Fat Girl Fear Debunked: Kayaking When You’re Overweight

Hello everybody! I’m on my last day in Oregon, and WOW, I needed this vacation! We’ve been super active, hiking, kayaking and biking, but it’s the type of activity where you go at a leisurely pace and ooh and ahh at the scenery, so it doesn’t feel like work. Our second day in Oregon, we decided to go kayaking! I think I had been kayaking once before, but quickly deemed it too hard when my spaghetti-noodle arms failed to get me around fast enough. I was also 17 years old and had that “I hate everything” attitude, so even if kayaking was the coolest thing on Earth, I’d still have rather been in Hot Topic. Thank God that phase of my life is over! The in-laws have two awesome Hobie Pedal / Paddle kayaks, which mean you have the choice of either pedaling with your feet or paddling with the oar.

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The whole way to the lake I was plagued the “What if I don’t fit?” in the kayak type thoughts. I imagined climbing in and my round behind plopping down, only to be stuck like a blueberry in a straw, having to stand up and having the whole kayak stick to my rump. In addition to that lovely thought, I was afraid as soon as I sat in it, it would sink down, filling with water and bringing my humility down with it. As soon as we got the kayaks off the car and onto the sandy shore, I had that type of “Well, here we go” type of moment where I decided if my roundness interfered with my kayaking, all I could is laugh it off and know that every day I make efforts to change the shape my body is in. THANKFULLY, I sat in the kayak and 1) my ass fit in the seat just fine and 2) I didn’t sink!. In fact, you could feel that the kayak wasn’t going anywhere except where I directed it. WHEW.

lyssa_kayakOnce I got over those ridiculous fat girl fears, I was able to have FUN – and boy did I have fun! Paddling was a great arm workout, as the resistance of the water got those biceps and triceps movin’, and I’d challenge myself to skim across the water by pedaling like my feet were on fire. The kayak was actually really comfortable, and a little seat even kept my lower back supported as I glided around Lake Suttle. Matt and I were admittedly kayaking pretty leisurely, but after a couple hours, I had burned 500 calories – a great workout! I wish that I could exercise in such an unconventional and gorgeous setting every day! It made me even more excited for the upcoming Fitcation, where I’ll be kayaking Morro Bay. Soooo cool.

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Is there any type of exercise or activity that you’ve ever been anxious about because of your weight, size or physical ability? Have you conquered it or is fear keeping you on the sidelines? Dish it — talking it out will help you move on. Have an amazing day! <3

My Fitness Evaluation

So remember how I blogged about my upcoming fitness evaluation? The few days before, I was legit nervous. Like, “ERMAHGERD I’M GONNA HAVE TO FACE THE FACT THAT I’M GROSSLY OUT OF SHAPE.”. Even though I already knew that, there was some sort of like… impact of being told it by a fitness professional. (I’m sure to some extent that will happen at Fitbloggin’ anyways,  but still – YAY! Only 2 more days!)

So, I was being my usual self, day dreaming about maybe I should re-schedule it, because you know, I was flying to San Francisco for work Monday morning, and I really had a lot to do over the weekend… or maybe I should wait a couple days so my bloating goes away… I’m the mayor of excuses village. But, every time I came up with one of these crazy excuses, I reminded myself that denial aint just a river in Egypt, and I needed to just face my fear and do it. So I was all set. I went to my Fitness Evaluation the next day. Right?

I saw Fiona Apple on Friday night (she was fantastic! I love her because she’s a total koo-koo-roo and did push ups against her piano randomly and sang like a female Tom Waits). I wasn’t feeling great, but I figured it was my allergies acting up. I got home, popped an allergy pill, and got into bed where I had the dizzy spins, kind of like that time in highschool I decided it would be a good idea to mix a cup of goldschlager with chocolate milk. (Good idea? Worst idea ever.) I fell asleep, woke up at 2:30 AM with the chills, ran to the bathroom – and my body purged every single little thing I had ingested in the last 24 hours.

I’m not going to get into details, but let’s just say it was NOT pretty, and I spent the remainder of the night sleeping next to an industrial sized bucket. The next day I woke up kind of shaky and run down, but thankfully, barf-free. I decided to reschedule my fitness evaluation. Don’t worry – I’m going to do it as soon as I get home from working on site this week and Baltimore. I just thought it was ironic that my brain was so intent on finding a way to put it off that I got food poisoning. HOWEVER, I’m not owning up to this one, because there’s no way in hell I’d pick food poisoning over a fitness evaluation. Body, you got pwned.

Have your best laid plans ever been foiled by the evil, evil food poisoning? What was the culprit? (I’m blaming a vanilla cupcake from Aroma Cafe. It was good but I could tell it wasn’t super fresh. Of course I ate it anyways. Sigh.)

 

Needles in my face

Most of you know I’m a severe environmental allergy sufferer. In 2009, I finally made the decision to start immunotherapy, or allergy shots, after I spent a whole night lying in bed crying because my skin itched so bad. I’ve been doing shots for just over three years now, and while I no longer break out in hives, I still rely on a daily allergy pill and can quickly feel the effects of allergies if I’m not medicated. It sucks, but I also love California, and am not willing to give up on this gorgeous state because of a few pesky pollens.

A friend of mine swears by acupuncture for her allergies, claiming that the soothing effect of needles in her face causes little histamine fairies to wave their magic wand and make her allergies vanish into the sky. Okay, that last part I might have made up, but I decided it was something I should try. One advantage to being a poor, stressed-out grad student is I have access to low cost health care. In this case, an hour of acupuncture costs a mere $20 – a price I’m definitely willing to accept for a chance at relief.

What I imagined acupuncture would be like.

In true Alyssa fashion, I had pre-conceived notions about the procedure that MUST BE TRUE, like, the whole hour session would consist of me being jabbed several times with long, hot, spiky needles, and it would be anything but relaxing. The acupuncturist, a lithe, wispy woman, first asked me several questions about my overall health and then looked at my tongue. “You’re getting a cold,” she said. Bingo! I was getting a cold. Apparently acupuncturists can tell a lot about your health by the color and coating of your tongue. Mine was blue – a sure sign that rhinovirus was moving in.

After my brief oral health history, we went into a small room where I took off my shoes and laid on a cot. She quickly began inserting the needles, and it was really just a faint “tap tap” and then they were in. The only needles that I felt were the two on each side of my sinus – there was a little bit of pressure as they were inserted, but then, the pressure in my nose magically cleared up, and I felt like I could breathe. I had three needles in my hand, one on each foot, one on my right ankle, two in my sinuses, and one on my forehead. They really didn’t hurt and once they were in, I forgot they were even there.

She placed one more needle in the center of my forehead, turned off the light, turned on a heat lamp over my feet, and left the room. Soothing music trickled out of the speakers and I just lay there for 45 minutes… relaxing, thinking, wondering if this could help out more than one of my many ailments. Acupuncture is said to be a good form of relief for things like stress, anxiety, allergy, fatigue and sluggish weight… all things I could benefit from.

She came back in 40 minutes later and said that most of my health concerns were from low energy overall, which wasn’t helping my immune system fight off allergens. She recommended coming back once a week for a while, and seeing how I do from there. I’m definitely going to give it a shot, because why not? If I can inject things I’m allergic to in my skin, or pop a pill, why not give something holistic and risk-free a chance?

Have you ever done acupuncture? Would you, or is the thought of needles that keeps you away?

 

 

 

 

A Weighty Situation

I’ve been with my husband for over nine years. In those nine years we’ve shared dreams, devastations, ambitions, phenomenal failures, terrific triumphs, catastrophes and miracles. Our challenges as a couple are always met with unyielding support and encouragement. Because of this, I’ve shared everything with him. The irrational thoughts that swirl around my loud brain, the fact that sometimes I forget to brush my teeth in the morning, the curious joy I get from naming random objects and bursting into song. I have shared everything with him. Well, almost everything. Not quite everything. There’s just this one thing. My weight.

We're better together - through thick and thin!

Somebody once said, there are three things you never ask a woman – her age, her political affiliation, and her weight. I’m 26. I’m a democrat with some independent views.
I weigh _ _ _. I’m an annoyingly honest person – but I just couldn’t share that number. I often suffer from foot in mouth disease, where my bluntness and the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve gets me into trouble. But there was something about those three numbers that I could never admit, and they hung in the air like an eternal question mark, a number that would never cross my lips. I was ashamed. I am ashamed. But I am also optimistic.

Maybe it was the stigma of being over the dreaded 200, or the fact that I’m about 60 pounds heavier than he is. Maybe it’s the fact that women just DON’T talk about their “number” with men. So I told him. We were having dinner, and I told him. I was sick of leaping off the scale when he came into the room, afraid he’d see my weight. I was sick of having to dance around it in conversations about my weight loss – “Well, I’m up this many pounds but down from the last time I was this much, so that makes me 23 pounds less than my highest…” I was sick of having it be a big, fat elephant sitting on my chest – because the bottom line is that it’s just a number. It doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of life. In my health and self esteem, sure. But it’s not going to make or break my marriage.

We were sitting at the dinner table and it came up, like random bits of conversation often do. I paused. I wanted badly to tell him. I tried. The words stopped at my lips, the “two” dangling mid-air. Did I want to do this? Why? Did it matter? Does he need to know? Yes. Yes ,I want to do this. It matters because it’s a secret. And I don’t like secrets – not between me and my best friend. “You don’t need to tell me,” he said. I told him.

What happened?

He smiled. He admitted that he was impressed that I told him. He reassured me, and was 100% awesome about it, ensuring me that once again, I totally married the right guy for being always, unequivocally at my side. He’s my biggest fan – and I’m glad that now, I can officially say that there are no large, looming mysteries between us. My weight is now just a number – not a secret.

When it comes to your weight and your partner – is mum the word, or do they know the number? If you haven’t shared it, why do you think that is? For me, it’s the years of shame and stigma associated with being fat, the insecurity of my self worth possibly being judged just by a number. I’d like to know your perspective, too.