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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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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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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I Wanna Hold Your Hand

This was posted on TheOutlierCollective.wordpress.com today.
– the Goddess

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Giving Myself Permission To Take It Easy

Last weekend and into this week I was sick.  I had a sore throat, congestion and that general “hit-by-a-truck” feeling.

I had a doctor’s appointment to check my blood pressure, but instead she swabbed my throat and she was pretty sure I had the flu, thankfully without the ickier symptoms.

I was upset because it meant not seeing my boyfriend who doesn’t have the luxury of sick days and it meant that I missed the birthday party of an old friend.  On the upside I enjoyed bumping around my house last weekend.   I was able to work on some of my challenges, but for the most part I was resting and sleeping and laying about and I highly recommend it.  I rarely make the time to just relax.  Even when I meditate I have to fight the urge to speed up the process.  And it’s not like I’m the head of a Fortune 500 organization.  I’m just an average person with a lot of friends and a lot of hobbies and interests and my days are full and my weeks fly by.  I also come from a family where everyone always seems to be busy and, I suppose blame the Protestant Work Ethic, if we’re not doing something or planning something or offering to help with something then we feel immense guilt.

This week and last weekend I fought against the need to always be busy and I stood still for a while.  The dishes piled up, the laundry piled up, and the vacuum refused to submit to my Jedi mind trick so my place was a little worse for wear, but it really wasn’t the end of the world.  No one was injured in an avalanche of dirty clothes, my living room did not become a dust bowl, and I wasn’t much for eating so I didn’t notice that I was running low on spoons.  I still felt ill part of the week, but on Monday I was rested enough to go to work and contribute.  I wasn’t up to going for my dance lesson on Monday night and I cancelled my plans for Tuesday night and I just puttered.  Sadly when I’m congested the CPAP isn’t perfect and I don’t sleep as well as I could, but I still slept and it felt pretty good.

Of course this weekend I’m back to running in circles and I’m about to dash off to pick up a friends car and house keys so I can pick up her kids at a family wedding and bring them home and put them to bed while my friend and her husband enjoy some grown up time.  Not exactly relaxing, but I might get in some knitting time once the kids are in bed and I’m going to attempt to work some more time to “stare at the wall” into my schedule.  I don’t recommend getting the flu or being forced into relaxation, but I am going to work on giving myself permission more often to just hang loose.

– the Goddess

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2012 – 30 Countries and Counting! Thank you for visiting!

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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What To Get A Fat Girl For Christmas

This year for Christmas I’ve decided to buy smaller gifts for the people I love.  It’s not that I’ve decided to cheap out, or that I feel that they are not worth a nice gift, but I’ve decided that I’d rather do kind things and give them thoughtful presents throughout the year.  In my family, Christmas is not a day,  it is a season.  I’ve decided to take this one step further and extend that love, peace and goodwill to all to every day of the year.  This might be a greeting card with a kind word to cheer a friend, it might be a pair of hand knit mitts on a cold day, it could be a home made voucher for babysitting for a couple who need a night out, whatever it is my goal is to be thoughtful and listen carefully to my friends because if you watch and listen carefully even those who are the hardest to shop for will tell you exactly what they want and need.

With this in mind, I thought I’d make a list of what a fat girl might like for Christmas and throughout the year:

  • Exercise Dates – she may be having trouble fitting exercise into her week or finding the motivation to go to the gym or to try a new exercise class.  Invite her to go with you to a new exercise class or make a date to go for a walk or bring over an exercise video and do it together.
  • Encourage Her To Stay On Track – she may be on a new diet or trying to eat light and so help her to stick to her plan.  For example if she is trying to follow a vegan diet invite her to try out a vegan restaurant or buy her a vegan cookbook or go on line and make her a booklet filled with vegan recipes you’ve found.  Better yet find a recipe you like and offer to come over or invite her over and you make it together.
  • Encourage Her To Try Something That Frightens Her – often fat people stick to their safe routines because they feel they do not fit or that they may be ridiculed in some way.  Encourage her to try a new restaurant, go to a party she might otherwise skip, or take a new exercise class.  More importantly go with her so she feels more comfortable.  Often times it just takes one visit to a new place to allay her fears and she may well return again by herself.
  • Scope Out A New Place For Her – a fat person may be concerned about trying a new restaurant because the tables may be closely set or the chairs too narrow for an ample person.  If you are close enough you may tell her openly not to worry and that it’s roomy and she need not be concerned, or you may just practice your act of kindness quietly and talk about how you like that the chairs have no arms because they only get in the way when seated with a group.  This will tell her that she will fit and reduce her anxiety.
  • A Mini Makeover – some fat people can feel like no one is paying attention to them in a positive way so why bother dressing up or getting a pedicure or trying out a new hairstyle.  A makeup lesson at a place like Sephora can make one feel like a hundred bucks. You don’t have to pay for the lesson or any products, but make a plan to go together and both get makeovers.
  • Help Her Find a Dressmaker – we could all use a good dressmaker, but a fat person may have trouble finding pieces that fit properly while reflecting their personal style.  This requires having pieces made, but finding a good dressmaker can be difficult and they are best found through word of mouth.

This list is by no means exhaustive, nor does each point suit each fat girl you may know, so I encourage you first and foremost to listen to your friends and try to figure out the little things that will have a big impact.  Your friends will appreciate the thoughtfulness and originality of your gifts as well as see very clearly just how much you care.

– the Goddess

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Scratch That Back Baloo

Every time I come to Florida I have to remind myself that life moves slower here.  My first couple of days are spent frustrated with slow drivers, annoyed with slow cashiers, and bothered by the general lack of urgency that people seem to possess or in fact do not. It takes me a couple of days and then I realize that the issue is not them, but it’s me.  I tend towards impatience on a good day so to be surrounded by slower talking, slower moving, and slower acting people tends to frustrate and annoy.

The thing is the problem is all mine.

They are happy.  They live their lives, they go about their business and while I’m sure that they have their own stressors and issues they don’t add to them by worrying about having to do everything now and yesterday and on-the-double.  Too often we create hardship for ourselves because we fail to understand or fail to admit to ourselves and others that we are not invincible and cannot do it all, all the time.

There are times when we must be superhuman. Big deadlines, family emergencies, various crises crop up and we have to deal with them, but unless you’re a police officer, a firefighter, or a superhero it’s unlikely that you will face life and death situations every day.  All too often I create unrealistic deadlines for myself and then rush to complete tasks in order to stick to those deadlines.  I carry home a briefcase full of work most nights and even if I never get to it, and the sky doesn’t fall in because I didn’t get something done by my self-imposed deadline I still feel like a failure . For me this also affects my sleep because I will often push myself to stay up and complete a task instead of getting rest, even though I know that sleep often makes me better able to take on a task later.

I’m not saying we should all become sloths and develop a “mañana” attitude towards everything, but I do know that if we don’t sometimes admit that we are overwhelmed and that we need some assistance or a longer deadline that people will just assume that we are fine and expect more and more from us.  My last job took up a lot of my time and budgets were lean and I worked a lot of unpaid overtime to keep things moving smoothly.  I often felt overworked and underappreciated, and I did make polite requests for additional staff to assist me, but I met every deadline and kept up with the work as best I could.  I am now on temporary assignment in another area of the organization and the woman doing my job now has three part time assistants helping her and she’s still not coming close to meeting the targets that I was surpassing.  I could get all proud about that and self-righteous and point out to people how amazing I am for doing more with less, but actually it’s just evidence that I am a moron.  I gave up my personal time on evenings and weekends, without receiving monetary reward or even appreciation from my supervisors and now I find out that if I had been less effective at my job I would have received help and support and no one would have thought less of me for admitting that there was just too much work for one person to do.  Like many of us I don’t like to admit defeat and I don’t like to admit that a task is bigger than I can handle and I feel a certain amount of shame for having to ask for help and having to say that I can’t do it all, but I really need to get over that.

So like my favourite character from The Jungle Book I am going to work on slowing down a bit and not just while on vacation, but all the time.  I’m going to work on setting reasonable timelines for my goals and I’m going to work during the hours I am paid to work and stop bringing things home.  The week prior to my vacation I worked one night until 6pm, two nights until 10pm, another until 7pm, I answered work emails yesterday and before I go back I need to complete a Power Point presentation for a new initiative I created and developed.  I’ll do the presentation because I said I would and I don’t want the new initiative to fail, but the stack of work I brought home to do on vacation will not be getting done.  It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.

–  the Goddess

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Let’s Not And Say We Did

My first attempt at internet dating a few years ago was a little surprising.  I was pleased that there were so many men who found me and my curves attractive.  But I found that while some men liked or preferred a rounder figure there were some for whom the extra weight had become a fetish and others who used the weight as a means of control or domination.  I don’t really have an issue with it being a fetish to be quite honest, I’m pretty liberal in my views and as long as adults are consenting, then what they do behind closed doors is really not my business.  It’s not the kind of relationship I would choose to enter in to because his attraction to me would be based solely on the physical, and I would hate to be concerned with whether or not my partner still cared for me if my body changed.  And even if they did care for me they may not find me physically attractive if it changed.   Much like the foot fetishist dating a woman who loses her feet.  He might like her or even love her, but if the objects of his desire, of his sexual response are gone, then he may soon lose interest.  If this is the kind of relationship you are in and it works for you however, well feel free to ignore my opinion.

What does bother me though are those people who see the weight as a form of restraint, a way to restrict their partners.  I was once contacted by a man who told me he wanted to feed me.  I thought he was being romantic, and I was pretty naive about these things at the time, but I quickly realized that he didn’t mean he wanted to feed me little morsels of tasty delights shared by two moony faced lovers.  He wanted to cook calorie dense foods and then essentially shovel them in to me.  I didn’t talk to him long enough to figure out if he was aroused by the act of feeding or possibly force feeding or if he wanted to see just how fat I could become though he did ask if I would be willing to gain weight.  I reminded him that I have a life and choose to be in and of the world.  He said he understood, but subtlety asked the same question a few more times as we talked and I finally cut it off because it was just getting too weird for me.

As there are “feeders” so are there “eaters” so I suppose if that’s your thing I shouldn’t judge, but I do question the mental stability of these people.  Fantasizing about making a woman morbidly obese could be arousing to someone, again not my thing, but I don’t judge.  But to ask her (or him because let’s face it this could quite possibly go either way) to gain weight to the point that they lose mobility and cannot participate in day-to-day activities, never mind caring for their own bodily functions and grooming, is horrendous.  And then there are the really scary people who use the weight as a form of prison to make their partners completely dependent on them.  I remember reading one such story where a man convinced his partner to gain an horrific amount of weight so that she was bed-bound.  He had to rig up a special contraption that pulled her legs up so that he could have sex with her.  What’s worse it that one day he grew tired of her and left.  He left her broken hearted and completely unable to function.  She had gained a lot of weight to please him, lost her self esteem and self worth, which sadly were likely low to begin with, and she was all alone, unable to care for herself.  People break up all the time, I’m not saying that they had to stay together for ever, but she emulated his ideal for him, risked her health, stunted her life and activities and he just walked out one day.

Certainly it is possible that women choose to be “eaters” and some are on this track before finding their “feeder”.  For example this week I found a story about Susanne Eman. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0VtYe4lZ7Ihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opl_WLP7eLU&feature=related).  If I understand her story correctly she is vying to be the fattest woman in the world and she was well on her way to this point prior to finding her current partner.  She seems quite lovely and given her size I admit I was surprised to see how mobile she is, but I also noticed a large wheel chair beside their bed and when they went to a restaurant together she was in it.  There are lots of goals I’ve set for myself, but being the world’s fattest person is certainly not one of them. Vying for a title that requires me to put stress on my heart and other organs, strains my joints and renders me unable to care for myself isn’t exactly on my bucket list.

Susanne talks about eating in excess of 20,000 calories a day.  Her doctor says he would never recommend this goal to anyone and yet she just keeps going and her fiance thinks it’s wonderful. Had she started gaining the weight to please him I think I would be on the next plane organizing an intervention to rescue her, but it seems that this is a goal she has chosen for herself,  and he is simply benefiting from her choice.  Regardless of why she is doing it, I think she  needs some counselling because she’s not just overeating a little, she’s not just pleasantly plump, she’s going to  stress her body beyond its limits and die very much sooner than later.

Our bodies are our own and what we choose to do with them is our business, but I would encourage anyone who is considering purposely gaining weight to consider the consequences of their actions and then hopefully put the fork down.

– the Goddess

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