10 Things Worse Than Getting Fatter

10 things worse than getting fatter

I’m living in Italy right now. Nobody goes to Italy and thinks, “This is the perfect time to cash in on my New Year’s Resolution and lose 10 pounds.”

You eat in Italy.

You eat bread in all sorts of forms. Croissants, loaves, pasta, pastries, pizza. You eat cheese in sorts of forms. Melted. Sliced. Shaved. Gooey. You drink wine in one form: plenty.

I have never had a metabolism that allows me to eat all I want without gaining weight. I have never had washboard abs. Sure, I’ve never been highly overweight, but I have also never been without a little extra flesh – even at my leanest. (If you don’t believe me, know I am in control of every photo I put on social media.)

For many years, I equated shame with weight. If I lean over and my jeans created a crease where my belly flopped out a bit, that equaled unloveable. If my arm was close to my side and the flesh spread out a bit, that equaled unworthy.

Through practicing the art of self-love, self-care, and good health, I have managed to overcome these negative thought patterns… for the most part.


Enter Italy. Italy is a gluten-free powerhouse with homemade and handmade GF pastas, breads, pastries, and deliciousness for my Celiac-y self. Everything tastes like an orgasm. I close my eyes and moan when the gluten-free bruschetta touches my taste buds, people. It’s food magic.

I eat in Italy, but I also walk and walk and walk, so I wasn’t concerned at first. Until one morning I woke up and realized, “I could get fatter in the two months here.” Then those shame gremlins (as Brené Brown calls them) started creeping up saying, “If you get fatter, you will be unloveable.”

You know what? That’s a load of shit.

things worse than getting fatter

I am in Italy. I am going to eat Italian food. Not just eat it – enjoy it. I’m over the idea that pleasures are inherently guilty and my worth as a woman is found in how well I can deny myself.

I’m gonna eat the gluten-free pizza with buffalo mozzarella and proscuitto. I’m having gelato for breakfast. You know why? There are worse things.

10 Things Worse Than Getting Fatter

1. Spending lots of money to live in Italy for 2 months, but choosing the side salad instead.

2. Allowing shame to dictate my whole entire freaking life.

3. Being grumpy because the hot man across from me (AKA The Boyfriend) is eating his 6th slice of Napoli pizza while I’m gnawing on some lettuce. (For what it’s worth, I ate the whole damn gluten-free handmade Napoli pizza myself. Except for one slice that I ate for breakfast the next morning.)

4. Letting the patriarchy determine what women should look like in order to be good enough, sexual, or successful.

5. War. War is definitely worse than getting fatter.

6. Wondering if my tummy is popping out instead of wondering how Michelangelo managed to carve David’s large… torso.

7. Not enjoying the taste of wine as it is supposed to be tasted, the Italian way: with an extra glass.

8. Getting small. And I don’t mean on the outside in pounds and fat. I mean small on the inside. Shrinking my soul into a concave wisp of unworthiness that believes I’m not strong or powerful enough to occupy space simply because I licked on a cone of gelato.

9. Being so self-involved that I think the citizens of this globe notice when I go up 4.2 pounds.

10. Missing out. On the wild, electric, mystical, transcendental pleasures of life. Missing out all all the joyous flavors life offers. Missing out on the wholeness of the human experience – including good food. Missing out on ENJOYING.

10 things worse than getting fatter

I’m not advocating obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. I’m not talking about binging or numbing through overeating. I believe in moderation, vegetables, and exercise. I want to be healthy, so I can live a long, interesting, and full life.


I’m over worrying about whether or not I should pee before weighing myself. I’m actually over weighing myself.

I’m over drawing a connection between my carbohydrate intake and my lovability.

I’m over denying myself the pleasure of enjoying good food because heaven forbid I don’t adhere to the ideal weight number for 365 days x 70 years.

In case I didn’t say clearly enough that there are many things worse than getting fatter, allow Eat, Pray, Love to do it for you. This is my Italian motto:

Eat well, my friends, and love yourself.


When You Are Sad, Find a Crocodile


I used to think that to be a strong woman, I always had to be strong. And I thought being strong meant pushing aside any emotion that is conventionally considered weak – like sadness, hurt, or anger.

But pretending nothing ever gets to you is only a defense mechanism for somebody not willing to do the hard work of dealing with these difficult emotions. Brushing your emotions aside is a weak cop-out; showing and dealing with them is brave.

You see, for the past few weeks I have been working endlessly on something called “The Interesting Project” which I will be launching soon. I’ve created a workbook that will help 18-28 year old women figure out how to get unstuck and how to pursue interesting lives they love.

But this week, I felt really really sad and hurt.  I wasn’t feeling unstuck and interesting, I was feeling weak.  People close to me said horrible things based on no facts. My gut reaction was to be “strong” by pretending I wasn’t hurt and trying to be badass. But really, I was just pretending. The sting was too fresh for me to truly feel anything but sadness, hurt, and anger.

I felt like a fraud – who am I to tell women how to have interesting lives they love? Look at me! I’m bawling in self-pity and can’t even be badass! But then I remembered that ALLOWING myself to really feel painful emotions is the brave and interesting thing, because it demands actually doing the hard work of dealing with them.

So I decided to just roll with it the next day. These emotions were real, so I was going to feel them. The Bible says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be badass. And a time to say ‘Screw It!” Okay, maybe the Bible doesn’t put it EXACTLY like that, but you get the gist.


So I said, “Screw it!” and gave up this need to SHOW my badass. I turned to life’s best cure for all that ails: salt water. First, I cried. Lots. And then I went to a walk to the ocean and touched the salt water with my feet!

There is an estuary off the beach in Tamarindo that you’re not supposed to swim in. Supposedly, there can be crocodiles. Lo and behold, we walked by that estuary on our salt-water walk, AND THERE WAS A CROCODILE! I stood about 90 feet away. The Boyfriend went a tad closer. It was just sunbathing on the beach with its jaw wide open.

Oh it was quite the sight! I’d never seen such a perilous wild animal outside of a zoo. It was incredible, and I was in awe! We stood there for a few minutes and marveled. And I realized in the presence of such a majestic creature: I AM BADASS! Somebody really hurt me yesterday, but here I am today standing by a freaking CROCODILE!

The whole “never smile at a crocodile” took on a brand new meaning.  “Oh hello, Mr. Crocodile, I’m currently wallowing in my own difficult emotions. Don’t worry, I won’t smile.”

As most of you know my motto is: Feel the fear, do it anyway.

My 2nd motto is now: Feel all the feels, and go see the crocodiles!

If I had been too busy trying to LOOK like I had it all together and going on as if I hadn’t been hurt, I would have missed out on this beautiful, interesting moment to heal up a bit. Or if I had simply wallowed in bed refusing to get up, I’d have missed it too. We can’t hide our emotions, and we can’t let them hide us either – We have to let the process work.

It’s not being immune to hurt that makes us badass. It’s the courage to cry and let ourselves do the things we need to do in order to heal.  Who knows, maybe along the way you just may see a crocodile.

(P.S. To stay in the loop regarding the workbook I’ve made, The Interesting Project, subscribe to my newsletter with this link below!)

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An Open Letter To My Teenage Female Cousins


Lovely young ladies,

I’m older than you.  But I’m not too old.  Old enough to know a few things, young enough for you to still think I’m cool (you do think I’m cool, right?  Say yes).  So let me tell you a few important things about life:

  1. Mirrors are made of liquid metal and glass.  That’s it.  Don’t give them any power. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think “Oh no, I look fat!” or “Why can’t my hair look like her hair?” or “Damn you, large pimple!” But that’s giving the mirror way too much credit. The mirror can’t see that I’m really funny or smart or kind. Don’t let a mirror convince you that you’re not amazing, because you totally are.
  1. Boys must be good. Boys are weird, but you probably already know that because you each have brothers and fathers, and I personally know they’re weird. But they’re also pretty amazing, right? I know your dads and brothers love you like precious treasures. Not every boy will love you like that. Don’t give those boys the time of day! If they make you feel small or stupid or worthless, they are not allowed in your life.
  1. Be brave. Life takes guts. You’re gonna need to put on some courage each day. Being brave doesn’t mean you can’t show your emotions or have bad days or get scared. Being brave means doing the right thing even when you have a bad day or you are scared. Many people will tell you to be hard and toughen up, I think you should stay soft and lovely and open-hearted. But do all of these things while being brave.   Stand up for what’s right, stand up for yourself, and do it with kindness.  Always.
  1. Learn how to say NO. If somebody asks you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, say “no.” If somebody pressures you to do something that will not serve you, say “no.” If a guy wants you to do things that you don’t want to do, say “no.” If a girlfriend encourages you to be mean to somebody else in order to be cool, say “no.” You are a strong human being, and you have the right to say NO!
  1. Do what you love. Be the type of person who does awesome things. Don’t turn down opportunities to do the things you love, and never feel like the things you love to do are stupid. You only get one life, and I know it feels like you have SO MUCH TIME. And, in a way, you do. But in another way, it goes by so quickly. Don’t waste that time.  Fill up your days with things that make you smile on your face and in your heart.
  1. Interesting is better than cool; in fact, interesting is the real cool When I was a teenager, I thought being like everybody else was cool. Listening to the music everyone liked, dressing how everyone else dressed, buying things just because other people buy those things. I wanted to be cool. But if everyone else is doing it, it’s really not all that interesting, is it? It’s the same ol’ story. Be an original instead of a copy.
  1. No matter what, I love you. You are going to screw up.  You are going to fail.   You’ll probably fall in love with somebody who is all wrong for you. You’ll say rude things you don’t mean, and you’ll say rude things you do mean.  You’re a person, and nobody can do it perfectly. But you will always have a friend in me. I will always love you no matter what.  Luckily for all of us, we have a family that will always love us too. Not everybody else has family like that. So be that same source of love for other people.

With hugs and love,

Your big cousin xo

An Open Letter is part of a series to share positive, uplifting letters to the people of this world.  Open letters on blogs have a reputation for being biting and judgmental.  An Open Letter strives to bring hope and life and kindness back to the art of writing letters.

An Open Letter to My Little Brother on His 19th Birthday

An Open Letter to Millennials from a Gen Xer

Please, Do What You Love. It’s Worth It.

Please, Do What You Love. It’s Worth It.

do what you love

Dear awesome people,

Last Sunday night I had an anxiety attack.  It was Sunday night and I knew when I woke up it would be Monday.  The first Monday morning of my new life, and I freaked.  You see, I walked in May and wore a funny little hat, then I had to go back to finish six credits over the summer.  I finished up in July and headed to the east coast for a vacation.  That was all lovely.  Then Sunday night came, and it brought the realization of what I’d done.

I gambled on this wacky idea that I could do exactly what I wanted to do, not what was “practical.”  A lot was riding on this gamble.  When I got divorced at 22, I could have found some job, moved into some apartment, lived some sort of life.  But I didn’t.  I moved in with my parents, went back to school, became a broke full time student simply because I wanted to major in something traditionally considered useless if not used for teaching: English.   I worked hard so I could have a freelance career that would allow me to travel extensively.

This was an idea I never wavered on until that Sunday night.  What if I had made an expensive mistake?  What if I wasted my time on something that was never going to work?  But you know what happened over last week?  Work poured in.  So much work that I had another mild anxiety attack last night wondering how to do it all.  I’m so grateful that I gambled. This won’t be an easy life, but it’s a life spent doing what I love while traveling the world.  I’m not going to spend my days working a job I hate just to get a check to pay bills.

I don’t think any dream or passion is placed in our minds for no reason.  I think these dreams were there to spur us on to greatness and a fullness of life.  Do what you love.  The Millennial Generation is marked by a desire to be fulfilled by what they do over the desire to make lots of money.

  1. Joy.
  2. Money.

And I’m begging you all to follow suit.  Do what you love.  It’s worth it.   You have one life; fill it with the things that make you excited to be alive.  Even if your passions can’t pay the bills, they should exist in your daily life.  Because why else are we here?

Today I’m grateful: so grateful to have finished up a degree in what I love, so grateful to know I’m spending my life doing what I love.  My heart’s about to burst.  *Currently doing my happy dance*

Love you,


Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
I’m a Real Girl

I’m a Real Girl


“And now that you don’t have to be perfect,

you can be good.” – Steinbeck

Growing up, my brother’s favorite Disney movie was Pinocchio.  I was more a Disney princess sort of girl. Ariel and Pocahontas were my favorites. Nobody cared that I had firstborn rights; we had to share the VCR (Kids, VCRs are clunky machines in antique shops).  I’d have to watch this old movie about a puppet turning into a real boy.  Time and time again. Because one time is never good enough for a child; movies were watched until the VHS tape was ruined (Kids, VHS tapes can also be found at antique shops).

“I’m a real boy!”  Pinocchio screams in delight.  And the whole house celebrates.  Even the cat and the fish join in and the cricket gets a gold star.  Because Disney knows what every child knows: animals are real and cool and totally human.  We forget that as we age.

We are so often like Pinocchio.  Many of us live as puppets. Some of us figure out we’re real. Some would rather stay puppets.  Puppets put on a show and entertain those around them.  But they’re hollow on the inside.  It’s easier to be a puppet, but it’s worse.  It’s lonely because nobody knows your true self, and life is lived playing pretend.  And we can pretend to be perfect all day long, but it’s exhausting.  People-pleasing is a gamble.  You can lose yourself and still never gain the people.

Or we can figure out that we’re real.  It’s harder to be real, but it’s better.  It’s freedom.  We can drop the act.  We can look at our flesh-covered bodies and know it’s a jumbled mess of screw-ups, wrong decisions, weird past experiences and total awesomeness.  Then we can show the world all of that.

Jiminy Cricket tells his beloved star: “He deserved to be a real boy.”  I think we all do.  We deserve to be real human beings in our one and only life.  We deserve to live a life that isn’t a puppet show.  Cut the strings, feel the blood pulsing through your veins.  If there are certain people in your life who prefer you on your puppet stage, leave them.  Find people who will celebrate when you shout “I’m a real boy!” If you can only find a cat or a fish or a cricket at first, choose them.  We weren’t made to be perfect puppets, we were made to be real people, alive and breathing and imperfect.



Image via Wikimedia