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!

Unplugged

Hi folks.  I disappeared after my “I’m Tired” post because I needed to unplug.  I took the weekend to spend time with family and friends and to focus on the amazing parts of my life.

Saturday I was able to run to the store, clean the bathroom and living room to a more desireable state (you could see the floor AND the floor was vaccuumed).  I also made a strawberry rhubarb pie.  (shown here after it was enjoyed by all parties).  It turned out quite well, and amazingly the pie shown here is still in my house uneaten a day later!

The reason I made the pie was because we headed over to E2’s Godfather’s house and dear family friend for an amazing dinner and board games.  We played Pandemic (won once, lost once).  We ate amazing grilled chicken, asparagus and mushrooms.  Had a little wine and a little cheese and a little pie.  We laughed and told stories.  I snuggled his new kitten Newt.

It is amazing what safe spaces and dear (adult) friends can do for a person’s state of mind.  Today I have been much more even and balanced.  Food continues to be a struggle if it is right in front of me, but I’ve stopped seeking it out for the sole purpose of eating myself into oblivion.

Today was Father’s Day of course and we celebrated with my husband and my FIL after church.  I made dinner (I even grilled!) and it was reasonably balanced for a celebration meal.  It was a nice time spent with family.  I am so grateful for my family – my kids who bring me such joy, my husband who is so supportive of my efforts to get healthy, and an extended family on both sides who love us so much.  We are really lucky.  I am really lucky.

Mr. Goat with E1 and E2 this morning.

Unlike a unplugged weekend I am headed into the MOST EXCITING WEEK EVER!  Thursday morning I head out for Fitbloggin’15 in Denver.  I am leading a discussion group.  I am walking in a fashion show (yup I am).  I am going to see friends who I see once a year who have my back entirely.  These are people who get it and get me and they so often hold me up in ways they don’t even know.

So I hope I’ll be posting a LOT of fun pictures and experiences from Fitbloggin’ this week.  I going there in a darker space than normal but I am also deep into the hard work of finding wellness.  These people, they help.  They are my tribe and I cannot wait.

Wow, it feels really nice to have an uplifting post for once.  It was a good weekend.  I look forward to a good week.  Go team Liz!

So Tired

Some days I am just tired…

Physically tired…from carrying the weight of my body, the weight of my responsibilities, the weight of my children.  Tired from middle of the night wake up calls, and cramming appointments into lunch hours.

Emotional tired…from the news of shootings in churches, from climate change, from racism, from bullying, from hatred of all forms.  Tired from the constant barrage of things I feel both compelled and powerless to change.

Mentally tired…from managing schedules, medicines, appointments, commutes, spreadsheets, emails and the barrage of to-dos.

Spiritually tired…from the violence I see around me done in God’s name makes no sense with the God whose love and grace I rely on.

Today I am so tired.  My battery is near zero and my charger is unsupported with this device right now.

There is so so much.

Due Diligence

Sometimes I feel like all I am doing right now is going to appointments.  Yesterday I saw my therapist and dietician, today I went to my regular doctor for a blood pressure check and to get some lab work done.  Though I am obviously suffering from depression at the moment I did think it was important to make sure that nothing else was going on – blood sugar, thyroid, etc.

There is a real courage that is needed to go to these appointments.  Not only is going and facing mental illness shunning and embarrassing, but the appointments themselves ask you to be honest and open – and that leaves you feeling raw and battered.  Going to the doctor as an obese woman has similar struggles.  I am lucky to have a considerate doctor but it takes a lot of time to find one that doesn’t simply say “You are fat – go fix that” but who listens to the things that are difference and walk with you in the process.

It takes courage to look as medication as an option for mental illness too.  Courage to recognize that things are out of control and that you need help to turn the ship.  I wish I could find the proper words to describe binge eating or even depression in a way that people who don’t have it would understand.  There is a hatred of food and a compulsion for food and both combine to a vortex of self-hate, eating and numbness.  I don’t enjoy food right now.  I don’t want to eat.  I don’t want to be around food.  I wish deeply that food could be like alcohol and I could simply give it up because it isn’t needed.

Imagine having to face alcoholism by drinking the right alcohol in the right amount all while continuing to walk the path toward greater self identity and love.  That is what it is to face food when you have an eating disorder, or disordered eating (I still cringe at the idea of an eating disorder, perhaps some day that won’t cause me shame).  I have to eat food.  Daily.  Multiple times a day.  If I am not thinking about food in the negative I still have to consider it in the positive.  It is ALWAYS there.

So despite not having any idea what normal looks like.  Despite struggling and trying to face fears, doubts, depression, food, insecurities and the whole messy lot of it head on, I still have no real options now but to trust the process of the professionals who have walked people through this before.  And that means appointments, and medications and due diligence.  It means finding the courage to continue to make appointments, to be open and honest, to let myself be raw and real.

This is icky stuff, I don’t blame people who turn away.  This is ugly.  This is hard.  This is painful.

The world that fat people live in is a world designed for black vs white understandings of weight.  Fat = bad.  Thin = good.  The world does this in subtle and not so subtle ways and we internalize all that rightness and wrongness into the essence of who we are.  For those of us who are inclined toward shame it can be a death of a million paper cuts.  Each minor cut stings and collects with those before it and we don’t always know who we are without out weight because our value has been determined by those outside ourselves, by people who only see fat or thin, bad or good.

It is so much more complicated than “don’t eat so much you fattie.”

Everyday I fight to have the courage to keep walking this path, for my sake, for my kids, for my husband.  I don’t walk it alone, thank God, I have help and support and people who shout against the lies.  I have people in this world who remind me that I am beloved and enough as I am.  I have people who love me no matter what weight I am.  I have this, and I still have to fight harder than it seems possible some days.

It takes courage to face yourself in the mirror and speak “I love myself enough to work to be well.”