Fit Life Adventure

An Ordinary Woman's Journey of Surviving Obesity


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Don’t Call Me Skinny

 

Labels are a curious thing aren’t they? This particular blog post will deal with two kinds of them. The first being personal labels. I think for some people, the need to categorize others around them (or even themselves) is a necessary thing. Helps them sort out people. “That’s Dan, he’s a vegan.” “There’s Marie, she’s divorced.” “Steve’s a doctor.” Whether we like it or not, “identifiers” do exist in other people’s minds when they think about us. Descriptive words if you will. They by no means sum up all that we are. And in the case of my husband, I know he is absolutely joking when he says that cuddling me now is like cuddling Skeletor.

While certain words won’t bother everyone equally, I don’t like being called“skinny”. Mostly because I would never label myself as that! In my mind I will never be skinny. I don’t want to be skinny. That word is almost derogatory in my mind. When I think of the definition of “skinny”, I get the image of someone who is severely underweight, possibly anorexic. And I honestly wouldn’t use it as a descriptor for people who did carry those characteristics. My brain tells me to use the word thin. Or maybe REALLY thin to describe those individuals.

You might be thinking, there’s no way people have referred to me as skinny. I thought I was hallucinating when I heard it for the first time too. I’ve heard it a few times now and it’s just not sitting right with me. The not so strange thing I have found that when being called skinny – after my attempt to shrug it off by replying “Oh, I don’t know about that…” They reply “ No no, you ARE!! “ And they mean it to be a compliment towards me. I know that word is their attempt to make me feel good but I really don’t want anyone thinking that I traveled down the weight loss road to get “skinny”. That was NEVER my goal. I only ever wanted to be healthier than 300 lbs….shocker…

If that meant only being able to lose 50 lbs because I couldn’t control all my cravings or the motivation stopped there….fine. I just always knew I could do better than what I was doing. Even I didn’t anticipate how far I could really go. Which is in truth one of the larger motivators for me to keep going. No matter my size I will never refer to myself as skinny. I prefer to say I am “thinner than I once was”. Plus, being skinny shouldn’t be the goal of everyone who is losing weight. But given the society that we live in, that doesn’t surprise me.

The second type of label that has my nose out of joint is the kind that you find on “health foods”. You know the ones. We constantly come face to face with them down every single aisle in the grocery store. Companies use the usual trigger words to make us think we are buying something healthy and “diet” friendly….”Skinnycow Ice Cream Sandwiches”, “Thinsations Cookies”. These huge corporations will also use well known celebrities to endorse and sell their products. I know most adults realize that there is no way these stars actually eat/drink/ or use that specific product they are telling us that we need, but some of us buy into the crap anyway. I get it. It would be great to keep eating the way we always have been and just buy a product that says “low calorie” and think we have done something so fantastic for our health and well being. We want the easy way to get to where we want to be. That’s not the way it goes for us – or the celebrities. Deep down we know that. But for once I would love to see Sofia Vergara selling a fresh carrot and telling me all about the benefits of that vs. Diet Pepsi. You know what I mean?

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Summer, sports and sweat

I have friends who have told me to my face that they really don’t like being around me outside in the summer time. I will admit I can get a bit hysterical if a bee comes too close….flying insects in general really. Never trust a lady bug. But I am sure another reason that they lose their patience with me is that in years past I didn’t have the greatest attitude about partaking in ANY outside summer activities. As an obese person, I found that I overheated – fast. Just by walking sometimes. So forget about exerting myself physically past that. It wouldn’t take much at all to exhaust me. I live in about the most southern tip of Canada which gets a full four seasons and our summers can be smog filled, humid and downright brutal. That just gets amplified when you are carrying around so much extra weight. I would sweat in places no one ever should and I was fully convinced people could tell.

Besides the excess weight, another reason why my core temperature would rise so quickly is that I refused to wear shorts. Which was a personal choice, but even if I did decide to don some smaller apparel, I still would’ve been sweltering to a very uncomfortable point. I grew to hate summer. I would find any excuse to stay indoors. I fully understand why my friends said what they said. I knew it too. I was no fun to be around when I was outside in the summer time.

This summer is different. Yes, I am still deathly afraid of bugs, but hot weather… not so much. Yes I can still get hot but it is so much more manageable. I even jumped for joy when my volleyball buddies suggested we play on some outdoor sand courts. In years past I remember LOATHING the thought of it. Knowing how sweaty I would get in my black yoga pants and thick t shirts. I remember dealing with the sweat marks that even dark coloured clothing didn’t hide, despite my efforts not to raise my arms too high. Everyone else would be in much more appropriate clothing and enjoying the sport the way I wished I could. I certainly wouldn’t play my best. I was worried about so many superficial details. Thoughts like that would consume me as I played.

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The force of the ball literally knocked me backwards into the sand. I laughed, but this was a moment of very low self confidence…

Now, I am literally throwing myself into the sand to get that ball. Jumping and diving, squatting and running to get the dig – in short shorts and a tank top to boot! I get to concentrate on improving my skill and enjoying every moment of the sport. I have always loved volleyball, just didn’t have that same love for myself. You can see how easily the things you want to enjoy in life are squashed by your own insecurities. That is a thing of the past for me.

This past weekend I got to enjoy my active lifestyle with my husband……on a bike! I haven’t owned or ridden a bike in close to ten years. Felt really fantastic to get back up on one. We took a trip down to a local National Park – Point Pelee. We brought our bikes and I can confidently say we rode them on every bike path they built! We estimate about 15km in total. It was a hot and humid day too – full of bugs. As much as that part dove me crazy, it was loving every second of the physical exertion that had me smiling – no too big of course – no one needs to be eating the bugs!


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My First Fitness Expo

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Trade shows. I have been on both sides of the booth. As a vendor and a patron. Every year I do at least one trade show for my small business – “Amanda’s Pet Sitting”. I find that if the shows are promoted well, despite the type of event it is, that a good turn out is usually expected. Seeing as I work primarily with four legged companions, it’s always a blast getting to interact with the people in my community and spread the word about alternative home based pet care.

Perhaps it is because of my own connection with them but I find attending trade shows as a guest, just as much fun! At these local events you get to meet the smaller businesses – the ‘ma and pa shops” that truly care about their customers….because they are their neighbours! The owners and employees don’t represent the big corporations. Their blood sweat and tears helped to define their business and it is really a thrill getting to see the unique products, services and people behind some of the best businesses offered in my city.

I was preparing for my next trade show this summer, ‘WoofaRoo’, when I thought to myself “Hey, I wonder if Windsor has any health or fitness trade shows?” A quick Google search got me my answer. We do! In fact it was in about 7 days!! Good timing on my part eh?! Tickets were super cheap, so I jumped on board right away. I hadn’t heard anything about it from any of the popular local media outlets so I had a suspicion there might not be too many vendors and it might not be the biggest and best show around. But maybe that’s a good thing. If you have ever attended a “wedding expo” you’d know how insane these things can get. Seeing as I knew I would be attending alone, a smaller crowd would surely be less intimidating and the businesses might be able to give me more one on one time should I have inquires.

I was right. About 10 tables and just a handful of other people walking around when I showed up. But I was also right about the sorts of businesses that were there. Plenty of the small guys, but the really passionate ones. A boxing style gym, supplements, home delivery healthy meal services, clothing companies etc. I got to so many of them! Once it was noted that I had come through a pretty big weight loss transformation, I should have been the one with a booth! Quite a few people wanted to talk to me about the specifics, even more so than what I get on a daily basis. Makes sense given the atmosphere and theme of the day, but I wasn’t totally prepared to be as bombarded as I was. Interest is always flattering but sometimes I can feel like a side show act. There was one guy who’s mouth stayed agape the entire time I was talking! Besides feeling a bit “on display” I really did enjoy myself and meeting some new fitness friends. There were many local businesses and services I didn’t know existed. I think sometimes you don’t really know what you’ll find unless you go looking for it. I am happy to have that part of my world expand.