November 10, 2014

Be Great

Original Photography - Jennifer Lefebvre

This weekend as I was perusing some articles on Facebook, I came across an interesting story about Haley Morris-Cafiero.  Haley is a photographer and she noticed one day that as she was taking a self-photo in New York City, a stranger in the background seemed to be looking at her oddly.  She examined the photo a little bit more and then decided to conduct a social experiment in which she, an overweight person, photographed herself to see if she could capture stranger’s reactions to her as she was performing normal activities like exercising or shopping for food, etc.  What she found was surprising.  Haley captured photos upon photos of people staring at her; seemingly because she is an overweight person.

Upon looking at the photos, I have to admit that sometimes she was performing activities in odd places where I would imagine anyone would stare no matter what your size.  For instance, in one picture she seems to be working out in the middle of a very busy sidewalk and passersby try to maneuver around her.  Nevertheless, in many photos, she does not seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary, yet the reactions of others that she captured are disturbing.  Here is a link to the story.

We cannot in any way imagine what the people are actually thinking; one can only assume.  However, as an overweight and previously obese person, I know the looks all too well.  While we indeed take up more physical space in the world, we would rather remain invisible…instead of looking at us in jest, please just don’t look at us.  I have written about this previously.  And while people rarely looked me in the eye, I guess I didn’t like to think about the fact that they did, in fact, very much notice me.  If I could have seen the looks people gave me when I was not looking, I would have been heartbroken. 

I think that Haley is brave.

She writes:

 “I have always had a hard time controlling my weight. My uncontrollable exterior has determined my place in society and I have often felt left out and awkward. For this series, I photograph myself in socially engaged spaces to examine how my body fits into society. I choose compositions within social sites: restaurants, stores, pools and other places of leisure. I attempt to juxtapose my place in the scene with issues that contribute to my weight gain.”

Haley is creating a composition of not only the photos, but of the comments that people leave for her on social media sites.  I know this already, but the world is cruel.  Some of the hateful comments that she has received are truly eye-opening.  Many of us would not put ourselves out there like this; she should be applauded.

If you are interested in more about Haley Morris-Cafiero and her project, The Wait Watchers, please visit her website.

I want to leave you with this thought today:  forget anyone of no importance to you.  Do not waste time or energy on people who do not matter.  Surround yourself with people who love you for you.  Remove the people from your life who do not make you feel beautiful every single day.  And for goodness sake, we should take lessons from brave, BE GREAT, make others feel great, and dance to the beat of our own drums.

October 14, 2014

Things I Think About When I'm Running


This weekend I have my next race which is my second full 5K.  I say "full" because since my very first race, I have only done obstacle races.  I have not stopped running since I started and I typically run farther than 3.1 miles when I just get in a run, so I think I'm going to be fine, but it's still a little unnerving.

I've been making sure to train and while I was out this week, I was laughing at myself when I was out for a quick run because of all of the random thoughts that popped into my head.  I decided I would write a post about the things I think about when I'm running.

I don't know about you but even though my playlist is on in the background, my own thoughts take center stage for the duration...and the randomness of them is pretty crazy.

Maybe some of you feel me?  I'd love to know some of the things you think about when you're running so please leave me a comment!

And with that:

Things I Think About When I’m Running

Before I leave the house:
What’s the temp?
Did I drink enough water?
Should I pee one more time before I go?
Oh, don’t forget my chapstick…
Blow my nose one more time.
Start my Runkeeper…I hope the GPS is working and not all woggy today.
What should I listen to today?
Are these the right earbuds?
Is this a shirt I can run my earbuds through so they aren’t getting tangled in my arm swings?

While I’m running:
Should I have worn my headband to cover my ears?
Are these my cooperating underwear?
Damn my ears are cold…should have worn my headband…note to self:  when in doubt wear your headband.
I should have added songs to my playlist.
Ugh, not feeling this today…
I've only gone .5 mile!?
Why are there so many hills?
Should I run faster going down this hill or use it as recovery.
What am I going to eat when I’m done?
I cannot wait to shower and sit my ass on the couch.
Do I have to poop?
An 11:42 minute pace…times 6…plus .2 … I should be done in like 3 ½ hours…oh, wait.
Will I ever see a 10:00 minute mile?
Man, I suck at Math.
I should be squeezing my butt cheeks…work my glutes…
Is my Runkeeper still working?
Um Hi…hello??  I’m running here, CAR??!  Asshole.
"I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR…uh uh uh uh ohhhh…"
Yah, I’m my own hero.
Oh shit, did that lady just hear me singing?
I have so much to do this week.
Oh, someone’s making bacon….mmmmm…bacon.
How did this slow tempo song get in my playlist?
Note to self:  update playlist.
OMG, only halfway there!?
I am burning a ton of calories today!
Whatever happened to Nelly?  It’s gettin’ hawt in herrr…
Damn, I’m so hootttt…thank goodness I didn’t wear that headband.
Maybe I should sprint a little?
Do I turn left and go up that big hill?
I think I have to pee again.
I need to make friends with people on my training route so I can use their bathroom.
Nah, that'd just mess up my time.
But maybe they'd offer me water.
Why do I do this to myself?
Go left, do the big hill...
Can people hear me breathing hard from their porch?
Why is my pinkie toe numb?
Aww, Kelly Clarkson, you’re right…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…la la la
Mile 4?  Woohoo…I could do this all day, son!
Almost there…one mile'll be cake!
You’ve got this…just keep running until the Runkeeper lady comes back…
Where is the Runkeeper lady!?
Bitch, I know it’s been a mile!????
Bagels, bacon AND cake…

After my run:
Hell yah, I’m a runner!
Best. Feeling. EVER.
Sweaty Selfie!
I could TOTES run a marathon…

September 29, 2014

What Motivates Me?

I was recently asked by Bryan at Modivated to write about what kinds of things motivate me.  I have to say that it took me a bit to think about.  Not because I couldn’t think of anything, but because I couldn’t really narrow it down!  I’m motivated by so many different things:  people, food, quotes, stories…

So here goes and I’m hoping in some way this motivates others, too!

When I first began my journey it was out of desperation; I had tried everything to get healthy and spent many years just flailing about and failing over and over again.  This time, however, there was a little bit of excitement built into my plan.  I decided that I was going to start cooking in a healthier manner – this was exciting for me because I just knew there had to be a way for me to get healthy AND lose weight by actually eating food that was good for me.  I love cooking and just being in the kitchen is my happy place, so I picked a few recipes and I jumped in, and guess what?  They were good!  So I told a few friends and they told a few friends and people started asking me for the recipes.  I decided that the easiest way would be to create a blog of the healthy recipes I was trying.  Then I got to thinking…would other people want to read about my own healthy makeover if this whole experiment actually worked?  What if the end result of making these recipes into healthier versions ALSO created a new, healthier Jenn??  Could I share my story with others?  Would anyone want to hear about it?  So back to my best buds I went…and every single one of them told me to do it.  I think they may have been humoring me…after all, they are my biggest cheerleaders…but I know in their hearts they truly wanted me to succeed.  That’s how A Healthy Makeover began.

Since that time, every time I post a recipe or share a little bit more of my story, I get the most positive feedback from people.  At first, it was my close pals, but now I get messages from strangers all of the time.  I love meeting people who don’t even know me say that they have been following my journey; and that is a huge motivator for me to keep going.  Motivating others motivates me!

Hearing and reading about other’s stories also motivates me.  I have found a huge support system in healthy groups in Blogland and on Instagram – seeing others on their own journey makes me feel like I’m a part of this wonderful community of people with similar goals.

Another avenue for my own motivation is fitness.  I like to challenge myself and when I conquer something I’ve never done before, it feels great!  Recently, I joined Crossfit and that is a whole new level of fitness for me.  The atmosphere of my particular “box” is really supportive and encouraging – I love cheering others on and it feels pretty great to have that kind of support in return.  Again, surrounding yourself with like-minded people with similar goals is very inspirational.

While it took me a little searching to figure this whole healthy life thing out, I truly feel that where I am today is where I am supposed to be.  I hope that I get to continue to motivate others and I am blessed that I have the same great support in return.

Find your own healthy motivation, and start today.  If you’ve already started, GREAT JOB!  You’ve got this - keep going – it’s a lifelong commitment!  And PLEASE, feel free to send me a note to tell me about it; we’re in this together!