FitBloggin’ Small Group Discussion Overviews

This year, in addition to fun workout options, each morning will contain a variety of small group, blogger-driven discussions. From dealing with injuries to mental health, join your fellow bloggers for an intimate, informative conversation. 

Please click here to check the latest schedule for rooms and times.


Dealing with Injuries lead by Debra Roby

Most of us have an injury. Even months later, we love to tell people the details: How we sprained an ankle white-water rafting but finished the run.  How we broke our leg the day after we signed up for a big race.

The past is only important, though, for how it influences our present and future. As fitness people, what’s important is acknowledging what we’ve lost because of this injury, what we’ve learned from the injury, and how we’re better after.

  • Was the injury traumatic enough to make you swear off an activity?
  • How did your injury inspire you come back stronger?
  • Did you set a challenge to work toward as you rehabbed or to celebrate your return?
  • What fitness practices have you embraced because of your injury?
  • Do you have tips to prevent others from injuring themselves?

Getting Back from Gaining Back led by Jennifer Sader and Margo Porras 

Did you reach your goal weight only to regain as you fell back into old habits? Do you feel sad and ashamed when you remember how you swore that you would “never again” be overweight?

We believe that healthy weight loss begins from a place of self-compassion. It’s great to try to develop healthier habits and work toward your goals. We just don’t think self-punishment is going to get you there.

Think about it — even if you could hate yourself skinny, would you really want to?

We’ll talk about:

  • Developing healthy habits that are sustainable and rewarding

  • Finding ways to ditch shame and find compassion for yourself

  • Asking for the support you need from friends and family

  • Using technology to help you in your “weight loss project”

  • Dealing with body image confusion after a big loss or a big gain

  • Living your life with confidence and style, no matter what you weigh

Presented by Margo Porras @shesnachomama and Jennifer Sader @toledolefty


Diet is a 4-letter word: What are your food Rules? led by Nicole Truog and Lyn Trier

Are you interested in overall health and well-being?  Have you tried a variety of diets only to find yourself back at square one?  Do you have stories to share with others about what works for you and what doesn’t when it comes to food?

In this session we’ll discuss ideas around getting rid of the word diet from our vocabulary and talk about what “rules” we all follow to stay in shape and be healthy.

We’ll have an opportunity to discuss our personal stories relating to:

  • Finding a plan that works for you;

  • Following specific food rules;

  • Defining clean eating (and recognizing many define it differently); and

  • Utilizing resources for meal and food prep/planning.

Whether you’re eating and working out for heart health, to lose weight, gain muscle, you’re a vegetarian, a locavore, counting Points, following paleo, vegan, etc, come join us — this will be a great time to share stories and personal tactics for success.


Motivating your community to choose a healthy lifestyle led by Andrea Wenzel

This discussion will detail the ways in which we can reach out to those around us.  We will spend the first half of the session learning about techniques and theories regarding change and motivation.  These include the stages of change model and motivational interviewing.

The goals of this session are to have an open discussion about experiences we have all had regarding helping others choose healthier lifestyles.  We hope to learn new techniques to help reach out to others.  We will leave feeling inspired and full of new ideas to implement in our communities.


Dealing with Your “Before” when you reach your “After” led by Kelly Espitia and Dani Holmes-Kirk

How many times have you said to yourself: All my problems will disappear when I hit my goal weight? We imagine a world full of rainbows and unicorns once we hit our desired “After.” But rarely is that the reality. Once we shed the protective layer of fat, it’s time to finally deal with the “Before.” It is time to acknowledge and work through what landed us at our “Before.”

We’ll discuss:

  • Dealing with the raw emotions once the protective layer of fat is gone
  • Debunking the myth that “once I lose xx lbs I will be happy”
  • Defense mechanisms including self-deprecating humor
  • Releasing those emotions that led to our “Before” through therapy or blogging
  • Finding what triggered the weight gain

Tackling the Taboo of Therapy led by Christine Assaf and Julie Curtis

When starting a fitness or weight-loss program, people embark on a journey of physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Yet, there are many who may feel ashamed, embarrassed or confused about sharing the mental and emotional side of their journey. Perhaps it is the taboo of needing help, or a fear of being labeled.

Not all mental health concerns need long-term care or require a diagnosis. It is acceptable and encouraged to seek help from personal trainers, so why not the help of a therapist or support group?

As bloggers, readers, and/or fitness professionals we invite FitBloggin’ attendees to discuss this aspect of health.

 We will be inviting Dr. Julie Nelligan from the Portland American Psychological Association to join the discussion and give her professional opinion. (This topic is for everyone, diagnoses or not.)


Dealing with Sensitive Topics led by Jenn Mitchell and Lena Burkut

Why do you blog? Most likely, it is because you have a passion for sharing ideas and information that are close to your heart. We all have a message. Building rapport with our readers is an important part in the success of our blogs. We want to establish credibility and trust. In doing so, do you ever feel like you are not being authentically you?

Are there sensitive issues that you are not sure if you should share? We all have “skeletons in the closet,” but how open should we be about them? Issues related to family, marriage, health, ethnicity, etc., could be things that either weaken our blogs or make them stronger.

Do you feel sensitive about who you are as a blogger? Do you ever feel like you are not smart enough, well spoken enough, or just not cut out for this business? We all have weaknesses we are trying to overcome in our blogging.

How do you deal with these issues in your life? Does dealing (or not dealing) with sensitive topics affect your blogging style? Do you step back when these issues come up or do you work harder to be open and honest with your readers?

In this session, we will discuss how to work through personal difficulties and self-doubt. Sharing how we deal with these issues can make our blogging stronger. Come and be authentically you! We’ll work on breaking down the barriers that hold us back.


How to set health and fitness goals led by Erin Kreitz Shirey

We often get overwhelmed with HOW to set health and fitness goals … and then quit! Life is too short to quit if we don’t accomplish a huge goal, so learn how to make steps to reach your goals.  It can seem overwhelming with so much information, workout options, medical and physiological terms. Why lace up and get out the door if you don’t know where you are going?

This workshop/discussion is set for everyone, at every athletic/non-athletic level and in every phase of their health and fitness journey.  YOUR time is NOW! Don’t waste it thinking of the goals you haven’t reached before, figure out HOW to conquer the goals that are lying in front of you! You will leave feeling motivated, inspired, and ready to “Dig Deep. Play HARD!”.  Yes, you will even do some exercise too!


Practicing Self-Acceptance With Emotional Freedom Technique led by Karen C.L. Anderson

Following on Fitbloggin’12’s successful Self-Acceptance & Weight Loss http://fitbloggin.com/2012/09/live-blog-self-acceptance-and-weight-loss/ panel discussion, this interactive session will focus on using Emotional Freedom Technique (“tapping”) to foster a general sense of self-acceptance and also for specific issues like emotional/binge eating, cravings, poor body image, and even physical pain.

They key behind EFT is that it calms the “fight-or-flight” response in the brain allowing us to make better decisions and to respond from a calmer place, rather than “reacting!”

In this session Karen C.L. Anderson (The Acceptance Whisperer http://kclanderson.com) will explain how EFT works (the science behind it) and the basic process, and then everyone can practice! The objective is to provide participants with a tool they can use any time they need it.


Stop Keeping up with the Joneses led by Liz Paul

Are you stuck in the comparison trap?  We’ve all been there and there is a way out. Join our discussion as we look at the danger of the comparison trap when it comes to health, fitness and weight loss.  Come share stories about feeling inadequate, stories of rising above your own goals, and stories about how to translate comparison into motivation.  In the end, the only person we are in a race with is ourselves.