Reintroduction to Running Fat Chef
Change is rarely embraced. If people were truly that open, we would not have wars trying to preserve old shit like traditions.
Addressing the Pink Elephant: Where Did You Go?
After spending four days in Fairbanks, Alaska and experiencing below twenty something degrees for the first time, I was reminded by my messy desktop that the other parts of my reality awaited me: Hate Mail. Although this is nothing that anyone should brag about, I can say that I have a metaphorical trophy the size of Texas worth of disturbing comments -- so much so that I've abandoned this very open ended diary for months at a time. It's hard picking up the pen or clicking away at a keyboard when your inspiration for blurbing shifts from wanting to talk about your many successes and failures without censorship to flicking off comments from yet another person who hates you. These calluses are so thick that I rarely feel the cuts anymore. Some would say that I am maturing; I think I am normalizing absurdity; perhaps I will know the answer to that in another decade.
The positives and negatives of being so visible and transparent about your adventures is knowing that with the power of anonymity gifted from the internet means you are opening yourself up to even more unsolicited advice and harassment -- even if you know who, what and where the source comes from. It's more of a shit show when people expect you to get over it because it's under the guise of "knowing what you signed up for" or it's easy for others to speak on something that they don't have to experience on a daily basis. In my worse experiences, I've been physically approached with more than just verbal lashings and vitriol. If you ever find yourself in my reality, I want to reassure you that you're not alone and there's nothing okay about these situations. Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself at the moment and when safe, report it in to the proper legal channels. At the end of this blurb, you can find a small list of resources that may be helpful for you.
Sometimes people tell me that they miss the tone of the pre-sponsored athlete that once lived here. Frankly, on my most frustrated days, I do too. What I've learned from my impulse to respond in the highest grade of sarcasm infused with a bit of education is that some people truly don't walk into a conversation open or willing to listen to your point of view. And in this new reality, I have to choose my words carefully because one action, look or loosely put statement will get me canceled for the sixth time; the last one actually doesn't bother me as long as I don't cancel myself. In turn, I had to further remind myself that some people aren't worth the engagement and there's others who will never shift their opinion of me. In some sadistic way, the latter statement makes me smile; I'm not entertained by fraudulent applause nor lured in with shiny objects. I love my coffee with minimal cream and only sweet enough to enjoy the flavor; my life operates similarly and never possessed the idea that everyone will be my friend. It doesn't mean that I want to be the source of someone's rage or scapegoat either. Similar to those in my close circle, I just like knowing where I stand because I can show respect to a person even if they don't like me.
2019 forced me to explore uncomfortable layers of my silence and the power of not engaging with the most ridiculous of statements. Growing up being unfiltered, it comes easy for me to say things with my chest and with very little worries about how someone else processes it. As a person who is tired of being just the "fat bitch who was heckled at the NYC Marathon", I realized in my growth that I am a moving metaphor. These days, I am quite literally too busy to engage in such stupidity that I was forced to make a decision to either adapt or drown. I chose a third option: Only addressing the most disturbing things that speak to my mission and keeping everything else positive. This balance allows me to continue doing the things that I love while not reducing my worth, stripping down my voice and still keeping my sharp mouthed candor that people adore. But please allow me to remind everyone of why I created this funky little site back on August 17, 2016: This is MY open ended, sometimes potty mouthed filled, unapologetic, emotional rollercoaster journal.
In case anyone is unaware, Running Fat Chef is a food and fitness blog solely ran by me. There are no contributing writers, editors and not funded by an outside party. Although the donation button sits on my site, it's not one that is not often touched; most days, I'm okay with that. As some noted to me, I could charge for some of the things that I offer for free. In the future, I will try to make a separate format for those things. At the moment, I'd rather take the time to get the proper credentials and write out the formulas before throwing up a makeshift questionable operation. And to be frank, I prefer to write here without the worries that my language is dictated by someone. Seldom times I write sponsored posts but the disclaimer will always be plastered on here and will be painfully honest. I think I might have scared some companies off with that statement but that's okay. If you ever find it in your heart to donate, it will be funded towards keeping the figurative lights on because there are monthly fees with keeping this site up and extra funds will help me continue on my adventures or might even pay a bill; NYC is expensive as hell and 80 - 90 percent of my travels are out of my pocket. When I created this platform, it was with the intentions of taking my long winded blurbs that I'd post on Facebook and Instagram and giving it a proper home. Clearly if you peek into those spaces, I am STILL long winded but this place is an extension to my vulnerable moments.
Frankly, social media is a curated platform for pretty little pictures, botched videos and at times, a vicious tool to make people either feel like shit or play terrible games with our insecurities. Thankfully, I managed to find a way around this by following people who speak to my heart and making sure that my social media is a reflection of my numerous layers. It is exhausting some days because there's no assistant or ghostwriter but I make it work. Conversations in my inbox are exceptionally sensitive and the way that my paranoia is setup, I think someone would notice if I hired someone else to speak on my behalf. Because I love going against the grain, I thought going back to the days of MySpace - a place where you'd find me writing poems - creating a site made sense; I'd tap back into being a blogger -- my way. And for the most part, it worked. It worked so well that it stimulated me into a fitness, writing and motivational speaking path. Unfortunately, when you go from personal ventures to shifting your passion into a career, there's a learning curve.
I woke up some days hating this site and myself because of the damaged people that it attracted. Underneath the sponsorships, seeing your face inside of a magazine or having the opportunity to speak on multiple shows was a layer of feeling alone and misunderstood; it didn't stop me from being Latoya Shauntay Snell. I am a mother, wife, friend to those who stuck around when they could've abandoned ship and a new one for this extrovert: A Loner. Life changed with my successes and failures so much that I woke up three times a week entertaining the thought of leaving the public eye. I sometimes hate my reflection not because of what people told me I should hate about it but because I am so brutally honest that I sometimes fall on my own sword thanks to morals. It is hard to be a force in a world that asks you to pretend there's no resistance surrounding you. Learning how to separate the individual from the illusive brand is hard as fuck when you don't even know what your "brand" actually is -- but the world will remind you that you're allegedly pushing something.
In all of my blogs, whether talking about the negativity or the highs, lows and unpredictability in sports, I did have a mission. It wasn't until I had a deep discussion with my new endurance coach, Morgon Latimore that I really had a full sense of my purpose. Although I am super anti-hero, I kinda love letting my rogue cape fly because it allows me to truly see my own reflection. Through our hour long talk, I realize that Running Fat Chef, my career and personal life is all about the emancipation process for myself. By living and being my unconventional, not always understood and disorderly self, I gifted others permission to be themselves without feeling alone. Surely I am not the only person whose transparency does this for people but I am one of many. Acknowledging this and finally saying it out loud is actually scary but exhilarating. My biggest fear is failing others but I realize that I will do this too. After all, isn't that what we do when we practice or train? We train until failure. We push until we reach our max rep. We experiment until we finally unlock that solution -- and then we keep going for something else.
I abandoned this place because the noise was way too loud and it hurt seeing some familiar faces turn their backs on me without explanation or logic. I had to read comments that would surface on my Facebook that people didn't approach me because they thought I'd curse them out when in fact, they never even gave me a chance to know what part of my growth offended them. Hindsight reminded me that in not being everyone's 'friend' means that you might lose ones who gave you the illusion of friendship. Perhaps it was time for them to exit for me to speak to larger causes. Maybe I'll never know why they came or left. And there's parts of me that know that some followed what seems like a stronger crowd; or my growth exposed what they perceived as their own personal weaknesses. It is a daily battle to make peace with this thought process. Actually, I don't even wonder much anymore about why they left and I hold onto the joy for the ones who stuck around because they want to be here with no strings attached. I refuse for hurt that stemmed from people who didn't earn me to act as a barrier to those who are just getting to learn me.
What I do acknowledge is that I abandoned this blog for too long because I hit a place where I was scared of being challenged in a verbally hostile way; that's the lifelong recovering self defeatist in me. That is what failure looks like and honestly, it doesn't suck as bad as I thought it would. I needed time to slow down, absorb in the hurt and acknowledge that these calluses aren't so rough after all. It's time to treat the infections so I can properly heal.
Moving Forward: 2020 and Beyond
With everything said, I'm still gonna throw around F bombs and shit whenever I feel like it because cursing doesn't reduce your intelligence if you know how to properly use it. The only thing that will change here is that I will avoid participating in releasing people's names on my blog. Whatever is up there from past posts is up there. I'm not under the illusion that once you delete something, it's gone from the internet. From my experience with cancel culture, I don't want to bear the weight of being responsible to someone being 'canceled' because I have a huge following. I always prefer for people to make their own assessments of others. If I ever have to address something, I will probably only talk about the issue and heavily limit the usage of screenshots on here. There's way too many people doing that on social media to the point where you cannot tell who is right or wrong once the argument goes to hell. It is much more powerful to talk about subject matters without giving power to the ones who try to oppress you. Allowing someone to occupy space without paying rent is a criminal to me.
I am still passionate about talking about the good, bad, ugly and straight up ridiculous on here. After all, it's my open diary that allows others to speak back to me. If I feel like someone writes something abusive on here, I'll be doing my best to remove the commentary. It is much more than my professional growth but for my mental sanity. I read enough shit about myself on the internet that I refuse to allow it to happen here.
Because of the influx of following that I have on social media and my everyday life, it gets hard to answer everyone quickly but I do my absolute best. From this point on, I want to be consistent in my blurbs again because I missed it. This space is open to whomever is willing to receive my personal truth and to those who aren't entertained by it, nobody's forcing you here. Never apologize for who you are to the world and I refuse to start saying sorry for who I am at this very moment.
If you're new to Running Fat Chef -- welcome. If you're a regular, thank you for staying along for the ride.
Resources for Those Experiencing Harassment, Considered Self Harming or Experiencing Body Shaming and Beyond
Around 41 percent of Americans experienced online harassment according to pandasecurity.com and I can only imagine how high those numbers soar globally. Arm yourself with knowledge on how to protect yourself. Here's some resources to consider if you or someone else is experiencing cyberbullying, cyberstalking or any other variation:
Here's some resources for people who might need support:
Resource for Online Bullying: Stopbullying.gov
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention and Support, Global Links: Suicide.org
National Eating Disorder Awareness: If you suspect that you or another is going through an eating disorder, check out this site for guidance.
The Body is Not An Apology
It should be said publicly that a USATFL1 coach propagated this ‘inviting rape by running at night’ nonsense; an internet non-expert with nothing positive or productive to bring to conversations around inclusivity, body positivity, female empowerment, or running. Thank you, Latoya, for calling out antiquated ‘hot takes’ from folks who can dish it out, but don’t get it right. xo
I am “a new follower”. This is a great reintroduction! I am glad I found your blog. You are a wonderful writer! I can totally appreciate the various resources that you take the time to share that can be helpful for so many. I am glad you have returned, there is nothing like stepping away for awhile and coming back reenergized!! Even more focused and purpose driven!
Wow, good stuff. Thanks for sharing them. I really like how you emphasize the importance of getting a good pair of shoes. I love running but I have flat feet and you can’t imagine how painful to run with them. I got some injuries but I didn’t want to give up like that. Fortunately, I finally find good shoes just for flat feet only. Once I wore them I wished I would never have to put them off. There are so many bloggers out there and it's hard to keep track of everyone! Thanks for this list and for including me!
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Latoya Shauntay Snell
For my pretentious ass bio, check out the about me page but for anyone interested in who I really am, make me a good meal at your house and I'll tell you a dope ass story.
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