Tag Archives: AKA The Fat Chick

Taking Your Spirit for a Walk

We’ve been talking a lot about pedometers and counting steps and walking towards physical fitness in the last few weeks.  But walking does a lot more than strengthen your body and mind.  Walking can also have a profound effect on calming and lifting your spirit.  There are many approaches to using walking to speak to your soul.  So take a deep breath, and let’s explore some of them together:

Love walking: Going for a walk with somebody you love deeply can be a great balm and help for both of your souls.  If you walk with one of your children, this can be a time for you to really listen to them and focus on what is happening in their life.  In order for this to work however, you really have to focus.  That may mean muting your cell phone or turning it off altogether.  (But don’t leave your phone at home.  A fully-charged cell phone is one of  your most important pieces of fitness safety gear.)  This can also be a time for you to observe nature together.  If your child is young,  you may want to be prepared with some games that you can play as you walk like iSpy or simply naming the colors, animals, plants and shapes you encounter along the way.  Love walking with your significant other can be a time for you to share the details of your day, or even just to hold hands and enjoy some silence together.

Social Walking: Walking can be a great time to catch up with friends and share thoughts and feelings about what is happening in your lives.  And walking regularly with a good friend can help you keep your walking program on track.  Having a great jaw session can help bring the fun into fitness and help you forget that you’re exercising.  And don’t forget, laughing while walking also engages your abdominal muscles!

Prayer Walking:  I’ve known some people who have found a lot of joy in using their walking time for prayer.  You can take time during your stroll to pray for friends and family.  You can even take time, as you walk the sidewalks in your neighborhood to pray for the people who live near you.  Aside from allowing you to really focus on prayer a few times per week, I’ve talked to some prayer walkers who find that turning focus away from the physical benefits and towards caring for other people helps them to prioritize their walking program and be sure to carve time out for it.  And spending time sending love out to the universe is sure to have benefits for you and for everyone you touch.

Walking Meditation: Walking is a rhythmic, repetitive process that can really lend itself towards meditation.  Some people find it easier to meditate while they are sitting very still.  Some others find that the physical action of walking really helps them with their body awareness and aids their meditation practice.  There are many forms of walking meditation–from quite simple to more complex versions.  However, here’s a few tips for engaging in a walking meditation:

1.  Silence is golden.  Bring your fully-charged cell phone with you, but mute or turn it off during your walk.  Unless you are using music or spoken word specifically tailored to your meditation, you may want to leave your MP3 player and earbuds at home.

2.  Take some time before you start to become centered in your body.  Take a few deep breaths.  Feel the breaths move your tummy in and out.  Check in with your hands and feet, and sense how your body feels before you start out.

3.  Take the easy path.  Try to walk somewhere that will not require you to dodge a lot of people or obstacles.  Some gurus suggest that you pick a relatively short, straight path.  When you come to the end of the path, stop, reconnect with your body, turn around, and walk again.

4.  Spend time as you are walking checking in with your body.  How does your breath feel going in and out?  How do the soles of your feet feel where they are touching your shoes or socks, and how does each footfall ground with the earth? How do your arms feel?  Does your body feel light or heavy?  How does the air feel as it touches your skin?

5.  Send yourself some body love.  A walking meditation is a wonderful time to send positive messages to your body.  You can even choose a mantra–a brief phrase that you repeat to yourself over and over as you walk.  The best mantras are rhythmic in nature and allow you to put a syllable on each step as you walk.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I am worthy.

I am enough.

I am grateful.

Thank you body.

So what do you think?  Are  you interested in taking your spirit for a walk?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as you give some of these techniques a try.  Don’t forget to share in the comments section!

And yet another one of our faithful readers will be receiving a jump start to his fitness program!  Rob Gokee, you’ve won a free pedometer!  Don’t forget to send me an email at jeanette at thefatchick dot com with your mailing address so I can get your pedometer out to you!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

P.S. Want to get access to FREE STUFF?  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

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Stuff that Weighs More than Me: Offshore Platform

oilrigI was just watching the History Channel series “The Men That Built America”.  One of the interesting bits was about how John D. Rockefeller got his start in refining oil in the great state of Ohio.  Apparently at one time, Ohio was the number one source of oil in the United States.  It was also the site of the first submerged oil wells or oil rigs.  These were located in Grand Lake St. Marys.

There are a variety of different types of offshore platforms or oil rigs including some that are fixed to the ocean floor, some that are artificial islands and some that float.  Offshore oil platforms represent some of the largest moveable man made objects.

The Petronius Platform located in the Gulf of Mexico stands 2,000 feet above the ocean floor and is currently one of the world’s tallest structures.

One of the largest and probably the heaviest offshore platform is the Hibernia platform in Canada.  This gravity base platform is located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 196 miles east, southeast of St. Johns in Newfoundland, Canada at N46°45.026′ W48°46.976′.

Here’s the stats:

Start of development: 1986

Start of oil production: 1997

Depth: The Hibernia rests on the ocean floor at a depth of about 260 ft.

Height: The topsides extend about 160 ft. out of the water

Capacity: The gravity base can hold 1.2 million barrels.

Weight Integrated Topsides Facility: 37,000 tons

Weight Gravity Base: 660,000 tons

Ballast: After the Hibernia was towed into place, 450,000 tons of solid ballast were used to secure the platform.

Total Weight: 1.2 million tons

Conclusion: Any given oil platform weighs more than a little bit more than me.

 

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Does this Blog make my Butt Look Big? Why “Fat Talk” may be Bad for your Social Life.

NotListening

La, la, la I’m not listening…

“Fat talk” is a bonding ritual that many of us learned at our Mother’s knee.  Many of us have participated in fat talk over the years because we felt social pressure to do so.  But according to a recent study, moaning about the size of our thighs or asking if our butt looks big, might not be the best move for our social lives.

We’ve long known that fat talk is bad for your self esteem (and the self esteem of those around you).  We’ve talked about that in the blog a fair bit.  But a recent study led by Alexandra Corning, research associate professor of psychology and director of Notre Dame’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Lab seems to indicate that fat talk may make you less likable to your peers.  In the study, college students were shown pictures of noticeably thin and fat women.  Each of these pictures depicted women engaged in body talk–either positive body talk or fat talk.  Those participating in the study were then asked to rate the women in the photos in a number of dimensions including likability.  When the results were tabulated, it seems that women who engaged in “fat talk” were considered less likeable than those who engaged in positive body talk.  In fact, according to the study, the fat women who had positive things to say about their bodies were considered the most likeable.  This result is very interesting to psychologists who have long thought of fat talk as a way that women “strengthen social bonds”.  But the study seems to indicate that women who engage in this behavior may be perceived as less likeable than their peers.

But, and this is a big but*, it’s important to remember this test simply measures personal perception.  It doesn’t indicate what is actually happening in a social setting where fat talk is happening or measure anything related to peer pressure.  This may explain why many of us may still feel pressured to engage in fat talk even in an environment where we may privately be perceived as less likeable for doing so.  And it is only one study.

That said, I am encouraged by the results of this study.  I decided long ago to refrain from engaging in fat talk with my friends, family and colleagues.  I’ve taken heat for not participating.  I’ve been teased for it.  But I for one, will choose to believe that I am also secretly liked and respected for my refusal to fat talk.  Because believing the best about myself seems to be working pretty well for me so far.

Love,

The Fat Chick

*You see what I did there?

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

Buy my book: The Fat Chick Works Out! (Fitness that is Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Ages, Shapes Sizes and Abilities)–available in softcover and e-book versions

Buy my DVD: The Fat Chick Works Out! (A Safe, Easy and Fun Workout for Klutzes, Wimps and Absolute Beginners!)

Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

Check out my Training Programs–both in person and via Skype (Starting at just $25!)

or

Book me to speak at your special event!

The Body’s Battle with Weight Loss

slide33.033I recently ran across this little gem on Cracked.com entitled “Fat is Officially Incurable (According to Science)” which offers a surprisingly accurate portrayal about just how likely those “before” and “after” shots in advertisements are to reflect the long-term experience of real, live people.  While proceeding with tongue firmly inserted in cheek, the author offers a nice summary of some of the scientific evidence offered regarding long-term weight loss:

  • Probability of long-term maintenance of very modest weight loss (10-15 pounds)–Very low
  • Probability of a fat person becoming (and staying) a thin person–Practically Non-existant.

One of my favorite things about this article (besides David Wong’s deliciously snarky attitude) is the plethora of links to some other wonderful content that I’ve read, but probably forgotten about.

For example, a lot of the math about Weight Watchers “success stories” (including why you may be 20 times more likely to survive being shot in the head than you are to reach and maintain your WW “goal weight”) is derived from this wonderful blog post by fat fu.

And David also references this comprehensive NY Times Article in which Tara Parker-Pope breaks down a lot of the recent research about why permanent weight loss can be so difficult.  She talks about a lot of the physiological changes that can happen with weight loss including:

  • Increased hunger hormones like ghrelin that make us feel more hungry.
  • Decreased leptin and peptide yy in the body which help to signal when our bodies are full.
  • Lowered metabolism.
  • Increased percentages of slow-twitch muscle fibers that make our bodies use calories more efficiently and burn fewer calories during physical activities.
  • Increased “reward response” to food in the brain leading to more intense cravings for and obsession about food.

Tara also reminds us that these changes in the body are often long-term–lasting months or even years after the dieting has stopped.  And while both she and David Wong admit that there are some “rare creatures” found in the National Weight Control Registry who have maintained significant weight loss, the vast majority of us are unlikely to experience the same results.

I don’t say this to depress you.  But I do feel very strongly that those of us who work in the health and fitness industries have a responsibility to help our clients to build realistic expectations.  Very, very few of us will lose a lot of weight and keep it off.  A very slightly larger number of us will lose a little bit of weight and keep it off.  But most of us will neither lose a significant amount of weight nor will we keep it off. Does that mean we need to give up on either wellness or well-being?  Nope!  As it turns out, bodies respond very well to healthy behaviors regardless of whether or not they are accompanied by any weight loss.  We can choose to de-couple wellness from weight loss and focus on simply doing the things that make us feel well.  So in my mind, it really makes more sense to take this Health At Every Size(R) or HAES approach and let the body’s weight settle where it will.

And even though telling the truth has seriously blunted my book sales and ruined my chances of ever starring in my own late-night, cheesy infomercial, I still must tell it.  Oh well, I’m more of a morning person anyway.

Love,

The Fat Chick