Fat 2.0…

PhotoWowie….wow….wow….

I have some sore legs this morning! I headed to the gym after getting my vote on yesterday and I amazed myself with my ability to do 1000m on the rowing machine. This was after 45 mins on the elliptical and a few other full body exercises. I loathe the rowing machine, that is why I am forcing myself to spend some time on it. A few months back I attempted 1000 meters on the rowing machine and gave up at the 10 min mark. Yesterday I finished 1000 meters in 8 mins and 37 seconds. Now, I am not heading to the Olympics or anything, but it was a great moment for me. Now the goal is to improve on that. I also cleared 14,000 steps on the ol’ Fitbit. My goal is to crack 15,000 before the weekend in over. I have not cracked 15,000 steps in over 8 months, so it is going to happen!

I am not weighing in at Weight Watchers this Saturday because I am heading out of town for the night. Want to know how the week normally goes when I know that I am not weighing in? It tends to go a bit sideways. I am not as strict with tracking what I am eating so points tend to go higher than normal. I don’t hold myself as accountable as I would if I was weighing in. Want to know how this week is currently going? The polar and complete opposite of that. That moment when you realize that the only one you are hurting is yourself. The lady who writes down the number in the little book, isn’t attached to whether it goes up or down. The fluctuation of that number is only a gage of the activities I have been participating in and I am the only one that is attached to what that number is. Being attached to the number is something I think I may always struggle with, to some degree. I have to keep reminding myself that even if I have a great week and the number goes up, there are so many reasons why and it isn’t a sign of failure. I just need to keep my focus on the habits, break the binge eating cycles, focus on exercise and don’t worry so much about what the number on the scale says because it will follow.

I also wanted to touch base on my use of the word “fat.” For a couple weeks now, I have been using that word more. We were adjusting our chairs, for ergonomics, in the office the other day and I said “These chairs are not fat girl friendly, booty be damned!” The look of horror on my co-worker’s face. I asked her what was wrong and I got the typical response. I smiled and shared with her that fat is just a word that I am trying to take away the stigma for myself. It is a descriptive word that carries a lot of weight and meaning for a lot of people, but for myself…. Yes, I have fat, but I also have hair, teeth and toes…doesn’t have any bearing on the kind of person I am or weather or not I think I am beautiful. I still struggle with it, when you are walking down the road and someone makes a comment or your dating pool becomes infinitely smaller because you live in a city where the focus is more on how your behind looks in a pair of Lululemon pants versus your personality and character. But…..I am getting better and better with the word and the definition of that word for me.

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Freedom!…

PhotsAnyone curious what my body is saying to me today?

Yesterday was a day of surprises. It is amazing the things your body will tell you when you take a minute, stop and listen. I noticed that I got used to operating with a certain level of discomfort, a muscle twitch or even indigestion. When you pay attention and inquire as to what may be causing the issue, you realize how much better moving through the day is when those things no longer exist. Yesterday, I went the whole day without indigestion, it was fantastic! I forgot what it was like to go an entire day without that sensation in my chest. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a severe case of indigestion, but merely my body’s way of telling me that something I am still eating, post gallbladder removal, now belongs on the no-fly list.  Sadly, I believe it is my favourite protein bars. Not eating one of those is one of the only things I can think of that I changed yesterday, so I am testing it again today and I gotta be honest, not terribly excited about eating one again to see, so I think I will simply go in search of a new protein bar that doesn’t cause me pain.

On the topic of eating yesterday, I did great up until I was packing my lunch last night. I made the decision a few weeks back to join Weight Watchers….again. I was packing and noticed that I still had 11 points left to eat for the day. I saw some yogurt covered cranberries and thought “Those can’t be that bad.” Made by this sweet older lady at her little shop in Fort Langley. I can read and pronounce the few ingredients that are on the list. I had eating about 10 when I thought that I am just gonna check the point value. OH SWEET JESUS!!! All of a sudden, that sweet old lady, was the witch from Hansel & Gretel. Her cranberry salad dressing is THE BOMB, but those yogurt covered demons are now being consumed by the security guards at work.

I headed to the gym after work, for the first time in about 6/7 months. It was the same lady behind the desk, she smiled and said, “Welcome back!” BUSTED, she remembered me. I smiled and told her that if she didn’t see me in an hour to send help. It was good to be back in the gym, I forgot how much I missed it. There is apart of me that feels like I half assed my workout, and there is a part of me that was just SUPER proud for going. My legs this morning are stiff and muscle sore, in the good way. I was on the elliptical for 30 mins, broke a nice sweat and then I saw it, a machine I loathe…..the rowing machine. Suddenly, as if my legs weren’t jelly enough, I found myself sitting down at it! For a few minutes, I heard a former personal trainer in my head “Thank your legs for sharing, let’s go” so away I went. I did 3 sets of 200m with a short rest in between and I beat my time each set! Thank you for being the voice in my head Emilia! I left the gym feeling accomplished and proud, that was when the voice set it “You could have stayed longer, pushed harder.” I reminded myself, that it was great to show up and next time I will come armed with a proper workout planned. Sometimes that battle you fight for yourself is the battle that goes on inside your head, the mental one.

My body is a happy stiff and sore one. I contemplated this morning, as I was packing my bag and typing this post, returning to the gym this afternoon. I stopped, listened to my muscles and we have happily agreed on a yoga DVD that I have here at home. I will do my best to contort my body into these bizarre positions that are supposed to bring to a deeper Zen.

I’m Fat…

FatI know the title is quite….blunt, at least it is for me. For the longest time I had this adverse reaction when ever anyone used the word “fat” around me. I would get ridiculously bent out of shape, anger and sometimes even rage would take over. I despised being called fat and would pitch a fit that could put a toddler tantrum to shame, then…

I saw this photo a couple weeks back and it started to percolate. Then I started thinking about women like, Tess Holiday, Whitney Thorpe and even Ashley Graham. For the record, I do not consider Ashley Graham fat in any way share or form, but bare with me, I have a point….I promise.  When these three women started to appear in social media, for the various reasons they did, I was irritated. I was not on board with what they were preaching to the masses. They were all talking about body confidence, body positivity, loving your body at any size and other varying forms of those messages. I was not “picking up” what they were “puttin’ down.” I would get bent out of shape and angry when people would ask me what I thought about their message. Then last week Tess posted on Snapchat and Instagram her experience with an Uber driver who was shaming her for her size. As someone has had that same experience, also the reason I will never set foot in a Royal City Taxi again, it really got me thinking. Tess fought for herself in that video. She didn’t post that video to shame him in return, she posted that video to show that this is not OK, shaming someone is not OK. I tried to remember when the last time I fought for myself was….it took a while to remember….

I don’t fight for myself, so much so that earlier this year it caused an argument with my best friend, where we didn’t talk for a week. If you know me and her you know that is like years in our world! She was fighting for me and my health and I wasn’t. I wait until my body is screaming at me before I do anything. Case in point, my gallbladder. I had so many symptoms but I ignored them. Work needed me, friends needed me, the new series I was binge watching on Netflix needed to be finished. I landed myself in the hospital for a week in more pain than I can ever explain. Then, in February my gallbladder came out, 3 days later I was back working from home,10 days later I was back at work, 6 weeks later I was back in the surgeon’s office getting a warning about my recovery.

So, I discovered this little nugget of insight and sat down in a session with my amazeballs counselor lady and the tears started flowing. Here is the thing. I am fat. I have excess weight, more than the average person. Me being fat is just a fact, it doesn’t define me as a person and it doesn’t mean that I am not capable of doing things and it certainly doesn’t mean I am not beautiful. But…you have to stand up and fight for yourself and for your body. Fat people do, more so than others because when people see you, they love to jump to conclusions. They assume all your numbers like cholesterol and thyroid function are all out of wack. They assume that you are diabetic or at the very least pre-diabetic. I am not and all my numbers are in the perfect/normal range and I am taking that for granted, so I am going to fight for myself and stop waiting for my body to scream at me before listening.

The last time I remember fighting for myself was a year, may two years back, when I did a 30 Day Challenge with myself. I was dialed into my body functions, I was exercising regularly, eating in a way that was respectful to my body and I loved every day of that challenge. Then I stopped, because of a multitude of reasons and excuses. I am going to start that challenge over again, although, if I am honest the word challenge feels like I am setting myself up to fail already, so if you have any name ideas, feel free to chime in!

So get ready for daily posts, some funny workout selfies, and some uncomfortable moments of what fighting for yourself looks like!

Alopecia Update…

2014-08-25 17.01.17_Tony_Vignette_SwollenI have gotten a few requests to provide an update to this post, Confidence, so I thought I would happily oblige!

Dealing with Alopecia has not been easy. As mentioned, physically it is virtually harmless, but emotionally and mentally it is absolutely devastating.  For those of you that don’t know, alopecia has no known cause and no known cure. It occurs when your immune system decide to start attacking the hair follicles in your body. It can attack every hair follicle on your body (alopecia universalis), it can attack only the hair on your head (alopecia totalis) or, in my case, patches of hair loss (alopecia areata).

My doctor referred me to one of the leading physicians in Vancouver, Dr. Elizabeth Ross. The diagnosis was made and we opted for steroid injections into the bald patch and it worked! The regrowth began and I was over the moon. I was getting ready for my second to last appointment with Dr. Ross when two tiny spots were found towards the front of my head. It has been decided that later this month I will undergo a scalp biopsy. There are going to take two 4mm holes of my scalp for biopsy. In addition to the alopecia there appears to be something else going on, which we aren’t quite clear on, so to be on the safe side, biopsy is the best option.

This hasn’t been easy to deal with, with the injections comes the pain of feeling like a million hot pokers are being driving into your scalp. When they are complete it is usually followed by an afternoon of a not so pleasant headache. Stress is a huge trigger, so I have to find ways that would help me take my mind off of it, ways to help me cope and feel like not everyone is starting at my bald spots. I have a lovely collection of scarves, headbands, hats and I have clip in hair extensions. My favorite is the extensions, because they add the volume back to my hair that I have lost and I instantly feel less naked and a bit of my confidence is restored.

I am not saying steroid injections, scarves and extensions are what will work for everyone, but it is what has worked for me. If I am destined to have no hair on top of my head I am learning to be OK with that. I will be the woman with no hair, but wicked earrings, some fun wigs, and amazing eye makeup. My beauty will not be defined by my hair, my breasts or my ability to bear children. My beauty will be defined by how I feel on the inside about the kind of woman that I wanna be 🙂

For the record I am taking applications for anyone wishing to apply for the position of hand squeezer when I go for my biopsy later this month!

A Funeral…

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You know when you have one of those cries, the really therapeutic ones. The one where your face is all red and puffy, and you had no idea it was human possible for your body to produce that much fluid and go through that much Kleenex, all the while wondering what is causing this.

That was me, last night. I was curled up on the couch watching TLC’s “The Little Couple” when it started.  In an effort to distract myself, I did the dishes, didn’t work, tears still flowed. I had a long hot shower, didn’t work, tears still flowed. Getting concerned about dehydration I started to drink some tea and I started to reflect on the day, to get to the source of the tears.

I received an email from Emilia, my trainer. It’s scary how well she knows me. She sent me a link with a request to do this challenge with her. Thinking it was some sort of run, obstacle course or fitness challenge I clicked on the link. Boy was I wrong! It was a “Love Your Body Challenge” (http://mollygalbraith.com/2014/03/im-baaaaaack/). I read the article and instantly started shaking my head with a forceful “Not in your life” motion. Now a reaction like that was quickly followed by a text to Emilia that said “I’m in.” Yesterday I sat down and began to answer the first 10 questions which really have you address how you feel, act, talk and respond to thoughts about your body. I wrote out in detail my responses to the questions. Some of the questions I have answered before and some of them I have previously avoided answering. I was 100% honest.

In addition, on Friday I spent some time with a guy friend that proceeded to have a conversation with me about my body, and why he liked it and why I didn’t. It was different having this conversation with a guy, from his perspective. It was a really, very difficult conversation to have. I have spent all my life telling myself that no guy will ever love my body, then to have a man sitting in front of me telling me he did…..

Now, it was all starting to make sense. I have been going through a lot of change over the last few months. My father passing away, leaving an old, comfortable, unhappy job for a better more exciting new one, facing life, taking charge, making changes, putting in an effort to view my life and the world from a newer, happier, brighter perspective. Taking on this challenge and taking the first step to start loving myself more than anything else. Last night was a funeral, putting to rest the destructive parts of me and working to embrace me, for everything that I am.

Join the challenge 🙂