Body Shaming and Changing the Name of the Game

Body Shaming and Changing the Name of the Game

Recently, a company that shall remain nameless (no need to give them extra publicity), posted one of those “caption this” photos for a contest. The picture featured an overweight athlete in a cycling kit that was ill-fitting. With the man’s belly exposed and the outfit’s jersey riding up, it seemed obvious to everyone what this picture was meant to invite their athletic-based consumer to do: “Let’s have some fun laughing at the fat guy.”

This picture stirred up a storm of a bee’s nest within our own From Fat to Finish Line tribe. Many of us have been fat-shamed at some point in our lives so this picture struck a nerve. The issue then took an even deeper dive downward because instead of acknowledging the (maybe even innocent) ignorance in posting the photo, after many people called out their unkindness in posting it, the company chose to defend it. They claimed there were other ‘silly things’ about the picture including the color of the kit which was blue with a few pink accents. “And, the pink is funny!” And, pink is funny on a guy, why? Don’t get me started on that one! The picture was also supposedly funny because “Look at his feet! The guy is wearing sandals!” Sandals? His sandaled feet could barely be considered part of the picture as they were mostly cut off in the Instagram picture. Interestingly, no one “captioned this” with mention of the hilarious (not) sandals.

The company further argued that the man featured in the picture was OK with how the picture was being used, and even thought it was funny himself. They couldn’t understand why people would be “so sensitive” and thought that all of us ‘sensitive’ folks just got it all wrong. Their blind, unwavering defense and inability to sincerely understand why this might be hurtful was perhaps even more offensive than the actual picture itself and speaks to the greater issue here. Their message is clear, “What’s the big deal of making fun of a fat guy? I mean, he knows we love him. It’s just funny. Lighten up, you.”

This incident, the picture first and the dismissiveness of how upset people got by it second, was a huge trigger for many of us in our community. I heard from members who were so upset that it brought them right back to their feelings of being bullied and pushed into lockers in high school. Once again, many of us were hurt by something that seemed cruel and then further injured when told our feelings about it just didn’t matter. It even unexpectedly brought up my own memories of my own body-shaming moment from grade school.

I was in the seventh grade and I had this “cool” teacher. He rewarded the “pretty girls” with lots of special privileges. In hindsight, this teacher was a creep of the extreme kind, but at the time we didn’t see it that way. I was not considered (nor felt like) one of the pretty girls. I had unruly hair that neither myself nor my mother knew what to do with and I was chubby. At twelve, you’re just kind of learning about yourself. I was already aware that I wasn’t a thin kid but this teacher found a way to make sure I knew it and humiliate me. I found myself remembering the day he told me, in front of the whole class, that I was fat and my jeans were too tight and that I should go on a diet ASAP. The class laughed. I felt the judgment, my own disgust, and I could’ve died. The seventh grader in me was so embarrassed, so ashamed. I was too fat. I felt less-than, not as valuable, or important as the girl sitting next to me. I was second rate if that. The message was clear, because of this body I had, I was not worthy of the special attention of this (creepy) teacher and my peers laughed their agreement with him. I didn’t want to cry in front of the class so I went to the coat closet and tried to cry as discreetly as possible. When I emerged he teased me for crying in the coat closet. He later tried to brush it all off. I was “too sensitive” he was just trying to “give me advice.”

Too sensitive,” my teacher said.  “Too sensitive,” the company mentioned above said. They claimed we got it all wrong. I don’t think so.

It didn’t occur to me at the time but the company was wrong. My teacher was wrong. I believed him and blamed myself for being unlikeable because of my body. For years, I’ve buried this memory and it came flooding back to me last night, days after the “caption this” post went up. I wonder how much of the ‘body shaming’ that happened to me when I was 12 really went on to shape how I see/saw myself. I mean, I’m 44 years old and still want to wear my clothes just a little too big, afraid for people to see my ‘fat’ or be accused of wearing something too tight. All my adult life, I would slink into a bathroom stall to get changed rather than in the open because I’ve always had a deep shame of my body (even at my thinnest). When friends would question my shyness I chalked it up to modesty but it was always because I carried a deep shame of my body. The cellulite, the stretch marks, and the fat; I was convinced it was ugly and embarrassing at best, laughable at worst.

This is why we have to change the narrative and this is why our FFTFL’ers were riled-up enough to stand up to the fat shaming they saw happening with this picture. No one should feel bad about their bodies. I’m learning to love mine. I love this body that has carried me thousands of miles. It is strong, it works hard, and it has put up with a ton of bad choices ranging from the mental beat-ups to the crappy food, cigarettes, and alcohol I once overdid. My body is my friend, not my enemy and I’m sick of feeling shame over it. I am ready to defend it and defending it means not only will I not allow myself to shame my body – I will not allow anyone else to either.

Thankfully, we have so many new role models and movements that are empowering people and challenging attitudes. Thanks to models like Ashley Graham and people like Sunshine, who bravely stood in the middle of a busy street in Chicago in a bikini at 250 pounds, minds are changing. I can’t help but think that if, as a little girl, I saw more positive images of all body types instead of being taught that I was ‘less than’ good enough because of my body, how different things could’ve been. If only I saw people like the FFTFL community, out there running, being strong and accepting themselves, curves, hips, fat, tight pants and all –  I might’ve felt confident, secure, and loved myself enough to look that teacher in the eye and defend myself instead of let him make me crumble in the coat closet. Maybe, more importantly, I wouldn’t have handed him, or anyone else, the power to define me for years.

Woman in bikini in downtown Chicago - Sunshine no body shaming

Sunshine in her bikini in downtown Chicago

Perhaps the best way to stand up to the fat-shaming bullies is to just take that power away. Let’s be badass, proud of who we are, and what our bodies look like. They are our bodies to own and love and they are remarkable. The shamers only win if we allow their opinions to be more important than our own. If we allow the ignorance to continue to wound and win, then that truly is a shame.

Share your thoughts about body shaming in the comments below.

Become an Owner of From Fat to Finish Line through Crowdfunding!

Become an Owner of From Fat to Finish Line through Crowdfunding!

It’s easier than you think.

 

WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING?

What if I told you that for roughly the fee of a marathon race entry you could be part owner of From Fat to Finish Line? It’s true! You don’t have to settle for just being a member of FFTFL, you can also become part owner of this empowering company that’s changing lives. How? Through regulation crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding? To be honest, when I first heard about investing through regulation crowdfunding, my head was spinning. It’s exciting but I’m no financial wiz and this was completely over my head! I’m a filmmaker, blogger, mom and mediocre runner. Yes, I’m also Chief Marketing Officer of From Fat to Finish Line but I had to do so much research and ask so many questions to grasp this. I think I finally understand it. Well, most of it.

If you’ve heard of KickStarter or Indiegogo then you’re already familiar with a related concept. With those platforms, you donate some money to support a company you believe in and you get some swag in return.

With regulation crowdfunding, you invest a certain amount of money to own stock in a company you believe in. Which means our financial wins become your wins. You get a piece of the pie if the company enjoys success. (And depending on how much you invest we might throw in some swag too.)

THE NITTY-GRITTY:

Regulation Crowdfunding only became a possibility this past May thanks to the passing of Title Ill of the JOBS Act (aka Regulation Crowdfunding or Reg CF). Now companies like From Fat to Finish Line are allowed to raise up to $1,000,000 from the public through equity crowdfunding using FINRA registered funding portals like StartEngine Capital.

We chose StartEngine Capital as our funding portal based on our diligent research and their reputation. Because fundraising this way is so new, we are super excited to not only be one of the early startups to do this but also one of the few woman-led companies to do so.

There are rules, risks and regulations involved and you’ll have to learn all about that before you’re even allowed to try to invest. For starters, there are rules on how much you can invest based on your annual income, net worth, and other investments. There is also an investment cancellation period in case you change your mind. To get the most comprehensive and up to date information on these rules and to determine whether and how much you can invest, you will have open an account with StartEngine on their website at www.startengine.com.

Still with me? Whew. I know! Lots to learn.

THE LONG ROAD TO CROWDFUNDING:

Making the decision to crowdfund was not an easy decision nor was it easily executed. We needed to hire accountants and lawyers to comb through our books, verify our spending, make sure our company is legally sound and create our offering. Similar to a company whose shares are traded on a stock exchange, our business operations need to be an open book so investors understand what their money is going towards. Some of the things we’ve had to do:

  • Angela and myself had to Pass Bad Actor checks (http://fundamerica.com/blog/portals-ask-whats-a-bad-actor/);
  • Our company had to complete a legal and financial review by lawyers and CPSs;
  • We had to pass a Compliance Due Diligence Review by Start Engine and, most important,
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission must approve our company based on the Form C and our financial records.

All of this will be available for the public and investors to view on the SEC Edgar website.

Still wondering if investing is right for you? Check out this nifty infographic that lays it all out:

Infographic Are You Ready to Invest?

THE BOTTOM LINE:

There are always some risks involved when you make any sort of financial investment in a startup.  New crowdfunding vehicles offer an exciting new opportunity for those willing to take a chance on companies they believe in. Here are a few reasons to invest in From Fat to Finish Line: 

  • Taking ownership of the tribe you love will keep you even that much more focused on your own personal health and fitness goals.
  • Your investment will help fund new training programs, resources, team events, merchandise and other items that will support you and others in your running and fitness journey.
  • While risky, you could be making a financial investment which could grow in the years to come.
  • You’ll personally be helping people to live longer, avoid illness and lead better lives by taking ownership of this rewarding movement which is empowering, inspiring and teaching people worldwide how to get healthy and reach their finish lines.

 

Ready to further explore how you can personally invest in From Fat to Finish Line? Follow this link to our StartEngine campaign page!

Please reach out with questions. Also feel free to pass this along to anyone you think would appreciate this investment opportunity.

Thank you and see you at the finish line!

5 Steps to Achieving Your New Year Resolutions

5 Steps to Achieving Your New Year Resolutions

I am a sucker for the New Year and making New Year resolutions. January 1st reminds me of the feeling I get when I buy a brand new notebook or journal. All of those blank pages just waiting to be filled up with ideas, plans, and memories!

Many grumble about them, but I personally feel that resolutions are just a way of putting your big goals out there into the universe. When people fail at a resolution it’s often because they just don’t have the tools to make the right plan to execute. Instead of it feeling like a goal, it almost feels like a dream that you hope comes true somehow.

When you set a resolution, following these 5 steps will help you to be successful:

  1. WHAT: Define what you want to achieve; drill it down, be very specific.
  2. HOW: Brainstorm at least 3 ways you can support your “What.”
  3. WHY: You need to find a strong connection to anchor you to why you want to change.
  4. WHAT IF: Plan for “If this happens, then I will…”  scenarios so you are prepared to keep going when obstacles come up.
  5. MILESTONES and FINISH LINES: Make attainable, measurable, and relevant goals and put them on the calendar.

Many will merely say, “This year I’m going to get healthy.” It’s so vague that it’s almost impossible to plan for that. Get specific. Here’s an example of how a “get healthy” resolution might break down:

You might drill it down to: One of the ways I can gain better health is by taking off 20 pounds.

Here is a short example of how to approach setting a resolution.


WHAT:
I want to lose 20 pounds.

HOW:
I will begin to track calories and track them no matter what – even when I’ve eaten too much.
I will sign up for a half marathon and stay connected to my From Fat to Finish Line friends so I have support and accountability.I will find support in the form of a therapist or group if I’m struggling with emotional eating.
I will weigh-in weekly and report my weight to a person I trust for accountability.

WHY:
I am borderline diabetic, classified as obese, and the mother of 3 kids. I just watched my Mother go through awful health issues because of her weight. I don’t want to struggle with obesity-related diseases later in life and I want to set a good example for my kids.

WHAT IF:
What if I eat too much and fall off the wagon? I will remind myself that I am human, forgive myself, and get back on track the very next meal and talk about it with a friend. If I can’t run for some reason, I will walk. What if the weight is coming off very slow or stalled? I will remind myself to celebrate every good choice I make because it makes me healthier than I was before and that the scale isn’t the only reason I’m doing this. I will talk to a doctor or nutritionist if I suspect that something else is standing in the way of my weight loss.

MILESTONES and FINISH LINES:
My goal is to lose 2-4 pounds per month. I will not give up if the scale is even slower than that because I know that as I’ve aged it’s gotten harder. I’ll be running my half marathon in May. My weight loss finish line goal is to be at least 10 pounds down by half-marathon day and 20 pounds down by October 1st.


 

The more you can elaborate on these steps, especially the “how” and “what if’s” which are the places of action, the better. Under your “How” you might further break down the counting calorie part with what kind of foods you will eat, how you will make sure to grocery shop every Saturday and food prep every Sunday. Under the “What if” section you might include scenarios for business trips, weddings, snowstorms etc.

Yes. This is going to take some time but I promise you if you dedicate an hour or so to resolution setting and planning it will make the possibility of you sticking to your goals so much more likely!

I like to come up with a few New Year resolutions and will dedicate a journal (or virtual journal) for planning out the steps for each resolution.  I find it helpful to record progress and set-backs. Reading your five steps every day is a great way to keep motivated and in touch with what you are doing and why.

Here’s a virtual journal that I kept from 2009.

Each tab was each resolution I made and where I recorded my steps for each as well as successes and set-backs.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-1-06-03-pm

If you are looking for motivation with any of your health goals come join us in our From Fat to Finish Line Facebook community group and be sure to sign up for our email list for motivation, tips, and more.

Happy New Year!

5 Reasons to Hustle through the Holidays with our FFTFL Virtual Race!

5 Reasons to Hustle through the Holidays with our FFTFL Virtual Race!

Tis the season to get moving! Here’s 5 reasons to do our virtual race! 

It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, or waddle get out there and do a free virtual race this holiday season with your From Fat to Finish Line tribe.  

  1. Great reason to take a break from the shopping, gift wrapping and decorating.
  2. The more you hustle, the more holiday cookies you can have!
  3. All the cool kids are doing it.
  4. Santa Claus is watching.
  5. It’s a free race!

How you get in your virtual race miles is up to you! You could run in a local race, on a treadmill, on a park path, or stroll around town to get your miles in. (You could even bike it or swim it – just get out there and move!)

From Fat to Finish Line Holiday Hustle Virtual RaceThe distance is up to you – from one block to 26.2 miles this is your virtual race. You decide the pace and how far you want to go.

It’s free, it’s fun and it’s a great way to connect with the rest of the tribe!

PS: Race selfies with your bib, on your run or at your ‘finish line’ are highly encouraged!! 

5 Reasons to Strut Your Stuffing with our FFTFL Virtual Race!

5 Reasons to Strut Your Stuffing with our FFTFL Virtual Race!

Do not take this Thanksgiving holiday sitting down, get up, and move!

 

It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, or waddle get out there and do a free virtual race this Thanksgiving weekend with your From Fat to Finish Line tribe.  

  1. You are awesome and nothing is more awesome than showing up to Thanksgiving dinner with that after-race glow.
  2. The pride in knowing that you earned that extra glass of wine or piece of pie!
  3. This is the cheapest race you’ll ever sign up for! (Hello FREE!)
  4. Because your post-run selfie will be so much cuter with a bib on.
  5. Why just walk or run when you can call it a race!?

How you get in your virtual race miles is up to you! You could run in a local turkey trot race, on a treadmill, on a park path, or stroll around town to get your miles in. (You could even bike it or swim it – just get out there and strut your stuff!)

From Fat to Finish Line Virtual Race Strut Your StuffingThe distance is up to you – from one block to 26.2 miles this is your virtual race. You decide the pace and how far you want to go.

It’s free, it’s fun and all the cool kids are doing it. Sign up for our virtual race now!

PS: Race selfies with your bib, on your run or at your ‘finish line’ are highly encouraged!!