Social media can be awesome. It helps keep us connected, tell and hear each other’s stories, and understand that we can all learn from each other – even if we have never met in person. This is where Laura comes in. We “met” via Twitter, where posted something from her website, F#@k Skinny , that really resonated with me. She is another amazingly, strong woman out there who is sharing a different message from the one that has been shoved in our faces for years. Her message: “One of the most detrimental things happening to women in America today is a focus on food as a means to be either fat or skinny when all along it should have been about healthy or unhealthy. These two things are not the same. We NEED to stop our obsession with being skinny. It is killing us emotionally and physically. It divorces us from the purpose of food and, therefore, warps our understanding of what we see in the mirror. ‘Skinny’ confuses the real reasons why we need to make responsible decisions regarding what we choose to eat.” Here is her story:
For me, working out and eating healthfully never made me skinny. I have always been curvy with a belly. If the only benefit to moving my body, daily was weight loss, I’d have given up a long time ago. Had I done that, I might not physically look much different than I do today, but the picture of my life would be dramatically changed. I’d have had fewer life experiences. I would not have been fit enough to climb a mountain, solo, on a trip to Wales. I might not have had the strength to run the Cronulla Sand Dunes in Sydney, Australia, or jog the coastal paths from Coogee to Bondi Beach. Without fitness, I wouldn’t have met my best friends. It wasn’t until I became an athlete that I developed the strongest, most positive relationships I’ve ever had in 36 years of life. The people who encourage me to show up and be my best self every single day in every area of my life are my friends from Team In Training and from November Project .
Running brought me closer to my mother and my sister. It provided us time to bond while doing something that made all of us feel positive and accomplished. And, most importantly, adopting a healthy lifestyle has helped me whether a very serious health condition. A year ago I was diagnosed with Primary Hyperparathyroidism, which are tumors that grow on one or more of the parathyroid glands, causing hypercalcemia. Calcium plays a critical role in many of the major functions of the human body. I am working with my surgeon and endocrinologist and have a plan to have these tumors removed, but I firmly believe I’ve been able to maintain an active and functional quality of life as a result of being strong, fit, and otherwise healthy.
Becoming a runner, a triathlete, a weight lifter, and an all-around bad-ass did not come naturally to me. I wasn’t always athletic. As a teen, I used to think I had exercise induced asthma because running was such a struggle. Lack of sleep, chronic yo-yo dieting, and no coach to train me properly was probably more to blame than my ability to run, but at the time, there wasn’t anyone in my life with enough expertise to help me see this. Through my early 20’s I always claimed to be a “bad runner,” but by the time I approached my 27th birthday, I’d made so many lifestyle changes with regard to diet, non-running cardio, and weight lifting, I was primed to be pushed into the world of running. All it took was a cute t-shirt, namely a race t-shirt that my friend had earned and that I wanted. Badly. I started talking to her about running and she introduced me to the concept that you can take walk breaks when you feel you can’t run anymore: an idea my high school gym teacher had neglected to share with me. It was as though a lightbulb had turned on in my brain. That very week I began training for my first 10K. Three years later, for my 30th birthday I ran my first marathon. Six years later, I’m a multi-seasoned marathon coach and ultra distance triathlete. And I’m still not skinny. But who cares? My life is incredible. I am strong. I am sexy. And damn, it feels good.
Her book is F#@k Skinny: How I Quit Dieting & Found My Health available on Amazon.com