Tiger Shorts Here I Come!

Wa-Hoo! There are now FOUR of us competing in the July 19 triathlon in Falmouth on Cape Cod!!

“Team Art” now includes Lina, Kerry, John, and myself — and many others have said “I’ll be there to cheer you on!” The responses to the blog have really knocked my socks off. It matters. It makes me think “wow…. now all these people are watching – I need to do what I’ve said I will do!” Yes, that is the point — it is very uncomfortable to me to step out on a limb in what feels like a vulnerable way and say “yes – I need help,” and “yes… I need encouragement…” and “yes… I need your good ideas.”

And, we have signed up for a “Try Tri” race in Sudbury Massachusetts on May 10th…. it is a “mini” Sprint Triathlon, with a 400 yard swim, 7 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run…. seems like the perfect thing to do as a clear milestone en route to the real thing. Feels like it is just around the corner to me.

So if you’ve said… “Yes I will swim with you….” or “Yes, I have food tips for you….” or “Yes, I will find a race in my home town!” I want to take you up on all of those offers. If you want to support me, the best way is to subscribe to this blog and just let me know you’re out there with your comments and insight and experience.

For the past few weeks I give myself a 7 out of 10…. I’ve done well, and it is time to raise the bar. Trainer Kevin took a new set of measurements last week (see “Results” page). There was some teeny tiny progress…. but not enough.

I remind myself that the point of all of this is to learn what it means to set my sites on what feels like an audacious but critically important vision for myself, and then CREATE CHANGE that will last a lifetime. I wonder, as a heart patient, where the balance is between what I can impact and rise above, and what is a matter of graceful acceptance and adaptation. I think I’ve had the bar too low so far.

The clincher for me is FOOD and EATING. This is the area where I must raise the bar, or I will never experience Tiger Shorts (see video) again.

Deutschman says in ”Change or Die,“ that there are 3 keys to making real change happen, including for heart disease patients. They are:

1. Relate: be in community with others that inspire you, encourage you, hold you accountable, and who believe in you,
2. Repeat: exercise new behaviors again and again and again
3. Reframe: Notice limiting ways of viewing your situation, and restructure or replace with assumptions and beliefs that serve you rather than keep you down.

YOU are my ”Relate“ part. I know I’ve got my people lined up. First and foremost my husband John is the wind at my back in this. After all, he just bought for me the book ”The Fat Slow Triathlete.“ Yes, he is my #1 athletic supporter. In fact it had me doubled over laughing, with Chapter Titles such as “No, You Can’t Eat Anything You Want…” and “The Cycling is Easy – It’s Just Like Riding A Bike!”

From my RELATIONSHIP with YOU, I feel that I’m accountable…. those weight and waist measurements need to keep coming down. I’m also getting specific advice from you. For example, my buddy Denise — a wellness coach and personal trainer — advises me that the #1 thing she has seen help people to make good eating choices is to keep a daily log of all food intake. So, I’m going to add that to my practices. And, to hear so many of you simply offer your encouragement, and your cheer that you think I can do this… inspires me, it lifts me. I think that a key will be that I know times will come when I dip down — that is when RELATE will matter most.

Then there’s REPEAT. What are the new behaviors that I need to implement and practice over and over again? OK…. here goes:

1. Keep a daily log of the food I eat. I will start this on Monday February 16 when I return from a leadership retreat in California.

2. Prepare large batches of healthy food on the weekend for the week ahead – like veggie chili, black bean salad, etc… (got any great recipes??)

3. New lunch habits. I tend to go out for lunch and have some sort of sandwich…. if I prepared a lunch and took Puck for a walk to the Park, it would make a big difference.

4. Reduce evening eating. I often do a yoga class from 5:45 – 7:15 in the evening. Eating a late dinner doesn’t work. Instead, if I have an ultra light dinner after yoga it would help a lot.

5. Practice a “harm reduction” approach — a goal is to minimize refined carbohydrates and sugars…. so, make choices that minimize those or that substitute whole grain and complex carb options. Start with a smaller portion. Drink water before a meal.

And then REFRAME… this feels to me like the biggest nut to crack. I think that I fundamentally tell myself: “I can’t do this…” “I need to comfort myself with this food.” “I will have this one last comfort meal and then I’ll be better…” “I’m going to fail at this anyway so I might as well indulge in this food….”

When I dig down and really look at what goes on in my heart and mind when I make bad food choices, there is a fundamental sense of hopelessness — that I am ultimately going to fail at this, that it is impossible.

When I think of doing yoga in my Tiger Shorts (which ought to be embarrassing for a whole host of reasons beyond weight…), the truth is that I do not believe that it is possible for me to lose enough weight to ever wear them again. I remember wearing them about 4 years ago when I was at my lowest weight…. and how wonderful it felt to be able to do that with confidence! Wow, it was wonderful. I feel as though I am PRETENDING that I will do this, but I actually won’t do it.

So, what’s the reframe? What if I could actually be successful at this? What if I COULD change my eating habits permanently? What if in those moments when I cave in I actually stepped into the knowledge that I am able to make good choices, that every step I take and choice I make contributes to my ultimate success? Instead of falling prey to the notion that “this time it doesn’t matter I can start later….” I can remind myself that “there is no later… only now” and that THIS choice makes a difference. Deutschman also notes that often what we think is the “solution” is actually the “problem.” In my situation, I view FOOD to be a solution to feeling down or hopeless — it’s my drug of choice. What if I recognized that actually it is the problem, not the solution — in other words, it is bad food choices that leads and creates the sadness, hopelessness, and lack of confidence?

I’m not quite sure what the practice should be around REFRAMING my relationship with food — but it is clearly an important part of this puzzle. If you’ve got suggestions, please let me know. I think a good practice will be that as I keep my daily food log of what I eat, to include the “frame” or thoughts/feelings that go along with the food choices. I commit to doing that.

Onward Ho! Tiger Shorts Here I Come!

~ by Art on February 8, 2009.

11 Responses to “Tiger Shorts Here I Come!”

  1. Okay. .. I think we misstyped you. .. I think you are a CHARM type.

    Love you,


  2. As the person who gave you the tiger shorts and one of the few people in the world who have actually seen you in them, I know that you CAN have a tiger shorts body and I’m confident that you will get back there. I think that you should plan on wearing the tiger shorts for the sprint triathalon in July,

  3. Giving up evening eating made a radical difference in my ability to sustain a healthy weight. It was hard at first and now it just feels so right.

  4. I live to see you in those Tiger Shorts. I double dog dare you t bring them to Retreat 3 in April.
    Loving you,

  5. Hello Art,
    I love the tiger shorts and I see you getting back in them with room to spare. Thanks for including the video and photos, you are even cuter than ever!
    I wrote you that I would be a cheerleader and more but wasn’t sure what the “more” would look like for a bit. I found the “more” and here it is. Last January I injured my right knee twice during a very short time frame. After lots of tests it was determined that I have arthritis and a cyst in that knee causing a fair amount of pain on most days. Due to the pain, I had become a true couch potatoe with the requisite weight gain. According to my doctors either a knee replacement or lots of walking was the best thing for me. I think the knee replacement is premature and it hurt too much to walk. When I got your invitation, I had already started back at Weight Watchers to begin to get the food piece under control. You inspired me to start walking in spite of the pain. I figure if you can train for a triathalon with chest pain, I can sure walk on the treadmill with knee pain.
    Here are my committments to you: you can count on me to be your cheerleader sending you love, strength and hope every step or stroke of the way, you can count on me to send you healthy recipes and whatever lessons I learn about relating to food in constructive ways, you can count on me to be walking on my treadmill or outside (weather permitting) at least 5 days a week, you can count on me to be getting healthy with you, holding you up on the days or minutes that seem too hard to face. I want us both to be healthier more than I want to avoid the pain of our current situations.
    You are surrounded with love, magic, delight, hope, fairies and tenacity. When you remember to try the tiger shorts on again, they will be too big!
    Love and blessings,

    • Yeah Susan!

      Your message is sooo inspiring to me…. we can be allies on this journey — you are an angel on earth. Thanks for your words…. you are officially part of the team!!

      love to you,


  6. Oh, Art, lovely Art. I think of you as invincible, easily able to do anything you set your heart and mind to. How human of you that this Journey Back to Tiger Shorts be a mountain climb, rather than a stroll. How perfect that you’re aiming as high as a triathlon, with its various phases. And of course support is coming out in all directions.

    Remember Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray got to keep doing it over til he got it right? Every day he learned something, and over the course of the movie, he transformed. He was lucky. The world conspired for him to evolve; he had no choice. But you, you have a choice, and you’re choosing to shift not just your body (a la Tiger Shorts) but also your being. And now you’re inviting us all to be your co-conspirators.

    How about having a once a week fifteen minute Celebration Call – where you have a conference line set up for people to call in and celebrate our weeks together? You’ll celebrate your successes, whatever they are, and others can celebrate theirs.

    My only hint: keep the cupboards and fridge FILLED with healthy food. Just seeing the abundance will feed you.

    Lots of love,

  7. Art:

    This post is so inspiring to me. And it is producing lots of ripple effects in my personal life, too. I so wish I could join you in July (as a cheerleader), but I have a family commitment in Minneapolis the same weekend. But I have re engaged my son to return to Utah this spring to do another Tri (he was in 5 during his rehab stay). Your openness, passion and vulnerability has had a fabulous impact on my family. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Now some suggestions/questions to ponder…… Do you set an intention at the beginning of the day? What about writing out positive affirmations on note cards and repeat them several times/day. They need to be positive and worded in the present tense, as if they were already a reality for you. Every time your mind goes to that dark place–recover and repeat your stake, affirmation or tell your Saboteur where to go. I see your inner struggle as an ego mind chatter that you can choose to replace with whatever you want to create. Do you ask yourself when you are tempted to indulge…is this choice at this moment serve me? Can I accept in this moment of temptation that it is only silly mind talk that I want this?

    And one other “out there” suggestion: Use a daily Alcoholics Anonymous one day at a time book and substitute you particular words for you “addiction” for using alcohol.

    Sending you lots of support, love and encourage to keep doing it, Art!!! It’s so within your reach….


  8. Erica is in! Erica is in! Cool… consider yourself signed up…. I will send you the info — you can also find the link to the triathlon on he main page here (lower right)…. we’re going to have Team Art check-in calls every 2 weeks or so…. schedule coming soon!


  9. Dear Art,
    OK, I’m in too. I don’t even know how to swim except with my head above water, and one lap in the pool about kills me. AND I want to do this with you. I have come a long way in my own quest toward normal, hunger-responsive eating and fitness and I’m offering you any conversation you want to have about it–especially in the very moments when you think such conversation couldn’t possibly make a difference. Please call on me!

    In the meantime I will be in touch to get your training schedule & registration information so I can get to work.

    With love, Swimmingly,

  10. It takes a brave man to commit to tiger shorts! (By the way – I wondered what they were doing out lying on the bed the other day!) I have, truly, always admired your bravery & your choice to live. It’s so wonderful to see it thriving again.

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