Tag Archives: body snarking

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)

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Why You Just Shouldn’t Mess with Wisconsin Women

Kaitlyn-Collins-Green-Bay-Packers-Cheerleader-e1360300302565Once again, a woman from Wisconsin is at the center of a controversy over body snarking, and once again, a woman from Wisconsin has totally schooled the world on why this isn’t okay.

I’m talking in this case about former Green Bay Packers cheerleader, Kaitlyn Collins.  Apparently somebody posted a picture of Kaitlyn from her Packers cheerleader days on the Chicago Bears Fan Facebook day with the caption, “Like If You Agree The Packers Have The Worst Cheerleaders In The NFL!”  And the comments.  Oh the comments.

Now as a diehard Packers fan, I can attest that the rivalry between the Packers and the Bears is longstanding and epic.  And thus, it’s probably not that surprising that the comments got ugly in a hurry.  But this level of body disparagement and the nasty objectification of women did not go unanswered.

Kaitlyn created the YouTube video that you see above and she was NOT playin’.  She called some of these bullies out by name–which may be getting somewhat humiliating for those folks, especially as this story gets more and more public.  And I think the point she made was clear and concise.  I don’t really have a lot to add, except…

It reminds me somewhat of the case a few months back, involving the anchorwoman from Eau Claire, Wisconsin who called out some comments regarding whether or not she should remain an anchorwoman at her current weight.  She called those hateful folks out on the air as well and the backlash was amazing.

I guess I’d like to point out three things here:

1.  Nobody is safe from body snarking–not even gorgeous NFL cheerleaders.

2.  I’m from Wisconsin.

3.  You just don’t want to mess with us women from Wisconsin.

That is all.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Roll Models

love_handlesIt’s hard to say whether kids today have an easier time or a harder time with the whole size acceptance thing.  On the one hand, kids have access to a much more diverse community now.  When many of us who are currently adults were children, our community was pretty small.  We were influenced by television and magazines and movies of course.  But most of our role models and experience came from a much smaller group comprised of our friends, the kids at school, our church or community group, the folks in the neighborhood and our families.  Via social media, kids nowadays have access to a much wider group of people.  There are social groups focused on size acceptance on the internet.  And some of their heroes like Adele and Lady Gaga have spoken out directly about the notion that kids can love their bodies just as they are.  Thus many kids are exposed at a much earlier age to the concept of size acceptance.

On the other hand, that social media is a double-edged sword.  Kids are constantly communicating and critiquing one another.  Mistakes can be immortalized via words, photos and videos and be part of an child’s online presence for life.  If a group of kids should decide to pick on another kid, they can do so relentlessly, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.  They can find and follow their target even if they choose to move away.  Sometimes this cyber bullying can have disastrous consequences.

And there’s also the question of kids being sexualized at a much younger age.  Kids as young as 3 are paraded around in beauty contests.  Companies sell padded bikini tops to preteens.  Child actors and particularly singers are presented as sex objects well before the age of consent.  Kids are under more pressure than ever to conform to an extremely thin, sexually desirable, designer clad, hot number at younger and younger ages.  And yes, obesity and childhood type 2 diabetes have gone up in the past 20 years (although there is ample evidence that this is now leveling off or even decreasing).  But we also have a situation where hospitalizations for eating disorders for kids under the age of 12 is up 119%.  That’s kids UNDER 12 here folks.

So what are we to do?  How can we help?  Well one thing we can do is all go sign the petition created by Ragen Chastain and I to keep kids off the next season of The Biggest Loser.  The last thing kids need is to see other kids like themselves battered, bullied and abused on national television just because of the size of their bodies.  If you haven’t signed the petition, hop on over there and do it.  I’ll wait…

But the other thing I think we grownups can do, especially when we are grownups of size is to be good roll models for our kids.  Sure we can also be good role models.  We can choose not to disparage other people for their size and we can speak out when we see it happening.  But I’m also talking about rolls of flesh–our bumps, and love handles and folds of skin.  We can wear those body “imperfections” with pride.  We can wear tank tops.  We can choose not to speak negatively about our bodies, especially in front of kids.  By walking around, comfortable in our own skin, we send kids the message that bodies are wonderful and beautiful and diverse–and that there are lots and lots of other things we can choose to be neurotic about other than how we look in our skinny jeans.  I’m not talking about lecturing to kids.  We all know how well that goes.  I’m talking about simply modeling a level of casual comfort over the whole body thing.  Because so often while kids are busy not doing what we tell them, they are watching intently to see what we do.

So what about you?  Are there ways that you can be a roll model for today’s youth?  I’d love to hear what YOU think!

 

Love,

The Fat Chick

Plan Ahead to Deal With Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving is coming up next week, and the holiday onslaught will be here in just minutes.  We’ve all heard of holiday stress.  But few of us are aware of how dangerous holiday stress can really be.  Studies have indicated that cardiac mortality increases by as much as a third between Thanksgiving and New Years Day–even in mild climates.  And scientists have surmised that this increase may be due to holiday stress.

One of the things you can do to help minimize holiday stress is to plan in advance.  Learn how to set spending limits.   Manage expectations and understand that no holiday is perfect.  Prioritize, divest and delegate tasks so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.  Plan ahead for how you will deal with critical or unkind family members and friends who feel a need to try to “fix” you.  And maintain healthy habits during the holidays–especially exercise.

Lucky for you, the HAES Happy Holidays Workshop, arranged by the amazing Ragen Chastain, begins tonight.  The program is “name your own price” so you can stay within your holiday budget.  And a variety of awesome speakers like Ragen, Marilyn Wann, Golda Poretsky and I will be talking about managing family relationships, looking fabulous, and dealing  with holiday stress.  I’ll be speaking tonight at 4PM PST–7PM EST about maintaining an exercise program during the holidays and setting up a rational New Years Resolution exercise program that is safe and super fun!

Procrastination also increases holiday stress, so don’t wait another minute.  Go sign up for the program and dial on in.  And help make this the best holiday season EVAR!

Love,

The Fat Chick

 

The Fat Chick on TV: Talking About Body Snarking

Hello my friends!  I am excited to share with you this interview from CBS news in LA about “body snarking”.  This is a relatively new term that refers to feeling the need to comment on the bodies of other people, usually in a nasty, negative or sarcastic way.  Seems  like this has really come to the forefront after Lady Gaga started speaking out about her weight.  Don’t be stressed out by the sad stuff in the beginning of the story.  I think it ends in my happy place!  And I’m pleased to be included in story about body snarking that suggests learning to deal with the “snarkers” rather than suggesting that the “snarkees” simply need to lose weight.  It’s surprising now to have two major news outlets here in LA, the home of the plastic people, do relatively positive stories on body acceptance.  Along with the other major worldwide coverage we’ve been seeing, I’m hopeful that the tide is turning.

What do you think?  Is it getting harder or easier to talk about size acceptance and HAES these days?  I’d love to hear from you!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Lady Gaga’s Response to Body Comments

Yesterday’s post was all about how bodies don’t come with a comment button, and that we are under no obligation to make our bodies look the way other people want them to look.   As you might guess, if ordinary people feel pressure to comply with societal standards about visual appearance, celebrities also feel a great deal of pressure.  That’s why I was somewhat excited to read about Lady Gaga’s response to the recent uproar about her “getting fat”.

Recently some photos and nasty articles were released that showed Lady Gaga looking a lot heavier than before.  There is a lot of discussion about the apparent distortion of these pictures, making Gaga appear shorter and heavier, being caused either by squishing them in Photoshop or because of the flattening effect of certain camera lenses.  In other photos and videos from these exact same appearances, Gaga looks notably thinner.  However, Gaga readily admits that she has gained about 25 pounds.  She says that she is “dieting now” and that she has gained weight because “she loves to eat” her Dad’s amazing Italian cooking.  But before you start wondering why I’m talking about her on my blog let me share with you that she also states, “I really don’t feel bad about it, not even for a second.”

Yesterday, Gaga shared on her site, LittleMonsters.com that has been dealing with anorexia and bulimia since she was 15.  She also included some photos of herself (with her eyes closed) wearing just a bra and panties.  And she launched a new subsection of her site called the BODY REVOLUTION.  Some copy on the new section reads:

My mother and I created the BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION for one reason: “to inspire bravery.” This profile is an extension of that dream. Be brave and celebrate with us your “perceived flaws,” as society tells us. May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.

She also popped up this past weekend in Paris wearing this dress.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I can’t hold Lady Gaga up as an unflinching paragon of size acceptance.   Not that long ago she was criticized for her “pop stars don’t eat” twitter post.  One might wonder whether the photos in her undies are as much about proving her relative thinness as they are about revealing her soul.  But I do think she’s trying to shine a lens on the ugliness of body snarking and the intense pressure girls and women face to be thin.  And I think in revealing her lifelong struggles with anorexia and bulimia, she is admitting that she doesn’t claim to have all this body stuff figured out.  It’s a process.  It’s a challenge.

But I am excited that at least part of what has come of all of this is one of the pop icons of our times inviting fans to embrace themselves as they are on her site stating:

Hey Guys its Gaga… Now that the body revolution has begun, be brave and post a photo of you that celebrates your triumph over insecurities.

Time will tell whether this movement towards body acceptance will stick with Gaga or drop along with her 25 pounds.  She may stay on this path.  She may be hawking weight loss products in six months.  I don’t know.  But it’s hard not to see that all celebrity bodies seem to come complete with a comment button.

So my little Chicklettes, can we take some good from this?  Sure!  First, let’s note that some of the “sexiest” and “most popular” women in the world struggle with body image.  And while I wouldn’t begin to compare your struggles with the struggles of anyone else, it’s good to know that we all have those struggles in one way or another.  Next, let’s take a minute to celebrate your triumphs large and small over body insecurity.  And finally, I’d love for you to remember that wherever you are on your journey to body acceptance, we are all works in progress.  Nobody is perfect at loving himself or herself.  But with gentleness and kindness we are on our way!

Love,

The Fat Chick