Tag Archives: body acceptance

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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Exercise, Empowerment and Free Botox at the Finish Line

OMG does my makeup look okay?

My friend and colleague Kjerstin recently posted this article about the upcoming “Diva 5K” in Miami Florida.  The race, which exhorts women and girls as young as 8 years old to “Run like a Diva!” is offering an amazing prize package including botox (for winners 18 and older) and teeth whitening and laser hair removal (for winners 15 and older).

I cant even…

To my mind, one of the best things about participating in an event like a 5K is to empower women to think about their bodies in terms of what they can do rather than obsessing about how they look.  Women can focus on being strong, and capable.  Women can focus on being healthy and vibrant.

Unless we’re talking about the Diva 5K where women are encouraged to be wrinkle-free, white toothed and OMG hairless!  Apparently all participants will get a chance to be greeted at the finish line “where handsome young men from the local dance schools will sweep you off your feet.”  Because heaven knows, we can’t be interested in walking or running or otherwise exercising for our own sakes.  Goodness NO, girl.  We run to be thin, hairless, wrinkle-free and gorgeous for the hot “MENZ”!  Jeez don’t you know anything?

As a fitness instructor with several decades of teaching under my belt, I find this sort of thing so intensely frustrating.  We claim as an industry that we want people to exercise.  And then we make ridiculous promises to people that we know are false, and we trivialize the unbelievable potent real rewards that come with being fit.

The fitness industry has always promised that if you exercise hard enough, you’ll look like a hot, young, supermodel, AND a hunky hot man will be waiting to sweep you off your feet.  I’ve rarely seen that notion put into practice in quite as concrete a manner as we’re seeing with this Diva 5K, but it is a common notion nevertheless.

Yet, in reality, a 5K will make you look like a supermodel ONLY under the following conditions:

1.  You looked like a super model BEFORE you started training for a 5K,

2. You have a hair and makeup crew near the finish line ready to bathe you, do your hair, airbrush your skin and make you over, and

3.  Your finishers photos are heavily retouched in Photoshop.

Here’s a quick demonstration of what I’m talking about:

The sad thing is that the TRUE benefits of exercise (like lower stress levels, better blood glucose levels, better mood management, better sleep, a stronger sense of self esteem, a stronger immune system) THOSE benefits are often downplayed or overlooked.  The transformations of the people that I have taught have had very little to do with looking like a model.  I’ve seen a Mom, for the first time ever, have enough stamina to take her kid to Disneyland all day.  And a man, who for the first time in twenty years can take his wife dancing again.  I’m talking about people who can now bend over and tie their shoes, or walk their daughter down the aisle without pain or get their blood pressure or blood glucose levels under control.  I’m talking about young women who for the first time in their lives look in the mirror and see power and competence and confidence rather than simple disappointment that they don’t look like the “after” picture they have been taught to envision for themselves.

I’ve done several races in my life ranging from a 5K Turkey Trot to a full on marathon.  And yes, I have won some medals.  And I plan to run some more.  But if you’re standing at the finish line waving a gift certificate for free airbrush tanning or liposuction for me, I’d advise you to beware.  I just might use my hard-won leg muscles to kick you somewhere soft and very private.  Even if you ARE a hunky guy from the local dance class.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

The Fat Chick

P.S. Speaking of handing out rewards, I’m happy to announce that our second winner in The Fat Chick’s Great Pedometer Giveaway is Susie Kline!  Yay Susie!

Too Sexy for our Shirts? Cleavage, morality and discrimination in America

BBIP

Not all big girls have big cleavage.  But some of us do. And when we dare to reveal them in public, look out!  The morality police may just be on the way.  This week we’ve had yet another attack of B-BIP or Big Boobs In Public.  And while the world seems extremely tolerant of T-TIP (Tiny Titties in Public) B-BIP tend to fuel a stampede of blanket and towel wielding, hand wringing panic stricken people eager to cover those bad boys up.

Long ago, Elvira proved that Big Boobs in Public can be TERRIFYING!

Long ago, Elvira proved that Big Boobs in Public can be TERRIFYING!

Now here’s the thing.  Larger breasts make more cleavage.  So even if you cover the same amount of breast with a swimsuit top or a bra or a dress, it won’t look quite the same on a bigger rack.  And whether it’s the sheer size of those magnificent orbs or the fabric straining, engineering defying potential of them, B-BIP freak people right the f@#$ out.

Here are a few case histories.  Just this week a woman was kicked out of a water park in Independence, Missouri for wearing a string bikini.

Madelyn-Sheaffer

Madelyn Sheaffer insists that plenty of other women were dressed in a similar manner but weren’t asked to leave or cover up.  She suggests that those women were both younger and skinnier.  And I have to confess, having been to a lot of water parks in Missouri, that this is likely to be true.  I’ve seen many skinny young things at water parks dressed in a similar manner.  But this woman presents a triple threat to American eyeballs.  She presents ECO B-BIP (Extremely Confident Older Big Boobs In Public).  OMGWTFBBQ!  She gives young people the idea that older people can still feel sexy!  She presents the notion that you don’t have to be stick thin to feel good in your body!  She’s got impressive ink on her torso!  Look away Johnny.  Just. Look. Away.

And B-BIP don’t just go to water parks.  They also try to go to prom.  Oh the horror!  Brittany Minder apparently terrified prom officials when she clad her B-BIP in a gorgeous, strapless, purple gown and tried to go to the big dance.

brittanyMinder

Now granted, there was a dress code in place, and Brittany even had to sign an agreement stipulating that she would abide by the dress code at the prom.  But Mindy and her most cool and righteous parents suggest that the dress code is not applied evenly.  They suggest that Brittany was forced to cover up at prom not because her dress was skimpier than many others who appeared at the prom, but simply because her chest was bigger.  Brittany’s mom offers this stunning and simple defense for her daughter’s B-BIP:

“All women are not created equal, and you can not compare a golf ball to a grapefruit. It ain’t gonna happen,” Kim Minder said.

B-BIP even terrify television executives.   A while back, Lane Bryant created an ad for its new line of lingerie.

Apparently both Fox and ABC refused to air the ad–claiming that the “plus-sized cleavage is too prominent”.  These networks both regularly air Victoria’s Secret ads featuring models in the same amount of clothing or even less.  There’s nothing offensive about the ad, unless you just can’t handle B-BIP:

This is much ado about much, says Peggy Wang in Buzzfeed: “There’s nothing too scandalous” in the ad — unless, of course, “giant boobs scare you.”

But that’s the thing.  Clearly giant boobs do scare us.  So I’m dying to know what you think my gentle readers.  Should we carefully cover and camouflage our BBIP you know cuz’ of teh children?  Or should we wear ’em out high and proud?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Meanwhile, I’m taking my B-BIP to exercise class.  Gotta bounce!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

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Body Independence Day! The Right Now Show–Episode 015.

IMG_2654

The Fat Chick demonstrates the right to Bare Arms on July 4, 2013.

In episode 15 of The Right Now Show, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick) shares her declaration of body independence just in time for the 4th of July.  This is a reprise of a previous blog post you can find here.  Assert your right to bare arms! Declare your freedom against the diet industry and appearance overlords!  And enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the body you have right now!

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!

Coming Home to our Bodies

sepia_houseIf my blogging has been somewhat irregular this week, it’s because I’ve gone home.  I’ve gone to the house that my Mom and Dad and sister and I built with our own hands, stick by stick and brick by brick.  I’ve gone back to the deep green grass and country quiet of where i grew up in Wisconsin.  My sister moved into the house we built together and now lives there with her husband and two kids–my nieces.  The older of these just graduated from High School and I was there to celebrate with her and 50 other family members.  She’s headed off to college in the fall, and I’m so proud I could bust!

It was odd being back in our old family home, but deeply comforting as well.  I was surprised at how little had changed.  I have to admit I am feeling acutely aware of the passage of time.  I had a minor freak-out when I realized that my niece is now the same age as I was when I met my husband.  Yikes!

But on the second day of the trip, as I sat on the front porch and watched the sun go down over the pond, I had some time to think.  And one of the thoughts I thunked was about how wonderful it was to find a place of peace that is deeply connected with your roots and who you are.  And immediately following I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could feel that way about our bodies?  Wouldn’t it be great if getting in touch with our physical selves gave us a sense of “going home”.  If checking in with our limbs and our laughter and our breathing and the beating of our hearts could ground us, remind us of where we came from and who we are?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could return to our physical being, if we could rest in the core of ourselves and simply find peace?

frontporchviewI have to own up to a certain amount of family privilege here.  Sure, I’ve had disagreements with my family, but I’ve always known without a single doubt that in all important things, they had my back.  They are my posse.  I live in certainty that the strong family I have has allowed me to grow to who I’ve become.  And when it comes to family and being loved, I have enjoyed an embarrassment of riches.

I’m acutely aware that not everyone has this “home” to go back to.

But it is this idealized version of this moment of coming home that I wish for all of us.  That we find in ourselves the love we may not have always had, but have always, always craved.  That we find in the cradle of our bellies and the length of our arms the embrace we deeply desire for ourselves, rocking us and assuring us that we’re okay, we’re okay, we’re okay.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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!

Ads, Women and Mental Health

I recently came across this lecture from Jill Kilbourne and wanted to share it with you.  In one of the classes I’ve been teaching we’ve been talking extensively about media’s role in women’s self esteem.  I think it’s so very important to understand with Ms. Kilbourne has to say here.  That we often find ourselves viewing magazines or television ads or billboards, and feeling inadequate because we don’t look like the women in the pictures.  But, hello, even the women in the pictures don’t look like the women in the pictures.  With Photoshop, no woman need ever have flaws.  And I’ve heard through back channels that some actresses have right in their contract that their image on television must be slightly vertically stretched to make them appear taller and thinner.

Couple this with the fact that hardly anyone approaching average size appears on television or in advertising.  The average American woman is a size 12 on the top and a 14 on the bottom.  Most women on television or in advertising are a size 2, 0 or even 00.  To give you a frame of reference, when Cameryn Manheim was on The Practice she was about a size 14 and quite tall.  When I met her in person, I was struck by how average her size looked in real life.  But on TV she seemed pretty large.  Now some say that the camera adds 15 pounds, but I don’t really think that’s what’s at work here.  What is at work here is that she was surrounded by a whole cast of people that were very, very significantly smaller than average.  So by contrast, she seemed bigger.

I sometimes wish I could have a special Photoshop tool or television/video filter that would allow me to make everybody on TV and in ads look a little more average or a little more normal.  I think it would help the rest of us gain some perspective on how other people look.  But when I get really down, I go do a little “field work”.  I go to a mall, or a gym or a public pool, I sit on a bench or in a chair and I just look at people.  I regain my sense of how real people look.  People all looking SO different from one another.  People with tattoos and scars and stretch marks.  People of all different shapes and sizes and colors.  All different kinds of hair in all different places.  Smiles shining out of faces not lit for the cameras, but rather lit from within, from lives well lived.  I regain my perspective.  It really feels great.  Maybe you’d like to try it and report back?  I’d love to hear how it went!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Talking about Bullying

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This past Saturday, I  had the great privilege to speak on behalf of the Size Diversity Task Force at the Stop The Pain Anti Bullying Conference in Riverside.  I spoke about all bodies being good bodies and I talked with them about the fact that weight-related bullying can come from many sources including parents, teachers, doctors and coaches.  It seemed like many of them were interested in the topic and I had a great time.  But one of the moments that really touched me, came from a Dad in the back of the room.

The room was overfilled and he had stood against the wall for the entire presentation.  At the end I asked for questions and he raised his hand.  He said that he had come to the presentation on behalf of his sixteen year old daughter.  He said that he came with his beautiful wife (and he gestured towards her) because he wanted to know how to help his daughter.  He said that his daughter had always been somewhat heavier, and that she was having a hard time accepting herself.  He said that he and his wife told her that she was beautiful every day, but that she was having a hard time believing it.  He wanted to know what he should do.

I told him first of all, that he should keep telling her that she is beautiful.  That maybe it doesn’t seem like it’s sinking in, but that she’s hearing it.  I told her that sometimes we aren’t ready for that message at that moment in our lives, but that there will come a moment at some time in our lives when we are ready, and we will gather those words and those memories to us at that time and we will treasure them always.  I told him that he could offer help, but that he has to be patient.  She will only accept help when she’s ready.  I suggested that he could direct her towards support groups like the Size Diversity Task Force that could some day help her find her way through the prejudice out there and help her emerge triumphant as a size positive freedom fighter.  And I thanked him for asking the question.

Honestly, I was blown away by this guy and his wife.  They cared enough about their daughter to stand in a hot classroom for an hour and listen to me talk about my journey, size diversity, size prejudice, the near impossibility of permanent weight loss, Health At Every Size and more.  They were able to keep their minds open and see if they could learn something new.  And they were humble enough to ask for help.  Now I have no idea what it is really like for them in their house and in their family.  But I was deeply moved by the idea that there are parents out there willing to buck the status quo to really help their kids and there is hope in this world of size oppression within strong families willing to care for their kids in a way that may not be “socially acceptable” but in a way that works.

I am deeply grateful to Kandee Lewis and the Size Diversity Task Force for this opportunity to speak, but more importantly to listen and learn from other folks who are working to end bullying in their own lives and the lives of others.

Love,

The Fat Chick