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Paris Sans Obesity

If you have ever suffered from obesity you’ve probably had the experience of laying in bed at night thinking about all the things you would do and how different your life would be if you were not “fat”.

Yes, I said “fat”. Let’s be honest, it is the word we use in our head when we beat ourselves up emotionally for suffering from this disease. I can’t tell you how many times I laid in bed thinking “If I wasn’t fat, I would….”

These “ifs” are the stuff that dreams are made of.

The things we imagine and envision ourselves doing if our ability and mobility were not hindered by obesity. Making these dreams come true, achieving the things we dream of doing in the life we live after weight loss surgery is by far one of the biggest intrinsic motivators there is in your post-surgical life. Or as I like to refer to it, #YourBariLife.

Thanks to the generous folks at BariLife, a company that genuinely cares about the life you live after WLS; I was able to spend the last 13 days in Paris, France making several of these dreams come true.

My first day lead me to Le Jardin du Luxembourg.

I walked the entire gardens. These gardens hold over 190 statues. I saw the amazing Luxembourg Palace – constructed in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici, the window of King Henry IV and that was just the beginning of my day.

From there I walked up the hilly streets of Paris to the Pantheon; a building in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The Pantheon was originally a church dedicated to St. Genevieve but now serves as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens like Voltaire and Victor Hugo. I walked all around the Pantheon taking in an outdoor exhibit that paid homage to Simone Veil – a Holocaust concentration camp survivor who is most well-known for pushing forward the law that legalized abortion in France in 1975. She is one of only 5 women to have been buried in the Pantheon.

After that I walked the streets of Paris at night, dinned by the lights of Notre Dame and took in this amazing cathedral in the late-night hours when it was brilliantly lit. Standing at the base of Notre Dame looking up at this amazing medieval Catholic cathedral that I had read about in Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a young adult, left me in absolute awe.

In this one day, I climbed 24 floors and walked over 8 miles taking in the glorious sights of Paris. I never would have been able to do this back when I weighed 420 lb. and could hardly walk from my front door to where my car was parked without experiencing pain and being short of breath.

The next day I ventured out the Louvre – the world’s largest museum.

I walked around this 12th to 13th century castle constructed under the reign of Phillip II which was the resident of many Kings after him until 1682 when King Louis XIV decided to make the Palace of Versailles his home. Interesting little fact you may not have known. During his reign Napoleon renamed the historic Louvre the “Musee Napoleon”. After his fall in 1814 it once again became known as the famous Louvre. I spent several hours walking around taking in the sights of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Ancient Greek statue Winged Victory of Samothrace, Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, the infamous Greek statue Venus de Milo and the Egyptian Great Sphinx of Tanis. Standing in front of some of the most notorious pieces of art in the world is a humbling experience to say the least.

After leaving the Louvre through the gardens and taking in the Arc de Triomphe, my boyfriend and I grabbed some tasty Parisian treats to carry around with us and found a quite little bench to eat lunch on. We spent the later part of the afternoon perusing comic book stores, the Le Petite Prince store, and had one of the most miraculous dinners of our trip at a little nearby café.

A slower paced day for us, I ended up climbing about 34 floors and walking just shy of 7 miles total in the day. 8 years ago, before weight loss surgery, I doubt I would have even made it through the walking audio tour adventure at the Louvre without having to stop and rest between each exhibit point.

My third day in Paris was by far the most profound.

This was the day that made me most realize how much my life has changed since winning my battle with obesity.

This wasn’t my first time in Paris you know; I was there sightseeing once before at the age of 15 with my AP French class. The moment I most distinctly remember from that trip was when the group had to leave me behind while climbing the 300 plus steps to the top of Sacre Coeur. I met up with them later in Montmartre, feeling embarrassed and humiliated as several of my fellow classmates teased me about being too “fat” to handle the stairs.

It was a very upsetting day for me. I ended up leaving the group going back to the hotel and spending the rest of the day walking along the Seine River shopping for gifts to take home for my parents.

But this time, unhindered by obesity, I bound those 300 plus steps only taking a short break about half way through to give my boyfriends aching legs a break. Once we reached the top we took in the amazing site of the Sacre Coeur Basilica, the sacred heart of Paris and the panoramic view of the city from the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. After that we took our time venturing through the beautiful city of Montmartre.

From there we made our way to the red-light district of Paris, Pigalle, to see the infamous windmill of the Moulin Rouge; birthplace of the can-can and cabaret! Being a big fan of the musical, this was a neat moment for me. I got to have a drink and a cheese platter at the infamous Le Chat Noir, thought to be the first modern cabaret and known far and wide by its iconic poster art by Theophile Steinlen.

A little pop culture trivia information for you; If you’ve ever watched old Frank Sinatra movies, Le Chat Noir is the name of the night club where Frank Sinatra and Natalie Woods rekindled their relationship in the 1958 movie Kings Go Forth.

My fellow North Carolinians might also recognize the poster from the infamous murder scene photos of Kathleen Peterson. She was murdered by her husband, Mike Peterson, a novelist who ran for mayor of Durham, NC in 2002. The Le Chat Noir poster was the framed art piece at the bottom of the blood-soaked staircase.

My trip to Paris was about finding my love of running again.

I wanted to go back to where I felt I had lost my love of the run and do it over again. I wanted to find that internal passion for running in one of the most romantic places in the world.

I didn’t realize that by the third day of this trip I would be laying in my bed recalling my teenage years of struggling with obesity and remembering the sting of the teasing and weight bias I experienced from my fellow classmates when the overweight teenage me couldn’t keep up with my peers. But that is what I did that night. I recalled a night in Paris as a young teenager where I thought to myself “If I wasn’t fat, I’d be able to do all of this and they wouldn’t tease me and pick on me.”

That day, I climbed 32 floors and walked nearly 8 miles around the city of Paris without every feeling like I had to stop or like I was missing out on something.

With this Paris adventure, I have no regrets. I have no “If I wasn’t fat” moments to look back on with disappointment. I have nothing but amazing memories of the things that I can do now that I have conquered obesity.

Thanks to the folks over at BariLife, I got the opportunity to redo another day that should have been an amazing experience for me. I got to lay in bed thinking, “Wow, I did that! I’m living the best life I can after weight loss surgery, this is #MyBariLife, and I am turning it into everything it should be.”

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Make #YourBariLife the best it can be.

Visit the BariLife Website for all your Protein and Vitamin Needs!

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The Obesity Rebel Challenge

If you follow me on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter you probably already know about the Obesity Rebel Challenge.

If you don’t follow me on social media, you should, follow the link I just gave you and take care of that.

But I want to take a moment out of the Sex Love and Obesity blog series to talk to you about the Obesity Rebel Challenge, why it is important to me and why I am personally asking you to step up and take some steps in the fight against obesity.

 

The Obesity Rebel Challenge is a fitness fits everyone event.

Anyone CAN do this challenge. There is no distance requirement, no time requirement and no pressure as to when, where or how you decide to get your Obesity Rebel steps in. All it takes to complete this challenge is you, your own two feet and the will to finish.

The only rule in the challenge is that you have to complete the distance and submit your distance by September 30th, 2018.

Because there are no distance or time requirements you can complete the challenge in any fashion you wish. You have the choice of signing up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or 36k challenge distance.

For those that don’t know a 5k is 3.1 miles, a 10k is 6.2 miles, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, and a 36k is 22.4 miles.

There is a training plan for a 5k, a 10k and a Half Marathon included with your registration for the Obesity Rebel Challenge. Let’s say that you decide that you want to complete your first 5k or 10k as part of the Obesity Rebel Challenge. That’s awesome! What a neat thing to knock off your bucket list.

The training guides included with your registration are geared to help you meet that goal. Each one is designed for a beginning walker/runner to slowly progress you from not walking or running much at all to achieving the total distance you’ve selected by September 22, 2018. The 5k Training Plan begins on August 5th and the 10k training plan begins on July 15th.

If you decided that you wanted to take on a half marathon distance and build up to completing 13.1 miles in one day, the Half Marathon Training Plan is designed to get you there. The Half Marathon Training Plan begins on June 24th.

The Obesity Rebel Challenge allows for combined distance totals.

ObesityRebel ChallengeIf you’re not an avid walker or runner, if you have a medical issue that prevents you from doing a total distance of 3.1 or more miles all at once, the Obesity Rebel Challenge is still a very doable event for you.

I have a client that has lymphedema and just recently had knee replacement surgery. To get her 3.1 miles in she is doing 10 minutes a day on a treadmill 2-3 day a week between now and September, tracking her total distance each day and building up to a 3.1-mile distance.

I have another client who has two bad knees and is bone on bone in both knees. She has a trip to Ireland coming up. She’ll be using her total distance walked each day that she is in Ireland touring the country to accumulate her miles and is hoping to achieve a half marathon total distance of 13.1 miles.

I have another client that has decided that she and her daughter are going to do her first half marathon together. She is going to be following the Half Marathon training guide to get her distance in. That training guide will be building up her distance and she’ll be using some of her training runs to get her 5k and 10k distances in and submitting those. By the time she is done, she will have accumulated the 22.4 miles for the 36k challenge total and then some.

No matter where you are in your weight loss or fitness journey, you can accomplish and complete the Obesity Rebel Challenge.

Let’s talk about WHY participating in the Obesity Rebel Challenge is important.

A “Rebel” is a person that rises against opposition. We live in a world that marginalizes people who are affected by obesity. Those that are affected by this disease are taught that they are less than worthy. They face bias and stigma in the health care they receive, in how they are treated by medical professionals, in what kinds of treatments their insurance companies will provide.

Obesity is still commonly accepted as the punchline of the joke. People affected by obesity are often ignored or even ridiculed by clothing manufacturing companies.

They are mistreated and judged in industry standards when it comes to fitness and fashion.

They are stereotyped when it comes to mental health, and emotional stability.

Because of all of this, those that are affected by obesity or have been affected by obesity often worry about what others are thinking about them in almost any environment.

Will this doctor figure out what is wrong with me or will he blame everything on my weight? Will this nail salon charge me more to sit in their pedicure chairs? Will people stare at me in this fitness facility? Will the person on this dating site look at my photo and decide not to talk to me? Will someone yell out horrible things or make animal noises at me if I walk down the street to get some exercise in?

NONE of these things SHOULD happen. NONE of these things should be things we have to be afraid of or fear. But right now, THAT is the sad truth of the world we live in. The only way we will ever change that is by fighting back. That’s what an Obesity Rebel does. They fight back. They fight obesity and they tell the world, this sort of treatment, this sort of stigmatization, this sort of bias, this sort of judgement is NOT OKAY.

The world isn’t going to change without people teaching and educating it on how it needs to change. We are stronger together. We must rise to the opposition. We must be the Rebels leading the charge. That, in my mind is why your participation in the Obesity Rebel Challenge is so important.

If you’ve ever sat there wondering what you CAN do to help make a difference and change how the world sees and treats those effected by Obesity, I have a question for you…

Why WOULDN’T you participate in this simple fitness event?

By being an Obesity Rebel you can do exactly that. You can be an individual standing up in opposition to how the world treats and sees obesity. All you have to do is click the link register and put some steps in.

Obesity Rebel Challenge

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
Please take the time to visit their website and check them out!

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