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Somewhere Between Fat and Thin

On a recent 3-hour drive home from Galveston to San Antonio, I listened to an episode of “This American Life” hosted by Ira Glass in which he looks at a topic from lots of different angles and talks to people who are connected to the subject in various ways. The episode was entitled “Tell Me I’m Fat”.

Hmmm. The title intrigued me.

Picture downloaded from Pixabay and published on strong-woman.com
Somewhere between fat and thin
Being fat in America

The episode explores being a fat woman in America from 4 different perspectives. Their experiences were different, but they shared some common themes – judgment, discrimination, and shame. Each of the women told how they were subjected to negative comments, rude stares, judgmental conclusions that they had no self-control, got passed over for a job promotion, date, or group activity, and even one woman who, in the 80’s, attended a University with health standards and was not allowed to re-enroll for her fall semester because she missed her summer weight-loss goal by 4 pounds.

Each of these women also talked about the choices they made in dealing with the weight discrimination. The choices are to do nothing, to change themselves, or to change the minds of others.

The story got me thinking about what I believe about the subject of weight, weight loss, discrimination, and what motivates people to change or not.

It’s personal

For me, it used to be about being thin. I thought that if I could just lose weight all my problems would be solved. I tried lots of different diets and really wasn’t clear on what I wanted or why I wanted it.

Not anymore. Now, what I want is to be healthy, happy, and strong, especially as I get older. It’s no longer about being thin or fat and that’s why maintaining a healthy weight is important and worth the effort, not just for me but for my family. I want to do my best to stay well, active and mobile for as long as I live.

While I know what to do to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight, it’s still a struggle. Many times, but specially during holidays and vacations, I tend to choose food that I know isn’t the best for me. What’s the problem? I know what to do and I know what I want. The problem is between my ears. My mindset.

Mindset is the biggest factor when it comes to this issue “weight”. It doesn’t matter how much you know what you should be doing or what great tech devices you have to help you along the way, you have to have a mindset to make it a lifestyle. No more lose weight then gain it all back. Get mentally prepared.

Here are 3 things to do when you’re ready to make a change:
know-your-whyDecide what you really want and why you want it.

There’s more than being fat or being thin. A woman recently told me she wanted to get to a certain weight and I asked her why that number. She said she felt best years ago when she was at that weight – healthy, strong, and happy and carrying the extra 20 pounds she’s gained in the past few years makes that hard for her. So really, what she wants is to feel that way again. This type of reflection is the beginning of discovering your “why” – getting to the essence of why you want to make this long-lasting change.

 

happiness-quotes-4qPvfG-quote

Decide to be happy, no matter how much you weigh.

What most people want is to be happy and we pursuit happiness, as if it’s out there somewhere. I used to think, “If I could only be thin then I’ll be happy.” In the radio story, one woman decides to love herself as she is and doesn’t care what people think. She’s happy. Another woman decides to lose weight with a doctor’s help and she loses more than 100 pounds in less than a year and even though she’s thin and a lot of good things have come her way, she’s not happy.

Being thin doesn’t guarantee happiness and health, just like being fat doesn’t guarantee unhappiness and sickness. Choose happiness.

Love is the absence of judgement. Dalai Lama XIV
Show yourself some love.

Be kind to yourself and never beat yourself up about your weight and instead show yourself some love by being grateful for your body and all it does for you every day. It took me a while to get to this point. I think about my younger self and I wish I’d have shown myself more love back then. If I felt fat or some one else called me fat, I wasn’t strong enough to not be ashamed. Shame is personal and lingers. It’s a by-product of judgment and rejection. That only motivated me to find comfort in food.

You can transform yourself and your life when you shift your mindset toward away from shame, unhappiness, and finding comfort in food. Don’t let how much you weight keep you from living your best life. You can do it.

Is there more to it than being thin or fat? I’d love to hear what you think about the subject.

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Keep Cool This Summer

Ahh, summer is here. Long days, warm temperatures, outdoor activities, vacation, and relaxed schedules are unmistakable signs that it’s summertime, the perfect time to get in shape, make health goals, get serious about upping your nutrition game, and start an exercise program. Great!

Keep in mind that summer’s heat and humidity can put you at risk for heat-related illnesses, and it’s important to be pro-active and prepared as the temperature goes up, up, up.

How do you make sure you’re staying healthy and well in the summer? Here are a few tips to keep you going strong even when it’s hot as blazes.

Stay hydrated. An easy guideline to follow is to drink half your body weight of water in ounces, so for a 100 pound person, 50 ounces of water a day would be enough. But remember, it’s hot in the summer and if you’re outside and sweating, you’ll need more than this guideline recommends. If you feel thirsty, you may already be de-hydrated. Also, if you stop sweating, you could be dehydrated. To correct this situation, you might be tempted to guzzle a gallon of water all at once, but keep in mind that it’s possible to drink too much water, especially if you drink large amounts all at once, so stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.

times-to-drink-water

Get moving! Summer is a great time to take up walking, running, riding a bike, swimming, and so many other activities. Start with something easily do-able, like walking, and then schedule your activity a few times a week to get you started. If you’re having a hard time sticking with it, working out with a friend or group can help make a workout fun instead of a chore and also help with accountability. Avoid strenuous exercise when it’s extremely hot and humid, especially if you’re not conditioned for it.

Dress to stay cool and avoid exerting yourself at the hottest time of day. I sometimes see people wearing a sweat suit or warm ups running in the blazing sun when the temperature is hovering around 95 degrees. Don’t do that! It can increase your core temperature to dangerously high levels and make it very difficult for your body to cool back down to normal temperature, which can put you at risk for serious complications, like heat stroke, extreme dehydration, or worse. If you’re going to be outside for extended time, wear a hat, and loose fitting clothes. If you’re going to be in the sun, wear long sleeves and pants, and/or sunscreen.

Covered up at the beach
Covered up at the beach

Get your ZZZs – Relaxed schedules and longer days can easily disrupt sleep patterns and leave you feeling run down and sleepy. The heat can zap your energy too, so do your best to stick to sleep patterns so that you feel your best all the time.

Up the fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of seasonal produce, visit a farmers market, try new veggie recipes, mix flavors, use fresh herbs to flavor vegetable dishes, and get creative.

Farmer's Market
Farmer’s Market

Summertime’s a great time to train for a running event or triathlon, get outdoors, play tourist, travel, or take a staycation. Have an adventure and remember to follow these guidelines to keep you safe and healthy throughout the summer months.