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Friends with Snow Again

Sargent Wilderness Area, Chama, New Mexico

By the time I’d gotten to the heaviest of my Before phase, I had become a true hater of snow and snow sports. I grew out of my very-largest, expensive snow pants and SWORE I was not going to move up to the next size. So I’d go out in the snow with the pants unsnapped and only halfway zipped up. That was, er, chilly and distressing. I also remember that the maneuvering that involved snapping or buckling ski boots or other such things resulted in an uncomfortable/impossible squishing together of my ample midsection, and just tightening my boots made me dizzy enough to pass out. Often I’d opt to sit by the fire and drink lots of hot cocoa. Eventually I ended up opting out of going to the snow altogether, it was so unpleasant.

It had been probably more than 3 years since I’d done anything snow-related. But my very best college friend and the godmother of my daughter was throwing a 50th birthday bash with all her besties in the New Mexico mountains, and it involved cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and I could not say no. I thought maybe I’d end up sitting by the fire and reading/writing all weekend. But no.

The first NSV (nonscale victory) came the night before the trip, when I went down to the basement to rummage around the piles of snow clothes. I found the hated VERY BIG snowpants that I could not even zip up 3 yrs ago. Then I found the 3-sizes-smaller ones that my kids had worn when they were maybe in junior high. I held my breath. I tried on the small ones. HEY! THEY FIT! So that put me in a pretty good mood.

I got there, and it was beautiful. So beautiful! I am spoiled by being one of those people who can “go to the snow” and then leave it. And this was some of the nicest, prettiest snow I had ever seen. The flakes were giant crystalline shards of beauty. I was entranced!

My friend had rented me some cross-country skis. Back in the day, I was probably the World’s Worst Cross Country Skier. One, I had absolutely no stamina or cardiovascular endurance. So after about three feet I would be panting. Secondly, I was absolutely terrified to go up or down the slightest incline because I would immediately fall to the ground. NO JOKE. Once I went to this X-C ski resort with the family and I signed up for this hellaciously long (could it have been more than 2 hours?) X-C group ski lesson. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my LIFE because I was either panting in absolute oxygen debt, or I was trying to struggle up from an upside-down turtle position on the snowy ground, while the entire group looked on in abject pity and disgust, or left me miles behind. It was miserable and I swore on ten frozen Bibles that I would never, ever, EVER cross-country ski again.

But my best college friend, the hostess and birthday girl, had rented me some X-C skis. What was I to do? Well, the REI gods were smiling on me. They sent me one defective ski so that I could not for the life of me get it latched on to my boot. DEFECTIVE BINDINGS saved my dignity. I praised the Lord and reached for the snowshoes. Which I loved. And adored.

It is damn near impossible to fall down while wearing snow shoes. And thanks to all the running I did in 2010, I was not the least bit cardiovascularly challenged by this activity. I tromped through the snow, sometimes up to my knees, in total glee. It was freakin’ AWESOME. And it made my heart pump and my DirectLife activity monitor wake up and say “hey, she’s not dead!” and a happiness rang out across the snowy land.

So now I am friends with the snow again. I went out twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, the first exercise I’d done since the Plague hit me on New Year’s Day. It felt really, really good! And now I can actually contemplate the idea of renting some snowshoes again and going to play in the snow in my own home state.

PS. One of the nicest things about this weekend was learning how to make homemade chai. SO DELICIOUS and so simple. There was always a pot of chai on the stove and I became obsessed with it. Recipe and how-to photos here!

happy birthday, JAZ!

No Cliques, Only Free Hugs!

I am so excited to be attending Fitbloggin’ 2011 in May! I know, it’s almost half a year away, but still, I am SO EXCITED! I am re-vamping and polishing my solo performance and getting soooooooooo excited to meet friends who have meant so much to me but whom I have yet to meet in person.

After last year’s conference, I heard some random grumblings and read a few blog posts about how there were “cliques” that made some people feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed. Now I hate cliques more than anyone, but it occurs to me that someone might think that *I* am part of some clique. MizFit blogged about this and my response was, it’s not a clique, it’s a friendship, and if you feel left out, then … then what? Tough luck?

I can imagine that it would be tough to go to a conference and not know anybody. And everyone is all huggy and happy to see each other, and you’re just standing there against the wall, and thinking, this sucks. Everyone is in a clique! I’m going home NOW!

I don’t want that to happen.

Recently I saw that Alan had Tweeted that he was going to get a FREE HUGS shirt to wear to Fitbloggin’. And I thought about the clique grumblings and thought, what if a LOT of people wore FREE HUGS shirts? So if anybody was there on their own, they could just go up to some random person and get a free hug, and instantly they would feel not so alone. Right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if a WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE wore the FREE HUGS shirt and NOBODY felt left out?? How awesome would that be?

So right now, Team Free Hugs has two people. I would love to grow that team between now and May 2011! The rules for membership are simple:

  1. You have to attend Fitbloggin’. Although I suppose you could also participate remotely, by Twitter. But I’ll leave that campaign to someone else to organize.
  2. You have to wear something visually conspicuous that says FREE HUGS. It could be a T-shirt that you purchase here, or that you make at home with an old undershirt and a Sharpie. Your choice.  You could also tattoo it in Dayglo colors on your bicep. (MizFit?)
  3. You have to be willing to hug anyone who comes into your path looking like they WANT a hug. You’re GIVING hugs to people, not imposing them on anyone.

That’s it! Down with cliques! Up with hugs!

This is the T-shirt that I want.

Which one do you like best? Have you ever gone to a conference and felt alone? Would it have made a difference if you’d seen a bunch of people with open arms wearing this?


I’m Going to Fitbloggin’ 11!

Oooh! I’m so excited that I just signed up for Fitbloggin’ 2011. What is it?

The FitBloggin’ Conference is for anyone who blogs about fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle – regardless of where they are in their journey.  The goal of FitBloggin’ is to bring together the community of health-conscious bloggers for a day of education, networking and friendship.

More than just “another blogging conference”, FitBloggin’ is all about the desire to use technology, blogging and social media to motivate, inspire and foster a culture of health and wellness. We strive to bring together bloggers from all walks of life to create a tightly connected group of men and women who care deeply about and are committed to spreading this passion for fitness.

All I can say is, I’m incredibly excited to meet many of my invisible friends out there, people I’ve been admiring and inspired by this past year. We’re going to get to meet, talk, run together (there’s a 5k!) and blog about it all. Woo-hah!

Happy Goal-Day to Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Party day

Originally uploaded by j_jyarbrough

Today is a big day! It’s a celebration day! I’m bringing a bunch of balloons to my WW meeting tonight. Because ONE YEAR AGO, on June 23rd, 2009, I got to my goal weight!

AAAAAAAAND……(drum roll) I have maintained it a whole year! A year of maintenance. But this also means that I have ACHIEVED one of my big New Years goals for 2010: to be eligible to join the National Weight Loss Control Registry, a group of people whom all the weight-loss scientists study when they want to know how and why people lose weight and keep it off. Yahooooooooooo!

I really did not believe I would get to this place. I kept anticipating bumps and holes in the road and kept expecting to fall off. And I did, more than once, but I always got back up on QUICKLY and recovered. Thanks to the amazing supportive community/family that has surrounded me this whole year. Both online and in person.

I’m making a speech now! I’m wearing a tiara! I’m getting up to the podium with my little slip of paper and nobody is going to drag me off this stage until I’m done!!!!!

(ahem) I would like to thank first of all my amazing ONLINE friends who were the FIRST ones to ever meet Foodie McBody. Who embraced me and supported me when nobody else even knew I existed. Shannon (and Angie!), MizFit, Dinneen, Dr. Mo, Pubsgal, DailyKat, JeninRL, Karen, Mary and Kepa, Jack Sh*t, Trish, Josie, Kenz, KathyK, Sweeter, Marsha, PatBarone, Mara, Mrs Fatass, Hanlie, Diane, Lavagal, Fitarella, Miche, HealthyLoserGal, shrinkingjeans, WorkoutMommy, PhatBFF, Tisfan, Damon, Lori, SweatingItOff, Ryan, Bookieboo, Terre and Roni. You all are AMAZING and I truly could NOT have made this milestone without you. And for any of you who want to be healthy and are NOT on Twitter yet, join the party. It is one of the most incredible weight-loss, fitness and healthy living tools out there. I am not kidding.

I would like to thank my awesome Weight Watchers family: my BFF and buddy (and first mentor who taught me how to tackle those insane paper tallies!) Bethany, my boss and friend Stan, my roommate from leader training Roz, and Roger Z and Lori H, Linda and Julie and Jiggs and Creamie and Lynn. Y’all are the best and make me so glad to be part of this organization.Oh yeah and BIG SHOUTOUT to the BEST CEO in the universe, the one and only Dave Kirchhoff, aka Mr. Man Meets Scale! Thanks to the awesome members who show up to my meetings and inspire ME and keep me going.

I would like to thank everyone who has ever walked, run, lifted weights, danced Nia or otherwise sweated with me. Starting with my amazing trainer Doug Jones, who not only trains my body but my mind and heart as well. My workout buddies Ericka, Lisa Marie and Christine (when she can). Then Team Penguin: Mary, Kathy and Michael-David. Thanks for an amazing experience at the Oakland Marathon. Nia people! Alexandra, Terre, Danielle, and Alexis.

Thanks to my family. I’m doing this with you and for you, so we can all be together a really long time. Love love love to my mom, Mr. McBody and my girls.

Thanks to Martha and Kamau for helping me develop my solo show. Thanks to everyone who CAME to my solo show (part 2 is in the works right now!), and to all the other awesome solo performers who inspire me so much. Thao, Nicole, Sarah W, Enzo, Paolo, Ericka, Lisa Marie, Coke, Julia, Mz Debra, Kim, Deirdre, Benjamin!

I’m getting carried away. It’s kind of corny. But it’s my blog and nobody can stop me! I’m just incredibly happy and grateful for this year. I know this post should include about a thousand links but I just don’t have time for the linkfest this morning.

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EPILOGUE:

So I bought these beautiful balloons! and was so excited to bring them to my meeting bc there are often a bunch of little kids there with their moms. But as I was unlocking the door, I was fumbling with my key and they just… flew away! I stood there with my mouth hanging open, watching them fly off into the sky. WAH!

I got in there and Bethany was in there playing Kool and the Gang “Celebration!” very loudly. She gave me a present: a REAL TIARA! That lights up and blinks! So I dried my tears and forgot about my lost balloons.

Right before the meeting, I said, So Bethany, when is YOUR Goalaversary? And she says, with a straight face, “June 24th.” Uh huh. Like, TOMORROW!!!!!!? We laughed and laughed. Our goalaversaries are one day apart! How cool is that!  Only she has been at goal for THREE YEARS so she is even awesomer!! We had a great time at the meeting.

A Hand Up

So my little downward spiral continued to have its way with me until I landed with a huge THUNK this morning and ended up sobbing my brains out in my car. I guess you could call that a pretty “rock bottom” point. I really felt unbelievably hopeless, helpless and also shocked that I had gotten into this state, so quickly.

This was set off in part by my taking my blood glucose this morning and finding it HIGHER than it has been since I was even diagnosed. This stunned me. Then I went to the lab to get my blood drawn for my appointment this week. I was mortified. Here my endocrinologist came to my SHOW last week, and I’ll all woo-hoo-look-at-me!! Poster Star Diabetic Patient!! OMG how BOGUS can I be?!?!?

I sent off a flurry of desperate texts to a friend who sent me a ton of support which I could only partially receive given the pit of self-loathing sludge I was drowning in. But I did hear a little bit of it and of course the one thing I heard was, “If this was me you would not be beating me up,” or something along those lines. It was so true.

I made my way to my trainer’s gym. He asked me how I was when I walked in the door. I burst into tears. We spent the entire session stretching out my incredibly tense and misaligned body. Which was necessary. He was also extremely kind to me. Which didn’t hurt either. After I finished there, I felt like I reallllllllly needed to sweat, so I went up to the gym and killed the AMT machine (elliptical-thingie) on level TWENTY (the highest) for 30 minutes. The sweat felt good, really good.

Briefly ran into my spouse. Who had read my blog post from yesterday and offered to 1) support me in going to bed earlier so I am not so freaking EXHAUSTED and 2) take a walk with me early in the morning.  Now that’s what I call spousal support.

Went to work. Brought my new ball which is going to function as my new chair. We’ll see how this goes. Allegedly sitting on a ball is a hundred times better than a chair, and burns a lot more calories. My DirectLife was not WILDLY impressed, but I do think the little green spikes were higher than my chair-sitting hours.

Went to Weight Watchers. I sort of slunk in there, feeling like, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU to be doing this, when you are so completely messed up?!? Well. I’ll tell ya.

A member came in. She had gained (less than me). She burst into tears. Then she told me about the VERY BIG THINGS she has been dealing with lately. I said to her, “If this was one of your dearest friends in this same situation, would you be beating them up and berating them?” (Hmm, sound familiar?) I gave her some Kleenex. I almost started crying myself. It was the biggest mirror ever. In fact, it turned me right around. When she left later on, I felt like she was going to go home and be nicer to herself.

After the meeting, I met with another good friend.  She asked me how I was doing. Amazingly, I did NOT start sobbing my face off. I told her. She listened. It was so good. She told me some stuff back. We pledged to support each other. Once again, honesty (especially in the hardest times) rules.

I am so very very fortunate for my friends and community. The church I (occasionally) go to has a prayer that says “we are weaving a tapestry of love we call community” and that is how I feel about the people who are surrounding me and holding me up on this journey.  Thank you.

Shining A Light into the Darkness

I got an email recently from one of my blog readers, who was responding to my jacket post. She said,

You (maybe because you are now thin?) are able to speak about things that I (and many) have also experienced, with such shame. It is so awful to be too big to fit into any jacket in the store and I’ve been there!  It’s always moving and fascinating to me that you can put this stuff out into the blogosphere, where I’ve just been mortified.

It really struck me, these words. And I thought, well maybe it is easier to write about these painful experiences because I’m not exactly in that place now (I wouldn’t exactly say “thin” but that’s another point). BUT I also think it is writing exactly about these things that has allowed them to change and heal. I really believe this.

For so long I felt such terrible shame and hatred (for myself) for being overweight, and out of shape, and for using food compulsively, and just ALL of it. I thought I was dealing with it: I went to numerous therapists, but that was very private. I went to a few “groups” and talked about it there, but that somehow didn’t do it either. I really felt resigned to having to live that way forever. It was very painful.

Finally when I decided that I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING, I was casting about in the dark. I just knew I had to somehow throw myself out there, and be honest about it, or it was never going to change. I had to describe all the angst of it. I somehow knew that this was the only way out.

And it turned out to be true.

Sometimes I think about this blog and it makes me so emotional. I really believe it saved me (along with other things). This blog saved me. And so did the blogging community. And my friends. And my trainer. And eventually my family when I felt safe enough to share with them. And the Twitterers. (Tweeters) Y’all know who you are. But it was all about SHARING stuff that felt massively secretive before.

Now, I have another part of my life that could use a little light. Something that has plagued me as long or longer than the weight stuff: my unending clutter. I know somehow these things are related.

SO since it worked so well here, I’ve decided to start yet another blog to focus on THAT issue. And I am hoping that, like with this blog, I will find a community of both inspiring mentors and also struggling companions who are in the same boat as me. I have a RL (real life) friend who is helping me in a real, physical way. I am very very excited about this. I feel hopeful.  It’s another area that has brought me a lot of shame and upset and mortification. But I’m ready to shine the light.

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