A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thoughts on Memorial Day

Years ago I was having an online chat with a friend of mine who'd served a long career for the United States military before the collective weight of physical and emotional scars he'd received forced him into retirement.

I asked him, that night, what had made him do so much and give so much. I asked him what made it all worth it. I asked him why he did it. His simple response was, "so that you have a safe and happy life." Although he did mean me specifically he mostly meant me in a general sense, as in people like me, non-combatant type people. People he felt were worth keeping safe.

I was grateful at that moment that we were talking via computer, so he couldn't see the way I started to cry. I'm not worth so much was all I could think. The "thank you," I managed to say didn't even begin to cover it.

I think of that conversation often, not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day or the Fourth of July, but particularly on days like those. One way I can say thank you to the men and women willing to give so much, sometimes to give everything, is to try to live my life in a way that honors those sacrifices.  I can aspire to be and do something that's worth fighting and dying for. It's not enough, it's never enough, but it's what I owe and what I can give.

Thank you.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Am I the Answer?

Lately I’ve been… let’s say convicted of something. I don’t talk about my faith a lot on my blog, but it’s hopefully obvious to those who know me that I’m a believer. My personal favorite term for us is ‘Jesus Freaks,’ because that one always makes me chuckle.

What I’ve been convicted of is in regards to the phrase, “I’ll pray for you.” It’s an easy thing to say, it’s a good and right sentiment. We as people of faith should absolutely be praying for one another.

The question I’ve been asking myself though is this one: Am I the answer to that prayer? When I offer to pray for someone, am I looking down at the two hands in front of me and asking if those are the hands God wants to use in that situation?

It’s easy to offer to pray for somebody, it’s a bit harder to pick up a broom or a hand tool or a baking sheet and get the job done.

I know a lot of people who are getting the job done, some are people of faith and some are not. I personally know atheists who absolutely kick ass at being the answer to prayers to a God they don’t even believe in, and I stand in awe of their kindness and generosity.

I need to also say that if we’re asking ourselves that question, and the answer genuinely is no, then that’s okay too. There are certain situations like illnesses that are way out of our control (unless you happen to be an MD). Also, it’s rough out there for everybody. For a time I thought it was getting rougher but now I believe we simply notice it more as we get older, as we get weaker, as people we love keep leaving the world. If you ask yourself that question and you know your resources are already stretched way too thin – then that’s legit. Burning ourselves out is no help to anybody.

I just want it to be a question I always remember to ask.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Nike's Gone Plus Sized!

I found out this week that the popular athletic gear designer Nike has released a plus sized line (sizes 1X to 3X), so of course I had to check it out. Here is the link if you’d like to take a look at the goods for yourself.

I’ve previously praised Under Armor for their size inclusivity, which goes up to a 2XL (or for most women roughly sized 18-20). They also make an attractive, durable, quality product. Nike is actually taking it a few steps further as I did the math and realized that their size 3XL should fit all the way up to a 24/26, which is very impressive!

I haven’t tried out any Nike stuff yet but if/when I do, I’ve got my eye on this really nifty asymmetrical workout tank with the vented back.

As with UA, the clothes don’t come cheap. Currently there’s nothing in the line that costs less than $40.00. This, however, is typical for name brand active wear. After poking around the site I found that their straight sizes are priced comparatively so they’re not charging more for the plus gear.

I’m not surprised that Nike is doing this, in fact what surprises me more is when clothing retailers remain hesitant to tap the generous market of plus sized people ready and willing to pay them for attractive and well-made clothes. Or they’ll do so, but keep it hidden away online like a naughty secret. I’m looking at you here, Old Navy -  who makes great workout clothing in a wide variety of sizes but only sells the plus ones via website distribution rather than putting it in stores. Because plus sized people couldn’t possibly want or need to try things on first (please note my dripping sarcasm). Under Armor, much as I love them, is guilty of this too.

One nice trick I’ve learned regarding Old Navy, is that since they only sell the plus stuff online people frequently need to return it. Old Navy is willing to take it back at the brick and mortar stores, and they then place those returned items in their clearance section. So if you’re willing to dig you can not only find the plus gear there but it’s crazy marked down in price too.

The only thing that has surprised (and dismayed) me this week is the public backlash that’s broken out beneath the bridges of internet trolls since Nike’s line went on sale. Apparently they are ‘promoting’ and ‘accepting’ obesity by creating clothing for fat people to exercise in.

Actually, they’re doing just the opposite – they’re making it easier for the people who need to exercise the most to get active and feel great and confident while doing it. And feeling great and confident while doing it is likely to help them, you know, keep doing it and thus lose weight. These kinds of trolls are probably the same ones who photograph obese people working out at the gym without their consent and then post and scorn them online, saying they should stay home until they’ve made themselves less offensive looking. Obese people like me are the ones who need to be in the gym the most! Is it so hard to encourage us, or at the very least – just leave us alone to work on ourselves in peace?

I still stand by my assertion that those who attack fat people for trying to better themselves are actually fervently hoping for those fat people to stay fat. They enjoy their feeling of superiority, and wouldn’t want it taken away by somebody’s success.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Magical Rainbow-Farting Unicorn

Also known as the perfect sports bra.

I haven’t quite found it yet. The technology capable of halting all chestal motion for a woman of my stature might not actually exist, BUT what I did find recently is not too shabby.

It’s a Champion Spot Comfort Full-Support Sport Bra (style no. CH 1602), maximum hold, in size 40DDD. I normally wear a 38DDDD, but since the quad is super difficult to find I’ve discovered that if I go up a band size I can come down a cup size. And a slightly smallish cup size in sports bras isn’t a bad thing since compression helps. I was able to purchase said bra for $26.00 each online – and since any bra under $50.00 is a miraculous find, of course I got excited and purchased three. It’s made of sweat-wicking fabric, has comfy padded gel straps, provides a lot of coverage and feels pretty danged secure when I jump up and down in it. I am happy.

It looks like so:

I never expected to find something this good from Champion. First of all, it has no underwire, and as a general rule I never leave the house without underwire, but this particular contraption is capable of maximum support without it (via some kind of miraculous anti-gravity technology, I’m sure). Secondly, Champion is responsible for the unfortunate incident I had getting almost permanently stuck in a pull-on-over-the-head type bra after going swimming (I now reserve those bras strictly for yoga practice).

They’re also guilty of closing like this in the back with some of their styles:

I actually asked the salesperson in a shop recently if she knew anyone who was capable of getting into such a bra by themselves, and she admitted that she did not.

Bra retailers, seriously, stop making these. It’s not a fat-person thing, human bodies just are not designed to do fine manipulation of hook-and-eye closures at our middle backs while unable to see what we’re doing. Work with me, people.

At any rate, I am tentatively very happy with this purchase. It has yet to stand up to a full Zumba class though, so the true test of its resilience awaits!

Friday, January 13, 2017

That Awkward Moment You Realize Your Dad's in the Illuminati

Just before Christmas my Dad asked me to carry and deliver a trophy for him to someone at the company where I work.

It’s a bronze cup, 103 years old, engraved with the name of the organization and the names of all the previous winners over the past century. There’s a silver and a gold cup too (and possibly others) and the others are worth considerably more than the bronze I’d been asked to deliver.

The organization is called ‘The Mixers Club’, and they consist of the movers and shakers of Philadelphia industry who get together now and again to play golf, eat and drink fine food and drink, and decide how things are going to shake out insofar as local business is concerned.

In short, they’re our local branch of the Illuminati.

And my dad is one of them.

So I did what I thought was the only proper thing having come into possession of one of their holy relics; I captured it pirate-style on behalf of the office grogs of the world. Currently, I’m using it to decorate my cubicle. I had a Santa hat on it for Christmas, which was quite charming.

So far there’s been no backlash on account of my theft, but if you don’t hear from me for an extended period of time then I’ve probably been… grrrk…


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Nerd Group Fitness

“One does not simply walk into Mordor…”

This is the basis of the extremely nerdy, Lord of the Rings-based walking challenge a friend of mine proposed at the start of this new year. That we, as a group, collectively try to cover the 1,779 mile distance between Hobbiton and Mount Doom.

He got the idea here.

If we’re doing it in a year it comes out to just under five miles per day (10,000 steps), which is the recommended amount of movement for an adult human anyway. Figuring out where we'd be in Middle Earth as we cover distance is just a fun way of keeping everyone interested and motivated to move. All you need to participate is a movement tracker of some sort and a bit of commitment.

At first we had some confusion over how to keep track of everyone. A Fitbit group would work, but not everyone uses a Fitbit, so we eventually settled on a Google spreadsheet where folks can log in each day and report their daily mileage and steps. It averages us all together so we know where we are as a group as well as individually.

I’m thinking of giving myself a reward at journey’s end for reaching Mount Doom. Technically, it should be a ride on a giant eagle’s back to Minis Tirith but since those are hard to come by I’ll try to think of something indulgent and frivolous that I normally wouldn’t get for myself (that isn’t food).

“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Seasonal Defective

The most difficult part of the year for me falls between January 2nd and whenever spring arrives. The triple-threat festivities of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all packed away and there’s nothing to do but wait it out. A two to three month period of lingering cold, dark, and grey is just not my thing.

Snow is pretty, but when it hasn’t freshly fallen everything just looks very dead (I know the trees are just asleep, but they still look dead). Additionally with my long commute a fresh snowfall usually means driving danger, hassle, and long waits in traffic ahead.

It’s hard for me to stay warm during this time. I’m okay when I’m actively wrapped up in a lot of blankets and planted firmly in front of a space heater, but outside of those circumstances it’s not a question of if I’m cold, but rather how cold am I at the moment. I really, really don’t like being cold. It bums me out.

I like to walk outside, but the abovementioned aversion to cold stops me. I also don’t like to walk after the sun is down so since the sun is down all the time in winter there’s precious few outside walks to be had.

When I get home from work, it’s cold and dark. I am having really serious difficulty getting changed into lightweight workout clothes and leaving my house in the cold darkness at 7PM to go to the gym. I really want to, I know it will make me feel better, but in the moment I’m struggling against a profound desire for space heater induced hibernation.

I’m really struggling not to gain more weight, both because of my decreased physical activity and because being cold and huddled under blankets makes me want to eat nonstop. I’ve no need for additional blubber like a bear but my appetite doesn’t seem to want to be convinced.

A friend recently sent me an article about the wonderful Danish concept of hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) which means a good deal more than just getting warm and staying warm during a long winter. The Danes know how to not just survive the winter but embrace it with, “a relaxed, cozy time with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer.” Hygge, apparently, cannot really be described, it must be felt.

I need to learn to feel it. But I also need to feel my way off of my butt and back to the gym before I become permanently hygged by my couch.