Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fear and Weight

This past Saturday I took part in Cycle for Survival. Cycle for Survival is an indoor spinning event that raises money for rare cancers; it was founded by my friend Jen Goodman Linn and her husband Dave. Jen passed away in July and since then I've found myself channeling grief into carrying on her legacy. I am not alone. This year, cycle raised close to 8 million dollars for cancer research.  For our part, we put together a team of 15 people. Many of these team members said “yes” within a few minutes of my initial recruiting email.
That's Ethan Zohn a new type of "survivor" 
Team Foodtrainers
Jen’s mantra and website was YouFearless. In March Jen turned 40 and, though sick, filmed her fabulous “Happy to be 40” dance video. Please stop reading and watch it if you haven’t, you’ll really get a sense of Jen. As a testament to Jen we agreed to post a dance video for each thousand we raised. Dancing is scary but we danced and it was kind of fun.
Gorgeous Jen
I think of Jen all the time but this weekend it was as though she was there. I sensed Jen daring us all to pedal faster, to do better, to make a difference. I also thought about fear. Those of us who aren’t fighting for our lives can have a hard time accessing our fear. I’ve been asking myself if my fears are legit if they aren’t major.  I mean how does a fear of getting my work done or being late stack up to a fear of not being here at all? It really doesn’t.

OPI Limited Edition You Fearless
Then I thought back to my sessions and conversations with Jen. Though Jen was a dreamer and an achiever she loved the fun stuff, the petty stuff.  Jen wanted to know about anti cancer foods and weight loss foods too. One of the last emails I received from Jen was telling me she saw me quoted in In Style and her best friend created You Fearless nail polish with OPI for Cycle. Jen was equal parts silly and serious. Fearlessness can absolutely be applied to "lesser" fears and it can apply to food. 

Some of us have a fear of failure, what happens if it doesn’t work? This can stifle us. Fear of failure for many translates into a fear of starting. It distracts us from the work to be done. Jen never knew if a treatment would be successful, she just focused on taking the necessary steps.

Fear of change- what will it be like if you lose weight? If you don’t eat your favorite treats? Will it be ok? I would ask yourself, is staying the same is ok? Is that acceptable? If not, let’s see how it goes. The treats aren’t going anywhere.

Fear of being noticed- with weight loss comes attention, some people dislike this.  Rather than cloaking ourselves in weight or food maybe we need to figure out why we’re hiding.

Fear of spending money and time- how can we not take care of ourselves? Jen knew how to take care of herself. I remember Jen requesting someone for reflexology while she received a blood transfusion. Jen knew the power of a pedicure and the wonder of a workout. 

Fear can trap you and stop you from living your life. We have to stop the excuses, stop postponing. When we shed the fear, we can shed the weight.

As Jen said, “without fear anything is possible.”

Jen told me this before the Chicago Marathon, can't say it better "because we can".
Thank you to those who contributed money. Now I’m asking you to contribute to fearlessness. 
What are your fears? Have you noticed any of them affecting your weight or wellness? How do you plan to face your fears? Some event photos below.
Marc and I, no pressure just the front row
Karen and Shari, I mean My Judy the Foodie

Love a team member with a Jack Daniels bandanna, work hard play hard.
You just got here, we're not leaving, it's a charity event!
Kaylee and my Foodtrainer-in-crime Carolyn finish off our shifts

The future fearless, Cycle for Survival 2022?


  1. I just watched the video and truly, fell in love with her! I can't imagine your and her loved ones grief. This charity event is the ultimate way to keep her legacy alive while doing what you can, in your own way, to find a cure. I am really impressed with your love, dedication, and passion. Also like the nails! This post just put life in perspective for me in a way that I have been thinking, but needed to hear. Thank you. Your kids are adorable, btw, and I love the caption under that first one, "We just got here..." haha.

  2. How inspiring!!! Great post Lauren.
    I have fear of not being perfect. How about that? It's really depressing sometime, because NO ONE is perfect!! I never knew I had this fear until I read the book Gaining. Now I am more aware of my fear and I try to conquer it (not by being perfect, but simply by recognizing my thoughts more...).

  3. This post is great inspiration, but really it just makes me so sad. I'd so much rather these strong, beautiful and wonderful women still be with us, instead of inspiration. I know we have to find a way to cope with the loss, and living fearlessly, in honor of our friends, seems to be the best way. But sometimes, I just feel incredibly sad.

  4. Hey Lauren,
    Thanks for sharing Jen, your experience of her, how she touched you, who she was. I've really been moved and inspired by her passion. I've followed your blog to youtube and heard her speak and she was truly a force and continues to be.
    Re: fear: I have found that seeing it and not engaging with it keeps me focused on what matters to me, which is the place ultimately I want to make decisions from, the only place we can make resonant life decisions from. Different types of fear pop up all the time... the question is what am I going to do with it. As you point out, it's up to us. Refocusing on what I value, and using that as the place I make decisions from, in connection with weight loss, exercise or any other practice or action I want to put in place for myself helps me sidestep fear.
    Hope to see you soon!

  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute about Jen. The video makes me want to get up and start dancing with her =)

    Love the pic w/ you and your boys... classic!

    I'm not afraid of much -- but with that being said, I do let what I'm afraid of get the best of my thoughts sometimes. When I see people like Jen though it puts everything into perspective and I realize how silly my fears are.

  6. Lisa I hope you did get up and dance, nothing like a 7am sprinkler! Lisa H, so true, fear comes up what do we do with it? I sometimes postpone things, working on that. Trying not to say "later I'll...".C- agreed, let's find inspiration elsewhere and save lives. As the MD receiving the research check said "put me out of a job". Gina, I'm so depressed, "nobody is perfect". I think having kids took perfect anything off my agenda. Cameo- passion yes and sometimes I am passionate about telling my kids what's right. It did cross my mind though, I could see someone saying "here we are at this beautiful event and that crazy woman is letting her kids have it."

  7. Love how inspiring Jen is and how inspiring YOU and this blog are...

  8. This is an inspiration. And i generally find that word overused...but in this case it's perfect.

  9. Einat, Stephanie just trying to learn from one of my best teachers. I have found the best way to keep someone with you is to try to live by what they taught you. I don't think I'll ever have the courage Jen did but I have a big mouth :)

  10. This was an amazing post/dedication to Jen. I agree that there is so much fear holding us back. Things that aren't even worth fearing! I know for myself, I've spent the past 2 years TALKING about how I Want to start my own business but I am also scared to! I fear that I won't be good enough to make it or people won't lose weight or learn from me. This post was such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Erin, judging by your blog I think people love learning from you. Go for it.

  12. How inspiring! :) I'm sure you all also inspired Mr. Cycle for Survival 2022, even if he doesn't know it yet.

  13. Um yes, he asked for a spin bike for his birthday. His mother wants one too :)

  14. Lauren,
    What a wonderful tribute to Jen, and what a great read!
    Thanks, fearless one.

  15. I loved reading this. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  16. What a wonderful event!
    Such a touching post. Thanks for sharing. Jen is such an inspiration.

  17. Ayala, Sam, Kristen thank you, let's all try to be fearless in Jen's honor- deal?

  18. wonderful event and post great way to help and keep her memory alive your wonderful

  19. Lovely post Lauren, and I will always be inspired by Jen's dance video! Thank you for supporting cancer research by participating in Cycle for Survival and by pushing all of us to be fearless. I loved Shari's video, but can't find yours...I'd love to see you dance :-)

  20. EA it's there I'm in camo- I mean ski gear. It's not that good but I did it. Pls em me your address for a real thank you for supporting cycle. Rebecca, she was wonderful, I'm just telling people about her.

  21. I love that you were front and center for your friend and so many others by default. Really...such an inspiration.

    Have a great weekend Lauren!