Oh man…so much to say…along with so many feels and ideas and challenges and thoughts and other awesome stuff.
So this past weekend, I finally got to do something that I’ve wanted to do for the past four years: attend Fitbloggin’. Even though I haven’t been able to go for one reason or another in the past, I have never really pushed to make it happen because I didn’t feel like I belonged. I mean, only blogging juggernauts who make it rain off their AdSense payouts attend blogging conferences, right? So for years, I have been fighting off that feeling, only to find out that I was the only one holding myself back.
I’ll never forget walking into the conference and having some of my favorite bloggers like DubyaWife and Alan from Sweating Until Happy come and give me a hug and then meeting some of the bloggers that I have followed ever since the beginning of my journey like Robbie from Fatgirl Vs. the World, Brooke from Brooke Not On A Diet and Kelly from Curvy Fit Girl. It was this beautifully weird sensation of embracing people that I’ve never met in person but I’ve known for the entire part of this new life. Simply put, Fitbloggin’ truly is the cat’s pajamas. (No, there was no feline nightwear involved at Fitbloggin.)
So without further adieu, I present…
My Top 5 Takeaways From Fitbloggin’
1. If You’ve Been to Savannah, You’ve Stood on a Dead Person.
Photo Credit: carriedphotography
Half of the fun of Fitbloggin’ was being in the swashbucklin’, old south, and gorgeous city of Savannah, Georgia. Being originally from Texas, it is rare to be in a place with such beautiful 18th century architecture and being in a space that was a part of the original 13 colonies.
But with that kind of historical impact comes a lot of dead people. Lots of dead people (the kid from the Sixth Sense’s head would have probably exploded if he had lived in Savannah. Which is kind of funny since Haley Joe Osment was the little kid in Forrest Gump and he lived in Savannah. Weird…)
Anyway, so due to building over old cemeteries with urban sprawl and some rampant pandemics of yellow fever, a lot of today’s Savannah is built on stacks of dead people. Then there were the scores of poor souls that never made it into the city from Fort Jackson, the gateway into America, thanks to a red light district that was actually a front for a SAWS-like Thunderdome of mutilation that even turned sick people into chum for fishing boats (insert obsolete HMO joke here). I know all of this thanks to the AWESOME ghost tour we went on the first night. Yes, we rode in hearses and no, we didn’t see any ghosts, put others did!
2. I Flippin’ Love Zumba!
DubyaWife and me about to party like it’s 1985.
You all know how much I love to try new workouts! Well, I finally got to do one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time: ZUMBA! One of the sessions this year was a Zumba class with an 80’s flare! There were fluorescent legwarmers and side ponytails (along with Monica from Run Bang Run‘s AWESOME Jaws shirt) as far as the eye could see. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I did expect that I would be very uncoordinated and fall down numerous times. I surprised myself and made it through the whole class without completely embarrassing myself :). The energy in the class was amazing and the sweat was abundant. It felt nice to do a class and just work out and not care about how ridiculous I (most likely) looked. While I love working out at FSU, it really is weird being the only guy (and an older and awkwardly shaped guy at that) in a class of pretty fit folks. I tend to get pretty uncomfortable so it was awesome to just let loose and shake it like a salt shaker!
From that class, which was awesomely taught by Simplifying Sam, Mrs. Fatass and a few other instructors, I realized that I really want to get certified and teach something, whether it be Zumba, Tabata, spinning, or really anything. I want to motivate people and burn some calories while doing it! I think I would do really well with people who are just starting on their journey too!
3. The Number on the Scale Isn’t Everything, but Living Your Life is
One of my favorite sessions was about what is like after you reach your goal weight, which was led by my buddy Kelly, but it also had some weight loss rock stars like THE Roni Noone and Sarah, who has lost 200 pounds! The session quickly turned into a call for a paradigm shift on how we view the “after” stage of weight loss. Sure, there is a honeymoon stage, but life doesn’t end there. It’s as if you take on a new identity. Thinking about it now, I definitely feel like I already have a new identity from the life I used to have. I used to be the person that was going to die early and was close to becoming immobile and now I’m the active half marathoner who has shed more than 100 pounds off of his body. With that being said, I am ready to reach my goal of getting to a healthy weight. Which means I’m not chained to the scale like it’s the Biggest Loser or something like that. The true end goal is to be healthy. And I’m absolutely on the right track.
4. Bloggers Are Even Cooler In Real Life
Seriously, can we all run together all the time now?
I have to admit that I do tend to have some issues with hero worship which can sometimes lead to becoming very disappointed after meeting said hero. Like the time I met the bands Relient K and OC Supertones.
Both bands were kind of jerks. And it made me sad.
So really, I didn’t know how Fitbloggin’ was going to go in that regard. We all have our online personas that sometimes contradict our real selfs. Well, that wasn’t the case at all! I know that sounds kind of weird, but what I’m saying is that I met some of the most genuine, sweet, and awesome people who are dealing with the same issues I am dealing with. Really, my favorite part of the whole conference was running a 5k through Savannah with some awesome people! Like Zumba, it was fun to just let loose and be silly and not have anyone judge how good or bad you are doing. Especially when you decide to yell “WE’RE FAMOUS ON THE INTERNET!!!” at innocent bystanders and they don’t think you’re a jerk, just an awesome weirdo like the rest of them!
5. Some of the Best Takeaways Happen After You Leave Fitbloggin’
As we were driving back to Tallahassee from Savannah, I was mentally gleaning through the weekend and trying to pinpoint the definitive takeaways. I left unsure about how I truly felt about my weight loss progress. A while back, I made the declaration to lose 75 pounds by next June, and I was trying to decide whether or not that was a good idea. In one of the sessions, DubyaWife talked about how she needed a goal in order to get laser focused with her weight loss and that definitely resonated with me. Like her, I need that attainable goal to use as a framework for my actions.
When it came time to dinner, we threw dietary caution into the wind and went to Cracker Barrel. All I wanted was a giant plate of chicken n’ dumplings, macaroni n’ cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans. Almost immediately after I ordered, I panicked. “WHAT DID I JUST DO???” I thought. “I’M COMPLETELY UNDOING EVERYTHING I’VE LEARNED THIS WEEKEND!!!” Like I was in some weird time vortex, I could forsee the consequences of my actions: overeating, feeling sick, getting angry. Then the food came and I ate. But halfway through my meal, I was full. Usually, I just suck it up and keep eating. But this time was different. I told my body that I was done. It was like the fork in my hand had some electromagnetic connection to the rest of the food, but I resisted. It physically hurt to not eat the rest of my food. Finally, the server walked by and I told her that I was done. And then I sat there and started to tear up. This was the first time I have stood up to food in years and it has set the tone for the rest of my week and really my life. I feel like that I will look back at the time I stood up to food at a Cracker Barrel in Jacksonville, Florida as a pivotal moment in my weight loss journey. That it was the moment where the finish line to this race was finally in sight. That is, and will always will be, the biggest takeaway from Fitbloggin’ 2014.