The Final Fifty











{March 15, 2013}   What Jen Larsen Wrote

A friend of mine, (the awesome, lovely Kristine) sent me this link yesterday. It is an excerpt from Jen Larsen’s book, Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head.

I sat reading it yesterday afternoon, mouth agape, as she described so many of the emotions I’ve felt myself on this journey and other ones before it. I’ve written before about the realization that, no matter what size I get to, I will still feel just exactly how fat I felt when I was at my heaviest, and about my decision to accept that and to focus more on my health and less on my need to feel like my body is in any sense ideal. I’ve also written about eating disorders, and people I know who struggle with their relationships with body and with food. I knew this was a thing that probably the majority of people share, but it’s still a bit shocking to read what someone else has written and feel like they’ve ripped the words right out of your head.

How is it that being fat can be so damned isolating, and yet, when you lift the cone of silence, you find that easily more than half of the people around you feel the same things about their bodies than you do about yours? And how can we fix this? I feel like my opinions of myself were mostly formed during the worst years of my life, in middle school and maybe high school, when the social order was so invested in making me feel like shit about myself.  If that’s the case with everyone, then how cruel is it that our sense of self, even decades later, is so informed by the few years we lived Lord of the Flies: the Home Game?

I have ordered the book (which you can find on Amazon here). It might not ship for up to three weeks, which is disappointing, but right now I’m rereading Why We Get Sick, so I have something to keep me busy until then (hahaha, “something to keep me busy”.)

The reason that’s funny, by the way, is that we’re approaching shit storm time for Oliver. So this Sunday is probably the last rehearsal I’m NOT called for. After this, it’ll be four rehearsals per week for the next few weeks, followed by two weeks of solid rehearsal and performance obligations that will, for a brief time, take over everything in my life.

I’m not complaining, really, because I’m doing what I love to do, but it is very tiring when I also have work , and I worry about how I’ll hold up with my progress through that time. I’m mentally strategizing already, and I’m hoping to have some healthy or at least passable meals ready and in the freezer by the time the shit storm really gets going. I already know my dance schedule will get consumed a bit, but I’ll be moving around so much that I’m not too worried about that. The important thing will be to keep my eating under control when I will be so tired and busy that my resolve will be mightily tested.

Here are some tactics I plan to employ:

  1. Stock up on some Power Bars or Luna Bars. Not ideal nutrition, but they’re not sugary, they’ve got lots of protein and fiber, and they’re easy to carry around and better than the other crap I might be tempted to eat if I find myself in a time or hunger crunch.
  2. Keep water bottle with me at all times to stay hydrated. I experience far less hunger when I am well hydrated.
  3. Prepare a bunch of food that can be frozen and heated up at the theater. I can make some turkey curry (with squash soup for the curry sauce), some cheeseburger stew that is nice and hearty and satisfying, and I can bake up some of the sweet potato burgers so they can just be reheated. I might also try making cauliflower crust pizza this weekend, though I’m not sure how well that reheats.
  4. City Market is within easy walking distance of the theater. Instead of hitting up a fast food joint, I can go in there and get something healthy, either from the prepared food counter, or by picking up an avocado or some fruit or something.
  5. I can pack up a container with cottage cheese, craisins and almonds very easily.
  6. Keep orange and spice, or ginger lemon tea bags with me to help encourage me to drink more water.
  7. Just because I can’t dance for an hour at a time doesn’t mean I have to sit around and be idle. I can stretch or do belly dance drills during down time if I have the energy for it. If I don’t have the energy for dance, I can do more yoga stretches to help keep myself from getting stiff, or from losing any of the flexibility progress I’ve made.

Last night turned out to be a rest day. I probably should have danced, because tonight I have rehearsal all night, so it’ll be a matter of seeing what I can fit in before that, but I was so tired that I really needed a night to veg out and relax and just read my book. I’m not worried about it, because my calorie deficit was still where I need it to be, but I hope to get back on the horse today after work. I’m also thinking about sneaking in the lower body weights again and some of the ab stuff, and maybe some wall push ups, since those don’t angry up my wrist. Those are things I can do in less time while still being effective on days when I don’t have time to dance.

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Kristine says:

You’re wonderful, did you know that?

I meant to ask you about the belly dance and the ballet boot camp. The classes we were talking about aren’t going to fit into my Saturdays because of when I have to get my husband to work and my kids to my mom’s if I want to do anything on my own, so I was wondering if you know of any DVDs in this line that don’t totally suck. I’ve tried dance workouts before and always feel like an idiot as I try to hiphop around like I’m not 33 years old.



Oh man, I tried hip hop once. I looked like an epileptic attempting Riverdance. It was baaaaad. I don’t know if you have time on Tuesday nights, but there’s another Belly Blast , I think it’s at 6:30. For DVDs, here are a few I’ve tried and liked:

Rachel Brice’s Serpentine Not exactly introductory, though I could show you enough basics to get you going. 2 DVDs, with drills that will be difficult even after you do them 20 times, yoga sections that help stretch out and improve flexibility in your back, and two rounds of choreography including demos in costume, breakdown of steps, and teaching portions.

I don’t have any beginner belly dance DVDs that I can honestly recommend spending money on, unfortunately. Like I said though, if you can make time to hang out, we can dance in my living room and I can show you the difference between the different movements, get it into your muscle memory a bit, and you can check out the Serpentine DVD and see if you like it.

The Ballet Boot Camp is a DVD already, and I LOOOOVE it. It’s not easy, I’ve done it at least a half dozen times and I still haven’t made it all the way through.

And thank you, I’m a big fan of yours, too 🙂



Kristine says:

Tuesdays are very hit-or-miss. Sometimes Robb closes, sometimes not. I’ll see if I can make it Go sometime in the near future. And hanging out would be good, as you well know. ❤ I will definitely check out the ballet boot camp, thank you!!



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