A Healthy Challenge: Back to Where it All Started

I’ve moved home for a bit, to the town of Brawley, CA. A town that grows most of the nation’s salad, yet eats little of it. A town where I can buy bulk chunks of lard twice the size of the average brick, but no kale. A town where people drive their lifted trucks three blocks to avoid walking.

The town where all my issues started.

As with all hometowns, this place made and destroyed me in ways my therapist and I have barely begun to discover. However, out of the many significant influences this town had on me, a warped sense of health and fitness is the only one you can literally see.

Around here, it’s acceptable to order fries with cheese for breakfast, a salad drenched in ranch dressing for lunch and a deep fried quesadilla for dinner. As fellow contributor Jessenia Lua (a native of Brawley as well) pointed out in her most recent Healthy Challenge update, a typical gathering in Brawley consists of multiple types of meat, fried foods and desserts, all of which you’re encouraged to eat now, later and even later again, until you literally begin bursting at your seams.

But don’t get me wrong, just because people aren’t health conscious doesn’t mean they’re not obsessed with weight. Who has grown or shrunk in size is always top gossip in this town and get thin quick schemes are always brewing. With one of the highest obesity rates in the country, diet pills and starvation tactics are often abused and lap bands are a common quick fix to a larger health problem.

Because I easily gain 10 pounds just by entering town for a week, I  joke that the fat from fried food somehow dissolves into the air and into your body. The reality of the situation, however, is that a culture of lethargy is the only thing thriving anymore in this town.

And it’s contagious.

I’m sorry to report that I have caught the lethargy bug and I’m sick with heartburn, stomach aches and weight gain because of it. From fried food full of cheese and wheat – two items my stomach hates – to TV watching and day wasting, I’m back where I started all over again.

I just hope I can make it back out alive.


Bi-monthly progress report for December 13, 2011 (photo taken November 19, 2011 by fabulous photographer J. Robert Williams in his studio in Eugene, OR):


  • Weight: 223 (ay dios mio how did I let that creep back up again?)
  • Chest, Waist, Hips Measurements: 47, 41.5, 52.5
  • Dress size: 18
  • Resting Heart Rate: no clue
  • BMI: 44% (according to a body-fat scale I have which may be far from accurate)
  • Amount of time I can focus in a meditation: 1 minute
  • Level of clutter in my room (1-10 scale, 1 being clean, 10 being hurricane): 9
  • Amount of days I’ve done purposeful, focused movement: 6
  • Amount of days I’ve stretched and meditated (outside of yoga class): 1
(Check out my original progress report here to see how far I’ve come)


About Queerie Bradshaw

Lauren Marie Fleming is a writer, speaker and motivator known for her intimate, informative and often hilarious look at sex, relationships and body-image. Lauren runs the critically-acclaimed QueerieBradshaw.com blog, writes for major news sources including VICE, Nerve, Huffington Post and Curve, and is the author of her memoir Losing It: My Life as a Sex Blogger. In 2013, Lauren founded Frisky Feminist Press (FriskyFeminist.com) as a way to enhance conversations about sexuality through educational guides, online classes and entertaining publications. A law school graduate, Lauren has spoken all over the United States and is internationally recognized for her dynamic, engaging style. In everything she does, Lauren’s goal is to educate, remove stigmas and encourage people to achieve their desires.
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One Response to A Healthy Challenge: Back to Where it All Started

  1. Jessenia says:

    I love this piece, Lauren. You’re so right about the gossip of weight loss. I hear my sisters talk about it all the time. But I always think it’s better to look back and see how we gain what we’ve lost than to not acknowledge it at all – like you and I do on your website. I know how frustrating it can be and how disappointing it feels, but getting back on track is so worth the struggle. Even if I dare say that those few pounds gained back were worth the taste of the food. Because girl, sometimes it is haha!! I send you good health vibes on the rest of your stay there. Maybe I might run into you during the holidays :o)

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