Social Networking

Weight Loss Motivation

Miles To Go – A Running Conundrum

I’ve been struggling with a big decision lately.

Six months ago I signed up for one of the biggest running challenges of my life. I decided to take on a running event that has me scheduled to run 49 miles over a four-day period.

It sounded amazing when I signed up for it. I was drawn to all the bling that I’d get for doing it. Six new medals to add to my wall for the accomplishment of running a 5k, a 10k, a Half Marathon and a Full Marathon four days back to back.

I’ve ran enough Half Marathons that they don’t scare me anymore. 

I’m pretty confident in my ability to complete them. So I set a running goal of running a Full Marathon in 2016. 2016 is a special year to me.

It’s the year that my Father would have turned 90-years-old, it’s the year that I will turn 40-years-old. My Dad was born in 1926 and I lost 260 lb. I wanted, no I still want, to run a mile for every 10 lb. that I lost.

I’m a numbers gal. The numbers all worked and made 2016 THE YEAR that I decided I wanted to run my first and only Full Marathon.

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to not just take on the challenge of running a Full Marathon but decided to put three days of running in front of it and beat my body up a bit before the true big day came.

But here I am in the beginning of October, in the middle of the training program that will get me there and…

I am struggling.

My body is starting to tell me that I am overdoing it. I’ve completed 13 half marathons now. 14 if I count the first one where I walked the entire thing. Now, three years later I’m dealing with injuries that though they aren’t really caused by the running itself, are amplified by it.

I’ve got degenerative arthritis in my knees. I’m currently struggling with achilles tendonitis in my ankles.

I am seeing doctors and spending nearly 2 hours a day doing everything they tell me to so I can maintain and treat those issues so that hopefully I can push my body do what I want it to do.

Running is my therapy.

Nobody has told me not to run. Some doctors have told me to run less often and that is something that I am more than willing to do. Just as soon as I accomplish this goal of running a full marathon.

So what is the decision that I am struggling with? Because obviously I’ve already got my mind set on completing my first and only full marathon in 2016.

Here’s the thing. I have a really hard time letting go of a goal that I set for myself. Even if that goal is above and beyond what I really wanted to do in the first place.

You see, I could make this all much easier on my body. I could use the option that RunDisney has to defer my registration for the 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon portion of this event and go back to my original goal of running my first Full Marathon and not have it stacked behind three days of progressively running longer and longer distances right before I attempt to do it.

Why is that decision so hard for me to make? Truthfully, it’s hard for me because in the back of my mind there is this little voice that feels like somehow if I change my plan and alter my course and decide not to do this challenge that I signed up for I have somehow failed at achieving a goal that I set for myself.

You don’t have to tell me how wrong that little voice is.

I’m a coach, I know quite well how wrong that voice is. But that doesn’t change that it exists and that it sits there in the back of my mind taunting me and nagging me.

I’ve got that proverbial devil and angel on my shoulder right now…

The devil says…

“Hey you set this big goal and you can probably do it if you really push yourself, and just think of how great that accomplishment will feel when you are done and you managed to do something that you’re scared of right now.”

The angel says…

“Why not just stick to your original goal? Why go all bat shit crazy and make reaching that goal so much harder for yourself by making it more challenging than it needs to be?”

There is a part of me that wonders…  If I do defer the first three days of this running event and just run that original Full Marathon that I intended too, will I regret the fact that I didn’t attempt to complete the entire challenge once I cross the finish line?

I’ve never fallen short of a running goal that I have set for myself. I have never had the experience of not actually being able to complete a distance I set out to run.

Truthfully at this point I am not sure which is better for my emotional state of mind. Deciding right now to rein myself in and alter my goal to one that I know is more realistic, or to attempt to do what I set out to do and know that for the first time in my weight loss journey and running career I just might not be able to finish what I started.

This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

Never let anyone tell you that once you lose your weight everything is magically fixed. The weight loss is just the beginning of your journey. There are lots of emotional and physical challenges that come up as you walk the path of weight maintenance and start to live life after weight loss. True story.

DSSPostSig

 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Nicole Arbour’s Perfect Example of Fat-Shaming

A new video entitled “Dear Fat People” hit YouTube a few days ago. This video features Nicole Arbour, a Canadian comedian, recording artist, actor, writer, choreographer and producer displaying very prominent views of weight bias and fat-shaming.

NicoleArbourDearFatPeople

Well Miss Arbour, you’re right about one thing, some people are already offended and I’m one of them.

Fat-Shaming is very much a thing. It’s an unproductive and emotionally damaging thing.

The saddest part of fat-shaming is that ridiculously cruel people like yourself think that it’s okay.

Your video makes it very clear that you believe that being affected by obesity simply means that you should eat less and move more. While taking in fewer calories and getting in more movement is definitely two of the key ingredients to weight loss, that formula doesn’t work for everyone.

I never sat in my doctor’s office and accused him of fat shaming when he told me that as a woman affected by morbid obesity I was at a higher risk of illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, severe edema, chronic depression and some forms of cancer. I took those things pretty seriously actually. In fact since my struggle with obesity lead me to all of those conditions if anything I was scared to death that I was going to be dead before I turned forty.

Oh you’re not talking to me? That’s great. Thanks for excluding me from your negative body image campaign. But wait, you are talking to me because I too was once affected by the disease of obesity.

Let me define obesity for you. Obesity is a condition that is associated with having excess body fat, defined by genetic and environmental causes that are difficult to control while dieting. Individuals affected by obesity should not be defined as being their disease. You don’t tell someone with cancer that they are cancer. You don’t tell someone with depression that they are depression. You don’t tell someone with AIDS that they are AIDS. Miss Arbour, human beings are not defined by diseases and illnesses they suffer from diseases and illnesses and making light of people’s suffering is a really unkind and inhumane action.

People that suffer from obesity wear it externally. The can’t hide it.

You can tell by just looking at them that they suffer from the disease. Unfortunately for them people like you seem to think that because they wear their disease in a physical way that it’s alright to make fun of them, belittle them and sadly, try shame them into fighting their disease in the manner that you see fit.

The problem with that is that you can not tell by looking at someone what actions they are taking to fight their disease. You can not tell if they suffer from some other illness that caused them to gain weight. You can not distinguish whether they have been so emotionally and physically abused that they used food as a coping mechanism. You can not tell whether they went to the gym this morning. You can not tell whether they suffer from depression. You can not tell if they are eating 900 calories a day or eating 3500 calories a day. But because they wear their disease in a way you can see it you assume it’s okay to attack them and tell them that they should be making better choices.

Most people who suffer from obesity are not sitting there intentionally making choices that cause them to gain weight. As someone who once weighed over four hundred pounds I can honestly say that I never consciously sat there going “Oh let me see what I can do to gain more weight today.”  

Most people who suffer from obesity would love guidance and help with weight loss. That’s where the theory of eat less and move more fails. Because for most of us that have suffered from obesity the problems go much deeper than simple calories in and calories out. Most of us have tried that method to recovery from obesity and failed over and over again.

The comparison of being a shop-a-holic to obesity as a disease is asinine. While some people who suffer from obesity do in fact also suffer from food addictions comparing a disease to an addiction is like comparing people to dinosaurs. Some people who suffer from cancer do so because of an addiction to cigarettes and nicotine. Last time I checked though the only damage anyone has ever done through a shopping addiction was to their bank account and possibly their emotional well-being.

You’ve done a really good job at showing the world what fat-shaming, weight bias and weight discrimination is all about.

Your story about being at the airport and your experience with the “Fat Family” and “Jabba the Son” is classic example of these things. You assumed that because the boy you are talking about suffered from obesity that he wasn’t suffering from any other illness. You made this assumption based on his physical appearance and nothing more.  You decided that because “he was fine, he was just fat,”  it was alright to be rude, inconsiderate and mean. You decided that nothing else about that boy and his life mattered and that he should be making better choices based on absolutely nothing but his physical appearance.

What if that family’s son suffered from Prader-Willi syndrome? What if he suffered from Cushing’s syndrome? What if he suffered from a thyroid disorder? What if that family was on their way to a specialist to try to get their son help and treatment for his obesity? You have no clue what that family was going through or why that boy was considered disabled. But here you are showing your lack of education and empathy by expressing your disgust for the overweight boy sitting next to you on a plane and trying to brand it as caring.

“Shame people who have bad habits until they fucking stop.”

“If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m okay with that.”

“I don’t feel bad for you because you’re taking your body for granted.”

These comments are not caring. These comments are cruel and malicious. But somehow you think these comments  are okay because you put a disclaimer on them.

“I’m not saying all of this to be an asshole. I’m saying this because your friends should be saying it to you.”

Nobody’s friends should be saying these things to them.

As someone who once suffered from obesity I can say that nobody belittling me, making fun of me, making jokes about me, expressing disgust about me or trying to shame me into losing weight ever helped me.

All those things ever did was make the situation worse for me. Those very things drove me deeper into depression. They made me feel unworthy. They made me feel hopeless. They made me feel like I didn’t matter. As someone who suffered from a food addiction and had a relationship with food to try to compensate for the relationships that I couldn’t have with people it drove me deeper into the darkness.

When people like you talked to me like this I turned to food to make me feel better. People like you making me feel like I was repulsive, implying that I smelled bad and making me feel like my mere presence was an intrusion in their world made me feel like I didn’t deserve to be a part of it.

That Miss Arbour is assisted suicide.

Let me tell you what DID help me…

Support helped me. Kindness helped me. Someone talking to me in a way that expressed care and concern without making me feel ashamed of myself helped me. Education helped me. Access to treatment for the disease of obesity helped me.

You end this video by trying to redeem yourself with “The Truth”

“The truth is I will actually love you no matter what, but I really really hope this bomb of truth exploding into your face will act as shrapnel that seeps into your soul, makes you want to be healthier so that we can enjoy you as human beings longer on this planet.”

Miss Arbour the truth is, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you care one small iota about those that struggle in the battle against obesity. What I believe is that you just used your fame and celebrity status to attempt to send a message and thought that the tough love and humor approach you chose to take would convey that message. You failed. What you did was make fun of a group of individuals that are already highly stigmatized.  I think you sought a laugh at the expense of others because you like many others in the world today believe that weight bias and fat shaming is acceptable because it is a commonly tolerated form of discrimination and hate.

“Think of me as one of your ride or dies.”

To all of those out there that suffer from obesity please hear me when I say this. Weight Bias, Weight Discrimination and Fat-Shaming are NOT okay.

Luckily for us though, there are some true ride or dies out there trying to make the world a better place and trying to raise awareness of this sort of behavior. I’m one of them.

After overcoming my own battle with obesity I changed my entire career path and went on to become a professional weight loss and wellness coach. I went on to gain an education in how to help others through coaching healthy behaviors and helping others with behavior modifications that would arm them with the tools they need to achieve weight loss and live happier and healthier lives.

After losing over 250 lb. I went on to become a fitness instructor in order to help inspire and motivate others to find the fun in fitness. I went on to try to teach others to use exercise as an emotional outlet to battle the sort of emotions of unworthiness, shame and hopelessness that people like Miss Arbour perpetuate in the world.

OAC-Member-BadgeAfter receiving access to care and treatment for obesity I went on to become a proud member and supporter of the Obesity Action Coalition, an organization that is dedicated to giving a voice to individuals affected by the disease of obesity and helping them along their journey towards better health through education, advocacy and support.

There are people out there like myself and over 50,000 other members of the OAC who are determined to fight to eliminate weight bias and weight discrimination and offer a community of support for the those affected by obesity.

Miss Arbour’s method and message are all wrong. We will never win the fight against obesity through shaming or making fun of the people affected by it. Obesity is not a joke. It is not something to be ashamed of. Obesity is a disease that comes with very serious health ramifications and many of us need more than “eat less and move more,” as a method of treatment.

But thankfully, like many of my fellow members and supporters of the OAC I will stand up and fight for that treatment and stand up and fight for you when someone like Miss Arbour tries to minimize and depreciate the complexity of this disease.

For anyone out there that saw this video or heard this message and felt ashamed of where you are in your battle with obesity, I am here to tell you that you are not the one that should be ashamed of your behavior. Miss Arbour and the people who sign her paychecks are the ones that should be ashamed of their behavior right now, not you.

DSSPostSig

Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies, a Motivational Speaker and Exercise Instructor at a women’s only fitness facility in Wilmington North Carolina.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

DSS on Twitter

Proud Member of the OAC

Grab My Button