Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Weighty Matters

Just a quick update on personal matters. I wanted to thank you all for your thoughts and comments regarding my injury. I've already been to a specialist (chiropractor, specifically) a couple of times and have another appointment scheduled for later this week. I'm happy to report that I think it's going to get me headed in the right direction. Whether or not I'll ever be what I should remains to be seen, as these are nearly life-long problems I've tried to deal with, but I'm happy to have some relief and am looking forward to hopefully getting back to something normal soon. In the meantime, I'm enjoying shorter rides and thankful that there haven't been too many doctor restrictions placed on me. :)
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Every now and again, I receive an email from someone who's happened upon the blog and who is curious why I don't focus more on size, or more exactly why I rarely discuss issues that come up for those who are larger than the average person on a bicycle. By larger, I don't mean taller - I mean wider.

My response is generally that I have touched on these subjects in the past (and likely will at some point in the future), and I am happy to offer any thoughts that a person might find useful, but the reality is that finding our way as individuals has more to do with our personal strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, experiences, preferences, and so on. In my mind, the beauty of riding a bike is that it is one of the few activities people of many different sizes and shapes can participate in without needing to *lose weight first.

Additionally, it's simply not how I choose to focus this particular space. Sure, once in awhile I go on a rant, but I think those moments come up in times of frustration with the way the general or even a specific portion of the population is treating another segment of the population. It's not that I don't have thoughts or opinions on such matters, but simply that I generally have other things on my mind.

Today is not one of those days. Today also isn't a rant, but just more of (hopefully) a discussion point that I hope others will offer personal opinions and thoughts on.

To be fair, I suppose I should provide some personal background (because of course everyone has bias) So, for those who haven't heard it before, I'll offer some information that definitely forms my opinions today.

I have never been a normal weight at any point in my life past the age of about 3-4 years old. I am the product of two (both formerly - as they've each returned to normal weight ranges in their aging years) obese parents whose idea of helping their children not grow up to be like them meant weighing them in each morning and telling them not to gain any more weight. Daily.
I was about 2.5 yrs old here - already with the chubby face.
I was given freshly squeezed carrot juice with echinacea drops from the local herbalist for breakfast (the most revolting thing I can recall drinking as a child - hello... would it be so bad to add in a piece of fruit to make it taste better??) and then shown that sitting down in the evening to a meal followed by an entire family sized bag of Doritos and a huge chocolate bar was perfectly acceptable.  It was what was considered healthy and balanced by my parental figures.

When I was about 8 years old, my mother decided that I needed to be involved with a sport or activity of some kind. After lots of searching, I decided I wanted to take tap lessons. But, tap classes didn't start for a few weeks and being the impetuous child I was, I decided instead on ballet because it started immediately.

You can imagine the horrors for a chubby kid in a ballet class. Most of the time I didn't realize that I was much bigger than the rest of the girls in class (thank goodness I had a kind teacher), but I recall my mother telling me to "cover up" after class when we'd stop at the grocery store, which only fed my insecurities. Other kids were walking around in leotards and tights. Why did I have to wear clothing over my clothes?

There were the pre-teen and teen years that found me trying to figure out how to get all of the fat off of my body. I went through eating disorders (including starving myself and binge/purging), I attempted to work all the weight off with hours of exercise, and I read countless Shape Magazines in an attempt to figure out what I was doing wrong. I was so obsessed with working out and losing weight that I literally did exercise in my sleep.

I recall the first time my mother came across my nocturnal workouts. One morning, she commented that I really needed to go to sleep at night and not be so concerned with sit ups and jumping jacks at midnight. Confused, I asked what she was talking about and we quickly realized that I was doing all of this in my sleep. Some people walk, some people talk, but for me, I was a sleep-exerciser. I actually do talk in my sleep occasionally too - but that is entirely off topic.
Just at the start of high school in this photo. I recall my mother telling me not to wear this particular top, but I was definitely in the rebellious stage and didn't care.
At the start of my freshman year of high school, my mother took me to the local Jenny Craig in attempt to get the fat off of me. It was a new craze and I was "too large" and needed to "get it together" if I was going to have any kind of normal life. I tried. I really, really tried to make it on this program. I lost a few pounds, but when the weight didn't come off as expected, I started "fixing" the way I worked the system. I wouldn't eat the day before a weigh in and then gorged immediately after I saw the scale drop a bit. Eventually, my mother said the program wasn't working and she wasn't going to pay for it any more.

In high school, I found a friend with similar body issues and I drug her in to my ridiculousness. We ate baby food in an attempt to control portions. We met up at the track to run off the excess - though I'm not sure how much was leftover from a small jar intended to nourish an infant, not a growing teen. I tried desperately never to eat unless I absolutely had to do so, which inevitably led to eating too much and then feeling guilty or as though I had no self-control.

Through all of this, it should be noted that I was never an athlete. I was always picked last or nearly last (occasionally, a friend took pity on me) any time we played team sports. It didn't help that I am uncoordinated and a bit of a klutz. But, I knew that wasn't why I wasn't being chosen last as there were plenty of klutzy youths on the field. I was being judged for my size. Even teachers encouraged students to put me in a position that didn't require much of me. It was as though I was expected to do nothing.

As I moved through my young years, I recall my parents telling me that I would always be judged in anything I did because of my size. I would likely be turned down for jobs, men would find me unattractive, I wouldn't be able to do anything physical, and the likelihood of ever finding a partner in life was highly implausible. In short, I learned that if I was going to survive life, I either had to lose all of what society deemed excess weight or start to hide.

I don't recall a point in my life that I didn't feel that others where judging me by my weight. I suppose it's why I felt the need to prove myself as I grew into adulthood. I became more stubborn and determined to prove that my weight was not limiting my accomplishments.

My first attempt at kickboxing actually wasn't in the last few years. My first kickboxing round took place just after the end of high school. The friend that I'd conned into my bizarre diet plans talked me into going to a class with her. As it turned out, I actually liked it. I enjoyed the fact that I couldn't move my arms for days after. I loved that I was able to push myself to a point of near-break. I had never in my life felt so sore - and I absolutely loved it.

But, I was young, working two jobs and going to college, so I really couldn't afford (nor did I have the time) to continue going. After a short time, I had to give it up. In fact, I gave up all activity. All I had time to do was focus on work and school. It was all about survival.

One of my jobs was working at a restaurant, so I had easy access to food. It wasn't so much that I was eating all the time, but what I was eating that did me in. I packed on the pounds and even though I tried to get in the occasional workout, it was tough because I was already sleeping less than 4 hours a night.
On a ride to Carter Lake not too long ago.
As adulthood carried on, I started to find my own truths. I realized that it's okay to eat like a normal human, meaning that starving myself did nothing but push the scale in a direction opposite of my intentions. I also came to understand that it's just as important to find something active that I enjoy. I knew that I would never be the picture of perfection that so often graces the cover of magazines, but on some level I truly believed that it was possible to be something that genetically I simply am not.

I share all of this not because I feel a need to explain myself or for some sort of sympathy, but because it forms my thoughts today. While I have a more balanced viewpoint of all things body-related today, these formative times stay with a person. I have worked hard (and continue to do so) in adulthood to overcome the seeds planted in my youth. It is why when I was sent a link to this **article about Amanda Bingson I thought I'd love to delve into this topic a bit.
Amanda Bingson
*Image from ABC
If you haven't heard of her, Ms. Bingson is a hammer thrower for the 2016 Olympic team. She is also not the typical body type the public has grown used to seeing as a representative of Olympic athletes. At 5'5" (1.67m) and 210 lbs (95.25kg) most of the population would consider her fat or overweight. There have been other Olympians who have held extra pounds (such as Holley Mangold), as well as other athletes (see this article for great examples) who are representatives for those who work hard at their sport(s), but simply don't fit the stereotypical mold. But, alas, they are few and far between when it comes to seeing these faces gracing the pages of magazines.

Most of us are taught from a young age to never judge a book by its cover, yet we all have done it at some point in our lives. I also have belief that a 210 pound athlete is a far cry from a 210 pound couch potato. Bingson describes herself as "dense," and I definitely understand those thoughts. I've noticed in myself that weight itself seems to change very little, but the composition of my body can change dramatically, depending on what I'm doing and how hard I'm doing said activity.

One of the things Bingson said struck me as unusual in today's world. She states, "I'll be honest, I like everything about my body." How rare it is to come across anyone, particularly a female, of any size or shape who says she actually likes her body. She notes that she didn't really know what "fat" meant until middle school, stating that it was a school yard boy who pointed out that she was larger than others. Thankfully, she had enough sense to realize that there was nothing wrong with her body. That she is athletic and strong.

If you haven't yet read the interview with Bingson, please go and give it a read. It's short, but a perfect representation of who I would hope young people are aspiring to be. I'm not holding her as an example because she happens to be bigger than some athletes, but rather because she's using the body she has to accomplish her goals and doesn't fit the typical mold for an athlete. What better message to be sent to our nation's youth than to tell them they don't have to look like air-brushed super models to achieve great things?

She's a great representative for adults as well. It's easy to want to force our bodies into becoming something they were never meant to be. As someone who's struggled her entire life trying to make my body conform to what I'm told it should be, I appreciate women like Bingson who remind us that, "You might be prettier or skinnier than me, but I'll kick your ass in a game of one-on-one." We all have our strengths and abilities and I look forward to a day when we aren't judging each other based on what the scale says or what we look like, but because of who we are and what we are capable of doing and achieving.

Do you have any favorite athletes who you think represent where we should be heading? What do you think about the images we typically see in media regarding size, weight, ability and so on? I'd love to hear what you think about anything this topic touches on.
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*For the record, I think anyone of any size can do whatever s/he is capable of doing. However, I've definitely seen doctors who insist I shouldn't run because of my size. If my body is cooperative and not giving signs that I'm doing damage, I think running, climbing, kayaking, or whatever activity a person chooses is one s/he should do.

**Thanks to Sam for sending the link to this article my way.

21 comments:

  1. My gosh, your history with food makes me want to cry. You see, I love food. Seriously, if you think about how food motivated your typical dog is, you've got a pretty good image of me. I love to eat, and I find myself thinking about food a lot. A. Lot.

    In spite of that (except for a few years in my 30s when I was finishing my dissertation and packed on about 25 pounds), I've always been on the thin side. That's not to say that I have always been fit. Not at all. People often confuse "thin" and "fit." After working really hard to lose the dissertation weight, I began to become fit for the first time in my life, and rediscovering biking was a big part of that. I bike; I eat; I get fit and stay happy. It's all good.

    Now where was I going with all of this? Oh yes. I wanted to say how very much I love that picture of you at Lake Carter. You look happy. Happy people are attractive, at least to me. You also look fit. I mean it: You look like someone who can make it through a kick boxing class without collapsing, like someone who can climb a mountain on a bike and still be smiling. Riding your bike, happy and fit, what more could you want?

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    1. That was certainly not my intention to make anyone cry. Granted, I don't have the best history with food, but I think I've grown tremendously since my youth and learned to not think of food as the enemy. I'm always happy to meet people who have a good and positive relationship with food and I'm always sad to hear someone say they "can't" have something. At this point in life, nothing is off limits to me (unless I have an allergy to it). Denying myself certain foods in the past only created more problems, so I'm glad to know that I can have a cookie if I want it and it isn't the end of the world.

      I think being fit is far more important than a number on the scale - whatever a persons size. There are valuable strengths that come for those who have larger structure and there are certainly benefits to those who don't carry as much. I wish that as a society we could reach a point that we would just appreciate each others abilities and not condemn each other.

      I agree that I like to see happy people. I don't think that a persons size has anything to do with that. We all have bad days, but I'm drawn to those who are enjoying life in all its forms.

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  2. I started my blog The Rubenesque Cyclist, in part, as a place for overweight women to learn more about cycling, because I was fielding a lot of bicycle questions on a weight loss board I participate in. Overweight women who are trying to find an activity they can enjoy are often self-conscious about walking into a bike shop to ask for help finding the right bike (even tho I think most bike shop staff are just overjoyed to help anybody pick out a bike!). However, size acceptance or whatever isn't my personal political platform. I just want to ride a bike and have fun, and I guess I'm just tired to death of worrying about my weight/size so I've kinda quit thinking about it. But I'll do anything I can to help a fat girl, or anybody else, ride a bike! P.S. I like the nude art photos of Amanda Bingson doing the hammer throw.

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    1. Iris, I've missed seeing your posts... but, I understand not wanting to focus entirely on size either. It can reach a point that it feels as though I just want to do what I'm doing. I think the reality for me is that I don't think there's a reason to focus entirely on the subject. I'm happy to help anyone as you've said, but I'm not on a political mission either. I think more than anything I'm fascinated that so many people like to point out someone who is larger though. It happens with some regularity to me personally and I kind of just want to punch people who feel the need to do this (for the record, I would never punch someone for making a comment to me).

      I'm completely with you... I just want to enjoy being on my bike (and I do). :O)

      I think the photos of Amanda are great too. I love that they didn't change any of it because she's larger than the other athletes (all of the ESPN profiles are actually interesting to read).

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    2. I just realized that your blog has somehow disappeared from my side bar! Working on getting it back as I'm not sure why it went away?!

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  3. My wife worries about this a lot. She is probably in at least the top 5 percentile and maybe even a top 1 percentile in regards to her fitness for women "her age" and the time she devotes to working out each week. I think she looks great. Still, she is not a skinny Vogue model type. I tell her not all men like "skinny-stick" like figures. I don't. But she tells me I am one of the few, and that most men would disagree with me. I know many men do favor a slim figure, but I would not agree it is most. Many of us prefer curves. I too think Amanda B. looks awesome.

    I tell my wife to a certain extent the weight issues women feel are brought upon women by themselves. That they are their own harshest critic and they are often the hardest on other women that are not slim. She begrudgingly agrees - at least a little bit.

    My wife's personal trainer has also encouraged my wife to focus on fitness and she shared her weight with my wife (I don't know what it is but apparently much higher than my wife expected. You can search "twobadbodies" to find her Instagram of Facebook to see her). I think her PT is about the fittest woman I have ever seen. To think Madison Avenue or Hollywood or most women in America would think she weighs too much is be ludicrous - something that needs to change!

    It is good to see this discussion amongst women, because I truly feel it is women as much as men that need to come to terms with the validity of modern values about weight. I'm glad to see women like Iris taking the issue on. For god's sake, it is only in the past 75 years or so that anyone worried about trying to be super slim. There is a 100,000 years of human history that preceded this modern fad where carrying some weight was considered a positive and was associated with prosperity.

    I like that you all make the distinction between fit and carrying weight. I do believe we can all feel better with exercise and I think cycling is an avenue to better health and feeling better. I will never argue anyone should be sitting on the couch watching TV all day.

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    1. I think there is definitely a distinction - or at least there should be - between weight and fitness. As Kendra pointed out earlier, I've known lots of unfit "thin" people in my life, but because they look to have a reasonable height to weight ratio, no one hassles them.

      I've had so many personal run-ins with people on the street because of my size that sometimes I just want to scream. I've asked Sam if I'm some sort of magnet for these people because I'm amazed at how many strangers will make comments to me.

      For example:
      One day about a year and a half ago, I decided to go for a run. Now, normally I go to the gym for this activity because I have a knee that isn't in the best shape, so the cushion of the treadmill helps. Anyway, on this day, I decided to run outside. As I was rounding the corner to head back home, a guy in a truck started following me. I had headphones in so I wasn't really paying any attention to the noises around me, but then I realized he had slowed to keep pace with me. I looked over my shoulder and could see his mouth moving, so I mistakenly took my headphones off at which point he proceeded to lecture me about running outside because of my size. It took everything in me to not tell him to go f*@! himself - believe me. But, I'm also not in the habit of starting fights with strangers (or anyone for that matter). Anyway, I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was kind of annoyed that it was a 10 minute delay in my run. Plus, who does that?!

      I have to say, I think women are hardest on each other though. We are simply cruel to one another, and I'm not entirely sure what we think it's proving? We tear each other down instead of trying to encourage each other - and it's truly awful. I'm not saying every woman on the planet does this, but it's far too common.

      Just today I was out walking around with shorts and a yoga top that has a split in the back. A woman and her daughter were walking behind me at one point and I heard them start laughing. Didn't think anything of it until I walked by a window and saw the reflection of the two of them pointing at me, after which they were (not very quietly) telling each other that I shouldn't be wearing that and they would be so embarrassed if they were me. Seriously? I'm walking around in shorts that are two inches above my knee and a cotton blend short sleeved shirt that just so happens to have a split in the back so you see maybe an inch of my lower back. So what? Yes, my legs are bigger than most humans on the planet - so what? I have no idea what sort of genetic freak-mix made them, but I have them and I live with them. They may be large, but they are also strong. I wanted to turn around and say, "Keep it up and you'll find out how strong these 'big legs' are." I didn't, but I so desperately wanted to. Plus, seriously lady, what are you teaching your daughter?

      It's not the first time a stranger has commented on my attire either. It never ceases to amaze me that complete strangers will walk up and feel it is their duty to tell me that I "shouldn't" wear what I'm wearing. You'd think I walk around with short-shorts and crop tops, but seriously, I'm just wearing normal, summer clothing. Ugh.

      Okay... anyway I'm ranting now. :O)

      I'm not sure where I was going with this, other than I agree that women are far harder on each other than men are on us. It has been rare in my life that a man has said something to me about my size, but women seem to think it's perfectly acceptable.

      Fitness comes in all sizes and shapes. :O)

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    2. G.E., I think you showed a lot of reserve and maturity by not responding to both incidents by firing off both barrels. Probably more reserve than I could have mustered. I think you were right to do so and I believe your energy is better spent by using this blog and other venues to make people aware of the issues and the need for many of us to reign in our comments and judgements of others.

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    3. I can't believe how rude people are! That's completely outrageous. I'm with Augsburg: I admire the restraint you showed in not blasting these idiots. Can you imagine how insecure a person would have to be to act like that?

      I get why you don't want to focus on size and weight issues. I come to this blog for lots of reasons: I love your "voice," value your bike expertise, enjoy following along on your adventures and experiments. So, yeah, I see why you don't want to be a one-issue blogger. But I'm also grateful that you raise questions like this from time to time.

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    4. Augsburg - It took a lot to not say or do anything, but I find that I am a magnet for these sorts, so in many ways, I'm kind of used to it.

      Kendra - Yes, people can be very rude. Thankfully, not everyone behaves like these fools. :O)

      I suppose I just haven't felt the need to focus on size/weight, but occasionally something comes up and it reminds me that size-ism (am I making up words?) is a very real prejudice (unfortunately, like many others) that holds on today.

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    5. G.E., I'm a rabble-rouser from the 60's/70's, so I can't help myself but to say this.

      What I am going to say won't be easy. Social change never comes without paying a price. I can remember as a teenager tucking my long hair up under my cap so I would not get beat up by locals when I visited my grandparents in a small town in Idaho. Today, my hair is much shorter and many of the "long hairs" reside in small towns and rural America. Things do change.

      Here you go: Over time, as you make a decision on whether to run "outside" or base your decision on what to wear taking into account the comments of that mother and daughter - if you alter your behavior because of them, they win.

      It won't be easy, but go ahead and do what you feel is appropriate. Wear the clothes you like and let small-minded people be damned.

      And for those of us that witness the kind of remarks you were subjected to, we need to find a polite way to let those people know those kind of remarks are not acceptable. It means taking on a little conflict, but in the end justice will be served. Making a difference is something we all need to be willing to own up to.

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    6. Ah, rabble-rousers. :O)

      What amuses me is that if these people think they're somehow going to stop me from wearing/doing/saying what I want, they are sorely mistaken. If anything, it just pushes me to do more of what I'm doing. I've never liked being told that I can't/shouldn't do something, so it really just spurs me on {Ask my mother - even to this day she swears I just do the opposite of whatever she says - which is only partially true ;) }. Even today, I put on my running ensemble and looked in the mirror and thought, "This would really piss my mother off," then smiled and walked out the door anyway. I don't want to paint my mother (or parents) as bad people - they did what they could with the tools they had and with their capabilities - but for someone like me who wanted to dress in some really bizarre choices (I think every pre-teen and teenager experiments with clothing, hair, etc though) and was constantly told that it wasn't "appropriate" or didn't "look good," or that it made me "look fat," I started rebelling even harder with the choices made. I have always believed that I was entitled to my own voice and opinion and didn't appreciate being told to tone it down. Anyway, today's choice of workout attire was not exactly slimming, but I also don't care. It's comfortable and stays put, so I can run without constantly pulling up my pants or pulling down my shirt.

      Where was I going? I seem to get going on one tangent and then forget where I was originally heading. I think I was getting to the point that I can see that social change is a very difficult thing to see happen. I am a live-and-let-live sort of person, but when something is wrong, it's very difficult for me to hold my tongue. As much as I want everyone to be able to explore and be who they are, I don't think it's acceptable at the cost of someone else, their wellness (emotionally, physically, etc), their well-being, and so on. In other words, I'm not so peace-loving that I wouldn't speak up when it is necessary or right. I think I stop myself when it happens to me directly because I question whether it will do anything beneficial. Sure, I might feel better in that moment (always good -momentarily anyway- to tell someone where to stick it), but I think that it just gives that person the power they were looking for, and I'm definitely not okay with that. While I'm not a horribly confrontational person, I'm not going to let someone be abused or mocked by another person either.

      Your thoughts (and everyone's) are always welcome here... so please don't ever feel as though you shouldn't say something or be concerned that it will offend. If I'm confused or it seems unclear, I'll ask for clarification, or if it's really offensive, I'll probably just delete it (though I don't think I've had to do that yet)... or I'll YELL AT YOU WITH BIG LETTERS. :O) Okay, I probably won't yell - though when I get worked up, my voice does tend to escalate, so maybe I should start typing that way?

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  4. Nooo! It ate my comment. Thanks for writing this! I had a similar upbringing, my parents had been gym rats before I was born and started panicking when they realized they were going to have a fat daughter. So many weird diets, like that super low fat '90s one (we all went on it so they could 'set an example') that made my mom's hair start thinning, and as seen on tv and garage sale exercise equipment that I'd be shouted at to ride faster and faster. It always seems like such a controversial statement to be kind to your body instead of fighting against it, but food can be enjoyable and movement can be joyful. I wish I had found that out sooner. One of the reasons I love riding my bike is I don't have to compete against anyone and nobody can tell me I'm doing it wrong.

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    1. I'm so sorry... the comment-eater doesn't ever seem to go away. I'm glad you were able to re-try though.

      I think I've been on just about every diet imaginable - most of them before the age of 16. The grapefruit diet, the Loma-Linda, Richard Simmons diet, Slim-Fast... I don't think I can even remember all of them there were so many. I recall one that was (I think) called the 8-day diet. Every day was a different food and that's all you could eat. One of the days was 8 bananas and 8-8oz glasses of milk for the day. That one always stands out in my mind because as a kid I didn't like bananas (I do now, but hated them then), so that day might as well have been a fasting day. Then there was a day of only green vegetables, and others that were similar. I just remember having a lot of headaches from not getting enough nutrition.

      Agreed. Riding a bike is fantastic. I think what I love about it is that I don't have to compete with anyone, or I can if I choose. So many different uses and whether I'm just getting myself around town or trying to race my past time up a hill, I always (well, most always anyway) enjoy myself. :O)

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  5. Blogger ate my comment too. Bad Blogger! Will try and re-collect my thoughts later.
    Meanwhile... not really about size as such but several things you've said reminded me of this, which struck a super strong chord with me and still does: http://thatemilychappell.com/2014/12/legs/

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    1. I don't think the comment eating is anything that will be resolved. According to the guy helping me, it has to do with requirements now for everyone and browser cookies. I still strongly recommend copying comments before actually publishing (but I know that you shouldn't have to do this and it's a giant pain, so I'm genuinely apologetic).

      Love this post you've linked. Absolutely wonderful - and again, happy to read about someone who can appreciate her body's capabilities and not bash it. I think I've always appreciated the strength of my legs --- I could just do without all of the excess that isn't muscle. :O) In part, this isn't just vanity either; it does cause physical issues. I've considered at various points looking into having surgery, but I think I'm more afraid of losing use of my legs (I've seen and read too many stories about someone going in for a tummy tuck or some other unnecessary surgery and then nearly dying or having an arm or leg amputated afterwards). I would have to have the utmost confidence in the surgeon. Plus, I'm not sure they'd actually do anything to help me because they'd want me to lose weight first, and that just starts a vicious cycle.

      Anyway, I really think there is a fantastic message in the post in that we should have appreciation and care for our bodies rather than feeling the need to fit some mold that others try to tell us we should fit. Loved it... will have to bookmark it to read again later. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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    2. Not sure why, but I find that when I write a comment using the laptop, it never gets eaten. Only when I use the iPad. In any case, I've gotten in the habit of copying my comment before hitting "publish" just in case.

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    3. I don't quite understand it either, Kendra, but I've had the same experience. Anything that is a laptop sort of device (I have a Chromebook and that seems to work fine too) seems to let the comments through, but desktops seem to have the problem.

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    4. I think losing the comments has to do with how your log in is saved in your browser and on your computer or tablet. It an be affected by privacy and security settings and whether you are using iOS, OS X, Chrome, Android or Explorer on a Windows machine. All of the big tech firms (Google, Yahoo, etc.) are in a brawl to keep you logged in to "their" system so they can track your browsing habits for directing ads to your FB, etc. I even see ads related to our browsing history come up on our cable TV! If you visit different webpages at different times, and/or reboot your device, your log in can change. I lose comments too - even though the blog page initially shows I am logged in. After several episodes of frustration, I learned to copy the text before submitting for preview or publish. It is a bother, but I can then paste my comments back in if they are lost. Every time I do this, I curse the big tech companies for their intrusion into our lives . . .

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    5. Yes, that is what the Google people have said as well, so I would say you are very much correct. They don't really have a fix for it, but as you've said, I don't think they really want to fix it either. I think the best bet is to copy before publishing - particularly if it's a long comment. I've done it myself and then lost the comment which is entirely frustrating, but it saves a lot of re-typing/re-thinking. :O)

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  6. Having dieted and gained, I sympathize. The closest I came to keeping it off was with something close to weight watchers. I kept the pounds off 2 years that way and kept pounds off 10 years during my ballroom dance years. Its a proven fact that extreme diets won't keep weight off because out female bodies store fat well and keep it longer when it perceives a "food shortage" and takes much longer to slowly lose weight. Eliminating fat, sugar and starches helps, then eating reasonable portions of vegetables, fruits and meat/poultry. Nothing works unless there is a system you can use throughout life and stay active.

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Word verification is on, but I've turned off the moderation portion in an attempt to make it easier for you to know that your comment has indeed made it through. We'll see how this goes, but I'm hopeful that this will help out and I'll try my best to weed through and remove spammers comments. Additionally, I recommend copying comments before hitting publish as the "blogger comment eater" seems to continue his snacking.