Category Archives: health at every size

4th of July Reprise–A Declaration of Body Independence

 

Enjoy your independence my little chickies!

NOTE: This is a rebroadcast of a post I did in February. I’ve been thinking a lot about bodies and the rights we have to love them and care for them in any way we choose. I want to reiterate that health and happiness can be defined any way we wish and that nobody has the right to dictate what those terms should mean and how we should pursue them (or not). Enjoy your freedom my dear chicklettes.

Love,

The Fat Chick

The Fat Chick in front of Independence Hall

So on my recent trip to Philadelphia, I saw Independence Hall.  Besides being a gorgeous building, this was a site where some pretty amazingly radical things happened.  For one, the Constitution was created here.  For another, the Declaration of Independence was both written and signed here.  This along with an excellent blog post by ASDAH Secretary, Fall Ferguson, JD, MA.

All of this together got me thinking about the notion of body independence and how our current national obsession with the size and situation of bodies is so very antithetical to the ideas the founding fathers scribbled down in this building.  And being the type of person who will follow an idea to its furthest reaches, beyond all reason, and with a preemptive request for forgiveness from our founding fathers, I’ve decided to lay out a draft of a
Declaration of Body Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all bodies are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
My body is my own to care for in whatever way I wish.   No one has the right to tell me what to eat or how to move.  If I want a cookie, I shall have one.  If I want broccoli, I shall have it.  I shall boogie down with my bad self, or not as I choose.
I have the right to compassionate, competent and equitable health care.  This includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual care.  Whenever any Form of Medicine becomes destructive of these ends, it is my right to alter or abolish it and institute a new form of medical care–seeking a form that will seem most likely to effect my Safety and Happiness.
I have the right to look the way I look.  I may wear tiny prints or vertical stripes.  I may expose my fleshy arms as I embrace my freedom.  Fashion shall dictate no law that keeps me from dressing and expressing myself as I darn well please.
I am endowed with the unalienable Right to walk down the street unmolested by individuals (well-meaning or not) wishing to ply me with “cures” purported to change the size of my body to meet their ideal.
I am allowed to create my own definition of health and seek it (or not) as I see fit.
When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce me under the absolute Despotism of size oppression, it is my right, it is my duty, to throw off such Forces, and to provide new Guards for my future happiness.
So, my little chicklettes, cast off the chains of oppression!  Launch a body revolution!  Viva la resistance!
Love,
The Fat Chick

Spring Cleaning: Wiping out Negative Body Talk

Let's do some "spring cleaning"!

In honor of spring, I’m initiating a little spring cleaning.  But instead of cleaning closets and windows and cars, this year I’m going to try clean up some of my habits, and assumptions and attitudes.  When cleaning closets or the garage, I’m pretty brutal about tossing out things that I no longer need or want.  So this year, I’m going to throw away a few habits and attitudes that just aren’t working for me any more.  I’m going to pull out the big trash can, and I’m going to start with negative body talk.

Does this sound familiar?

“I hate my thighs!”

“Does my butt look big in this?”

“I can’t believe she’s wearing that.”

“Why can’t I have hair like hers?  Mine is too flat.”

Yup, those phrases represent negative body talk–those little phrases we say inside our heads or share with friends in conversation that put down that most magnificent and beautiful and personal gift, our bodies.  Negative body talk is everywhere.  Our friends do it.  Our families do it.  And most of us do it from time to time.

So what’s wrong with it?  Plenty.  Negative body talk has an immediately detrimental effect on our physical and mental health.  A recent article highlights some studies that indicate that “fat talk predicts changes in depression, body satisfaction, and perceived pressure to be thin across time.”  According to one study, the more fat talk a person talked, the worse they felt–resulting in lower body satisfaction and increased depression after 3 weeks.

Negative body talk is bad for us, and it’s everywhere.  So why do we do it?  I imagine sometimes it’s to fit in and sometimes it’s because we feel bad.  But a lot of times, I think we do it because we don’t even recognize we’re doing it.  You see, negative body talk can be kind of sneaky.  Sure, we recognize a phrase like “I hate my butt” as negative body talk.  But negative body talk can also be much more subtle:

“I’m exercising so I can tone up and look good in a swimsuit.”

“I can show my arms because they look okay, but not my thighs.”

“That dress just doesn’t look good on certain body types.”

“I don’t need to look like a supermodel.  I just want to look good in shorts.”

This kind of negative body talk can be harder to recognize, but it’s negative body talk all the same.  It’s still damaging.  It’s something that “doesn’t work for me any more.”  And this spring I’m working to throw it all out.

So my little chicklettes, how about you?  Ready for some spring cleaning?  Let’s get out some big cardboard boxes and the super big industrial-sized trash bags and get ready to clean house!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Independence Hall–A Declaration of Body Independence

The Fat Chick in front of Independence Hall

 

So on my recent trip to Philadelphia, I saw Independence Hall.  Besides being a gorgeous building, this was a site where some pretty amazingly radical things happened.  For one, the Constitution was created here.  For another, the Declaration of Independence was both written and signed here.  This along with an excellent blog post by ASDAH Secretary, Fall Ferguson, JD, MA.
All of this together got me thinking about the notion of body independence and how our current national obsession with the size and situation of bodies is so very antithetical to the ideas the founding fathers scribbled down in this building.  And being the type of person who will follow an idea to its furthest reaches, beyond all reason, and with a preemptive request for forgiveness from our founding fathers, I’ve decided to lay out a draft of a
Declaration of Body Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all bodies are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
My body is my own to care for in whatever way I wish.   No one has the right to tell me what to eat or how to move.  If I want a cookie, I shall have one.  If I want broccoli, I shall have it.  I shall boogie down with my bad self, or not as I choose.
I have the right to compassionate, competent and equitable health care.  This includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual care.  Whenever any Form of Medicine becomes destructive of these ends, it is my right to alter or abolish it and institute a new form of medical care–seeking a form that will seem most likely to effect my Safety and Happiness.
I have the right to look the way I look.  I may wear tiny prints or vertical stripes.  I may expose my fleshy arms as I embrace my freedom.  Fashion shall dictate no law that keeps me from dressing and expressing myself as I darn well please.
I am endowed with the unalienable Right to walk down the street unmolested by individuals (well-meaning or not) wishing to ply me with “cures” purported to change the size of my body to meet their ideal.
I am allowed to create my own definition of health and seek it (or not) as I see fit.
When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce me under the absolute Despotism of size oppression, it is my right, it is my duty, to throw off such Forces, and to provide new Guards for my future happiness.
So, my little chicklettes, cast off the chains of oppression!  Launch a body revolution!  Viva la resistance!
Love, 
The Fat Chick 

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Further proof there is someone out there for every body!

It’s American Heart Month and  it’s Valentine’s Day so we’re gonna talk about hearts today.  I know that this cardiac cliché may seem a bit much (especially for those of you who HATE this holiday) but I’m going to ask you to just, you know, go with it.

First we’ll turn to an article recently released in Circulation, The Journal of the American Heart Association that contains very good news for all of us who are fit fatties.  The study referenced in the article followed 14,358 middle-aged men (median age 44) over 11.4 years indicates that fitness is much more important than fatness in terms of cardiac death and death overall.  It may seem a little morbid to talk about death on a day which is at least theoretically supposed to be about love (or maybe not—depending about how you feel about this holiday) but the message from the study is clear.  “There was no association between changes in body-mass index (BMI) and risk of mortality or death from cardiovascular disease.”  So we know that, regardless of your size, fitness improves the functioning of your heart and improves your chances of being around a long time.
As I’ve been saying for years and years, just get out there and shake your groove thing!  Don’t worry about winning Olympic medals or winning  a role on Dancing with the Stars.  Just get out there and move, moderately and joyously for a total of about 150 minutes per week.  It’s good for your body and your spirit, and your heart will thank you. 
Because, you know what else improves when you get out there and shake what God gave ya?  Fitness improves your self esteem.  Yup, getting out and getting a little exercise helps you feel better about yourself.  And improved self esteem is just one of the ways that fitness improves your love relationships and sex life.  Seriously, forget about magic pills.  A little exercise outside of the sheets can make your exercise between the sheets EVEN BETTER.  Woo Hoo!  Where do I sign up?
And speaking of signing up, fitness can also provide an awesome opportunity to meet other people to have love relationships and really great sex with.  You could try a new dance class or fitness class.  You could sign up for tennis lessons with a truly yummy looking instructor (and really rev that heart rate!)  You could join a walking or running club or go lift weights.  There are many forms of fitness that give you opportunities to widen your social circle and find some new friends and/or love interests.
So let’s review.  Fitness helps you find fabulous new people to hang out with and potentially fall in love with.  And once you’re in love, fitness helps you have better love relationships and better sex.  And fitness improves your cardiovascular health so you can love each other for a long, long time.  It does my heart good just thinking about it.
So my little chicklettes, this is my Valentine’s Day wish for you.  Get on your dancing shoes and go out and boogie!  Go for a walk outside in the fresh air.  Get yourself on down to the golf course and say hello to some folks.  And bless your little hearts!
Love,
The Fat Chick

The illusion of being safe.

 

“Safe!”  Shouted as a runner gets to a base, shouted as you reach the goal in kick the can, this word is a happy one.  It means you made it to a place no one can harm you.  It reminds us of our childhoods with wide laps and warm beds and somebody always there to brush away the tears.  But how many of us really feel safe in our own skins?
Ever since the cries of “fatty, fatty, 2×4” and the comments about “letting yourself go,” and the fact that you have, “such a pretty face”, have you ever really felt safe?  Do you feel safe, knowing that a perfect stranger feels justified in yelling things at you from across the street?  Do you feel safe knowing that any time you go to a doctor or dentist or even optometry shop (not kidding here) some professional who is supposed to be helping you may launch into some body disparaging nonsense rather than giving you the help you’ve been asking for?  If you don’t, it’s no surprise.  It can be especially hard feeling safe in a fat body.
It’s enough to make you never want to go out of the house.  It’s enough to make one want to snuggle down, with your cats and doggies and put a blanket over your head.  It’s enough to make you not want to dare anything.
I know that I’ve done a lot of work about moving ahead in my life.  I no longer want to wait until I’m thin to do the things I want to in my life.  I imagined what I would do if I were thin, and started doing them anyways.  I started teaching exercise.  I became a writer and a producer.  I made a DVD and I wrote a book.  I’m proud to say I’ve done a lot.  But I still find myself in a stuck place.  I still find myself shyly dipping a toe in the water instead of holding my nose and doing a cannonball into the pool.  I still find myself wanting assurance that I’ll be safe.
But here’s the thing.  Safety is relative.  There is not one person anywhere who is completely safe.  Safety is mostly an illusion that we build for ourselves.  So I’ll keep trying.  I’ll keep building the strength I need to slay the dragons I meet along the glory road.  I’ll go out the door with my head held high and my wits about me.  I’ll not be a simpering princess sighing in a high tower waiting for somebody to rescue me.  I’LL rescue me.  Wish me luck!  Love, The Fat Chick