Tag Archives: dance

Elephants, Pigs and (land)Whales, Oh my!

ImageSo often, people equate us fat folks with various animals.  We’re compared to a pig or an elephant or a whale (or even the elusive “land whale”).  And usually this comparison is offered as a criticism or as a way to make us feel bad.  But you know what?  Each of those animals is able to do pretty amazing things.  Elephants are large and smart and strong and athletic and beautiful and graceful.  Elephants look great in dresses, are good dancers and can even water ski.  So go ahead and call me an elephant.  Pachyderms are awesome, and they are natural athletes.

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And as for pigs, now there are some amazing athletes.  In this ONE VIDEO, you can see a pig who golfs, bowls, plays soccer, jumps hurdles, rides a skateboard, shoots a basket, and pitches a baseball.  And pigs are also smart, independent, sociable and generally awesome!  And as for whales, how many humans do you know who can do this:

Whales are absolutely amazing athletes who can leap and backflip and sing loud enough to be heard for miles.  All in all, whales, pigs and elephants are beautiful, smart, graceful, strong and wonderful creatures.   And land whales?  Since they don’t exist in the real world, I choose to imagine them as awesome too!

The world of nature is full of evidence that creatures can be both large and athletic.  Both big and incredibly graceful.  The only place that fit and fat cannot co-exist is in the minds of certain closed-minded people.  And for that we might want to look at this animal as a reference:

ostrich_sandLove,

The Fat Chick

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching–Even at the Airport

DanceLikeNobodyWatchingOkay, first you gotta watch the video.  Grab a cup of coffee and click the arrow.  It will only take a minute.

Wow, how cool is that?  We’ve all had the experience  of standing in the bloody baggage claim area after a long flight, watching that little belt go around, straining hopelessly to catch a glimpse of our long lost underwear.  But not this girl. Oh no.  She just put on some tunes and rocked out!

When was the last time you did something like that?  I think maybe it has been years and years for me.  I used to regularly engage in PAI (Public Acts of I-don’t-care-what-you-think).  When I was a kid, I was an endless source of humiliation for my poor sister.  I wore crazy hats.  I was kicked out of grocery stores.  My cousin regularly reminds me of how we used to ride around town in her convertible with the top down and me singing opera at the top of my lungs.

What happened?

Is it just because I’m older?  Have I grown wary and frightened?  Or is it because I got bigger?  Were I to dance around at the airport like that today, would people around mostly ignore me or smile gently like they do at the girl in the video?  Or would they hurl insults at me and call me names like they did a few months back at the restaurant?

But I often wonder if this is one of the most insidious repercussions for those of us who have been bullied.  How many insults can we endure before we shut down?  How many of us have had our bright, bright lights muted under bushel baskets for years and years because we have been traumatized, battered, and bruised by very public opinions about our bodies?  I continue to wonder about the squandering of those most precious resources.  Resources we desperately need in our society like energy, inspiration, spontaneity, creativity, courage and joy.  Can our world afford to throw these precious gifts away in order to sell more diet pills and gain more research funding for take home bulimia kits?  I don’t think it can.

So my friends, let’s see if we can’t find a way to get our collective mojo back.  I think exploring our inner child is a good start.  And so is collecting for radically awesome events like A Fatty Affair.  And joining fantastic groups like The Size Diversity Task Force can’t hurt either.  After being part of the SDTF, inspired me to shoot this video on a busy weekday at my local thrift store. I’m committed to doing whatever it takes.  Because hiding our light under a bushel basket doesn’t just diminish us personally, it deprives the world of our fantastic, glorious, gorgeous light, which is a crime against humanity.  So let’s see if we can’t find even more ways to pull those bushel baskets off and dance like nobody’s watching.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: Sled Dogs

Just in time for the new year, I present some very, very happy doggies sledding in the snow. I do this for two reasons.

Reason #1: This video makes me laugh and feel happy every time I watch it.

Reason #2: I’d like to talk with you about one of my favorite New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I’m going to resolve to get more happy, fabulous, fun and JOYFUL movement into my life. I want to move more just for the fun of it–sorta like these dogs are doing. I want to run and romp and play just because I can.

Because I ask you–do you think these dogs are calculating the number of calories they are burning? Do you think they are wearing fitness monitors that tell them if they are in their “target training zone”? Are they pulling out their iPhones to record their number of sets? NO! They are just running around, tongues hanging out, and having as much fun as possible before someone tells them they have to come inside.

Now let me be clear. There’s nothing wrong with tracking details of your exercise program if that makes you happy. By all means use whatever iPhone app or tracking program or digital device that makes you happy. Whatever works for YOU.

But as for me, I’m aiming for more playtime followed by grown-up nap time this year.  I want to smell the seasons in the air and jump around and dance like a silly person and collapse with giggles.  I hope to have as much fun with my exercise routine in 2013 as those guys in the video up there, and I hope you do to!

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. If you live anywhere near the LA area, you can join us for a super fun dance extravaganza on January 6.  Details coming soon!

And it’s always fun to join us for our free live streaming workouts.  They are starting back up this year on January 5 and will air Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 8:30–9:30 PST.  Just go to this link to watch and dance with us LIVE!

Thursday Theater: The Fat Chick Onstage at The Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas

Check out this video of me performing on the Soundwaves Stage, poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. It was the end of the day and the sun was going down but we still had a blast. And even though there were a lot of typical hard body athletes, everybody got their Bollywood Bounce on and we had so much fun!

BTW, it’s never too late to join in the fun. Just sidle on up to your computer and dance along!

Love,
The Fat Chick

Women’s Wednesday: Exercise as Medicine for Perimenopause

The Fat Chick leads a group of laughing and dancing menopausal and perimenopausal women in a Hot Flash Mob in Manhattan.

Are you perimenopausal?  Many of us have come to think of menopause as something that happens to “older women”.  Many of us don’t believe that we are old enough to be experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.  But denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, ladies.  As my Mom once told me, “I had been talking about ‘those old ladies’ as if it was a group that didn’t include me.  I had kind of a rough day when I realized I needed to start saying ‘we old ladies’!”  But denial aside, this condition can begin long before the moniker of old lady could reasonably apply.  Perimenopause is the segment in your life between when your periods start to change and up to a year after they have ended completely.  This process typically begins in your 40s, but may begin in your thirties.  It typically lasts five to fifteen years.  Some women have significant symptoms and some women have no symptoms at all.

Some typical symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and simply sweating more.
  • Psychosocial symptoms like anxiety, impatience, poor memory and depression.
  • And physical symptoms like body aches, fatigue, and insomnia.

There is a lot of debate about treatment for menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms.  While some doctors suggest hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there may be significant risks associated with that approach.  Some studies indicate that HRT is effective for treating the vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. However, other studies indicate that HRT may increase risk for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.  And HRT hasn’t proved very effective at coping with psychosocial or physical symptoms like body aches, fatigue, weight gain or insomnia.

But do not despair.  There is significant and growing evidence that regular, moderate exercise can be extremely effective in improving Quality of Life (QOL) and relieving perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.  Regular fitness activities have been show to increase brain function and offer relief from depression and anxiety.  Exercise can improve overall mood even 24 hours after the original exercise session.  A recent study indicates that women who engaged in moderate physical activity had significantly reduced hot flashes, sweating, weight gain, bloating and issues with intimacy.

Menopause and perimenopause can be a difficult time in a woman’s life, but it doesn’t have to be.  This time can also be a time of great creativity, strength and power.  And, as the women who have participated in The Hot Flash Mob Movement (created with partner Dr. Eve Agee) have learned, it can also be a lot of fun.  And whether you are pre-menopausal, perimenopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal, exercise is a safe, effective, inexpensive and fun way to have a better quality of life.  So ladies, why not gather up some girlfriends, lace up your sneakers and get to it!  You’ll be so glad you did!
Love,

The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: Joy in the Dance with Helen Keller

For this Thursday Theater, I wanted to share this amazing video featuring Helen Keller and Martha Graham.  Apparently when these two women met, they recognized that they were kindred spirits.  Martha Graham was immediately taken by Helen’s ‘gracious embrace of life’.  And indeed, Helen’s joy at experiencing the dance in her own unique way is palpable.

You can read a lot more about the meeting here, including a very wonderful story about Helen learning the meaning of the word “jump”.  Apparently while experiencing the dance, Helen asked what the word “jump” meant.  Martha Graham called one of the dancers over and placed Helen’s hands gently on his waist.  He then jumped in the air several times.  Helen was so excited as she now understood the full meaning of this word.  She experienced the freedom that comes when a body leaves the earth.  “How like thought, how like the mind it is!” she exclaimed.

I played Helen Keller in a theatrical version of The Miracle Worker when I was in high school.  Ever since then, she has been an important influence in my life.   I find this video especially moving for two reasons.  First, I think it shows that dance is a very powerful form of communication that breaks through many barriers.  And second, I think it shows how wonderful it is that each of us can experience joy in a way that is personal and unique.  I love watching Helen’s face in the video and watching the abandon with which she experiences life.  It’s something that I would like to aspire to one day.  I find it deeply inspiring and hope you do too.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Stuff that Weighs More than Me: A Bicoastal Hot Flash Mob

Well y’all have been hearing about that bi-coastal Hot Flash Mob we did earlier this month and we finally have the video up for your to share in all it’s awesomeness.  But October has just been designated International Menopause Awareness Month so we’re still right on time, right!?

Special thanks go out to my partner Dr. Eve Agee, to my San Francisco dance leader the always fabulous Ragen Chastain and to my other West Coast Dancers Julianne Wotasik and Deb Burgard. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for coming out and being awesome.  And of course, thanks to all my New York City dancers as well.

Also, I wanted to let all you Southern California girls know that we’re going to be doing ANOTHER Hot Flash Mob at Huntington Beach as part of our Take Back The Beach celebrations this Saturday (tomorrow). Click HERE for more info.

As to the weight of the bi-coastal Hot Flash Mob, I had no scale (Yay! or otherwise) at the event and so some back-of-the-envelope calculations are in order. There were collectively quite a lot of us. I think I can safely say that together, we accumulated over one ton of fun.

Conclusion: A bicoastal Hot Flash Mob weighs more than me. (And it’s too much fun to be contained in one place!)

Love,

The Fat Chick