2013: Getting Louder

Electronic red megaphone on stand.

My goal for 2013 is to be louder.


I want to be louder about who I am and what I want and what I’m doing.


I want to be louder in my support of my friends and the really cool things they do and the cool people they are.


I want to be louder in my support of my family, too.


I want to be louder about needing help and support.


I want to be louder about being a writer.


I want to be louder about being a Rerun Junkie.


I want to be louder about being a bad fan.


I want to be louder about being a fat girl.


I want to be louder about being a fat girl belly dancing.


I want to be louder about my fashion sense.


I want to be louder about getting what I want.


I want to be louder about having a good time.


In short, I want 2013 to be one hell of a noisy year.


Fat Girl Fitness

I like exercise. Okay, some mornings I don’t feel like I want to do it and it’s kind of a chore, but overall, I like it. I like moving my body and I like the health benefits from it.

For about a year, I’ve been struggling with my workouts. Part of the problem was working full-time. I wasn’t exactly skilled at working in 20-30 minutes of movement after working all day (I sure as heck wasn’t getting up any earlier to do it before I left for the cube). The other part has been trying to find a workout routine that I can stick to.

FitTV was my main source of my workout. Remember that channel? It’s Discovery Health now. I did a belly dance workout every morning. When Fit TV took it off the air, they put several other shows in the time slot that mixed cardio kickboxing, Bollywood dancing, Latin dance, hip hop dance, and cardio sculpting. The days that they aired segments I didn’t like, I did yoga. It was working really nicely, or so I thought, until Oprah needed to have her own network and ruined mine.

So since then, I’ve really been struggling with finding something to do that I like, that I will do every day, that will help me achieve my goal of losing the forty pounds I put back on after I lost it in the first place.

At the end of October I took another setback when I hurt my knee. My already sporadic fitness routine ended up practically non-existent as I struggled to find exercises that I could do that wouldn’t further injure my knee.

All of this struggling and lack of progress took its toll on my self-esteem. And it’s pretty common that the worse you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to be motivated to be do anything about it. Frustration has a tendency to negatively affect my productivity.

But with the new year comes a new opportunity, or at least, that’s what it feels like. For some reason that symbolic restart was just what I needed to clear out some of my baggage and get back on the fitness horse once again. I still haven’t come up with a routine that I like and that I’ve stuck to, but I’m working on it.

I’m going back to basics and taking my own advice. First thing I’ve got to do is get into the habit of moving again, five days a week, no exceptions. My knee is healing and feeling better. I can do more now (wearing a brace during exercise helps). I need to take advantage of that. I need to move. Dancing (free style and belly), stretching, and yoga every morning should do it. These are all things I like. There’s no excuse for me not to do them.

Once I get that rhythm going, then adding in some weights in the afternoon won’t be a big deal. The one thing that retail offered me was that I could work out in the morning, then I’d be walking around when I was at work at night at least a couple of days a week. Writing, I tend to be planted in front of my computer for most of the day. A little sculpting in the afternoon would be a nice way to get the blood flowing and break up some of the afternoon slog.

I’m a big advocate for fat girl fitness. I give my fat girl friends fitness advice all the time. I’ve been doing this for years and I like to share my experience. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with all of the information. It’s so easy to look at DVD taught by some skinny chick who’s never been fat a day in her life and think that you can’t do that. However, when some practical advice comes from a fat girl, someone who lives with it and struggles with it and does it anyway, it’s a little more encouraging.

This fat girl needs to listen to her own advice and stop over-thinking things. No, I’m not at the fitness level I was a few years ago and that’s frustrating. No, I’m not at the weight I was a few years ago and that’s frustrating. But I know how to get both of those things back, now don’t I? I’ve done it before.

So, shut up, listen, and do it. No excuses.

Fat Girl Belly Dancing

Several years ago, let’s guess 2004, I decided that I needed to get healthy. Not just lose weight, although that was part of the goal, but to change my eating habits, excercise more, and strengthen my body. I chose to do this slowly, hoping that the new changes would stick. More than once I had tried to start exercising and never had the follow through because, well, I hated it.

So this time, instead of once again hiking my fat ass up on the treadmill and walking mile after boring mile (I really don’t like walking unless I’m getting somewhere), I looked for an alternative. I decided to try yoga. It was easy enough that I could stick with it, but difficult enough that it challenged my muscles. At the time it fit into my schedule well as I was going to college (that was my third stint). I popped in the DVD and did twenty minutes before school. As time went on, I started learning new poses and incorporating them into my own, made-up routines.

I was actually impressed with the difference. Maybe I didn’t lose a ton of weight in the first few months that I did it, but I noticed that I was getting stronger and that I was feeling better. It was enough to encourage me to stick to it. It became the core of my exercise program.

After a good solid year of yoga, I added weights to the regime. And then after some time doing that, I looked to add some cardio to my workout routine.

I started with dancing at first. I just put on some music and bust some moves like I did back in the day when I was hitting the under 21 club on a regular basis (the whole motivation for me to get into shape was that I felt I wasn’t keeping up on the dance floor as well as I used to). It was fine for awhile, but I got bored with it pretty quickly, oddly enough.

Then I happened to catch a belly dancing workout program on FitTV, back when it was FitTv, before Oprah took things over and messed it all up. It looked challenging enough to give me a workout, but fun enough that I’d stick to it. And I felt that it would work with the yoga and the weights I was already doing it.

When I started belly dancing, I was terrible. No doubt about it. I was required to use muscles that I didn’t know I had. But slowly, I started to get more of the moves down. It got to a point where I had memorized every routine of every episode (they only aired one season on a loop) and I was keeping up with them pretty well.

My routine paid off and I lost weight because of it. More importantly I felt better.

But belly dancing had an unintended effect on me. It brought out a latent femininity and sexuality that I didn’t realize I’d had.

I grew up as a tomboy. Yeah, I wore dresses up until the third grade, but they did little to deter me from playing hard with the boys. My mother always said that she didn’t raise girls. I’ve never been very good at being girly. And because I do tend to hang out with boys more than girls and because it’s kind of a rule that if you want to be respected by the boys, you have to be like the boys, that’s how I rolled.

So imagine my surprise when I started doing this very feminine dance and actually enjoying the sexy, girly qualities it brought out in me. I gained even more confidence and felt beautiful despite the fact that the world condemned me (and still does) because I’d never be a size 0. I didn’t think that I could ever somehow incorporate my tomboy self that always have been into the strong, sexy self that I always wanted to be and come out a full person. It’s funny that an exercise routine could do that to me.

So here I am now, having gained back all of the weight I worked so hard to lose and I’m trying to find a way to lose it again. So I’m going back to the beginning: yoga, weights, belly dance. It worked before, it can work again.

More importantly, I need to get back to the state of mind I was in when I was doing this routine the first time.

I need to get back to being a fat girl belly dancing.