Like one of my favorite literary characters Bridget Jones, (it was a witty book by Helen Fielding before it was a mediocre movie), I have always been a little bit fat. I wasn’t chubby as a kid, just strong-my dad used to have his military buddies pick me up to see how heavy my muscular body was.

Then puberty hit. In the 4th grade I was the only girl in class to wear a bra and I remain curvy to this day. I have grown to love my booty and boobs, and the little belly that sit-ups never quite deflated. In my twenties, I determined that my sweet spot in weight was about a size 12 (keep in mind that I am 5’9). I kept fit with a combination of martial arts, yoga, and hiking.

Even at my fittest, I was never skinny-and never wanted to be. This is a terrible rendition of a punk rock mermaid costume fueled by bad decisions.

So how did I get fat? The true, scientific answer is that I consumed way more calories than I burned. The less cut and dried answer is that I dealt with motherhood, an unhappy marriage, and a busy career by eating all of my feelings. In the course of my marriage, I ballooned up to a size 22W and gained new health problems like high blood pressure. My weight wasn’t the reason we got divorced, but it was a symptom of the bigger problems between us. 

Wendy and I have been doing crazy things together for years… matter what my size has been.

Six years later, things are getting better. My ex-husband and I co-parent our 15 year old son with kindness and compassion for each other. I have an excellent therapist who is working with me on self love and happiness-so I can find other ways to deal with my feelings. These days I am a 16W and still losing weight slowly and steadily.

The backpacking trip that Wendy and I went on last year sparked a passion that kept me active all through the winter months. I was a size 20W when we started training and the idea of being so big and putting on a backpack again was daunting, but I was determined. It was one of the best decisions of my life and I enjoyed both the training process, and the time spent with my bestie on trail.

Getting stronger these days, but there is still a long way to go. ~Wahclella Falls, OR.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too big for adventure. Talk to your doctor, they can help you determine the right training program for your body. There are so many wonderful tools to help you get fit, you don’t need fad diets or expensive programs. My Fitness Pal has a free calorie tracker and a TON of good material on fitness. The James Smith Academy has a free unlimited trial, with great information on fitness and nutrition and really affordable personal training options. Plus, his insta @jamessmithpt is both hilarious and full of real talk about getting healthy.

Get outside and love your body, and all of the amazing things it can do. Take breaks, start slowly, and enjoy the journey. There’s a big, beautiful world out there waiting for you. See you on the trail!

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