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a letter to myself . . .

by MrsFatass on December 31, 2009

. . . not to be opened until December 31, 2010

Dear Sue Ann,

Since you don’t really believe in making New Year’s Resolutions, I am writing to you from a year ago – December 31, 2009. It’s me. Your inner voice. Your conscience. Your voice of reason. Well, maybe not reason. But the voice in your head. The one that knows all your secrets, and the truth about all the stuff that makes you YOU.

I’m writing either as a participant in a kickass celebration of how far you’ve come in 2010, or as that voice telling you to get your head out of your ass because you’ve wasted another one. We won’t really know for sure until the day comes that you open this and read it to yourself.

I hope to God I’m finding you at your goal weight, because for fuck’s sake why would you want to spend another year of your life trying to lose? You’re a smart cookie. You know what to do to make the number go down, and if you haven’t by this point then it’s just you being stubborn, fighting against that thing that feels so restrictive but could actually set you free.

And the nasty truth is, chica, if you can’t handle the loss phase, then you don’t have a chance at the maintenance, which is the real challenge. I think losing weight is like labor; painful and ugly, and at times you think you’ll never make it out alive. But it’s only temporary. The real hard part is raising the kid, day and day out, loving it even when it yells at you, rolls it’s eyes at you, disobeys you, or looks at you like you are the absolute epitome of all that is uncool.

Maintenance is like parenthood. Only, if you’ve made it that far, then even though you have to work even harder to stay there, you at least have the chance to rock it in a bikini at the beach. Which, I don’t need to remind you, was your goal for the summer, to wear the two-piece that’s stashed away in the drawer under your bed. Was I not supposed to say that out loud? Well, I did. And you do. So, were you able to pull it out and strut your stuff?

Now, I know you made one of those notaresolutions about saying thank you when somebody offers you a compliment. No self deprecating comment, no joke. Just taking it in and saying thanks. And I agree that it’s a good start. But because I’m you, I know that it’s only the first step. And maybe some of the folks who read this rag are on to you, or maybe they aren’t, but I know that your snark is half humor and half fear. Fear that you aren’t good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough. That you make the joke before somebody else has a chance to make it at your expense. And I know that sometimes you still think that if you can just get your body back, it will make everything else just fall into place.

It’s a good thing you write with such an honest voice. That honesty gives me faith that when you reach your goal hotass jeans size and realize that you’re still a mess, you’ll actually hang in and keep doing the work you need to do to get to a place of comfort in your skin. I don’t know what I can say or do to make you believe this, but you deserve that. To be comfortable in your skin. Dumbass.

And you also deserve to make yourself a priority from time to time. If you keep setting yourself aside to take care of everybody else first? You just might forget what it is you needed to begin with. To risk sounding like that cosmetics commercial, you’re worth it.

Which brings me to this: I hope you rocked your bio class, finished writing your book, got better at returning phone calls and emails, always told your parents you loved them before hanging up the phone, hugged your family at least a hundred times a day, made a connection with somebody you care about, let somebody make a connection with the real you, not just the one you pretend to be, and for crying out loud I hope you started doing more cardio. Because that’s the key to all of this. More cardio.

Looking forward to catching up with you a year from now.


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excuses and apologies

by MrsFatass on December 8, 2014

Photo Dec 08, 11 25 43 AM

I finally got my blog fixed. I finally got my blog fixed! And holy cow let me tell you it’s like getting to scratch that itch in the center of your back that is hard to reach. Not being able to search or read comments or have links work honestly made me not want to come and write at all. Of course Ryan found the problem and now she’s all shiny and new again. And with that, a brand new enthusiasm for coming here to tell you more stories.

I spent some time thumbing through archives now that it’s all working again. A big part of this blog has been about me figuring out my mental health. Depression and anxiety, well, they are no joke. And they are things that have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. I didn’t really have a vocabulary for it in high school or college. I couldn’t really explain my intensity or my occasional paranoia or my insomnia or my moods. All I really knew is that there were times when I was acting in such a way that in my head I knew was completely irrational, but I just couldn’t make it stop. I called it stress, but I knew it had to be more than that, because it would send me reeling like a scaredy cat hanging from the ceiling by his claws and just not shut off.

And for whatever reason, whether it’s the calendar or the temperature or the (lack of) daylight, it always seems that this time of year would be the yucky part of the cycle. I found my Dr. Awesome in October. I “relapsed” and picked myself up off of the floah a year later in November. I have written all kinds of garden metaphors and melancholy reflections and I’ll start fresh next year stuff because usually throughout this time of year, I’m sort of faking my way through the B side of things.

But this year is different.

It’s been four years since I sat in a psychiatrist’s office for the first time, answering questions and being assessed, eventually walking out with an honest to god diagnosis for my wacky emotions and behaviors. I brought The Diagnosis home like a new puppy, playing with it and training it and also I had something to blame for chewed up socks or poop on the rug! (Metaphorically speaking of course). In some ways it was awesome to hear a doctor give me a diagnosis that put words to what I was feeling for so many years because I had a reason for it. There were chemicals in my brain making it next to impossible for me to handle certain stresses, fears, or suspense because it didn’t shut off like somebody else’s might. How amazing to know that really I wasn’t crazy, I just had an honest to god anxiety disorder!

But in other ways, the reason didn’t really matter. Whether or not I had a name for it, I still had to function. I still had to be able to answer the phone. I still had to be able to go to work or teach my classes or advocate for my children. A diagnosis isn’t a free pass. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior. It doesn’t mean I can act out all over my family or friends and not have to be accountable for it. It doesn’t mean I can just take my hands off the wheel and stop handling my obligations and hide away until the storm passes.

Last week I started feeling that familiar slow build. Some of it was stress – one thing that therapy helped me figure out was that even though anxiety is stressful, not all stress is anxiety – so some of what I was dealing with was just plain old stuff that any adult has to cope with. But there was a little feeling that took hold that made the butterflies beat my chest up all week. It started with this stupid thing that happened last weekend – kids tearing around the neighborhood in a car, stealing outdoor Christmas lights – and it snowballed into days of me freaking out that a car was going to hit my son when he crossed the street to go to his buddy’s house. Total fixation for days. And I just couldn’t flip the switch back to OFF. Little things became big things. A bump on my husband’s head was a brain tumor, my daughter’s tummy ache became the flu. And it all boiled over on Saturday when my already pumping adrenaline got turned up to eleven while trying to get my daughter to the float she was supposed to ride on at the Christmas parade. We were running late and not totally sure where to go and we had to run from one end of the parade route to the other, dodging throngs of people holding umbrellas (seriously, you could put an eye out!!) but we made it and she waved like a beauty queen and it was awesome. However, my adrenaline didn’t shut off like it should of once we got her there and all was well. I could hear my heart in my ears and my emotions were spilling over and my pulse was racing so hard I could see it in my temples. I was terrified but had no idea what I was terrified of and for just a very teeny split second I wondered if I was having a heart attack.

And then I kind of lost it all over one of my best friends. Like, in the part of the day I should have been relieved it all worked out, and laughing about all the craziness, I was heavy breathing and choking back tears and just trying to escape.

Yep. My little diagnosis puppy totally pooped in his crate.

But, after a little while, I caught my breath. And after a little while more, I was able to talk it out. Both to my reflection in the mirror (reminding me that all this was just a biological reaction to a perceived danger, and now it was over) and to Trophy Husband (saying pretty much the same thing out loud like a mantra). And very soon after, I was able to text that friend and apologize. I’m sorry. That was me, not you. Every anxiety button I have got pushed this morning. I’ve been fighting this off for days. I’m sorry it came out on you.

And we were all able to dust ourselves off and put the day back on the rails.

I like having a diagnosis because it’s kind of like a roadmap. I can find my way back from the crazy. And I also like that I’ve become the kind of person who can say I’m sorry. Dramatic moments can be just that. Moments. They don’t have to turn into actual drama.
Anyway, my diagnosis dog is 4 years old now and I think I’ve got him just about housebroken. And I’m feeling really good about that.

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name dropper

by MrsFatass on August 3, 2011

I know things around here have been ALL ZUMBA ALL THE TIME lately, but today’s public humiliation story takes a little different turn, focusing on a little thing called Turbo Kickmyass.

Now, I realize we’ve gone years around this blog with me taking stabs and diet and fitness, only to be held hostage by a beer soaked football season weekend or the like, resulting in my putting on and taking off the same fifteen pounds or so pretty much since the dawn of time. But I have managed to make good on my promise to do daily cardio and to wear a bikini with pride. And I’ve taken that to a level I never thought possible – becoming an actual INSTRUCTOR of my favorite type of exercise.

(Cue the Rocky running up the steps music).

Well. All that getting strong now business came to a screeching halt about a week ago when I made my way into my first Turbo Kickmyass class. Strutting in the room that night feeling kind of arrogant about my skillz, I anticipated a good sweat and a big calorie burn with minimal embarrassment that usually accompanies my various forays into Discomfort Zone territory. And while I managed to escape without any conversation about my history of butt problems or issues with my hoohah, I did walk out with a very bruised ego.

That class almost killed me.

(Cancel Rocky running up the steps music).

It pissed me off. I mean, I’ve been working out so hard lately. I’ve been consistent for a long time. I’m constantly finding ways to push myself. But nothing about this class felt FUN! It felt like WORK for Pete’s sake. Everything was at TOP SPEED and I spent a lot of the class trying to catch my breath and bring my heart rate down, just trying to keep up.

So I did what any self respecting fatass in my shoes would do: I went home and pouted. And whined. And said NEVER AGAIN!

Fast forward: This morning. Blinking at the gym schedule looking for a workout. And Lo and Behold, guess what class was being offered at 9:30? Yep. Turbo Kickmyass. So I said to myself, “Self? We shall not be beaten by this class.” And before I had a chance to talk myself out of it, I went back.

(ReCue Rocky music).

I went back. There was a different instructor this time. I raised my hand when she asked who was new. I listened to all of her instructions. I took my place dead center. And got ready for the showdown.

For me and the other newbies, she demonstrated lots of modifications along the way, many of which I blew off – I mean, I came there to do things 85% 100%, or it wasn’t a real win, you know? But before, I didn’t even know there were options! And this time, I kicked and punched and growled my way through the first half of class and that first freaking haywire Turbo section where everything is on steroids. I did it! I wasn’t dying, I was keeping up, and I was only a little bit miserable. She came by and gave me a high 5, and told me I was doing great. And you know what? It made me feel successful.

Then, while we were all catching our breath (and I was trying not to be too puffed up that I was making this class my bitch) the instructor was going to demo a Burpee for me, and . . . then comes the part where I embarrassed myself publicly. Because it wouldn’t be a story about me without me almost sharting my pants or something, right? So she says “Okay, before we do the next Turbo, let me show you a Burpee” and I go “Oh, I got this. I know Chalene.”

And all of a sudden, people were all “Really? You know Chalene? Oh my gosh that’s so cool!” and various other things that meant that my comment, which was intended to mean “I have done lots of her programs so I am familiar with her signature moves” was taken as “she and I are besties who do coffee and talk celebrity gossip together.”


Then, to make matters better worse, I follow up with some nervous chatter about Tweeting with her and her reading my blog and maybe I threw in something about us both being from Michigan, and I’m not sure but I think that I pretty much just stood in a room full of hardcore Turbo chicks and made up a friendship with Chalene Johnson.

Yeah. Well, after that, there was no way I could do things half-assed. I feel like I had to make my new BFF Chalene proud at this point.

I finished strong. I know that there were factors working in my favor this time versus the first go round with Turbo Kickmyass, most importantly that I am a morning workout person. The first time I tried this I was squeezing in a second workout at an evening class, so I know it had a lot to do with that butt whoopin.

But also? It was stuck in my head. That I wanted to prove to myself and Chalene that I could do it. All this exercise isn’t just making my body stronger. It’s also strengthening my will and my resolve and my drive. Endorphins are amazing creatures, no?

So. What are YOU going to go out and beat today?

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old bikini, new promise

by MrsFatass on May 24, 2011

A while back I wrote a little diddy called The Bikini Promise. Long story short-ish, I was thinking about how I’d always wanted to wear a bikini, but never thought my body was ‘ready.’ But being that I’d written this letter to myself promising that I’d do it (and then showed that letter to all of you), last summer was the summer of the Two Piece Bathing Suit.

We live in North Carolina, so we spend the whole summer (and part of the Spring and Fall) hot and sweaty and near some body of water.

Our gym has an outdoor swimming pool. That will become my ‘office’ this summer.

We also spend lots of time at the ocean beach.

Though, if an ocean isn’t readily available, we go to the Lake “Beach”

So, geographically speaking, the chances were good I’d be in a bathing suit for at least part of the day most days between April and September. But not only did I need to don the suit, I needed to exude some confidence. Because my kids were watching me. And it’s important that I’m modeling comfort in my skinsuit. So, not only did I pull out bikinis, I pulled out hats and sunglasses and platform sandals and lipstick. I’m thinking that Thing Two has been watching me. . .

Is that a movie star? Or is that my daughter?

So, hopefully it’s working.

I started out my two-piece career in this photo, an ‘after’ photo for a weight loss challenge I did a couple years ago.


Now, the before shot. See the difference?


It’s not really the body, is it? Maybe there’s an inch or two missing here or there. But really, it’s in the smile. The attitude. It is also roughly the same time that I started using the word HOTASS, not just in reference to other people, but to myself.

Lots of photos were taken throughout Bikini Summer, many of the “just get me from the chest up!” variety.

Say Cheese!

And a few in the “Self-Portrait” category.

No bottle of Bud Light was harmed in the taking of this picture.

And an occasional full-body shot made it into the lineup.

Sunglasses in the pool are WAY cool.

There were times when I really felt like I was rocking it, and some when I hid behind the sunglasses and lipstick. But either way, I kept the promise I made. I didn’t wait for all the circumstances to fall into perfect place before I stepping into my discomfort zone and pushing my own boundary. That ‘perfect’ bikini body isn’t something I had to ‘get’ before I put one on. Turns out I had the bikini body all along.

So, here we are. A brand new year and a brand new promise.

Old Bikini, but new Bikini Promise

This is the summer that I become a Zumba instructor.

I won’t laugh when I say it.

I won’t compare my body to those who have made whole careers around fitness or dance.

I will believe I can do it and be as good as anyone else.

I will make the people in my classes believe they can do it, too. I promise.

What’s your Bikini Promise for this summer?

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about mrsfatass

by MrsFatass on September 1, 2010

headshotSue O’Lear is a FORTYsomething wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, and law school dropout, currently blogging her way through losing the 50 pounds that have crept up on her curves since having her son Thing One in 2003.

Her blog was born in April, 2009 as Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?, her way to document what she hoped was her last attempt at shedding the weight using  infomercial workout videos (and various cleanses and vitamins and diet books). However, she quickly found a voice that extended well beyond sales pitches and reviews. She began to talk honestly about her life as a flawed woman working on getting her groove back, and found a wonderful connection with readers through posts like a letter to myself, paging doctor fixmyass, and her three bodily functions and an engagement ring series. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always with heart and honesty, her message resonated even all the way down under, and  in July 2010 she was thrilled to have her post feeling a little bit slutty quoted in an issue of Women’s Health Australia magazine, with hers listed among four as the best blogs to follow for humor and inspiration.

 By 2010 she was ready for a redesign that better reflected her mission. In September of that year, was launched.

Since then she has introduced us to her family (comprised of a Trophy Husband, a Thing One and a Thing Two, and a very special guest appearance from her mom), her crazy, her bikini, and her quest to live in her discomfort zone. She also had the privilege of  being a guest on the popular healthy living podcast Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone where she chatted about positive body image, and she appeared at Fitbloggin’ 11 in Baltimore, Maryland, moderating the session Finding the Humor In It, Growing your Blog One Laugh at a Time. In October 2011 she was the featured guest on The Boomer Beat on WCOM radio in North Carolina, and appeared as a panelist at the All Women Social Media Summit in Raleigh, NC. In February, 2012 she was featured in’s article Real Women Reveal: How Zumba Changed My Life , which was followed up with an article in The Wilson Daily Times special section My Wilson, where she got to discuss MrsFatass, Social Media, and of course Zumba. In September, 2012, she was part of an article about rock-star fitness instructors in the September 4, 2012 edition of The Wall Street Journal. As a Zumba instructor, she participated in Fitbloggin’ 12 in Baltimore and Fitbloggin’ 13 in Portland, teaching the Zumba Fitness Master Class, and was part of the Ignite Keynote Presentation in the latter. Also in 2013 she joined forces with Samantha Collins and opened Trio Fitness, LLC, a specialized group fitness studio known for it’s awesome instructors and non-intimidating, team based atmosphere. The studio has been featured in articles in The Wilson Daily Times, Wilson Woman Magazine, and nationally in Z-Life Magazine. Her motto in 2014 is “Two Words: Franchise Opportunity”. She is also excited to appear once again as a speaker at Fitbloggin’ 14 in Savannah, GA this June.

Sue has recently gotten very in touch with her granola loving, tree hugging hippie side, and ditched all bathroom chemicals, ranging from commercial shampoo and deodorant to lotions and soaps, replacing them with homemade, organic versions featuring Young Living Essential Oils. Go ahead, ask her to tell you what No Poo means.

Join MrsFatass on Facebook and Twitter, leave a comment, or send an email right here. She takes all questions, tips, recipes, or information on the latest Hollyweird gossip.

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the first day of the rest of your year

by MrsFatass on July 1, 2010

I wrote a letter to myself at the end of oh-nine, and I figure the first day of the second half of the year is as good a time as any to check in on the goals I set for myself this year. Anyone want to join me in a little reflection? Course you do. So, take a moment to educate, then let’s hop in and see how I’m doing.

To begin, I pretty much still cover up a lot of what’s simmering beneath the surface with snark. That hasn’t changed. But I will say that 2010 has been the year of reinvention. As I try to break out of that yummy, comfy buttdent on my sofa and get on with life, I find that I get the best work done when I am stressed, freaked, nervous, embarrassed. Basically in my Discomfort Zone. I do it at the gym 5-6 days a week, for example. Like, I learned how to use an elliptical (note to the newbies: the machine is not broken. In order to choose your program you have to start moving your feet. Don’t switch machines. Learn from my humiliations) and I Zumba once or twice a week and I jog every other day. And I do most of these things in a place where other people can see me.

That’s huge, the power of the Discomfort Zone.

I also do it in school. I mean, I started Nursing School! The Land of Lab Partners Born The Year I Graduated High School. YIKES! And I do it in my writing. I mean, if all this talk of bodily functions and hoo-hahs isn’t enough, I’m also acting like A Writer. Like, as in writing things other than this blog. I’m doing it in my relationships, sorting out some messy old ones, trying to get right some messy new ones, and basically just trying to stop hiding behind the FIDGET and connecting with people I love. I’m going to come out of this year different than I went in. It’s taken 36 years, but finally I am finding comfort in NOT being exactly like everybody else.

Discomfort? Is good.

Moving on, I am getting better at making myself a priority from time to time. Finding little ways to recharge on a daily basis (#TubTimeWithMrsFatass anyone?) and not just burning myself out and then relying on a quiet weekend or a vacation to give me my zest for life back. I mean, we all know how the last long-weekend getaway started out. If that was my only means for battling stress and recharging, well, I think I’d be posting this from my padded cell in my XXL straightjacket.

I did rock my BIO class. I did not finish writing my book. I am a skosh better at returning phone calls and emails. A skosh. But I was really never bad about telling my folks I love them, or hugging my kids. Those were kind of filler. Don’t hate.

I have made connections with people I care about. You know who you are.

I have let somebody make a connection with the real me, not just the me I pretend to be in order to appear in Women’s Health Australia magazine. Again, you know who you are.

And . . . I have started doing MORE CARDIO. The key to all of this. MORE CARDIO.

I give myself a solid B on the year so far.

The other thing I said to myself in that letter is that I want this to be the last year of having weight to lose. I have 6 months in which to get this part right. Still doable, but not without much focus and effort. I’m thinking I have it in me, though. Do you?

Alrighty then. Your turn. Today is the first day of the rest of your year.

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hide and seek

by MrsFatass on June 4, 2010

Okay, people? I had one of those moments yesterday. One of those OHMYGOD, TJ hand me the beans so I can stand over the kitchen sink and binge moments. One of those moments that could have resulted in a crying vlog, but that’s just not how I wanted to send you off into the weekend. One of those. One of those moments.

Now, let me start by saying this: I didn’t binge. I skipped the gym. I cried a little. BUT I DIDN’T BINGE. So, there’s that. On the flip side, however, there’s an elephant in the room here. And that elephant? Is named MrsFatass.

Here’s what happened.

A while back I was gifted a Flip, and since getting it we have made many movies. And yesterday I sat down and viewed some of those clips. When they were being made I was feeling FABULOUS. Oh yes. Strong and confident and lighthearted and playful and ALIVE. So naturally, when I sat down to watch the fun I expected to see gorgeous. Sexy. Beautiful. HOTASS.

But what I really saw? I saw a fat girl. I was the fat girl in the video. Chins and rolls and squish and lots of it. Definitely not the rock star I felt like in my head. Nope. At best I was the rock star’s token fat friend.

Whoa whoa whoa – hold your horses, blogosphere. Before you go all “I’M CALLING THE FATASS POLICE! YOU CALLED YOURSELF NAMES! I TOLD YOU THAT MRSFATASS IS A TERRIBLE TWITTER HANDLE!!!” just bear with me a minute.

This is what I’m NOT saying: I’m NOT saying I’m bad, worthless, horrible, stupid, lazy, ugly, mean, unworthy, ridiculous, unlovable, smelly, weak, or incapable. What I AM saying is that I’m fat. I’m also strong and can run a mile and have learned to be active and have a pretty healthy kitchen most of the time and I rarely miss the gym and I wear a bathing suit almost every day in summer. I am smart and thoughtful and supportive of others. I’m honest and loyal and occasionally ballsy. If I love you, you know it. Because I’m good at it. And lately I’m creative and even a bit successful. All GOOD things. All TRUE things. But you know what else? I also consume more than I burn. I’m fat.

If your instinct at this point is to leave a compliment OR an admonishment, go read the paragraph again. I love myself. I’m proud of my accomplishments. It’s because of all of the good things in my life that I’ve been able to play hide and seek with my diet. It’s because I’ve got all these endorphins flowing from my regular workouts, because I’m eating decent food most of the time, because I’ve got love in my life, because I can laugh through hard times, and because I am staring down some pretty amazing opportunities right now that I can bob and weave and not get knocked down by the scale or my pants size. I’m not gaining. I’m just not losing. And I haven’t lost in months. It. Is. Time.

It’s been almost half a year since I wrote this letter to myself. I weigh the same now that I did the day I wrote it. I’ve accomplished a shitton of great things in that half a year, and in terms of my Journey from Fatass to Fabulous? A SHITTON of great things. In CAPS.

But what I haven’t done is lose any weight. And I want to. I want to lose weight.

So, here goes, everyone. I weigh 214 pounds. I think that’s a little inflated due to the fact that as of this writing it’s the end of the day (I’m normally an early AM weigh-er), I had a recent rendezvous with copious amounts of sodium, have been consuming more than my fair share of the world’s caffeinated beverages the last couple days, and in a week will have timeofthemonth. But, it is what it is. There’s my secret. Now you know.

I don’t know exactly how much I’ve lost so far. I kind of consider the start of this journey the birth of my daughter in 2007, and I’m not sure what I weighed then. There came a point where I stopped looking at the number, you know? I was pretty much only wearing elastic-waist pants, but when I did squeeze into something with a size, the number was 3 sizes bigger than the ones I slither into today. So, there’s a rough idea.

I also don’t know exactly how much I want to lose. My low as an adult person was 164 pounds. It was way before babies, so who knows what that will look like now, but I dug that body. So, that’s my goal for now. 164. That’s 50 pounds.

Today it sounds like 500. But what the hell. Hope springs eternal, right?

And, because if you set a goal, you should also start thinking about how you’re gonna get there, here’s what I’m going to focus on through the weekend: Drinking nothing besides water and my morning coffee. Wearing my Gruve again. Writing down what I eat. Not skipping another workout to cry about being the fat girl in the video.

I can do all those things to get through my weekend. What are YOU going to do to get through yours?

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