Tuesday, July 02, 2013
It's not about the doughnut, except when it is: Lessons learned fromFitbloggin'
Fitbloggin' -- not only the one I led, but several others. They are all live-blogged at the site, but I don't think that you can get the full effect without being there in these. The technical sessions are easier to liveblog without endangering someone's confidentiality. What I got from attending these sessions is that weight gain (and loss) is about so much more than food and exercise. Most veterans of the weight battle could tell you everything you need to know about calories and exercise methods, but we still can't always put it into practice.
In these sessions, people shared their personal struggles and physical issues that predated, and in many cases contributed to, the weight issues. Gwyn, for example, had keloids -- thick, painful scars that continue to grow over time. People can be cruel in these times when we think everything can be easily fixed with plastic surgery, so she had to tolerate stares and rude questions -- it would be easy to see how feeling damaged or broken in one way might lead to other problems. I know that before my weight was the "reason" that I felt weird and wrong, I had other "reasons" for that feeling -- a small scar on my lip that I obsessed about, terrible teenage acne. Gaining weight in this situation can be one more explanation for what is wrong with us, because many of us feel wrong. It may be that everyone feels this way, and we all express it in different ways, weight issues being one of them. If we ever lose the weight (as I have, and most people in my session had) we can be left with that same broken feeling, and no easy answer for it. Losing weight is hard and takes a lot of effort. It has to feel worth it, and if you are left with smaller pants and the same big problems, it doesn't always feel that way.
I have to admit, I think I'm a fairly socially adept person in normal situations, but I get nervous and anxious at parties. The chaos of Fitbloggin' sometimes overwhelmed me, and I found myself hitting the bar or the snack table at those times -- I joked that "If I get any fitter, I'm going to need bigger pants." I did fine during the conference sessions and in smaller groups, but didn't quite know what to do with myself during the final party, when everyone was dancing. I feel awkward at times like that and don't know what to do -- should I try to dance and look stupid? Should I sit on the sidelines and look antisocial? It can make a piece of cheese or a glass of wine sound like a great idea.The actual conference food was healthy enough, so that helped. One of the best Ignite presentations was DubyaWife's, which commanded us to introduce ourselves to new people, giving us all permission and even an imperative to mingle. (I would link to the presentation, but I can't find it.)
And sometimes it is about the doughnut -- Portland was a great food city, with food trucks everywhere and the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. The meals I had from healthy places, like the Veggie Grill, were kind of disappointing. I had one food truck meal -- a so-so falafel sandwich, since none of the really cool carts were open when I went -- and one of the famous doughnuts. I hit up Voodoo as part of a two-hour walking tour with Bonnie, Marlene, and Heather, plus Craig, an Amana rep who went with us as far as Voodoo and bought the big box of doughnuts photographed above to take back to his fellow appliance evangelists. I spent a lot of time looking at the menu while I was in line, because I wanted to pick one doughnut and make it good. I chose the Old Dirty Bastard doughnut and it ended up being my lunch for that day. I tracked everything and, by the way, ran a 5K the next day. The doughnut itself is not a problem, unless you tell yourself that eating the doughnut means you are bad, wrong and destined to fail. Personally, I'm not going to give a doughnut that much power. I don't believe in voodoo.
"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07