Check out my post on the Practical Paleolithic blog where I was chosen to be the first Strong Is The New Skinny Angel. This blog was started because of a blog challenge the group did almost a year ago. If it wasn’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have realized a lot of my dreams. To be chosen as the first Angel is really an honor.
The original blog post is here but I copied and pasted it for your convenience, please check out the Practical Paleolithic blog.
Today is a big day for the SINS Angels Series. This is the VERY FIRST ONE! The plan is to feature a female blogger who is living the SINS ideal, blogging regularly and helping to spread the word that Strong is the New Skinny (SINS). It’s all about leading by example!
So, the first SINS Angel is my friend Missy Barnum. Missy is someone I’ve come to know this past year from her posts and participation on Strong is the New Skinny on Facebook. Missy actually STARTED her blog because of her experience on SINS and wanting to join the conversation that’s happening around that topic. Since starting her blog, Missy has had the opportunity to really expand her reach and her writing has been featured in print in Fytness Fanatik Magazine. Missy’s passion for blogging and writing was a major factor in her being featured as a SINS angel – She’s not only living SINS and being the change she wants to see in the world, she’s blogging and writing about it constantly to spread the word and inspire!
So, here’s Missy in her own words. And be sure to check out her blog here: http://mistransformation.wordpress.com/.
The Girl Picked Last In Gym Class…
I am the girl that was picked last in gym class. That is, if I even made it to gym class that day. I used to fake illness on gym class days as often as I could so I could avoid the horror, humiliation and brutality that I used to face when I would be ridiculed about my weight. I identify closely with the childhood obesity problem that faces us today. I weighed over 200 pounds as a teenager and I can tell you first hand that life was anything but fun during those years. Standing up in front of a group of your peers while being chosen for a team and then waiting while everyone else was chosen before you did not do wonders for a teenage girl’s self-esteem.
The summer before my senior year of high school I knew I wanted change. I embarked on a mission to lose weight before I graduated and had to go off into the world on my own. I dropped about 35 or 40 pounds before I graduated high school and continued on that path when I got out of school. When I went off to business school and was on my own, however, my mission turned into obsession and then developed into a full blown eating disorder. The fad diets and fitness preachings of the 90s weren’t always the healthiest and were, for the most part, counterproductive to a person’s fitness goals.
After enjoying a few years as a fit looking young woman, I got comfortable and the pounds started to creep back on even though I was still working out and trying to be mindful of the food I was eating. Then life happened. I had a triple whammy of bad things hit me all at once: My boyfriend at the time was transferred out of state with his job (later I found out he was also cheating on me), my grandfather died suddenly (he had bone cancer) and I was laid off from a job that I loved. I grew depressed and the pounds quickly piled on as I stopped working out regularly and instead I regularly consoled myself with chocolate and other goodies and on the weekends I numbed my pain with a huge bottle of wine. I became obese again.
During this time period, in my early 30s, I had the mindset that I was going to have to live with my “matronly” look for the rest of my life. The men that I dated during that time had the attitude that I should just be thankful that they would spend any amount time with me at all and that they were doing me a favor. They only wanted to see me “at their convenience,” and I bought into that attitude. I allowed them to treat me bad. Then I met someone who I thought was truly interested in me for me. He told me that I was the best decision he ever made. Then a week later, he dropped me like I was yesterday’s news for another girl.
After that blow, I knew I could not live like this for the rest of my life. I wanted change. I wanted to start treating myself with respect and I wanted others to start treating me with respect as well. I asked my mother to buy me a gym membership for Christmas that year. I was pretty timid at first. I just did the cardio machines for a while and then I started to venture into the weight room.
When the pounds started dropping, I used that as motivation to keep going harder. Soon after, I started finding all of these great resources online for workout routines and the use of free weights, barbells, kettlebells, and the cable machine. I found that my passion was with lifting weights. I like to lift. Not just because it makes me strong physically but because it makes me feel empowered and stronger on the inside. I like the way my body looks with muscle. I am still a work in progress but I am proud of how far I have come and where I am at in my journey today.
Some Q and A…
Adam: What would you tell a young woman who’s going through the same feelings and experiences you went through – regarding body image and health – that you were experiencing in High School and College?
Missy: I would tell all young women that they shouldn’t allow outside interference dictate how they feel about themselves which I know is easier said than done. I would say to focus on something outside of themselves. It may be fitness/sports related or it may be a hobby but I think one of the biggest things that is sorely lacking and contributing to the childhood obesity problem of today is a sense of accomplishment. When you feel proud of something you have done, it helps you to expand on to other things. When you don’t feel proud, you become unmotivated and stagnate.
Adam: What has blogging and resources like the SINS community and the Web given you?
Missy: Online resources such as SINS help me to obtain the information and knowledge I need to help reach my fitness goals. Plus there are the benefits of networking. I also belong to a fitness blogging group and we promote each others fitness/health related blogs. This in turn draws more traffic to each others blogs.
Adam: Anything else you want to add?
Missy: My blog has given me benefits that I wouldn’t even have dreamed imaginable four years ago. It is respected by the fitness professionals whose workout DVDs I review and they have posted my reviews on their own Facebook pages and Twitter. I also became a columnist for the online magazine Fytness Fanatik and have written several inspirational and thought provoking articles. The most exciting thing is that I realized my dream this year by having one of my articles go in the special print edition of the Fytness Fanatik magazine. The benefits of inspiring others on their own fitness journey are immeasurable. I have come a long way.
Great stuff, Missy. Thanks for all the hard work and for kicking off this series! I couldn’t think of anyone better to have done it!