Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blog Post Brings Real Life Karma!!

Hopefully by now you have read my blog post, Fat and Fearless: Running.  I went on my Week 4 Day 3 run today. Ironically, early into my run, on the three minute jog portion, I saw an older gentleman sitting out on his smoke break. Older gentleman can either be the nicest people in the world, or the rudest, so I was terrified.  I smiled and popped out an ear bud as I passed. We exchanged "Good Morning"s.  He asked how my day was going, I responded, "Quite Well thanks." He responded "Well it looks like you're doing a lot of good." I felt great and kept running.

I took my 1.5 minute walk break and then began my first 5 minute jog portion.  I knew it would be hard, but I was already encouraged. Slowly, a red, beat up car pulled up, window down, slowed to my pace. I once again popped out the earbud and looked the driver in the eye. I was actually terrified, because I run in the street, and I was afraid this thin, beautiful woman would tell me to get out of the road or something of the sort.  Imagine my surprise when her first words were "I just want to offer you some words of encouragement."  She said I was doing great, I was admirable, to keep going! I ran through my 5 minute jog with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

I was just finishing my 2.5 minute walk break as I passed another model-esque woman on the street.  She gave me a huge smile and waved vigorously. I, of course, returned it.  I wave and smile at everyone I pass, and I'm pretty sure I had passed her in days previous and she was excited to wave this time instead of giving me a look of confusion and shock. 

My jog ended quietly.  However, I didn't quit, and hit a longer distance than ever before. GO ME!  Then, I came home.  The events of the day really stuck with me, so I wrote a letter to the editor for the local paper about it.  And what happened? I got a phone call from the head editor saying he loved my letter and it would be Letter of the Day on Sunday. He said he got a smile and a bunch of encouragement out of it, and he wanted the rest of the city to do the same.

I think it's more than coincidence that this all happened 2 days after my fat and fearless blog post.  As the amazing Ellen says, be good to each other!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fat and Fearless: Running

We fat people, we know why we're fat.  We know that there are ways to lose weight. Sometimes we don't want to, sometimes we're too lazy, and sometimes we're scared. Why would we be scared? Well, there's one undeniable fact. Fat shamers both want fat people to run and not to run, simultaneously.  They hate that we're fat, so OF COURSE they want us to run. Why the hell wouldn't they? But then, when we run, we burn their eyes with our bouncing blubber and their children are subjected to our flying flab!  Too many times have I seen letters online from "concerned neighbors" that someone would run, or even do yard work, in public while being overweight.

I have surpassed all of these and began the C25K app from  Today I completed Week 4 Day 2. This day includes a 5 minute walking warm up, run for 3 minutes, walk 1.5, run 5 minutes, walk 2.5, run 3, walk 1.5, run 5, cool down for 5.  Despite the pain, the struggles, the torture, I kept going. At times, I yelled at myself not to stop, because I'm a stubborn fat lady, and verbally encouraged myself to keep going!

Before Pic, don't I look excited?
I run in the morning. It's required to beat the Texas heat.  If I don't get out before noon, I don't get out. Today, I even ran in the pouring rain!  Rain ain't gonna stop be!  I am so determined, I will do my run unless it's literally unsafe!  I run with running shoes purchased from the local running store, where they recorded and checked out my gait and then got them specialized to my feet.  My clothes are cheap and loose, as they should be. An awesome sweatband from Target.  I also run with my music and C25K app on my phone, which goes into this coolio pocket thing I bought from the local nicknack shop. Essentially it clips on my sweatpants and acts as a pocket, but is a lot cooler than a frisbee lol.

My C25K music playlist can be found here:: C25K Playlist.  I feel the key to running while fat, or thin, or out of shape, or a body builder is confidence.  I run outside because my severe motion sickness makes me ill on a treadmill.  Every time a car passes me, I look up. I attempt to make eye contact with the driver. I smile and wave. EVERY TIME! Sometimes they ignore me, but the very very few times I get a wave, it makes me do better, it makes me work harder.

I know where the dogs on my run live. Don't worry, they're all contained in fences. But you know what a barking dog can easily sound like?  A cheering crowd. That's right, those dogs aren't barking because you're too close to they're house. They're cheering for you! They want you to succeed! Smile at those dogs. Give them a thumbs up or a little "raise the roof" and keep running.  Their barks will follow you for quite a while, which will keep you running.

With C25K, they use time limits. However, my phone is in my pocket, and time is hard to judge when you're huffing and puffing and in pain. So, when I think I'm going to be needing to quit, I look up. I make a visual goal. That car, that sign post, that bush. It can be anything. When I reach it, I reassess.  Everytime, I know I can keep going until I'm told to walk. So I look up and find another visual point.  Moments after my run, I forget the struggles and the pain and feel nothing but pride

After Pic. Look at that smile, that pride... that sweat...
If you've been thinking about taking up running, do it! Now! Pay those $2 for the App (no, they have no idea I'm endorsing this).  Those $2 may be enough to make you want to not waste your money!  IF you need a good community, try Reddit, it's free, they're so helpful! They want you to succeed too!  And no matter what, have NO FEAR!

Next week I'll be running through Paris. I will be on vacation. I will be the fat girl huffing and puffing through the streets of Paris. And I will do it! Wish my luck!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is Being Plus Sized the "Norm"?

So I'm chatting on Tinder with this guy. Don't hate me. I'm single and I need to do some sort of online dating to keep my sanity. The man I'm chatting with is a VERY nice man, a few years older than me, with his life together. Quite the refresher in the online dating world. He asked about my hobbies, and I mentioned this blog. He asked what I blog about. I said the main theme is being a plus sized woman in an average world. His response? "You live in America, being plus-sized is becoming the norm." So I asked why I was still persecuted for being plus sized?  And that inspired this blog post.

I live in America. The U S of A. The land of the free and home of the brave. And the hot dog. And the hamburger. And fast food. And processed foods. And high fructose corn syrup. No wonder more people in our country are considered "overweight" than "normal" weight. (However, I have some STRONG words about the BMI system that will be saved for another time).

However, I AM still persecuted for being plus sized. I am a size 16-22 depending on the brand, but really an 18/20 on most days. When I go to a store, these sizes are SOLD OUT! It is impossible to find clothes in my size because so many other women need clothes in my size. And that's when they have a decent plus sized section. Let me tell you how much I LOVE walking into Kohls and the Plus Sized section is one-tenth of the size of the rest of the "Ladies" section. For one, why do we need our own section of all?! Why cant we just be at the back of the regular racks? Is it really so hard to add a few more sizes?  But why is our section so small when so many people need to shop there?! 

And then the clothes themselves. Overpriced, I get it, they're using more fabric, not THAT much more fabric. And then, if you're going to use all that extra fabric, could you PLEASE be so kind as to make it shaped at all in stead of the baggy tents that we're being forced to wear?!  We have curves, more than a lot of the thinner ladies that you're obsessively designing for, so could you perhaps accentuate them a bit? Let us show off the figures that we DO have!

Of course, those are just the stores that have clothes for us. Do you know how painful it is to walk into a store and ask "Do you have clothes for me?" and then to be looked up and down by some random cashier and told "No." Sometimes with a scoff as if I'm stupid for even asking. It's even more painful to know how hardened I've become to that situation, that I'm used to it and it's just a part of life now.

On dating sites, I get looked over because I honestly mark "overweight". Not "could lose a few" or "a little extra". "Overweight". People look at me and assume I'm lazy and lack self control because I've been overweight my whole life. In fact, many people still think "fat shaming" is an acceptable way to encourage weight loss. Healthful food is too expensive for most people to afford, as well as many gym memberships, and ESPECIALLY personal trainers. Doctors ignore my blood tests and the facts about my health to tell me "I'm overweight and unhealthy" simply based on the number of my weight and the way I look. I am healthier than many thin people, and my slow metabolism shouldn't be a factor in that. And no way in HELL am I giving up bread to look your brand of "ideal".

It has been proved that overweight people will be looked over for jobs. AS a musician, I KNOW I am judged while I am up on stage. I had a flute teacher who I was doing a trial lesson with mention my weight. It was terrible. I have worked my whole life to be comfortable with my weight. My family has teased me my whole life. I was overweight as a child. My family called me ugly. I was told no self-respecting man would ever have romantic feelings for me.

So, is being plus sized now the norm in America? Statistically, YES. However, that doesn't mean that overweight people are treated the same way as anyone else.  They're still judged. People are still undereducated about the reason for fatness, overweightness, or obesity. They also don't realize how hard it is to LOSE the weight. I am happy with my body. Let it be known. But I'm always on a quest to BETTER myself, and my body. I have started C25K and I'm eating better. And I've lost very few pound. But I'm healthy. I'm hot. That's what matters. It could take me YEARS to lose weight, and I'll never be a size 0. But no one knows or cares about that. They care how I look now. And THAT is why I'm persecuted for being plus sized.

What do you think? Is being overweight the norm in today's world? Are people becoming accepting of it? Or are overweight people persecuted? Should overweight be accepted like everyone else?!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Let's Take a... I mean... Talk about Naps!

I believe anyone the age of 12 will agree with me, naps are beautiful, rare gifts which should be embraced whenever possible.  One of my most intelligent and respected professors actually has a mantra of three rules of life, one of those three is "Never pass up the opportunity to take a nap." Now when you're only given three rules to a happy life, you want to keep up with them as much as possible. Another was never pass up a bathroom.  The last one... well.. I was usually in a car going through Ireland when he told us and the nap one was number two, so I was always asleep before I heard number three, OOPS!

Now, supposedly kids are supposed to need all this sleep to help with growing and stuff.  Then can someone explain to me why the hell, when my nieces (Aged 5 and 9) come to stay with us next week we'll be going to bed at 10 and they'll be up by 6?!  Seriously, why do children not understand the meaning of sleeping in?   When does sleeping in become a thing?  They also HATE naps! They will fight naps at all costs, and make sure no one else can enjoy a little shut eye in the process!  I remember I once asked the 5 year old to lay down for a nap with me. She said ok, and jumped on the bed for 30 minutes.  HELL TO THE NO! You do not deny a college student of a nap during their holiday!!

I find myself needing naps regularly the older I get.  It's been especially bad this past year, but I think that has something to do with being in graduate school. I get up early for class and stay up late doing homework, and then it still takes an hour for my mind to wind down before I can fall asleep. One of my rehearsals goes from 9-11 at night on Wednesdays! In the middle of the stinking week! So I suppose it's so surprise that, when Saturday comes, I "sleep in" until 8 and then want a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day. I need that little amount of time to catch up from the rest of the week.

Me, personally? I'm a bed napper. It's a habit I got into when I was getting my undergrad and living in the dorms, or with roommates, or couldn't afford a couch that you could nap on.  I feel that you get a better sleep that way you're in the area which you've designated for sleep and your body and brain are ready to turn off and really refresh.  Not to mention I LOVE my bed. I have the most comfortable bed ever and I LOVE my pillows. Really, it's sick how much I love my pillows. I will be in a 5 star hotel and miss my pillows.

But, I guess what I'm trying to say, is we should all take advice from cats and, whenever given the opportunity, take time to lay down and refresh ourselves. If you need a nap, and need to do something else, like clean, really ask yourself if it's an urgent matter, or if a nap could be more beneficial. I often find that after a nap, I am more efficient and still get done all the things I needed. Comment below, tell me YOUR opinion on naps. Oh, and before you take that snooze, make sure you follow my blog!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fat and Fearless: At the Hair Salon

OK ladies, despite our size we all love and yet, secretly DREAD, the hairdresser.  Just one mistake could give us a brand new look, and change is not always good. And if we're actually looking for a different style, well forget about it! We will have to pick through thousands of photos of various women in various cuts, finding one we like and can fit into our daily routine, and then PRAYING that it will look just as good on us as it did on the model, and that our hairdresser can give us an identical cut.

First off, I'm pretty sure that hair salons buy the worst mirrors in existence. I promise I ALWAYS look fatter in the mirrors there than anywhere else. Really, I gain a good twenty pounds in those mirrors, every single time.  Then they put a towel around your neck, and a cape around that towel, pushing all neck flab right up into your chin. Then they wet your hair down and, if you're like me, you look like a drowned rat.  And to go with the fearless part of this post, here is a picture of me in the chair, looking magnificently terrible through this mirror!

Ugh, gross. At least I managed a smile in that picture.  Now I have a few suggestions for making it through the hairdresser fearlessly at any size!  First of all, remember it is JUST HAIR!  It will grow back. If it looks absolutely terrible (which I doubt it will) you can wear a hat, or have an excuse to buy a super sexy wig, or anything! But be daring! It's just hair! It will grow out!  Take a chance!

Remember, your hair dresser has been doing this for years (hopefully) and has a trustworthy opinion.  Straight up ask her what she thinks!  Don't be afraid to be up front.  I have no problem with my size. I'll talk to my stylist and say "I know that I'm chubby, I know that I have a bit of a double chin, do you think this style would work with my face shape?"  For me, I have fine fine fine hair. "I know I have fine hair, do you think it would hold this style?"  Be honest in your questions and you'll get honest answers.  I've been told I don't have the forehead to go without bangs. I wasn't offended, because I've always agreed with that. I keep the "baby doll" bangs because they look good on me. My face allows for shorter cuts, which is good, because the fineness of my hair means I can't grow it much past my shoulders without looking raggedy.

And, even though you stare at yourself in that horrendous mirror and feel gross and self-conscious the entire time you're there, the outcome is always great.  Be sure to ask your stylist to walk you through what she's doing while styling your hair, so the day you get your hair done isn't the only day it looks the way it should!  Be fearless, make it worth it!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Influenster Review: First Aid Shot

Yesterday, I started the Couch to 5K running program.  I was pretty freaking successful, I didn't stop short on ANY of the jogs, and there were times I wanted to. Like I was BEGGING for a walk by the end, but I didn't stop. Add the fact that there was rain and hail at the very end of my run, well, I'm pretty stinking proud of myself. Today, I woke up SORE. My shins, the fronts of my thighs, even up to my abs and back! I mean, it's definitely proof that I worked yesterday!

This morning, getting out of bed brought groans of pain. Boy was I happy that I had received a Fast Relief First Aid Shot Therapy from Influenster in my Surf's Up Vox Box!  This little liquid shot, mine is flavored cherry, promises to take my pain away fast and keep it away for hours. It's an NSAID pain reliever in liquid form. Now I usually use Ibuprofen pills, which work great, but why not see how this works instead right? 

For taste, well, it could have been a lot worse. It wasn't like taking a bite into a fresh cherry, that's for sure. However, it was mostly cherry flavored with a slight aftertaste of cough syrup.  Not terrible, not something I want to drink EVERY day.  But hey, I got it down. Luckily it was very liquidy, no thick syrup texture at all.  So, three stars out of five for the actual drinking of the liquid.

After 30 minutes, some of my pain was completely gone, while other areas were significantly dulled. After an hour no additional progress had been made.  So the verdict? It did the job but I'm not sure its better or even as good as popping two Advil,  but maybe this painkiller just doesnt work for my body.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weighing In: The Adam Richman Instafight

I am a member of an amazing Facebook group specifically for women. It's called the "Curvy Girl Guide", but all women are welcome because, let's be honest, we ALL have issues with our bodies!  Yesterday, our fearless leader, Brittany, posted this XO Jane Article.  Now I'm a HUGE XO Jane fan, though I don't ALWAYS agree with what she has to say, I believe that as a whole, this site gives women a helping hand and a form of support.

Essentially, Adam Richman posted about his weight loss on Instagram with the hashtag #thinspiration. Now I didn't know this, but this is a hashtag that essentially promotes eating disorders. Now, since I didn't know this, it's probable he didn't either. I mean, let's be honest, it sounds like an AWESOME word for people trying to lose weight. But it's not! It's this terrible thing which encourages bulimia and anorexia.

Now, when a few women tried to point out to Adam that this wasn't the best hashtag to use, he brushed them off, saying that he didn't give a f***.  OK, this is where I have a problem.  Here's the deal, I don't know how Adam is losing weight, but I think it's great that he is. I mean, he needs to do what he needs to do  to make him happy, though I pray that he isn't resorting to eating disorders for this. After all, he is a TV personality and probably a bit of a hero to quite a few overweight people.

Adam is best known for his Travel Channel series "Man Vs. Food" where he ate ridiculous amounts of food and showcased all the restaurants where you could gain 40 pounds in one sitting.  Often it made me sick, but the food always looked DELICIOUS, so really, I was conflicted while watching the show. However, let's be honest, he PROMOTED OVEREATING on his show.  The fact that he was as thin as he was on the show was mind boggling to me. 

So his weight loss is great, but remember, people looked up to him for his ability to eat mass amounts of food. So his fans are probably overweight.  Therefore, as he loses weight, it is IMPERATIVE for him to be careful about how he presents his weight loss, this includes avoiding eating disorder supported hashtags that may give his viewers the wrong idea as to how to lose weight.

I'm not even going to get involved on the fight he had, though I hate when ANYONE suggests another person commit SUICIDE. That is terrible - suicide effects everyone, and that crossed the line.  However, he has since apologized. I just hope that, with this apology, he also attempts to avoid thinspiration in his posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Movie Review: Jersey Boys


I went with my mother to see the new film, Jersey Boys, based on the Broadway Musical by the same name. The story of Frankie Valli (with an "I") and the Four Seasons. I have yet to see the musical on Broadway, but I had a radio show on a campus public radio station for four years on which I featured a new Broadway musical every week. One of these weeks I did an entire show on Jersey Boys, for which I did a lot of research since I hadn't yet seen it in person, so I do consider myself familiar with the musical.

Let's begin with things I enjoyed about the movie.  At 2 hours and 14 minutes, it does fall a little short (approximates 15-45 minutes) of the time expected for a full-length show on Broadway, but I still felt that the abridgements made for the movie were minimal and didn't affect the story. The casting for the movie was absolutely fabulous. No "big movie names" were cast for any of the four leads. Frankie Valli was played by John Lloyd Young, who was the first man in the role on Broadway and received a Tony for Best Actor, as well as various other awards, for this role in 2006.  He was obviously the perfect choice for the part.  The other three members of the Four Seasons were played by Broadway actors, most of whom had played their respective part on an American tour of the show previously.  Essentially, the lead roles were familiar with their parts. Additionally, they all had the talent and the training for the part.

There were a few "big names" spotted throughout the film. However, for the most part, they have smaller roles. Christopher Walken has the biggest of these roles, playing the mentor for the boys. The man who owns the bowling alley has been seen in a few television shows. Mostly just very small cameo roles. Besides the director, Clint Eastwood, this movie is basically big name free, as I feel any Broadway musical-based movie should be. If it started on Broadway, it should be cast by people trained and familiar with that environment.

Now for the very few complaints I had for the movie.  We'll start with the smaller of the two. The song "Oh What a Night." It is common knowledge that this is Bob Gaudio's (the song write for the Four Seasons) story of losing his virginity.  However, this song wasn't played until the very end of the film, where Frankie finally finds fame again for one brief moment.  While it seems a pertinent moment, the fact that they included his first night in the movie (though not graphically) gave them the PERFECT opportunity to present this song in its inspirational moment!!

Secondly, in the musical's playbill (I'm not sure about on the stage) the four men each get to tell their part of the story. Each man represents a season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer).  This gives meaning to their band name, The Four Seasons. However, there is so much more meaning in it. As they switch off who is telling the story, it represents a change of their life as a band.  In a sense, the career and livelihood of the band is seeing a change in the "seasons".  However, the movie COMPLETELY removed this idea.  Not even a quick word at the bottom of the screen that says "Winter" - nothing. I feel this fact adds an extra level to the story that you just don't get elsewhere.

However, the movie was AMAZING. I wish it was acceptable to dance in the aisles of a movie theater, because the music is great, of course. I mean, come on, it's Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons! And I bet you'll be surprised to some of the songs that are theirs.  Rated R probably because they drop the F-Bomb more than twice, but my conservative 60 year old mother was unphased by the swearing and truly enjoyed the film. Take your mom. Take a date. Don't take your young children. Enjoy!