Monday, August 21, 2017

Removing Hate from Geocaching

With the current racial turmoil at the forefront of the conversation in the US after the events in Charlottesville, VA and the president's reproachful response, I felt it necessary to show the inconsistencies the geocaching community has between it's mission of teaching and having fun, while also allowing caches at places many see as hateful.

Email to Central Texas Geocachers:
All --
You can read my forum post and below my email to Groundspeak regarding caches that involve the Confederacy.
I think it's wrong to let caches
  • continue to use hate symbols like the Confederate flag; 
  • encourage people to visit such monuments / parks / statues that may upset members of the community; and
  • leave out of descriptions what makes such a geocache a fun learning experience for all
The geocaching community is far from inclusive or diverse. Please try to imagine your black friends and neighbors, new cachers of color being affronted with caches that implicitly promote hate.
This is a wonderful platform to promote healing, peace and unity; we need only speak up and speak out against hate within our community.
Thanks for reading,

Email to Groundspeak (company that runs

Note: I have not received any response as of 23 August:
I'm writing to report the first of MANY geocaches that use hateful / racial symbols like the Confederate flag. See the background image of this cache:
But more importantly ask: Why should caches like these be allowed given the uprising against hate and the backlash to racial violence in the United States?
When is Groundspeak going to address specifically the conflict between a family-friendly, inclusive game for all and caches that implicitly promote white supremacy?
I urge Groundspeak to update its Term of Usage and send an email to all users calling out in specific terms what hate speech / symbols / locations will NOT be allowed going forward. Possible rule changes could include:
  • No usage of hateful symbols like the Confederate flag on the cache page
  • Descriptions must include SPECIFIC context about why the Confederate-related place / monument / statue is reflective of Groundspeak's perspective of using geocaching as a teaching tool.
From Groundspeaks' TOS: 
Section 2. D. RESTRICTIONS paragraph vii
Upload, post, transmit or otherwise distribute (including by emailing us) any content that threatens or attacks others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age, disability or disease; is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, profanity, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, embarrassing, harmful to minors; or is otherwise reasonably objectionable to any person or entity.
I eagerly await your reply,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Part 2 of Lifestyle Change: Set up to fail

After going well over the 200 lbs. mark, I decided that I needed an at-home training program. I was convinced that if I just
  • followed the right plan 
  • did the right exercise
  • ate the right foods
that my body would be well on its way to changing! This is it, I thought. I'm going to do it this time. I made it through 8 of 12 weeks before it became too much of a hassle to stick to. In the short term, I lost 10 pounds, but I felt like a failure because I didn't finish.

I set lots of weight loss goals that I never reached:
  • Lose x pounds in so many weeks
  • Before I turn 30 I'll lose x pounds
  • By the end of the year, I'll lose x pounds
  • In the next 6 months...
  • Before I turn 35...
There's a pattern here that simply does not work. Setting a date and a weight and expecting that getting there is do or die. If you don't make it, it's demoralizing. If you do, it's not sustainable because now what?

This idea is the top marketing strategy of the fitness industry, and gyms in particular:

  • Go three days a week and transform yourself!
  • You can lose 12 pounds in 12 weeks with a personal trainer.
  • Join our pounds challenge and get a free t-shirt (to advertise for us)

It's a zero sum game, they claim. Just match the calories in with calories out. Cut calories, get active, and you'll succeed.

I was so convinced that if I were just more active, I would lose weight.

Like many people, I was duped by the "get fit" hype. Many people do lose a few pounds after joining a gym. They go three days a week for awhile. Then life gets in the way, while the gyms happily take your monthly dues and your body changes back.

Over the years, I'd gain 10 pounds, lose 10 pounds, back and forth. It all came to a head about a year ago when I could no longer wear my jeans. They were just too tight and I was not going to buy new ones.

All I could fit into were my stretchy gym pants. This led to the "Summer of the Black Pants" and yet another goal: get down to 170 by December 31st.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Part 1 of Lifestyle Change: My relationship with my weight

Losing weight has been my goal for years and years. In high school, I was a varsity athlete and in very good shape, going to the gym regularly and playing softball. I think at my peak condition I was around 140 lbs.

By my second year of college, I had let all physical activity slide. I was no longer active in any capacity, opting instead to stay up late and play video games with my boyfriend and roommate. The pounds started to creep up and I gained about 25 pounds by the end of college besides being totally physically unfit. To be honest, I just blamed microwave pot pies.

After college, I started working full time, got married and my weight kept increasing. It happened so slowly that I really didn't notice until I noticed. My husband thought he would "help" by getting me a gym membership for Christmas 2003. Ha! I didn't go. I didn't want to go. I was sad and stressed and so many other things that I wasn't in a mindset to lose weight. As I hit 200 lbs., I even tried a weight loss program with my mother-in-law. When that didn't work, I blamed the transfats in their food and that the program was not structured for vegetarians.

In 2005 I started learning Taekwondo and did lose some weight. By the end of 2006, after moving to Austin and going through a divorce, I was down to about 175. Then in January 2007 I got laid off, and into a new long-term relationship. From the time I started a new job in April to the end of the year, I gained back around 30 lbs.

My clothes didn't fit. A few months later, the scale topped at 212. I felt like a failure.