The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

The Dreaded Free T-Shirt

Recently at work we ordered team golf shirts for staff to wear at events.  Despite being able to order a plus-sized shirt I held out little hope that it would actually fit properly and I was right.  I did manage to get the shirt on, but every bump and curve was going to be on display in a most unflattering way.  My solution was to buy a simple red shirt so I could at least blend in a little bit better with my colleagues, but regardless I will be the odd woman out even more so than usual.  And you’re right it’s just a shirt, a shirt I will only be expected to wear a few times a year, but it’s yet another reminder that I don’t fit.  In fact I have a closet full of such T shirts which are more keepsakes now than items of clothing I may one day wear.  My “collection” includes office T shirts, event shirts, school shirts, and gifts I’ve received over the years, from well meaning, but apparently myopic friends and family.  When I did Habitat for Humanity a few years ago I held my HFH shirt up in front of me proudly.  If you thought that was to best show off my new shirt, think again, it doesn’t flipping fit.  Last week I took part in a yoga webinar through Body Positive Yoga, which I love, by the way, please do not get me wrong, and I was all jazzed when Amber sent out a note about having new shirts in stock.  Unfortunately when I looked at the way they fit I was put off because I was going to spend nearly as much for shipping as the shirt and I didn’t want another “trophy” mocking me from the cupboard.

I get it, there aren’t that many people my size who want such shirts, and it costs more to buy the shirts, I understand supply and demand, but just once it would be nice to not be the girl in the plain T-shirt trying to blend in.

Yesterday I received an email from NaNoWriMo offering a Thanksgiving discount for Canadians (yes today is a holiday) and I followed the link and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had the shirt I liked in my size.  The 20% discount helped to take the sting out of the shipping charges and I am hopeful I may, for the first time in my life, have an event shirt that actually fits me.  If it does I’ll post a pic showing my NaNoWriMo pride.  If not I guess I’ll post a pic of me hanging it in the closet of memories…

– the Goddess

 

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Fitness for All Shapes and Sizes

I work for an organization which promotes health, and recently staff were asked to submit a photo that represented the many facets of health.

I thought I would share my entry.

Cheeky Cynthia at the Gym

Fitness For All Shapes and Sizes

For many people of size walking into a gym is simply daunting.   Finding plus sized sportswear is hard enough, walking into a gym where no one looks like you and the equipment is confusing is overwhelming.  This means that not only are the physical benefits like weight management and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease lost, but so too are the psychological benefits like stress relief.  A few years ago I started working with a trainer who understood the challenges of working out with a bigger body and it has made a world of difference to my physical and mental health.

Photo Credit: Amanda Sutherland, Inspire Athletics

Amanda Sutherland, my trainer, took this photo recently and I love it.  I love that I just happened to own a lime green top that matches the lime green soles on my new sneakers, but mostly I love that I allowed this photo to be taken.  No make up, no hiding behind other people, no camouflage.  I even set it as my Facebook profile photo and felt the love of friends and family.  I could find fault with this photo, I could cringe at my calves, my belly, my ruddy complexion, but I choose not to.  I choose to see a photo of someone who was laughing with her trainer and showing off her cute outfit.

– the Goddess

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Product Review 014 – Fitbit Charge

Two months ago I bought a Fitbit Charge.  I was a little concerned about the 150ish dollar price tag given that there was a high probability that it would end up in the back of my drawer with all the other weight loss and exercise gizmos I’ve bought over the years, but I polled my friends and many gave it very positive reviews and I was fortunate enough to have a Costco gift card so that helped.

I have to admit that I struggled a bit with the set up, but part of that was…ahem…user error.  Once I got it set up I put it on and immediately it started tracking my steps, flights of stairs climbed, distance traveled and calories burned. When you sync it to your computer or mobile device the basic dashboard lets me put in my weight loss goals, enter my food and water intake, it tells me when I am active during the workday and it even monitors my sleep patterns.  There are a number of other functions as well like alarms and caller ID, however using these additional features can drain the battery much sooner than the 7-10 days they claim in the Fitbit literature.  I can also add my friends to my dashboard and compare steps with them on a daily basis, cheer them on and send them notes of encouragement.  You can also send a jeer to your friends which I have to admit I don’t like because trash talking people who are making an effort is well crappy in my book.

There are a few drawbacks to the Fitbit Charge like you can’t get it wet so yesterday when I was doing dishes and other chores around the house I had it off for the majority of the day so I tallied very few steps and sometimes it doesn’t acknowledge stairs, but I have found that you have do a certain number of stairs at a specific pace to get credit.

I am actually on my second Fitbit Charge as the first one was only lasting a couple of days between battery charges which wasn’t really so bad, but wasn’t what the company promised.  I was encouraged by a friend of a friend to contact the company and they were swift to respond, even on a Saturday night, and after a few simple questions to confirm my warranty was still good they sent me a new Fitbit Charge within a week.  I’m testing it now, but so far it’s gone 5 days on one battery charge and according to my dashboard the battery is about half way.

I am working on losing weight and have lost a bit on my own, but with the Fitbit Charge I am already starting to notice changes in my appearance and most definitely changes in my behaviour.  For instance I’ve started making more trips around the office instead of waiting until I had a bunch of stuff to deliver, I’ve started stepping in place while reading correspondence and I even popped in my earbuds and went for a walk at lunch the other day.  It wasn’t a long walk, but it helped boost my steps for the day and it did wonders for my self esteem.  In fact one of the most pleasant surprises was noticing just how many steps I was already getting in on a typical day and then being able to track my efforts to improve upon that.  So often I feel like I have to make a special effort to go to the gym or make time for a marathon walk and if I can’t fit that in then the day is lost.  My Fitbit Charge is showing me that every step, be it to the gym or around the grocery store is a step in the right direction.

Given the money I have spent on potions and tinctures and various doodads to lose weight over the years the Fitbit Charge is well worth the money, but I do have to admit for the average person on a budget the $150ish price tag is pretty steep.  If you are in a position to put a little money aside though I think it is a wise investment.

I give it 8 goddesses out of 10.

–  the Goddess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Message For Teenage Girls And All Their Sisters

Melissa Newman-Evans has a new fan in me.

– the Goddess

 

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There Is No Spectrum Of Mean

A few months ago I was feeling like I was taking it from all sides and I felt very vulnerable.  There were days that a sideways look was enough for me to want to dissolve into a mess of sloppy tears.  It only lasted for a couple of weeks, but it got me thinking about how I treat other people and how we don’t always realize that an off handed remark or a kind hearted jibe might be all it takes for someone to reach their tipping point.

In high school I was known as the sarcastic one. The one who always had the quick retort and shut down a bully quickly and efficiently.  I didn’t realize how “good” I was at this until I got to university and people who I barely knew from high school would come up to me and say hi and that most of all they remembered my sarcasm. Even now when catching up with old friends on Facebook they often mention my sarcasm, not my humour, but my sarcasm, as the thing they remember most about me.  Of course for me the sarcasm and biting humour was a defence mechanism, a way to defuse someone before they could attack me with comments about my weight, but regardless of the reason for it, the end result was that I was mean to people.  I was mean to people who might have been acting out because of their own struggles and I was mean to people who were likely innocent bystanders hanging around the “cool” kids as a way to survive the social minefield of high school.

And so a couple of months ago I decided to be kinder, specifically I decided that I would put a pause button on my mouth.  Before saying the funny and generally well intentioned sarcastic remark that springs to mind I’m going to take a beat and consider the outcome of those words.  If it’s someone with whom I have an easy banter and an understanding with then perhaps it’s fine, but I don’t always know the kind of day someone has had and maybe my off handed comment is the last straw for them or maybe they are the kind of person who feels very deeply and my comment,  said for my own amusement and forgotten seconds later, might stick with that person for a long time to come.

Granted it’s just a little wit, it’s not like I physically hurt these people or orchestrated a smear campaign, and we know from our legal system that  different crimes have different punishments so there is a sense of one crime being worse than another, but whether I point out someone’s shortcomings or I kick them in the shin I am being mean.

A few years ago a friend hurt my feelings.  When I finally spoke to her about it her defence was that the same action had hurt someone else’s feelings more deeply and somehow I was supposed to be thankful for that.  Recently another friend who is struggling with some personal issues sent me an article and wanted confirmation that he had never been as mean to me as the man in the article was to the author.  While my instinct is to protect him because he is emotionally vulnerable I have to admit that I was disappointed and hurt.  He wanted me to assure him that even though he’d been unkind that it was not so bad because he had been less unkind than someone else.

 

What both of them failed to comprehend is that there is no equivalent of the Richter scale on these things.  You can’t say well I only got a 0.2 on the Meanter scale, but that dude, that dude lemme tell ya he was a 0.8 with aftershocks, that dude is MEAN.  There is no spectrum of mean, rather I think of it like a toggle switch, on or off, mean or kind.

I’m not saying that we can’t express our feelings or that we can’t make a joke, I’m just saying that we need to own our behaviours and if we are mean we apologize and we make amends and we don’t try to deflect blame and responsibility by pointing to those who are “meaner”.

– the Goddess

 

 

 

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Doing That NaNoWriMo Thing

I’ve been threatening to write a novel for a while and after some false starts I have done it. Well I mean I have started.

I must confess I am figuring out the “Nano” phenomenon as I go since it appears that we are all “winners” which sounds a little quaint to me, but for someone like me who thrives on badges and clicking progress charts this really is up my alley.

I’m not sure what I will have at the end of this month, but I did have a eureka moment a few weeks ago with this story where all the pieces that were floating around in my head, the characters I wanted to include, the scraps of dialogue started to fall into place in a way that finally made perfect sense to me.  I’m not sure if I will share the final piece or if it will ever get published or if anyone will even want to read it when I’m done, but I’ve decided that for now my only concern is to get the words on the page, the rest I will worry about later.

Wish me luck!

– the Goddess

P.S. Yes I do get a badge for announcing my intentions on social media…how did you know???  🙂

nano_logo-830912ef5e38104709bcc38f44d20a0d

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Momma Murray’s Minions

Growing up I had several mothers.  I don’t mean in a “Heather Has Two Mommies” kind of way, it was just that for some reason other mothers seemed to look out for me and talk to me more so than the other kids in the gang.  Maybe they noticed something wanting in me or perhaps it was because I was precocious.  Whatever it was I cherish my “other mothers” and the relationships I’ve had with them over the years.  One of my mothers was Elaine Murray, the mother of my oldest and dearest friend Vicki.  Two years ago Elaine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  As she lives out of town I haven’t been able to see much of her, but I’ve followed her progress, and her journey is filled with highs and lows, the anecdotes often heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Alzheimer’s is a sinister disease robbing its victims of their memories, their loved ones forced to mourn their loss long before their time. New treatments and therapies are emerging, but more research is needed and that costs money.  So I’ve joined “Momma Murray’s Minions” and on January 30th, 2016 we are going to walk to support the Alzheimer Society of Toronto.

According to their website the Alzheimer Society of Toronto offers support, information and education to people with dementia, their families and their caregivers.  They work to increase public awareness of dementia, promote research, and advocate for services that respect the dignity of the individual.

If you’d like to sponsor me you can do so here.

– the Goddess

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To All The Beautiful Souls

I’m not sure who to attribute this to, a google search didn’t help, but it was too lovely not to post.

If you know who said it first, please do let me know.

.souls

– the Goddess

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Looking Like Stuart Little, Feeling Like A Superhero!

I have some issues with veins and swelling in my legs.  Part of it is just the luck of the gods, part of it is a medication I take and most of the time I just sort of ignore it and carry on with my day.  A few weeks ago though it was really bothering me and so I went to the pool and I ran in the water for about forty minutes.  This really gets the blood pumping and the pressure of the water on my legs seems to help and when I got out of the water I was feeling pretty good.  I know that I feel a bit better with lace up boots on so I went digging around in my closet for some lace up shoes that would stand up to me walking around all day at work and would also fit my orthotics.  At the back of the closet, still in the box, I found a pair of sneakers I had bought ages ago at the Soft Moc outlet.  A sucker for a sale I had picked up these shoes on impulse and then tossed them in the cupboard for a rainy day.  They are grey with highlights of red and black and they are pretty light for running shoes.  Though they hardly go with my usual business casual I have been struggling to find comfortable shoes which are up to the task of carrying me between different buildings at work and since work has no set dress code, well whatev’s.

I put the shoes on and I felt like I could jump and bounce and walk all day.  It was like being Eeyore and suddenly turning into Tigger!

According to my chiropodist everyone should be wearing running shoes as they offer the best support, but I have never put on a pair of shoes like these.  Suddenly I had a literal bounce in my step and I was bopping all over the office.  People are commenting on the difference and my trainer was impressed when I opted for run ups yesterday instead of my usual step ups and other than that swim two weeks ago the shoes are the only change I’ve made.  I think the biggest difference is that unlike the sandals I’ve been wearing recently these shoes are tight on my foot and keeping the swelling down on the top of my feet which means I have more range of motion – if you have ever experienced the tops of your feet swelling you will know that you end up walking sort of peg legged most of the time.  My trainer noticed that my legs appeared less swollen and I think that has to do with the shoes as well since I am more likely to walk around, more likely to pick up the pace and hustle while wearing them.

My shoes are Merrell Barefoot Shoes, but my trainer showed me her Nikes and they are also pretty light so it may not be the brand per se, but the style of the shoes, but whatever it is, my budget be damned I’m going to buy a pair for every day of the week!  I may look a bit special, but it’s a small price to pay for feeling this amazing.

– the Goddess

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Happy Pride Weekend Toronto!

No doubt today’s ruling on Gay Marriage in the United States will be mentioned once or twice this weekend.

Sadly Pride always falls on or around my mom’s birthday so I rarely make it, but my heart is with you!

Pride Canadian Flag

– the Goddess

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