Tag Archives: body positive

In a World of “Click Bait Hate” Let’s Share a Little Love

On Saturday’s post, I hinted about certain people that serve as a proxy for hate.  They say the things that people no longer may wish to say for fear of reprisal.  They serve as a lightning rod for gleeful malevolence.  They act ugly to win clicks.  And by Jiminy, it certainly works.  I referred to a certain person who posted an extremely hateful video online.  (You can look up her name in my previous post, but I don’t recommend it.)  Now the video is down.  She’s all up and down twitter and other social media feeds saying the big fat bullies got her video taken down.  She’s crying about her right to free speech.  Meanwhile, all the evidence points to the fact that she took the video down herself to get, you guessed it, more publicity.

So what are we to do?  I talked about this with a few of my other size acceptance colleagues and we agreed that continuing to draw attention to her is giving her exactly what she wants.  She’s sowing click-bait hate and is reaping results.  And in this case, I think the answer is to sow a little love.  So throughout the day, I plan to share body loving pieces from people who are doing awesome work.  I’m going to share this love in my blog, in all my social media feeds and to everybody I know.  I’m going to do my little bit to drown out that hateful attention seeking behavior with a little bit of positive good work.  And here’s my first entry.  My dear friend Marlene sent me a link to this one.  (It’s not perfect but it’s mostly awesome…)

So now it’s your turn.  How can we drown out some of that ugly hater stuff? Let’s link to love! I challenge you to post 3 pieces of body love in your social media feed. Let’s share the awesome!  And while we’re talking about awesome, let me remind you:

The Fat Activism Conference Is Back!  

This is a virtual conference so you can listen to the talks by phone and/or computer wherever you are. Whether you are looking for support in your personal life with family, friends, healthcare providers etc. or you’re interested in being more public with your activism with blogging, petitions, protest, projects, online activism, or something else, this conference will give you tools and perspectives to support you  and your work, and to help you make that work intentionally intersectional and inclusive, so that nobody gets left behind. Get the info and register here!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Apparently Body Positivity Goes to Size Large (or maybe XL)

Victoria’s Secret is that every body is perfect as long as they look exactly like this…

I recently came across a link for a “Body Positive” fitness company (not gonna name it or give it linky power) that had the word “Thick” in their company name and states as their goal:

…body positive movement that encourages women to accept and become the best version of themselves through health and fitness.

Sounded pretty good.  So I decided to take a look around.  I saw a conventionally super thin fitness model type.  And then I saw lots more pictures of her.  Then I realized that the whole thing was created by a model.

I rooted around on the site to see if I could spot any body diversity.  On the front there was a picture of a bunch of women of slightly differing body types.  We were looking at a size range from maybe 00 to maybe a size 8?  Okay.  I kept looking.  I finally found a picture of a body over size 10 on a candid shot from one of their “tours”.  One body that they didn’t manage to crop out.

I then went to their retail section.  I clicked on a cute crop-top emblazoned with the words “Because Goals”.  All the clothing was displayed on the same model who created the site.  I clicked on the sizes.  Wow!  The crop top came in TWO sizes, XS/S and M/L.  I found I could also find “Guilt Free” powdered peanut butter, and I got a coupon for a meal delivery service offering paleo and weight loss and “contest prep” meals.  Oh, I could also buy this mug:

Cup2

At this point I was getting more than a little annoyed.  In the schedule a class section I found this:

…a program that caters to the female who wants to burn total body fat while also building muscle in the lower body.

The blog section shared with me some information about how to cut calories, how to lose body fat, how to stay in the fat burning zone and blah, blah, blah.  And all of this was under the heading of “body positive”.

wordmontoya

It really pisses me off.  We have girls at age 5 worrying about the size of their thighs.  We have eating disorders among very young women increasing at dramatic levels.  And then we have sites promising a “body positive” space that are covered with pictures of super-models and t-shirts that go to a size L.  We have companies using “body positivity” to sell weight loss, compulsive exercise, diet potions and pills, meal replacements and disordered eating in a box.  And before you suggest that this trend only refers to this company, let me assure you that it is everywhere.

Body positive is for EVERY BODY or it’s for nobody.  Suggesting that you are body positive and then only showing bodies ranging in size from 00 to 04 is worse than not using the word body positive at all.  When you call something a “body positive” environment and then create an environment where a woman (or girl) at size 12 or 22 or 32 is shamed you are doing way more harm than good.  Because you’re giving that girl or that woman the message that body positive is only for people who fall within an extremely narrow range.  When you have apparently flawless people talking about accepting their flaws it gives the message that certain kinds of nearly invisible flaws are okay, but your flaws clearly make you a monster.  It’s false advertising.  It’s deceitful.  It’s harmful.  And its very, very wrong.

I think we need to start fighting back against companies that use body positive language to sell us stuff that isn’t body positive at all.  I think we need to be a little bit careful when companies use body positive language to sell us anything at all.  I think we need to be very clear that when body positive doesn’t include EVERY BODY, it’s not very positive at all.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to come talk to your school or company or organization about what body positive really means?  You can click here to learn more, or just email me at jeanette at thefatchick dot com.

P.S.S. Want to go to a body positive space that features really a lot of different sizes?  Check out our forum at Fit Fatties.

Making Fitness About Fun, Not About Weight Stigma

Today, I’d like to direct you to the blog I wrote for Weight Stigma Awareness Week.  BEDA is doing absolutely amazing work in this space, and I am very proud to be called to participate.  You can read the blog post here.

Thanks so much for your support!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to speak at your school, organization or group?  Click HERE to book me!

P.S.S. Want to get free stuff, click HERE to join my list!

An announcement plus Stuff that Weighs More than Me: World’s Biggest Chess Piece

IMG_0985Okay, so we have a few things to talk about today.  One is to share with you my latest entry to stuff that weighs more than me.  In the above photo, I am posing next to the world’s largest chess piece.  I encountered it completely by chance in the Central West End of St. Louis today.  I stopped for lunch and there it was, in all it’s geeky glory–a really, really giant chess piece.  I looked at my husband and he grinned as he said, “Do you want a photo for your blog?”  “Heck yeah,” I replied.  “I’m quite sure THAT weighs more than me.”

IMG_0987

Indeed it does.  As the above photo indicates, the chess piece is as tall as a giraffe.  And were it used in an actual game of chess, it would require a chess board measuring over 70 feet per side–large enough to park 12 school buses.  Here’s the stats:

Height: 14ft. 7in.

Width: 6 ft. at the base

Material: 3/4″ plywood

Weight: 2,280 pounds

Conclusion: whether king or pawn, the world’s largest chess piece weighs more than me.

And now for the big announcement!  I’m thrilled to report that this blog was selected as one of the 2014 Top Positive Body Image Blogs and sites by Body Bliss Central!  W00t!  With special thanks to Ragen Chastain for the nomination!

Looking forward to heading for home and sleeping in my very own bed soon!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

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Fitness Training and Trash Talking

Did you know that it’s “Fat Talk Free” week?  I just found out yesterday and I’m super excited.  A whole week dedicated to not trash talking our bodies?!?  Sign me up!  The day was created by sorority Delta, Delta, Delta.  You can see their video here:

Today I’d like to talk about how to talk to your body while you are fitness training.  We’re all familiar with the notion of trash talking in sports.  That’s where you call out your opponent and do verbal intimidation to help you win (or at least get air time).  If you want to see some amazing examples of trash talking in sports, you can follow this link to the Top Ten Sports Trash Talkers.  Unfortunately many of us have also faced trash talkers, gawkers and mean people who have tried to derail our fitness attempts in various ways.  From having people belittle your fitness efforts to offering unsolicited advice to throwing eggs at you while you run, other people can be brutal about your fitness efforts.

(Honestly, who throws eggs at people who are exercising?)

But as awful as other people can be about our bodies while we exercise, we are often the hardest on ourselves.  It’s so easy to slip into the habit of disparaging our bodies when we work out.  How often do you find yourself making negative comments about your body or your capabilities before, during or after exercise?  Maybe you find yourself saying things like, “I’ve got to work out these flabby thighs.  I hate my thighs.”  Many of us do this so often, we hardly recognize it any more.  When I catch my students saying things like this about themselves during class, I stop them right in their tracks and ask them to apologize to their bodies for being so mean.  I’m serious!  Because it starts with one little comment, one person engaging in a little bit of “Fat Talk” and soon the entire class is feeling bad about their bodies–whether they choose to verbalize it or not.  Because trash talking your body doesn’t just affect you.  It affects everyone around you.  This is why trash talking your own body in public is kind of selfish.  Because  just a few minutes of saying hurtful things about your own body is all it takes to get everybody around you focusing on their own bodies in a hurtful and negative way.

(Fast forward to about 1:00 to hear a discussion about hating your thighs…)

I also sometimes hear my students trash talking their own abilities.  They will say things like, “I’m so uncoordinated!” or “I just can’t dance.”  And again, I stop them right there.  Because if you tell yourself you are uncoordinated or that you can’t dance, you will believe it to be true.  And if you believe it to be true hard enough, you will make it true.  But there is absolutely no reason for this kind of talk.  First of all, everybody struggles sometimes with exercise.  Let me say that again.  EVERYBODY STRUGGLES SOMETIMES WITH EXERCISE.  I don’t care how gifted or athletic you are, when you try something new or significantly increase your exercise efforts, you are going to struggle.  It’s hard enough to do new stuff without telling yourself, before you even start, that you can’t do it.  It’s fine to laugh at yourself a little when you struggle.  There’s no point in taking yourself too seriously.  But if you tell yourself you can’t do it often enough, you’ll be right.  Celebrate yourself for trying.  Revel in the awkwardness that means you are stretching outside of your comfort zone and doing something new and fabulous for your body.

Trash talking has no place in amateur fitness efforts.  It may have a place in competitive professional sports, if only to pump up TV ratings.  But in real, every day life, trash talking will only harm your fitness efforts and the efforts of those around you.  There’s only a few days left in “Fat Talk Free Week” but I’d like to invite you to take this time to practice happy body talk and happy body thoughts while you work out.  Be your own cheerleader!  Sit yourself on the stool in the corner of the boxing ring and massage your own shoulders.  Tell yourself you can do it often enough, and you’ll be right!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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

Skin

Well a few weeks back, I issued a nudity challenge to y’all and I thought I’d check back with you to see the results.  As promised, I spent 15 minutes per day in the buff, and I’d have to say, after getting over the initial discomfort, I enjoyed it!  It proved a challenge at times.  I had to really do some careful scheduling when we headed out for the Church Choir summit for 2 days.  I also had to learn to keep a robe near by as my nakee time was when the front doorbell inevitably rang.  Mailmen, neighbors, telephone book delivery people–you name it, they knocked.  I was starting to suspect a conspiracy y’all.

Initially this was a challenge for me as I am still learning to love my body and also come from a Catholic, Midwestern upbringing which tends to discourage nudity for any reason.  But after a while, I learned to enjoy the experience of feeling the air conditioning on my skin as my body dried from the bath.  And for the last two weeks with temperatures soaring well over 100 degrees, it was a time of welcome relief.  I got to think of my body not as a sex object or a reason to be shamed, but simply a part of what made me, well, me.  How about you?  Did you try it?  What did you learn about yourself?

You know, if you are in any way interested in skin, I would like to invite you to the More Cabaret Gimme More! Show this Sunday.   Ragen Chastain and the More Cabaret girls will be showing some skin and performing a whole lot of hip shaking, toe tapping fun!  They will be accompanied by a whole host of other performers.  I’ll be singing a few songs.   And guess what?!  You can see it all online with our live streamed version.  We’ll be live right HERE starting at about 6 PM PST tomorrow night.

Can’t wait to see you!

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!)

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Should the Boy Scouts Add a “Weight Cycling” Badge?

Proposed (by me) "Weight Cycling" patch

Proposed (by me) “Weight Cycling” patch

In the wake of my previous blog post about BMI and the Boy Scouts of America (BSOA), I’ve been reading some responses.  And the responses I’ve been reading by various members and officials within the BSOA are troubling to say the very least.  Let me give you some examples:

1.  We haven’t turned anybody away because of BMI.  In an article found in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Adult leader Ron Blasak states, “there was no one in the Greater Cleveland Council who was turned away because of a BMI issue.”  However, Blasak also admits that it’s possible “that someone read the requirements and shied away.”  To which I reply, hmmm.  Do you think so?  Do you think that plastering BMI requirements all over the marketing materials and saying they will be strictly enforced just might make a kid fear that he will be shamed and ridiculed at this shindig?  Do you find it surprising that your average 13-year-old might choose not to trap himself miles away from civilization with people who are convinced he can’t do anything?

2. We’re turning away kids with high BMI for their own good.  In that same article, Blasak also states, “Overweight boys would have a tough time getting around and probably wouldn’t have much fun.”  I have to wonder what evidence he is using to form this conclusion.  BMI is a simple calculation based on height and weight.  It doesn’t tell you anything about the fitness level of a potential participant.  A Scout with a BMI in the “ideal” range may be very unfit and may be at greater risk than a stouter scout who exercises more and has greater functional fitness.  Assuming that all the overweight kids will be miserable is just that, an assumption.  And we all know what happens when you ASSuME.

We’ve given the scouts plenty of time to get thin.  In many of the articles I’ve read, BSOA spokespeople are quick to  point out that they released these health requirements two years in advance of the Jamboree, which should give the scouts plenty of time to get fit and achieve an acceptable BMI.  In an article published by Fox News, BSOA spokesperson Deron Smith states:

“We published our height-weight requirements years in advance and many individuals began a health regimen to lose weight and attend the jamboree.  But, for those who couldn’t, most self-selected and chose not to apply.”

To which I say, “You got it half right, but 50 percent is still a failing grade.”  Over a two year period, it may be reasonable for a young person to make significant changes to their overall conditioning and fitness level.  We know how to do that.  What we don’t know how to do is make a fat kid into a thin kid–at least over the long term.  We can make a fat kid into a thin kid temporarily.  We might even get the timing right and make that fat kid thin at just the right moment to pass his physical and enjoy the Jamboree.  But when we look at the statistics for that kid staying thin over the long haul, the success rates are dismal.  So instead of teaching fat Scouts how to become thin scouts, we are teaching them the amazing, adult-level skill of weight cycling.  This is the process of losing weight, gaining it all back plus a little more, losing weight, gaining it all back plus a little more and so on and so on.  In fact, this process of BMI busting in order to make Jamboree weight seems ideally suited to the process of weight cycling.  That’s what led me to suggest that maybe the BSOA should just make a “weight cycling” badge and be done with it.  (Please see proposed badge design above.)

And what can I say about “self-selected and chose not to apply” other than “see point 1 of this blog”?  Yup, if you tell pudgy kids and chubby kids and fat kids that they are not welcome in enough ways, with enough 14 point bold print on your website, they will ultimately get the message, “Don’t bother to apply, because we don’t want you.”

But the real story is not in the rhetoric that is flying back and forth on the airwaves and in cyberspace.  The real story is the way that this policy will affect the lives of real kids.  Kids like the one referenced in this recent NAAFA press release:

One mother reported to NAAFA in 2009 that her son was having issues attending Philmont High Adventure Boy Scout Camp in Cimmaron, NM.  “Philmont has a weight standard and anyone over this standard is labeled unhealthy and cannot participate.  I tried to explain to them that my son plays football, wrestles and runs relays, shot put, discus thrower, in track & field and a weight lifter.  During the summer he swims, weightlifts and conditions for football. He has been conditioning for Philmont by hiking for 2-3 hours with a 50 pound pack on his back for the last 2 months.  He weighs 261 lbs. and has been eating a 1200 – 1400 calorie diet trying to lose weight.  Unfortunately he only lost 3 pounds… According to Philmont medical staff if he doesn’t weigh below 246, he will be sent home.  It didn’t matter to them if he is active, only his weight number.  I have watched my son condition for football and he can run circles around other players that are what society deems healthy.”

This is why this is such a big deal.  We have kids who really want to go, who have put in the long hours of training required to be physically prepared for the challenge, who are probably in far better physical condition than many of their younger counterparts who are told, “go home fatty.”  Given the rise in eating disorders among young men, I have a hard time understanding not only how this is considered reasonable, but also, how it can be considered responsible.

Maybe we need to help the BSOA along a little and propose some new HAES-friendly, body-positive awards.  Got any ideas?  I’d love to hear your proposals for new BSOA awards patches that are more likely to help young men accept and care for the bodies they already have and learn to feel comfortable in the skin they are in.  Feel free to post your ideas in the comments below!

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!