ups or downs – just clean eating (mostly) and pretty relaxed about diet.

I learned a lot about accepting my body this year. I’m appreciative of my health and not so wrapped up about my weight.

It was definitely a banner year for me in terms of meeting my fitness goals:

  • I ran over 1,000 miles (1,023.3 to be exact) and walked over 4,000,000 steps (4,361,000, but who’s counting?)
  • I completed my first half marathon in under 3 hours (2:35:58)

2015 running monthlyI have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to make the 1,000 miles. The last few months the only thing that got me out running was the fact that I really, really, wanted to hit the 1,000 mark. It took me until late December, but I’m so happy I did it!

My third goal for the year was to write weekly about things I’ve learned. That didn’t quite happen. I used this blog quite a bit to get ready for the half, but then life, work, and other things took precedence, and I haven’t posted since September.

In all, I only wrote  9 truths and with only 14 weeks until I turn 50, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to (or even want to) meet this goal anymore.  I am going to re-read the ones I did write, because I think it will help me get back into that head space.

The thing about meeting (or not meeting) goals is that you always have to set new ones.  I can’t just repeat my goals from a previous year. Where’s the challenge in that? So here they are, my official 2016 goals for the year:

  • Run 1,250 miles because I totally have to up the ante, and I want to commit to running at least 100 miles each month.
  • Finish a marathon in less than 6 hours which sounds both totally doable and completely insane.
  • Complete 50 hours of yoga because I see that my body needs more than just running, so this works out to about an hour a week.
  • Grow something to eatThis one is a little bit out there, and was inspired by a cool blog post (10 Food Resolutions That Don’t Involve Body Shame). I do not have a green thumb, I never grow things, and I rarely cook, but I thought this might take me out of my comfort zone a little and I like that idea quite a bit.

So there you are! What are your goals for 2016?

Fat Girl with Thin Privilege

I recently wrote a post about being called “Not fat” (Not a compliment, btw) and it got me thinking, which is always dangerous. I’ve read a lot of interesting articles recently about thin-privilege and I thought it was important to note that even though I self-define as fat, I also have to recognize that I benefit from thin privilege. Here are some ways I personally benefit from thin privilege:

  1. clothes clipartI can shop in almost any store and find something that fits. This is a relatively new phenomena for me. For most of my life I could only shop in plus-size stores or stores with plus-size sections. I appreciate this every single time.
  2. seats clip artI can fit into most seats, on airplanes, at movie theaters, at amusement parks, in restaurants with booths. Sure, some are small and a tight fit, but no one suggests I can’t go somewhere because of my size.
  3. I can run in spandex and tank tops and not get constantly moo-ed at, yelled at, cursed. (girl runningAll these things happened to me regularly when I started running.) I still get yelled at occasionally, but  not so frequently or aggressively. I’m not made to feel that the clothes I choose to wear are an affront to someone else.
  4. cheesecake clipartI can order dessert or any other food I want without fear of aggression. I can’t tell you how many times I would choose not to eat something in public rather than risk a “Do you really need to eat that?”comment (or something much worse).
  5. Resume-ClipartI am not discriminated against at work due to my size. I work in education, a field that is less discriminatory than other fields in terms of size, but I don’t think I would have the job I have now if I still weighed what I did 3 years ago. I know for sure that I’ve been denied jobs and promotions in the past due to my size.
  6. doctor clipartI can visit a doctor and expect to be heard, rather than getting a knee-jerk (lose weight) reaction.  Well, not quite yet. The last time I went to get an annual physical my doctor looked at all my stats. Blood pressure? Perfect. Hear rate? Perfect. Respiration? Glucose levels? Cholesterol? All perfect. So what did my doctor say? You need to lose weight.
    I’m due for my annual again and just don’t want to schedule it because I don’t want to deal with this.

stethescopeIn the absence of any medical issues (other than fat) why do I have to lose weight anyway? What in my health data gives you the idea that I need to lose weight? You know, other than I’m fat… Which is apparently  a devastating medical condition that needs to take up all my time and energy.

Want to learn more about thin privilege? Here are some of my favorite resources:

wonderwomen

Not Fat? That Isn’t a Compliment

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Click to read the whole article.

It started with a conversation about Serena Williams.

“I don’t really understand what you posted on Facebook,” he tells me.

“What do you mean?” I ask. To me it’s so self-evident. Serena is awesome. Her attitude about her body is awesome. The way she deals with shamers & haters is awesome. Lots of awesome.  But he didn’t know anything about the media slams and Internet trolls (he’s cute and naïve that way). He was flabbergasted that anyone could look at Serena and think she was anything but beautiful. “Like Wonder Woman beautiful” were his exact words. And this is where the conversation got tricky.

virgieThe reality was, we weren’t exactly having the same conversation. He wanted me to explain how people could look at pictures of Serena and think she was fat or un-attractive. I wanted him to understand that the purpose of my post was that the conversation shouldn’t be what she looks like. This is a world-class athlete. A woman who has redefined the sport. She doesn’t just win Grand Slams, she wins “Serena Slams!” Why do people think they get to have an opinion about her looks?

After a while of back and forth he gets to , “Do you think you’re fat?” Oh boy!

We’ve been dating for almost a year and that one question underlines how badly I’ve failed both as a body-advocate and as a girlfriend. So far I have been completely unsuccessful in articulating to him the following:

  1. When I define myself as fat, it isn’t body-dysmorphia, it is self-empowerment and self-love.
  2. How others define me isn’t as important as how I define myself.
  3. Fat isn’t a derogatory term unless you let it be.
Jess Baker recently wrote an excellent post saying all the things I can't explain about this.

Jess Baker recently wrote an excellent post saying all the things I can’t explain about this topic.

I’m really glad I found someone who sees me as beautiful and sexy. I want him to desire me and get “hot and bothered” when I walk in the room. Telling me I turn him on is a compliment. Telling me I’m sexy is a compliment. However,  when he tells me I’m not fat, it isn’t a compliment. It undermines my self-identity in a way that is difficult for me to verbalize. (Although I’ve tried to here, here, and here.) It makes me feel like he isn’t seeing me.

I can be beautiful and brunette. I can be beautiful and blue-eyed. Why can’t I be beautiful and fat? And, for that matter, why do I even have to be beautiful. Personally, I’d rather be called smart, strong, or kind than be called beautiful.

Some ideas for how to give compliments on things besides looks and physical appearance, from artist Caroline Caldwell

Some ideas for how to give compliments on things besides looks and physical appearance, from artist Caroline Caldwell

Early in our relationship I asked him not to compliment me on how I look but on what I do, but he could never really wrap his head around that concept. I tried giving examples. I can’t even tell you how excited I get when someone says, “I never thought about it that way before,” or “Because of you I understand something I never did before,’ or “I feel very special when I’m with you.” These are compliments.

As our discussion continued I realized that a big part of the disconnect comes from his own body-image issues and experiences.  He wants and needs to be told he is sexy, and handsome, and desired. I wasn’t sure how to get him to understand so I held his stomach with both my hands and said, “I really love your belly. I love this part of you. And if this part gets bigger I will still love it. And if this part gets smaller I will still love it.”

Side Note: It has taken me several hours to write/edit this post. Writing about something so personal is very difficult. This isn’t my normal post about being empowered by running or how I feel about my food. I’ve edited and re-edited the words over and over, trying to get the right tone and be sure I’m saying what I mean. Even then, I’m sure I’m not getting it all “right.” This makes me think I need to forgive myself for not being able to communicate these feelings in a live-and-in-person conversation, where I can’t think about every word carefully, and delete the ones that don’t come out exactly right. Just wanted to add that in.

Be accountable.

31 weeksGoals are important, but unless you are accountable to those goals, they may not mean much. Writing down your goals makes them more real than just thinking about them. Sharing your goals with others is even better.

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There is no way I would ever be able to run 1,000 miles this year if I didn’t keep up with this blog.

I have several levels of accountability when it comes to my lifestyle changes. Probably the most important is this blog (and to a smaller extent my twitter account ). I don’t have an extremely high readership by any stretch, but once I post something, it becomes real to me. Sometimes I backtrack on what I write (yes, I made up with peanut butter) but the act of writing makes me more thoughtful on what I commit to.

Tracking is another great tool for me. I use Fitbit® and mapmyrun to track my daily, weekly, and yearly progress. I may want to skip a run or just stay in bed for a week, but just looking at my own numbers keeps me moving. For example, my daily step goal is 8k steps and many nights I’ve looked to see only 5k, 6k, or even 7,599 and decided I better just finish off my steps. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken an 11 pm walk just to get the numbers on my Fitbit over 8,000. Not just because friends and family are following me, but because the numbers remind me how important my goals are to me.

accountabilityAnd it’s not just exercise.  For the last two years I’ve written down everything I ate. It may seem strange since I pretty much eat the same thing every day, but I find that if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t count in my mind. No one sees my food log (and a food log may seem very diet-y for a non-diet person) but when I don’t write it down it is easy to fall into old habits and slip in the foods that de-rail me. For me, this also lets me be more non-diet.  If I want to eat something not on my program I do and don’t worry about it.  For example, on my recent vacation I enjoyed some brownies and an absolutely delicious piece of cheesecake. I tracked and moved on. No regrets, no guilt, and no pretending I didn’t do it.

And that is the ultimate accountability – to myself. Whether I track my progress or share my goals, I need to be honest with myself. I owe it to myself to invest the time and energy into myself.

Be Competitive…With Yourself

32 weeksThe other day I was doing one of my long runs (over 13 miles) and feeling great. Nothing was hurting (unbelievable) and my pace was decent compared to recent runs. About 4 miles out a woman passed me as if I was standing still. For about 20 seconds my heart sank. I’m too slow, I thought and it took a lot of effort to get that thought out of my head.

flowerbloomsI spent the next 2 miles telling myself:

You aren’t competing with her;
       you are competing with yourself.

This is a difficult lesson for me.  I don’t think of myself as very competitive, but I guess at some level I am. When I look at other runners (strangers, friends, family) I always feel like a failure. I’m too slow, it takes me forever to improve, blah, blah, blah. But when I look at myself and how far I’ve come and how much better I am than I was, I can’t help but feeling like a superwoman. Obviously I’m better off focusing my energy inward, don’t you think?

dontlookbackIn High School we were supposed to run a mile for gym class and I could barely walk it. Only a few years ago I periodically needed a cane to walk. I remember walking over the Brooklyn Bridge with my family and being totally crippled by the task. When I first started running it took 14 or 15 min to run a mile. The idea that I would ever run a half-marathon was inconceivable, but  I’ve already run over 13 miles (twice and counting) and my regular pace fluctuates around 11 min miles (12 or 13  min miles on those really long runs and under 10 in my last race).

And I’m not done improving. In 32 weeks I’ll be 50, but I’m faster, stronger, and braver than I’ve ever been in my whole life. And I got this way– not by looking at other people– but by constantly competing with my old self.