Tag Archives: fit fatties

Tuesday Reviewsday–Harriet Brown’s Body of Truth

For today’s Tuesday Reviewsday, I am pleased to discuss Harriet Brown’s recently released book “Body of Truth”.  Harriet Brown is already well known for her previous book, “Brave Girl Eating” about her experiences with her daughter who suffered from Anorexia.  “Body of Truth” uncovers Harriet’s epiphany regarding her own weight obsessed life within a society who complemented her daughter’s svelte figure even when they knew she was recovering from anorexia.

Like many of us, Harriet’s weight obsession and body hatred started early in life and lasted through most of middle age.  It wasn’t until she saw the devastating effects of anorexia that she even began to question society’s readiness to conflate thinness and health and began to question her seeming moral obligation to have thin thighs.  Harriet describes her own struggle in the midst of her Jewish family and describes the dichotomy of being in a culture that loves food and values hostesses who provide abundance at the dinner table while being terrified of fat.

Throughout the book, Harriet’s journalistic roots shine through clearly.  She provides a wealth of current information and facts to back up her assertion that we as a culture are a bit off the rails when it comes to body image and weight.  Much of the ground covered here will be familiar to those of us who have studied this area for some time.  There are the statistics about the failure of dieting.  There is an in-depth discussion of the “obesity paradox”.  And she covers Flegal’s research and the ensuing shameful medical backlash.  She follows the money and describes the intense conflicts of interest displayed by so many who serve on boards and are paid to do research to support the “war on obesity”.  However, there is much recent research covered in the book, and a significant portion of the anecdotal materials (for example on Professor Miller) are new and fresh.

Above all, I feel Harriet does a terrific job of weaving her personal narrative with a tight journalistic style that presents facts and evidence in a way that makes for a fast and enjoyable read.  I really  enjoyed the book and I think it may especially resonate with middle-aged readers who are just coming to HAES at this point in their lives.  I strongly recommend this powerful and enjoyable book.

Now, before I close, on to a bit of business.  Have you heard about our new Fit Fatties Virtual Events?  Have you signed up yet?  It’s super cool and you don’t want to miss it.  This time around the events feature a quintathlon option as well as Fit Fatties Flair.  Learn more HERE!

Also, this year I am seeking to earn a new fitness certification and so I am offering special discounts off of my regular speaking fees.  To learn more, send me an email describing your speaking request to jeanette at the fat chick dot com.  Learn more about my speaking HERE!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Thankful for my Online Sisters

At this time of year it’s natural for us to be thankful.  And there are so many things to be thankful for.  I have a wonderful husband and family who are all doing pretty well (including my geriatric doggy who is still begging for walks and treats.) I have a roof over my head and good food to eat.  I have access to medical care and a car to drive.  And by and large, I have my health.

But at this moment, I would also like to say a special thank you to my online sisters.  Some of whom I know well in real life (like Ragen Chastain and Marilyn Wann) and others that I know mostly from my internet connection like Golda Poretsky, and Virgie Tovar and the militant baker and Hanne Blank.  Some of these women, like Marilyn Wann, I’ve known for decades.  Other online friends are brand new.  For example, I just met Elly Kellner online last night.  She wrote in to More Of Me To Love last night to tell us about an incident where some folks confronted her after a musical performance to let them know that they loved her music but were deeply concerned and distracted by the clothes she chose to wear.

Two strangers told me they were very distracted by my dress, was the back of the dress longer than the front!? And what sort of a legging was that!? And those shoes!? They assured me they only bothered to tell me all this because they thought my music was really good. But if only I wore a small heel, spike heels weren’t necessary, but a small heel and a sleeve then I would have been so much bigger in music already. The way I was dressed now distracted them too much from my music. I could take Ella Fitzgerald as an example. She was a big lady too and she wore beautiful garments!

In the finest tradition of concern trolling, these strangers assured Elly that they had her best interest at heart, and they just wanted others to not be distracted from her music.  Well Elly’s response was simply EPIC.  She created this music video to document her reaction:

I am continually encouraged and inspired by so, so, so many people who are doing amazing work to help make acceptance of body diversity more real in our culture.  From all of the powerful and wonderful speakers we had in our Fat Activism Conference, to the thousands of people who support each other daily on the Fit Fatties Forum, to the thousands of people who read this blog, I am thankful for you.  I am thankful for ALL OF YOU.  I am thankful for the way you make the world a better place for EVERY body.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want to join my mailing list and get free stuff?  Click HERE.

P.S.S. Want to book me to speak at your event?  Click HERE.

Radical Self Care

RASCAL

I am so excited to announce our new challenge on the Fit Fatties Forum called the RASCAL challenge.  This stands for Radical Activist for Self Care and Love.  In this challenge, we encourage you to think outside the box about what self-care means and we challenge you to prioritize self care in your life.  Given my current focus on healing, this challenge just could not have come at a better time.

One of the reasons I’m so excited about this challenge is that it helps us broaden our definition of what is included in the definition for “health”.  Some of us believe that being healthy means being thin.  If we are thin, we are healthy.  If we are not thin, we can’t be healthy.  I’ve talked quite a bit about this in the past.  There are lots of studies that indicate that simply isn’t true.  In particular, this study shows that healthy behavior is a better predictor of future health than BMI.  But this begs the question, what is healthy behavior?

Of course joyfully moving your body is a wonderful healthy behavior.  Of course eating in a way that is in tune with your body’s needs as well as your spiritual and emotional needs is a healthy behavior.  But is that all there is to wellness?  Eat an apple and go for a walk and you’ve got it covered?  I don’t think so.  To me health is nuanced and multidimensional.  And health involves self-care.  (Insert deep sigh here…) Why is it that so many of us are so good at taking care of other people and so lousy at taking care of ourselves?  Are we conditioned that way from birth?  I don’t know.  But I DO know that self care gives us the strength to help others.  Think about what the flight attendant says before you take off.  “First secure your own oxygen mask, then you can help small children and those around you.”  In other words, breathe.  Take a moment to care for yourself.

And that moment may involve eating something wonderful or going for a walk.  Or it may involve simply breathing.  Maybe your self-care moment is spending just a few seconds of your day simply being.  Maybe it means getting a little extra sleep.  Maybe it involves asking for help.  Maybe it involves doing a booty-shaking victory dance.  Maybe it means calling a friend and reconnecting.  Maybe it means writing a letter to someone who wronged you.  Maybe it just requires 5 minutes of quiet and a cup of tea.

Self-care is different for each of us.  But it is absolutely critical to our well being.  That’s why I’m so excited about the RASCAL challenge.  We’ve come up with over 100 official Radical Acts of Self Care and Love, and we’re challenging folks to do one of those acts every single day.  Aside from the intrinsic rewards that come from self love, we are ACTUALLY rewarding you with badges and encouragement and prizes for taking care of yourself.  Seriously.  How cool is that?

I hope you’ll join me in spending some time to take care of yourself this month, either by taking the challenge or simply choosing to do it on your own.  Because the world needs you to take care of you.

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Want to book me to speak to your group about radical self care?  Click here!

Want to join my mailing list and get free stuff?  Click here!

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!

See Fatty Run, Can Fat People Run Safely?

halfinish2I am frequently asked both on Facebook and in the Fit Fatties Forum, “I am fat.  Is it still safe for me to run?”  So I thought I’d take up this question in today’s blog post.

The short answer is that most people, given proper form, equipment, time and training can learn to jog or run safely, but not all.  There is little evidence that it is inherently unsafe for people of size to jog or run.  Plenty of fluffy folks finish 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon races every day.  There is little to no evidence that running causes pain or loss of cartilage in the knees–no matter what your size.  However, if you already have problems in knees, hips, ankles, back or feet, you should proceed with extreme caution as running can make these problems a lot worse.

BadKnees

If you have “bad knees” you should get cleared by a doctor before you start running.

Frankly, fat folk should approach running in the same way that thin people do.  You should probably start by being checked out by your doctor.  If you are coping with joint pain or back pain of any sort, you should probably also see a joint or sports medicine specialist and get cleared for exercise before you begin.  Once you get the all clear from your doctor(s), then it’s time to gear up.  Start by getting yourself a great pair of shoes.  The best way to find those great shoes is to go to a running store, and get fitted by a professional.  This is not the time to choose shoes because they are your favorite color or because they are on sale.  Good shoes that fit properly and meet the special needs of your particular tootsies are critical for safe walking and running.

Choose function over fashion for your fitness footwear.

Choose function over fashion for your fitness footwear.

Once you’ve got the all-clear and are geared up, you need to start SLOWLY.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  If you are not already walking regularly, you should start with a walking program.  There are lots of different schools of thought about how to move from walking to running.  I am personally very partial to Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk Run approach.  I started by walking 10 minutes and running for 30 seconds.  I ran from telephone pole to telephone pole.  I eventually trained to the point I could do a marathon.  I know lots of people who have safely used this approach.  Going all out each workout as hard and as fast as you can is not noble.  It is not bad-assed.  It is a recipe for disaster.  There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about having to quit your running program after 4 days because you hurt yourself.

Once you’ve been running for a while, it is also important to PROCEED SLOWLY.  Most sports programs recommend that you ramp no more than 10 percent per week.  That means if you are running one mile per session this week, you can run 1.1 miles per session next week.  Note that this progression is much, MUCH slower than many of the published and printed running programs out there.  While many of the programs that train you for your first 5K or marathon are great, I find that many bodies are simply not designed to ramp up that quickly.  That’s why I took my first marathon program, cut it in half, and trained for a half marathon instead.  That’s why, when I do 5K or 10 K training programs now, I tend to spend two or even three weeks at each level before I move on.  If you’re doing a total of 3 miles of training this week, it’s probably not cool to do 6 miles of training next week.  It might work for you.  It might leave you a total wreak.  Learn to learn from and listen to YOUR body.

There are lots of other things you can do to help keep yourself safe.  Make sure you stretch.  Do a proper warm up.  Add cross training to give some of your running muscles a break.  Add strength training to build up the muscles and ligaments around your joints and help to stabilize them.  Make sure to work on your form.  Proper running form–including how and where you place your feet, stride, and even arm placement, are very important.  Running is a repetitive motion.  Very small problems in your form can lead to very big pain down the road.

Be sure to address back and other joint pains early and often.

When it comes to running, pain is a very important teacher.  Some people can run without experiencing any significant pain.  For some people, pain happens a whole lot.  In any case, pain is not to be ignored.  It can tell you when you need to adjust your form.  It can tell you when you need to add more cross training or strength training.  It can tell you that the purple tennis shoes you bought because they were on sale were a bad idea.  It can tell you that you need to stop running for a while so you can address a problem in your back or your joints.  It can tell you that running just isn’t for you right now.  DO NOT IGNORE PAIN.  Listen to it.  Learn from it.

Happy trails to you!

Happy trails to you!

So can fatties run?  Can running be safe and enjoyable for people of size?  Of course!  People of all sizes simply need to approach running with caution, gear up, start slowly, ramp slowly, and listen carefully to their bodies.  Here’s wishing you happy trails!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want to learn more about exercise at every size and GET FREE STUFF?  Don’t forget to join my list right here.

How the tortise stayed out of the emergency room and still beat that hare.

So my dear reader, it can’t have escaped your attention that it’s a new year.  I’ve talked about it and written about it and recorded movies about it.  And it’s no wonder.  The new year is a time fraught with peril for many of us.  On the one hand, many of us face the danger of what I call the “big fat cycle”.   We are drawn in by the gazillions of weight-loss ads and new years resolution frenzy into a cycle of panic and body hatred, followed by weight loss fantasy and unrealistic expectations, followed by deprivation, guilt, defeat and despair.

But even when we are able to move past this “big fat cycle” of panic, fantasy and despair, we are still in grave danger of allowing our enthusiasm to run away with us.  Just because we manage to shun weight loss messages, doesn’t mean that we are automatically immune to unrealistic expectations and are completely in tune with our bodies.  And it’s important not to be so loudly shouting body positive slogans at ourselves that we aren’t hearing what our bodies have to tell us.

As you probably know by now, I  am deeply committed to the notion that Every BODY Can Exercise.  I’ve just announced by Every BODY Can Exercise 12-week program.  And my dear friend Ragen Chastain and I have launched a series of virtual fitness events including a decathlon and a double decathlon on our Fit Fatties Forum.  And you know what, I am SO excited about both of these things.  And I’m so excited that so many of you are so excited about these things!

But, (and this is a biiiiiig but) I also want to council that we need to approach all of that excitement with a little bit of caution.  Because, without a little bit of care, this kind of excitement can land us in the waiting room of our nearest sports medicine specialist or even the hospital emergency room.  Which sucks.  Trust me, I know.


So, I’d like to take this moment to remind you, that life is a distance race and not a sprint.  And in this case, it often pays to take the role of the tortoise and not the hare.  By all means, get excited about exercise.  Come on out of your shell.  Start on down the track.  But let’s make sure that we are continuing to listen to our bodies as we engage in this process.  The phrase “no pain, no gain” needs to be stricken forever from our fitness lexicons.  Because as the hare well knows, pain often leads to temporary gain, followed by high hospital bills and a long recovery period.  Let’s take a page from the tortoise’s book and learn to check in with our bodies regularly.  Aches and minor pains can be very helpful tools to let us know when we have done too much too fast, or are exercising with improper equipment (like shoes or a bicycle that doesn’t fit properly), or are doing an exercise that isn’t right for our body at this particular moment.

Aches and pains often start as a whisper that progress right on to screaming when left unattended.  It’s best to catch these messages “on the whisper”.  Because once you get to the screaming point, you may find yourself seriously injured and have to put your fitness dreams on hold for quite a while.

Look, I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer”.  I don’t want to rain on your parade, or “pee in your pool”.  But I do want you to just take a moment as you charge towards your fitness goals in 2014 to choose the way of the tortoise.  It is often the very fastest way there.  See you at the finish line (eventually).

Love,  Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. It’s not too late to join me for my 2014 Every BODY Can Exercise program.  Enrollment will remain open until midnight on January 12, 2014.  And enrollment is still wide open for the Virtual Events program on the Fit Fatties Forum.  So start today (but not toooooo fast!)

Resolve to have More Creative Resolutions

Diet_NoIt’s the time of year when all of us size acceptance and HAES (R) folks start talking about why you shouldn’t diet as your New Year’s Resolution.  And I’m sure you’ll hear plenty of good reasons like: it doesn’t work, it makes you crabby, it messes up your metabolism, it will probably make you fatter, it fills your life with shame, it messes up your self esteem and it doesn’t work.  (I know I said “it doesn’t work” twice, but I think it’s important enough to bear repeating, um, again apparently.)  But you know what?  I’d like to add another reason for not making dieting your New Year’s Resolution to the pile.  And that reason is: it’s a really boring resolution.  I mean, is that seriously the best resolution you can come up with?  “I’m going to go on a diet,” is just not original and it’s not fun.

I strongly believe that if you can inject a little more fun into the New Year’s Resolution process, you’ve got a much better chance for success.  I’ve often said the same about exercise in general.  Fun makes everything better.  And into every person’s life comes the moment where you need to decide if you are going to put time and energy into your resolution or if you’re going to sit on the sofa, eat some cheesy poofs and watch that Saturday marathon of Project Runway reruns.  If your resolution doesn’t have any fun in it, if it’s not sort of enjoyable in some way, which do you think you’re gonna pick?  Let’s get real here.

Bored kitteh finds New Year’s Resolutions boring…

That is why I am SUPER excited about a few things we’ve got coming down the pike here!  For one, I’m still collecting photos and videos for our New New Years Resolution project.  I’d like to make a new video like the one last year, but this time, I’d like to feature YOU.  But in order for this to work, I need your photos by midnight on January 31st.  So PLEASE send your photos to projects@thefatchick.com ASAP!

Next I want to tell you about a little debauchery that Ragen and I are cooking up on the Fit Fatties Forum.  This year we are hosting a Fit Fatty Decathlon as part of our Fit Fatty  Virtual Events series.  What is that?  So glad you asked!  The Fit Fatty Decathlon is a series of lots of events that you can choose and complete on your own or with friends.  Register for the events, complete 10 of them, submit photographic evidence, post on Facebook (‘cuz otherwise it never happened) and you my friend are a Fit Fatty Decathlon Finisher!  Some of the events are pretty typical (walk/run/roll a 5K).  But some of these events include sustained temper tantrums, playing with dogs, hula hooping and running after toddlers!  (Extra points if you do all of these at the same time.)  You can learn all about it HERE.

custom_tote_bagBy the way, I should mention that prices for the Fit Fatty Decathlon are scheduled to go up significantly (like I mean a lot) after January 1.  There’s even a contest for submitting the wackiest idea for your own event.  I mean come on.  How much fun is that?  So stop your darn procrastinating and SIGN UP RIGHT NOW!  Here for your clicking convenience is that LINK AGAIN.

Whatever your new year brings to you, I hope you find a way to approach it with fun.  Life is full of challenges.  And sometimes life just sucks!  Having a little fun can help get you through.  Here’s to a year full of love and light and laughing until your belly hurts!

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want a gift to help you learn how to feel good about your body?  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!