Fat people hate (and why we NEED the body acceptance movement)

I’m fat.

That’s right. I frequently make my weight scale sad, and my BMI is screaming at me. I’m working to change that, but for the time being, I’m a fatty.

But I shouldn’t be hated for being fat.

A couple of months ago I was browsing Reddit and on the front page I noticed a post from a sub-reddit called “fat-people hate.” Confused, I opened the link (which was titled something references curves) and here was a picture of a girl about my size who had called herself “curvy” next to a photo of a “curvy” model. Fine, yes, there’s a difference. However, when I opened the comment section, every part of my fat self wanted to die in a corner. The comments were so full of hate towards this overweight girl that it was unbelievable. And when I say hate, I don’t mean “wow, she’s not curvy, that’s fat. lol.” They were throwing words like “disgusting,” “lazy,” and “horrible,” around. And on top of that, they starting insulting this person’s behaviours without even knowing the person, with comments about her eating habits, her hygiene, her personal life. Nothing was free from scrutiny from these people. All based on one photo.

Now, I’m well aware of the fact that the internet is a beast, and on sites like Reddit where anonymity is key, these attitudes crop up. But I was still flabbergasted, that this much hate could exist for people who were overweight. I tried desperately to find proof that this was a (terrible) satire sub-reddit, with no luck. It is an honest-to-god forum for people to hate on fat people.

Furthermore, this sub continues to berate and shit on the body acceptance movement (note, not the fat-acceptance movement). What they don’t understand is that they are the cause of that movement. They are the bullies in elementary school who poked you and made the dough boy sound. They are the CEOs that say that their clothing line isn’t meant for fat people. They are the family members whose snide remarks never go unnoticed, and the people at the gym who insult and blatantly laugh at the newbie trying to start their weight loss journey. They have caused more mental anguish over flesh than they even realize because they forget about it and move on. But it probably took that guy at the gym 5 months to get the courage to even go, and they’ve just proved his fears right, setting him back another 5 months. And because of that, people have decided that enough is enough.

Do you know why we need the body acceptance movement? Because we shouldn’t hate ourselves, especially not over how much we weight, or don’t weigh for that matter.  Body acceptance is about loving ourselves no matter what the mirror shows us or what the scales say. It reduces the value we place on image and brings it back to our self-appreciation and love. It makes people start looking at themselves beyond what they see and realize that their worth isn’t determined in comparison to others. We shouldn’t be working out and changing diets to be happy. We should be doing that to be healthy. The two are not synonymous. Happiness should come from self-acceptance no matter what you see in the mirror.

For me, it’s taken a very long time to accept myself. I’m not small. I don’t remember ever being small. But eventually you learn that you can be a good person with amazing friends and adventures regardless of your size, skin colour, sexual preference, distaste for pickles, love for the colour green, etc.

Love yourself, and the rest will follow.

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Energy, where art thou?

So it’s officially the second month of this year and so far, I’m chugging along well with my goals for 2015.

  • I’ve been tracking my food and have definitely gotten my eating on track. Yes, there have been treats along the way, and some days that could have been better, but overall, there is an improvement.
  • I’ve paid a significant amount of money down on debts in the past month. I’m still far from where I need to be, but I’m hoping that this is a sign of good things to come.
  • I made myself a hat! And I’ve already worn it multiple times so now I can’t sell it or gift it even if I wanted to!

So the next step of my journey is to start looking at my activity and the things that I do. My gym membership has been on hold since September, but should be active again by the end of this month. My only thought is, do I want to keep paying 50$ a month for this service or do I want to be more innovative in finding ways to be active? When I get into the gym “groove,” I do actually enjoy it. I’ve always referred to it as “me” time. I rarely go with anyone else so I tend to just have my headphones in and go at my own pace. However, it always starting that’s the issue. And it boils down to one particular theme:

I’m ALWAYS tired.

At any point throughout the day, I could go for a nap. I feel like my default setting is “mopey”. And it’s really irritating because I feel like I could be enjoying life so much more if I weren’t so tired all the time. I sleep well, my eating is getting better, and yet my first thoughts in the morning when waking up is “I can’t wait to get back in bed tonight.” Is this normal? Does everybody go through this at some point?

So I’m upping the ante for the next couple of months. Be it at a gym, or taking the dog for a walk everyday, or dancing around my apartment, I want to be active at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes. Hopefully this will kick start whatever energy reserve is hiding out and get me moving more.

Where in the world would you like to be right now?

Most times wphoto (3)hen we hear that question, we often hear responses like “I’d love to go to Paris,” or “I want to see the Colosseum,” or even the less cultured “In bed.” For me, the answer to that question today is not quite so extravagant. I’d like to be somewhere I’ve spent so much time already, but loved every minute.

I’m from St. John’s. I grew up here and never left. However, my dad is from the west coast of NL. And on the west coast there is a pond – Bonne Bay Pond. And on that pond there is a little white cabin, with a small blue motor boat and a green canoe. There’s a makeshift clothesline with swimming towels blowing in the wind between two trees. Twenty feet from the doorstep, there is the water. There is a wharf that seemed so much bigger as a kid. Along the shore, there is a bonfire pit with remnants from the night before.

We didn’t go on extravagant vacations to Disney or Europe when I was a kid. Our vacations conphoto 3sisted of us packing up a compact car near to bursting and driving 7 hours across the island to visit my Dad’s family. Most times, we didn’t even make it into Corner Brook, but instead drove up to Bonne Bay Pond and stayed at this cabin for the entire week. It was actually built when my dad was about 5 years old (so around 50 years ago – sorry dad). It didn’t matter how many bug bites or scratches we ended up with, or how bad the sunburns got we always had the time of our lives. Sometimes it was just us and my grandparents. Sometimes aunts and uncles and cousins and old family friends would show up.

One of my all time favourite stories was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. We had risen with the sun to start the journey. Dad says it was so we weren’t in the car during the hottest time of day, but I really think it was because he was too excited to wait any longer himself. We arrive at the cabin around 1:00pm. Wonderful. Except, my grandparents weren’t expecting us until much later so now we have just finished a 7 hour journey and are locked out of the only bathroom available. So while my mphoto 2om gets my brother and I ready to go swimming, my dad proceeds to break into the cabin (likely not his first time). The look on my grandparent’s face when they show up was utter confusion. It has since been a much told story.

Something I’m very grateful for in 2014 was the opportunity to go there again. It was different this time, but still wonderful. We went swimming, dad did some fishing, I slept in a tent all week, and even though it rained, it was still a nice time. It kind of made me feel like a kid again.

I really do hope I get to continue this tradition. That little white cabin isn’t just a cabin for any of us.

Transitions

I work for a university in Student Affairs and Services, specifically dealing with a program that addresses the transitional needs of students as they come from high school into post-secondary. So a lot of my time is thinking about how we can best address these issues, what ways we can help the students, and really, just helping introduce students to a new way of life. Ironically, I too, am having issues transitioning – not from high school to university, but from student/young adult into adult life.

When I left high school, I was ready. I couldn’t wait to start my program and really dive into my passion for music. So my transition from high school to university was flawless. However, I can distinctly remember the unease I began feeling at the end of my degree. What the hell comes next?

In theory, it’s easy. Job, marriage, kids, retirement, die knowing that you lived a meaningful and fulfilled life. It’s what everyone expects to happen for themselves. But thus far, I’ve discovered that it is not such a straight line. Instead it’s a twisty, scary, and unexpected journey. Now, there definitely have been moments of fulfillment and happiness, without a doubt. But those moments did not come without struggles.

The worst part is, I have this terrible habit of looking at others and comparing myself and my life to them. I see people my age with 70K in a savings account, and I am living week to week. I see people my age with MULTIPLE children and I am lucky if I’m able to kick myself out of bed in the morning. I see people my age buying houses, going on trips around the world, going out for brunch on the weekends, and I’m sitting here screaming at my computer screen “How are you all so well adjusted! Please let me in on the secret!”

But there is not secret. There’s no magical solution, or guide book. Life just is. And I think that fact is more frustrating than if someone where just keeping the solution a secret.

I think the world needs new-adult Orientation. Yep. Just like new-student Orientation that I’m planning, it would be this mini course of stuff you do to get you ready for adulthood. I can see it now, a full day of figuring out how to be a grown up, with sessions like: “How to get your shit together in 7 easy steps!” and “Things you should be doing right now instead of binge-watching Netflix.” or even “Why you really need to be concerned with your health and dental coverage.” I think it would be a hit! I think that it’s something that would prevent a lot of anxiety in people as they transition to “the real world” which is a lot less cool than it’s cracked up to be.

But since that isn’t a thing, I’m just here trying to navigate life day by day. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to sit back and realize that along the way I have figured it out all by myself like a big girl.

But seriously, if you know the secret, please just let me in on it.

It all began with a pair of socks.

photo (11)A few people have asked me how this all started. My resolution to be “selfish”, that is.

In November 2014, I was at my local yarn shop, Cast On! Cast Off! and we were talking about socks – how much we all loved knit socks, how many pairs we had ourselves, how many pairs we needed to make before christmas, etc. One lady in particular has a sock drawer FILLED with hand-knitted socks that would bring out the envy of any knitter. And during that discussion, I realized that I hadn’t actually made myself anything in 2014.

For a casual knitter, that is understandable. But if I’m not working or sleeping, I’m most likely knitting. To add that up, lets average two hours a day (low-balling it for the odd day I didn’t knit). So that’s 14 hours a week AT LEAST spent with needles and yarn in my hands. Over a year,  I spent (at the very least) 728 hours knitting. And in 728 hours of my time, I couldn’t find the time to make something for myself? That’s craziness. Don’t I deserve 10-12 hours of my own time?

So I decided to purchase Biscotte and Cie’s self striping yarn (in picture) and swore then and there that these socks were MINE. I even took it one step further and learned a new technique (toe-up) just to make them extra special.

They were cast on in November, but Christmas knitting was in full swing, so they we hidden frequently. Finally, over the holiday break, I could concentrate on them fully.

They were cast off at 11:57pm on December 31st. I could officially say that I made myself something in 2014. And not just something, but something pretty awesome. There’s nothing quite like a hand-knit sock.

So that’s the story of these wonderful socks and where this journey really began. And they are also a reminder to myself that I’m worthy of knitted items. They are a reminder of why I made this promise to myself. And so far, so good! I’ve already made big plans for a hat. 🙂

“If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.”

photo (2)The title of this post is credited to my co-worker. In a discussion about how she prepares her meals for the week, she said “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.”

It really struck a chord. Not just for food preparation (though it is incredibly true) but with anything. If you don’t prepare for what you want to do, it will never happen. There are so many ways that this is relevant.

I think back to the days that I wanted to get up and go to the gym in the mornings. If I had packed my bag the night before, 9 times out of 10, I was up and ready to go. If not, I usually re-set my alarm.

Or when I have knitting orders to complete. If I take the time to prep all the materials, I’ll likely get started at it. If not, I’m more likely to procrastinate.

So basically, it’s my new motto.

This week, I am trying to kickstart my body into not craving chips and chocolate and to balance out my food intake. I met with a dietition at Dominion on Blackmarsh road FOR FREE. And when I say free, I mean absolutely no currency left my wallet. She was a fabulous resource and we chatted about what I eat, where I’m going wrong (apparently having an entire plate of macaroni and cheese is not a great idea…) and how to start fixing it. I left with a bunch of handouts and also was enrolled in her upcoming Nutrition program: 4 Weeks to Wellness. Again. FOR. FREE. There are still spots available if you’re interested. Just call 727-4446 to sign up!

So, newly inspired and believing that I can indeed start making some meaningful changes, I grabbed a cart and started. I got my fruits and veggies, my snacks, and a treat for the week. I went home and then spent 4 hours putting all of that together into a weeks worth of meals repeating the mantra “I will not fail to prepare”.

And it’s totally worth it. Not only am I preparing to eat healthy, but I’m preparing to not spend money on terrible food, to have more time in the evenings to myself, to keep my kitchen cleaner for longer, to not waste food that I am bringing into my house, to use the containers I bought months ago, and so on and so on.

So here’s to week one of this meal prep thing. Let’s hope it turns into one of those good habits I want to develop in 2015.