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PriorFatGirl is a community of writers who share their healthiness journey with you, our friends. Currently, posts on the main page are written by Liz who is fighting through her healthiness journey (and winning!) You can read other priorfatgirl journeys by clicking on the “Other priorfatgirl’s” drop down from the top menu.

Through the ups and downs of life, the scale, and emotions, we share our stories as a form of therapy for us, and as a way to help remove stigmas associated with trying to live up to social expectations of being perfect. We will not ever promise to be perfect, but we will promise to share candidly our journeys of learning how to be healthy in an unhealthy world, sugar coating not included.

 

Mind Games: Session Recap and Link up Introduction

Way back after Fitbloggin 2014 I had an idea for a session – a session that is rarely talked about but integral to my own journey toward health.  A session on mental health and mental illness.  I knew I wanted to submit for a discussion session based on my experiences with anxiety and depression (long before this lasted episode) and that I wanted a friend beside me.  Steph from Athlete at Heart came to mind immediately. I knew her story and I knew that she spoke openly about it on her blog.

So on Saturday we led a small group discussion session on Mind Games: Depression, Anxiety and Healthy Living.  I was worried before hand – what if no one came, what if no one had stories to share, what if I’m the only one who ever struggles with this…. (Yes, all those questions proved to be absurd – it is what anxiety does to me!).  (I was also worried I had a slight concussion as I took a medicine ball to the face 5 minutes before our session was to begin – don’t worry I am fine, but I have a nice bruise on my cheek).

I need not have worried because I fully believe that everyone attended who needed to hear our stories, share their story and know that they are not alone.  The amazing thing about Fitbloggin and this session is the openness and vulnerability that people are comfortable expressing.  After Steph and I shared a bit of our own stories and reminded folks that this was a safe space the stories and encouragement began flowing easily.  People shared hard things about them or people they know.  We talked about ways to help and support, ways to ask for help, ways to remember that we are not alone.

We all cried.  Or at least I did.  It is a telling thing about a Fitbloggin session when their can be a plate full of bacon in the center of the room and no one eats it.  Instead it became loaded with the emotion of the room – our literal grief bacon!

grief bacon(Random Fact: There is a German word Kummerspeck (n.): excess weight gained from emotional overeating which literally translates into “Grief Bacon.”)

As we talked and shared one thing became clear.  We all suffer and think we are alone and the stigma and silence of mental illness does little to support those who are suffering.  You all know I try to blog honestly about my journey with depression and anxiety here, because I think it is important to shine light on mental health.  But more is needed.  So Steph and I decided that we are going to a Mental Health Monday Link up.  It will launch next Monday, July 7, with a link up here and will continue on the first and third Mondays of each month (we are going to share hosting duties).

It will be an encouragement for you to be open about what we struggle with in depression and anxiety.  And it if isn’t something you struggle with yourself you can blog about how to support people who do struggle.  The goal is to bring mental illness out of the shadows.  80% of people with mental illness never seek treatment because of the stigma. That needs to change.  We can make it change by using our voices to normalize what people go through.  And if you are not at a place where you feel comfortable sharing yet then simply read what others have to say and know that you are in amazing company.

Feel free to take the Link up Image below for your posts.

mental-health-monday-linkup-logo

You are not alone.  I am not alone.  Yes. I am crazy.  #crazyawesome

I hope you will join us in posting and linking up twice a month.  Let’s be the change to reduce the stigma of mental illness and enable people to have the courage to seek help when they need it.  Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc are NOT character flaws.

I had something made for the people at our session (thanks to a friend with a laser) as a talisman for those who are struggling.  I have extras that I can send out to anyone who needs a reminder – email me at liz@priorfatgirl.com and include your address.

 

Whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health – remember to love yourself enough to work to be well.  You don’t have to love everything, or all the time, but our love is enough to keep us going and help us reach out when we need the help.  Fitbloggin is always special and the people in it are amazing, but I want to send special love and hugs to the folks who came to our session.  You, my friends, are brave little toasters and have the power to make this world a safer place for those who are suffering depression, anxiety and more.  Thank you for reminding ME that I am never alone.  You know how to find me online, I am always here for you guys.

Mile High – Fitbloggin Denver

Oh Fitbloggin, I big-squishy-heart you and your attendees.  It is more than just a conference – it is summer camp for me.  It is a time to gather together with people from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes and be together.  We are more alike than we are different and each of us comes from a place of acceptance and non-judgment.  In the three years I’ve attended I’ve made more friends than I can easily count or name.  But even more than that I can be my whole self there.  Weird, wacky, geeky, introverted, but also extroverted, silly.  I get to let out the things I like best about myself – my strength, my humor, my joy, my light.  I don’t know why it is always hard to do those things in real life, but Fitbloggin is my space.

I smiled more in those 4 days than I have in months.

Just a few of the amazing Fitbloggin Tribe

I’ll have stories throughout this week, including a recap on my own session about mental health that I lead with Steph.  I imagine I will also process things for quite some time along the way, but for now I will give you a few glimpses of the fun being had this weekend.

Fitbloggin always has generous and amazing sponsors.  Some of these were Stonyfield, California AvocadosEgglands Best, General Mills, Kelloggs, Silk, JumpSport, PostureFit and more!  Each one was welcoming, engaging and generous.  Though I do some work with brands, I am not as big as many so I don’t push that blog route too much, but each one was fun to interact with and learn more about.

Trampoline Action Shot!

In addition to walking and dancing all around, I did participate in several workouts – the strength training session with Cathe thanks to Egglands Best, the annual Zumba class and the PostureFit workout too.  I meant to get to yoga but it was right before my own session and that stressed me out (lol).  I also skipped the two early morning workouts.  I wanted to go, but I also wanted sleep.  Sleep won.  I don’t feel to badly about that self care.

A bunch of Enell ambassadors at Fitbloggin – we all wore the same bra so naturally it needed documenting.

(Amazingly, I don’t hate this photo)

Kris stole my phone and took some pictures and video of me at Zumba.  Amazingly I don’t dislike this video either.  I’ve got some moves!

At lunch on Friday I also was able to be a model for one of our sponsors Soybu!  Aren’t we all cute!?  I loved these clothes – in fact I wore this for most of the rest of the day (until dressing up for Ignite).  I was also extra glad that there were people of all shapes and sizes in the fashion show.  It was a fun experience!  (Stay tuned, I’ll be doing a review and giveaway a little ways down the road with them!)

fashion show

There is so so SO much more to share about the weekend, and I will be along the way but I want to end this with a huge thank you.  Fitbloggin’ all began because of Roni Noone.  She is one of the singularly most giving and inspirational people I know.  She has created something that is amazing and life-giving and has managed to do so in a way that welcomes people of all sizes and abilities.  This is Roni’s last year heading up Fitbloggin.  We’ve gotten too big and amazing for just a handful of volunteers and staff.  Even though Fitbloggin is now partnering with a group to help run it I am glad to hear that Roni is going to be actively involved in it still.  She has given us all something so special. Thank you Roni!

Welcome!

Welcome to anyone coming to visit from the Pioneer Press!  I am traveling home from a blogging conference today.  I worked out, I led a session in the importance of mental health.  I competed with some blog friends in an epic lip sync battle and we won!

I have had an amazing trip and have amazing stories and reflections to share.  In the meantime welcome to my little corner of the internet.  I’m glad you came to visit!

~ Liz, a priorfatgirl