Fitbloggin 2012: The power of “me too”

“Empathy is the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and dose it with empathy it cannot survive. The two most powerful words when we are in struggle: “me too.”
Brené Brown

Mara, me and Karen. Photo by Susan.

It took about two minutes to go from worrying that no-one to would get up to the mic at our Self Acceptance and Weight Loss discussion to wishing we could keep going all afternoon. It was a moving, magnificent tear-fest!

This live-blog post (thanks Kim!) gives you a feel of the session but for the full effect, just imagine a gigantic lump in your throat and an overwhelming urge to hug stranger-friends 😉


I don’t think it was just my overly-emotional brain but this year it felt like there was more curiosity about and embracing of the idea of self-acceptance. It’s easy to get tangled up in semantics and definitions, but from the stories I heard and conversations I had, so many of us are done with the whip-cracking, bullying approach and are being kinder with ourselves as we make healthy changes.

As Mara said at the time we didn’t want to leave everyone “on the edge of the cliff” after such an intense session, so we created a free e-book called Self Acceptance 101. We also wrote it so there’d be something for those not at the conference.

In the book we each address the questions posed in the discussion, including:

  • What does self-acceptance mean?
  • How can you make peace with your imperfections?
  • Does self-acceptance mean you’ll never lose weight?
  • How can we cultivate a community around love and acceptance instead of negative self-talk and comparison?
  • How can you begin to develop a blueprint for your life – that works for you – even when it doesn’t look a bit like anything you see anywhere else?

Many of my answers are things I’d meant to blog about but never quite managed to put into words. Nothing like deadline to put a fire under your butt, eh?!

You can download the e-book here. Hope you enjoy!

Huge cheers to everyone who came along to our session and to Roni Noone for the bold idea of ditching the traditional conference panel format, which resulted in a great space for a kickarse conversation.

Finally thank you to my buddies Karen Anderson and Mara Glaztel. I confess I developed huge crushes on them after last year’s conference, so to work with them on the e-book and discussion was one of those warm fuzzy I can’t believe this gets to be my LIFE! moments.

P.S. Just a warning, I have about ten posts brewing about this USA trip. Brace yourselves for unbridled enthusiasm!

Show me the Monet

Last year at Fitbloggin I thought to myself, I must get more organised with this blogging caper. Get myself an “editorial calendar” and schedule posts in advance like the pros, so there’s no tumbleweeds every time I skip town for a few days. But here we are sixteen months later and I’m more slackarse than ever!

Speaking of professional blogging, whenever I see the word monetizing I always think of the legendary Impressionist. Monetize your blog, yo! Add some brushstrokey lillies and watch the dough roll in!


Yesterday on the train ride to Baltimore I was fretting about our Self Acceptance and Weight Loss discussion. All these fears and disclaimers were running round in my head:

…. is there time to get a t-shirt printed that said Yes I’m Fat But I’m Feeling Good About Myself And Actually Losing Weight In A Slow And Mindful Way, Thanks.

… also, I don’t know what to wear.

… to be honest, I should have just stayed at home.

… who’s dumbarse idea was this?

Then of course I worried about having so many non-self-accepty thoughts. Who am I to faciliate a discussion on this topic?

But I finally remembered that this freaking out cycle always happens before any public event. Accepting that made it easier to sit back and let the emotions run riot for awhile, then get back in the present.

Susan Ito of Food Food Body Body fame did a brilliant performance piece last night that included her own freakout about coming to Fitbloggin a few pounds heavier than last year. She too had contemplated not coming. I got all choked up thinking about how common these feelings are; how we feel like we’re not good enough the way we are. These feelings and fears can be genuinely paralysing. Which makes it all the sweeter that so many wonderful people find the courage to show up anyway. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real, Susan said.

Here’s to showing up in all our imperfect glory and havin’ a good time!

Meeting Old School Bloggers And Their Cats Tour

Hello! I’ve been in North Carolina for the past few days with my longtime blog pal Denise on a wee Meeting Old School Bloggers And Their Cats Tour (Jennette, Lori and Marla) before we head to the Fitbloggin conference tomorrow. It has been bloody awesome but the jetlag has turned me into a jibbering fool so will just leave you temporarily with this pic of a cute little Venus fly trap from the botanical gardens today. I was so excited as I’d not seen one before and called Gareth later to share my joy but he was all, “yeah I’ve seen them at Dobbie’s Garden Centre” or somewhere, like it was no big deal. Pfffft!


Hello good people!

 Can you hear me out there? I think we’re all moved over now!

This is the last of my blogs to be migrated to WordPress and it’s a big relief. Since the archives are so old and creaky and moving from Typepad is notoriously painful I invested in help from Foliovision. If you have a huge, messy archive and are looking to escape I can highly recommend their Typepad to WordPress service.

If you spot anything weird or broken, please give me a shout. Woohoo!

Self-acceptance and weight loss: A call for questions

Just a month from today I'll be at the Fitbloggin conference to join the lovely Karen Anderson and Mara Glatzel to faciliate a discussion revolving round these juicy questions:

Are you afraid that self-acceptance means you'll never lose weight?

Does self-acceptance mean giving up?

As magnificent Mara beautifully put it today, it's all about…

Self-love and the desire to change.

Digging yourself utterly + completely and wishing for a little more out of your life.

I've puzzled over this topic many times these past couple of years. There's a desire to feel at peace with myself and my body, but at the same time there's things I want to change. Is this possible? Am I really a nutty dieter hiding in self-acceptance clothing? Am I some sorta self-acceptance sell-out if I want to lose some pounds? Am I throwing in the towel if I don't change a thing? Can't I have a foot in both camps? And what the heck does self-acceptance mean anyway?

It's a big, sprawling topic and the more Karen, Mara and I get Skyping about it, the more intriguing cans of worms we open. I think it could make for a really juicy discussion!

We are mere facilitators of the chat – so we'd love to get your thoughts and questions to help us shape it. We've noticed it's a topic that many folks in the blogosphere have pondered, so whether or not you're attending, please feel free to share your thoughts. Again I quote Mara…

  • What questions do YOU have about self-acceptance?
  • What has always irked you about conversations about self-love?
  • What feels too good to be true, and what do you need clarified?
  • How might you need to be better supported in order to be your best, most loving self?
  • What do you really wish people said out loud on the topic of self-acceptance?

You can us a shout in the comments, on the DG Facebook page or tweet me @shauna and you can bust out the hashtag #fitbloggin if you fancy.

In the meantime I'll be obsessively tweaking my Carry On Only packing list to avoid the lost luggage shennanigans of 2011. Also will make sure not to pack salad lest the Sniffer Beagle busts me again!

New Years Goals Check-in: September

I'm doing monthly updates on my New Year Goals.

The rest of September went well. No more mindless munching and a better handle on the basics. About bloody time! The mission has been, as a friend put it, "keep your head attached to your body"… no more retreating from reality when things are kinda stressful and uncertain. Good food and exercise endorphins go a long way. DERR!

October plans:

  • Kick butt on new post-Cycletta exercise plan (spinning, weights, Pilates)
  • Keep up the exercise during the Royal Mothership Visit (she touches down on Tuesday! Quick, scrub the bathroom!)
  • Watch the portion sizes and really pay attention to the hunger signals. Still overdoing it at times.
  • Continue work on Operation Morning Person. It's about the fifteenth attempt since I started this blog! But this time I've racked up two whole weeks of getting out of my scratcher at a respectable time, i.e. not half an hour before I have to run screaming out the door for work.

In other news: I've been nominated for Shape Magazine’s 2011 Best Blogger Awards in the Favorite Weight Loss Blog category. I'm but one on a long list of kickarse blogs so if you're looking for new reads why not have a gander. If you fancy voting all you have do is click and vote – no pound of flesh or email address required!

Bon weekend, groovers!

Two Fit Chicks Episode 27 – Kettlebells and Kindness

For your aural pleasure!After an unintentional 2.5 month absence there’s finally a new peisode of Two Fit Chicks And A Microphone for you – Episode 27 – Kettlebells and Kindness.

We spoke to the lovely Karen Anderson of Before & After: A Real Life Story about her path to self-acceptance and also her love for kettlebells. Karen is such a smart and thoughtful woman so the conversation flowed like BUTTER, baby!

Carla and I also talk about the Fitbloggin conference and finally meeting each other in person. Consider this a verbal recap as six weeks on I’ve still not managed to write about its goodness. Oh dear. As The Mothership used to say in flustered fashion, “I just haven’t had time to bless myself!”. I bet she doesn’t say that now she is retired 😉

Monthly review post coming soon! Hope you are doing well, groovers. How’s life?

Check out the podcast… if you dare 😀 »

Fitbloggin #1: Beagles and Walmarts

My Fitbloggin adventure got off to a slightly grumpy start when my connecting flight was cancelled, my luggage was lost and the US Customs Sniffer Beagle rightfully busted me for attempting to smuggle a tasty salad into the country.

I'd bought the salad at Edinburgh Airport to eat on the plane but never got round to it, so I thought I'd scarf it down by the baggage carousel before I officially entered the country at passport control. But noooooo, Sniffer Beagle had to go be really good at his job and stop me destroying American agriculture!

Beagle Note: sample Sniffer Beagle only.
I did not take photo of actual Sniffer Beagle, that would be illegal.

I eventually got to Baltimore by train, amused that it took 7 hours to get all the way from Edinburgh to Newark but 10 hours to get from Newark to Baltimore. Hehe.


Think I'll need to bust out the bullet points now…

  • I awoke at dawn but luckily there was a CVS and Whole Foods nearby so I could wander around jetlaggedly marvelling at American Goods. You can keep your Statues of Liberty and Yellowstone National Parks, give me your well-stocked drugstores and supermarkets. Swoon! Find of the day: Justins Peanut Butter Cups.
  • I met Carla! My beloved podcasting partner in crime. I opened the hotel room door and there she stood with her Pantene hair and beautiful smile, looking exactly like her Twitter avatar. But then she started moving and talking! It took me a good fifteen minutes to get used to her having three dimensions. After that awkwardness passed we yammered for hours as if we'd known each other for the cliched all our lives!
  • I met Denise! We go way back to the early 00s when we carved blog posts onto rocks with mammoth tusks. It was so good finally meet her. She generously offered to drive me to the shops to buy some workout clothes – I had enough normal clothes in my carry-on for a couple of days but no gear for the fitness activities coming up on Friday. Denise rules!
  • On the way to the car park I held open the door for someone with fabulous hair and it turned out to be Carrie! Another lovely person met from my Meet Or Bust list!
  • The Walmart Mini-Roadtrip was ace. It was peeing down with rain as we zoomed around Baltimore. The sky was black and lightningy, which almost made the Rapture billboards seem credible. BUT NOT QUITE.
  • I scored some great workout clothes at Walmart, saw the most enormous bottle of milk ever, and learned from the checkout lady that Governer Schwarzenegger had been a cheating git (I'd been out of the news loop awhile). Thank you again Denise for a great afternoon!
  • Afterwards I hid in my room for awhile to get psyched for The Room Full Of Stranger-Friends. I know I wasn't alone with the whole sneaking-back-to-your-room-to-recharge thing. It's weird you can be so delirious with anticipation to meet people yet utterly shitscared at the same time!
  • But once in the fray it was all okay. The conference kicked off with a Name Tag Social, in which we decorated our name tags and mingled. It was good fun – being a conference for people who blog about fitness, you could always find something to talk about.
  • Every was so friendly and real with none of the "And who are you?" dismissive glancing at your name tag that I've experienced at some events. It felt like we were all on equal footing… a really cosy, welcoming vibe.
  • At one point I confess… I had a wee Fat Girl Freakout. I said to Carla, "People keep looking at my STOMACH! I know I've stacked on the weight but dude, I think I need a t-shirt that says NOT PREGNANT, JUST FAT". Carla with her usual patient wryness replied, "Are you sure they're not just trying to read your name tag?"
  • By 8pm I had reached that deliciously delirious stage of jetlag where you love the world to bits. Good timing as I was lucky to wind up having a dinner with these extremely groovy folks – Carla, Charlie, Gail, Julie Julie, Kerri, Laurie, Lisa, Sean, Steve and TJ (please forgive me if I missed anyone, it was a big table!). Tasty burgers and hilarious times ahoy!
  • Back to the room… roomie Jennette had arrived! And she had brought an autographed Chocolate & Vicodin book and a jar of my favourite Trader Joe's Almond Butter. What a legend 🙂

There will be another Fitbloggin installment or two but I promise to keep it lean!

Fitbloggin was fab

That's all I can say right now! There are so many emotions and big things learned burbling away in my mind I feel like I'm about to explode, much like that bloody Icelandic volcano that threatens to prevent me getting home today. I've started five different posts but I don't think I'll be able to gather my thoughts properly until I'm back in Scotland and back with the good Dr G. So in the meantime I just wanted to say hello to you lovelies and to any Fitbloggin folks who stop by, thank you thank you thank you for a wonderful, wacky, welcoming weekend.

P.S. Just one of a gazillion highlights: meeting my podcast partner in crime in person 🙂


New Year Goals Check-In: April

I'm doing monthly updates on my New Year Goals. ONE THIRD of 2011 is now done and dusted!

The lovely Jennette wrote on her blog today:

I have often wondered if someone who's lost a ton of weight has to become a fitness and health fanatic for the rest of their life to keep it off, or if they can just integrate it into a normal part of the life that is not any more or less important than other things in their life.

Recently I was emailling with some podcast listeners about the Maintenance episode and we were pondering pretty much the same thing. The thought of having to be "hardcore" for the rest of your life was just totally depressing, quite frankly. But I've been thinking about it and I reckon what I've been doing this year is sustainable and realistic – healthy but not hardcore.

Sure, progress is happening at a glacial pace and thus I too shall be fat at Fitbloggin next week (loved Jennette's post there – ditto to all that!). But I feel so peaceful and positive right now, and a helluva lot happier than I did when I got to my so-called Happy Weight a few years ago.

Reasons why:

  • I'm not constantly thinking about food
  • I no longer feel like I'm on any sort of wagon, poised to fall off at the slightest wobble
  • I'm getting better every day at pausing before I eat to decide whether I am really hungry
  • I no longer fear losing control around food
  • There's no good or bad foods anymore. I'm starting to observe how different foods make me feel and choosing accordingly. Lately my body makes the choices more often than my mind, if that makes sense!?
  • I can now recognise when I am feeling upset or angry or tired rather than hungry. Sometimes I still eat anyway, but the ability to pinpoint the real emotion just plain rawks!
  • I'm getting better at doing what I need to do to feel sane and happy and not worrying about what others may think
  • I am getting better at being honest with myself e.g. Are you really sooooo busy or just can't be arsed to go kickboxing? 
  • I'm getting better at dealing with problems and issues as they arise, instead of letting them rot and/or eating to supress the feelings.

All this progress feels SO HUGE to me but the changes aren't quite as big on the outside yet. I have no idea where all this will lead in terms of my size. I feel it is more important to keep working on the problem, rather than the symptom. The emotional eating, not the weight loss. I don't want to screw that up and get all obsessive just to get back into The Jeans of 2007.

I'll be honest. I would like to lose some weight, simply to have more choice of clothes and to have less wobbles in the way when I exercise. But I am prepared to be patient and focus on being consistent and sane. Ahhhhhhhh 🙂

April highlights (aside from the Zumba ferret dude of course):

  • I hit my goal of exercising consistently, until the 'flu and a very loud and annoying cough slayed me in the last week
  • I hit my goal of consistently planning meals. Amazing how that half an hour of effort every fortnight brings so much freaking CALM and order to everyday life
  • I lost a grand total of one pound
  • Food diary is still humming along. I tell you it is so satisfying to a spreadsheet lover to see four months of entries filled in!

Hope your May is going smashingly so far!