Making the outside match the inside. Slowly.

#60M2IM Day 8/100

Wearing flips at a writer’s conference in Atlanta…because my feet and legs were so swollen.

About a year before my weight loss surgery, I went to a writer’s conference in Atlanta.

A couple of things happen that were kind of the beginning of this whole 60 Months to Ironman thing, even though I didn’t know it then.

First: I took a Greyhound Bus from Reno to Atlanta. That’s four days, each way, in case you’re wondering.

I tried to play it off like it was some kind of cool, hipster choice.

I love slow travel.

I love meeting fellow travelers.

I love the adventure.

It cost a third as much as a plane ticket.

But the real truth was: I weighed more than 350 pounds and I chose sitting for four days on a bus over trying to squeeze myself into an airline seat next to someone who didn’t want to sit next to me (I’d read plenty of internet comments to know how people feel about sitting next to fat ladies on airplanes) and risking being told, publicly at the airport, that I wouldn’t fit anyway.

You know that United Airlines video of the man being dragged down the aisle.

I had fear of that kind of humiliation. (Although there is no power on Earth that would have stopped me from just saying ‘yes, Sir’ and getting off the plane and skipping the whole thing.)

Anyway. I got to Atlanta with severely swollen legs and feet. And I had a blast. This particular conference is always so much fun.

One night during the conference, I had dinner with some friends.

One of the authors at the table started to talk about yoga. Within a few minutes, everyone at the table had decided to wake up early for a yoga session before the conference resumed the next day.

Everyone at the table very carefully avoided making eye contact with me.

I think it was out of kindness. They didn’t want to invite me to do something that they didn’t think I could do. Maybe? Or maybe they didn’t want to put me in a position of saying, “Oh, didn’t you see that I’m fat? Fat people don’t exercise, silly rabbit.”

I wanted to be invited, just like everyone else.

It was embarrassing that I wasn’t. Embarrassing for me. And I think embarrassing for them, too.

I’d already done a ton of work to recover from an eating disorder. I was firmly seated in the body acceptance movement. I believed (and I still believe) in Health at Every Size.

But the truth was that at that moment in time, traveling across country was a harrowing experience. And if I’d been invited to the yoga session, I would have said no. I was in too much pain.

Today someone sent me a message on Facebook and asked me if I wanted to go on a run with them when I’m in Las Vegas (my hometown) in October.

I feel like who I am on the inside is starting to be reflected by who I am on the outside. Not because I’m thinner. Because I’m on my way to being fitter.

In case you want to start from the start. 
Day: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes, is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation, and is the original Ninja Writer.

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