Before and After

Oh jeez…this is one I REALLY don’t want to share.

Since we started Fat Girls Fitness a few months back, I’ve been looking for a good “before” photo of me at my heaviest.

The problem is I avoided cameras at the time soooo…. I had to do a bit of searching.  And even so, I’m not sure this reflects my fattest moment of all. But I suppose it’s awful enough.

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Height: 5’2”

Before: August, 2013 190 ish pounds? (this is a guess)
After: January, 2016. 137 pounds

Thoughts:

  • My triangle arms are on point, regardless of the fact that I clearly ate a semi-trailer.
  • In my first picture, I am 25 years old. It’s incredibly sad to think that’s how I spent my 25th year. I should have been having fun and partying. Instead, I was having fun and partying, but I was also extremely depressed, sweaty, and uncomfortable.

While I feel happy that the weight is gone, I can’t help but look at this with a whole lot of sadness. Apparently I was too busy dining on small villages to care about my own happiness and well-being, and that pisses me off. At myself.

I find it extremely hard to forgive myself, and I’m not sure I ever will.

But – in any event, if I can do it, you can do it. …Because really I don’t have any special iron will or skills. I’m just a regular fatass who got tired of being a fatass and said “enough.” And you are not alone.

At times it was tough, but it would have been so much tougher to continue down that road.

It seems like a long journey, but the only thing you need to do today is take the first step. And there is no long term goal. You don’t have to get skinny. You just need to be better today than you were yesterday.

PLEASE, I AM BEGGING YOU!! Don’t put yourself on hold for as long as I did.

You can do it 🙂

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The A4 Challenge

If you’re heavy into fitness and/or beauty blogs, you’ve probably heard about the A4 challenge.

Like many disturbing selfie trends, it started in China – land of the once bound feet!

Marie Clare calls it a “disturbing new fitness trend pressurising girls worldwide into extreme weight loss.” I call it inevitable. I also admire Marie Clare’s use of the word “pressurising.”

Of course, the challenge has a hashtag: #A4Waist

“The tiny waist has a long tradition in China, going back at least to King Ling of Chu, who ruled from 540 to 529 B.C. Many in China know the passage from the Book of Han, the history of the Western Han dynasty: “The King of Chu loved a narrow waist. Many people at court starved to death.” – The New York Times

The premise is this:

Step one: Take a selfie standing behind a single sheet of A4 sized paper, held vertically.
Step two: If the paper is bigger than your waist, you win. If not, shame on you!

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Yikes! this means my worth = zero cents

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But wait! I almost make it sideways! 

What I Find Interesting

Most of the articles/bloggers covering this topic seem to have a derisive tone, as if to:

  • blame the girls who are doing this challenge; or
  • express loathing and hatred towards the challenge itself

“Whatever,” I say! “Don’t blame the messengers. Or at least don’t be too harsh on them.”

Humans are only humans. They do what they can for attention. This goes double for young girls who KNOW (based on the sad reality) that a foolproof way to get power is to physically embody the ideal woman.

Challenges like these only reflect what’s already there. And sure, they amplify it too.

There are all sorts of reasons why we value thinness, especially when it comes to the waist.  The reasons are rooted in biology, and then (like many traits) are fetishized in culture. What is “culture” anyway if not the fetishization of all things?

Instead of blaming the messengers, or suppressing the message, let’s try to understand it. And then let’s try to modify it, gently.

Why We Value a Thin Waist

Blah blah blah. I’m so sick of hearing about all the reasons why the patriarchy is destroying the world.

Blame biology!  A preference for a thin waist is rooted in our DNA.

  • It connotes youth and virginity.
  • It might also indicate child-bearing hips.

Things that indicate youth, virginity, and a sizable birth canal are attractive. Sorry, it’s just true. If your goal is to impregnate someone with your man seed, it’s kind of a drag if they’re already pregnant or if they die during childbirth. So we look to cues. We’re just human.

But there’s more! Blame the fashion industry. Ok, but a thin waist is not necessarily an A4 waist. So what’s going on?

Enter the FETISH aspect. If a little bit of a good thing is a good thing, then a lot of a good thing must be a great thing. Right? …Well – probably not as far as health outcomes are concerned. But certainly as far as sales are concerned. 

Think about it. Your job is to hire a model. Good looking people have power. Insanely great looking people have more power. And insanely great looking people are just good looking people whose good features are exaggerated. Often beyond the point of a healthy balance.

So, are you going to hire the good looking person? Or the insanely great looking person?

I suppose the real question is – how many purses/lipsticks/panties do you want to sell?

“Fetishization” describes this race to the bottom. Everyone wants to get closer to the ideal, but no one is alone in this world. As you get closer, someone else gets even closer. There is always someone with a smaller waist than you.

If you want to sell the most things, have the most boyfriends, or get the most IG likes – then you need to have the smallest waist of all.

..At some point, the year 2016 comes around. Inevitably, some random person in China decides your waist needs to be the size of a sheet of paper. Awesome China, thanks a lot. But why couldn’t you have thought of this BEFORE inventing lo mein?

In any event – all of this because we like to take biological shortcuts. Even when it comes to strangers from the internet.

The strangers who follow your Instagram? They are JUST DYING for more information about your fertility than they can possibly know just by seeing your photo. Aren’t people the weirdest? 

A Compromise

Maybe the A4 challenge reflects a compromise. Perhaps a spontaneous social compact?

Maybe what the A4 challenge really says is “I’m hungry!! So let’s all agree – A4 is small enough. Can we please stop competing now?”

But I doubt that. Some other crazy challenge is coming soon. It’s only human nature.

…Perhaps the “Post-It Note Challenge?”

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Cover Your Belly

I never in my life felt comfortable in a bikini. Never!

When I finally lost most of the weight, I went out and bought a few. And because I have the self-esteem of Donald Trump, I think they look amazing.

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Who wouldn’t want to hit this?

One of the first times I wore a bikini, I was on a private chartered boat off of Mexico with my parents and family friends.

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it was awesome!

There was a photographer on the boat.

After snapping a few shots he says to me, “ok now go like this, and cover your belly.

It was weird. I was maybe a 26 BMI (just slightly overweight), 29 inch waist. The picture above is from the same day.  So is this picture:

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my apologies for the lack of fashion

Yes, I’m standing sideways. But I assure you, my belly isn’t objectively grotesque. Stats:

  • My waist = 29 inches (I have a large frame).
  • My proportions are 39, 29, 39. I’m 5’2.
  • My belly is slightly chubby, but quite flat
  • When I jog in a sports bra, people occasionally ask for my number
  • I have zero stretch marks/loose skin.
  • I feel perfectly comfortable butt ass naked in front of anyone (you can ask my poor rooommate).

Haters is Gonna Hate?

With regards to the photographer’s comment, I’m tempted to say something along the lines of “haters is gonna hate,” or “who drank the haterade?”

But really, this guy is not a hater. He’s just a photographer, and also a product of society. He saw a “flaw” and thought I’d prefer the photograph without it.  I don’t blame him, because in all honesty – he’s probably right.

Imagine his experience. He works on this boat everyday, and snaps photos of scantily clad women for a living. How many times a week does he hear comments like this?:

  • “omg, my thighs.”
  • “Jeez, I really need to go on a diet.”
  • “oh god – after this trip I’m not eating for weeks.”

My guess is many..

And when he hears those comments, how often do they come from women who are MUCH thinner than I am? Women who, from the outside, look perfect?

My guess is often.  Because bitches are never satisfied.  We’re just not capable of it.

I’m not going to lie.

I do want my waist smaller. I really really really do. I want:

  • thigh gap; and
  • collar bones; and
  • bikini bridge.

I also want my backbones to stick out, and I want to fly away if the wind blows too hard. Ideally, I’d like to fit into my own pocket. In sum – I want ALL the messed up things that people with eating disorders want. And so much more.

Do you want raw honesty? When Amy Winehouse was at her thinnest, I look at her and think, wow I want to look like that. May she rest in peace. And may all the girls as fucked up as her (and as fucked up as me) find some comfort in this world.

But unlike many girls, I’m crazy fortunate. Because despite spending my entire life hating my body (and even hating it to this day), I’ve always had a ridiculously high self-confidence. I give incredibly few shits what people think of me. I don’t mind looking like an idiot and/or failing. Perhaps because I admire people who fail and try again.

At an earlier time in my life, I might have been traumatized by the photographer’s comment. But now, I just feel sorry for him.

Because when you feel that people need to fit a certain mold, then you are the one that suffers. And when you ask me to cover my tummy, you end up with a photo like this:

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We all want perfect everything, but that isn’t what we have.  At least not every day.

When you feel that anyone needs to look a certain way, or be a certain way, you miss out on all the beauty that reality has to offer. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t work on improving things you want to improve. Just don’t miss the beauty along the way.

I don’t mean to sound cliche, but the beauty really IS in the flaws. And not because the flaws are beautiful, but because overcoming them is beautiful.

And loving yourself in spite of them is beautiful.

So be gentle with yourself. Silly people WILL say stupid things to you, because that’s what silly people do.  If you value your sanity you absolutely CANNOT take those things to heart.

Instead, try your best to see things from their limited point of view.

…I’m still working on it 😛

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Six Ways Herman Helps Me Stay Fit

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This is my puppy Herman Cainine.

Herman is a Shih Tzu mix, which means he’s kind of an asshole. He is the cutest and fuzziest dictator you ever will see. He also votes Republican as a rule.

Herman keeps me fit in countless ways: 

1.  He loves the park

Well actually he hates it. But he does enjoy walking there and then immediately  throwing a tantrum until we leave.

I don’t get it, but I don’t question his highness. Or the exercise it brings. 

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some days he prefers to drive

2.  He sleeps on my laptop bag

Want to spend some time on the computer?

No such luck. Herman is sleeping on it. If you approach him, he will unleash all of his puppy anger. I suppose I’ll just lift some weights while I wait… 

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tiny but lethal

3. He eats all of my food, but never shares his. 

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Even my veggies 😦
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more coffee please!

4.  He only weighs 12 pounds.

Although I understand that target weights vary by species, I am inspired by Herman’s weight of only 12 pounds. #fitspo

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As a baby he weighed even less! Go Herman Go!

5. He Urinates. 

Herman is fully housebroken. But if he feels I’m taking too long to put on my coat or fumble for my keys, he will look me dead in the eye as he pees all over the kitchen floor.

Rushing to get Herman out the door, while stressing about the possibility of urine gets my heart rate up. And once urine happens, cleaning it also burns calories. Cardio, my friends.

6. He loves to play.

Once he’s done eating all of my food and peeing on my floor, Herman barks at me until I chase him around the apartment in circles. I am confident that my downstairs neighbors enjoy this just as much as I do.

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It’s 3 AM. Why aren’t we playing yet?

Incidentally, Herman is betting on Trump as our future president, but really he would have preferred Rand Paul. Herman recently devoured the “Art of the Deal,” but found it a bit difficult to digest.

Even though he spat most of it out, he continues to knock my books off the shelf, and chew on them until we play chase.  The exercise won’t end, even if I want it to. 

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Bad boy Herman! That book is for Democrats.

Even though he’s a Trump supporter, I love my Herman.

Luckily, I still have a bit more time to see if I can influence his vote. Lest ye forget Herman, who controls the treats in this home..

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Open Borders Herman! Open Borders!

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Personal Gains

This is a “pat myself on the back” kinda post…and one that is well deserved.

I haven’t written about my struggles and weight gains and losses yet. I’ll share those stories with you another time.

Yesterday, my best friends and I (including my blog-mates, Dorit and Val), went bridesmaids dress shopping. Exactly 4 years and 10 days ago I got married. On that day, I wore a size 22 wedding dress. Yesterday, a size 8. I can’t explain that moment. So many emotions. When I was shopping for my wedding, I was hoping and praying that something would fit me and yesterday, the possibilities were endless.

You all know my Husband joined this health journey with me. Today is six weeks since he’s started and he has lost exactly 19 pounds. Hard work does pay off!

What about you guys? I really want to hear your stories. Tell me your accomplishments. It doesn’t even have to be weight loss related! Did you have a goal to run a marathon and you finally did it? Did you finally fit into a pair of jeans you’ve been trying to wear for months? Anything…We all deserve a pat on the back once in a while.

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Valentine’s Day at White Castle

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File this under: fit girls shouldn’t do this.
And maybe also under: women with self-respect shouldn’t do this.

I’m going to White Castle on Valentine’s Day. If you aren’t already aware, White Castle on Valentine’s Day is kind of a thing. There are menus, waiters, decorations – even music.

I’ve been wanting to do this for at least five years. The only inconvenient fact that stood in my way was that my boyfriends were always normal people. And normal people tend to find the concept of taking their woman to the Castle on V-day a bit too trashy to bear.

But luckily, I now find myself single. Which means I get to have as many Crave Cases as it will take to muffle the sound of my tears.

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And believe me, there will be tears.

A Few Concerns 

  1. Meat? I don’t normally eat meat. So there is a decent chance that I’ll simply drop dead upon touching the rat-burger to my lips. On the other hand, can you really call White Castle “meat”? Maybe I’ll be OK after all.
  2. Calories. Fast food has calories. Scientists have shown that a  case of 30 burgers  can have up to thirty times more calories than just eating one single burger. God help me.
  3. Parental Concerns. When your 28 year old daughter is spending Valentine’s day crying and eating a literal suitcase filled with burgers, you have to start wondering what exactly went wrong. I really couldn’t tell you, Mom. I can only tell you that I’m gravely sorry.

And Now I Pose A Question

Do you watch your food intake on Valentine’s Day?
Are you strict at all? Slightly strict?
Do any of you sexy people just say “fuck it” and take the night off?

And while we’re on the subject, do any of you eat fast food occasionally?

TALK TO ME I’M SO LONELY!!

Much Love ❤
XOXO

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Oprah Loves Bread (and dough)

Oprah loves bread and I love Oprah. So whats the problem?

The 12 Million Dollar Tweet

Back in January, the internet was abuzz with Oprah’s 12 million dollar tweet. In all fairness, the tweet did contain a 30 second video. And also, in all fairness, the video was about losing 26 pounds. Hard? Yes. $12 million dollars hard? Maybe. Especially when you consider the fact that she did it all while eating bread.

The Oprah Effect

Now, experts are beginning to look at Weight Watcher’s stock for the “Oprah Effect.” And indeed, it appears that Oprah’s recent involvement is starting to pay off.

Carbs are the Devil

I think capitalism is the best. And I think Oprah is the best.  But I can’t help but wonder whether it’s time for companies like Weight Watchers to do more to change the story about carbs.

I get it. It’s all about low-carbs these days. Weight Watchers, which has been struggling recently, is trying to generate PR by taking an active stand against the recent “establishment trend” of a lower carb approach. It’s Goliath posing as David, and right now it works.

But here is the thing – people, in general, are misinformed about EVERYTHING when it comes to nutrition. Our science is bad, our information is bad, and I would pose that our entire approach is misguided.

Is it ok to eat a few carbs? Sure. Everything is ok. But it’s time to stop pitting fads against fads. We need to just get closer to whole foods.

Weight Watchers May be OK, But it Probably Isn’t

I’ve done Weight Watchers before. In the late 90’s. In the 2000’s. In the 2010’s.

I’ve tried all their various formulations. Many times. Who hasn’t?

Weight Watchers does some good. Last time I checked, veggies were unlimited. And I like that. There is a focus on physical activity as well. Great. Maybe Weight Watchers is just what some people need.

But in the end, it didn’t work for me. Sure, it “worked” in some sense. But it didn’t WORK. Not in that deep way that changes how you approach nutrition. And that’s because in the end, it was about counting and restriction. And that is not a satisfying lifestyle for most people.

Another problem is the focus on processed foods. I don’t care how much I count, if I’m eating processed foods, I am never satisfied. It’s just not how people are meant to eat.

Most People Who Do Weight Watchers Regain the Weight

So I’m sure this is true with any diet. Which is exactly why it’s best to avoid weight gain in the first place, by keeping a healthy metabolic state and living on what we were meant to live on – whole foods.

What I find slightly suspect is this statement from a former Weight Watchers business plan from 2001.  The plan emphasizes that its participants “demonstrated a consistent pattern of repeat enrollment over a number of years.” The average person would sign up for an average of FOUR separate program cycles.  Furthermore, in a documentary called “The Men Who Made Us Thin,” former CFO Richard Samber explained that the business was successful for this very reason.  The majority of customers regained the weight they lost.

But Maybe Weight Watchers is What Works for You

I don’t want to be overly critical of Weight Watchers. Losing weight is hard. Sometimes it takes a few tries, and often it never works out at all. Maybe WW is the right thing for you.

But I do want to make one point. Part of the reason that losing weight is so hard is because there are so many factors stacked against you.

In order to lose weight, you need to be strong not only in the face of physical temptation, but also cultural and family pressures. And that’s not all. You also need to be strong in the face of actual misinformation. You need to make smart choices in a world where choices are so often limited to processed foods.

So when Weight Watchers celebrates bread and pasta – some of today’s biggest modern culprits, it’s not really about carbs.

Because sure, a little bread is fine. But what’s not fine is their message. That, in a world of processed foods, it’s preferable to lose weight by restricting calories and focusing on portion control, rather than cutting out food groups that are especially addicting to overweight people. (Keep in mind I use the term “cutting out,” liberally, as if to say cutting out on the vast majority of days.)

The surest approach to maintaining a healthy weight is to fundamentally alter your understanding of what good nutrition means. It means, for the most part, eating food that comes from the earth. And I think the higher ups at Weight Watchers know that.

Of course, you CAN take a whole foods based approach while on the Weight Watchers plan. But that’s besides the point. If you eat whole foods that come from the earth, you don’t need to count anything. Whole foods make you full. It’s only processed foods that make it this way.

So even though Weight Watchers can technically be done the right way, I suspect that many more people are gingerly enjoying their carefully counted bread and pasta servings each day.

Bread every day is, after all, Oprah’s selling point. And I think it’s an irresponsible one.

What do you think?

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