To the Person Who Asked My Wife If She Was Pregnant

To The Person Who Asked Guest Post

This is an anonymous, open letter written by a fellow fitness blogger that I have known for a couple of years. He wrote this post in response to comments his wife has received and out of respect for her privacy, did not find it appropriate to post on his blog or social media, but asked that others do. I am sharing this post because I too have received these comments from time to time and can recall exactly how much it hurts and what negative impact it has on my self esteem. 

To the Person Who Asked My Wife If She Was Pregnant,

The upshot of your inquiry, was to tell my wife she had the body of a pregnant woman – which is the same as being called fat, if you’re not pregnant. She’s not. She has, however given birth to our two sons, and you’re obviously familiar with the concept of pregnancy’s effect on the female body. My wife exercises regularly, and is an avid runner. She keeps the whole family’s diet on the healthy side, with whole grains, fish, vegetables, kefir, Greek yogurt and supplements for vitamins, probiotics,and DHAs in the mix too. She does enjoy red wine, and has a sweet tooth – we both do, in fact. She is healthy, beautiful and sexy.

So when someone seemingly innocently asks about a non-existent pregnancy, she questions her entire lifestyle and why she puts effort into maintaining her body. Her self-esteem is damaged – she doesn’t feel like the healthy, beautiful, sexy woman she is. Her day is ruined, and as her husband and someone who loves her dearly, my day gets ruined too. I wasn’t present when you decided to ask a personal, invasive question of a stranger, but if I had been this is what I would have liked to tell you, and all of your ilk.

I figure you’re one of two kinds of people. The first type, is simply ignorant of the kind of damage you’re doing by asking such a question. If the little pouch you observed would have been due to a pregnancy, it would probably be in the first trimester, when most expecting moms don’t widely release the news to due a fear of miscarriage which occur in those first 12 weeks; Personally, I never ask a woman about a pregnancy unless she looks like she’s smuggling a regulation size basketball, or if she brings it up herself. I would be mortified if I made the mistake you made – but you don’t care about that, you simply need your nosiness satisfied, and you’re too socially stupid to consider the consequences of your assumption being wrong. I suppose there are plenty of socially impaired people out there, maybe it explains why this happens almost regularly – if it were a one time occurrence, we might be able to ignore it.

Since it does seem to happen every so often, my cynical side begins to wonder if there’s a second type of person who asks a woman about a pregnancy which isn’t actually there. I think you do it on purpose; it is a malicious, passive-aggressive, catty attack on someone who has done nothing to provoke you. Why would someone do such a thing? I’m not sure, but my best theory is that you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see someone trapped in a cage of self-hatred, and you think the only means of escape is to knock someone down a peg. You’ve actually found a way to fat-shame someone who isn’t even fat (which I’ll admit is a term as ugly as it is subjective), and yet you won’t get called out on it, because the insult is cloaked in warm, fuzzy, family-friendliness. I’d applaud the brilliance of the tactic, if only it wasn’t so plain and outright mean.

If you’re in the former, socially stupid camp, let this be a lesson to you. Women who ARE pregnant get asked all kinds of questions about their body day in, day out. They are treated to labour horror stories, and questioned about every little detail on their lifestyle – what they eat, whether or not they’re exercising, what kind of birth they’re planning. They might enjoy some adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around that stuff – they might feel nostalgic for the “normal” life, and if not, they’ll probably discuss pregnancy details with you unprompted. Show some manners, and mind your own business.

If you’re in the latter, malicious camp, you have a learning opportunity too. While you can do some superficial damage to her (and therefore us), you can’t make us fundamentally unhappy – we have too much to be grateful for. By the same token, your cage of self-hatred is one you constructed yourself, and you’ll free yourself of it not by attacking others, but by appreciating the beauty and light within your own life. Try to build yourself up, and if you can spare the effort, maybe even build up someone else, and do it sincerely. If you still don’t get it, try this: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Why you need a journalMENU

journal cover

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a free journalMENU running journal with customizable cover for my review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that I enjoy writing and journaling. In fact, this blog was started as a journal to keep track of my running and racing progress as I trained for my first half marathon. I learned early on there was great benefit in tracking my training, miles, pace, shoes, what I ate and drank and how my runs went. I know there are countless online and digital apps to keep track of running progress, but I prefer a paper one, even if in addition to a digital method. For the same reason I enjoy reading paper books, there is just something comforting and appealing about feeling the pages between my fingers and the pen in my hand. I am a journaler at heart and I have found a wonderful running journal. If you’re a runner, athlete, triathlete or writer, you need a journalMENU.

My favorite feature? A totally customizable cover! I customized my running journal with a picture that my husband took at Bryce Canyon and a quote I found online, “Upturned, toward the sun, eyes closed. That color and warmth I see and feel is the soul on fire. If only it remained when when again my eyes opened.” Pretty close to how you feel running, right?

I love that it is spiral-bound because I can fold the cover back when I write on the pages, which offer plenty of room for me to write, another important feature to me. On the tracking pages, I can keep record of things like type of run, pace, reps or weighs lifted, other types of workouts, weather, total miles for the year and my favorite blank space – NOTES, where I can write what I want.

tracking page

What the journalMENU has to offer is much more than a place to record workouts, though. It also offers a Race Planner, menu planner, recipes (including Paleo plans), Crossfit workouts, pages for race reviews and tons of information about nutrition, goal setting, eating plans, personal records, pace charts and so much more! If you were starting training – or maybe want to get back into training – this is the journal for you.

Pages collage

I worked with Erica at journalMENU to create this journal and it couldn’t have been easier. I just sent her the photograph and the quote and she sent me back a proof within a day or two. My journal was on my doorstep within the week. You can also choose one of the fun and unique existing designs if you don’t have your own you want to use. These journals retail staring around $15, which is completely reasonable considering that you might spend on a journal from the store.

Would you like to win your own journal? journalMENU has graciously offered a journal to one of my readers. Giveaway runs through 07/02/15 and winner will be notified here and via email. Enter here and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t want to wait or are you looking for a gift? You can save 15 percent on a journal with your very own customizable cover by enter coupon code WORDSTORUN at journalMENU.com, or visit this page for more details.

Journaling is important to any fitness – of life – journey because it keeps you on track, holds you accountable and gives you a place to discover and document your hopes, dreams, fear, setback and triumphs. I truly believe journaling has the potential to enrich any life and writing – with pen and paper – is therapy for the soul. Give jounralMENU a try and start journaling your life today!

Until the next mile marker,

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Learning to Love Myself Again with Lane Bryant

It wasn’t long after I declared to the world that I am a Size 18 and resolved to myself to love me despite the number that I was formally invited to attend the Make-A-Wish Big Wish Gala 2015. As an employee of such a vital organization that seeks to enrich the human experience with strength, hope and during a child and family’s most trying time while facing a life-threatening illness (a mission that I align with for very personal reasons as well); I felt excited to attend one of the most inspirational and successful fundraising nights of the year, but my new acceptance of myself did not for one second involve formal wear, especially not so soon.

What was I going to do? What was I going to wear? Nothing would fit, let alone look good and it mattered this time! Not to mention, I certainly couldn’t go to a formal work event not believing in myself after everything I had said about loving my curves. Well, the Universe, as we know by now, has a way of ensuring things happen just when they’re supposed to and my life is no exception. I looked around online for some cocktail dresses and was unsuccessful to say the least looking at pictures, so I made the brave and now undoubtedly brilliant decision to stop in Lane Bryant one Friday after work.

I scoped out the store, all exists in mind in case I needed to leave quickly (and hopefully no one would notice me before I did) and made a beeline for a display of black dresses near the back. I perused the rack, casually, I knew what I was doing after all, I had shopped for things before; but not in a store that was made for with bodies like my own. I was uncomfortable. My hands went back and forth between a classic black lace dress and short, royal blue skater dress. Whatever that was. I grabbed an 18 in the black and spun around to search for the dressing room when a friendly voice (oh GOD they’ve seen me!) said, “That dress has a really flattering fit and you should try on the blue one too since you kept looking at it.” I hesitantly turned around to see her smiling face right behind me.

“I can’t wear the blue one,” I said, “It’s really not me.”

Beth introduced herself and said, “All the more reason to try it on, you might be surprised,” and grabbed one as she ushered me to a dressing room. She asked me what occasion I was shopping for and I told her about Make-A-Wish and how I was excited to be attending my first work function. I was committed now, involved even, and my heart was racing, hands shaking as I tried on the black dress. Beth’s confidence somehow crept in and boosted my own, I couldn’t wait to see how I looked in a dress with my newfound opinion of myself.

It didn’t fit. I poked my head out of the dressing room, terrified, and my eyes locked on Beth across the store. She saw me and I motioned to her to come back.

“Need a different size?” she asked. I did and she got it while I hid behind the door.

Try #2. It fit…I think. I stuck my head out again. This time, she was waiting for me. “I think it fits” I said with hesitation.

“Come out and let me see!” she exclaimed. I did, very, very slowly.

“It looks great,” she said, “let me see what Kevin thinks too.” Oh no, I thought. Who’s Kevin?! I wanted to shrink into the floor. She yelled for Kevin and I heard a voice say “be there in a second.”

“You look fantastic,” he said, introducing himself as he rounded the corner,”But let me ask you, when is the last time you wore a new bra?” I think he could tell by the look on my face it was not anytime in recent history.

Beth did a fitting and Kevin said “Hold on,” and hurried away. He came back with a bright pink, black lace-trimmed bra and said, “Here, try this on.” I held it up. It didn’t look like me or my size.

‘I think it’s too small,” I said. Both Kevin and Beth looked at me expectantly and I turned around, back into the dressing room. I tried the pink beauty on, along with a strapless bra and in just 3.5 minutes (that it took me to wrestle into the strapless bra), I had never felt more supported in my life. As it turns out, I had been wearing the wrong cup size for two years and since I have lost two inches around my chest, I was also wearing a size that was far too big around.

I exited the dressing room, this time more confidently. Kevin and Beth were waiting and when I spun around, Kevin beamed, “Perfect,” he exclaimed, “You’ve got it, you just need to show it off.”

Kevin took me around the store and talked to me about different options I have in bras, how best to wear them (never the same bra two days in a row to allow the material to rest – so, yes, ladies you need a bra for just about everyday of the week) and he encouraged me to save my old garments for camping trips. Don’t worry, Kevin, they actually reached their final resting place in the trash can shortly after my visit with you. While I was there, I tried on several more bras, the blue dress (which we agreed didn’t look as good as the black one) and some tops. I have never felt so encouraged, supported or more beautiful while shopping for clothes. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was searching for “plus-size fashion,” but that I was just a girl looking for a dress for a big night out.

Kevin told me, “You know, size is just a number, don’t let it stop you from being the most beautiful you can be.” Thank you, Universe.

I was actually sad when I departed Lane Bryant nearly three hours later with the party dress, hot pink with black lace Smooth Boost Plunge Bra, the strapless wonder, several other bras too and two new BFF’s. For the next three days I couldn’t stop thinking about Kevin, Beth, the things they had said to encourage me, my experience at Lane Bryant or my new dress.

I attended the Big Hearts Gala with my sister and aside from my wedding day, have never felt as stunning as I did that night. I have also never heard so many compliments:

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What I wore (in other words, if you wear anything starting at a size 12 or a 36C bra, go to your local Lane Bryant/Cacique or shop online right now. Eight out of ten women wear the wrong bra size too, don’t be one of them):

Attire made possible by The Fabulous Kevin and Beth at Lane Bryant Tuttle Crossing Mall who encouraged me to come out of my shell that day and start really believing I am beautiful.

me and mollie

  • Black Lace Party Dress
  • Multi-Way Stapless Bra in Black (seriously not one single problem all night, not one single adjustment)
Accessories made possible and selected to match Attire by the creative Rachel at Francesca’s Tuttle Crossing Mall

jewelry collage

Hair made possible (and done exclusively) by the talented and lovely Lila at Evolution Straightener Tuttle Crossing Mall

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Shoes made possible by Dolores at Macy’s Polaris Mall

Thank you to each and every one of you who not only made this night possible, but a complete success for me. I’m even dressing to impress on casual days and weekends, feeling good about myself in Lane Bryant leggings and Cacique under garments. You would be proud, Kevin and Beth.

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The moral of my story? The perfect dress (or bra) can pretty much change your opinion of yourself . The perfect shopping experience, like the one I had at Lane Bryant, can change your whole life.

me and mollie full frame

Until the next mile marker,

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More on Me

It’s been awhile since I have posted, I know. Life gets in the way, posting becomes infrequent and finding a time to write becomes more and more difficult and farther down on the list of things To Do. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say and it’s not that nothing has been going on.  In fact, it’s times like this I wish I was better organized and had my content planned out better, but I also believe there is something to be said for writing from the heart and that is what this is. Here’s more on me – writing, remembering and [not really] running.

…On Writing

You won’t know it just by looking, but Words to Run By got a makeover thanks to Ryan and his team over at WP Site Care (check them out, they are rolling out some new features right now). If you are new to blogging or have no idea how to start using (or no idea how to use) WordPress, Ryan can help you. Words to Run By is now hosted at SiteGround, and I have high hopes that this is a beneficial and hopefully long-lasting transition to a permanent home for this site’s needs. Previously, I was hosted with Dreamhost since I made the move to self-hosted WordPress (best move ever by the way!) about two years ago; and while Dreamhost was great for a beginning blog and offered phenomenal pricing, I was really feeling like they could no longer meet the demands of my websites without a steadily rising cost. I also noticed the customer service started to diminish over the last several months (as my problems seemed to increase). Dreamhost was a great place for me to start, but I needed to move on as my site has continued to grow. Lesson learned? Do your hosting research ahead of time. While Ryan and the team at WP Site Care moved my website and ensured a solid hosting foundation over at SiteGround with no hassle to me, it does cost money to have your website(s) moved and it was not without a whole lot of worrying (okay, I might have panicked a time or two, sorry, Ryan) for me.

With SiteGround, I hope to deliver more up-time, faster page loading times and a friendlier user experience all-around. Behind the scenes I am looking forward to 24/7 live technical support if I need it, increased site speed and especially enhanced site security. I am to get back to the business of blogging without having to worry about my hosting provider anymore.

…On Remembering

April 21 marked the third year since my mother passed away. On one hand, I can’t believe it has only been that long since I saw her, talked to her, hugged her or ran with her. On the other hand, it seems like an entire lifetime since I saw her, talked to her, hugged her or ran with her.

Losing my mom does not get any easier. It just gets different. The pain I feel today is not the same pain as I felt the day it happened, the weeks or months since that day or even the anniversary of her passing last year. There have been so many times I have wanted to talk to her, to ask her something or tell her something. I’ve missed her advice, her shoulder to cry on and her undeniable support of me and my endeavors. While I don’t pick up the phone to call her anymore and her face is no longer in my phone, I think of her in different ways or at different times. When I am shopping and see something she would like or when the sun is shining and I know she would be out enjoying the weather, the first in our family to wear shorts in the spring.  I think of her when I eat strawberries because she loved them, when I write a new post because she was the first to read it and when I cry because she never told me not to.

My heart will never be the same and I’ve come to realize, maybe it isn’t supposed to be. I just hope I can convey the love she had for me through the love I have to share with others and in that way, a piece of her love will always live on.

…On [Not really] Running

I can’t remember the last time I ran. The need that I used to feel to run, just isn’t there since the blood clot nearly two years ago. That brings great concern for me as the writer of a blog called Words to Run By. I love blogging, I love writing, and I used to love running just as much, but it’s been hard for me to feel that love again. Running is tied to things that make me very sad – losing my mother, nearly losing my own life and having my self-confidence shattered to the core as it has never been in the past. It is harder and harder for me to remember the positive memories and things that running has brought to me life. It is strange to me the things I associate with running and the things that I don’t. Right now the negative associations far outweigh the positive and that is something that I hope will only take time to work through.

On a more positive note, I can see through it. I can see myself getting past the pain I feel when it comes to lacing up my shoes, but I don’t know how to do that just yet. For starters, I am getting out and walking with my dogs and my husband at least twice a week. Compared to training, this feels like nothing, but I can’t discount that. I’ve fought too hard to even get to where I am today. The truth is? I am walking when I can. I am trying to be smarter about what I eat. I am conscious of the changes I need to make to ensure a healthy lifestyle (if the weight comes off, then it does; but it is no longer my sole motivator for diet and exercise). Sometimes I think the universe had a grand design to encourage me to take a break from running and maybe this is all part of that break. Only time will tell. I know there is a future for me in running again and I am hoping in time I will see it. Until that time, I’m hanging on and don’t have any plans to pack up and move out of blogland.

Tell me about you. What have you been up to for the last few weeks? Have you written a fantastic post I need to read? Have you celebrated a life event or the memory of one? Have you run a race or are you preparing for a race? Do you get in a blogging rut or run out of time to post? Tell me in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

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Spartan Up! The Book to Help You Get Happy, Successful and Fit

Courage is contagious. Share to inspire your friends!__#spartan #spartancourage.

Many of you have probably heard of the Spartan Race (on this blog, nonetheless) and know it as the world’s premier obstacle adventure race. As the global leader in obstacle racing since 2005, the Spartan Race was designed by eight insane ultra athletes was even voted Best Obstacle Race by Outside Magazine in 2012. It’s unlike any other trail races, mud runs, tough mudder runs, or a warrior dashes in it’s intensity, obstacles and versatility. The goal of the race is simple- to not only get you off your couch, but to deliver the biggest adrenaline rush of your life, whether a participant in the novice Sprint distance or a “Beast” in the World Championship. Now, the owner and driving force behind the Spartan Race, Joe DeSena, has written new book called Spartan Up! which not only serves as an insider’s guide to the race itself, but as a manual for the Spartan way of life to help you get happy, successful and fit.

#Obstacles

Who exactly is Joe? An entrepreneur from age 8, Joe has had a passion for life that moves the ball forward against all odds. Born in Queens NY to a yoga teaching, meditation practicing mother and an Italian father that was an uber-entrepreneur, Joe learned simple techniques for forging ahead no matter what the odds were. In Spartan Up!, you can find out how a young kid breaks out, builds multiple businesses, changes lives, and eventually partners with military SpecOps to ultimately create the Spartan Obstacle Race.

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While I don’t consider myself a Spartan (mostly because I have never done an obstacle race in my life nor am I professional athlete by any means), Spartan philosophy would argue that I am indeed a Spartan based on some principles that apply to all of us who are on a journey to succeed in health and happiness.

  • Finding the will to succeed: The first half of a race you run with your legs; the second half you run with your heart, right? Spartan up! will help you turn your pain into an outboard motor to drive you forward.
  • Tossing your cookies: Through the Cookie Test, Spartan Up! will teach you to overcome the need for immediate gratification and help you prosper long-term
  • Getting Spartan fit: This isn’t necessarily an all-out-run-until-you-pass-out-guide, but learning to train outside the gym for strength, endurance and flexibility for your entire body (a little burpee never hurt anyone). Spartan Up! will teach you what Survival of the Fittest means for you.
  • Moving mountains: Whether metaphorical mountains or the kind that come with a tough workout, Spartan Up! will show you how what you think of as your limitations can actually be a mere starting point for transformation. And who hasn’t been there, right?

I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Joe a few questions a few questions about Spartan Up! and here is what he had to say-

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[WTRB] What makes your book different from all of the other “fitness” books on the market today?

[Joe] It’s not a quick fix, it won’t give you some secret and it shows us that everything we are doing is wrong.

[WTRB] Can anyone read your book? Even someone who doesn’t think they are capable of being a Spartan or adventure racing?

[Joe] Those would be the best readers..people completing the race already will gain a lot of knowledge but they are already on their way…those that have not need the book more than ever.

[WTRB] What is your number one piece of motivational advice to keep someone going when they feel like giving up (in fitness or in life)?

[Joe] You need to change your frame of reference at that moment in time..and remember that quitting lasts forever. The book explains this.

[WTRB] What’s the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome in your fitness life? Your professional life?

[Joe] My parents dying, losing all my money, and failing in business are my top three.

[WTRB] You are definitely a roll model for people looking to get in shape, take their fitness to the next level or pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. How has self-confidence kept you driven to succeed in your fitness and professional goals?

[Joe] Self confidences comes FROM being driven to succeed…we all can gain self confidence and it comes from stepping out of our comfort zone and achieving. It feels so good you seek it out more.

#Confidence #SpartanQuotes

Read more about Spartan Up! including a review by ultramarathoner and best-selling author Dean Karnazes and watch this video. It will get you thinking about the power you have to get motivated and get off the couch.

The book will be released May 13, but you can pre-order now!

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for the release. I am looking forward to reading Joe’s fitness and entrepreneurial advice and plan to incorporate it into my own life.

What about you?

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Spartan Up!

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Thank you to Joe and the team at Spartan Race for this opportunity to discuss the details of Spartan Up!