Tag Archives: body love

Oh the Places You’ll Go (with fitness)

Yesterday we officially launched our Fit Fatties Virtual Vacations with a virtual sunset cruise in Paris.  And it really got me thinking.  Of all the super wonderful and awesome things about exercise, I think one of the things I love most is how exercise can be and can fuel adventures in our lives.  Whether it’s just walking a little further down the path just to see what’s there, or getting on an airplane and exploring the world, I love how fitness can open new worlds for folks.

One of the most fun parts of the whole Fit Fatties Virtual Decathlon project was checking out the photos of the fun adventures people had while finishing their virtual events.  Some folks did a 5K or 10K or marathon for the first time.  Some people tried belly dancing lessons or hula hooping or tap dancing for the first time.  Folks went to museums, climbed mountains, toured college campuses and sports stadiums.  Some people exercised by themselves.  Some created spontaneous dance parties and even met Santa Claus on the beach with their kids.

Another thing that was super cool about the virtual events is the way that people started to see adventure in everyday activity.  Some people got badges for epic snow shoveling (and shoveling and shoveling), massive lawn mowing and wood splitting.  Folks even found adventure in having a temper tantrum and smashing stuff the ex left behind.  Clearly there was some catharsis going on.

I know that as my fitness level increases, my sense of adventure also tends to increase.  I’m more brave.  I’m more ready to try new things–whether it be hula hooping or trying just one more yard sale in search of the find of the century.  None of this takes me away from listening to my body.   However fit I may be, I always allow myself the right to try something and then say, “No, thank you.  This isn’t for me.”  One of my extremely talented students described this as her 10 minute rule.  “I try to be adventurous,” she says.  “But I always give myself an out.  If after 10 minutes, I don’t like it, love it or feel like I’m having fun, I give myself unabashed permission to simply walk away–no guilt and no strings attached.”

How about you.  As we move into summer vacation time (at  least in my part of the world) are you ready to try something new?  How about a water aerobics class, or some gardening, or riding a bike or surfing?  And how about instead of thinking of fitness as a guilt-laden obligation, we start thinking of it as an open-ended ticket to new adventures?

Love,  Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. It’s not too late to join our Fit Fatties Virtual Vacations!  Just click here!

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In EPIC Wardrobe Malfunction, Target Creates Thigh Gap by Removing Young Woman’s Lady Bits

Close up of gruesome wardrobe malfunction. EEEK!

In it’s quest to ensure that all its models are sporting an appropriate thigh-gap,  Target PhotoShop artists appear to have removed a junior model’s vagina altogether.  The image was pointed out by several watchdog groups and blogs not only for it’s garish wardrobe malfunction, but also for the fact that it appears the junior model in question may have also been mutated into an alien creature with a very long torso and very long arms, best seen in the larger version of the photo here:

The photographic evidence of Target’s tampering have since gone viral and Target has issued an “apology” stating:

“In response to your query about the swimsuit image on Target.com, this was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize. We have removed the image from our Web site,” a company spokesman said. Asked how the mistake occurred, “It was the result of a photo editing error on our part.”

Which leaves me with a few things to say to our friends at Target.  First of all, in your “apology” I have to say that I don’t think that word means what you think it means.  Sure, your PhotoShop guy or gal messed up.  I can certainly understand how that happened.  I doubt that it’s some sort of malicious protest on the part of the graphic designer as some have suggested.  I really don’t imagine that some designer wanted to point out the brutality inherent in the system of PhotoShopping images by blatantly messing up and releasing a picture.  I’ve produced websites and games and DVDs.  I understand that stuff slips through the cracks.  That poor graphic artist is probably not being paid less per hour than your minimum wage checkers and is probably working 80 hours per week on “salary” in a web sweat shop somewhere.  And the junior manager or producer doing Quality Control on those images is probably working just as hard and not getting paid very well either.  And if anybody gets fired over this whole mess, it will probably be them.

Apology? Hmmm. Maybe not.

But I’m sorry to say Target, that you apologized for the wrong thing.  Don’t apologize to me that a graphic artist messed up and released a photo that makes it blatantly obvious that you drastically altered a young woman’s body to convince 12-year old girls that they need to be seven feet-tall, size 00 and have a thigh gap that could hold a soccer ball.  Don’t apologize to me that you got caught.  Apologize to me for feeling the need to PhotoShop these images this way in the first place.  Apologize to me for altering photos to create impossible beauty ideals to products aimed at 12-year-old girls in an environment where hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under 12 are up 119% (see Pinhas et. al.)  Apologize to me for being so certain that your model needs to sport a thigh gap, a trendy body trait that is nearly impossible to maintain for all but a microscopic percentage of the human race, that you were willing to graphically stretch her on the rack and excise critical bits of her anatomy to accomplish it.  (You could consider the techniques shown in the video below.  These are kinda cool actually.)

Target, you make me sad.  I adore your wide, bright aisles and fun POP displays.  I love your colorful and fun, yet generally affordable housewares, camping gear and sporting goods.  But this has GOT to stop.  It’s time for you to retract your fake apology and give us a real one.  Then tell us how you are going to stop digitally dissecting the already beautiful bodies of your models to sell us a dose of unreality we just shouldn’t have to swallow.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Don’t miss out on another day of body loving, booty shaking fun!  Join me here.

Exercise from the neck down and the neck up.

Integrating the head and the body through exercise!

We are doing a lot of fun and useful exploration in my Every BODY Can Exercise group right now.  Quite a bit of it focuses on the awesome benefits that come from regular physical activity.  One particular benefit that comes from being more active is that we come to inhabit our entire body more fully.  Many of us who are sedentary (especially if we have low self esteem about our bodies) come to live a life that exists primarily from the neck up.  We live mostly in our heads and become “cut off” from the physical sensations that are found from the neck down.  We shy away from full length mirrors.  We look at ourselves as others define us–as merely a pretty face.  Exercise forces us to reconnect with sensations in the rest of our bodies.  We need to use our kinesthetic awareness to know where we are in space, whether or not we are doing the movements or the choreography or the activities correctly.  We need to inhabit our bodies in a way that allows us to keep  our balance and live in the moment.

Yet, even though physical activity reconnects us with our entire bodies, it is by no means exclusively a “below the neck” experience.  We absolutely need to engage our minds as we exercise.  We need to constantly assess whether or not the movement is pleasurable and safe.  We need to understand our pain levels and whether they represent simple resistance that will dissipate once we overcome the initial impedance caused by inertia or they represent a significant problem in form or substance likely to lead to acute injuries down the road.

One issue that I see quite commonly in beginning or returning exercisers is that a release of tension held in the body, and reconnection with sensation in the body leads to a rush of emotions as well.  Even just a few minutes of movement is often enough to leave the beginning exerciser awash in tears.  There are many reasons for this.  But I think one of the strongest reasons is that our bodies are meant to be experienced in their entirety.  Reconnecting the head and the heart and the rest of the body and reestablishing communication among all the parts leads to a dramatic shift in the effectiveness of both mind and body.  There is an electric current that runs through bodies and heads that are well connected and getting along nicely.  This current can fuel all kinds of thoughts and activities.  But this current can also be quite jarring when it is first experienced.  And it seems, that often this current can vibrate some of our emotions loose and leave us reeling.

This is why I think it is so important to approach physical activity in a way that integrates body, mind and soul.  Resistance to exercise can come from any of these places.  Whether its a misunderstanding about what exercise means or a fear deep in our bellies that warns us that exercise may hurt or cause our hearts to beat too quickly or cause others to say cruel things to us–whether it’s a feeling of unworthiness that makes us loathe to take the time to care for ourselves or a lack of organization that keeps us from integrating exercise into our lives, it’s important to remember that many barriers to exercise are not physical.  In fact physical activity involves a whole lot more than that.

It involves our whole minds, our whole hearts and our whole bodies.  Not only all of these things, but each of these things in their completeness.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

 

 

Red Carpet Walk–No Diet, No Girdle, No Regrets

PGA_AwardsYou know what I did last night?  I went to a the Producers Guild Awards in Beverly Hills.  You know what I didn’t do?  Give even one hoot about whether or not I was thin enough to be there.  I wore something I had saved up in my closet.  I didn’t have on sky-high heels or even a foundation garment.  No Spanx.  No control-top pantyhose.  (Hell this is LA, who wears pantyhose?)  I sat at my table in the Beverly Hilton–right where, just one week ago the Golden Globes were held.  I was in the same room (separated by literally miles of tables of course and more handlers than you could shake a stick at) with Ron Howard and Brad Pitt and ate as much as my stomach could comfortably hold, because it looked good and I was hungry.  I went to an awards show and had fun and felt good and was comfortable as can be.  And it was awesome.

Today, for Healthy Weight Week, the question was asked, “How might life be different for someone who decided to stop hating their body.”  And I’d humbly like to suggest, that this, THIS is how life is different.  I didn’t even think about going on a diet to get ready for this event.  I pulled something beautiful out of the closet that I knew would fit, because I’m no longer weight cycling.  I had very fancy clothing in my closet that didn’t require me to put on a girdle or a corset or even stomach-punishing pantyhose to fit.  When I was standing in line to have my picture taken at the step and repeat, my friends talked about their January juice fasts and cleanses and body programs.  I then outlined my program: I find exercise that I really love and do it as much as I can because it’s fun.  Then I eat whatever the F*$! I want as long as it tastes good and feels good in my body.  I think they are more than a little bit jealous.

And when my beautiful salad arrived and the waiter asked if I wanted dressing, I said yes please, and a little bit more please because, hell yes I wanted dressing.  When he asked if I wanted bread, I took without apology, the big, yummy parmesan triangle thing right on the top, large enough to sail a small boat, and I enjoyed the heck out of it too.  When the inevitable chicken composed with 4 grilled baby vegetables arrived, I devoured most of it.  When dessert showed up, I devoured that too–ice cream and all.  Not because I might not get to eat naughty food tomorrow.  Or because I knew I wasn’t planning on allowing myself ice cream ever again.  Just because it tasted good and I was hungry.

And yes, I definitely went to the after party in the penthouse and shook hands with Morgan Freeman (who by the way, is just as nice as you’ve heard).  And I didn’t worry even a little bit about if he thought I was fat.

Despite what you may think, not everybody in LA goes to these celebrity shindigs.  I am very, very grateful to be on the national board of the Producers Guild of America and get to go to this type of event from time to time.  But I’m even more grateful to my sisters and brothers in  acceptance for teaching me to go and feel completely at home in my body and completely unconcerned about looking very, very different from the vast majority of those treading the red carpet.

I am so grateful.

And that is why I post my glittery picture.  Partly because I’m excited to show you a picture of me all dressed up.  But also to let you know that this fat girl is here and she is representin’!  In sparkly, but comfortable shoes.  With a full tummy and an even fuller heart.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

All About Gifts

During this time of year, it’s pretty natural for us to think about gifts.  We’re frantically making finishing touches on the gifts we’ve yet to give, reflecting warmly about the gifts we’ve already given and received and looking forward with either anticipation or dread towards the gifts we’ve got coming in the future.

But when I talk about gifts, I’m not only talking about those wrapped packages we receive on special days, but also about those talents and special blessings we have that we can share with the world.

But so often, because we live in a world obsessed with physical appearance and in a world that is so unkind to people who don’t meet the impossible media standard of beauty, I see people who are not able to enjoy or share their gifts.  So many amazingly talented, intelligent, kind, funny and gifted people are simply unaware of these gifts.  So often, I talk to someone, especially someone of size about their gifts and they respond in fear and negativity.  They say things like, “I’m not really talented.  There’s nothing really all that special about me.”  Or even if they acknowledge a talent, they don’t feel that their talent is of sufficient magnitude to share with the world.  They say things like, “Oh I couldn’t sing in public, I’m not good enough.  And people would just laugh at me.”

Let me stop right here and say, I get it.  I procrastinated in writing my book and coming out into the public eye for years because I was afraid.  I was afraid people would say mean things to me.  I was afraid people would laugh at me.  I was afraid people would discount me because I am fat.  And you know what, once I started to really share my gifts out in the world, all those things happened.  People refused to study exercise with me because I wasn’t thin.  People said incredibly mean things to me, even on national television.  I got hate mail, and I get hate mail.  Some of it is incredibly ugly.  Nearly all the things I feared, in at least some small part, have come true.

But none of that icky stuff begins to compare with the feeling I get from sharing my gifts with other people.  None of that yuck comes close to the feeling I get, when somebody calls or emails or simply comments to say that in some small way, I helped them.  None of that hate spewed by others compares to the feeling I get deep in my bones when I know that I am doing at least some of the stuff I was put on this earth to do, and I am breathing deeply and  living loudly and to my purpose.  None of that even comes close to the feeling I got when I walked out on stage of the Katie Couric show to talk with the world about what it means to love ourselves the way we are right now.  The feeling of being what I should be, and the feeling of helping  is radically joyful.

When I speak in public, especially when I speak to young people like I recently did at USC, I am careful to always talk about this.  When I talk about the costs of the “War on Obesity” and the costs of fat hate in our society, I always talk about the costs to each of us individually and to the world at large of large populations of people not daring to even dream about living fully.  I talk about the costs of a significant percentage of people in our world who deny their gifts or hide them under a bushel basket because of the very real fear that they will be laughed at, derided and scorned because they don’t look the way society dictates they should.  And I remind people that it is not just the individual cost to each person who does not derive as much joy as they would like from living to their purpose, it is also the cost to everybody else in society who doesn’t get the benefit of those shared gifts that makes this hatred of certain body types so very, very expensive.

It’s not always easy to admit to and share your gifts.  I know this.  But one thing that seems to make it easier is to try to live in the present.  If we dwell on past hurts or we anticipate future pain, we draw into ourselves.  We curl up and we don’t give.  One of the keys to sharing our gifts seems to be living in the now.

Take a look at our friend from Kung Fu Panda.  At one point, Po was ready to give up.  Mr. Panda states, “I probably sucked more today than anyone in the history of Kung Fu–in the history of China–in the history of sucking.”  He was frustrated and embarassed.  He was laughed at and derided by the other creatures in the Dojo.  But Master Oogway reminds Po that, “Yesterday was history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That’s why it’s called the present.”

So during this holiday season, I would invite you to consider your gifts.  I promise you have them.  You have talent.  You have worth.  You have energy and time.  You have ideas.  You have  compassion and joy and laughter to share with the world.  And you have the gift of today in which to share those gifts with us.  Please share.

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want a gift to help you learn how to share YOUR gifts?  This month I’m giving away “5 Things That can Help You Love Your Body Right Now! for free to members of my clique.  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

5 Reasons Santa is a Healthy Role Model

Three Santa's for one.  Perfect for animating.

Yep, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  All the weight loss companies that sell all the things are lining up at the door and chomping at the bit to hop on the New Years Resolution gravy train.  And in the great tradition of American holidays being celebrated earlier and earlier (with the Christmas season now starting around Labor Day) some folks are determined to start celebrating the annual fat bashing holiday during Christmas.  And one way they are doing this, I’m sad to say, is bashing Santa for being fat.

Every year now, as sure as ugly holiday sweaters and crabby Christmas relatives we are getting media reports that Santa is a bad role model for our children because he is (cue dramatic music) morbidly obese.  And every year now, this makes me CRAZY.  Now if you’re wanting links to these horrible articles, I ain’t gonna post ’em.  You can just google that nonsense if you want to know.  No, this year, I’m going to focus on why Santa is a good role model for health, and I’m gonna post it right here.  So here I go:

Five Reasons Santa is a Good Role Model for Health

Santa-Exercising1.  That Boy is Fit!  Talk about cardio.  The guy delivers presents to every kid in the world in one night!  He delivers to over 2 billion kids in one evening which must make it close to a billion chimneys that he’s going up and down.  And the whole time he’s carrying a massive sack of toys.  I mean his naughty nice book alone weighs over 3 Tons!  That’s gotta count as resistance training, right?  I would argue that in order to pull this off, Santa’s functional fitness must be truly impressive.

2.  He gets plenty of rest.  Sure, he’s got his workshop to manage, but outside of that, the guy essentially gets over 360 days per year off from work.  That’s a lot of time to read, do a little yoga and check out some progressive relaxation CDs, right? Most of us are deeply stressed either from long work hours or insufficient funds or both.  Santa is modeling that plenty of rest helps lead to a long productive life.

3.  He is vibrant in his later years.  Many accounts put good ‘ol St. Nick at over 1,000 years old, yet he’s still not retired.  Santa has a full life including regular television appearances, marching in annual parades and showing up at malls all around the world.  Can you show me one other health and fitness guru today who is rocking it out after living for a millennium?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

4.  He has a strong social network.  As possibly one of the most popular guys in human history, Mr. Claus has a lot of friends.  He’s got his maximum 5,000 friends on facebook (stupid friends limit).  And when it comes to correspondence, Santa still kicks it old school.  The guy gets over 500,000 letters per year.  (Again there is some serious resistance training involved with simply emptying his north pole mailbox each day).  Plus he’s got the elves, and a marriage that has endured for over 150 years (possibly because they have never appeared on a talk show together).


5.  Santa has a positive outlook on life and healthy self esteem.  As a worldwide celebrity, Santa seems confident enough to rock his signature look year after year without a stylist or even shopping for new clothes.  He also seems to be genuinely happy with himself and with his lot in life.  He is well known for his hearty laugh and can often be seen literally shaking with mirth.  Despite a few truly misguided rumors, Santa has never advocated for a diet or weight loss plan.  He eats a lot and exercises a lot and loves a lot.  And all of that seems to be working out pretty well for him, all things considered.

So what lessons can we take home from this jolly old elf?  I would say the lessons are these:

1.  Do what you love to do and do it well.

2.  Exercise regularly.

3. Work hard, but get plenty of rest.

4. A life focused on giving is filled with joy.

5. When you find your signature look, just rock it out!

6. You’re never too old to have fun.

7.  Take time for your friends.

8. Love yourself just the way you are.

9. Diets don’t work.  And besides, nobody likes  a skinny Santa.

10.  Just relax and enjoy the holiday season!

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. If you’d like some more hints about loving your body, I’m giving away a free present “5 Things You Can do To Love Your Body Right Now” to everybody on my “list”.  If you’re not already a member, you can join my list right here.  And in case you missed it, I talked all about body image on the Katie Couric show yesterday.  Here’s a link, and here’s another one.  Oh and don’t forget to send your photos and new year’s resolutions to me by December 30 so you can be a part of the 2014 New Year’s video!

Resolve to have Different Resolutions Next Year

Hi kids!  I know it’s a little early to be talking about New Year’s Resolutions.  I mean at this point, I am just resolving to, please God, make it to the next year without dying or committing a homicide.  But I am bringing up New Year’s resolutions at this time for a few important reasons:

1.  I wish to forestall panic.  One problem about waiting until New Year’s day to start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions is that the self-help marketing machine fires up in full force around midnight on December 25.  And this “self-help” marketing machine is fueled completely by post-holiday panic.  Your Yule dinner won’t even be digested before tons of advertising hits trying to convince you that you are a BAD PERSON for having eaten it in the first place, and that you should start to feel massive amounts of panic this very second!  I say forewarned is forearmed.  (Wow, forearmed is a really weird word when you see it written down.  Does it mean you are prepared with weaponry or simply that you have body parts between your elbows and your wrists?  But I digress…)  So I want you to think ahead of time about how you are going to cope with this marketing onslaught.  I don’t want you to be caught unprepared.

2.  You might want to plan a media diet.  By and large I don’t believe in diets.  But from time to time I do recommend a “media diet”.  I don’t usually consume a lot of television or magazines, but I am especially careful to avoid TV or glossy magazines any time between December 25 and January 31.  It seems that during this time, all any magazines and TV shows can talk about is your need to lose weight in the coming year.  I mean it’s ALL they can talk about.  It makes me crazy.  And internet ads can be equally crazy-making (although usually a little easier to ignore).  So for the month of January, I drastically cut down on my media consumption, and am careful to spit out any media that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

3.  Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me.  With apologies to the songs about St. Francis, I think that peace on earth begins within our hearts and between our own ears.  I think that a more peaceful world is an awesome plan for 2014.  But I think peace on earth becomes a lot easier when we feel peace in our own skins.  So, I’d like to suggest that we approach 2014 with a plan to take care of ourselves from a place of love not hurt and a place of peace without panic.  Which leads me to the fact that:

4.  I’ve got a cool project idea, and I’d like your help.  Last year, I posted a New Year’s resolutions video.  Here it is:

THIS year, I’d like to post a resolutions video with YOUR resolutions.  But in order to do this, I need your help.  I need you to send photos of yourself along with a resolution that I can put into this year’s video.  I’d like to post the video by January 1, so I’ll need a little lead time.  So I’m asking you to email your photo along with a very short answer (like 1 to 5 words) to fill in this blank:

“This year I resolve to _____________________________”

Send your photos and resolutions to projects@thefatchick.com.

Here’s to a 2014 filled with light, laughter and body love for all.

Love,  Jeanette DePatie, AKA The Fat Chick