It’s called Couch to 5K, but I’m pretty sure that the person who named the program didn’t assume that the person in question was in a relationship with said couch that was so complex and intimate it was basically Couch-eo and Juli-Bec. My understanding of C25K is that it is intended for people who don’t run to start running, doing so gradually to build strength and endurance.

What I’m looking for is Morbidly Obese to 5K. Because it’s not that same thing. Run for 30 seconds? Kiss my…couch. Being an AOUS (Athlete of Unusual Size) poses many challenges, some of which all athletes face and some which are decidedly unique to the plus size exerciser.

I didn’t gain weight overnight. It took 28 years of yo-yo dieting and sedentary living to achieve, and the lack of exercise is a huge part of that. For years, I hated exercise in all its forms. Being fat and working out do NOT go hand in sweaty hand. As a  larger person, there are physical and emotional aspects of working out that make me run… errr, saunter… in the opposite direction. But, that needs to change in order to change my life. And writing my I am post definitely helped me to work things out in my head, so I’m hoping this will help get me past my exercise aversion again.

When I decided to write this post, I knew I wanted someone to write it with me, and I knew I wanted that someone to be Anne. Anne will keep it funny, and snarky, and she won’t let me be too much of a Pollyanna. But mostly, Anne will keep it real. Anne and I are signed up to run our first half marathon together next year. Anne and I take turns freaking out and trying to bail. Anne and I are a little codependent. And? We’re both ‘big’ girls. (Anne is giving me that look… the one that says ‘Bec, don’t try and pretty it up…just say fat.’)

So, if you’ve ever been out for a run and seen the ‘fat chick’ chugging along, sweating and looking like she’s going to die… if you’ve ever gone to the gym and seen that really big girl trying to do strength training… and if you’ve ever wonder what it’s like to be those people… well, this is what it’s like for these two fat chicks.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a list of excuses as to why we can’t work out.

Additional disclaimer: One of the authors of the post may be using this as such.

Pre- Workout

Plus Size Workout Clothes

Anne – Workout clothes are my own personal Kryptonite, as far as Fat Girl Workout Related Disasters go. Let’s be real, the right clothes for the job make the job a whole lot more comfortable. I’ve managed to cobble together a workable wardrobe of yoga pants and tops that usually get the job done, even if they lack all of the fancy bells and whistles that my thin friends can get for $12 at Target. The problem is, since I’m essentially working out in yoga pants and a t-shirt, there’s not much to stop me from turning my workout clothes into lounge clothes. Now, when I see my favorite workout pants, I don’t think “oh! I should go for a run!” I think “Hey! Guacamole sounds good!” or maybe “Ooh! A nap!”

Bec – Sometimes I think that Plus Size Activewear is as much an oxymoron as Jumbo Shrimp… which sounds delicious right now. You need fat girl clothes, take a right, the small section in the back. You need workout clothes, take a right, not as small section in the front. You need fat girl workout clothes… wait, you need what? Yeah. Plus size activewear is not easy to find, even online. In stores, it’s damn near impossible. And if you want it to be cute? Just don’t go there. Currently, my workout wardrobe consists of a couple pairs of ill-fitting running pants I ordered online and a bunch of men’s t-shirts. My face, you guys. I’m supposed to be cuter than this.
Sports Bras

Bec – I’ll admit, I feel like a bad Fat Kid on this topic. We did a Chick Chat a few months ago where I admitted that not only have I been able to find a sports bra that I love, I bought it at the Target that is five minutes from my house. Don’t hate me.

Anne  – I am convinced that no one in the sports bra industry actually has breasts. I can’t think of another valid explanation for why said industry has decided that my breasts don’t really exist. The thing is, I have the weight equivalent of a small toddler attached to my chest, so a sports bra is tied with “the right shoes” as the most important thing I put on before going for a run. So far, I’ve struck out at every retailer in a 30 mile radius. My best bet is to drive 50 miles one way to find a bra that isn’t actually the right size, but gets the job done, as long as I don’t take deep breaths.

Oh sure. I can go online. Are we sensing a trend here? I’m too fat, my breasts are too big. They don’t want me in this club.  I don’t even know who “they” is, I just know that before I can even get dressed to join in, I’ve been properly body shamed into wanting to curl up in bed with a Cadbury bar and Jennifer Weiner’s entire body of work.

During the workout


Bec – Last week at my Weight Watchers meeting, the leader discussed ‘the ripple effect’ and I was pretty sure she was going to show a video of me running. (She didn’t. Thank goodness.) Because there is a lot of…movement… that occurs when I run. In Zumba class, everything is supposed to be shaking, so it doesn’t feel quite so obvious. But on a run? It feels very obvious. I know that no one is watching me run, and that no one cares what I look like while I’m running. But still.

Anne – There’s nothing quite like feeling your every step reverberate through your entire body to add a little spice to a workout. I tend to lead with my jiggly bits, so I imagine that seeing me run from the front looks like a grown-up version of the Truffle Shuffle. I’ve embraced the jiggle, for the most part. Maybe it burns more calories?

Extra weight

Bec – I read something, probably on twitter, that said for every pound of extra weight on your body, it’s like 4 extra pounds on your knees and 8 extra pounds on your back. Which, I’ll admit, I thought had to be bull. But, I did some research… and it looks like it’s true. This article provides data on Osteoarthritis and knee pain and the links to obesity, and this article  relates obesity to back pain. We are by no means giving out medical advice here, but to me, this makes sense and helps to explain why I hobble down my stairs in the morning.

So, if day to day living with extra pounds is painful, think about working out while carrying the physical weight of two people. It hurts. Everything hurts. And when things hurt? They don’t feel good.

Anne – Personally, I’m pretty pain-avoidant. So when I’m doing something that hurts, I’m already going against my natural instincts. But when I’m doing something that I know will continue to make me hurt for a few more days? I’m basically turning off every survival instinct I have.

Post workout


Bec – I didn’t even know this was a term until a few weeks ago when a girlfriend of mine, rather gifted in the boobage area herself, told me about a product she had tried that was amazing for ‘swoob’. I didn’t need an explanation, certainly I’m no stranger to boob sweat, but it did make me giggle. Swoob sounded almost cute.

It’s not cute, of course. Boob sweat is gross, as are its friends, Swass and Swelly. I know swoob isn’t just a fat girl issue. I’m sure that most female athletes get the swoob. I just feel like I probably get more, and that I am swoobtastic earlier on in my workout.

Anne – Oh, Sweaty Underboob, we truly have a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, if I’m that sweaty, I must have been working hard, right? That’s a good thing! On the other hand, there is really no delicate way to sop up swoob, you guys. I mean, sure, when Bec and I get our half-marathon on, I’m sure I’ll have no problem re-adjusting the girls and getting rid of the excess sweat in front of her. At a 5K I’m running with male co-workers? Probably not my best plan. The kicker is, when I do a 5K with friends, we tend to bundle it with a breakfast after. So while we’re sitting around the table, laughing and basking in the glow of a race well-run, I am also marinating in a sea of funk. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to air things out in a cramped restaurant bathroom stall.
Chub Rub

Anne – For a fat girl, I have really good legs. I credit this to my dad, who also has great legs. Sadly, I will never be found zipping along a race route in one of those cute running skirts. If you were horrified at the idea of having to air out my upper bits post-run, you would be absolutely scandalized at the sight of me icing down my inner thighs to ease the burn of Chub Rub. The nice thing about Chub Rub is that it is the gift that keeps on giving. Swoob I can sop up and move on with my day. Chub Rub burns for days.

Bec – Ouch.

So listen. If you’re obese and trying to change that and you’ve faced some of these challenges, we feel you. I don’t think we have anything unique to offer in terms of advice, but we feel your pain.

And here’s the thing. All of those things that make it difficult to work out when you’re fat? We’ve got to suck them up and work out anyway.

If the extra weight and jiggle are problematic for you, find a local pool. Water workouts are effective, easy on the joints, and no one can see what’s shaking underwater.

Wear two sports bras if you have to. Rock those ugly sweatpants and too big tshirt until something cuter fits. Know that the reason they don’t make a ton of plus sized workout clothes is because most people assume that fat chicks don’t exercise. Prove them wrong.

Get yourself some anti-chafing products for the rub and some anti moisture products for the swoob. Or don’t. Be sweaty. Be funky and jiggly and dripping sweat and proud. Because in spite of the obstacles, you’re doing it. You are bettering yourself.

So, let’s all get out there and put the athlete in Fathlete! (Anne just rolled her eyes at me. And I totally deserved it).

The Power of Words

Two weeks ago, I sat down and wrote a post. It was a candid, no holds barred look into my life as a morbidly obese woman. Those words were hard to write. Every one of them was a little piece of me, bared to the world, encapsulated on a screen. My fears. My regrets.

My weight.

Those words were meaningful to me, and based on the tremendous amount of supportive responses I got, they were meaningful to other people as well. I had to have Meri actually publish the post for fear I wouldn’t be able to hit the button. I wanted to erase the words, to take them back, as if doing so would make it less real, would make it all go away.

It wouldn’t have. Those realities don’t go away. They will change, when I change them, but they will never cease to be exactly where I was on that day.

The response was incredible. As soon as the post was published, my phone immediately starting buzzing. Tweets, emails, blog responses, Facebook notifications, texts, IMs from people in my office who I am FB friends with.

I couldn’t look right away. I didn’t know what the words coming in were, but I knew they would be too much. And when I did look? They were too much. Wonderful, kind, empathetic… but overwhelming. I cried more times than I can count. It took me days to fully process all of the messages, and days more to respond in a manner befitting the words that were given to me.

I’m so grateful to each one of you that reached out. I’m so touched that people found inspiration in that post, or solace at the idea that they were not the only one with those feelings. I’m so incredibly lucky to have such wonderful people in my world.

I gave myself a few more days to process how I was feeling, and then I started to ask myself some questions.

That is where I am, how do I get where I want to be?

I could sit here wishing I’d done things differently, wishing that I’d had the courage to face my demons years ago, but it wouldn’t change anything. I could blame the people in my life that failed me, blame the diet industry and the food industry for making me fat and keeping me that way, but it wouldn’t change anything. I could sit on my couch with my buddies, Ben and Jerry, crying about how hard it all is, but it really wouldn’t change anything.

Or I could build a bridge and get over it.

How am I going to change habits that are twenty eight years in the making?

I can change, but not without help. I am a prideful person, independent, and I hate needing help. But I need help. And my very wise lifelong best friend gave me some words this morning.

“If you need help, get help.” Right. I love you, Jen.

What diet do you try when you’ve tried every diet?

It doesn’t matter. Some are better than others, some are truly healthier than others, but at the end of the day, this isn’t about the diet. It’s about my commitment to doing what needs to be done, and about knowing that when something isn’t working, you find something else that will. It’s about me making the decision to change my life and my health. (I spent the better part of the last week trying to decide what was the best way to go about this, and I have a plan…you all know how I LOVE a plan. I’m not ready to talk about the plan just yet, but I have one.)

So, I’m going to  get help and work on forgiving  myself. I’ve made a commitment. And I’ve got a plan.

Where do I start? How? When? 

Old Chinese Proverb: The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Okay, then. Now works.

I am…

Part of why I am a blogger, and a writer, in the first place is that having a forum to pour my emotions into, good or bad, helps me to process whatever I am going through or whatever I have going on. Regardless of how many people read, turning my feelings into words is cathartic.

And right now? I need some damn catharsis. Or something. I really need something. I need to vent and let it all hang out. 

Here at Scoot A Doot, we tend to keep the posts fairly light and positive. Sure, we talk about things like being busy moms trying to fit in exercise, or runs that we struggled through. But mostly, upbeat. And we’re generally a pretty perky bunch of chicks, so the positive nature of the posts is a natural extension of us.

This is not one of those posts. This post was hard to write, and will likely be hard to read. It’s raw and uncomfortable and uncensored and painful. And necessary, for me. So here goes…

I Am

I am… many things, to many people. I am a good listener. I am an amazing cook. I am a hard worker. I am funny. I am kind. I am generous.

I am… morbidly obese. I hate that phrase. It’s ugly and humiliating and harsh and accurate. I am literally so overweight that it’s killing me. Slowly, but still. The reality of my situation is that if I don’t change it, I will die younger than I should. I will rob my children of their mother, and my husband of his wife, far before I ever expected and far before I have a right to.

I am… sick. I have High Blood Pressure. My joints ache, all the time. My back hurts. I have trouble sleeping. I get winded walking up a flight of stairs. And when I work out or run? Everything hurts.

I am… tired. Truly exhausted. Physically and mentally, the act of carrying around this weight every day is so unbelievably tiring.

I am… angry. At myself. I know this serves no purpose, but I am so damn angry at myself for allowing this to happen. I am absolutely furious at myself for letting every ten-pound milestone that I swore I wouldn’t cross come and go.

I am… addicted. To food. I come from a long line of addicts. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes. I’ve lost so many people far too early because they were ruled by their addictions. I have been fighting this addiction since I was ten years old.

I am… terrified. That I will join them. That I don’t have enough strength to conquer my own addiction. That I will fight my whole life, only to fail.

I am… sad. I am missing out on parts of my life that I will never get another shot at. I avoid air travel because I’m afraid I won’t be able to fit in the seat. I’ve flown once in the past twelve years, and had to ask for seat belt extenders. I was miserably uncomfortable and the thought of going through that is enough to make me never want to fly again.

I am… disappointed. In myself. I was supposed to be a better role model for my children. My son is now ten, and I see the beginnings of my battle in him every day. He is already struggling with weight. And food.

I am… ashamed. I feel weak. And small. I can’t look in the mirror without cringing.

I am… in pain. Physically, sometimes, but mentally, always. This hurts. On my best days, and believe me, I have great days, there is still some part of me, deep down, that is hurting.

I am… in a bad place right now. I have times when I feel like I have a handle on things. Lately, I don’t.

I am… struggling.

I am… lost.

I am…349 pounds. This is not my heaviest weight. I have weighed as much as 391 pounds. Typing that out is agony. Not erasing it is almost impossible. But putting that out there in the world doesn’t make it real. It’s already real.


I am… a good person. A good mother. A good wife. A good friend.

I am… trying. To get better. To feel better. To be better.

I am… strong. When I put my mind to it, I can do amazing things. I can do anything. I can do this.

I am… hopeful. I have seen people change their lives. I know that is it possible. I still have hope that I will be one of them.

I am… talking about it. Because no one wants to talk about what it’s like to be morbidly obese. Especially people that are morbidly obese. But not talking about it, making it a dirty, ugly, fat secret? That doesn’t help.

I am… determined. To keep trying. To keep going. Because the other option is letting myself be beaten by my own addiction. That is not an option.

I am…not done fighting. Ever. I may never win, but I will never quit.

I am… morbidly obese. But I don’t have to be.

I am… ready. For change. For hard work. For whatever it takes.

I am ready.