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KITHKINCAID's Recent Blog Entries

Does Going to Church Make You Fat?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An interesting article in the Tribune today:

My family always went to church when I was younger. I was raised on Sunday School and social church functions. My grandparents are still very involved with their church groups - my grandmother was the President of the UCW Club and Grandpa has always been an active member in the men's leagues. Both LOVE their sweets and high calorie church functions, that's for sure.

I think there is something to be said here about churches being tied to many people's social interactions and since food weighs so heavily in all of that with so many of us, they should be on a mission to make their congregations healthier!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CORKY982 4/1/2011 2:59PM

  My church hosts a healthy living workshop every Friday afternoon/evening, and our functions have a mix of the healthy and the un-healthy. I think if you try and categorize what makes you fat, it should be expanded to more than church. It is office food, cafeteria food away at school, etc.

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ANNITAMOUSE 4/1/2011 11:42AM

    I am seeing a mix of fresh fruit and veggies alongside the cookies at my church. I love that the healthy choices are there, and am encouraged by the fact that the church is reminding us that our food choices are important.

Years ago, I developed an ability to turn down donuts at church because they were always there! That was a different church, and a younger, more active crowd. Maybe the healthy choices at my current church are a reflection of all of us watching our health as we get older!

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MEADSBAY 3/25/2011 6:19PM

    Oprah did a show on this when she got a letter from a preacher down south asking for her support.
Oprah brought all the church ladies to Chicago and did a fitness and nutrition makeover on them.
Wonder if she ever did a follow up show on them.

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ON2VICTORY 3/24/2011 10:00PM

    you hit the nail on the head. that is my biggest issue about functions at my church. we complain about being overweight then here comes the all you can eat carb blast. somewhere along the way, we need to get a clue. thanks for bringing this up.

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LAURIETAIT 3/24/2011 2:28PM

    Interesting article. My in-laws are Southern baptists. Food is certainly a focus at their special events and weight is definitely an issue for my sisters-in-law. I do think that they bring their attitudes about food to church with them. But church could be an excellent place to support a change toward healthy eating by becoming part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 3/24/2011 2:00PM

    Just this week I was speaking to a woman about her church functions and the high calorie foods they used to offer. Those who attended requested and then started bringing healthier options after they realized desserts had become the main course. Now they feast on seasonal fruit, raw veggies and an assortment of proteins. The desserts are still there but are not the focus.

When socializing, at church or other functions, often the food becomes the focus. It's my preference to focus on the people or task at hand instead of the food - the food should be secondary.

Thanks for sharing.

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LOTUSFLOWER 3/24/2011 1:49PM

    What an interesting article! I love that one woman created the fit ministry to help keep her congregation healthy. I definitely notice all of the sweets at church on Sunday, that is the only option as a matter of fact. Also at bible study there are at least 3 pies from Baker's Square set out. For me, I ignore all of it. It's just not worth it. Or I bring my own snack in my bag. I definitely think there's a link here, and also I would be interested in seeing how people in the Corporate world measure up - I've worked in an office job for almost 20 yrs. and there are always sweets, pot lucks, lunches, etc., and there is never a healthy option! I once worked at Sara Lee where sweets were encouraged in the mornings, all set out (and Sara Lee of course) - and with sitting at a sedentary job combined with the food, ka-pow, it's a double whammy!

Thanks for posting this. Gives me an idea for a future ministry at my church. I always thought it would be fun to lead Leslie walk classes there. LOL.

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My Burlesque Name

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I know - I've been MIA for a while now. Having trouble coming up with good blog ideas, quite honestly. Things have really picked up at work, I'm back to having hardly any nights to myself, and I'm about to take on another show - rehearsals start on Monday. I already feel like I've been slacking off a bit on the exercise front because I cut out one of my weekly runs in lieu of a salsa dance class that I've been taking. Cutting out that run on Tuesday mornings seems to have spilled over into Friday mornings as well though, as it's been increasingly harder to get out of bed on Fridays. I've skipped more Friday runs in the past few weeks than I have done, but to make up for that, I've been increasing the mileage on my Sunday runs, and many of you rejoiced with me a couple weeks ago when I hit my 10K distance a month ahead of schedule. So - I guess it's balancing out. Trying to take everything in stride. (Quite literally).

Despite everything not being perfect in food consumption, exercise, and sleep schedule, my body still seems to be cooperating on the weight loss front. *Knock on wood. I think I'm in line to be down another pound this week - fingers crossed. I want that 100 pounds lost sticker. I want it bad. But I realize that I may not hit it by my April 15th One Year Sparkversay. That's ok. I'll hit it shortly after. And then shortly after that, I'll hit my third "Year of the Ones" goal and enter Onederland a mere 13 pounds later. I have to keep reminding myself of this trifecta. It's going to be awesome, and it's all going to happen...really soon. But it will happen even sooner if I can get myself back on a regulated schedule, try to secure some more sleep hours for myself, and cut out the crap that has snuck back into my daily Nutrition Tracker.

None of that is going to happen this weekend. THIS weekend is the 2nd Annual Windy City Burlesque Festival at my theatre. For 2 days, every usable space in my building is taken over by some of the best burlesque performers in the world, shakin' their tail feathers...quite literally. When I left the theatre last night (or rather early this morning) at 3am, it looked like someone had murdered a rainbow chicken in the lobby. And it bled glitter. It is all kinds of awesome - but it's an absolutely exhausting weekend. I have a full slate of staff, including bar-backs (which is a luxury for my tiny little theatre bar), but I was still back there slingin' drinks last night and managing crowd control in the lobby. I got to sneak in to the midnight show to watch some of the performers, but the show itself didn't end until 2:30am, so it made for a VERY late night. I'm currently sitting in the office waiting to kick of night #2.

The cool thing about the art of Burlesque is that it isn't as judgmental as some other "vanity" art forms like modeling or film acting or some types of dancing. Don't get me wrong - these performers are all kinds of beautiful - but they're beautiful in a real "this is my body with all of its flaws and imperfections" kind of way. And yet the audience still cheers and hoots and hollers for more. These women (and men!) bare (almost) all of it every night for huge crowds who love them, love what they look like, and love what they do. There's heart in that. And it gives me added confidence just to watch these performers do what they do. It's very clear that no one has a perfect body - with a couple of delicious exceptions in my opinion - but finding beauty in curves is what makes a Burlesque performer great. If you have never been to see a Burlesque show, I highly recommend it. It's fun, it's sexy and it's not as risky as people may think. Most Burlesque shows involve comedy and other variety acts. The more "classical Burlesque" they are, the more old-timey they may feel with all kinds of other acts and entertainment. I think it's a great evening out. And it's just sexy enough to peak the interest of any significant other that you might decide to bring along on a date. Fun times indeed. But bottom line is that it's REAL. Be prepared to see body types that you wouldn't necessarily expect. And be prepared to think that they are totally hot!

Anyway - I've been working in the burlesque industry as a Producer for a couple of years now. It's outside of my regular job with the theatre - an extracurricular that started out as something fun to do and now has turned into an actual company and show of our own (I have a co-Producer who is also the director of the show). Most of our company is performing in the festival this weekend, and I couldn't be more proud to see them all up on those stages. They are all so beautiful and so talented!

Believe it or not, all of you who have ever visited my page already know my Burlesque name. Take a guess - it's been there all along. When I started with SparkPeople and was writing out my introduction, it was always in the back of my mind that if I could ever lose the weight and really be confident enough to master in the art of the striptease, I might actually employ that name one day. My opinions have changed since then - I won't ever be dancing on stage. Though I love to watch other performers, that aspect of performing isn't as interesting to me anymore (and it really has nothing to do with my body). But I do love my role as Producer. And I'll still use my name when I guest star in my own show as a songstress sometime in April or May. Looking forward to it!

Here's to confident women (and men!) everywhere who have the courage to bare themselves to the world. Even though I don't desire to take my clothes off for an audience, we all have a little bit in common. I'm mastering my own art of the striptease every day. Every pound I shed is like another layer of clothing to me. And by the time I get down to the bare minimum, I need to be confident enough in what's left to let it shine. And that's not as easy as it looks!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIETAIT 3/21/2011 1:07PM

    You have such a cool job! I' m with you I have no desire to bare all in public but I'd sure like to be able to! Don't sweat the missing runs too much. Dancing your butt off is good cross training. If we both stay on schedule I will meet you in onederland. Fingers crossed! Lips sealed! lol

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JENJESS48 3/21/2011 10:08AM

    Oh man, I've been on a whackadoo schedule and not eating or exercising as I should be, either. Yet I mysteriously lost a pound this week. Here's hoping you have the same good luck!

Burlesque sounds like tremendous fun. And I'd love to see the day when Jenny Wren will sing. emoticon

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-POOKIE- 3/20/2011 3:04AM

    I've seen burlesque before at a goth club, loved it!

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LOTUSFLOWER 3/19/2011 9:54PM

    Jenny Wren?

That's awesome about reaching your 10K distance, and also about the salsa class, that sounds fun.

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SARAWALKS 3/19/2011 9:41PM

    Wow, I had no idea that classical burlesque was alive and well in Chicago! Very cool. I'd love to see a show if I'm ever up your way. Will be watching for your songstress debut! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

P.S. I Used To Look Like This

Friday, March 04, 2011

I felt it was high time for a blog like this today. I've been a bit down lately because I feel like things have slowed down (of my own accord) and I'm just SO ready for spring. So this is a pick-me-up blog that just further justifies the ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE of documenting your journey with photos. Enjoy!

And today, I look like this:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNSWIMS 5/11/2011 9:22AM

    You have always been awesome, it's just that the inside and the outside match :)

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REALITYCHECK86 4/14/2011 5:01AM

    I love it when people have a lot of pics to share! It makes me wish I had more of myself... but a lot of my really good "before" photos I would have to scan into the computer... I don't have many of myself at my highest cuz I avoid the camera like the plague! Congrats you deserve to be quite proud of yourself!!

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USMCCHICK1981 4/14/2011 4:06AM

    Yes, pictures do reveal all! I try to hide myself from photos now since I've realized I look huge as hell.
Keep up the great work and motivation!! emoticon emoticon

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 4/13/2011 11:30PM

    You really do look great... Super! BUT.....

I just love the way you are loving YOU!

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SARAHO228 4/11/2011 2:10PM

    : Doing the skinny lady cheer. "Go go go skinny lady! Go skinny lady! Go go go!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MCHILSTR 4/8/2011 10:08AM

  Congrats - you deserve to be very proud!

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REVSERENA 4/3/2011 10:03PM


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MOTHERUV2 4/3/2011 8:54AM

    You look wonderful! Awesome job! I have just found your blogs and have read most of March's blogs this morning. You are a very good writer.....informative and entertaining! :-)

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BAKERBARBARA 4/2/2011 9:54PM

    You're such a good writer! I love your blogs!! Keep up the great work!!

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SHERLYN-WILL 4/1/2011 1:17PM

    An this isn't a popular blog! WELL it should be... YOU look amazing!

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NANASAMM 3/29/2011 8:18PM

    Feels great when you can see it in pictures. Sometimes it happens so subtly that you could miss it if you're not paying attention. You look mahvelous! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/29/2011 8:19:55 PM

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DOMTHOMAS90 3/23/2011 3:41PM

    emoticongreat progress keep working hard emoticon

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GWENAEL 3/20/2011 9:09PM

  Grandmas are the best! Amazing progress! Congrats!

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PELESJEWEL 3/13/2011 11:35PM

    You look FANTASTIC!! Love the jumper your grandma made, you look so cute & happy!!

Comment edited on: 3/13/2011 11:35:25 PM

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SPUNKYDUCKY 3/11/2011 9:02PM

    I love the before and after pictures - often the smiles are the same but now we have the bodies to achieve whatever we want! you are beautiful, now and then

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WATERMELLEN 3/11/2011 8:50PM

    Wow! Now there's an inspiration!! And a huge pick-us-all-up!!

Thank you!!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/11/2011 6:26PM

    I absolutely needed the pick-me-up your blog provided. Thank you for sharing. You are doing this for yourself BUT ALSO FOR US!

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BLONDIEZ73 3/10/2011 11:44PM

    Fitting into clothes you wore when you were 12 = AWESOME!

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ALOFA0509 3/8/2011 3:32PM

U look soo awsum girl!!! Keep up GR8 wrk emoticon

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KT-NICHOLS-13 3/7/2011 2:33PM

    Love the photo's from start to finish!

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LMLOPEZ 3/7/2011 11:39AM

SOO important to document!!
Love it.

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JENJESS48 3/5/2011 7:00PM

    I think OMG sums it up! You are so emoticon! emoticon

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BRAVENEWGRL 3/5/2011 6:09PM

    you go girl!

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    You look terrific! I hope this blog gets you out of your rut, winter sure can do that to us.

Keep the momentum going!

I definitely shy'd away from the camera when I was bigger as well, so I don't have too many pics to document my weight loss as well.

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GIVINGINOW 3/5/2011 3:38PM

    Oh my goodness you look amazing!! Looks like your hard work and consistency are paying off!

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JOYINRUNNING08 3/5/2011 11:46AM


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MEGA_MILES 3/5/2011 11:46AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 3/5/2011 10:17AM

    awesome, you look amazing and have really done a great job in keeping those before pics. I dont have very many because i was so ashamed of myself, i hid from the camera. now each pic is like a gold medal, it shows what you have done.

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SARAWALKS 3/5/2011 9:59AM

    emoticon and I love the red apron and the new profile pic! You were always radiant with joie de vivre! And always will be, I'm sure! emoticon

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VICLAF 3/5/2011 8:46AM


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KATYMACK 3/5/2011 8:32AM

    You are very beautiful in all your pictures - your energy shines through. Great job on all that you have accomplished. You ROCK!!!!!!

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SWEETTOOTH10 3/5/2011 8:29AM

    Congrats on all you've accomplished!

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MESEATURTLE 3/5/2011 7:26AM

    Love that smile and the energy!!!!!!

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DRAMABEAR 3/5/2011 1:48AM

    Congratulations on all of your hard work!! Were you at Bahooka in one of your before pictures?

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DRAMABEAR 3/5/2011 1:48AM

    Congratulations on all of your hard work!! Were you at Bahooka in one of your before pictures?

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EMMASB 3/5/2011 1:04AM

    you are super pretty at any size! you most recent pics are such an achievement - wow amazing you - and so bubbly - looks like your living and loving life- u rock!

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HOTRODSANDY 3/4/2011 10:48PM

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment! emoticon

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MEADSBAY 3/4/2011 9:53PM

The incredible shrinking woman!
I'll bet you feel so much better now physically.
One thing I noticed, though- you always have had a lot of people who love you.

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    WOW! Awesome job! You look great!

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YOGINI18 3/4/2011 8:44PM

    Your fabulous smile and energy come through in all of the pics! You've come a long way! Congratulations! You're doing fantastic! emoticon

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THEAPPLESASS 3/4/2011 7:20PM

  you look like loads of fun at any size! i am so excited for all your weight loss and other accomplishments! it's pretty effing awesome

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LAURIETAIT 3/4/2011 7:05PM

    If that kind comparison doesn't pick somebody up I don't know what would! You rock! Never fear spring is coming. I am anxiously awaiting it too.

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DOWNTOWN02 3/4/2011 6:59PM

    AMAZING transformation!

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TAILSCHRIS 3/4/2011 6:50PM

    OMGosh. . . I'm just learning this secret of documenting progress. . . I don't have much yet . . .BUT I will. Yours are amazing! Keep it up. . .yes it is hard . . . but sooo worth it! We are worth it!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AARONSGIRL420 3/4/2011 6:41PM

    Great pictures. Happy then...radiant now. Thank you for sharing and way to go!

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NEW2BE 3/4/2011 6:12PM

    You look great! I love the energy you give in all your pictures. I'm going to try and convey some of that!

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BELIEVER104 3/4/2011 6:11PM

    You look fabulous-- and you have a gooorgeous smile! Keep on Sparkin'!

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PURPLE180 3/4/2011 5:11PM

    You look GREAT. You have came so far. In all of your pictures you have a big bright smile, that is awesome. When you feel down look at where you are now as compared to where you were then......big difference. Awesome job, keep pushing forward.

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon you look awesome!

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/4/2011 4:35PM

    You are always beautiful but...

Holy sh_t!

I do believe you have something to celebrate [I'm just sayin'.]


PS - Wow.

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My Own "Runner's World" Quote of the Day

Friday, February 25, 2011

I subscribe to the "Daily Kick In The Butt" emails from Runner's World. Every morning they send me a quote said by someone famous who runs. Sometimes the quotes really are motivational and prod me to get out of bed rather than roll over and go back to sleep. Sometimes they're useless. But I still feel like I'm part of some elite society just for getting them.

This morning I woke up DREAMING about running. I didn't even need my alarm, I was up and at 'em a good 15 minutes before it was even set to go off. What has gotten in to me today I have no idea but I wasn't about to complain since I've had the most trouble lately getting motivated to do anything.

After a great 30 minute run in which I increased my pace from a 12:30 min/mile to an 11:40 min/mile for a good chunk of the time, I felt like I was flying.

And then it occurred to me - my own Quote of the Day if I were ever lucky enough to have one:

The beautiful thing about taking up running while also being on a mission to lose weight is that the longer and faster you run, the more weight you lose, and the more weight you lose, the longer and faster you can run. Every ten pounds I lose, I gain more miles per minute, and the more miles I log, the more weight I have managed to drop. The combination of running and losing weight is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy - each complimenting the other, together they just make sense.

This morning I felt the difference in my body in each stride down the street. Not only am I getting stronger and faster, but I'm getting lighter - in body and in spirit. What a difference from when I started only 6 months ago. In a mere 6 months of running I have gone from barely being able to run for 60 seconds at a time to running over 60 minutes straight. From running about 60 ft to running 6 miles.

It still feels weird to call myself a runner. Still being obese somehow makes me feel like I haven't quite earned that title. But I know I have. And since being obese makes it even harder to run, perhaps I've earned it more than some.

I can't wait to see what the next 6 months of running will bring. I know it will bring another 5K, my first 8K and my first 15K at the end of the season. But beyond that, only time will tell how much more weight I will lose or how much faster I will be by the end of the year. One thing I do know though is that I will be out there - running!

Who's with me?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYJAERAE 3/13/2012 8:47AM

    I love your quote! It is very inspirational! Thank you for sharing. :)

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MARATHONBOUND 3/31/2011 1:55PM

    I am so glad I friended you! You are in the place I want to be in 6 months! I just started running regularly about 2 months ago. I love it! I can't wait wait until I can run longer and faster..but I'm happy to be doing what I'm doing (3 mi, 16 min mile). Thank you, your blogs are SUPER motivating! Take care!

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GIVINGINOW 3/5/2011 3:37PM

    I love running too... but I had no idea about these runner's world daily emails! I am going to have to subscribe to those :)

Love the quote, it is so true. I find that each 5K I run I shave some time off and I am really not even trying to. A friend of mine that is very athletic and runs marathons/ triathalons told me over and over again when I started back into running... "Do not focus on your time, focus on the enjoyment of running". How true is that?! I find that when I run for distance/ increased speed during my regular runs that I get tired easily and quickly and do not enjoy my run!

Way to go on your accomplishments :)

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DOWNTOWN02 3/4/2011 7:00PM

    You make me want to RUN..I love that about you! :)


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JENJESS48 2/26/2011 10:37AM

    emoticon You've come so far on your journey, Jenn, and I'm really proud of you.

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SARAWALKS 2/25/2011 5:53PM

    I am! Even though I'm just starting to train for my first 5K...I'm with you! Thanks for the inspiration! emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 2/25/2011 5:18PM

    I really like you quote!!

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LAURIETAIT 2/25/2011 5:10PM

    You have definitely earned the title of runner. What you weigh is immaterial. I love that the relationship between losing pounds and gaining stamina, strength and speed while running is so obvious. It's the thing that keeps you going when you'd really rather veg.

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CHICAT63 2/25/2011 4:51PM

    Awesome quote !!!! Also you noticed you are not as hot, sweaty or out of breath as before emoticon

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    You are a rockstar!!!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 2/25/2011 4:13PM

    Awesome job on the run today. You inspire me to get back at it. I lost my running mojo somewhere in the not so distant past ... what with crippling leg cramps at night and tender feet during the day I see the connection. Yet, I inspire to get back at it and move forward with my running goals for 2011. Tonight I might run, again.

Love your quote!

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LOTUSFLOWER 2/25/2011 4:09PM

    That is a great quote, and this is an awesome blog! I'm with you!! Great job Jenn!!!!

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ANDREA963 2/25/2011 4:02PM

    What a great pace increase! I like the thoughts in this blog. I'm looking forward to getting back to running this Spring and post-bronchitis! I need to come back and read your blog when I'm feeling beaten. Thanks!

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The Body-Mind Connection

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

As I commented to a fellow Spark friend this week when she inquired about how I was feeling after my last downer of a blog: I always love writing rant blogs on Wednesday nights about my frustrations and how I'm feeling like the whole world is collapsing all at once, only to wake up on Thursday morning and go to my weekly therapy appointment. It never fails that I will walk into that room first thing in the morning, plop myself down on the couch, and open up about everything that's bothering me, thinking that I already have most of it figured out, and then will walk out of that office an hour later with a completely different outlook on life. My world is no longer falling apart, instead it has just been turned on its head. But that's ok - because I can breathe again and it feels great!

I am a HUGE fan of therapy. I wouldn't be where I am today without it. Absolutely would not. And it's not that I don't have complete and utter faith in myself and my own abilities to change myself for the better - it's just that therapy has allowed me to see how exactly to do that more clearly. Therapy has given me that courage to change and to desire and to achieve beyond what I was ever even capable of imagining before. I honestly can not say enough good things about it.

But anyway - this blog isn't about my love of therapy, but rather some of the stuff I've been thinking about since my last session. Maybe some of you will relate, maybe it will be like me talking hocus pocus crap - but this is mostly for me to look back on in terms of tracking my emotional progress as much as my physical process here.

Even though I only started working on the "Body Project" last April, in reality I have been working on the "Body Project" for 30 years of my life. Well...25. Ever since the rift between my body and my brain was created when I was still a small child. I'm convinced this happens to a lot of people. I certainly think that anyone who has ever been obese in their lifetime has experienced a similar body-mind disconnection. I think anyone who has ever had an eating disorder has also experienced it. And to some extent, any man or woman who is swayed by the media's interpretation of body imagery and who therefore has developed a poor self image has, at some point, been disconnected - mind from body.

This disconnection has recently become very apparent to me. Perhaps hints of this disconnection and being uneasy about it was what prompted me to seek help in the first place. But as I was chatting to The Scientist this past weekend, he asked me a couple of pointed questions about it that, together with my recent therapy session, unleashed a flow of thoughts about the topic.

We spend a fair amount of time talking on Skype. I was expressing my dislike for seeing myself talking while on a video screen. It creeps me out. And I can't spend any time really talking to him without looking at myself constantly - so I hide my video screen. He asked me whether it was the same thing with a mirror. And I replied that oddly enough, it isn't. I think we all spend so much time looking in mirrors and seeing our reflections on a daily basis that the image we see returned to us is more like hearing our own voice inside our head when we speak - it's so close to the brain that you can distort it to see/hear what you want. But put it out there in the world in a 3rd party form and all of a sudden we see the truth more clearly. I'm fine with my mirror image. I spend a lot of time every day poking and prodding and ogling and making faces at myself. I'm used to the girl I see in the mirror. But the girl I see in photos and videos is WAY different than my mirrored image. Just like when I hear my voice recorded on the answering machine at work - it's a very different interpretation of the voice that I hear inside my head.

So for 25 years I happily distorted that mirror image of myself. I accepted the fat and I actually believed that I looked "thin" and "pretty" and would have many "skinny days" every week. Until someone came in with a camera and ruined that pretty mind distortion. Body-mind disconnection. I was capable of hiding the truth from myself because for 25 years my body and my brain have operated under different managers - heck - I don't even know if they even worked for the same company! And recently I've been having an opposite reaction. For whatever reason, I still don't see myself as any thinner than my 313lb body. I still make extra room for myself wherever I go. I select bigger sizes at the stores because I'm still not convinced that the smaller one will fit. And I'm pleasantly surprised when I do actually realize that at Size XL, I'm pretty darn normal when I look around a crowded bus. My brain is still disconnected from my body, except now the effect is opposite - instead of getting negative feedback from seeing a picture of myself on a "skinny day" that actually shows every roll and dimple, I'm getting positive feedback when I see an external source show me that I'm not as big as I think I am.

When you tear off a limb, it takes surgeons hours and hours to sew it back together again. They have to re-attach each ventricle, each vein, each nerve ending so that the limb will resume regular functions again. If you're lucky. A body-mind separation is kind of the same thing. And when you have spent so many years living with the two pieces at a distance, putting the parts back together again can be even harder. Sometimes the organs don't want to go. Sometimes the mind rejects elements about the body and vice versa. It's a very long surgery - but now that I've started, I can't step away with dangling, mismatched parts.

The Scientist and people like him are interesting to me. He's never had a body image concern in his life. He eats what he wants when he wants to. He buys clothes because he needs to, not because they make him look thin. These are the other people in life. The people who we "rifters" are envious of. Sure - maybe their metabolisms rock, but I don't think that's the real reason we secretly and publicly loathe them. I think that actually, we're all just jealous of their fabulous body-mind partnerships. It's what we all strive for but can't seem to achieve. That seamless, thoughtless knowledge of what you need and want and the ability to just go and get it without ever really having to think about it. I hear people say "I'll always have to watch what I eat" or "I'll always have to be careful about monitoring my exercise" all the time - around here especially. I don't think life has to be like that. I think if you are actually capable of re-attaching your mind and your body, that you can become, over time, one of the those people - the ones who don't have to care about all of this so much. I believe that with all of my heart. I have to - it's what I'm aiming to do. But I know it isn't going to be easy. My brain has been rejecting my body for 25 years - and now I'm trying to force them back together again. It's not a wonder I was in such turmoil!

There's another part of this too that isn't just about food and exercise. It's about who's really calling the shots. I say I've really been working on the "Body Project" for 25 years or so because even though my brain is powerful enough to make me believe that it has been in charge, my body has proven otherwise. Despite being the best in my class at school, and landing a great job in my career of choice, and having many other relevant achievements all racked up on the "Brain Team", the "Body Team" has been known to play dirty. Every time the "Brain Team" wins a point in the great debate, the "Body Team" is right there with the rebuttal - "It's great you got a good job, but would you have gotten a better job if you were skinnier?", "Your marriage failed because you were fat", "Hey check out that guy looking at you right now! Oh wait, he's only looking at you because you're disgusting".

Despite all of my best efforts to make the show about THE REAL ME throughout my life, the weight has unfortunately remained the star performer, shoving the real me to the wings (quite literally, I opted in life to be a stage manager behind the scenes rather than an actor onstage because I managed to convince myself that it was better that way, managed to convince myself that my brain was in control - secretly denying my desire to be onstage because I believed that I was too fat to succeed as an actress). My family certainly defines people by whether or not they're "up" or "down" on the scales. And since I adopted that method of thinking early in life (probably right about the time the big rift happened) I have also defined everything in my own life by those two terms. Am I up? Or am I down? The weight serves as an excuse for just about everything that has ever happened to me in all of my years of conscious knowledge.

Well, I'm done with the weight. And with it, I'm DONE with my body being the star of the show. When you really think about it - weight loss is DAMN BORING. Sure you lose two pounds and do the happy dance naked in your living room (cause I don't know who you are if you weigh-in with clothing on). But normal people - those people who are happily connected in mind and body don't even know what it means to do that happy dance. And frankly, I'd prefer to be more like them.

I will continue to celebrate my losses here on Spark. I'll still post my 100 pound blog. I'll still look forward to making my Goal Video. I love and appreciate this community of people who like me, all struggle with that body-mind rift. That's comforting and accessible and of great service to me with what I am trying to do. But out there in the "really world" (as one of my dear university professors used to call it) I don't want it to be all about the ups and the downs anymore. I want it to be about me, reconnecting all the pieces of my body and my mind, so that I can one day live more in unison, more in balance. And honestly, not having to think about it so darn much! Some day I will live without Spark - and that is the day that I will truly have succeeded with everything that they teach us here.

My body will continue to change - but it doesn't get to be in the spotlight anymore. I am not going to become famous for losing 200 pounds. And mark my words that even if People Magazine comes knocking, my face will never grace those pages. Because I'm worth more than that. I'm worth more than being devoured by the masses of America for 2 seconds of entertainment before they turn the page and forget all about me. I will celebrate my successes personally - and my life will celebrate my big loss by lasting longer so I can reap many more meaningful rewards than 15 seconds of fame will ever be able to bring me.

I have big plans for me. I don't quite know what they are yet, but they are much broader than what I'm doing here. Losing 200 pounds is a big achievement, but it will not be the biggest thing I ever achieve. There are people to meet, dollars to make and life to live - and just being happy and satisfied with all of it is already worth more than any number on a scale.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARINO124 3/24/2011 3:43PM

    You really touched a sensitive chord in me with this blog post. I was trying to explain just this feeling to a fellow person-on-a-weight-loss-journey the other day, and clearly, I was not talking to the right person. She had no idea what I was saying! About how I didn't actually feel the big and didn't actually look that big to me. Thank you so much for sharing. This is a blog post I will return to because it is so honest and sound. I can relate. And I really admire your determination in doing this because it is part of who you are becoming. Loosing the weight is not a destination, but a medium for finding body-mind connection. I admire that. emoticon

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ELENA_DIEM 3/9/2011 5:37PM

    This is amazing. I appreciate how you put this body-mind disconnection into words. I just kept nodding my head the whole way through. GREAT BLOG. Thanks again


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TEENY_BIKINI 3/7/2011 6:24PM

    Holy smokes. That was fascinating as heck.

I have no desire to mark time by the number on the scale or having a celebration for each and every pound I lose. I just got bored with that.

The deeper I get into the journey - it almost seems a mockery to tally my efforts on such a shallow basis. It is so small when what I am experiencing is so monumental in comparison.

Nope. I am done with that.

Bloody brilliant blog. For realz.

And congrats for putting into words the mind-body connection. Cheers.

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PAPER_WINGS18 3/2/2011 9:03PM

    I absolutely LOVE this blog! You say some pretty insightful things & I am so happy for all that you have realized about yourself on this journey thus far. I can only hope to do the same :-) I have struggled my whole life with my weight & body image. Major kudos to you girl! Keep up the amazingness!!

=] Victoria

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LAURIETAIT 2/24/2011 1:49PM

    emoticon You go girl. Impressive insight.

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MEADSBAY 2/23/2011 10:27AM

    I'm also a HUGE fan of therapy and have actually seen the same one off and on for family, marital, and individual therapy off and on for over 25 years.
how do I say this nicely?
I agree with so much of what you say and I (and many others here, I bet) have so many of the same issues and I love your writing and admire you greatly but have you ever thought just maybe (said with love) that you think a bit too much?

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SARAWALKS 2/22/2011 11:05PM

    Good for you, I totally agree. And I do believe that integration/re-integration is possible. I started this journey at age 30 when I began to sing and the process of learning to sing revealed to me my own disconnect between body/mind/emotions/spirit. It's been a long process of healing and reintegration...
Now at age 65 it feels as if I am taking the final steps - I'm at a happy weight (would like to be a few pounds lighter but can live with this quite happily) and learning to maintain and balance things as they are.
emoticon and you will do it!
(I owe a lot to therapy too and to a continuing process of spiritual growth)
emoticon blog, Jenn. emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 2/22/2011 10:14PM

    I love your thoughts on this, Jenn. You are so honest and I know I could personally relate to this on so many levels. My head also is not wired correctly, I also felt that I was pretty and the image in the mirror was beautiful, I even felt sexy. Then I'd look at pictures and disregard it. Who was that? I love that you put it all out there and reaffirm what those of us who have this misconnection feel. I love that you have big plans and dreams, even if you don't know what they are yet. I know you will reach 200 lbs. down and that will be the least of your accomplishments. The other day I was in a store and bought a pair of jeans off the (resale) rack and was confident they would fit me. Boy, was I wrong. Got them home and realized they were a size FOUR. (The label had been Sharpied out). But I saw this as a victory because my brain is going the other way, and now I am thinking thinner, so I think I've turned a corner...maybe...I know there's hope for us all, and I applaud you for your heart and your brain. And that sexy running dancing body of yours. Yeah, I said it. LOL. Love you girl. emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/23/2011 11:07:16 AM

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WYND10 2/22/2011 8:35PM

    "... I don't think life has to be like that. I think if you are actually capable of re-attaching your mind and your body, that you can become, over time, one of the those people - the ones who don't have to care about all of this so much."

I want so badly to be living this thought. I want balance. I want to be ok with me. You're an amazing writer Jenn. Always making me FEEL what you write.

I think if anyone can find the balance to live life in the really world, girl, it's going to be you. You're amazing.

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