we’re gonna need a bigger boat

by MrsFatass on July 21, 2014

shark-tank

Shark Tank is kind of a hot topic in the Fatass family these days. Thing One is a fan. He and my dad have watched about a zillion episodes together, and then he always comes back to me to try to figure out how to get trio fitness in front of the sharks. You know how you play that game after you buy a lottery ticket? The whole what would we do with all that money if we really won game? Well, my boy and I have spent anywhere from ten thousand to a hundred thousand, and done everything from expanded into the space next door to building a trio on the moon. It has been fun to both strategize and daydream with my boy.

He’s got big dreams too. And even at eleven years old, he does a lot to work for them. He got a taste of real success this summer at basketball camp when he got his first trophy for actually WINNING instead of one for just PARTICIPATING. And now he’s like a shark smelling blood. You always hear the sound of the basketball outside. He works out at trio nearly every day. He talks about nutrition now, and while sometimes he still chooses the treat or wants the breakfast sandwich from Bojangles, more often than not he thinks about food as the way to fuel his physical goals. I don’t know if he’ll ever be in the NBA, but right now I’m watching him make a plan and follow a path to the next basketball season instead of just sitting back and expecting to play well simply because he loves the game. He’s not afraid of work or competition.

And he comes by that honestly.

Relentless. Aggressive. Obsessed. Laser focused. Competitive. All of these words have been used to describe me in one way or another throughout the trio fitness years. And more often in a bad way than a good one. I make no apology for being driven and for wanting to make trio into a profitable business. There are people who do what I do who make profitability a bad word. But it takes nothing away from the love I have for our members and for the awesome and amazing and bad ass things that happen in that studio every day for me to want to grow and expand and make a comfortable living at the same time I’m coaching people to healthier lifestyles. I mean, isn’t that when the magic happens? When you can marry your passion and a way to make a living?

When the boy and I sit back and talk about what we’d do with an investor, he always finishes with “you should try to get on that show, Mom. You can handle those guys.” And it kind of chokes me up. When your kid is 4, they think you can do anything. But Thing One is now 11, inching toward that age where he wants to be independent of me, so for him to still have this belief that his mom is unstoppable is really kind of major. So when we were driving down the road over the weekend and heard on the radio that Shark Tank is in NC this week holding an open casting, there was really only one thing to do. . .

I texted Samantha and said take the day off. We’ve gotta go jump in the tank.

We don’t have a lot of time to prepare and we may not have all the answers and holy crapballs I don’t even know if we’ll get there early enough to get one of the 500 interview slots. But what I do have is a kid who cracked a grin from ear to ear when I told him about the call, who has absolute faith in us.

So we’re going to take a shot.

{ 4 comments }

#justtrollin

by MrsFatass on July 3, 2014

Tough love session
Technically this was my fifth Fitbloggin,  but I’m not sure it actually counts. It was a drive-by attendance. I wasn’t in the group shot OR the 5 year attendee shot. While I was thrilled to make it for the Ignite session, I didn’t get to do a workout or participate in another session other than the ones I had the privilege of leading. And some of you know the twists and turns it took for me to get there – my usual plan was struck down due to work, so I retooled in order to be able to honor my commitments and still get to see my friends. But it was hard to let it go on for the fifth time while I was at work, getting texts from my friends who were conferencing. But whatever. I’ve said a hundred times – as long as there is a Fitbloggin’, I will be there. This conference has my loyalty and my heart. And let’s be honest, it is a huge reason why I don’t have to pay outrageous therapy bills. So if one year had to be a drive-by, so be it.

But it was truly a different experience for me. I had to cram the entire experience into 20 hours, and  I just couldn’t completely immerse myself in it. Half of my brain was still on work; our trio 800 number rings to my personal phone, so I still answered every inquiry and handled several Facebook PMs/email messages too. I was totally still working. And also? I brought a date. At some point after it was decided that I would be the one to stay back and run the studio this year, it opened up some time during the much-slower holiday week following the conference for me to help get my kids back and forth from my parent’s house in Florida. Part of that meant bringing my daughter to the conference. Which, while wonderful, did make for a very different Fitbloggin’ for MrsFatass.

I coasted into Savannah on fumes. For the fifth time I rolled in both needing my people AND needing to be needed by my people. The free hugs get a lot of press, and for being a person with intimacy issues, I am still able to handle those with aplomb. But what really makes the experience for me are those stolen conversations in tiny pockets of the hotel, where our handles melt away, and MrsFatass and DubyaWife and 265andFalling and MizFit and Roni’s Mom and I’m a Drama Mama and YummySushiPJs and KyraTX and Mission Meltdown and FitDawn and GlamNellie and NachoMama become Sue and Christine and Steve and Carla and Gerri and Thea and Heather and Kirsten and Dre and Dawn and Nelle and Margo. (There are so many more, but I couldn’t possibly list everyone) (but I know you get the point) (and yes I know that Thea and Steve have changed their blog names). I love those moments where the blogs disappear and we are really all just old friends. Or new friends with old history.

I look back over the things I’ve gone through with all of you Fitbloggers over the last five years. You all helped me get off of the floah and get help for my anxiety. And you wouldn’t let me just pop the pills; you held me accountable for the therapy too. You helped me form a new career, disallowing any “I’m too fat to do this” and pushed me way beyond Zumba teacher. You all made me a fitness professional. You wouldn’t let me eat another can of beans standing over the sink. You got in my pants. You quietly loved me even when you didn’t know exactly what was going on. And you freaking put on your bikinis!!

I don’t know how I would have made it through some of those experiences without you.

But it’s time to call myself out on a few things.

  1. It is impossible to hide the weight I have steadily put on over the last year. Maybe a little longer than a year. I don’t know for how long or exactly how much but it is at least 20 pounds in the wrong direction. I weigh more now than I did when I delivered my children.
  2. I don’t really know why I’m gaining weight.
  3. I am embarrassed to say that. There are so many people who want a new body without doing the work, and I swear that person is not me. I am not hiding a box of ho hos in my closet. I am not secretly making taco bell runs. I have all but given up sugar, soda, fast food, and there are rarely any processed foods in my pantry or freezer. I don’t eat cheese, for Pete’s sake. NO CHEESE! And in those moments when I make the choice to eat too much, or to eat something bad for me, I don’t lie about it or pretend it’s okay because I stay in my calorie range or turn a bad meal into a bad month. I don’t do that anymore. I am different now. Ask my friends – I have even been seen taking cucumber slices to a Mexican restaurant so I won’t eat the chips!
  4. But I am still gaining. And I fear that I’ll go to a doctor who won’t believe me, who will just hand me some bland “diet plan”, or who will assume I don’t know about healthy eating, healthy living, or weight loss. Or who will think I’m lying.
  5. I am worried about changing up medications and sacrificing the handling of My Crazy for being able to lose weight again.
  6. I love being strong. I love having endurance and being able to do mud runs and working out every day. My self-confidence is real. But I hate wearing regular clothes because none of mine fit. And I am fricking tired of being the fat fitness instructor. I want my body to reflect my work.
  7. When I sit on my bed with my laptop, my chin roll lays on the front of my neck, and it gets sweaty. And I can no longer see what I’m doing when I’m shaving my bikini area. I get lower back pain when I vacuum or work over my garden pots. None of these things makes me happy.

So yeah. There’s that.

But, fear isn’t a reason to let this take me back into the dark. So. Here is what I’m going to do.

I’m going to schedule my physical. I will call on Monday.

I’m going to make this a blog again. Holy crapballs I’ve missed writing with you guys. I’ve shied away because there are so many daily life people who come here now and so for a long time I felt like I couldn’t write with the same freedom that I once did. But you know what? This was my blog and you were my people first. So I’m just going to have to figure this out.

I’m going to set my MFP diary back to private. I have the worst case of diary anxiety you have ever seen. It’s irrational, but that’s kind of what anxiety is all based in, right? Irrationality? So yeah. It hasn’t really served me well since making it public a while back because it lost its honesty. So. I’m changing it back.

I’m going to keep doing the hard work. Even though I don’t have answers yet and I’m teetering on the brink of frustration and depression about my weight, I’m not going to give up my efforts. I will keep tracking, keep writing, keep moving, and keep trying to look at life through a positive lens. Because even if I had some totally rare disease that would make it impossible for me to ever lose another ounce, I’m not going to stop moving. I’m not going to curl up and die.

And next year when it’s my turn to be in Denver from beginning to end, I’m going to be one thankful bitch.

* This post was inspired by the session Fitblogger Tough Love, which encouraged us to be willing to both give AND receive more honest, accountable feedback as we pursue our health and fitness goals. Please join us in using the hashtag #JustTrollin or #TribeLove to highlight a comment or post as coming from a place of Fitblogger Tough Love (FTL?). Interested in catching what you missed at the session? Read the live blog summary HERE.

{ 14 comments }

silent ‘S’

by MrsFatass on June 23, 2014

apologyThis post has been a long time coming.

It’s been stirring around in my head and my heart since September 19, 2013 at 6:42AM when I opened the email that changed the face of my business – and the course of my life – all wrapped up with the phrase “I’m sorry for the inconvenience I am causing you guys.”

Inconvenience. I sat and blinked at that word. Really? She thought we would be inconvenienced? To me, it’s inconvenient to have an itch on the bottom of your foot when you already laced up your sneakers. It’s inconvenient to have to take a detour when you’re already running ten minutes late for work. But waking up one morning to find that the partner in your business, co-signer of your two year lease, one third of both the financial responsibility and manpower, says she’s no longer coming to work? Is way more than an inconvenience.

Even so, we never had a problem with her desire to leave. Owning a business is hard, and she obviously didn’t have skin thick enough. If she was miserable or unsupported or depressed or whatever she may have been, Sam and I were happy to negotiate an end to our partnership. The issue has never been personal; our business plan was built on the work and support of three partners. Just like you have at some point signed a lease on an apartment with roommates that committed you to a contribution of the total amount due every month, so has she personally guaranteed a portion of our lease and debts at trio. If one day you moved out, and didn’t leave a check for your share of what was left on the lease, you leave the other roommates vulnerable, financially burdened, and mentally taxed.

That’s the issue.

So her use of the word ‘inconvenience’ was a slap in the face.

I would love to make a joke here. Because it honestly is laughable that someone would think they could walk away from this kind of commitment expecting that her name just be erased. But that is what has happened, and even I can’t seem to find the humor in it. Not yet.

So, why do I put all of this out here now?

Because I’m accepting her apology.

Not the one she insulted us with that day she sent the email. The apology I’m accepting here now is the apology I’m never going to get. The one that addresses her name calling, her actively promoting instructors/classes/events in direct competition with the business her name is still on, the one that somehow explains why the stress the business caused her life was more important than the stress the business caused mine. The one that shows us that she understands that walking out without compensating the business in any way for her departure wasn’t inconvenient, it was wrong. Morally and ethically wrong. That’s the apology I’m accepting. The one I’ll never hear.

I’m not stupid. I realize I am not going to hear it because she isn’t sorry at all. If she had any concern for MY lost hours of sleep, missed field trips or soccer games or most of Fitbloggin’ birthday parties, my mental health, my relationship with my husband, (insert all of Sam’s circumstances here, too), then she wouldn’t have bailed in the first place. And if she were the business person she led us to believe she was in the beginning, she’d understand that our desire to have her buy her way out of the lease and debt had nothing to do with lining our own pockets and everything to do with keeping the business healthy. Sam and I understand that in all reality, she is probably just going to ride out the term of our lease and continue to be off scot-free, never having to do anything to pay a dime of the debt she signed her name to. She’s going to be free of it all because of the hard work of me and Sam. And she’ll never thank us and she’ll never apologize.

But I accept the apology anyway. I must. I have to. I have to find some peace in this situation and even though she’s not doing a thing to provide it, I’m taking it anyway. I know who has the moral “right” here. Sam and I never bailed on each other, and we never bailed on our people. I’ve got her and she’s got me and together we’ve got amazing women who come through our door every day and do absolutely badass things. Seriously, every single day somebody does something they didn’t know they could do. Every day somebody says how comfortable they are in our studio. Every day somebody says thank you for being here. Every. Effing. Day. We’ve done mud runs together. Gone on vacations. Taken care of each other’s kids. Cried on each other’s shoulders. Celebrated each other’s success. Gotten stronger together every single day.

Dirty Girl 5K with my dirty girls
We just celebrated our one-year anniversary. We had a big party and a pig pickin’ and raised $1,000 for charity.

Our fund raiser was for a canine rescue organization, The Maggie Society
Nobody asked about her. Nobody mentioned her. If I had to guess, I would say most people didn’t even realize she wasn’t there, our third ‘partner’. The silent S.

But I realized it. I even took a moment to miss her. And that’s when I decided I had to write it down and let it go. And to just accept the apology that I’ll never hear her say. Because the true inconvenience isn’t her leaving, it’s in the time I waste waiting for her to do the right thing.

So, I accept. On behalf of me, Sam, and everyone, I accept.

The reason why I never dread going to work.

{ 11 comments }

click

by MrsFatass on May 18, 2014

Dear Woman Who Just Hung Up On Me;

I hate that our conversation ended that way. I think that everybody has a superpower, and I’m pretty sure mine is an ability to smooth over just about any situation of conflict with diplomacy, good listening, and positivity. But our conversation this morning was like my kryptonite – because the only thing you wanted, the ONLY thing that would appease you was something that I just wasn’t willing to hand over.

You wanted to come to my studio and take a class for free.

I get it. I do. Who doesn’t like getting something for free? And you know what? Maybe it’s terrible to say this, but I do give classes away for free. I do it all the time. I love to be able to surprise somebody with a pass, or to invite friends to help me practice, or to help out a member who is having a tight month financially or whatever. So what was so different about our conversation? Why couldn’t I just acquiesce and give you the free classes you wanted so badly?

“It’s not like it costs you anything to let us come in for free.”

Blink. Blink blink.

That was the statement. You said it four times in the 15 or so minutes we were on the phone. And I think, I hope, I PRAY that what you meant was “I am pretty naive about your line of work, but it would seem that having 3 or 4 extra bodies in a class wouldn’t be that big of a deal. If I’m wrong, please clarify” but the way you said what you did was more like “If I keep pushing, you’ll eventually give me what I want.” And in this instance, even though I could have, I didn’t. I didn’t give you the class for free.

I heard your case. I understand that you have looked around our town for a certain kind of class to take at a time that fits your very busy life, for a price you can afford. And I understand it frustrates you that different instructors charge different amounts. I get that when you called me, you thought you were calling somebody else who was offering a deal this month, giving the class you are interested in away for free. And you know what? I even give you props for suggesting that I should “price match” the special that this other teacher is running. That was creative! You’re right – Walmart does this. Best Buy does this. Why don’t we?

I wish I could have made you understand.  

Most instructors decide what to charge based on a few factors – what they think their demographic can pay, what they feel their product is worth, plus a little bit of gut feeling. I can’t explain to you why some instructors give their services away, or charge significantly less that I do. But I can tell you why I charge what I do. And I can also say that at my company, we provide great value. Our instructors aren’t just teachers of a format – they are fitness professionals. Along with the licenses they hold in the classes you enjoy participating in, they also hold industry-recognized, professional certifications from accredited entities, and to receive these certifications they had to learn at the very least some basic anatomy, biology, and kinesiology, and most of all, SAFETY. And they have to pass written and practical exams to prove proficiency in these areas. To keep these certifications current they have to participate in continuing education every year, so their skills stay current, and so they stay knowledgeable about cutting edge trends in fitness. Some of our instructors dedicated over 200 hours of their lives to get training in the format they teach. Some of our instructors are also personal trainers. Some have done special study in nutrition. All of them keep their CPR skills current so they can help take care of you should something unthinkable happen.  And they all pay for these licenses, certifications, credentials, continuing education, and incidental expenses out of their own pockets. For that reason alone, for their effort and dedication and study, I would say that they are worth what we charge, and far more.

What’s great about fitness is that you can do it anywhere. It doesn’t take a fancy gym. But the truth is, part of our price is also based on the environment we created. The platform, the stereo, the equipment, the paint colors, the cleanliness – it’s all part of the experience we provide when you are our customer.

So, our price is our price. Even when it’s the first time you walk through the door.

I guess the bigger point (that we were never really able to address in our conversation) is this: with what other service or in what other industry do you get your first visit free? When you started going to your hairdresser, were you charged for your first cut and style? Do restaurants give away meals if it’s the first time you’re eating there?

What about at your job? Did you do your first day of work for free?

My guess is that you probably never thought of it that way. And being that we ended with you hanging up on me, you may never get the chance to see it from this point of view. But it’s okay. I’m going to keep doing what I do, and in all honesty I hope that you find the free class because the bottom line is, there is a reason why I chose this business. I am passionate about bringing people to healthier, more active, more fit lifestyles, and whether you come to me or go to somebody else, I’m here to cheer and encourage and support you all along the way.

Had we had the chance to finish the conversation, that’s what I would have wanted to say.

Thanks for calling,

MrsFatass

{ 6 comments }

face for radio

by MrsFatass on March 26, 2014

There are those weeks, you know? The best of times, the worst of times, when you are walking around feeling half nauseous, but you’re not sure if it’s because of the awesome things, the awful things, or the stomach bug that is attacking the kid’s school like a plague. It’s a split-personality kind of week. One day I was wearing a bikini and laying on my deck, the next I was back in layers and Uggs. One minute I’m surrounded by kids squealing in enjoyment as they eat the rainbow cupcakes I made, the next I’m watching those same rainbow colors, uh, coming back up. One morning I’m sitting in a leather chair around the conference table in a law office talking business, the next I’m sitting in a leather chair around the conference table in a makeshift radio station talking business.

Photo Mar 26, 7 48 33 AM The awesome gentlemen who hosted me during a segment of their morning program on Jammin’ 99.3 today.

 

A big part of our business model at trio fitness is and has ALWAYS been a spirit of giving. We do a lot to connect with charities – mostly local, but a few that are meaningful to us outside of our community as well – and this weekend, #TeamTrio will be participating in the events surrounding a major fund raiser put on by our local women’s shelter. There is a 5K run/walk on Saturday (that also includes a Men’s High Heel DASH!) (Trophy Husband may be making an appearance) (Pics will follow) and a celebration the night before, where trio will be part of the auction. We have members that have trained for this run/walk, not only coming to the studio or to the track on our practice days, but also on their own time, and Samantha will be parked at the finish line, cameraphone in hand, to get lots of photos of ALL of the teams finishing the race that day.

Wilson wasn’t ever a place I envisioned would be my ‘forever’ home, but honestly today? I can’t imagine leaving.

Photo Mar 26, 7 45 56 AM The sign that greeted me as I arrived at the remote location this morning. And you know what? I DO love Wilson. Go figure.

 

So I slipped in the door, and was instantly greeted by a friendly face. After introductions were made, I was taken to the “green room” (a chair on the other side of a black curtain), and offered treats. My favorite donuts were eaten by my predecessors, and even though Southerners take their biscuits very seriously, I opted to say No Thanks to both. Because of the aforementioned nausea, and also the aforementioned venture back to My Fitness Pal.

Photo Mar 26, 7 51 27 AM There were some serious looking biscuits in all of that white paper. But I was more than a little terrified of the prospect of having to enter that into my app.

 

So I stuck to my normal coffee with a touch of cream, because you know, more coffee would help calm my nerves, right?

Not sure what was going on with my pompadour this morning, but I was hoping the listening audience wouldn't notice. Not sure what was going on with my pompadour this morning, but I was hoping the listening audience wouldn’t notice.

 

I was early, as usual, and had a few minutes to text my friends and family to remind them to listen and see if somebody could tape the daggone thing collect my thoughts, and I could overhear the radio personalities finishing up a topic with a few lawyer jokes. Which was funny to me, for obvious reasons.

"You never think a friend is going to sue you, but as long as there are lawyers, there will be lawsuits." #truth “You never think a friend is going to sue you, but as long as there are lawyers, there will be lawsuits.” #truth

 

And just as I was beginning to settle in, one of the gentlemen came back and led me to the “booth”. And I got to sit down at the mic. And put on the headset. And boy oh boy does MrsFatass love a mic and a headset.

Photo Mar 26, 7 58 54 AM (1) Is this thing on?

 

My only real instructions were not to swear. For REAL. It’s as if they knew me or something. And they said they had a little news to talk about first, and then they’d introduce me.

Photo Mar 26, 8 00 42 AM On air selfie!

 

It was a great interview. I mean, a little nutty in that there were like 5 people and we talked over one another and there were a whole lot of one-liners (my nerves prevented me from jumping in with many in a timely manner, but next time, watch out), but they instantly calmed my nerves by totally speaking my language - the language of compliments and offers for more air time – and all in all, I got to speak semi-intelligently about both the charity event AND my business, which is what I came to do.

Photo Mar 26, 7 58 15 AM “Leave your card on the way out. You seriously have a face for radio”

 

And the fact that they took my card and said that someone would call about cutting some commercials? Well, that didn’t suck either.

As I was walking out, thinking about sharing these photos with members and readers today, I got to thinking that I have to stop thinking about this as the best of times and the worst of times. Because honestly? There is no worst. There have been challenges, yes, but with each one has come such abundant blessing. Friends who have done amazing things to show support. One opportunity has lead to the next and the next and the next. More than just a few likes on a Vaguebook post, the last 9 months since opening our doors have been full of real, honest, amazing friendship. And I’m just so thankful to be a part of this community.

And also? Somebody really did totally tape the daggone thing.

 

{ 2 comments }

tough love

by MrsFatass on March 17, 2014

I’m back at MyFitnessPal. I’ve said for years that when I track, I lose. But I have just never made myself keep up with tracking. Usually it’s because of an off day. How does one even log 6 beers and a bag of Ruffles without feeling like a total loser? But I’ve been doing some things over the last few months that really made me ready to get back at the weight loss game. For example, I gave up beer for Lent. Which, as you may notice, happens during March, and if you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all means you are astounded that I gave up my favorite beverage during my favorite month to drink it while watching my favorite team play my favorite sport.

Yeah. I’m as surprised as you. But what can I say? If, when giving something up for Lent, you’re supposed to pick something that causes you some discomfort, well, no beer during March Madness was the way to go for me.

It hasn’t been truly horrible. But it’s been a challenge. And in the bigger picture of some of the things I’m getting in order in my life, it made sense to do it.

So, tracking.

In the last five days I’ve tracked everything. Four of the five days I was at or below the calorie goal generated by the app. One of the five days I tracked a basketball Saturday, complete with a couple vodka and sodas and an unfortunate incident with a bag of Hint of Lime chips. And this morning, like I do every Monday morning, I stepped on the scale, ready to see an improvement. However, I was up. A lot. SIX POUNDS.

Okay, so before you all reach for your keyboards to write your loving messages of muscle gain, water retention, and get rid of your scale, I thank you, but please don’t. Because I have not gained muscle in 5 days and I am not going to get rid of my scale. It’s just not going to happen. And while I know there are many of you out there who have struggled with disordered eating, and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect, my opinion based on my own experience is that my scale has only as much power as I give it.  A scale is a tool just like a measuring cup or My Fitness Pal. One tool of many that can help a person lose weight.

One of the reasons I’ve slowed down writing about my actual weight loss journey here is that I have grown very tired of the sort of PC, everyone-gets-a-trophy attitude in the weight loss world. I’m tired of hearing people apologize (or worse yet, hide) for drinking the occasional Diet Coke. I’m tired of food politics. I’m tired of people saying they can’t seem to lose weight even though they have fancy pedometers or apps or HRMs or scales or other gadgets, and I’m tired of people saying they can’t lose weight because they don’t have them. I’m tired of defending my use of words like Fat, Diet, Deprive or Scale and I’m tired of people expecting to be able to eat burritos and chili cheese fries and pints of Ben and Jerry’s and still wonder why they feel like shit and aren’t losing weight, even when they are staying within some calorie guideline.

I’m tired of hearing the same excuses over and over again, of people doing the same exact things and expecting a different result, of trying to give people an honest answer about how to lose weight/get healthier/be stronger, only to see their eyes glaze over because the answer isn’t easy. It’s not a gimmick or a trick or a potion. It’s not a fiber pill that expands in your stomach to leave less room for actual food.

Losing weight does mean denying yourself certain things. It is saying no to second helpings. It’s preparing a healthy meal even when you’re tired or not in the mood to cook. It’s getting up early to work out in your living room or walking through your neighborhood even though it’s cold outside and your bed is warm and your family is still sound asleep. Sometimes it’s just about putting the damn fork down and stepping away from the table.

It would be so easy if we only ate when we were hungry. If we only ate to fuel our bodies. If there weren’t all of these other urges and emotions attached to the process of eating. I’m not so naiive to think that is reality. Food is comfort and entertainment and stress relief and celebration and all kinds of things that have nothing to do with actual physical hunger. I get that.

And during the process of weight loss, these other issues surface. Sometimes our actual goal might not even be weight loss. Maybe, as we peel the onion, we find out that what we really want to do is to fix these underlying problems.

And sometimes we use these underlying problems as justification for stopping when it gets hard.

And part of the reason why I’ve laid off of writing about my own weight loss journey is because there is always someone who will help me justify my stops. Somebody will understand my plight and just encourage me to get back on the horse tomorrow. Somebody will always blame my unreliable scale, my time of the month, or the ever popular “it’s muscle gain” over saying “well, if you want to lose weight, then why did you eat that plate of fried chicken?”

Once in a while we NEED that. Once in a while we NEED our people to be our soft place to fall. But sometimes reaching out to support somebody else who has failed gives us our own permission to let go of the reins when it feels too hard.

This June I am honored to be a speaker at Fitbloggin’ 14 in Savannah alongside Steve, and together we are going to talk about FitBlogger Tough Love. As a blogger for the past 5 years who is still trying to take off the same weight today that I set out to lose when I wrote my first word, I have a lot of experience in the fits and starts of healthy living. I’m excited to partner with Steve and facilitate some serious, raw, and honest discussion about the support of the fitness community, when it is instrumental to change, and when it actually just enables us to stay the same.

And in the meantime, if you’re a food logger too, come be my friend on MyFitnessPal!  

{ 14 comments }

#hashtagged

by MrsFatass on February 4, 2014

I’m writing this with The Biggest Loser finale playing in the background. This show is big news where I live right now. One of the contestants is local, and since being eliminated, he’s been working out at the gym where I worked before opening trio. I’ve met him. He is nice and personable and is certainly working hard, and the Facebook page this gym has created for the party that will celebrate him this weekend states a 150 pound weight loss for him since June.

Since June. Seven months. Both forever and no time at all.

Look, I want to love this show. I want to be as excited as my former colleagues who are no doubt having an awesome time enjoying the Biggest Loser celebrity status that has surrounded them for the last few months. I want see the men and women cross the stage tonight and not think about the articles I’ve read about the anguished lengths they go to in order to hide the loose skin that hangs on them after rapid, major weight loss. I want to listen to their taglines full of gratitude for the ‘second chances’ they were given by the show and not want to remind them that there are real life loved ones and trainers and support systems that will give them  chances and encouragement and support even without cameras in their faces. I want to watch with a hopeful heart that they all really do realize that losing weight does not equate to finding happiness, and all of the jump squats or marathon training in the world won’t fix what was broken inside of them that lead them to be so severely overweight in the first place.

But I just can’t quiet the cynic.

A few days ago I posted a status update on Facebook. It said “You can always tell when the Spartans lose a game because Facebook grows eerily silent.”

Somebody I was connected to commented on my post, and then within seconds posted their own status update: #sadforthosewhofindjoyinotherslosses.

Yep. I was hashtagged. HASHTAGGED! Holy crapballs!

I ruminated on that for a long time. I just couldn’t figure out what to do about it. I mean, in one respect it didn’t bother me because it came from a person who OFFline has been toxic to my family and me many times.  And in many ways. And on many forms of social media. (#GrantedMyselfPermissionToUnfriend  #ShouldHaveDoneItYearsAgo #3Strikes) But to think I am the kind of person who finds JOY in others LOSSES? Is ridiculous. It is one of those statements that are laden with meaning, but meaning that has nothing to do with the actual words that were said.

You know?

Anyway, I’d pretty much decided to drop it. Until tonight. While watching The Biggest Loser. While I’m wondering why I just can’t get on the bandwagon and cheer for these folks without feeling kind of queasy and uneasy about the whole dog and pony show. And then it just kind of dawned on me why I can’t:

#BecauseIDoNotFindJoyInOtherPeoplesLosses

The part of losing weight that is the most difficult isn’t in the getting it off. It’s in the keeping it off. And maintenance? Just isn’t sexy. Nor is it easy. (Nor is it the subject of a popular television show). Yet it’s the point in which many of us fail in our journey. It’s when we stare down the demons. Handle the really tough stuff. Turn ‘dieting’ into living a healthier lifestyle.

And very often it’s when we realize we aren’t necessarily any happier, more fulfilled, more self-confident, or any more emotionally healthy at our thinnest than we were at our fattest.

I’ve known people who would have done just about anything to get on this show. People who pinned every single hope they had of becoming healthy on being selected to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser. People who were so convinced that being on the ranch was the only way they could possibly get on top of the mountain they were trying to climb that they did dangerous things – like purposely putting on even more weight so they might be more attractive to producers  - and coming away from the whole process just wrecked.

I’ve also had casual, social-media based interactions with a few former contestants. There are many who put all some weight back on. Who say the show abandoned them when the season ended. Who ‘expose’ all the ways that being on the show isn’t ‘real’ and who are pretty much back where they started.

I am uncomfortable as I watch this big finale because anyone who has any kind of experience at all with losing weight knows that this isn’t really a finale at all. It’s really just the beginning. We’re cheering for them like they’re done when we know darn well they have just barely gotten started. It’s not that I don’t want to cheer them on, it’s just that I want to cheer for the right thing. At the right time. So, while their accomplishment awesome and amazing in the short term, this kind of weight loss has an incredibly low success rate even when you do it under the healthiest of circumstances. But when you do it in a fishbowl where all of the resources that allowed you to do it in 7 months disappear and it’s just you? Well. It seems like we are applauding their setup for failure. And contrary to what you may have read about me on The Facebook, that’s just not the kind of girl I am.

It’s easy to support them now. But where are we all going to be a year from now? We’re not going to be there when the new-car smell fades and real life sinks in. When the now-contestants slip back into the anonymity of their real-lives, and when they tire of disappearing to the gym for hours a day. When there isn’t anyone to scream at them to work out until they barf. When their mates or spouses are tired of all of the focus and attention it takes. When the families or friends aren’t really on board with all of the ‘healthy changes’ and become catalysts for the bad habits to start creeping back in. When there isn’t the promise of a pile of money and temporary fame keeping them motivated to cook every day and pack their lunches and take a pass on that second or third beer while they are watching the football game.

I really don’t understand why the show has to focus so much on extreme losses so quickly, except that it is probably too cumbersome to film a group losing the healthy 2 or so pounds a week. And I don’t know why they don’t do more to work with former contestants – both those who have maintained and those who haven’t – because it seems a natural way to grow The Biggest Loser brand. Except maybe to do that means to highlight what is wrong with the process in the first place.

But I do know that when I met the contestant from my town, we talked for a minute about trio fitness, and I welcomed him to come in any time. Maybe someday when the fanfare fades, and he’s working on maintaining this amazing loss, and it’s hard, and he’s discouraged or burned out or bored or thinking people don’t remember his name, maybe if there ever comes a time where he finds himself in a struggle, he’ll remember our conversation and find his way into our studio. Or any studio. I just hope when he needs it, he has a place that will find joy in helping him lose.

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February 3, 2014

serious business

Today’s pick from the mailbag: “Please discuss your ‘experience’ opening and running a successful business.” Which is funny because even though Sam and I have been branding our business for 2 years, our studio is scarcely 6 months old. And I have no idea, really, if we’re successful. It depends on how you define success, […]

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January 20, 2014

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My first job working in a gym was about a gazillion years ago when I was in college. I was the Party Coordinator at Lakeshore Athletic Club in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. My job was in birthday party planning for the children of club members – and without the benefit of a Zumba […]

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January 1, 2014

brand! new! you!?

So it’s the first day of the new year and this resolution business is already making me cranky. Well, it’s not the actual act of making a ‘resolution’ that I don’t like. I totally get why the first of the year makes people want to get started on so many new things. It’s kind of […]

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