About "In This Body"

This blog is a cheering section for anyone who overcomes obstacles to get moving, right now, in the body they're in today.

It's meant for anyone who deep down, desperately, wants to be part of the fun but thinks their body isn't good enough.

Bottom line: That's not true. It's also not easy to join in the fun if you've been taught to fear or told you don't belong. It's not easy to move around if you're not used to doing it.

It's worth it, though. This blog is to cheer myself on, to share what I learn, and to be a place where you will not hear that your obstacles are trivial or that your body is something to be ashamed of.

Recent History

I've been running since 2007. I started with the Couch-to-5K plan, running 30 seconds and walking a minute and a half. I'm a slow runner, but I like to work at it and think running feels good. In 2009, it looked as though running was going to be taken away from me for a while. I was surprised that this made me mad. So I signed up for my first triathlon, and entered a whole new world.

My History

Most of my teenage and adult life, I lived trapped, isolated, terrified, and at times suicidal in a life defined by a compulsive eating disorder. I wrote about it at length in a book, My Other Body: a memoir of love, fat, life, and death. (More info here.)

Eating was like a tranquilizer, one that I hated. I used it to calm horrible, devastating emotions and thoughts. It was the only thing I knew that could numb that pain. It worked; then it made the pain worse. It was a horrifying cycle.

I also believed that my body was worthless as long as it was fat. My life was completely centered on shame and attempts to lose weight as a way out of that shame.

After writing the book, things started to get better. I had spent so much effort describing the disorder — this taught me to slow down my thoughts and recognize the insanity.

Then, a couple of years later, I decided to stop trying to lose weight. Instead, I wanted to really work on the disordered eating. I said, "Let's make the behavior healthy, and whatever happens with my body happens."

I gained some weight. I didn't call it a failure. And after a long while, I had stretches of days with no compulsive pattern. Then weeks. Then months. Then a year. And all this time, I thought less and less about what was wrong with my body and started to think more and more about what kinds of fun my body and I might get into together.

I walked. I ran. I learned to swim. I didn't do this to lose weight. I didn't do it because I was a "right" size or shape or age for it. I did it because it felt wonderful. And feeling wonderful was so much larger a feeling than the shame, doubt, or fear.

And that's what eventually, over time, brought me to the point where I looked at triathlon and said, "Me too. That looks like fun for me, too."

I won't say that if I can do it, anyone can. I won't say everyone should want to! But because I'm doing this, I know that I want you to do something that looks like fun and that you're hesitant to try.

Because now I know how amazing it feels, and how it can change a life, just to try.