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Blog

These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Category: Project Totus

Being Okay With Being Alone

jasmine banks

Alone.jpg

It took me a long time to feel okay about being alone. I struggle with depression and PTSD. My anxiety would build and I'd look for things to fill the empty space. "Stay busy" was the motto. Until one day I tried meditating

It was so hard. I hated being left with all my racing thoughts. I'd try to clear my mind then I'd get distracted with thoughts of how I was failing at clearing my mind.

Being alone can be hard, so I kept practicing. I took myself to the movies. I learned to love being alone in obscurity. Sitting in a dark room lost in the plot on the screen. Then I learned to enjoy dinner by myself. I took slow bites, tasted my food, and made memories of the aromas.

I kept practicing being alone.

Until one day being alone wasn't so hard anymore.

These days being alone is a gift to me. I spend time by myself. I practice being present and still with myself. I no longer feel the intense anxiety well up and the reflex to "find something to do".

A Fat Runner's Manifesto

jasmine banks

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Today I walked into a Gold's Gym in Tennessee. I purchased a guest pass. I found my tread mill. I turned the speed up to 5.5, started my Nike+iPod program to two miles and began running. I typically use Anytime Fitness when I am at home, and I am not use to the Gold's supercharged gym atmosphere. The atmosphere made no difference, really. I am a runner. All I needed was my treadmill and shoes. When I run I feel powerful. It is a mental game as much as a physical game. I've always been a runner. In high school my sister Paige and best friend Ginger would curse at me as I screamed for them to run faster on the trails throughout our town. "Wanna go for a run?" I'd ask Paige. She responded with a skeptical eye, "only if we aren't going an insane distance JASMINE!"  I've always been a runner, though not as consistent as recently. I've always been a runner and I've always been obese. I never got the memo that because I was classified as "morbidly obese" that I couldn't run.  I was also never told that my clearly larger size on a treadmill or on a trail doubled as signs for someone to be "impressed by me" or offer unsolicited advice.

This is what I mean; On a regular basis I experience people comments  like these:

Wow! You were moving... that is impressive for someone your size.

Is that your pace?! Geez! That is really good for someone your size.

Once I had to jump off the treadmill mid sprint because my shoe came untied. The girl next to me interjected, "OH! You can't stop like that, you have to slow jog until your heart slows down." I nodded and thanked her and said, "I got it, thanks." She continued, "I just don't want you to have a heart attack. New runners sometimes forget to cool down." I glared at her, "what makes you think I am a new runner?" She looked at me, shocked by my level of confrontation. "Well, I guess your size. I just assumed..." she trailed off into an awkward space. I laughed and picked up my ipod. I showed her my run history in my Nike+ program. "I've run over 100 miles in this program," I offered. Her eyes widened, her face flushed and she stuttered as I began to run again. She shook her head and responded, "I am so sorry. Here I am barely slow jogging a mile and you ran 10 miles last week..."  I laughed, "Yeah... I get that a lot."

The hard truth is, though, I can't blame smaller sized people for their judgement. I have qualified my statements just as they have. When talking to my friends I've said things like:

I've got a great pace for someone my size.

And they have retorted, "Jasmine! You have a great pace for ANY size."

I have amazing friends.

I spend a lot of time explaining that I am physically fit despite my appearance. I am forever "surprising" people by how much physical activity I do. I realized the other day that I was carrying definitions of shame because of my size that I didn't even realize. Somewhere along the line I internalized the need to qualify my body. I won't do that anymore. Do other people who are thinner than me qualify their fitness goals? I am an athlete, NOT in spite of my size. I am an athlete REGARDLESS of my size.

So today when I was in mid run and a lady walked up to the treadmill next to me, looked at me,  looked down at how far and how fast I was running, and said "wow" aloud... I pulled my shoulders up talker, focused more on where my heel was striking and replied with a smile,

"yeah I know... WOW!"

Because my athletic ability requires no qualifying.

Run time

Body Image: Making Peace With Your Body & Fitness Bucket List

jasmine banks

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I've written, extensively, about my struggle with all things "The Body". Recently I have made a conscious effort to embrace the fact that Jasmine and "my body" are the same person. My circumstances are: I pack on the pounds as a trauma reaction and then the pounds don't come off very quickly because I have a chronic disease that affects my metabolic process and makes weight loss near impossible. Even if I didn't have those "legitimate reasons" for having excess weight is would still be hard. Women and their bodies have it rough. Women have it rough. In a world of fat/skinny bashing, stereotyping, and a misogynistic media force, it can be really hard in your own body. We are always being told our bodies are "right" the way they are. So much of what we are told is a narrative based on having someone else's body, get a BEACH BODY, a GYM BODY, a DANCER BODY a BIKINI BODY. 

I get it! No company is going to sell products by encouraging body contentment. In fact they have to create the need (OHMYGAWD WHY DON'T YOU LOOK LIKE JENNIFER HUDSON!) so that you'll take the bait that their product is JUST.WHAT.YOU.NEED.TO.LOOK.LIKE.JENNIFER.HUDSON!

The world used to honor, mostly, the functional body but even now that isn't enough. You have to have a Brazilian backside, with inflatable on the front, a twiggy waist, and Keira Knightly legs. I don't even know what that person looks like.

The "real women have curves" movement was a step in normalizing the anti-runway model body, but then the more lean women were ostracized.   Cecily wrote about being in her body the other day and I hear parts of my own inner body voice in what she had to say AND Kristina wrote about how being skinny is complicated and I heard my own inner body voice as well.  I hear my story in Kristina's story because lots of women look at my body and my athletic ability and say, "I wanna be like that."

Of course I don't remember that when I am bashing myself. When I am in my head I imagine that mine is the worst of the worst on the body list and no one will even find 'all dis chubby' attractive.

Add the fact that my husband had affairs, secretly, for all five years of our marriage and THIS lady's self esteem is quickly spiraling into, "at least the cookies love me" zone.

I've defined myself by an arbitrary number on the scale for too long.

But lately I have been fighting back! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you've seen many check-in status updates to the gym. I've started going to the gym 3-4 days a week and doing functional fitness around the house the other days. I've created goals for myself that focus on fitness and not the scale. For example: I created a fitness bucket list awhile ago. This list is a way for me to feel like I am accomplishing my goals AND it helps me keep fitness fun. I get to try new experiences, which I totally love (usually).

 

I've purchased a cool pair of running shorts. These running shorts CURRENTLY look like booty shorts, but I expect as I keep a healthy level of activity and body movement the fit will start to change.

I am working very hard to stop focusing on what I don't like and start realizing and focusing on what I love. I am a friggin' talented Zumba instructor, I can run a 5K, I am VERY strong, also... have I mentioned that I happen to be an exceptionally beautiful woman? I totally am.

 

It can be hard to embrace who we are (body and all) in our society. I've always been a rebel so I plan to celebrate my beautiful body no matter what.

Do you have a fitness bucket list? If so what is on it? If not, what would you put on it? If you are interested in changing your body/fitness level, what NON-scale goals do you use to encourage and empower yourself?