Losing at Losing or Forever Fat

My weight was the only thing I was never good at. Even at my most fit, I did track I did cheerleading, I wasn’t a star athlete but I worked out enough and ate like any teenager, infrequently and horribly, yet all I had was super muscular legs, defined lats, arms I always wanted to cover up, and a stomach that would never grace the cover of a magazine.

My cheerleading skirts had to be ordered special because I couldn’t wear the ones passed down from other years. In high school I was a size 14/16 and for a girl who found herself in a group where the average was a 2 (and they still dieted) I almost always felt like a failure in that regard.

I distinctly remembering wishing I could develop some type of eating disorder. Where I over exercised and loathed food. That was not going to ever be true for me (And thank God!) but the thought did exist. I remember wondering how it was that I excelled in so many things and yet losing weight was my biggest hurdle. It was like I couldn’t figure it out.

Once my mother asked me if I loved myself. I quizzically answered yes, because why wouldn’t i? And she told me if I loved myself I wouldn’t hold on to all the weight. My mom is always on a weight loss kick so I figured maybe she was on to something. So then it became about self-work. I read articles and mastered the art of Oprah so that I could lose weight through my soul rather than the scale only the weight never came off. Again I was stuck, do I hate myself unknowingly? Am I missing it?

As I grew up and into myself I finally stopped playing the guessing game, “What’s wrong with me?” Opting for the belief that nothing was. My fatness remained an anomaly and for the time being I allowed it to remain unsolvable and unquestioned. It wasn’t until a conversation I had with myself just yesterday that changed things.

I’ve been receiving very clear and exciting (scary) messages from the universe about my next steps. In the process of trying to figure out logistics and prioritize my own professional becoming along with everything else I’m juggling right now I sat down to ask myself how I was going to manage and more importantly why? The conclusion I came to was that the things I’m meant to do are in their fundamental stages and every life experience I’ve had up until now has uniquely prepared me for this moment. Every conversation, every chance encounter, every opportunity, every blog post, every outfit, everything. Including my body. I asked myself if I could speak with any authority on fatness or fat women if I were not, in fact, a fat woman? Likely not.
I asked myself could I hold the space of the group I want to create if I did not look like my participants? Likely not.

IMG_0320Does this mean I can never lose weight for fear of abandoning my audience, no. But it does mean that even this body has a purpose and that I am not separate from it dragging it along as I carry out my calling. It is very much an IMPORTANT part of my call. This is not a cage or a prison, this is me and this is the vessel through which I will touch and change lives. It was a powerful reframe for me.

I shared with Mari and Nicki my fear of expanse. Not physically but of becoming too big. I told Nicki how when I was a kid I used to bump into things constantly. My parents thought I was clumsy or careless but it was truly as if I could not see the wall or I had no idea how much of me needed to fit through the door frame. My sense of self has always been so much bigger than my body and I don’t want to get so big that I lose my boundary. I also fear becoming too ego driven and losing my center, my spiritual side. Mariko reminded me that fear was not a good enough excuse to play small (ha!) and that it is not that all these things I’ll get into redefine or redistribute “Me” Nicki helped remind me that the output of this work isn’t me at all. This is God and I am just the conduit.

When I remembered that I am just the vessel so much of my fear subsided. Zachary told me this before last summer. Not to hold on to the power as if it were mine but to allow myself to be used in service of its distribution. Letting it pass through me and not mistaking it for pieces of me. It helps to ebb the feeling of abandonment or boundarylessness when it leaves.

In all, I’ve never been happier. I found that the place where I have continually stumbled has been the rock I build from. Daring to believe that there is reason and purpose to all things allowed me the space to grow compassion for myself and eventually to forgive and accept myself entirely.

I have already considered the counterclaim that my fatness being of use in this way is an excuse to stay fat. And rather than dismiss it as society influenced fatphobia or propaganda I’ve entertained it. I think it is likely at some point I may lose weight. In fact I am currently tracking my calories in an attempt to eat better more often. However, I do not currently feel like I am “staying fat” for anyone or anything. I simply am. I may not always be. And I imagine as with any part or piece of self, as my body changes my perspectives may. But that doesn’t mean I cannot learn from the vantage point I currently have. It does not mean that I am only valid when I am in pursuit of thinness. It means my purpose is in my right now, and I’m going to answer as my whole fat self.


In a mere 7 weeks I leave for Jamaica where I will be for exactly 20 days.  Curb your jealous, I know. I know. But I have issued a challenge for myself. In the days between right now and June 8th I want to lose 20lbs.

First, a story. So a while back I mentioned talking to an old friend about her amazingly spectacular  100+ pound weight loss and I set the same goal for myself. Since that time I never stopped wanting it, but I was never truly committed to the goal. I would start something then quit, start then quit, start then…you get the picture. I do not really diet but I do try to eat well, but if I ate as well as I often allude to eat then I highly doubt I’d have some of these issues. But I digress. I can woman up and speak to it, I love sweets. I do.  I have a thing for ice creams and gelatos, cakes and cookies…sweet stuff is my thing. I also snack at night.  These two things I stared at sternly in the corners of my conscious and said to them, You have to go.

Next, I recognized this irrational discomfort surrounding food preparation. Namely because my roommate is a SUPER healthy eater and sometimes I order pizza…so I would eat down in my room and only when she wasn’t in the kitchen would I venture into the kitchen. I realized one day when I let myself get so hungry that my stomach was beating me up as I waited for her to leave the kitchen that I had an issue.  I was ashamed of what I knew I was going to do. It sounds like a drug addict. I remember this one episode of Private Practice when Shepard had gotten hooked back on pills and in an intervention they made her use in front of everyone. The addictions counselor said, “Oh no you don’t, you do it out here for everyone to see.” It felt kind of like that. Only, I don’t want to shame myself, but I do want to be proud of what I’m putting into my body. I want to openly engage in public displays of affection with my own body.

I knew what needed to be done. I mean who doesn’t? Exercise, eat well, drink water…it’s the things you hear all the time only now I want to do them. I watched my birthday cake disappear piece by piece until I finally threw it out because I knew  I would finish it if it stayed. I bought veggies, quinoa, lean meats like salmon and talapia. I said “No” to salt and said “Hell yes” to a gallon of water a day.

And I ran.

IMG_1095I made up excuse after excuse at 6:00am, 7:00am, 8:00am about why I couldn’t go…it was cold…it was foggy…it was WORK was the true reason. I didn’t want to do it. I went to work and had the kind of day where everyone is annoying you just because they are there. I couldn’t pinpoint where my sour mood was coming from. On top of that, I kept being interrupted by bathroom breaks from this darn gallon of water challenge. So I got home, turned on the TV flopped down on the couch and went to my google reader where I saw this (Mama Laughlin). She wrote:

I was SO TIRED and PISSED that I had to get up so early.
That I had to make those kind of sacrifices to get in my workouts.
I was resentful that I didn’t have enough time in the day.
But you know what I did?
I sucked it up, got up, and got my ass to the gym at 5am.
And the craziest thing happened…. within 10 minutes of sweating I started to feel better.
I wasn’t pissed off anymore and my day instantly turned around.
Being that I was in a similar mood I decided…lets go. So I changed clothes, and went for a run (a very slow run) around my neighborhood. Yes I stopped for breaks. Yes I felt like I wanted to d.i.e. because the last mile was uphill. Yes my lungs ached, and my feet were heavy and sweat dripped, and I’m sure cars were passing me like, “She might as well be walking,” but I did not care. 45 minutes later I was home and I felt amazing. I snapped a picture and I decided that the only way to shed some light on all the truth I have been hiding is to do what I always do….invite love in, invite truth in, write.
So here I am. I want to commit to at least archiving the 7 week journey here…maybe later tonight I will create a separate tab just for my #20byTakeoff challenge. But I welcome new visitors, old familiars, supporters, encouragers, strangers, and loved ones to see the yucky underbelly of what it looks like to start from scratch for the bajillionth time.
For my twitter updates: @PhDubb
For my instagram photos: @PhDubb
It ain’t always gonna be pretty, but I promise it’ll always be the truth.



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.

Bad news for mushrooms

It had been a productive day so far, I got my outlines done for class and got quite a bit of reading in. I’d washed dishes, cleaned my room a bit, emailed my notes to my group and even managed to get a nap in.  I was feeling…off though, and more than anything I was feeling restless.  Wanting some silent entertainment, I chose to pull cards, and immediately when I thought of it I knew it was the perfect night to do it.

Instead of doing it the way Nama showed me, however, I chose to read the instructions for the cards.  I knew that the cards also followed the I’Ching but I was unsure how, so I was eager to learn how.  After preparing my materials, getting my coins and paper/pen, I was ready.  What to ask the deck first…success? No, I never have any interest in that…love? Maybe later but not right now. Then it came to me. This issue of weight has been plaguing me and I feel as though I am climbing an impossible mountain.  Even though I know it is absolutely do-able and even the logistics of how to climb it, in practice I find myself nestled in failure.  So I asked, why is losing weight so difficult for me?

tao oracle tarot card 33 retreatI drew 33–Retreat

Geese intuitively know before the seasons change that the time for retreat is imminent.  That have built in understanding that they must depart once the days get shorter, or they will invite danger…In human life a considered departure is a sign of intelligence when it is in response to insurmountable odds.  Whenever you have a deep intuitive sense that it would be unwise to remain any longer in a situation, or in a relationship, pay attention it it.  The intuitive self knows when periods of transition are approaching…

When it becomes clear that the surrounding atmosphere has become chilly, and what once supported growth and expansion is no longer available to you, consider all your options–but not for too long.  Avoid any tendency to intellectualize and watch out for the circular fretfulness of a mind that won’t budge until it figures things out.  

Let go is another form of retreat.  Letting go releases the grip of over-identification with something, someone or some concept that might have been useful or even precious once, but now needs to be put behind you…Only humans are so foolish as to ignore the signs, preferring to hold fast even to that which is likely to make them suffer. 

I was stunned at how closely this resembled everything I wrote about yesterday and everything I have been feeling lately.  My weight has really never bothered me as much as it has lately, it feels like a prison. I think about all this Jung I read yesterday…about how we have to acknowledge both parts of a thing so that we can transcend.  Perhaps I have not been the least bit inclined to acknowledge any positives or uses for carrying this much weight but perhaps I should?.  It served me…(my entire body is tingling right now on the cusp of full disclosure about something so incredibly intimate). It served me because it gave me a buffer; I could be invisible when I wanted to and simultaneously it would not be ignored.  I do believe my weight is a physical representation of my inner struggle: be seen|be invisible.

I would imagine that anyone who has ever known me would find it hard to imagine that I do not enjoy being social or in the company of others, and that is half true.  I do enjoy socializing but I very rarely (and only recently) discuss myself or anything of true value to me with others.  I suppose I am guilty of the thing I hate most, offering inauthentic conversation. Only…it is not so much inauthentic as it is superficial.  I steer very clear of going deep with anyone.  So being heavy allows me to both have an unmistakable presence, as well as escape intrusion of those wanting to get to know me as (in my head) they would a more physically attractive person.

I did my I’Ching lines and they were the same except lines 4&5 which lead me to the 40–Deliverance:

Line 4: do not take anything for granted.  Sometimes what imprisons us is exactly what we cling to for security…make sure that you are not trying to hold on to anything that has the potential to grow into a familiar old prison.
Line 5: It might be comforting to think that somebody else can liberate us, but the truth of the matter is that each of us holds the key to deliverance in our own hands.  When outside circumstances combine to remind you of your inner freedom, it is both a gift an a provocation.  If you expect the door to open magically by itself, you’re living in a fantasy.  Your’e going to have to put that key in the lock and turn it, and then push the door open using your own strength.  

Do I really need to further explain how spot-on-relevant this is?

It dawned on me that when Marianne Williamson said to Oprah, “Until you accept the magnitude of your function, your unconscious mind will sabotage any attempt to show your full magnificence” what she was really saying was the same thing Jung said in his second principle of the psyche, the principal of equivalance,

The energy created from the opposition is “given” to both sides equally. So, when I held that baby bird in my hand, there was energy to go ahead and try to help it. But there is an equal amount of energy to go ahead and crush it. I tried to help the bird, so that energy went into the various behaviors involved in helping it. But what happens to the other energy? Well, that depends on your attitude towards the wish that you didn’t fulfill. If you acknowledge it, face it, keep it available to the conscious mind, then the energy goes towards a general improvement of your psyche. You grow, in other words.

But if you pretend that you never had that evil wish, if you deny and suppress it, the energy will go towards the development of a complex. A complex is a pattern of suppressed thoughts and feelings that cluster – constellate – around a theme provided by some archetype.

If you pretend all your life that you are only good, that you don’t even have the capacity to lie and cheat and steal and kill, then all the times when you do good, that other side of you goes into a complex around the shadow. That complex will begin to develop a life of its own, and it will haunt you (source).

So, I have to acknowledge it…its function, its utility, its protection as well as its expiration, and its imprisonment. Then I have to let it go.  I do believe I thought I could get through it without being 100% honest about it all. Without saying that yes, I eat too much of the wrong thing and do not exercise enough.  Of course, I know all the things I need to do, but when it comes time to do them I feel incompetent because I am not good at them.  I really really hate not being good at things.

I realize that I set ridiculously high standards for myself (and this test our professor gave us last week on parts of our personality proved it). I know that I am not going to be immediately good at working out, even if once upon a time I was decent at it.  I know that…but when it comes time, it just feels defeating.  It feels pathetic really, because somehow in those moments you feel every lb that you are, and you wonder how it got so bad? How you got so far away from yourself? And the only thing you know to make it better is the thing that got you there in the first place. No, not food, not sugary drinks, not skipping workouts; giving up.  It is a difficult thing to admit that I gave up. That I felt too incapable of handling whatever was going on in my life at the time and that I went to food for comfort.

I haven’t yet reconciled the bad taste that feelings of weakness leaves in my mouth. Nor have I found any discernible rewards from admitting my physical incompetence.  I do, however know that I am at a point of transition. I am at a point where, I feel ready to fall forward off the cliff into the unknown and that there is no solace where I am anymore.  I feel like my days have gotten short, and if I stay I am inviting danger in the form of diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and likely my biggest fear: loneliness.  Isolation caused my me and my inability, or rather…my unwillingness to let people in and be susceptible to hurt in any real way.

That is what I know today.  That is what was confirmed today.  Light on a dark truth…but really, bringing light to the darkness is only bad news for mushrooms.

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