Operation Skinny Bitch

Good title, huh? I think so. Unfortunately, I can’t claim credit for it. That honor goes to the lovely Andrea of Gathering Dust … a woman of like mind and fellow female watcher of sporting events … who penned a tweet one day with those very words and I was inspired.

“Inspired to do what?” you ask. Inspired to get healthy and, in doing so, to rediscover myself.

Truthfully, I’ve been inspired for a while. But, inspiration is not always enough … evidenced by my complete lack of motivation. Pitiful excuse. Excuses: I have a lot of them.

A brief picture (please forgive the photo quality) story:

Once upon a time there was a skinny young tomboy who loved sports.

That skinny tomboy became a skinny junior-high athlete …

… and, in turn, she developed into a skinny (yet muscular) teenager … who still loved sports … lived sports … breathed sports.

A little history beyond the above photographs is needed, I believe. This will read a bit along the lines of bragging rights but, damn it … I didn’t brag back then. Why shouldn’t I do it now? Let’s see … 7th grade through 12th grade should do it. My 10th grade year will be noticeably absent from all mention as I was in the United States that year and I chose to not participate in any school sports.

Basketball (my least accomplished sport)
Position: Guard or Point Guard
7th – Junior High Team (1st year picking up a basketball.)
8th – Junior High Team
9th – Junior High Team
11th – Junior Varsity Team
12th – Varsity Team

Field Hockey (my passion)
Right Wing
9th – Junior Varsity Team (1st year picking up a hockey stick.)
11th – Varsity Team
12th – Varsity Team

Track (my natural gift)
Events: 100m, 200m, 110m hurdles, high jump, long jump, 4 x 100m relay … and wherever else coach chose to plug me in on any given track meet day … except long distance. Not only did I not have the stamina to run anything longer than a 400m, but even I wasn’t stupid enough to run long distance against the Kenyan schools.
7th – Junior High Team
8th – Junior High Team
9th – Varsity Team
11th – Varsity Team *Captain
12th – Varsity Team *Captain

There you have it. The story continues ...

Eventually, and far too early in life, she got knocked up … got married … had children … got divorced. Life (and one particular bed-ridden pregnancy) took its toll.

[Stare at this spot long enough and you might see a full picture of me as I am today. Pffffft! Like hell.]

I am … *ahem* … full figured. No, I don’t exaggerate and I am miserable. I have been for years. All my attempts at losing the extra weight (and I’m not talking about 10 pounds here) were epic failures. On top of my half-hearted attempts is the undeniable fact that my bipolar medication (and pretty much all bipolar meds on the market today) causes weight gain … often substantial. For a long period of time maintaining my current weight without putting on medicinally induced pounds became the main issue at hand.

About three years ago I finally joined a gym and actually began to make some progress. But then, I found myself (by my own choice, mind you) a single mother with one income and a very strict budget that left no room for gym dues. What progress I had made … vanished in a couple of months.

So, here I am. My circumstances haven’t changed. I’m still a big girl. I’m still a single, working mother. I’m still … so bloody miserable. Hence, the commencement of Operation Skinny Bitch. Now, I am realistic. I have no intention of ever being as tiny as I was in high school. Truthfully, I don’t want to be that small. The word “skinny” to me conjures up images of anorexic and emaciated women. Likewise, I don’t really think of myself as a “bitch” … but we all have our moments, right? The point is this: I think I finally hit my breaking point. No more complaining. No more blaming anything and everything but me. Circumstances may have led me to be this way, but I am 100% at fault for not working harder to overcome the effects of those circumstances. No more bullshit excuses.

A lovely friend here in town is close enough to me that she can see through my smiles and my sassy attitude. She knows I am in pain and, in a moment of wondrous generosity, signed me up and paid for the first month of my membership at one of the local gyms … and I have been going … and I had almost forgotten exactly how much I LOVE exercise. I love how it makes me feel. I love to sweat. And … I hope I can eventually love the results. Subsequent monthly dues, however, are my responsibility so I must decide what to give up in order to give this gift to myself. With this quest has come a new found will power in regard to food. Oh, I am no glutton. I ate more in high school than I do now, but I haven’t necessarily been eating the best things for me. That’s changing and it means an entirely new lifestyle for me.

I know this body does not define who I am. No, it does not. Yet, I allow it to affect how I portray myself … and that is a travesty. I have to find her again: the confident athlete. I can do this. I have to do this. I need this. Failure is not an option.

“I am not a has-been. I am a will be.” ~Lauren Bacall


  1. Beth,

    I wish you all the best with your commitment to OSB. It really is quite brave and admirable of you to make these admissions so openly, and voice your commitment to changing things positively.

    The only thing I'd like to add is that I'd encourage you to also pursue some additional activity (preferably an outdoor one) that has a very strong element of social integration / cohesion to it.

    An good example in your case might be something like a running club. But that's just an example. It's not so important what the activity is, as long as you enjoy it, and especially as long as there's a strong degree of social support / reinforcement/ structure to remain involved.

    Then you begin to view the gym work differently -- it suddenly becomes more purposeful, because it enhances or improves or feeds into this other, secondary activity (what ever that might happen to be).

    This is precisely the relationship I have with my rowing. I can't possibly quit rowing. I am just too invested in it, and the team mates, etc., whom I am involved with. So I'd never lose sight of objectives for staying active and maintaining the physical shape, because it's all couched in this context of rowing.

    Anyway, those are the thoughts that come to mind. Not so much advice to you, as much as "this was the way it happened for me." Good luck, luv! :-)

  2. As ever, I deeply admire and enjoy your brutal honesty. You are one of the most worthwhile people I know because I place such a high value on sincerity, and you are nothing if not deeply sincere.

    Just a thought, I don't know how many visitors you have at you blog? But Adsense could be an option? You need a lot of visitors, though. Currently I earn around $5 per 1000 page impressions. Last year it was $20, but the credit crunch has bitten hard, but the figures will improve again. Just a thought on how to pay the Gym dues... Love ya, babe :)

  3. You know you have me as a cheering section! As a Former Fat Girl...it *is* possible. The mental change is the key and I do believe you're there. That moment when you say, "I'm sick of being fat". My moment came when a group of sailors mooed (MOOED!) at me from across the street. Until that moment I'd been blaming everything around me and not accepting the image in the mirror. Defining moment indeed. Then a few weeks later meeting a really, really hot SEAL was just the clincher...that was 14 years ago and with the exception of two pregnancies (knocked up by said SEAL, of course) I've been basically the same size ever since. And, yes, he's still just as hot at 40! :D

    Do or Do Not...there is no Try.

  4. Anything I can do to help you, even if it's just to kick your ass to get you to the gym, let me know. I'm here and I totally get it. xo

  5. John ~ I'd love to find something "team sport" oriented, but there is nothing like that around here. There used to be a church softball league, but I don't even know if that exists anymore. As for bravery ... well, perhaps. To me it is simple truth. Voicing it publicly is a mild form of accountability.

    Tim ~ Thank you for the character compliment. I am humbled. I am also not ready for ads on my blog. Not yet, anyway, but thank you!

    Dori ~ Funny that you quoted Yoda. I had that quote in this blog post from the beginning and then removed it at the last moment because, honestly, I use it too frequently. I use it, but I don't apply it.

    Finn ~ My ass my need some kicking. I very well may take you up on that!

  6. I'm a hundred percent behind u... or infront... or wateva. Remember, our stories may be singular but our destiny is shared.... or something like that.

  7. KK - You're here! The support is accepted 100%. Eat some samosas (drool) for me since they are not in the current eating plan (boo).

  8. Beth, I am in almost exactly the same place right now. Granted, it is only about 15 pounds that's driving me crazy, but the pain and frustration is the same as when I needed to lose about 40 pounds 15 years ago. I have been working out as often as my schedule allows lately, and I'm loving it. My problem lies with saying no to food.

    I look forward to sharing this journey with you!

  9. when i read the title, I didn't know if you were planning to become one or have one killed. Either way, a splendid plan! All the best my friend.

  10. Beth, you should come back to Kenya. We Africans know how to appreciate women that look like women and not giant praying-mantises.

  11. Amy ~ Hey! Thanks for stopping by. There is pain and frustration ... regardless of how much or how old we are. We can do this!

    Holly ~ Ironically, I have a couple in mind that could easily become my victims. I will break them with my pinky. =)

    Mo ~ Bwahahaha! "giant praying-mantises" So funny. Yes, right now I might make a good Luo.

  12. Hey Beth,

    Just stumbled onto your blog via a link at Dave Pollard's How to Save the World

    If you want to lose weight google The Rave Diet, it's a cracker. It means eliminating all animal protein, sugar and dairy products but the beauty is you can eat your face of and still lose weight. So basically it's hardcore vegan but after a lifetime as a carnivore I am really enjoying it. How much and how quick you want to lose it is up to you. I haven't gone hungry and have lost 10lbs in 3 weeks and only exercise by walking the dog. If I was working out and didn't eat quite so much I would have lost more but what's the rush?

    Phil from Downunder

  13. Phil! 1)Thanks for the visit! 2)Awesome results. I'm glad it is working for you. I pondered, very briefly, going vegan. I truly don't know if I could ever commit to it. But... who knows? Thank you for the tip!


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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