Feel the rain and do it anyways.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One of the primary lessons I've learned in getting and staying fit is that exercise sessions often don't go as planned.  Your exercise buddy doesn't show up, the class is canceled and on the day of your big group walk, it rains.  Sometimes it seems like the entire universe is conspiring against you in reaching your fitness goals.

In this situation, you have two choices.  You can say, awww the heck with it and go watch TV.  Or you can get out there and do it anyways.

This past Saturday was the final leg of our progressive Mara-thon at church where we raised money for the Mara district in Africa.  During the Mara-thon, we raised money to buy motorcycles and bicycles for the Mara missionaries--to help them cover their district which is 700 km from end to end.  This is roughly the distance between Los Angeles and Phoenix.  That's a long darn way over some hot and dry terrain.  And I think it's fairly safe to say, that their travel/exercise conditions are rarely optimal. 

So it was apropos, that this past weekend, for the final leg of our Mara-thon, we had some pretty tough weather.  It rained.  (and rained and RAINED!)  But I'm proud to say, that our little band got out our umbrellas and raincoats and just got on with it!  Yes it was tough.  Yes we got cold and wet.  But we didn't suffer anything that a cup of hot coffee and a nice warm bath couldn't cure.

Yes it was raining (cats and dogs) but we decided to feel the rain and do it anyways.  We were cold.  We were wet.  But above all, we were proud.

So my little chicklettes, here's my wish for you.  We're coming into the holidays--when there are built in excuses to avoid exercise around every single corner.  You may be tired.  You are undoubtedly busy.  But I'm asking you to put on your raincoat, grab your umbrella and exercise anyways.  Enjoy some well-earned pride along with your holiday pie.

The Fat Chick

A Big Fat Juicy Kiss!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Fantastic Photo by Kelly Varner)

After the flap over the now infamous Maura Kelly blog post on MarieClaire.com about how she felt that fat people kissing or indeed walking across a room would be "gross", I've been thinking a lot about the simple kiss.  Much to my delight, I watched as rad fatties and friends staged a "Big Fat Kiss In" at Friday closing time in front of the Hearst building.  I participated in Big Fat Blog's Virtual Kiss in with a photo of my own.  I kissed and was kissed.

Right smack (hee hee) in the middle of all this hullabaloo about kissing, a new episode of Glee aired, with a kissing theme.  And intwined in the plot was a very sensitive and interesting story about two characters who had "never been kissed".  Both characters expressed their angst over never having been kissed and what that meant--were they good enough?  Were they desirable?  Would they ever find somebody to kiss?

And this strikes at a deep fear that many of us share--the fear that we are not kissable--that despite the prince (or princess) inside, folks just can't get past the "frogness" outside.

That's what makes Maura's post so dangerous and damaging.  That's also what makes the Kiss-ins so extraordinary.  This Kiss-ins show that Maura is just WRONG.  The kiss-ins remind us that we are all not only kissable, but liable to be bussed in public for all the world to see.  It's a simple and powerful statement--"It's not just the skinny chicks that get kissed.  Fat Chicks get kissed too, and some of OUR snogging is simply epic".

So, my little chicklettes, it's time to tell those who shame you or make you feel inadequate to "kiss off!"  And it's time to simply line everybody else up for a kiss.  Smile and share a smooch with somebody today.  Don't let ANYONE you love say they've never been kissed.

Love and Kisses,
The Fat Chick

Eat, Move, Live, and SHARE

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm so excited!  I've been invited by the City of Hope to present fitness information and demonstrations as part of their Eat, Move, Live series.  In these sessions I meet with parents and children and help them learn how to integrate fitness into their daily lives.  We had the first session this past Tuesday and it was awesome!  You know, whenever I teach a new class, before I turn on the music and get everybody up and dancing, there's always a moment where my students are unsure.  They seem to ask themselves, "Can I do it?"  "Will it be too hard?"  "Will I hate it?"  "Will I look stupid?"  But after I turn on the music and get everybody started, there's that moment--usually halfway through the first song when I watch the questions on everybody's face turn to answers.  I watch their faces say, "Hey, I'm actually doing it!"  "It's not that bad!"  "It's actually kind of fun!"  "And I DON'T completely suck at it either."  Man, I gotta tell you, I love that moment.  As a teacher, it gets me totally jazzed.  I'd love for you to experience that moment too.

I wonder my dear friends, is there somebody in your life you could share that moment with right now?  Do you have a friend or a family member that just needs a little encouragement?  Is there somebody who just needs a little proof that they can do something totally amazing?  I want you to take a moment and think about it.  And if a name comes to mind, don't hesitate.  Call or email that person and help and share.  Because with all the talk about "runners high" and "endorphins", the high of helping somebody else find their strength, trumps all.

Oh and if you're in Southern California, and want to check out any of the two remaining sessions, don't forget to check my speaking schedule.  I can't wait to see you!

The Fat Chick

Acting Like a Kid Again

Friday, August 27, 2010

My newfound FAME, in the Pasadena Star News led to an opportunity to teach at a kids health camp in Duarte last week.  I led a 45-minute exercise class with about 25 young kids in it.  Was it ever a blast!  The kids were excited and enthusiastic about trying something new.  We did "dance around the world" with songs from Africa, Spain, Ireland, India, France and China.  We didn't talk much about exercise and we certainly didn't talk about thinning our thighs.  Some of the kids were genuinely surprised when I used the word "fat".  There were a few snickers and giggles, but mostly the kids just got down to the business of having a really good time.

And that's the point, right?

One of the problems with adult exercise is that so often, we lose track of what exercise's primary objective SHOULD be, which is having fun.  The minute exercise becomes about something else--fitting into a bathing suit, reducing numbers on a scale, toning your upper arms, the fun just leaks away.  And once the thrill is gone, it becomes a chore.  And we all know how we all feel about adding one more chore, right?

That's why it was so awesome dancing with these kids.  They were doing it just for the joy of it.  Nobody told them it was supposed to be hard work for them--so it wasn't.  So my dear chicklettes, that's my wish for you.  Take your inner child outside and play.  Swing on some swings.  Turn around in a circle until you get dizzy and fall down.  Turn on some fun music and boogie!  Above all, have fun.

The Fat Chick

Being Seen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Well, to say that it's been a while since I've posted is, um, an understatement.  But I've got an excuse!  I'm busy out there in the world being SEEN.  This might not seem like a big deal.  After all, my web site has like 20 pictures of me on it.  And my DVD is called The Fat Chick Works Out! for heaven's sake.  So it would seem that I am out there in the world.  And the answer is, well, kind of.  I've been out there in cyberspace.  I've been out there in spirit.  But I've kind of been hanging out, you know.  Not really putting it out there.  Hoping people would just find me and shower me with love.

But the time has come for me to take a more active role in taking my message out to the world.  And I've taken a few baby steps forward.  The picture above is from the NAAFA convention in San Francisco a few weeks ago.  There I am at a vendor table selling my DVDs.  I'm finally saying, "hey, I'm over here.  Come talk to me."  Believe it or not, even after all these years of working in size acceptance, fitness and health, it was still scary.  What if people don't like me?  What if they disapprove?  But I got to meet so many AWESOME people.  And I got to listen to so many inspiring stories of people reclaiming fitness for themselves.  It was so exciting.  And it was enough to get this girl right up off her big butt!

I have other exciting news to share, but I think I'll string it out over a few more posts--but only a few.  Because now that I've experienced the exhilaration of being OUT THERE in the world, I don't think I'll give it up for a while.  And neither should you!  Take your light out from under that bushel basket.  Wave it around and do an interpretive dance.  Film the whole thing and post it on YouTube!  Because by engaging in your own private act of courage and sharing, you help other people to do the same.

Oh, there you are.  Welcome back.

The Fat Chick

Thai Green Fishies

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I promised to give you some fish recipes, so here goes.  This one is for Thai green curry fish and it's adapted from a recipe in Sunset magazine.  Yummy!

1 jar of thai green fish simmering sauce (like the one from Trader Joes)
2 14 oz. cans of light coconut milk
1.4 pounds mahi mahi or other firm fish
2 red peppers, seeded, cored and cut into 1/2 inch rings
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves washed and patted or spun dry
2 cups cooked white rice.

Put the curry simmer sauce in a food processor with half of the fresh basil leaves.  Process until the leaves are very finely minced and mixed with the sauce.  Pour the sauce into a 1 qt. saucepan and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low.  Cut the pieces into 4 or 5 ounce servings.  Dip the fish and the red pepper rings in the coconut/curry mixture.  Heat grill to medium high.  Grill fish on the center (hottest) part of the grill and the red peppers on the outside for 5 minutes until the red pepper rings are beginning to brown and the fish is cooked through.  Put the rice on a large platter.  Put the fish fillets and pepper rings over the rice.  Cover with the green curry mixture and sprinkle with fresh basil leaves.  Serve immediately with a crisp Asian-style beer like Singha.  Serves 4.

Having trouble finding the ingredients?  You can order them from my favorite Thai food exporter HERE.


The Fat Chick

Something is a little bit fishy here...

Monday, June 21, 2010

As I have mentioned BEFORE, every month I try to tackle a new, very discrete, very tiny health habit.  I don't diet or engage in a "whole new way of eating".  I simply pick a small health habit and work on it.  This month's habit is FISH.  We all know that fish is good for us.  But there is increasing evidence that fish can significantly reduce our risks for heart disease and other health problems.  (Check THIS out...).

And fish is yummy.  Sometimes.  For a long time I didn't eat fish.  Truth be told, I hadn't really learned to enjoy fish until I tasted truly fresh fish.  A lot of my life I had frozen, reconstituted or just plain old fish.  And with apologies to those who think me ageist, old fish is bad fish.

So first and foremost, I've had to learn to find sources for really fresh fish.  I've been finding great tilapia and sockeye salmon at my local Fresh and Easy store.  And for the very freshest AND cheapest fish, look no further than your local, high volume, Asian Grocery.  I go to 99 Ranch.

I'm starting to compile some more fish recipes and pictures that I will share with you soon.  (Like THIS one, I posted back in April.)  In the meantime, here are some super easy ways to get fish into your diet:

1.  Canned tuna.  It's the perfect fast food.  Sprinkle it on salads, mix it with pasta, or even eat it straight out of the can.
2.  Fish tacos.  In a word, yum.  Go to your local, quality taqueria and order a few of these babies.  They are also usually very reasonably priced too!
3.  Canned salmon.  In addition to the yummy prep ideas listed above, you can make salmon cakes.  These are super yummy and freeze beautifully so you can make a bunch.  Recipes coming soon.

So for happy, healthy awesomeness I say, Go fish!

The Fat Chick

Under Where?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Under there is your underwear!  In our ongoing series on sexy, I want to tell you one thing.  Even if you're the only one who sees them, you need some sexy drawers my friend.  That doesn't necessarily mean a $1,000 shopping expedition to Victoria's Secret.  (Which doesn't carry anything in my size anyways, except maybe the breath mints...)  And I'm not saying you need to wear a thong if that's not your thing.  But a little effort here goes a long way.  Dudes, clean goes without saying.  And if the boxers don't fit, ya gotta toss it.  And ladies, let's just talk quietly and frankly about HGPs (huge granny panties).  In a word, um, no.  Even if nobody but you will see them, how are you going to feel sexy in those things?  Can you find something with a little lace?  Maybe at least wear a bra and panties in the same color family?  And most importantly, can you wear something that fits?  I'm telling you pulling your unmentionables out of your nether regions is a no no.  Even though it can constitute both exercise and flexibility training, it does NOT feel sexy.  Spend the time to find the right bra and panties.  And when you find some that fit, buy about 80 sets because 2 days after you fall in love with that model, they will inexplicably stop making them.  Don't ask me why.  But it's as sure as bird poo on your freshly washed car.

So why am I mentioning your unmentionables?  And why spend all this energy feeling sexy?  Because feeling sexy makes you sexy.  And being sexy is AWESOME.  Okay my little chicklettes.  Go get some sexy gear on.  (A feather boa is always a nice touch.)  Because you're worth it.

The Fat Chick

Now I KNOW I'm sexy

Monday, May 24, 2010

Many times, in the deep dark past, I let a number on a scale tell me each day whether or not I was sexy.  Goal weight?  Sexy.  10 pounds down?  Sexy!  Same as yesterday? Not sexy.  Up ten pounds? Never having sex again evar!  For so long, I stood on that little device and it would determine how I felt about my sex appeal for the day.  And it seemed to me that other people responded in kind.  When I was thinner, others seemed to find me sexy.  When I was heavier, not so much.  But in hindsight, I realize that was some fairly shoddy reasoning.  If I've learned anything at all in my years of research on diet, exercise, weight and health, I've learned that correlation is not the same thing as causation.  Just because two things happen at the same time, does not mean that one of those things caused the other.

With many years of experience (and expensive therapy) behind me, I've conceived of an alternate explanation for my thinner is sexier experience.  When I felt sexier, I was more confident.  I felt full of joy and power.  I swayed my hips.  I wore the tight dress.  I wore red lipstick.  I laughed more.  Is it any wonder that other people perceived me as more sexy? 

So it follows, doesn't it, that if I felt sexier when I was thinner, then I needed to lose weight to feel sexy.  Doesn't it?  DOESN'T IT?

Well, sort of.  I mean, that's one way to go about it--a pretty stressful and unreliable way to go about it.  Since those bad old days, I've found another way.  Instead of letting a number on a scale determine whether I felt sexy, I just decided that I was sexy.  Whatever my weight, I felt full of joy and power.  I swayed my hips.  I wore the tight dress.  I wore the red lipstick.  I laughed more.  I knew I was sexy, and lo and behold, other people knew I was sexy too.

That's why I love this Yay! Scale (invented by my friend, the amazing Marilyn Wann).  As you can see by the readout above, the scale has confirmed that I am indeed sexy.  My other wonderful friend Kelly Varner took these pictures of me on the Yay! Scale at one of Marilyn's amazing lectures at UCLA.  You can get your very own totally awesome Yay! Scale HERE.

So whatever your scale says,  you decide you feel sexy.  When you feel sexy, you are sexy.  So my dear chicklettes, go out and shake your sexy tailfeathers.

The Fat Chick

Big Girls Get Some Too

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's amazing how many people have the idea that fat chicks don't have sex.  Some believe, we're so far from the female ideal fed to us by the media and entertainment industries, that nobody wants to have sex with us.  They believe we sit home every night, eat ice cream and watch Oprah reruns on Tivo.  But my dear little chicklettes, this simply is not the case.  In fact a recent study indicates that fat chicks have sex MORE often than skinny chicks.  You can read about the study HERE.  Ya know, one really interesting thing I discovered, as I researched this study is how the media spun it.  It was actually very difficult to find a link to this study that wasn't coupled with somebody's opinion.  A lot of these opinions were fairly insulting to fat chicks.  Some said that fat chicks had more sex because they have poor impulse control and couldn't say no.  Others said that fat chicks feel bad about themselves and needed sex to feel better.  Others simply said that the fat chicks lied about how much sex they were having.  None of these opinions about sex and fat chicks had any basis in scientific research--they were pure conjecture.  But it is amazing what lengths the media and entertainment industries will go to in order to further the "thin is sexy" concept.  Even in light of the study I referenced in my previous blog post which showed that many, many men prefer bigger chicks, many in the media assume and report that fat chicks are sluts or the study is wrong.

Puhleese!  We know that fat chicks are having sex because they are powerful, beautiful and sexy.  They are sexberries--round, ripe and luscious.  So if you've got a little extra junk in the trunk, or a few well-placed rolls, so what?  You're gorgeous and you can get some sweet, sweet lovin if you choose to!  Don't let anybody ever tell you different.

The Fat Chick

Sexberry Series Part two.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well, I'm happily nomming all those strawberries and I have to say they are delicious.  And after a little googling I found a study conducted by some scientist-type-guys that show that strawberries are actually good for your sex drive (check HERE).  So I'm downing strawberries (in the form of strawberry shortcake) in large doses.  This is an experiment, you see.  I'm just trying to confirm, on a scientific basis, if what the science geeks say is true.

Now there are those among you (you know who you are) who might suggest that eating a lot of strawberry shortcake might make me rounder AND less attractive to the opposite sex.  And I'll say "HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, BUSTER!"  Who says guys don't like round girls?  Some recent surveys on the subject have produced some extremely interesting results.  It seems when presented with pictures of tankini clad cuties, most dudes went for the size 12 or the size 14 girls.  Yup.  The trim, toned, size 8 got the lowest scores.  When it comes to hitting fashion magazines, we big girls might not win the day.  But apparently, when it comes being the one boys want to hit the sheets with, we big girls got it going on!  Read about it HERE.

So are you letting fat phobia stunt your sex life?  Are you on a crazy diet because you think men only like size 0 women?  Are you aware you are reading a blog when you could be EATING CHOCOLATE?  I've often said that healthy is as healthy does.  And you know what, sexy is as sexy does too.  It's like magic: decide you are sexy and POOF you are!  Enjoy my Lieblings.

'Scuse me, but I need to put a little more real whipped cream on my shortcake, I mean research.

The Fat Chick


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's so funny how the mind works isn't it?  This week I went to the Farmer's market in Monrovia and picked up some of the sweetest, juiciest and most luscious strawberries you ever saw.  And I thought, 'those strawberries are SEXY!'  The idea of equating strawberries with sex is hardly new.  Add a little candlelight and whipped cream and well, one thing will lead to another, ya know?  But what struck me this week is that although strawberries are healthy, they aren't skinny.  And if we used skinny terminology on strawberries, they don't sound good at all.  Toned, thin, strong, skinny, trim strawberries?  Yuck!  What those strawberries were is ripe.  And ripe is sexy.

So instead of thinking of myself in weight-driven, glossy, model terms, I'm thinking of myself in terms of fruit.  This week, I'm a sexberry.  I'm round, full, ripe, juicy, sweet, and luscious, honey.  And I'm just a tiny bit tart just to keep things interesting.  So you just keep an eye on this blog.   You never know what will turn up.

The Fat Chick

A Saucy Little Salmon

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm constantly looking for yummy, easy, healthy fish recipes and I recently found this gem for broiled salmon.  It's super easy!

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Shoots
adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2010
serves 6
  • 1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce [I use Mae Ploy]
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated (or finely chopped) fresh ginger, divided
  • 6 6-ounce salmon fillets, with (or without) skin
  • 2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas (or snowpeas), trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 3 cups pea tendrils or [pea sprouts] (about 6 ounces)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place salmon fillets, skin side down, on the sheet.

Whisk together the chili sauce, 2 Tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 Tablespoon ginger in a small bowl.  Pour over the salmon, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler.  Spoon any marinade remaining on baking sheet over the salmon.  Broil, without turning, until browned in spots and almost opaque in the center, 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the remaining ginger and the garlic, and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar snap peas and stir, cooking until crisp-tender and brown in spots, 2-3 minutes.  Add the remaining soy sauce, rice wine, and pea tendrils, and cook, stirring constantly, until the tendrils begin to wilt, about 1 minute.  Drizzle with sesame oil.

Place 1 salmon fillet on each plate, and spoon the warm salad over the salmon.  Serve immediately.  I served mine with a bit of steamed rice on the side.


Getting off the Fast Food Train

Monday, April 19, 2010

We recently stopped at McDonalds on our way to a trade show in Vegas.  The McDonalds had converted rail cars--which is where we sat.  As you can see from the picture, it was kind of fun.  And as you can see from the picture, it was pretty windy.  And my German friend Marcel (also in the picture) was sort of interested in the whole McDonalds/Train Car/Tourist extravaganza.

I know, I know.  I'm furthering the fat girls eat McDonalds stereotype, but I do--very occasionally eat at fast food places.  (As do most people I know--skinny or fat).  I eat a lot less fast food than I used to though.  I have gradually weaned myself off fast food and now will eat it in a pinch.  But now that I eat rarely at fast food places, I find I don't enjoy it very much.

That said, I understand the instant gratification, nom while I'm on the LA freeways for over two hours allure of fast food.  I've always known that fast food isn't the best for me, but when you're working an 16-hour day with a 1+ hour commute each way, it's tempting to pull into the drive through and get a little bag of psudo-food. 

I tackled this the same way I've tackled other issues in my life--a little bit at a time.  As I may have mentioned before, I do not diet.  I do however try to tackle one "food related" habit per month to work on.  And when I started this process years ago, the first habit I tackled was the drive through.  I didn't try to give up fast food altogether at that time.  And I didn't try to deal with every aspect of my eating habits all at once.  For one month, I simply decided not to go to a drive through.  That was it.  That was enough.  Now, years later, I VERY rarely visit a drive through.  And I find that I'm not really even tempted any more.  So instead of trying to change all my health habits at once--which might last maybe a few months, I've tried tackling one health habit at a time--resulting in changes still in place years later.  I'm totally convinced this is the way to go.

A while back, I limited sodas of any kind to meals outside of the house.  I stopped buying soda for home a few years ago.  This month I went cold turkey on sodas and pretend sugar of any kind.  I thought, well this should be easy.  I've already limited soda.  WRONG!  At first the cravings were pretty intense, but as always, the cravings are gradually subsiding.  But clearly, for this month, that's enough.

So how about you?  Do you have ONE food-related health habit you'd like to improve this month?  How about one fish or vegetarian meal per week?  How about eating a good breakfast every day?  Are you ready to cut down on your two-pot-per-day coffee habit?  Drop me a line and let me know how you're doing.  And remember, success comes one step at a time.

The Fat Chick

What Eliza Can Teach Us.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spent the day at the horse races at Santa Anita Park.  We had won some tickets to the fancy "Turf Club" at a silent auction at my church.  Everybody was dressed to the nines and I couldn't help thinking about the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady.   [Watch it Here.] I even had my very own Eliza moment as our long odds horse came up from the very back to come in second. 

And as I was watching and sipping champagne and all-around enjoying our very successful and fun day, I kept thinking about what Eliza says in that scene.  C'mon, Dover!  Move your bloomin' arse!  And you know, for all the thousands of pages of advice about how to stay healthy and happy in this world, it does kind of boil down to that, doesn't it?  Just get up, and move your butt!  Sorry if it sounds crude, but that's it.   There are lots of other things that are important for good health, but getting out there and shaking your booty is probably the most important.  Shake your booty--shake up your life.

As much as we'd all like to snap our fingers and have our lives be different--be better, we can't expect our lives to change unless our behavior changes.  One of the very simplest and most direct ways to do this is to get up and move our bodies through space.  Don't worry about how much and how far.  Don't worry about how much other people are shakin' theirs and if shakin' yours is making it any smaller.  Just shake it honey!  Move your bloomin' arse!  Not sure how to begin?  Go ahead and check out the tools in the [Start] page of my website.  Enjoy!

The Fat Chick

Exercise Superstar!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I realize I've been promising to share some info with you about our big video shoot for weeks now.  Well better late than never, I guess!  In late March, we did a video shoot for a short piece about me and my completely fabulous students and my life as The Fat Chick!  In addition to the photo above, I've got a flikr page here:  [Fat Chick Works Out Video Shoot]  The weather was glorious and we had a fabulous time!  (Although I was a little nervous.)  I can't wait to get through the editing to share the final piece with you.

I love to teach.  I love my students.  I especially love how different they are from one another and what they bring to the class--their energy, their joy and their sense of humor.  If you live in the LA area, and you've been thinking about taking a class with me, I hope you'll just come on over and give it a try.  You can find out more class information here:  [Fat Chick Class Calendar]  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the calendar.  Come on, and join the fun.  W00t!

Please Stand By

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Well my commitment to blogging every day has frankly flagged somewhat.  But my commitment to my project, of sharing The Fat Chick has grown exponentially.  So how to classify?  Should we call this a success or a failure?  Well if you've been reading by blog AT ALL for the last couple of months, I think you know which way I'm going to go on this.  I'm calling it a success.  Because as important as it is to stick with your microgoals--those teeny tiny steps that draw you inexorably towards the life you wish to achieve, it's equally important to be flexible and not lose sight of the big picture.

So on the big picture side, I've been posting diligently to my facebook pages and twitter feed.  And I just had a shoot for a promotional video for The Fat Chick Works Out!  So sometimes you have to put a few of the baby steps aside to take a few giant leaps.  I feel fairly certain that Neil Armstrong put aside sorting his laundry and filing his taxes while he was flying around in space.

So while the blog posting has been a bit sparse, stay tuned for some awesomely cool new stuff.  And don't you sweat the small stuff either.  Okay?

The Fat Chick

Mourning the Old Ways

Monday, March 15, 2010

Periodically, (okay--all the time) I run into folks who think I am crazy for my belief.  They cling to the idea that only thin people can be healthy and their life will be so much better once they lose that 20 lbs.  And they think (okay--tell me to my face) that I am wrong or in denial about my ability to be a healthy fat person.

And sometimes, it makes me a little upset (okay--wildly angry).

But when that happens, I try to take a deep breath and remember a few things:

1.  Some people are never going to agree with me, no matter what I do or say.  And that's okay.
2.  Some people may disagree with me, but still take something useful away from our conversation.  And that's great.
3.  Some people may agree with me someday, but they just aren't there yet.  And that's awesome.

At least in my experience, the journey towards Fat Acceptance and HAES is just that, a journey.  I didn't get there all in one go and I suspect that many other people find it that way.

In my experience, the attraction of the culture of thinness lies somewhat in it's simplicity.  Lose weight, feel great, be healthy and then you will find career success, love, adoration, wealth and truly fabulous clothes.  The beauty of this plan is that it allows you to believe that all of those things are coming as soon as you lose weight.  So naturally you don't have to do any of the other difficult things that are required to get you what you want in your life until you lose weight.  This leads to the whole syndrome of "weighting around" to start your life.

Sure, once you apply research and logic and good common sense to this formula, it's easy to see that it's hogwash.  But in giving up this fantasy, you're giving up a lot.  And the truth, at first blush seems a lot less sexy and much more subtle and nuanced.

Once I gave up the "weight loss fantasy" and started moving on with my life, things clearly got SO much better.  But it's important for me to remember, as I try to shepherd others along that there was a mourning process involved.  I had to mourn:

1) The idea that I would lose weight and find the man of my dreams and earn a billion dollars and win an Academy award all in the same year.

2)  The EXCESSIVE time and money I wasted involved in body-hating schemes and plans.

3)  The idea that I'm right about everything all the time, because I had to admit a lot of what I believed sincerely with my whole heart was wrong.

It's helpful to remember that the journey towards Fat Acceptance and HAES is intrinsically destabilizing and uncomfortable for people--both for those experiencing it and those watching it.  And I believe that we have to work extra hard to replace the benefits of our old fantasies with other benefits that are healthy and more sustainable.  Like playing with our kids, or going for a walk.

What loving, kind thing can you do for yourself today?  I took myself out for a healthy lunch.  (It was awesome.)  What's one simple thing you can today to help replace the fantasy of the perfect life that comes with the perfect body, with the reality of tiny, simple, daily joys?

I'd love to hear from you!  Tell me in the comments or participate in the discussion on Facebook.

The Fat Chick

Stay at Home Travel to Another World

Monday, March 8, 2010

Went to the Huntington Gardens today,  It was yet another of a long list of wonderful places right in our backyard we hadn't previously found time to explore.  It was so wonderful.  Probably the highlight of the gardens was the Chinese Garden area. 

At the entrance were a group of bonsai where Brian was trying out his "volcano god" imitation.  It was his own light-hearted admission of his stress-induced cranky state.  But as we passed the bonsai area we noted over the gates, several calligraphy plaques in Chinese characters.  The walking tour on my iPod translated these as, "you are now entering another world".  And we were.  It was amazing.  We stepped over the happy fish bridge and through the jade moon gate and we were in another world--just like that. 

And it wasn't just a new world for us either.  People around us stopped and breathed more deeply.  Folks talked in whispers rather than shouts.  And as we crossed through this canopied grove of bamboo, and listened to the rustling of the leaves that sounded just like summer rain, there was a hush.  It was like a giant, leafy, deep green cathedral.  It was magical.

Makes me think about how often another world is just a breath away.  That maybe we don't need to travel to the ends of the earth to find a new perspective.  Maybe a whole new way of looking at things is right in the backyard.

I also think, that as a place to exercise, the Huntington Gardens beats the gym cold.

So look outside and look around.  Maybe you'll find a new world and a whole new you.

The Fat Chick

The Power of Play

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I think a lot of times as adults we lose one of the most important tools in our get happy, be happy, stay happy arsenal.  That tool is the power to play.  To wonder about stuff.  To pretend.  To imagine.

That's why I'm so glad on day 2 of our fabulous stay at home vacation we went to the zoo and played like big, goofy, overgrown kids.  That's a picture of me at the Condor experience, playing "doctor" with a stuffed, trussed, pretend condor.  The coat was not designed for grown-ups (especially a big girl like me) but I managed to don it long enough for the hubby to get the snap.

All I can say is, if you're feeling sad or stressed or cranky go outside and PLAY!

The Fat Chick

Sailing: Bouncing Away on the Waves

Friday, March 5, 2010

My awesome husband surprised me with a sailing trip on our vacation!  This was a huge luxury and not the sort of thing that we normally do.  But we went to the city in LA where he proposed to me and he chartered a sailboat.  WHEEEEE!  I love sailing for many, many reasons.  It's quiet.  It's beautiful (and the weather was awesome).  It's so much fun.

But you KNOW I can't resist the desire to make SOME sort of allegory out if it, right?  I really can't help it.  It's like a disease with me, so here goes.  Sailing reminds us that life isn't flat.  The waves go up, and the waves go down, but as long as the boat is moving forward, that's all that matters.  In fitness and in life, you just gotta roll with it.

Keeping this short so I can get back to my awesome VACA.  Hope today is smooth sailing for you. 

The Fat Chick

Changing it Up

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yesterday, I was able to take a dance class that I once loved but don't often find the time to get to these days.  All my old friends were there and they welcomed me with open arms.  It was interesting.  Our awesome teacher Rachel began the workout asking us to think about how we feel about new things.  We were just to observe as we exercised how we felt about the new routine.

Mostly I felt like "Thank Goodness, something new".  I think I was getting a little stale in my exercising and needed a change.  Last night, I felt a little sore.  But today, I feel ready to take on the world.  Makes me think I need to make a little more effort to jazz things up a bit with my exercise.  I think if I try something new every now and again, I'll be renewed and ready for anything.

So my little chickadees.  What can you think of to charge up your exercise?  Why don't you try a little something radically different or new? Belly Dancing?  Surfing?  Curling?  Just pick something and go for it!   I think you may surprise yourself.

The Fat Chick

Pooped but Working Out Anyways

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Man when it's early in the morning and you've been up late and you're tired, it's so hard to drag your butt to a workout isn't it?  I have a major Olympics hangover from staying up late and watching and it's raining, and cold, and, and, and...

And what?  No matter how hard it is for me to get up and get exercising, I ALWAYS feel better after I do.  Sometimes the hardest steps in my dance class are the ones the get me in the door.  So, I'm getting up and I'm going.  So THERE!

So get up my little darlings and move your feet.  You'll feel better (I promise).

By the way, if you want to see more adorable kitteh pictures, come see me on icanhascheezburger.com.  My name is Phat Cat.

The Fat Chick

Starting Fresh: A Brand New Day

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm  up early this morning as usual, and I'm reminded why I like mornings so much.  At this time of the day, everything is fresh and everything is new.  No matter how badly I screwed up yesterday, that day has come and gone and today is a day to start fresh.  What can I start today?  What tiny thing can I do to make my life better?  
Sometimes, especially when it comes to exercise, It's awfully hard to start fresh.  We wonder, what will make this time any different than the  last ten times I tried to exercise?  Well for one thing, YOU'RE different.  Apparently about 98 percent of the atoms in our  bodies are replaced yearly.  That means every year. you are literally a whole new you.  So as difficult as it is to remain optimistic in the face of all the times you've exercised before, it helps to remember that the person who slept until noon on Saturday instead of showing up for dance class, and the person who seriously thought about buying a treadmill so the dog could walk himself was a different person.

So, how about getting up off your desk chair and taking the new you out for a walk today?  As Dr. Horrible says, "It's a brand new day." (He doesn't say it very nicely, but is name is Dr. Horrible after all.)

The Fat Chick

Want Encouragement? Be Encouraging.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yesterday, I was blessed to have a few friends calling me seeking encouragement.  There have been many times in my life that I might have seen these calls as a bother or an intrusion.  But now I understand that these calls are a blessing.  Because few things in life are as encouraging as an opportunity to encourage another person.  I always walk away from these experiences feeling energized and ready to take on the world.  After all, somebody thinks maybe I know something about something.  That's kind of cool.  And when I help other people, I sometimes realize I am a little more of an expert than I thought.

Of course, there's a big difference between encouragement and advice.  Lord knows, I've offered plenty of unsolicited advice in my life and have paid a heavy price.  But when I can remember (which 'aint often, God bless me) I try to offer encouragement instead of advice.  I have such great encouragers in my life to observe and learn from.  There's Kimmy and Alison and Kate and Brian and Mary Ann and too many others to name.  When I watch them I see.  They do not say, "well you can do it, if you do it like I did it".  Nope.  Uh uh.  They say, "well OF COURSE you can do it, because you're awesome."

When I get this kind of encouragement, I feel ten feet tall.  But when I give this kind of encouragement, I also feel ten feet tall.  And while I can't control when I get encouraged, I can control when I encourage other people.  This means I can potentially feel ten feet tall, all the time.

So I'm encouraging you to go out there and encourage somebody else.  Of COURSE you can do it.  Because you're awesome!

The Fat Chick

Procrastination: and L.O.S.T.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sometimes I have problems with exercise procrastination. I admit it. But my little chickadees that’s nothing compared to my problems with procrastinating on my writing projects. No matter how well prepared I am. No matter how much research I’ve done. When I face that blank screen in the morning I freak the f#$% out! I think I’m a pretty good writer. I don’t hate it once I start. But you just couldn’t believe the number of things I can find to do before I get started. I think I’m the world champion Sudoku player and I have amassed ridiculously huge virtual fortunes playing online Texas Hold ‘Em. You can always tell when a writing deadline is looming because my house is totally clean, my spices are alphabetized in the drawer, and my socks are sorted by color, type and condition. My husband calls these my L.O.S.T. days—an acronym which stands for Lots Of Silly Things. He knows if he comes home and the baseboards are scrubbed and I’m serving an eight-course meal complete with molded sugar desserts and life-sized ice sculptures that there’s a good chance I’ve had a L.O.S.T. day.   And today started out as one of those days.  I finished all the laundry.  I organized the sock drawer.  I cleaned the gunk in the grout lines on the kitchen counter.  Yup, definitely and decidedly L.O.S.T.

I’ve suffered with this particular form of procrastination all my life and I can only come to one conclusion. This type of procrastination is about fear—mostly fear of failure. Because, somehow I believe in my head that I can’t fail with stuff I haven’t started yet. From a logical standpoint this is completely ridiculous. In truth, the only way to guarantee failure is to never start or never try. But as logical as that whole have to begin to win idea is, I find myself in loops of painful procrastination.  Thankfully, today I got out of the loop after about 2 hours--which for me, is pretty good.  I ate some breakfast, I squared my shoulders, I went to my computer and I got on with it.  And I got a few creative things done.  Not everything I needed to, but some things.  It's a small victory, but I'll take it!

So how about you sweetheart?  What are you avoiding?  Are you L.O.S.T?  If so, get a snack, put on your grown-up pants and go create something!

The Fat Chick

Motivation: Success is the new Carrot

Friday, February 19, 2010

Today I got a request from a reporter to send my tips on how I stay motivated to exercise.  For example, do I put my exercise clothes out the night before (I do) or buy enough sports bras so I have enough to last from wash to wash (I do that too).  But as I thought about it, I realized that the most important thing I have ever done to motivate myself to stick with exercise, is to divorce exercise from the expectation of weight loss, and learn to exercise in a way that lets me enjoy consistent success.

When I was younger, I engaged in a lot of intense exercise hoping to become thin.  I tried lots of things from Karate to working with a personal trainer to belly dancing all trying to lose weight.  I'd go out too hard, exercise too much too fast, not lose any weight, get hurt and give up on the whole thing.  This pattern repeated over and over.

But about ten years ago, I decided to exercise just for the sake of exercise.  And I decided to concentrate on doing only what my body really felt ready to do.  Then once I succeeded at that level, I bumped things up a little bit and exercised a little bit harder the next week.  That's it.  That's my magic formula.

But here's what's important about that magic formula.  It allowed me to succeed every week.  Since I didn't make an unrealistic expectation of weight loss a part of the formula, that didn't cause disappointment.  And since I worked out at a level that was appropriate for me, I could do it every week and not get hurt.  Heck, I even started to enjoy it.

And nothing breeds success like success.  Since I was feeling good about my workouts, I couldn't wait to do them the next week.  And since I had figured out how to win, I couldn't wait to help other people "win" too.  That's why I became a teacher.  Now exercise is something I truly love.  I can't wait to put on some fun and interesting music, gather my posse together and shake my groove thing.

It's not rocket science.  But it got me through 5Ks, 10Ks, sprint triathlons, half marathons and even one marathon.  It just works!

Hope you'll think about giving this magic formula a try!  And if you do, let me know how it's going!

The Fat Chick

Baby Steps: Glued Butt

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recently I went to a social gathering (a real one with drinks and stuff, not a virtual one) and I spoke with an editor friend of mine.  He was complaining of back pain after long editing sessions.  I looked at him knowingly and said, "Oh yes.  I understand.  You have Glued Butt Disease." 

Naturally he looked at me funny and asked if I was okay to drive myself home.  But after I assured him that I had only had one glass of wine, I defined "Glued Butt Disease".  "This malady," I explained, "comes as a result of spending a whole day or sometimes even a day and a night with your butt glued to the chair.  It's common among editors, writers and eleven year old WOW players."

I assured him that I have often suffered from this malady and have experienced serious back and neck pain as a result.  I also assured him that there is a cure.

"Well the cure is to just get up, about once an hour and walk around a little bit." I said.  "But the trick is to remember to do it.  I set the timer I use when I bake cookies.  I have been conditioned over the years to perform a full, salivating, pavlovian leap every time that beeper goes off.  Definitely gets me out of the chair.  I set the timer again for five minutes and I walk around, stretch or get down and boogie until the timer goes off again.  Of course every time I get up, I'm hungry for cookies, but that's a different problem all together."

Do you have Glued Butt Disease?  Then my friend, peel your behind up off your aeron chair and walk around a little.  Take in the sunshine.  Watch the snow fall.  As I've been saying, all endeavors begin with a few small steps.  So even if it's just to stretch, walk around your office,  or boogie until your coworkers start flipping through the mental health section of the company medical plan, just get up and get going!

The Fat Chick

One small waddle for ducks, one huge step for kid kind...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I just watched a beautiful little video on the icanhascheezburger site that shows a little boy with physical disabilities learning to walk from his pet duck who also had an injured leg.  (CLICK HERE to see it.)  The doctors were doubtful that the little guy would ever walk.  But as the boy watched his little duck buddy struggle, get stronger and succeed, he learned a valuable lesson about getting from here to there:

It starts with one struggle-filled, wobbly, tiny little step.  And proceeds with another.

Like CHRIS KRINGLE sings to the Winter Warlock in that famous Christmas special, put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walkin out the door.

That my friend is the secret to fitness.  Start with one, possibly pathetic, kind of wobbly and possibly quite embarrassing little step.  Are you ready to take it?  If you're not sure how to start, you might want to CLICK HERE for some tips and tricks (from my Fat Chick Website).

Don't forget--fitness is perhaps the best valentine you can give to yourself.  After all, you deserve to feel great!

The Fat Chick

Being your own darn Valentine

Sunday, February 14, 2010

OMG there are few holidays better designed to sow anxiety, stress and deep depression than Valentines day.  This is the time of year where my husband and I giggle and snort at the television ads for expensive jewelry and, wait for it, new cars.  I usually turn to him on the couch and bat my eyelashes and say in my best Scarlett O'Hara voice, "surely you're gonna buy me just one liddle ol' Beamer for Valentines Day.  I'd like red please.  And darlin', don't neglect the leather package and upgraded stereo system.  As God is my witness, I'll never drive a Honda again!"

Seriously.  Whether you're with somebody or not, chances are better than 50% that Valentines Day will leave you annoyed, disappointed and ready to eat chocolates--heart shaped or otherwise.

So this Valentine's day, why not just be your own darn Valentine?  Buy yourself something nice.  Cook yourself a nice dinner (because heaven knows you won't get good food, prices or even adequate service at a restaurant today), take yourself to the movies or buy yourself flowers.  The best news here is that you won't be disappointed because you know exactly what you want.  And if you're with somebody or married, then both of you can do it. 

Here's wishing you the best Valentine's Day EVAR.


Freedom: A really bad day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I had a really tough day.  One of those, "why on earth did I ever get out of bed sort of days'.  I drove over fifty miles to go to a lecture with somebody I really wanted to see.  The lecture was (apparently) great, um yesterday.  Tried to make a conference call on my new cell phone that refused to work, and just as I was headed out to meet with some friends and have a glass of wine, I caught my new leather skirt on the door handle and tore it.  So I had to run to the store and buy another skirt (not leather and NOT on sale) before I could go to the networking event.

So, yup.  I had a colossally bad day.  One where the entire sky is one big pigeon that decided to poo on my head.

And this too offered a type of freedom.

When you have a crappy day of epic proportions, you give up expecting what will come next.  You don't put immense pressure on yourself to produce--you're just trying to survive until bedtime without ending up in the ER.  And when you give up on what you think should happen or even having any idea what's going to happen.  Totally cool, completely unexpectedly wonderful things happen.

If this whole drama hadn't unfolded the way it did, I wouldn't have ended up going out tonight with Gina--who happens to be one of the very funnest people on the planet.  And I might not have had the oh what the heck attitude that allowed me to drop the power networking persona and just meet people for the fun of it.

So my bad day allowed me to end up having a day that was good in unexpected ways.  Pollyanna?  Perhaps.  But I still say, "I just give up, give me a chardonnay" is a kind of freedom too.


The Fat Chick

Declaring Freedom

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As of today, right now, I am declaring and asserting my right to freedom.  I am free to wear colors other than black.  I am free to wear clothes that aren't "slimming".  I am free to wear big, loud dimestore jewelry that I bought at stores where my young teenage nieces shop.  I'm free to wear pantyhose WITHOUT a control top or heck--maybe I won't wear pantyhose at all.  I'm free to wear anything I like even if my butt DOES look big in it.  I'm free to decide I look darn good and I'm also free to ignore anybody who says anything to the contrary.  I'm free to live a life unfettered and unbounded.  Girls I'm throwing out my girdle because today I'm free!

Lemme Off the Merry Go Round

Monday, February 8, 2010

So we've discussed all four elements of the Big Fat Cycle:
1. Panic (Omigod I've gotta do something).
2. Fantasy (I'm going to look like a GODDESS!  I'm going to win an OSCAR!)
3. Defeat (well I already had a french fry, might as well eat EVERYTHING--super sized)
4. Despair (I am so LAME!  I will NEVER be happy)

Man, I've been getting depressed just writing about this stupid cycle for the past four weeks.  What do you say?  Can we get off the ride now?

Whew!  That's better.  Don't worry, we'll be talking about some specific things you can actually do to improve your health without making you go insane.  And hey, the sun came out today.

Things are looking up...

The Fat Chick

Despair: Watch for Falling Grace

Friday, February 5, 2010

The thing about despair (major or minor) is that it causes us to obsessively look inward.  The thing about grace is it's unexpected and undeserved.  It literally comes from nowhere.  So if you're sunk into a funk or feeling despair, you just might miss it when saving grace literally drops from heaven into your lap,

As I've mentioned, I've been dealing with some microdramas this week.  And I mentioned how a critical U-turn on any given element in your life, can turn everything around.  So I took a little U-turn this week.  And the results have been great.

But beyond the U-turn, I've really sought to keep my eyes and my ears and my heart open to detect even the slightest wisp of grace floating my way.  This is especially hard when we feel that life has kicked us in the teeth or that people let us down.  Because remaining open means that we are opening ourselves up for even more potential disappointment.  And it feels completely counter intuitive.  Why would I ever believe this joy will come to me.  The world will just let me down again.

But being open also means you may get a helping hand that lifts you up in a way you never expected.  So I cautiously, gently remained open to grace this week.  And I was not disappointed.

Friends I haven't heard from in years popped up out of the blue and cheered me in a way I didn't think possible.  A former client called with a gig.  A current client and I reached consensus on a difficult creative challenge we've been wrestling with.

So however battered you may feel--however hurt--see if you can keep one eye and one ear carefully tuned towards grace.

And all the light and help you didn't even know you needed may gently fall on you.

The Fat Chick

Despair: Making a U-Turn

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Despite all the agony of realizing that you've been sprinting down the wrong road, the only way you'll leave despair and get back to a happier, better you is to make a U-turn.  As with all this philosophical stuff I spout on here, it's a lot easier to say than to do.

I know what I'm talking about.  Funnily enough I've been coping with a little bit of despair this week.  Don't worry, I'm okay.  It's more like microtrauma.  But it's a trauma nonetheless.

And after the 2 hours of wailing, crying, cursing and teeth-gnashing on Monday night in the presence of my poor husband, I had to face the thing head on.  I'm not nearly as together as my Facebook profile might lead you to believe.  I get sad.  I get discouraged.  Hey!  I'm SUFFERING over here!

But being pragmatic as I am (and realizing that I've probably already maxed out my whining to hubby time for the WHOLE month of February) I realized that my feelings won't change unless I change.  I needed to make a U-turn.

A U-turn doesn't have to be dramatic.  You don't need to turn your whole life around.  As you probably already know, I don't go in for that all or nothing stuff.  Just change one thing around.  Make a concerted effort to do one thing differently or change how you handle one thing, and see if it gets you out of the rut.

I decided that I had been feeling isolated, so I made a highly concerted effort to start calling people and setting up actual "dates" and "meeting times" to get together.  I work from home most of the time--which is awesome.  But at some point you realize you're having long meaningful conversations with the dog and you haven't washed your hair for days.  And lest I fall ENTIRELY into a Howard Hughes kind of rut, I need to make a U-turn and meet face to face with some real live people.

So if you're stuck in a rut, what can you change.  How can you make a itty-bitty U-turn to get on a different track.  Turn that car around darlin' and start driving towards joy!

The Fat Chick 

Despair: Sprinting down the Wrong Road

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In our talk about despair, I thought it important to mention that despair can also happen after you've discovered that you've made a significant amount of progress down the wrong dang road.  Now not only is your time "wasted", but you'll have to back track all that way before you can move forward.

This is what's so dangerous and depressing about our nation's current obsession with thinness as a surrogate for health.  Because we, as a nation are sprinting down the wrong stupid road.  And sooner or later, when we each individually recognize it, we have a WHOOOOOLE lot of angry to cope with before we move forward.

Take Mrs. Obama's current emphasis on the "obesity crisis".  Firstly, all kids need to work on healthy habits, regardless of their current body size.  And finally, body size is not the point.   Eating well and exercising is the point.  By singling out fat kids, we simply heap more shame (as if parents and peers aren't doing that enough already), setting them up for disordered eating and increasing stress levels which according to recent  seem to have at least as much impact on health as anything else related to body size.  Does Mr. Obama think it will improve his daughter's health to refer to her in the national media as "a little chubby"?  Does Ms. Obama think that her very public discussion of her "obesity intervention" for her daughters will help them to grow up strong, healthy and well-adjusted?  If you want to talk about how you as a family have decided to spend more energy on healthy habits, okay then.  But maybe you should focus the media on your updated parenting skills rather than your poor kids' pant sizes.

They, like so many in our country, are at the intersection, with that little orange baton waving the traffic down the wrong stupid road.  It's almost enough to make you despair.  Almost.

However,  as I've said before, healthy is as healthy does.  And rather than despair, today I choose to rebel.  I'm going to eat my tomato soup, and shake my big bootie while I teach my aerobics class.  Take that, Michelle.

I'm here, waving you towards the road less traveled.  The one where you take care of yourself and your body not because you're filled with panic and despair, but rather because you love yourself.  

Right this way...

The Fat Chick

Despair: Always and Never

Monday, February 1, 2010

We've been talking about the big fat cycle and leading up to the big dark daddy--despair.  This is when we've enjoyed the magical thinking, built up the fantasy and fallen down and given up.  Despair is when we say always and never.  I always screw things up.  I'll never succeed.  I'll never be happy again.  And the hardest part, is in this hour, of hurt and desperation, it's hard to hear anything else that anybody tells you.  Even when you know they care.  Even when you want to hear them, it's difficult to make out their words over the crushing pain in your heart.

Needless to say, it's better if you don't get to this place.  This is a real big incentive to stay off the big fat cycle in the first place.  But if you are there, you have to deal with it.

I'm tempted to offer some glib one-liner about 5 steps to conquering despair.  But in my experience, it just doesn't work like that.  I will make a few gentle suggestions though.

First, breathe.  Take a deep breath in, blow a deep breath out and repeat.  When our hearts hurt we forget to breathe and that only makes our hearts hurt even more.

Next, gently try to move away from always and never.  Never say never is an oxymoron, but the reasoning is sort of sound.  Despair makes us take "mostly", "often" or even "sometimes" and converts it to "always" and "never".  When you catch yourself thinking always and never thoughts, breathe (that's step one, remember?) and try as gently as you can to entertain the notion that it may not really be always or never but somewhere in between.

Also, find nourishment.  Remember in the first week of January, we talked all about nourishment.  Get a bowl of soup.  Take in a sunrise.  Put on your fuzzy bunny slippers.  Seek comfort.

You might also seek to find a way to take a teeny-tiny microstep towards your goals.  Something small and achievable.  Write a letter.  Make a list.  Buy a pencil to write a list with.

Finally, wait.  Everything looks a little better after a good night's sleep.  And things rarely end up as bad as they seem at first.  Sometimes you've just got to give life a chance to work  itself out.

But if it doesn't work itself out, you need to find help, from a trusted friend or better yet, a professional therapist or counselor.

If you hate me for all this platitudinous advice, I don't blame you.  I've been there.  But, even if you do hate me, I wish you peace and joy, and a smooth path to find it.

The Fat Chick

Surrender: Catastrophic Failure or Chipped Paint?

Friday, January 29, 2010

So often what happens in the surrender portion of the Big Fat Cycle is that we believe small setbacks are automatic precursors to catastrophic failures.  I promised myself I'd blog six days this week.  I didn't get a blog in before midnight on Thursday.  Oh well.

It's so easy to say well i missed one day, I might as well blow off the week.  This whole blogging thing isn't really working out that well anyways.  That chipped paint on the bridge really masks a hairline crack on the bridge which is really the sign the whole bridge will come down.

Now chipped paint on a bridge is not something to go unnoticed.  Small problems in maintenance can lead to catastrophic failures if ignored long enough.  But small problems are, well, small.  Chipped paint may mean that area of the bridge needs attention.  It may mean nothing.  It probably does NOT mean it's time to blow up the bridge.

It's so easy to fall into all or nothing, black and white thinking.  But life doesn't work that way.  And if the only way to succeed is to be perfect every day forever, guess what.  None of us will ever, ever succeed.  Thankfully, setbacks, minor issues and bumps in the road are a normal and natural part of any endeavor whether successful or not. 

The difference between success and failure is not whether or not you fall.  It's whether you (like a cat) get up, shake the dirt out of your fur and tell the world, "I meant to do that".  So I hope you'll forgive me for not blogging yesterday.  I forgave me.


Surrender: Use What You Got

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My sister sent me a link to this amazing video today:

Why not take a few minutes to take a look.  I promise it will be worth your while.  Bring Kleenex.

In no way do I wish to compare one person's pain with another.  I  can't compare my life pains with Patrick's or yours.  I do know that life gives you curve balls and life gives  you choices.

As the serenity prayer says, Lord give me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change.  This is the hand you're dealt.  This is the stuff you have to live with.  This is the part that requires surrender.

Lord, give me the STRENGTH to change the things I can.  This is the part where you make the best you can from your life.  Or as my dear friend Kristie Agee says in one of my favorite songs "As long as you know how to use what you got."   This is where you take what life gives you and you work it.

And give me the WISDOM to know the difference.  Isn't this the hard part?  For so long I thought that my weight was the thing I needed strength to change and the fact that I couldn't be beautiful or find a husband, or get a great job or do really anything I wanted to until I got thin was the part I was supposed to be serene about.  But that's the thing about wisdom.  If you pray, if you are open, if you listen--sometimes wisdom means changing your mind.

Wisdom takes time.  We are not born wise.  We become so after life beats the tarnation out of us.  Maybe it's time to review your current wisdom about what your capabilities really are.  What have you "got"?  And are you using it to the very limits of your abilities?  Are you waiting around to get something else?  Or are you out there, making things happen?

Don't put your light under a bushel baby.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

With apologies for a blog post burdened with more platitudes than I thought possible, I'm asking you to go out there and work it.  Let the world see all you got.


Surrender: Giving Up Gracefully

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So all the month of January, we've been travelling around the Big Fat Cycle.  So far we've discussed  

Step One: Panic--("Oh my gosh, I got fat over the holiday--I need to lose 50 pounds by Valentines day")


Step Two: Fantasy--("When I lose 50 pounds by Valentine's day, an Arabian Prince/Oil Billionaire is going to sweep me up on his horse by the seaside and take me to his yacht and introduce me to a casting agent who's going to put me in a major movie in time to walk the red carpet at the Oscars.") This leads us to the major downswing that appears next in the cycle--Step Three: Surrender. 

The act of surrender can mean a lot of different things.  Usually surrender starts when we've given up everything we ever wanted to eat at the start of another stupid deprivation diet.  And continues when we get hungry, and I mean really really hungry for something "bad".  And since we're really, really hungry and we've given up something we love--like ice cream, when we finally give in to eating ice cream we don't eat just one scoop.  Oh, no.  We eat a pint, or a gallon or all 123 flavors at the local ice cream shop.  And at that point, since we've already been bad, totally give in.  What the heck?  The diet is blown anyways.  We've already RUINED the day.  Might as well EAT EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T NAILED DOWN.

We eat things we aren't even hungry for.  We eat way more than we really want.  We eat waaaayyyyy past full.  Because we know that tomorrow, we might have to be "good" again.  We may never get to eat ice cream again as long as we live.  Better tank up now so we don't ever forget what it tastes like.

I used to call Sunday, "stuffday", because that's the day I'd overeat in anticipation of the Monday diet.

But nowadays, I participate in a different kind of surrender.  I surrender the idea that I can precisely control every morsel of food I put in my mouth.  I surrender the idea that everything in my life, including what my friends think about me and if whether my colleagues approve of me and what my weight is (in ounces) is completely under my control.  I try to do what I can and release the rest.  I say "try" because, this whole "Zen State of Surrender" thing is also an aspiration I can't always control.  Sometimes I even have to surrender the idea that I can successfully surrender.  I just do my best and take it as it comes.

If I want a donut, I have a donut.  I don't freak out about it.  And you know what?  I can almost always stop at one donut.  Sometimes I only want HALF a donut.  Because I know, if I want a donut tomorrow, I can have another one.  And you know what else?  Forbidden donuts taste WAY better than allowed ones.  Now that I can have a donut any time I want, I don't really want them that often.  They just don't taste that great.  I sometimes go MONTHS without eating one.

And since eating a donut isn't a sign of great weakness or total failure, it isn't a signal to eat more.  The donut hasn't blown my diet, because I'm not on one.  There's no deep sense of accompishment, failure, joy, fear or sorrow attached to the dumb donut.  It's just a round, fried bakery product that once in a while I like to eat.

So yes, I'm going to recommend surrender.  Give up on the idea that you can weigh, categorize, catalog, ascribe emotions to and success to food.  You can beat an egg, but you can't beat your need to eat food.  Surrender all the emotional baggage you currently swallow with every stupid potato chip or truffle.  Start to get used to the idea that food is just, well, food.

Easy to say, but hard to do.  But that's okay.  We don't have to get it all done today.  Let's give up on the notion of instant fixes too.  We'll just take our time and get there eventually.

The Fat Chick