Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Sarah: Why the “Fat Girl on a Bike” Blog is Going on Hiatus

Several of you have noticed that The Original Marshmallow of Steel, Sarah Watson, has taken down her blog. The good news is, it’s temporary (though we don’t yet know when she’ll be back). The bad news is, she did indeed do it because people are fucking assholes, and she couldn’t take it anymore.

I asked Sarah if I could blog about her decision to take a break from public blogging, and she responded with an e-mail that I’ve decided to turn into a guest post instead.

Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing this with the … Shapelies? Prosies? Shapelipolitans? Still working on the right name, but whatever we’re called, we all adore Sarah and can’t wait for Fat Girl on a Bike to return. –Kate


By Sarah

The Fat Girl on a Bike blog started as a way for me to write about my experiences specifically related to biking. When I took the plunge for my first triathlon a little more than a year ago, I decided to write about it there because it gave my friends and family a way to follow me.

I’m painfully aware of how people can interact in a completely anonymous atmosphere, so I tried to carefully edit the blog because I didn’t want to constantly deal with two issues — diet and weight loss. I have a very low bullshit tolerance, and those sorts of conversations piss me off very quickly.

It disturbs me to no end to see how focused we as a society have become on those two issues. What the hell gives you the right to go up to a fat person and offer diet advice or ask if they’ve lost weight? On the flip side, what the hell gives you the right to go up to a naturally thin person and tell them they should eat something? Our bodies ARE NOT PUBLIC PROPERTY.

Here’s the truth about being fat. We’re told we’re unhealthy (but there is no real finite definition of the word), and we need to lose weight. We’re told losing weight is simple: eat less and exercise.

So we eat less and exercise. But when we exercise, we’re told we’re grinding down our joints and are going to hurt ourselves. So we’re supposed to slowly walk and subsist on rice cakes and Diet Coke.

And when we don’t lose weight, it’s because we’re somehow sabotaging ourselves, because we hate ourselves — otherwise we wouldn’t be this fat in the first place! And there’s only one cause for being fat — we just eat too goddamn much. So get off the couch, fatass, and exercise!

OMGWTFBBQ!1!1!11 Like a dutiful drone, I went and followed those instructions. I went and exercised. I had fun. I exercised for three years and then decided to do something a little unusual. I did a triathlon. And I liked it so much, I did seven more in one year. And wrote about it. And posted pictures. And talked about how I felt. And talked about how others made me feel. And talked about it from the perspective of the fat chick who’s usually last. And talked about the fun I had. And talked about the bad things. And I didn’t hold back.

Somehow, that became permission for every asshat on the web to dissect my entire life based on a picture or reading one or two blog entries.

Lately the bullshit barrage has been much harder for me than usual. I’m super stressed out from my own REAL life and I’m trying to handle a buttload of stuff on very little emotional reserve (surprise, I have mental health issues too!)

The last straw was a very lengthy discussion on another blog, specifically discussing me based on photos from the BMI project. That’s why I decided to take a break for a while by turning the blog private until I’m ready to face the intarweb again. I also asked Kate to remove my photos from the project, possibly forever.

The biggest reason I don’t discuss diet and weight loss with strangers is I lived for 17 years as a calorie-obsessed bulimic who spent much of my spare mental energy trying to see how many grams I’d be able to lose if I just puked up 4 percent of last night’s dinner. Constantly reading and hearing about eating, weight, obesity, etc., have recently rekindled all sorts of eating disordered thoughts and behavior and I will NOT let that happen to me again.

There are factors in my life that make weight loss much more complicated than you’ll ever know (as is common with many other people of varying sizes). So you know what? I stopped obsessing over it because I wanted to enjoy my life rather than be ill all the time. I’m not exactly thrilled with my size, but I’d much rather be a confident fat woman than a ridiculously insecure not-so-fat woman.

The thing that irritates me so much about this is that I just want to write about my racing habit because that’s how I remember and enjoy it afterward.

So why is my blog fodder for the whole internet dickwad population to come out and rip me to shreds and make theoretical claims about me and my body? Why is it important to pontificate over the definition of the terms “athlete,” “fitness,” “health,” “obesity,” “triathlete,” and generic “fatass”?

I never used to have a problem with people criticizing me, because my job always invited it. But I knew that criticism was based on my JOB, not ME. In fact, I appreciate job criticism because it helps me do it better.

But this shit is 100 percent personal, based on one fucking picture. Not a series of pictures, but one fucking picture. And people claim it’s not personal, by saying it’s not me they’re criticizing, it’s just my fat. Guess what, my fat is part of my body. And when you shit on my body, you’re shitting on me. And I’m not into that sort of freaky shit.

Based on those pictures, some anonymous fucktard can make a public assertion that I’m unhealthy, weak, sick, in need of medical attention, grinding my joints to a pulp, not an athlete, not a triathlete, lying about what I eat (which I never discuss online), lying about the levels of exercise I do (which I also don’t discuss in intimate detail), self-hating, and a whole host of other things.

While some say I should just ignore it and move on, I challenge you to see how you’d be doing in this sort of situation. I sincerely doubt you’d be able to ignore it that easily.

That said, the blog will be back, but not for a while. I need the break to focus on myself, not worrying about the constant distraction of buzzing flies ripping my life to shreds in ways they’d never say to my face.

155 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Sarah: Why the “Fat Girl on a Bike” Blog is Going on Hiatus”

  1. Sarah, though I can understand why you wouldn’t, I almost wish you would post this wholesale in the comments to that blog post. These people should be ashamed of themselves, and I guess I’m being idealistic to imagine that reading this would make them realize that they’re meddling, uninformed, judgmental dickwads, but that is what I imagine. It’s a satisfying fantasy.

    Anyway, you’re completely right about the catch-22 we’re supposed to navigate — you should exercise, fatty, but don’t exercise, or we’ll sneer about your joints! — and it’s sickening. Sometimes I just want to punch everyone through the internet. Or better yet, give them a forehead tattoo reading “WHO THE FUCK ASKED YOU?” Backwards, of course, so they can read it in the mirror.

    At least you’re the one laughing all the way to the bank with this one. I mean, who’s getting a runner’s high and racking up the ever-improving tri scores in this scenario, and who’s sitting around in front of a computer being supercilious and bitter?

  2. Dear Sarah-

    I think you rock. You inspired me to start running, which had always seemed like the worst kind of torture.

    It makes me so sad (and not just a little pissed off) that people are such jerkheads. Take care of yourself, and I hope to see your blog again one day when the time is right…

  3. This is so heartbreaking. Sarah, I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through this. I wish people understood the concequences that their words can have on people.

    I’m sad that the blog will be on hiatus, but I definitely understand stepping back from something that can be detrimental to your well-being.

    Oh, and thanks for the inspiration–because of you I’m gonna take up bike-riding…you make it look like fun! Be blessed. :-)

  4. This breaks my heart. Sarah’s blog gave me the courage to get over my fears of being laughed at and start biking and going to the gym again. I’m so ashamed that people can be so horrible.

    Sarah – I wish you only the best of luck. I truly admire you, and you’ve been a huge inspiration.

  5. Thank you Sarah- for taking care of you in whatever way you need to. I enjoyed your blog, felt you were extremely inspiring, and hope you return to us soon.

    Best wishes in all your endeavors.

  6. Sarah, I wish there were a way you could continue blogging sans dickheads, but the fact is, you’re a threat to those who hold on so desperately to that fragile stereotype of the fat gluttonous sloth. And if they didn’t make fun of fat people, who else would they make fun of? It’s a hate crime if you direct your bigotry towards ethnic groups.

    To everyone else, you’re awe-inspiring. Not because you do triathlons while fat, but because you do them, period. Even at my size-four thinnest, I couldn’t run more than a mile without becoming so winded I thought I’d’ pass out on the treadmill.

    So, while I don’t completely share your drive to compete in grueling physical competitions, there is something you said I can wholeheartedly identify with.

    Constantly reading and hearing about eating, weight, obesity, etc., have recently rekindled all sorts of eating disordered thoughts and behavior and I will NOT let that happen to me again.

    Recently a friend who just had bariatric surgery several months ago invited me to a party for Candlelight or something, where several women from her WLS support group would be there. I declined to go simply because I don’t want to engage in or hear discussions on their weight loss. I may blog about weight-related issues, but in real life, I avoid situations like this which may trigger eating disordered behaviors. Physically and mentally, I can’t afford to go there again.

    Of course, when all you hear, see and read about is weight-loss this, obesity epidemic that, it’s easy to see why recovering from an ED is so difficult. Our culture reinforces and supports eating disorders, not recovery from eating disorders.

    I wish you well in continuing to work towards both your triathlon and mental health goals.

  7. I also think you rock, Sarah. While competing in triathlons sounds like a form of torture to me, I also find women doing what they love completely inspiring, whatever it is. I am really sorry that your courage in being part of the BMI project, and your willingness to put yourself out there on the internet, has been rewarded with a barrage of stupidity. Hang in there.

  8. Sarah, I cannot express how important your blog has been to me. Obviously I want to see it come back, not just for me, but for everyone like me (I think there are a lot of us out there.) At the same time I completely understand the need to do this — I’ve had to do it myself in various ways, including in blogland. Hugs to you.

  9. To everyone else, you’re awe-inspiring. Not because you do triathlons while fat, but because you do them, period.

    I wholeheartedly agree. I’m sorry that our culture’s fatphobia has been directed at you with such ire in the form of internet cowards. Your athletic accomplishments and your blog have been inspiring for so many people, but if you need to separate them to be healthy, that’s what’s important. I wish you well and hope that we continue to see you here at SP.

  10. I regret that the narrow-minded, judgmental attitudes of people who do not care to look beyond the pap they are spoon-fed to marvel at anyone, not just someone of substance, but anyone who is able to participate in and complete a triathlon. I belong to a gym and recently started bicycling, but a triathlon, a triathlon!!! That means running and swimming and bicycling continuously for hours……. I am in awe of you!

    I have only in the past year been able to look at the number on the scale after a 20 year hiatus. I will not allow myself to be put into a position to start those ED behaviors again and I certainly respect your decision to step back from the open net society for awhile. I’ve read your blog a few times since I discovered it through Shapely Prose. I largely lurk, but felt compelled as another recovering ED, to express my respect for you, Sarah. More power to you!

  11. Ooops!

    I regret that the narrow-minded, judgmental attitudes of people who do not care to look beyond the pap they are spoon-fed to marvel at anyone, not just someone of substance, but anyone who is able to participate in and complete a triathlon

    Meant to end that opening statement as below:

    I regret that the narrow-minded, judgmental attitudes of people who do not care to look beyond the pap they are spoon-fed has caused you pain. How can they not be inspired to marvel at anyone, not just someone of substance, but anyone who is able to participate in and complete a triathlon?

  12. I so admire your courage in deciding to do what’s right for you right now. Stay healthy, stay sane, and I’ll be sending healing supportive thoughts your way.

  13. Sarah, you rule, and I don’t blame you one bit for not wanting to be a target of haters. What you say is so right, that a fat chick can never win in the eyes of many — in theory the fat-people-are-lazy crowd should be thrilled to death to see someone like you, who shows fat people that they don’t have to wait to get thin to get fit, but in practice you are the wind that blows down their house of cards, the one so carefully constructed on, “If I only eat X number of calories and avoid foods a, b, and c, and work out like a demon, I will be so much better than those awful fatties in every possible way.” For them, acceptance is a zero-sum game — if you win, they lose.

    But it’s so true — we’re not public property! Other people don’t get to stick a number on us saying, “This is what you’re supposed to weigh, and if you have to torture yourself — literally torture yourself — to reach that number and stay there, then you just go ahead and do that missy, or prepare to be shunned forever regardless of what else you do with your life.” A hundred or two hundred years from now, I predict, social scientists will look back on the weight-based hysteria and irrationality that pervades our culture and shake their collective heads at how we could have thought that was so important. Meanwhile, you do whatever you have to do to keep it together. You are a heroine.

  14. Oh, Sarah. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. It’s such a loss for the fatosphere, but you have to put your mental health first. Best of luck with the break.

  15. Sarah, your blog inspired me. I am always a bit afraid of physical exercise – fearing I will drop over dead. You know all of the – see your doctor first stuff. I haven’t had insurance for years and smoked many years, so I always was anxious.

    Your strength was thrilling to read about and I passed along information to a neighbor. She is strong, riding her bike for miles. So, for her and for me – take really kind care of yourself.

    I have been writing all weekend, mapping out my plans for a blog. What you have gone through makes me think I may not go ahead with it. Too many wonderful women (Melissa McEwan and Amanda Marcotte come immediately to mind).

    I stopped writing the Wednesday Question of the Day at My Left Wing because there is so much ugly commenting. See it isn’t just FA or appearance. There is plenty of hate around for honesty and idealistic concepts too. This is soul-sucking stuff and I applaud anyone for continuing to blog.

    Please let us all know when you feel it is time to return. We will be delighted.

  16. Sarah, I never got a chance to read your blog as I only found Shapely Prose about three weeks ago and have not had a chance to get to all the recommended links. You write beautifully here though and I am in awe of your tri-athlete accomplishments. I hope Kate lets us know when your blog comes back as I can’t wait to read your story. Take care of you :)

  17. I just wanted to add my good energy and thoughts for Sarah.

    I totally get why you’re doing this, but I do hope you’ll be able to find a way to come back as I have loved reading your blog and you really have been an inspiration to me to just get out there and do it and stop making excuses. I literally just started the couch-to-5k program (or, well, I’ve added a week -1 first b/c I can’t even do 60 sec yet, but that’s a separate issue) on Friday, by going out walking/jogging in public — in PUBLIC!!!! OUTSIDE!!!. It never would have remotely occurred to me that this was something I would or could do without having read your blog and the way you talk about taking on challenges and doing things for yourself, so here’s one more person whom you’ve inspired.

    I had very mixed feelings reading the blog post I think you’re talking about, because the blogger is, as usual (IMO) awesome, and totally gets it (my favorite line in response to stupid comment: “Or better yet, we can stop judging people’s health, period.”) but clearly lots of the people commenting, even ones I’ve seen be intelligent and non-hysterical in response to other topics just so clearly don’t get it. I am not at all surprised that some of those comments would be upsetting to you. I cannot believe the gall of some people to say the shit they did (do) just because apparently being fat negates personhood, privacy, politeness, etc. (<—- sarcasm)

    So in any case, I’m glad you’re doing what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and sane, and I certainly look forward to when you are able to come back!

  18. I stopped writing the Wednesday Question of the Day at My Left Wing because there is so much ugly commenting. See it isn’t just FA or appearance. There is plenty of hate around for honesty and idealistic concepts too. This is soul-sucking stuff and I applaud anyone for continuing to blog.

    I’d just like to say, to anyone who blogs or is thinking about it, I can’t recommend a draconian comments policy enough. Not just because it’s satisfying to delete the assholes without a second thought, but because I get so few assholes commenting. I deal with plenty at Shakesville (though most Shakers are, of course, awesome), and I’ve certainly seen them at lots of other sites, but really, I’m stunned by how few end up here. Even after being Metafiltered and fucking Reutersed, the troll traffic is ridiculously low.

    I don’t know that that’s because of the comments policy, but I did see someone on another board (bitching about the BMI project) say something like, “I read her comments policy, and I don’t think I’d be welcome there.” To which I say, GOOD. I mean, bummer if I lose some nice readers who are just intimidated, but hallefuckinlujah if potential concern trolls are reading the comments policy and deciding not to bother.

    I feel no guilt whatsoever about deleting comments that say stupid, hurtful things, regardless of the commenter’s intentions. And anyone who wants to pull the “Oh, I guess you just want an echo chamber” line on me is invited to actually read the comments threads here, where plenty of intelligent, respectful debate goes on about loads of different topics.

    Not to mention, you know what? Yeah, actually, I DO fucking want an echo chamber full of voices saying it’s perfectly possible to be fat and healthy and happy. We need that. We only have to walk out our goddamned front doors to find opposing viewpoints. If it were actually possible to live in some protected little bubble where nobody hates teh fatties, I’d say sign me up, but since we all live in the real world, we are hardly sheltered from fat hate. That’s the point of the blog.

    I can’t stop people from being assholes, but I can sure refuse to give assholes quarter on my own blog, and I will never apologize for that. I would absolutely encourage other bloggers — especially women bloggers — to do the same. It doesn’t cramp discussion or hinder free speech; it just creates a community where people don’t get hurt every time they read a comments thread. What a fucking concept.

  19. JFC! I am really sorry to hear that Sarah… it is amazing what people will say with the “anonymity” of the internet to protect them.

    I am looking forward to your comeback, as I am sure many other non-dickwads are! And I did go get those running shoes… now I just need to get my work schedule under control and couch to 5K, here I come! Maybe I will see you out there on a run one of these days. In the mean time, take care of yourself.

  20. On the thread in question, she actually did just go and delete about a dozen comments. But the concern trollage is still ridiculous.

  21. Thanks, Kate. I may email you several questions in the next couple months as I deliberate. I re-read your policy this morning and was going to ask if I could use it.

    I am so sick of the hate talk, I don’t even want to have to read the damn comments looking for the lizard brains. Thin skin doesn’t begin to name it. We’ll see. Thank goodness there are safe places to come and speak my mind.

  22. I’m sorry you had to take your pictures down Sarah. I think for every internet asshat that felt the need to flap his gums, there were a thousand fat women out there who got to your picture and yelled out “Hell yeah!” I wish I’d been able to show that picture to every person who ever told me I couldn’t do something because I was too fat. I mean, a triathlete, how frigging awesome is that? I’m in your cheering section, ma’am, and I’m sorry that you even have to hear the minuscule people who aren’t.

  23. I think for every internet asshat that felt the need to flap his gums, there were a thousand fat women out there who got to your picture and yelled out “Hell yeah!”

    That is SUCH a good point.

    “Remember the lurkers” is my mantra when I get down about this shit. For as big, diverse, and awesome as the commentariat is, my blog stats tell me there are a whole lot of people reading who never comment. And they must keep reading for a reason, even if they never say anything. So when I do get a rash of trolls (a “rash” being, like, three, in my mind) and start thinking maybe this isn’t even worth it, I remember the lurkers. They’re way more important than a couple random dickwads.

  24. Solid Amen on that one, Kate. I read for a while before I commented…and just today I finally bit the bullet and began my own. I have you to thank for that–I needed the courage!

    Again, Sarah, you rock. You’re an inspiration—know you’ve touched lives for the better.

  25. Sarah-

    You have been a complete inspiration to me although we have interest once on a bike we still ride. I’m sad to hear you are taking down your blog. You have inspired to consider competition which is something I haven’t let myself ever consider before. You are my favorite athlete and I hope i will read your stories again someday. Good luck next season Sarah.

  26. Kate, thanks for keeping us updated and for providing us with a somewhat safe space to discuss this. Sarah, I am so sorry that it came to this and I completely understand and support your decision. I am glad that you are looking out for yourself and doing what is best for you.

    I made a similar decision once. I used to belong to an online support group for eating disorders (completely unmoderated, what were we thinking?). For the most part it was a very helpful and supportive place, but there were a few assholes that just made our lives miserable. After months of fighting I decided that the sane thing to do was disengage completely, even though I was sad to leave the group. I thought of that experience recently while reading your blog, and knew that if I were in your position I would probably just give up blogging. I am selfishly glad that it hasn’t quite come to that yet.

    I hope that this break will help you regain some inner peace and balance, and thank you so much for being brave enough to share what you have already posted. You have had a very positive influence on my life and I want to thank you for that.

  27. Sarah – I’m absolutely devastated and feel so sorry that you’ve had to put up with this crap. I will say though that you have inspired me to take part in my first triathlon; something I told myself I was going to do ‘when I was thin’. After reading about your incredible achievements, I decided I wasn’t going to put my life on hold because of some dress size. I hope I get to read more about your races, and this time, I’ll be vocal in my support, I won’t lurk!

  28. Sarah (abashed first-time commenter),

    Wanted you to know that reading your blog also inspired me to do my first triathlon this year (Skylands in NJ). I wasn’t DFL, but, man, I was close.

    Good luck building the base this winter! I’ll be teaching me-self flip turns at the Y.

  29. Sarah – I just started reading your blog recently (jut long enough to know what I’ll be missing while you’re on your break) and I’m sorry you’ve had to put up with so much bullshit from repugnant small-minded trolls.

    No matter what the keyboarding idiots say, you’re an inspiration to me and to a lot a of others. It takes some serious ovaries to be a tri-athlete, period. But to do it as a fat woman, when society screams that fat is Teh Evil, is infinitely more incredible and admirable.

    Put simply, you are made of awesome. And, while I hope you enjoy your break, I can’t wait to see back in the blogosphere.

  30. Sarah, just adding to the outpouring here: I’m sorry that idiots have made you question the awesome things you were doing. I loved your blog and will welcome it back with open arms when/if it comes back. In the meantime, take good care of yourself because you rule and you’ve expanded a lot of people’s definition of what’s possible.

  31. Sarah, You are wise and strong to recognize the need to take yourself out of the line of fire for awhile. Meanwhile, know that you have sent out ripples of strength and courage to so many others who need it, and your influence will keep spreading while you regroup. Seeing the strength and beauty in your body helped me see the strength and beauty in mine. And I need all the help I can get to remove the goggles of self-disgust. Thank you.

  32. Dear Sarah,
    I will miss your voice — that is what inspired me.
    Your honesty and even the phrase that “racing is 50% mental” is what has encouraged me to think about doing the shortest triathlon I can find just to give it a shot. I think I connected to what you wrote because I have a fierce competitive streak that is usually hidden.
    I found myself reading your blog and feeling like the part of me that wants to push myself in really interesting and important ways was valid and valuable.
    Thank you for everything you have done. Thanks for sharing it.
    I wish I could ride a bike with extremely fat wheels over all of the haters.

  33. Blessings coming your way, Sweetie. As I said to another woman warrior the other day, sometimes when you do things that make you stand out, it makes you a more visible target.

    I don’t know why some people are so determined to destroy what’s important or inspiring or beautiful. Perhaps it’s their own pain coming through some how. At any rate, be assured that the vehemency of the anonymous attacks is not nearly as great as the degree to which you’ve inspired others, and helped everybody who doesn’t look “the part” realize that it’s our race, our path, our mountain, our planet, too.

    Wishing you many insights, joys and surprises while you’re off on emotional “walkabout.” We’ll be here when you get back.

  34. Sarah, I totally understand taking care of yourself, especially on the internet where things can get harsh quickly, but I’ll miss your blog. I’ve really enjoyed it :) Take care and I hope you come back by the time race season starts up again :D

  35. Dear Sarah,

    Don’t let the bastards get you down. Your voice is passionate and important. You’re needed. So I truly hope you return to blogging soon. Maybe when you return you can disable the comments section. Lots of great blogs, like Junkfood Science for example, don’t have comment sections.

    We’ll miss you!!!!

  36. Sarah, words can not express how sorry I am for what you have had to deal with; I haven’t been reading it long, but I will miss your blog. Your health has to come first though, so if you need to take a break to protect yourself from breaking down and falling back into destructive habits, that is the best thing you can do.

    You are an amazing person and you have done some incredible, awe-inspiring things. Anyone who commits themselves to such a lofty goal and goes after it the way you have deserves praise, but to go after it in spite of all the hatred and negativity in this world…that is truly heroic. Never forget that.

    Take care, my friend. My best thoughts are with you! And I hope that we’ll see you ’round the comments :)

  37. Just want to add my voice to the chorus of “you’re inspiring, keep doing what feels right for you, and most importantly, don’t let the shitheads grind you down.” You rock, Sarah. Always.

  38. Sarah, I’m so sorry people were such shits to you.

    I do hope you can come back soon, but even if you can’t, I hope you keep doing the triathlons – I’ll just think of you out there somewhere, doing what most people, skinny or fat or in-between, couldn’t do if their lives depended on it.

    I wish you all the best, and thank you for letting us know why you’ve had to take a hiatus.

  39. Sarah – you rock. Do what’s best for you, and don’t take to heart the spewing of a bunch of anonymous shitheads.

  40. Sarah, I’ll miss your blog, but I’ll still think about you. In fact, I’ll think about you every time I’m making myself run that long uphill back to my apartment, when all I want to do is either walk or fall over dead in the bushes. ;)

    Because I hate running, and my entire life I have always been in the back of the pack, and it was so awesomely inspiring to me to read your experiences. Because I let mine teach me I wasn’t “an athlete,” and so I sat on my ass for the better part of a decade. You run fucking triathlons. I’m not exaggerating when I say your blog made me try running again for the first time since I was forced to in high school.

    Take care of yourself. :) I’ll miss ya!

  41. May your break be peaceful and restorative.

    And may the dickheads, asshats, and douchehounds who brought it about face swift and sure karmic justice.

  42. Hi Sarah,

    I’d just like to add my voice to the chorus of those who miss will miss your blog. I love reading triathlete blogs and yours is definitely one of the best in terms of capturing the experience and sharing info.

    And, like many others, your blog was an inspiration to me “in my real life.” I was definitely someone who repeatedly said “When I am thin I will…” even though it meant I was not doing the things I love (swimming and running) out of fear of being judged and that was self-defeating.

    Even if you never put another word down on the internets you’ve already done a world of good which is far more than the concern trolls can say.

    Take care and keep kicking ass!

  43. Hey, Sarah!

    I’m SO sorry to hear about what you have been put through! It makes me wonder how many of the morons criticizing you have the balls to even try a tri. As for the assholetes who are tearing you apart, well, all I can say is that they are small-minded bullies who take themselves WAY too seriously and probably don’t have many real friends. Because, really, who wants to hang out with people like that? Good luck to you, take care of yourself, and know that we are all here cheering you on.

  44. There are a lot of asshats (I love that word!) out there who just want to be, as my father called them, “shit disturbers”. As long as you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are, then what other people think doesn’t matter. I’m sorry to hear that you had to take your blog down because of the shit disturbers. I hope you’ll be well, and come back when you’re ready. And if that’s never, then so be it. You should come first. No blog is worth your self esteem. Good luck to you.
    BTW, I’m a plus size gal. That’s who I am, and if people don’t like it, I have no problem showing them the door. Take care :)

  45. Stef said: “There are a lot of asshats (I love that word!) out there who just want to be, as my father called them, “shit disturbers”.

    Henry Rollins calls them “Bullshit Decorators.” They’re unhappy, so they come in and spread their bullshit around until everyone else is as unhappy as they are.

    Sarah, you have more fortitude than I. I lift weights, I swim, I bike, but the whole Triathalon thing just escapes me. I salute you.

  46. Sarah,

    I found you and this whole community last Thursday, and it was specifically your photo on the BMI chart that spoke to me because our bodies are so much alike.

    I am in awe of you – I have a friend from college who does triathlons and would never in a million years have believed that “someone like me” was capable of such an achievement. You are an inspiration – literally – you inspired me to join this community and to speak up and to speak out about myself and who I am.

    As evidenced by my comments and those that came before me, you have clearly made a difference in this world, and that is no small feat. And I believe all the positive energy you have created will be returned to you many times over.

    Good luck in all you do!

  47. Sarah:

    I am so sorry you’ve been treated the way you have been treated. It’s horrific that people think just because you blog they have the right to attack you in any manner.

    I’m disappointed I won’t be able to read your blog. Based on the comments I see here, you’ve been inspiring to many and it’s a tragedy when something that helps so many is taken away because of the immature rantings of a few.

    Keep pushing on and I hope some day you can come back so I can see what you’ve written and why you have inspired so many. God bless you.

  48. Sarah —
    I only read your blog a few times, but I cannot express how sorry I am about the way you were treated. Your photo on the BMI project was so inspirational to me. I’m glad that you’re taking yourself out of the line of fine for a bit, and hope that you’re doing what you can to take care of yourself.

    Also, as a long-time lurker who has told pretty much everyone she knows about this site, I’m relatively positive that there are way more inspired lurkers than fucktard trolls and shit disturbers. The next time someone says something particularly shitty, remember that we’re here — your own personal cheering section.

  49. Sarah,

    My first time here, but I wish only to tell you not to give up. You need to only feel comfortable with the woman you are….not to picture people paint of you. When the hounds cant attack the strong woman that is before them, they always move on to attack our bodies. And, letting them run you away from blogging mean they win. Sounds like you are stronger than that. “I am the Master of my Fate; I am the Captain of my Soul!” (Henley) Dont let anyone touch your dreams. From the comments I see attached to this posting, it seems have given the greatest gift one person can give another who is struggling: inspiration! ~~Dee

  50. Sarah,

    Remember that you DID A TRIATHLON. No, wait, YOU DID SEVEN. SEVEN!

    The people commenting likely never did one. Pretty sure of that. Pretty sure you scare them, because if you do it, then they have no excuse.


    You are anything you say you are. I remember when i was trying to get out of my stultifying day job and, after 38 years, actually BE the thing i said i would be when I grow up (a writer), I had people actually have the nerve to tell me that I wasn’t a writer, that they KNEW i worked at company x, that to their knowledge I had never been paid to write, so therefore, I was not a writer.

    YOU DID A TRIATHLON. You can’t fake that shit.

    It’s great you put yourself out there. Now you can’t handle it, so you’re withdrawing. It’s not letting them win, because you’re still going to be out there doing your thing. You just aren’t posting about it on the internet. I know Kate thinks it’s great to battle the trolls but I’ve been online since 1994 (okay, 1988, if you count the old compuserve music forum), and I can tell you that it’s not great. That there is no winning.

    There is a very non-pc joke here about winning and argument on the internet that I won’t tell.

    Take care of yourself, whatever that means. But know that for every woman who posts here, there are 10, 20, 30, 50 more who were incredibly inspired by you. And still are, whether or not you post on teh internets.

  51. Hey, Sarah, you rock and no amount of internet dickwaddery is going to change that. Still, it can be impossible to keep subjecting yourself to it and I think you are doing what is best for you and that is really important. You don’t owe anyone anything, good or bad. *hug*

  52. I know Kate thinks it’s great to battle the trolls

    Oh, no I don’t. I think it’s great to delete the trolls, and sometimes, when I’m not fast enough with that, it’s great to make fun of them. But engaging them is not my idea of fun.

  53. Sarah, I too am so sad that these people did this to you. I hope you can take a little comfort in the near certainty that even though many people don’t know how to think about weight in any terms other than those we have had pounded into our heads for the past 50 years or so, your writing and sharing of your experiences made SOMEONE think. I don’t know who that someone would have been, but at least one person almost certainly saw your accomplishments and your discussion (though circumspect, as you needed to be to protect yourself) of your eating disorder history and diet, and started to think just that tiny little bit that maybe everything they believe about fat people could be wrong. It’s certainly not your job to carry that burden and bring that message to people when most of what you will get in return is crapped on my small-minded assholes, but I bet it did make at least one person think and that is a huge deal. I also know that as a fat runner I got a lot of inspiration out of your blog, not to mention I found it just plain interesting to read from the standpoint of learning about training and competitions that are more technical and hardcore than any I will probably ever enter.

    So, I (obviously, and not that it is any of my business) support you 100% in taking your blog down because that is what you needed to do right now to protect yourself against the mental anguish and stress on top of your normal everyday stress and the possibility of disordered eating returning. But I did want to reinforce that in addition to the good that I hope the blog did for you and your training, it certainly also did a great deal of good for many, many readers, and maybe in ways that you might not have expected. Anyway, keep training and taking care of yourself, and I hope to see you around here until/unless you find yourself ready to reopen your blog.

  54. that’s “crapped on BY small-minded assholes,” inasmuch as I hope my own asshole is not especially small-minded, though hey, it may be… it is kind of an asshole, after all. :P

  55. Sarah, you’re awesome. I hope that you come back to blogging at some point. In whatever form is right for you. I’ll miss being reminded of your amazing achievements and feeling strengthened by your resolve.

    Do what’s right. F*ck the haters.

  56. I just came across this quote and had to add it to the comments here even though I commented earlier:

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

    I am sorry that you have encountered so many of the small people Sarah and the only way to keep away is to go offline for a while. But obviously as more comments keep getting added a lot of us obviously count you among the really great!

  57. Mean people suck, that’s all there is to it. They suck and they know it, so they try to drag down cool people into their level of suckitude. Stay strong, Sarah!

  58. Hey, props to you for leading a healthy lifestyle, and doing this for yourself, not for anyone else.
    Big or small, you’ll always get assholes who will make comments about your body. The other day, some old lady yelled “You need to gain some weight!” at me. Her daughter was so embarrased. I just said, “who, me?”, and then she told me to go eat something. I just laughed it off, and it’s now a funny story to me. It doesn’t matter what others think, as long as you’re happy and confident.

  59. Hi Sarah,

    Just want to add myself to the list of women who think you’re awesome and inspiring – I’m only sorry that I didn’t let you know that sooner, when the jerk trolls were filling your comments with garbage. It takes a strong woman to make the decision to take care of yourself – but we shouldn’t be surprised, since we all know that you’re strong! Take care.

  60. Sarah, I was mostly a lurker, but I left one comment after you put up the recent marathon pics. You looked so beautiful, so happy, so accomplished – I still think it’s one of the most inspiring pictures I’ve ever seen.

    Know that for all the narrow minded, willfully ignorant sheeple out there, there are lurkers who think you are awesome and were incredibly inspired by your blog. Because of you I want to start running again.

    I’m very sorry that the idiots got to you. Be well.

  61. Sarah, I think your journal is really inspiring for women like me, but I totally understand and respect that it is hard to face down the amount of crap that arseholes have been posting in the comments. After all, the nasty, unhelpful comments are focussed on you rather than on fat in general and that must be pretty soul destroying for you. Your reasons for taking it down are good and understood.

    I hope you find the break/discontinuation helps and that the bad feelings that have been brought to the fore die down, and that you continue to participate and enjoy the sport that you love. Good luck with your future races, and above all, keep on doing what you love :-)

  62. I just wanted to say that it is really horrible that you (or anyone) has to go through this. It’s a bummer ::understatement::

    virtual hugs to you.

    P.S. rock on with your triatholon running/biking/swimming self.

  63. They went after Sarah more than any of the rest of us on the BMI project. I noticed that. But Sarah, the reason why is because you’re very existence THREATENS them!

    From their miserable point of view, fat people are lazy, they have no desire to compete in triathelons because they’d rather sit at home eating endless donuts. And if, God forbid, some deluded fatty thinks they could do, of course they’ll drop dead of a heart attack within moments of trying, because fat people are too unhealthy to be athletic.

    So, you see, that you’re fat, proud, athletic and powerful freaks these people out to no end. You fly in the face of all thieir “health” arguments. If they cared about your health or anyone else’s their response to you would have been something like “Wow, I thought someone your size wouldn’t want to or simply couldn’t compete as a triathele. Good for you for taking responsibility for your health!”

    But they don’t give a half a shit about our health. They care about dividing this country into the “strong” (read: them) and the “weak” (read: us) But you’re not weak, you’re strong and powerful. So they had to go after you, because you represented exactly the kind of person they try to insist can’t be real. You seriously get in the way of their bullshit health argument, and they couldn’t handle it.

    I’m so sorry these vile motherfuckers got to you. I’ve wiped gross things off my shoes with more value than the whole of them combined.

  64. But they don’t give a half a shit about our health. They care about dividing this country into the “strong” (read: them) and the “weak” (read: us) But you’re not weak, you’re strong and powerful. So they had to go after you, because you represented exactly the kind of person they try to insist can’t be real.


  65. Reminds me of a saying:

    “You’re damned if you do. You’re damned if you don’t.”

    Definitely applies to big people. Nothing we do is good enough for anybody. We STILL are going to be picked on for doing something “wrong.”

    Well, you know what? Screw that. Sarah, don’t let these vermin who troll the internet get the best of you. That goes for everybody else too. Keep doing what you love and don’t let the jackasses bring you down! There is no doubt that YOU have inspired more people through your blog than any of the trolls that want to silence you.

  66. I only got to read a bit of the blog before it closed down, but I can empathize a bit, can’t blame you. Unfortunately, I don’t know much of your story, but I’m a gym rat with a BMI or 35, I eat vegetables, don’t eat fast food, and really get pissed off when people think I can’t exercise.

    Anyway, good luck to you

  67. Oh good, I saw that your blog had vanished and wanted to make a comment only didn’t know how! So thanks for posting here too :)

    I can’t understand where these assholes come from or why they think that your health and well-being is their business… Just wanted to say that personally I think it’s brilliant seeing a fellow fat girl get on with life, especially in athletics which is something I’ve always admired but personally been a bit intimidated by. I wish I had some sensible advice but you’re already braver than me so screw that :) Anyway, hope you’ll carry on achieving your athletic goals and please come back to the blogosphere soon!

  68. Quote:
    “I’m sorry you had to take your pictures down Sarah. I think for every internet asshat that felt the need to flap his gums, there were a thousand fat women out there who got to your picture and yelled out “Hell yeah!” I wish I’d been able to show that picture to every person who ever told me I couldn’t do something because I was too fat. I mean, a triathlete, how frigging awesome is that? I’m in your cheering section, ma’am, and I’m sorry that you even have to hear the minuscule people who aren’t.”

    Ya know… seeing as I only found this place yesterday and didn’t know enough about you, Sarah, to post, I wasn’t going to… until I read that.

    I thought I should tell you my reaction when I looked at the BMI project and saw your photo.

    “Oh. Wow.


    That’s SO cool!

    You GO girl!!!!”

    Seriously. That was my exact thought process.

    So while I totally understand and agree with what you feel you have to do in order to not let those asshats (I think I’m going to have to adopt that word) rule your life, I just wanted you to know that even though I’ve only heard of you YESTERDAY, I still think you rock.

    Like, totally. ;)

  69. Sarah, I know everybody else has said this eleventy million times but what you have achieved is amazing, not only with your stereotype-busting sporting endavours, but inspiring many others through your blog and also being one of the first to take part in the BMI project. These spineless toe-rags who conspire to make our lives a misery know they’re running out of socially approved whipping-boys at an alarming rate and they don’t like it. On top of that you rattle them because you make a mockery of their fat-is-lazy stereotype; then you rattle them even more because, despite being an athlete, you’re still fat, thereby making a mockery of the done to death “eat less + exercise more = skinny” mantra they use as an excuse to be hateful. These days, even the least PC individuals feel they have to justify their bigotry and you’ve robbed them of the failsafes they generally fall back on – so they respond by calling you a liar about claims you never even made in the first place.

    I don’t blame you in the least for wanting to take a breather. But fuck ’em, really. They’re nothing but playground bullies looking to kick someone’s arse to bolster their pathetic little egos. And what’s more, deep down, they know it.

  70. Sarah sorry the internet bigots have got you down. But I just wanted to echo what everyone else was saying re: you being an inspiration. Had I seen your pictures/heard about you when I was younger, I wouldn’t have let anyone tell me that I wasn’t athletic because I was fat, I would never have allowed my P.E. teachers to shit on me and I would have taken up all those sports that I used to watch enviously on the sidelines.

    I came up on you partway through my own FA and I have to say that your pictures and your blog (I’ve only read a few posts) have catapulted me from Fat Acceptance to Fat Activism (Militant).

    Here’s wishing you all the good things.

  71. Wow, I never thought of it like that. Whatever retard did that, you could probably find them. But, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to hire a hitman to kill someone.
    Nevertheless, that was inspiring and Helpful. And that person that posted that crap about you is probably some skinny, little, insecure, anorexic ho anyway!

  72. That is a bummer, I quite enjoyed your blog. Unfortunately there is slime out there who like to target people. I had that trouble in the beginning and considered closing down my pages, but eventually I was able to learn to laugh at them and even started thanking them for all the traffic they were bringing to my site in hopes to belittle me. Amazingly, they eventually gave up when I did that. They didn’t like being thanked and eventually laughed at by the other trolls they hoped to get points from.

    In the meantime, take as long a break as you need, we’ll still be here for you and looking forward to reading more of your adventures as a triathalete .

  73. I hope that Sarah continues in her journey towards greater endurance and reaches her goals in spite of the asshattery. I think the response she got was unfortunate, but expected. I hope she realizes that what’s important is striving for a healthy life at any size and let the naysayers go fug themselves.

  74. Jabberface, while I appreciate your support for Sarah, nobody’s body is under attack on this blog, and calling thin people “anorexic hos” is absolutely not acceptable. (I’m afraid I can’t support “retard” either.)

  75. Hey, Jabberface, though your support of Sarah is welcome at SP, your able-ist, thin-hating, misogynistic language is not. Consider this a warning.

  76. It amazes me to no end how self-important asses feel
    the need to go on fat acceptance blogs and try to
    break the person down. People still think that fat
    people are the easiest targets and unfortunately,
    I don’t see the fat hysteria going away anytime soon.

    Sarah, don’t put your blog back up until you are ready
    to fight back. Which means, start off by not allowing
    comments or make people have to sign up for a
    Google account before they can post comments.

    Report those people that harass you. Sarah, you
    have to realize that Americans feel empty. That’s
    why they celebrate fake breasts and fake lips and
    fake bodies and fat women that have real breasts
    and real lips and real bodies are berated because
    because the diet industry wants to make money.

    It’s sad but true. You have to be strong. God
    put you in your body to be an inspiration to other
    women. People who have to tear you down to
    lift themselves up are so insecure and absolutely
    FRIGHTENED that you are a large and lovely
    woman living your life, EATING and not as miserable
    and shallow as them. Remember, misery
    loves company. Don’t stay away too long or
    those people will win. It’s how racism, sexism,
    homophobia and fat-phobia have continued to
    exist for so long.

  77. Kate said:
    “’Remember the lurkers’ is my mantra when I get down about this shit. For as big, diverse, and awesome as the commentariat is, my blog stats tell me there are a whole lot of people reading who never comment. . . .They’re way more important than a couple random dickwads.”

    I’m a lurker for the most part, but it is mainly because I so often find that what I am feeling has already been beautifully expressed by someone else. Kate and Sarah and so many of you who comment are truly clear and wonderful writers and I am one (mostly) lurker who really appreciates you all. It is so nice to have this sane place to come to.

  78. aw, i am so bummed to hear this. yet i completely understand the need to disengage.

    i love your blog – you really are an inspiration and a great writer. have a fantastic break and don’t stay away for *too* long.

  79. Thanks, Kate, for posting Sarah’s email, and thanks, Sarah, for being willing to have it published here, while you are seeking a break from the blogging whirl-d.

    Sarah — I truly and fully support you in taking the time and space to replenish and nurture yourself. Self-care is the most critical part of health, AFAIC.

    However, I feel that I must express something, or I would be less than honest — I don’t want to put any kind of pressure on you, and I completely acknowledge, honor, and support your right to choose what is best for you.

    I recognize that I have a request, and that it is based on my purely personal, and completely selfish, desire — I really want to see your pictures up on the BMI project — anonymously or not — because I believe that they are really important images for everyone in our culture to see — the image of a vital woman, a woman engaged in her bliss, AND a woman who does not fit the stereotype of what a woman is “supposed” to look like/act like according to cultural biases.

    Your image(s) were, and are, important to me — at many, many levels — in terms of cracking open assumptions about women, motivation, size, fat, health, athleticism, etc. (Oh, I could go on and on).

    Regardless of what you choose about putting the images back on the BMI picture index (or re-starting your blog), you will always be, for me, running triumphantly toward your goal.

    I would like other people to have that image in their head, too.

  80. I have another echo to add to the “echo chamber”, as Kate has so wonderfully termed it.

    Sarah, I don’t know you, I never read your blog. I admit this openly and honestly.

    But the photo of you in BMI project (which was the first post I ever read here on Kate’s blog), was the SINGLE, and I repeat, SINGLE reason I submitted my photo to the BMI project as well.

    I saw you, large and in-charge, and I knew that I wanted to be just like you.

    I still have issues with my body. I was lucky enough to withstand all of the societal pressure, and NOT get sucked into an ED. Thank god I inherited my dad’s hard-headed stubbornness to conform.

    But that photo, that one photo, told me everything I needed to know about being fat, and proud, and active, and healthy, all at the same time.

    I think your photo was the last straw on the camel’s back, so to speak. I had seen Joy Nash’s videos, and read her blog, but I still wasn’t convinced that I was able to be a “human being” and be fat at the same time.

    Then I saw that photo.

    I understand about all the people who are down on you. Whenever I visit my family, EVERY single time, 80% of the discussion centers on my weight, and what I am doing about it, or should be doing about it.

    I know that on the internet, the trolls have sheer volume and hatred, but its just as hard to hear essentially the same things told to you by your sweet, fat grandmother who just so happens to be your life-time hero, simply in nicer language (ah politeness, the sugar that hides the poison).

    I guess my point is, Sarah, that every cause has their leaders, and that I think you were one of the great ones. You still are.

    I already think of you in terms of MLK, Jr., and Ghandi. The fact that you have also, figuratively speaking, been martyred, I think means that you will only come back with stronger force later, even if its only in your followers’ memories and hearts.

    I’m sending all my positive thoughts your way, and I know I’m not the only one. Take care of yourself first, always, and everything else will take care of itself.

    We’ll be waiting for you!

  81. I want to thank everyone from the whole of my heart for all their kind words and support. I had no idea the impact the blog had for you guys.

    The reason I yoinked the BMI project photo is because it was constantly showing up on other blogs/websites/message boards where people were having a grand ol’ time ripping me to shreds. The thinking behind removing that and temporarily shutting down the blog was to reduce my visibility on the internet for a while so I could take care of me.

    It had gotten to a point where I was afraid to open my e-mail or check blog stuff because there was always some new flood of people/commenters coming in to let me know what a freak I was, or there was some new post with a whole bunch of people ‘discussing’ me and how I’m [insert topic here.]

    Yesterday was the first morning since the project went up that I haven’t had that sickening sensation when sitting down at the computer for a bit.

    Like I said, it will be up, but not until I figure out how to handle comments. The biggest issue with the comments isn’t that they’re on the blog, it’s that I have to read them all to moderate them. And of course, I’m a nosy bastard, so I actually DO read all of them.

    As for the BMI project photo, seeing how it made such a impact for so many people, I’ll most certainly allow Kate to put it back in, but I need a good week of peace right now.

    Again, thanks for all the support. I’ll be lurking around SP when I have time and the stomach to read the next OMGWE’REALLGONNADIE study.

    Hmm, remind me to tell you guys one day of what I REALLY think of medical and health journalism and how these articles actually get written the way they do. Ugh.

  82. Hmm, remind me to tell you guys one day of what I REALLY think of medical and health journalism and how these articles actually get written the way they do. Ugh.

    Ooh, color me tantalized!

    And yay for the sick sensation going away. Can’t wait to have you back in the fatosphere and the project, but I’m really glad you’re taking care of yourself, and it’s helping.

  83. Sarah-

    I fully understand why you are going on hiatus and you need to do what works for you. At the same time I am so very sad you feel the need to do so. I will never understand why people seem to think it’s ok to post every jerkwad thing that comes into their head just because they won’t have to deal with the concequences of hurting a fellow human being in person. I also think it’s sad that lots of times people forget to post nice things, even if it’s just to say hi and thanks (I’m guilty of this too, and I’m trying to get better) so the good comments at the very least out number the bad. It’s easy to forget that for every douche who leaves an insult there are at least four or five people who think, “man, this person is awesome.” but don’t think they have anything to say in a comment.

    Anyway, the long and short of it is that I find you insperational and wonderful. You are so smart and funny and well written, not to mention a kick ass athlete. Keep doing triathalons and keep doing what makes you happy. I hope you can come back soon, but more importantly I hope you keep making yourself happy.

  84. Sarah-it’s rotten, this whole thing. Your picture has been the one that stuck with me because I though “gee, that could be ME”-I’ve been tossing the idea of starting running in the future, and seeing you doing triathalons reminded me that I could too-that my body wasn’t my limitation.

    I know I’m not alone with this. Please be proud of what you’ve accomplished. It’s terribly impressive and important.

  85. Hi Sarah,
    I want to apologize — it was me who brought up the definition of “athlete” on the other blog. I think that discussion was legit but it’s so easy to forget that people on the internet are real and not just abstract entities for the purpose of discussion. I’m really sorry — I didn’t mean to hurt you. I think you are very brave and that your training is very impressive. Good luck.

  86. Sarah, I infer that it was my post and the jerks in my comment thread that got to you.

    My sincerest and deepest apologies. I used your pic because I so admired it and your achievements, and I am angry and upset that my doing so ended up making you feel like shit rather than garnering you the admiration you deserved for both the traithletecism and having the huevos to post the pic in the first place.

  87. This continously pisses me off. It’s counter-productive!
    I literally heard someone on youtube say that she thinks fat people are all unhealthy REGARDLESS of what they do, when that’s what gives benefits/implications……… *Smacks forehead repeatedly*
    Why do they do this? It’s pointless, and it doesn’t make thing better. Of course when your society tells you it’s ok, because it’s going to help with weight loss: It’s a deed…. *Rolls eyes*
    Exercise is good for everyone: They should be thankful, and admire the fact that Sarah along with others are doing this. If I hated fat people: I wouldn’t be moronic enough to oppose them doing something that I know has its benefits. It makes no sense whatsoever.

  88. Sarah,

    I just want to tell you that I saw your picture on the BMI website and I was inspired. Please please please be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. This post made me really sad since it was just a few days ago that I was touched by the pictures on the website.

    Good luck.

  89. Sarah-

    god hon, people are fucking ASSHOLES. i admire you for your strength, and the reserve you have to stay healthy. eating disorders are easy to relapse in, so i am incredibly amazed by you. most people are not assholes, then again, there are total dicks who rip people to pieces.

    hang in there.

  90. Sarah,

    Nothing is more unsightly than the souls of these cretins that have attacked you for your courage.

    Nothing matters less than their fucked-up opinions.

    I hope the supportive people in your life help you to heal and come back more powerful than ever. Those that follow will value and honor your effots.

  91. Sarah,
    the first thing I thought when I saw that picture was how beautiful you are.

    That whole thread made me sick to my stomach and the horrible thing is I couldn’t stop reading it. I took it personally too. It was an attack on every fat person. And I exercise and eat well too.

    be well—I’m finding the internet can indeed be a dangerous place–I’ve been hurt before too.

  92. Hi Sarah,
    Followed the crowd over from the BMI project & BitchPhD’s; found your blog impressive, and I’m sorry the Certified Assholes of the Blogosphere descended on your wonderful site. Hope you’re back soon and that the C.A.B.’s choke on their self-righteousness.

  93. I’m late to the party here, but I just wanted to say (as a fellow participant in the BMI project) that I’m so appalled at the incredible rudeness and lack of compassion that some people displayed. As my grandmother would have said, you’d think butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. What arrogance and hubris. There ain’t many parts of the Bible that I like, but “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” is hard to beat, and those assholes could stand to be reminded.

    I think you’re wonderful. You don’t owe anyone any blogging or anything else; you do what is healthy for YOURSELF. Best of luck to you.

  94. I drifted over here after stopping in at BitchPhD. I just want to chime in that you’re a winner regardless of the scumbags. Heck, *I* sure couldn’t finish a triathalon, let alone make a hobby of them!

    It’s a sad fact that on the Internet, there are certain people who like to use language as a weapon, and take advantage of the anonymity of the internet to hurt anyone who seems vulnerable. (Personally I’m fairly resistant to those, but that’s where being slightly autistic comes in handy. They key point is that assholes forfeit any right to have you *care* what they say.) I also refuse to give such assholes any slack for “feeling threatened” — vicious responses to imaginary “threats” are the classic sign of a cowardly *bully*.

    I agree with Kate Hudson that when you’re ready to come back, you should start by setting up a draconian comment policy — this list doesn’t cover half of what Kate’s does, but it’s a shorter list:

    1) No anonymous comments, and I’d suggest requiring registration of some sort.
    2) Thoughtlessly hurtful comments get deleted with a warning.
    3) Bullying, otherwise abusive, and/or blatantly inappropriate commenters get banned on the spot. (And check IP addresses on registration, to keep them banned!)
    4) As the blog owner, your judgement (or whim) is The Last Word.
    5) In some cases, you may be able to report particularly nasty (e.g., spam or threatening) comments to the offender’s ISP.

    I’d also note that any *other* blog which tolerates such assholes is probably one to remove from your bookmarks….

  95. Yeah, that Kate Hudson always did know how to set up a comments policy.

    I’d also note that any *other* blog which tolerates such assholes is probably one to remove from your bookmarks….

    I see where you’re coming from, but I think this is overdoing it; even blogs that don’t tolerate assholery can get bogged down with it if the douchiness flows too fast or if the comments policy is not sufficiently draconian. Dr. Bitch clearly meant no harm and did her best to stem the tide; I don’t think we can blame her for having some jerks among her readers. But fat hatred, or hatred of any group perceived as weak or inferior, is a strong enough force on its own, and combined with the self-importance conveyed by internet anonymity… well.

  96. Responding to FillyJonk: It’s not about punishment, it’s about self-protection. Sarah can decide for herself whether BitchPhD’s nuking of the comment thread satisfies her.

    And sorry again to Kate….

  97. Oh sure, totally up to Sarah what she wants to read! (Although I’m not surprised she couldn’t look away from that thread; I couldn’t either, and if it were about me I would have been refreshing it every five minutes even though it was making me miserable.) I just wanted to point out that if a blog fails to have as delightful a commentariat as we do, that’s not necessarily a referendum on the blog itself, or a reason to avoid it wholesale. As a general thing.

  98. I wanted to cry!!! I got so used to hearing about your adventures, and the motivation that it gave me. Then the other day I went to read the latest, and saw some other website…and couldn’t find you anywhere. I told my friend that I couldn’t find your site anymore, and she was the one that told me about the site about a month ago. She told me to come here and see why. I’m so happy to see that you aren’t gone, as you are a true inspiration! I’ve been reading the triathlete magazine, and just more interested in that area than I ever could have imagined. So, please figure something out, so that you can be up and running your blog again!!!! Wishing you all the best!!!

  99. Sarah,

    Some of those comments just boggled my mind and I probably didn’t even see the worst ones because I only saw the very first ones. I am so tired right now. I have a better analysis I swear but what fascinated me the most was that there seemed to be a mental derangement in some of the commentators. It reminded me so much of the mental derangement/cognitive disorder of racism, anti-semitism and the like. Not that these are exact social equivalents but just that these people seemed so terribly angry and full of rage at the mere existence of other humans.

    I realize this is not a helpful comment in a way. I simply wanted to point out there was a level of minor (major?) insanity in some of those comments. They left reason and sense behind (the way racists and anti-semites and misogynists do), had no ability to assess evidence and expressed things that reflected rather chillingly on something small and mean and ugly in their souls. Those type of people can hurt others horribly. But on some level–when you feel like the target (and I certainly did, reading those comments, even though I realize I’m not the one people thought they were talking about ) it seems kind of clear no actual human is the real target.

    It bothers me that anyone would silence herself when faced with that kind of deep pathology–it’s just so unfair. I want to hear your voice. But I do understand how you’d just want to get away from it all. The internet can suck sometimes. I’m sorry.

  100. Hi Sarah!

    I have been reading and I understand the points that you’re making. Can I just say that I didn’t know of your blog and all this crap has called my attention to it?

    Forgive me for whining, but it must have been worth reading so please put it up again. I for one really want to hear what you have to say.

  101. I also just want to say awesome work and hang in there. Seeing the BMI project has been both inspiring and a reality check for me – as someone with very disordered eating and body image issues, it’s amazing to look at photos and realize what sort of arbitrary standards we’re forced into that don’t have anything to do with anything… I’m excited to read your blog when it comes back, but I also want to say that self care and doing what you need to do is pretty much the best thing ever, so take your time and deal with whatever you need to deal with in real life (like not feeling sick when sitting at the computer…)… your admirers will still be here : )

  102. I doubt it’s any consolation, but I found both Fat Girl on a Bike and Shapely Prose by following links in the post in question, and have been voraciously reading the archives for both.

    From one bicycling fat girl to another, I’m sorry.

  103. Sarah, anyone who is being rude is speaking about themselves, not you. I would love to do a triathalon, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It really is awful how much women are not able to be self realized without attacks. It really is a huge feminist issue, not one about weight or size. Just think about the woman with a big nose, too many children, no children, too skinny, too buff… goes on and on. Keep going!

  104. I found the BMI project through BitchPhD, and it has really transformed my feelings about myself and my body and about other people’s bodies — it’s really been a breakthrough. So thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone responsible for that eye-opening project!

    And best wishes to you, Sarah! I applaud both your willingness to share your experiences in the public sphere and your wisdom in knowing when to give yourself a break and focus on taking care of yourself. Be well, be happy, be strong!

  105. I found the picture of Sarah that was posted on Bitch PhD to be completely inspiring. People come in all shapes and sizes, and we as a culture have very preconceived notions of ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’. Sarah turns that notion on its head.

    I am so sorry that the fucktards did this to her. I hope she knows how many more people are out here that would offer support.

  106. Hey lady,

    I too found this (and the BMI Project) through BitchPHD. I just want you to know that you are an inspiration and I look forward to your blog coming back online, based on what I read here.

    I know that, despite the fact that I’m “obese,” I KNOW I am in better physical shape than my sister, who weighs half as much and is always getting complimented on how skinny she is.

    Best of luck to you, and keep having fun! Easier said than done to “not let the assholes get you down,” I know, but don’t!


  107. Dr. Bitch and her readers, thanks for dropping by! It was indeed that comments thread that put Sarah over the edge, but my impression is that that was the cherry on top of a LOT of similar threads out there. Sarah was kinda the star of the BMI slideshow, for better or worse. And sadly, it was often for worse.

    As I said upthread, we are big fans of Bitch, Ph.D. around here, and we did appreciate Dr. Bitch’s efforts to control the jackasses on that thread.

    For people who don’t write about this every day, I think it can be hard to imagine just how hateful people will get about the subject of fat whenever it comes up. For us, it’s just Bingo, but there are plenty of folks who think fatties must never have heard this shit before, or else we would have stopped being fat at them already. And those folks will take any opportunity to disabuse us of the silly notion that fat people are human beings, in the cruelest possible terms.

    If anyone’s wondering why my comments policy is the way it is, that’d be why.

  108. Hi,

    I never read your blog Sarah, but I have seen the BMI project, and it was one of a handful of online projects that are causing a real shift in my thinking. So thank you for being part of that.

    I saw the comments that you’re speaking about, I think. That was a fucking abomination. It should have been wiped from the face of the planet, IMO. Those comments should not have been allowed to exist in that forum.

    Count me among the many who say that you are what you are, and that’s something to be proud of.

  109. This sucks and I’m one of the scores of people who is sad to see you going dark for a while. As a person who only recently got into anything resembling good shape, I loved your blog because I could really relate to day-to-day stuff in it, and I’m convinced that you would beat me in a race any day.

    I would guess that none of the people being assholes have never attempted a triathlon, much less attempted one with some extra weight to deal with and the issue of *gasp* being fat in public.

    You. fucking. rock. And if you’re ever in a race in my town, I’ll come out myself and cheer for you.

  110. I saw the comments that you’re speaking about, I think. That was a fucking abomination. It should have been wiped from the face of the planet, IMO.

    If you’re thinking about the Bitch, Ph.D. thread, it has been. Dr. Bitch is kind of a champ that way.

  111. Another Bitch reader here – Sarah, I’m so sorry this happened. Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. You, and Kate, and the BMI project are all inspirational. Thank you.

  112. I’d also note that any *other* blog which tolerates such assholes is probably one to remove from your bookmarks….


  113. I unedrstand the need to take a break from it. I just wanted to say that I _loved_ the picture I saw of you in the illustrated BMI project. It was completely inspiring.

  114. fillyjonk,

    I know. I think it should have been done before this even became an issue. It shouldn’t have continued the way it did…I’m disappointed in the lack of “calling out” on that thread, and the fact that it was allowed to become such a train wreck. I was really really shocked at the comments that I read. Appalled really.

    I do realize that people have lives outside the internet though, and that sometimes they interfere with moderation of nasty threads of comments. I just wish that one had not gotten out of hand the way it did.

  115. Sarah —

    It never ceases to amaze me how ugly people can get about dissecting another person’s appearance, and then attributing what can only be called moral failings to that person, based on how they look. Usually, it’s a woman who is the target of this: Fat women, thin women, pretty women, ugly women — everybody presumes the right to judge.

    I’m no exception. I’ve been judged, and I’ve judged others. And that’s just plain wrong of me. It takes a conscious effort not to do it. But your post here encourages that conscious effort. Thank you for giving us all a wake-up call.

  116. Sarah,

    I also came over here via Bitch Ph.D.

    I ran my first half-marathon last January and my first sprint triathlon in June. More than anything else, I remember the elation of crossing the finish lines in those two races. What I looked like, how fast I went, how I placed had no importance to me when I crossed, because I knew that I did something extraordinary, something that no one could take away from me. I’m in training for another half marathon in January, I’m hoping to do an Olympic distance tri next summer, and maybe an Alcatraz swim to try to recapture that feeling of joy, accomplishment and pride. My goals are to beat myself, not anyone else. I’m not in this for other people. I’m in this for me.

    I sincerely hope that none of that feeling has been taken away from you in the last few days. Because it’s an awesome, awesome feeling to finish a race. And that feeling is yours and yours alone. Everyone else should just stand back and bask in your awesomeness. No one should ever take it away from you.

  117. I am sorry that you had to deal with this crap. I got a blog entry submitted to fark (I didn’t ask for that) and was inundated with assholes for a little while. Fortunately, the owner of Fark was nice enough to remove the link and spare me the agony.

    Good luck.

  118. Ah, bummer that you’ve decided to pack it in for a while, but I understand. Judging by the responses left here, your blogging has positively influenced A LOT of people across the globe, which is far more important in the long run than the asshats.

    You’ve done interesting, extraordinary things to challenge yourself and the rest of us to get off our asses and get busy, rather than just letting life pass us by. We’re lucky that you’ve shared them with us, and we should all use this as inspiration to get off our asses and live life to the fullest.

  119. Sarah, I’m so sorry to hear about the crap people posted. Personally, I thought your story was great. FWIW, I’m also overweight and have done some triathlons in the past, and I thought your photo and online presence was inspirational.

  120. Hey Sarah:

    Just wanted to say that I’m sorry some anonymous shitheads did that to you. I can understand why you’ve done what you have- you have every right to deal as best you can– but the midless cruelty and offensiveness of paying someone out for daring be a picture of health not as they have come to know health– is revolting.

    Rest assured, you probably seriously screwed with their heads a little before they found their shitty judgemental little voices.

    Take care of yourself and I hope the RL stuff gets better for you, too.

  121. Just another anonymous person who doesn’t know you, saying:

    My hat is off to you. Ride over those commenting dipshits like so many bumps in the road. They have the terrible punishment of having to live life as dipshits. Sad for them, but you can barely even spare them a thought as you speed forward on that bike.
    Good luck in future races and everything else — Keep on kicking ass!

  122. Sarah, I loved your blog. Your writing was funny and your stories inspirational. You inspired me to attempt jogging again, which is something I thought I’d never do again before I had the good fortune to run across your blog.

    I’m dismayed that you got so much shit from idiot dickheads. People like that make me so sick. I understand your wanting to take a break from that, but I’m glad to know you will be back some day. I look forward to that day, and until then take care. You truly rock, and I hope you know that! :-)

  123. I feel sorry now for not saying earlier how amazing I thought that picture was.

    Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. You have been a big inspiration to a lot of people.

  124. Sarah — I am so sorry to hear that the assholes have gotten you down. Your blog was an inspiration to me, as much as I know you hate to hear that phrase. You made me realize that I can be brave and take care of my body and screw anyone who says anything about it. I only wish that I had seen your picture before you took it down. I want more positive images of fat women on the internet!

  125. Yeah Sarah, I agree and support everything that has been said here. I’m going to miss your blog a lot, especially now since I’m about to commit to a couple of races this summer. I was looking forward to exchanging training tips and hearing about your Ironman training progress. But like most people have written here, you have to take care of yourself and your mental health.

    And I wanted to echo your original point. Your body is not public property. Women’s bodies are not for public consumption. That’s one of the things that astonished me about the comments on the blog which posted your picture.
    The vitriol directed at you seemed to take your success as a triathlete as a personal affront. People who say fat hatred is just a myth should take a hard look at those comments.

    I’ve also been down that road, as a fat and black triathlete, so let me say this as clearly as I can – the comments of those assholes on your blog and the other one HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. It must be seem like I must be smoking crack to say that, but it’s true. Those people know nothing about you, your past, your success, and your challenges. That type of vitriol comes from a deep and hidden place. It living proof there are a lot of unhappy and troubled people in the world, and your success and inspiration unhinged something inside of them.

    Please please please, Sarah don’t take anything that they wrote or said into your heart. You are much better than they will ever be.

  126. Sarah,

    You don’t know me, but I’ve lurked around your blog these past few months. I know you don’t like to hear that you’re an inspiration, but I would be lying if I left that out. You inspire me not just because you’re a triathlete… also because you’re happy, not despite but BECAUSE of your body. And one day I too will be happy, not despite but BECAUSE of my body.

    I also want to commend you for making your blog private for awhile, because it’s important to recognize your boundaries and do what’s best for your own well-being. Sometimes it’s all too easy to forget about ourselves when we’re caught up with public education and activism!

    So please take your time, and know that whenever you’re ready to come back, we’ll be waiting for you :)

    Take care, Sarah!


  127. Hiya, Ms. Harding. (So sue me, I’m old-fashioned.)

    Please let Sarah know that we’re all out here for her whenever she needs us… and that she’s absolutely right to take down her blog under these circumstances.

    One of the hardest things for people who know they’re any sort of “role model” to do is stand up for themselves about BEING a role model. I don’t care if it’s Sarah getting pounded by the local “yur fat hurr hurr” Neanderthals or Nichelle Nichols having all her lines stolen by Shatner; it can be very hard to pull yourself out of the line of fire under such circumstances, no matter how necessary it is.

    Please: Let her know we’re all thinking of her, and wishing her the best. Well, and that not every guy out here is a dyed-in-the-wool idiot.:)

    Yours in embarassment for the stupidity evidenced by his gender,

    The head-shaking,


  128. Please remember those of us (there are LEGIONS of us) who love you and your blog self just the way you are. Screw those small-minded looksist assholes. Keep it up!

  129. I cried for you tonight, Sarah. After being bombarded over and over again sometimes you just need to take a break. Breath and relax hun… But don’t stop doing what you do best, and that is… Whatever the hell you want to do. Because it’s your life. You encourage me… Thank you.

  130. You do what you need to do, darlin’. Meanwhile, take heart from the fact that women (like me) who threw up after running 10 miles find your triathlon-completing self totally awe-inspiring.

  131. At the risk of posting a bandwidth-wasting “me too” comment… Ignore the bastards, Sarah, and know that people who matter take you for who, and how, you are. Personally, I think anyone who manages to finish a triathlon is brilliant athlete, no matter what size they may be.

    As for the judgment of others…
    Well, I’m far from fat, but according to at least one BMI measurement, I’m a bacon-cheeseburger away from obese! So, I think what matters most is how one feels about one’s self. And, Sarah, no matter what you look like, feel good that you are who you are, have survived what you have survived, and are loved by those around you.

  132. Oh, this sucks! I just discovered this post. I wish I could read your blog. I’m horribly fat, and I rode my bike last week for 3.4 relatively flat miles and suffered the entire time. I’d LOVE to read about a fat girl who actually enjoys exercise and can do it well. Is there any way to read back entries of the Fat Girl on a Bike blog?

  133. Where is Sarah? I miss her blog, and hearing about her Triathalon’s, she is such an inspiration!!!

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