Fat Mama's First Run

You can do this.

Yes, running makes your ankles hurt. Yes, thinking about running is making your ankles hurt right now, but do you care? No. You know you can do this. You have to do this. You’ve gained twenty-five pounds in the last five months. None of your clothes fit and your very small daughter is now spending her days singing you funny songs about how fat you’ve gotten. You can’t even see your own face in the mirror anymore—just the moon, with glasses on.

This is about getting yourself back. Don’t worry about running making your boobs ‘saggy.’ Your boobs are beautiful. They are so beautiful, in fact, that your little daughter likes to stand outside the shower as you get out so she can smile up at you and say things like, “Mommy, I love how long your boobs are.” Besides, you have just spent $70 on a specialty sports bra that claims it can contain a five ton mega-blast. Holding your boobs up should be cake.

So go. Go into the basement and dig out your one pair of stretchy workout pants from the last time you thought maybe/possibly/kind-of/sort-of you might want to exercise. You don’t have to worry that they’ll fit. They’re stretchy! They’ll just slide right over that extra twenty-five pounds of butt mass you’ve put on and hug your curves like they’re still curves worth hugging. That’s right. Put them on! And go grab your smart phone. Get that other daughter of yours (the one who can’t talk yet) into the giant, sail-like jogging stroller that you bought and head outside.

Good. You’ve made it to the driveway. No, don’t turn on your training app yet! You have to stretch first. If you don’t stretch, you might get hurt, and if you get hurt, your ergonomically-obsessed husband will nag you about how you didn’t stretch properly in the first place. You think he’s bad now, but just you wait. Inside that nerdy engineer is the worst nag that ever wore a beard. You won’t even be able to type without him telling you to warm up your fingers first. So you stretch, baby…STRETCH!!!!

All right…start the app. Turn up the volume, because you don’t want to miss what Computer Lady has to say. Now head for the road; it’s time for your warm-up walk. That’s right. Walk, baby. Kick your heels out like you own the place! Sure, semis are blasting by like hurricanes, kicking gravel into your face and blowing you off the shoulder, but you can take it. You’re tough. Think of all the great things that are coming your way if you just stick it out— sexiness and sexy clothes and a sexy body, like the one you wanted when you were a fat girl in a skinny-bitch high school. That’s right. Keep walking. You gon’ be sexy!

Hey, why are you still walking? Computer Lady just told you to run. So RUN! Launch yourself into the air like a gazelle! Oh, you’re beautiful! You’re beautiful! Your…

Pants. Are. Falling. Down.

Grab them, sweetie! This road is BUSY, and you’re about to flash more coin slot than a broken bank. You hike that thing up in back. Hike it up in front, too. The last thing you want is that c-section fat-flap of yours shoving your pants back down. And stand up straight! You can’t call it ‘running’ if your entire body weight is supported by the stroller bar.

What, they’re falling down again? Woman, why did you wear these pants? You knew they were too tight. That spandex is going to keep squeezing you out like a tube of fatty toothpaste. No! You can’t stop running! Just grab them. Run! Grab them. Run! Grab them…

Ah, thank god, you can walk now.

Wait…that’s not walking. That’s just there standing and puffing. You have to move, sweetie, and you have to do it quick before Computer Lady says…

Walking’s over! It’s running time, and look! You’re at the bottom of a big hill!


You’re going to conquer that hill! You’re going beat the very earth into submission. Move those feet. Pound that pavement! You’re doing it! You’re doing it! You’re…

Walking again. Ah, sweet Jesus, that was intense. Sure, you thought you weren’t going to make it, but you know what? You did. That’s right. You ran flat-out for thirty whole seconds. You went the distance, baby — you ran five whole feet. You hear that music? That’s the sound of you, winning your own Olympic Gold.

It’s like I told you. You can do this. You know why? Because, really, you don’t care about living skinny. You care about living in your own skin. Waking up in the morning next to your favorite engineer. Feeling good. Enjoying the sunshine. You don’t need to run a marathon; you just need to outrun your children when they are running towards danger. You want a life without borders. Nobody can give that to you, honey. You’re going to have to make it yourself.

So keep working. Finish your run. And even if you never run again — even if you take up snowshoeing, or power-walking, or ditch-digging — it doesn’t matter. You’re not here to run your 5K — you’re here to run your life. This is your show, baby. Rock it. And when you get home, I want you to do yourself a favor….

Go buy some pants.


(This article was also published on Medium.com.  Happy Reading!)

Comments (0) Posted to General 05/18/2015 Edit

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Why Water(melon) Tastes like Lies

I don't drink soda.  The sugary stuff makes me really crazyjittery and if I drink anything with noticeable caffeine in it (even a cup of black tea) I automatically lose my ability to sleep for the next three days.  The first time I gave up soda I was in high school and people thought I was a total freak, especially my sister who (at fifteen) knocked back a half-gallon of Mountain Dew almost daily.  Besides, what teenager doesn't drink soda?  So eventually I went back to the stuff.  I drank a lot of it in college--partly because it was there, but mostly because I had the sleep habits of a stressed giraffe and needed the sugar boost to function.  I was an on-again, off-again pop drinker until a few years ago I realized my massive post-baby weight gain and constant brain fog had nothing to do with mother-fatigue, and everything to do with all that sugar I was eating to make myself feel good.  I had to face facts--soda was not the fizzy ally I was looking for and so it had to go.

I tried fruit juice for a while, but that didn't work for me either.  Unless I'm pregnant (in which case, I need all the simple sugars I can get), drinking more than about four ounces of juice gives me a bad sugar crash.  Severe lactose intolerance makes drinking milk a bad idea and stores don't generally keep single-serve cartons of milk substitute in their refrigerator case.  It was hard for me to find other options.  Kombucha freaked me out.  Diet soda kills brain cells (I am already running a shortage on those.  I don't need to make it worse).  Fresh vegetable juices are great as long as no one at the juice bar has ever in all of history fed a mango through their juicers (I'm severely allergic).  Ditto for smoothies.  And finally, for me, drinking coffee is the gustatory equivalent of pouring road tar into your mouth and swishing it around.  It is also caffeinated.  See Paragraph 1.

So, having eliminated 98% of the non-alcoholic beverage choices out there (I'm not drinking vodka at lunch, that stuff tastes like paint-thinner), I found that my only real beverage choice was bottled water.*  So I drank it--lots of it.  I drank purified waters and mineral waters, I drank filtered waters and artesian waters, and I even drank spring waters, though I only did that when I was desperate.  I grew up next to a natural spring.  There was a lot of deer poop in it.  I drank a lot of water, and it didn't take long before the vaguely plastic taste of plain bottled water started to get a little boring.  My body may have been hydrated, but my soul was thirsty.  At times, I would look around as my friends and family quaffed their sugary beverages, each liquid redolent with the promise of obscene delights to come should I become weak enough to take up their cup and taste.   

Thank God for flavored water.  

I first found flavored water tucked away on a shelf in the natural foods section of my local Wegmans' grocery store.  Though the liquid itself was clear and unremarkable, the label on the bottle called to me sweetly.  "Blackberry," it promised.  "I taste of ripe, tasty blackberry!"  I stopped in my tracks.  My mouth suddenly went dry.  I felt like an Israelite lost in the desert who--after loudly complaining that Moses was a crap head for leading us all out into the desert to die--wakes up to find the ground coated with divine food.  I knew in the very depths of my soul that I had to taste the contents of that bottle, even if I wasn't 100% sure what "flavored water" meant.  (Was it brewed like tea?  Had someone put fruit in it?)  The bottle went straight into my cart, which went straight to the check out line.  I'd barely gotten back to the car before I ripped the cap from the bottle and poured that it into my desperate mouth.  

It was...well...it was very watery.  I'd bought the thing because the promise of flavor had made it seem like my tongue was about to go on a trip to Disneyland, but now that I was actually drinking it, I was left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.  It wasn't like the flavor was unpleasant--it was just un-present.  I could smell blackberries in the water, but I couldn't actually taste them.


Comments (0) Posted to General 06/01/2014 Edit

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After this winter, I only find snow funny in hindsight...

AMB #1And really, it's not the snow that makes me laugh so much as the shenanigans that burble into life on those days when the sun is shining and it's not too cold to play outside.  Yeah, this winter was rough...yeah, we had chilblains* and ice coating the walls inside our house but we also had love and homemade pizza. And best of all, we had six months of each other. Six long, intensive, anadulterated, inescapable never-ending months with each other...

Thank god it's spring...


*Who knew socks were so important in sub-zero weather?

Comments (0) Posted to General 04/17/2014 Edit

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