A Letter to Fat Girls

Dear Fat Girls,

You are not, nor will you ever be Beyoncè. Stop torturing yourself with the unfair comparisons to her, or any other celebrity who’s body you covet. She is beautiful, but so are you.

Stop reading magazine after magazine, book after book, and blog after blog on How to Lose Weight. You know how, we all know how. But don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t made it work. Don’t think there must be something wrong with you since others can seem to lose, yet you continue to struggle. There is nothing wrong with you. Their journey is theirs and yours is yours.

There is much to be said about the industry dedicated to telling you how your wrongs can be righted. The pills that suppress hunger, the exercise machine that builds muscle, the pre-packed low fat vegan non-dairy dinners that promise a daily allotment of nutrients.  But nothing for the heart.

Fat girls, I know you. I am you. We’re not stupid. We know it takes burning more calories than we consume to lose weight. We know that truly sustainable weight-loss happens from a lifestyle dedicated to health not just bikini daydreams and special K.  We know. But we don’t know how to address the distorted relationship with food.

We don’t know how to say, food was my mother, father, best friend when I had no one else. Food never judged me. Food never scolded me. Food was never cruel, hurtful, or absent. Food never lied, broke promises, or disappointed. How do we begin to separate feelings of safety, comfort, and love–usually reserved for people–from food?


I don’t have an answer. Not a sure fire one. But I can say this, I know I am not, nor will I ever be Beyonce. I recognize that when I read book after book and blog after blog about weight loss that my story is just beginning, and there is nothing wrong with me that I look more before than after. I know that prepackaged promises are not for me, and that my journey begins with following my heart and not expecting a miracle or a quick fix. I recognize that food is food, and am working to reconcile the feelings I have about it at every single meal.

I read a lot of people’s stories. I hear people talk about a moment they had, an epiphany that woke them up and begged for change. I wanted, so desperately, for me (in those moments) to be reading the story that would illicit my own awakening. And each time that it didn’t happen I sunk deeper into a despair that maybe I would always be on the outside looking in at thin. I’ve chased it with such fervor and it has escaped me, true to form, like a thief being chased. Yet now I find myself exhausted by the entire race, I hung my “size 14 goal pants” in the back of my closet and thought gingerly of throwing them out all together.

And here in my exhaustion, I’ve found myself eating cleaner working out more regularly and being content with my reflection in the mirror. I have not looked at my thighs with disgust or disdain, and I’ve found them getting firmer. So, I say it has to be in the surrender. Fat girls, sometimes its about the fight. But othertimes its about the surrender. Giving in to the feelings we eat to escape. Giving in to being tired after running up 1 flight of stairs. Its important to know exactly where you are, I think. Because only when you sit and truly look at where you dwell can you make the decision to stay or to go.

Lastly, I have to say that it wasn’t the number on the scale. It wasn’t the rising jeans size or the new body discomforts. It wasn’t the 3rd strapless and unflattering bridesmaid dress, or the inability to fasten a seatbelt on a rollercoaster. It wasn’t the threat of diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. It wasn’t even the growing chance of being sterile. It was the little voice inside of me that reminded me of who I am and what I could do.

No, fat girls, I am not Beyonce. I am Jessica. I am overweight, and haven’t even lost enough to be considered an authority on doing it right or well. My relationship with food is fucked up. I am trying to make peace with eating well and working out. I struggle, I fail, I hate admitting how hard this is. Fat girl, you might think I’m just talking…But I know you. I am you. And I love you.

Truth. Lies. Invictus and taking victories.

What would you be doing if you thought anything was possible? It was the question that Marianne Williamson just tweeted to the masses who follow her. I asked myself. And I thought, rather self righteously, “exactly what I’m doing now.” But it was a lie. I answered again I would be running. That was the truth.

Perhaps not right now, as its midnight here in SoCal, but I think of it every single day. There was a moment earlier in my afternoon where I was laying on my couch, willing myself to wait “5 more minutes” before I fixed a snack hoping upon hope that the 5th minute never came. It didn’t. I’ll take a victory where I can get it. But I was laying and thinking of running and how badly I wanted to go do it. Just be able to jog a few miles and clear my mind, think of nothing and see the city by foot. I remembered my shoes. How badly they hurt my feet, I guess they’ve gotten too small. It felt pitiful, like an excuse. I wouldn’t go anyway…I haven’t, after all. But I want to.


Why does it feel so insurmountable? Well…let’s start with the fact that I am out of shape. I did about 10 minutes of Jillian Michaels’ 30-day shred and sat down defeated. I talked to a lot of friends and have read a lot of blogs raving about at-home exercise…I get no motivation from it. I think I finally learned that lesson. Its not that I cant do more than 10 minutes, I think its just too easy to give up at home. Home is for peace. Home is for relaxing. Home is for comfort. My thoughts of home and my thoughts of exercise contradict. Its exactly why I don’t work or study at home. I’ll take that lesson.  Home is not the answer.

I silently scrolled through Tumblr asking myself “but how?” And the words “love something more” came to mind. If I believe that I cannot be a runner then that thought, that negativity has conquered me, and last I checked I was unconquerable. More than I feel I can’t, I have to know I can.

Watching Say Yes To the Dress tonight so many women had lost 40-100lbs in an effort to look a certain way for their wedding day but when they looked in the mirror they didn’t feel it. They still felt and saw that girl from before. Its why I am adamant about doing the mental work. Shifting inside out. Changing my frequency.

I can’t believe it, the goal, the 100lbs is bigger than me or bigger than my capabilities. I have to see, visualize, its completion and truly believe it is attainable. How will I look, feel, sound, I have to picture it and hold it. And I have to love that with a passion. I have to literally catch fire with anticipation of its coming into fruition. The truth is what I make it. And the thoughts I have dictate the life I lead. So it has to start there…I have to lose it there first. That’s the only way its going. That’s the only way I run.

100 fears

It hit me last night that sometimes we are I am afraid to say what I want out loud because once its out I am universally held accountable. Someone will inevitably hear me and remember when whatever I have claimed does not come to pass. Mags once told me that I have the craziest fortune of getting what I want and that things always workout for me. I believe it is due to wanting things I know I can have.

I talked to that old friend of mine from college. She told me her very intimate and personal journey through weight loss and we concluded our conversation with her telling me I could do it and saying she was there if I needed her. It was clear to me after our conversation 3 things:
1. I wanted to lose 100 lbs.
2. I was not going to be able to do it in the same way she did it.
3. This was going to be insanely hard for many different reasons.

I debated back and forth over making my goal public knowledge. BA asked me how I even had that much to lose. And I’ll admit, its a very ambitious goal. And I believe that losing that much weight on my 5’9″ frame will be highly significant but its what I want. I had been struggling to imagine myself that small; to see myself as long and lean rather than voluptuous and curvy. But, when I look at the things that appeal to me it is strength and flexibility. I want a body that can move. One with more freedoms. To make a very important distinction, I do not see more freedom in a new body…its not a dependency. Its a burning desire to feel congruent. A smolder that has lit into a small flame.

I will have to write my own way. Unlike me one year ago, being seen is not as big a burden to carry. I am seen here. And perhaps that is one of my intrinsic rewards of attending a school where 98% of the population (literally) doesn’t look like me. I can go to the gym. I know how to life, I know how to train. I have always known. That is not the struggle, which kind of makes me feel bad because I’ve squandered this knowledge. But its time to make use of it and not be afraid of failing.

Losing 100lbs will get me in touch with parts of myself I’ve yet to discover or fully explore. This coming from a person who knows herself insanely well. I know this because it already has. Just the decision.  To voice it, to say it to claim that yes I actually have 100lbs to lose and yes, I am telling you making myself vulnerable to critics and those who do not understand what it means to have that particular problem. People can be very judgmental. And then I think of the one person who may benefit or be helped and its very clear to me that I can’t keep it a secret. I will have to blog about it. Because this is my space, my altar. Everything is laid out here.

I was telling BFFT’s fiancé, the future Mrs., that you just get to a point in life when you stop allowing yourself to be burdened with the possible judgment of others. Its not absolute, but the time between “what will they say” and “who cares, fuck it” gets shorter. It took me roughly a week to say fuck it. To say right now my life needs to change because I do not have diabetes, nor do I ever want it. I hate my arms but I love how they support me in downward facing dog. I love my legs even though they make it hard to buy jeans. My spirit is at peace, strong and quiet she can climb run jump and fly…and I want to be like her.

So some people catalogue weight loss by showing before and afters with #s in lbs and inches and such…but to me that isn’t the hard part. The hard part is the emotional work. How did I get to be as heavy as I am? And how can I learn a new way to cope? If I told you I wore a size 18 but want to wear a 6…you can’t understand that that means I want to know that I was burdened by gifts I couldn’t yet comprehend. That I just wanted to feel held, and so I built the comfort around my Self in the form of a body. That somehow standing out and being brilliant, funny, beautiful and alone is far more puzzling than being single and overweight. That it takes time to get (truly get) that people are responsive to the beauty that they see which is equal to the beauty that you are willing to show. 

So the only # I am concerned about is 100. My work will reside in positive self work and making sure I am in tune with confronting fears. Making sure I do not bully myself in the gym or the mirror. Giving myself affirmations that I can do this, I deserve this, and I am fighting for resolution and self reconciliation. And as this decision is made and affirmed via this public forum, I am at peace.

~The Beginning

Become a Runner

Something I pulled from Women’s Health magazine (my obsession) Tips on how to “become a runner”

1. Accept the challenge

“Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.” –Dr. George Sheehan, runner/writer/philosopher

10. Make time for a quickie

“If 15 minutes is all the time I have, I still run. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all.” –Dr. Duncan Macdonald, former U.S. record holder at 5000 (set when he was in medical school)

12. Try a “nooner”

“Noontime running provides a triple benefit: daylight, a break from the workday, and a chance to avoid eating a heavy lunch.” –Joe Henderson, runner/writer

13. Warm up, then stretch

“Try some light jogging or walking before you stretch, or stretch after you run. Stretching ‘cold’ muscles can cause more harm than good.” –Runner’s World editors

14. Stay “liquid”

“Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. I work all day at hydrating.” –Dr. Alex Ratelle, former masters running great

16. Listen up!

“You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.” –Dr. George Sheehan

25. Show some horse sense

“During long, slow distance training, you should think of yourself as a thoroughbred disguised as a plow horse. No need to give yourself away by running fast.” –Marty Liquori, running commentator and former world-class miler

28. Toss out the clutter

“Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-mo-tion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination.” –Lorraine Moller, 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medalist **this is perhaps my favorite**

34. Ease it back

“After a run, don’t rush back into life. Take a few minutes to walk, stretch, relax, meditate.” –Runner’s World editor