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Things Coach MK Can't Say In a Newsletter, 9/29/19: The Glow-Up

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I shouldn't be surprised at how cruel people can be (but I always am in fact surprised).

Your response to Amy's dissection of the Brittany Runs a Marathon Trailer was overwhelmingly positive. The comments on the Youtube video from random strangers though? Horrifying. I turned them off. Not because these notions were dissenting but rather because they were ugly. I disagree with all kinds of people without attacking them or their humanity and demand the same from the people around me. I put marginalized voices on my platform so they can be heard, not so they can be abused. I very much see protecting those voices as part of my responsibility. I wish more managers and companies did.

These (ugly, harsh) comments reinforced what we were saying- the movie conflates weight loss with 'personal journey'; and we don't trust personal journeys that don't include weight loss. That's what we mean when we say we conflate 'internalized fatphobia' with 'personal growth'. That character could have had a personal journey without weight loss. Can you name a movie with a female lead where the protagonist goes on a personal journey and doesn't lose weight?

I threw out that same question in the podcast, and several of you responded with, "Eat Pray Love" and "Wild". The character gains weight in Eat Pray Love in Italy but it is clear she loses it in India. Wild was not specifically about weight loss, but her body absolutely shrank as the story continued. Time and 'progress' are marked over the course of the movie, mapped onto the bodies of these females. Absent the weight loss, could these journeys still be valid? Absolutely. Then why do we need a physical, outward representation of an inner journey? Is there any other way to SHOW it?

Ten years after my rape I walked into the Anthropologie a few blocks from my home. My therapist would not release me to a psychiatrist to medicate my ADHD until I was tuning into my body and comfortable with how people respond to it; it was on me to find some way to prove it. This is harder than it sounds. It's more subtle than it seems. I thought it made sense to start by wearing clothes that were my size rather than 2 sizes too large. I tried on dresses and jeans (jeans are the WORST) and felt like crap- the lights on my body, the fear of how I would be perceived by my classmates if I tried to look pretty and pulled together. I was incapable of saying, "This looks good on me" and feeling anything other than fear.

Six MONTHS later I would walk into Loehmann's and drop $500 on a new wardrobe for my summer banking internship. If my story was being made into a movie, that 6-month period would be reduced to a montage of me shopping and crying and finally walking out triumphant, makeover complete. We have a new phrase for it: a glow-up. I wasn't fixed, I wasn't made over or made better or reborn. One issue was removed, one small part of me was healed and it led to more healing.

My fears weren't unfounded- I did not get a banking offer at the end of the summer. One of the reasons? a red Ann Taylor dress I wore in my third week, proof positive that I cared too much about fashion and had no future in banking. That dress looked GREAT on me, that fear I'd worked hard to overcome had been valid. At the time, the message didn't make sense to me. The woman who delivered that message with a sneer was wearing an expensive designer dress, it looked great on her.

It took a few years to unpack my feelings, but surviving THAT moment? That's what personal growth looks like. My fear was realized, and I lived through it. My love of my body, and of the many ways I can dress it, has only grown. And I thank GOD every day I didn't get that terrible, toxic job. Someday, I will give a TED Talk, and I will wear the HELL out of that red dress when I do it.

You'll notice- I told that story the same way I always tell it- without including details about my weight. My journey was visualized with a red dress and a dramatic encounter. Brittany Runs a Marathon was visualized with weight loss and a makeover.

Personal journeys are not about the world becoming safe. It's about finding, and occasionally creating, a safe space in the world for yourself. Not all transformations are as visually arresting as weight loss or a glow-up, but that is a 2-minute montage; it is never the story. Your wins will inspire feelings in people all around you, it can be hard to remember that their response is on them, not on you.

We will have more from Amy tomorrow, and what you DON'T know is how, for her, filming these vidoes is a physical representation of personal growth. it's like watching me stumble into Anthropologie back in 2007. It's a big deal. She's overcome a LOT to be standing up instead of hiding. Weight loss can accompany a personal journey, but when that's the only narrative we see, we don't trust journeys that don't involve weight loss. We aren't learning and we aren't growing if we aren't challenging the single narratives we have internalized.

World, meet Amy. You're not going to see less of her. She is brilliant, charismatic, kind, and empathetic. You don't have to agree with anything she says to benefit from the things she shares. You are watching her journey unfold, in real time, a journey of REAL personal growth and strength- you have no idea how much is required to put herself 'out there' the way she is doing now. It goes against everything she has been told she has to do, needs to do, the things to avoid doing if she wants to avoid punishment.

We stand by Amy, and we stand by each and every one of you. We know how much strength is required to get through each day, and that you don't need MORE mental strength you need less shit to deal with. We aim to keep this space shit-free for as long as humanly possible, to best facilitate whatever personal journey you are living right now. It's never about the running, it's about the loving. THAT is where personal growth journeys begin, with feeling safe enough to love yourself.

You are coached. You ARE loved, and you are soooo winning at life.


Who is our runner of the week? CHECK COACH SARAH'S NEWSLETTER TO FIND OUT!

New Nuzzel HERE

New CL Newsletter HERE

New FPP Newsletter HERE

New FPP Podcast HERE

NOW for your Nuzzel News Outtakes!

TLDR; This week's top news was Doha, the IAAF championships. It was hot. Like, WHY DID YOU DO THIS IN DOHA, hot. Slowest world championship marathon to date....and the winners are by far the most notable: The American woman who finished 6th (Roberta Groner) is a 41 year-old nurse. Not a professional runner. She is even on Strava. Lyndsay Tessier, the Canadian woman who finished 9th never ran in high school or college. She started running doing a run-walk program from with her local running store.


Once upon a time, walking was a SPECTATOR SPORT.

Take all of the advice in here, but seriously DO NOT IGNORE THAT BLISTER.

I want to buy EVERYTHING she makes!

This one got me in ways I wasn't expecting. It's old, but I only saw it this week.

Body Image and Fatphobia

Once upon a time, I had two photos of the same runner. The contrast was drastic and would have made great copy for media outlets. I hesitated because it felt ugly. I couldn't articulate why. YourFatFriend articulates everything, beautifully.

*EXHALES* now this is a conversation.

"when I wasn’t cutting through the sharp, still water, I was adrift in a sea of diet talk, weight loss fixations, and peers who suddenly wondered if they were too fat to pull off that dress or whether their thighs would ever get thinner. "

The swimming article above underscores why the 'will i ever get faster' chatter, matters.

As Seen On Our FB Pages

A pro trail runner reflects on his experiences in a predominantly white sport:

Pro Running

We need to talk about periods more:

" I do think it’s important to see all possibilities of a race outcome (good and bad), acknowledge them, but then move on. "

Not your average family, but trying to create this would...probably not be effective.

I DO love reading what pros eat!

Charlotte Atler shows us her work:

THRILLED for American Roberta Groner!!!!

Proletariat Running

I WISH I could do 5:30 runs.


I used to live in HK and love how the running scene is evolving.

In case you missed it in the Nuzzel, this is AWESOME. I cannot imagine running in Hanoi.

F*uck Cancer

I have never had any desire to attend this summit. That could change.

Trail Running

Every trail runner knows walking comes with the gig.


Short video about Courtney Dauwalter!!!!

Ultras, especially 100-milers, are HARD.

This sounds SO HARD.


Nothing To Do With Running

THIS IS WILD!!! I wasn't aware of her connection to Hustlers!

I love animals. And STILL I cannot imagine!!!! Am soooo glad they found their dog!

The landscape of Houston has CHANGED, even since we left. A lot of it can be attributed to these guys:

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