Tag Archives: HAES

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!

Even more research on Fitness and Fatness

For the 1,000th time, fitness is more important than fatness when it comes to overall health outcomes.  In the midst of the holiday hubub, I came across yet another study regarding weight vs. exercise as a determinant of health.  This was actually a metastudy, which means the scientists gathered together a lot of other studies and used math and science to determine what most of those other studies said.  And it’s no surprise, at least to me, that fitness is much more important than body size in determining how long and how well people live.

This metastudy analyzed the results of 10 other studies.  And these studies in turn measured the results of tens of thousands of participants (the largest single study included 21,856 participant) and perhaps more importantly measured these people over a significant span of time (ranging from 7 to over 16 years).  It’s important to note that the studies analyzed included both enough participants to be statistically significant and were conducted over a long enough period to see what was actually happening in the lives of the participants.  Many of the studies cited regarding the effectiveness and efficacy of weight loss are conducted over a period of three years or less.  Given the fact that long term studies indicate that weight loss participants tend to regain all the weight that was lost and often a little more in the 3-5 year range, it’s clear that the duration of the study is an important factor in determining actual results.

And what were the actual results in this case?  I think they were pretty astounding.  The metastudy indicated that unfit people, no matter what they weighed, had twice the risk of dying during the study than fit people.  And the study showed that if you are fit and fat, your mortality risk is about the same as if you are fit and thin.  That means that all those thin and unfit folks had about a 50 percent greater chance of mortality than the fat and fit folks during the course of the study.

Whoa.

So here we are heading into the holidays.  This is a time when we have access to fabulous food and friends and fantastic food and family and well, FOOD.  This is a time when many of us feel more and more panic regarding weight and body size, culminating in a full blown panic that hits full force right around January 1st.  We live in a society where the commercials are full of food porn shots of holiday turkeys lovingly basted in butter and mountains of chocolate until December 25.  Only to be replaced on December 26 with shots of impossibly tanned and ripped bodies exhorting us to make 2014 the year where we too get to look like a movie star.

Bah Humbug!

The bad news is, no matter how many mashed potatoes we eat or avoid, and no matter how many crunches and squats we do, we are probably NOT going to look like the perky fitness models gracing those commercials on January 1.  The good news is, we don’t have to.  You don’t have to look like that to be a successful exerciser, and you don’t have to look like that to achieve massive health benefits from engaging in regular exercise.  And that regular exercise doesn’t have to include 2 hours per day at the gym or running marathons.  We’re talking about a cumulative total of 150 minutes per week here.  Eventually.  If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry.  You can get there!  Just start wherever you currently are with your fitness level and increase gradually, up to 10 percent per week until you get there.  Some studies show that even as little as 75 minutes per week of exercise can have a significant effect on health.

So, so what?

Why am I being such a Negative Nelly and bursting your exercise bubble?  Why am I not suggesting that you’ll look like that hateful woman with the three kids and the super flat abs and very tiny shorts who is all over the internet and your television asking you what is  your excuse?  (Because, of course, she says, if you do some exercise surely you’ll look a lot like she does!)  I’m telling you this because exercise is not only a wonderful way to improve health outcomes, but is also a wonderful tool to help you feel better, feel better about yourself, enjoy a better quality of life and have a darn good time.  And far too often, I’ve seen people approach exercise thinking it will make them look like a supermodel, only to give up a short time later when they find that they are not accosted by modeling agencies or Hollywood directors eager to make them millionaires or at least take them out to very expensive restaurants to tell them how pretty they are.

God, I’m GORGEOUS!

Exercise is wonderful.  I’ve seen exercise work magic in the lives of many, many people.  But it rarely works the sort of magic seen in “before and after” photo shoots.  The sad thing is, by looking exclusively for the “magic of exercise” as seen on TV, many people miss the magic that is right in front of them.

Here’s wishing you a calm, lovely, peaceful holiday.  And a 2014 that is full of all the magic that a moderately active lifestyle can bring to you!

Love,

Jeanette

AKA The Fat Chick

P.S. There is a lot of great advice about how to go from zero to moderately active in YOUR life in my book–The Fat Chick Works Out!  Now get both the book and DVD for only $25.

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

What are the odds?

Hey there!  Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days.  I’ve been on the roller coaster and hanging on for dear life.  Seems like that’s the way of it, doesn’t it?  First you’re on top of the world, and then BOOM, sick in bed with a terrible, nasty, icky head cold.

It’s not like I haven’t taken prophylactic measures.  I’ve been taking lots of vitamin C, drinking lots of water, washing my hands raw and all of that good stuff.  I’ve been doing my very best to get good sleep and trying my best to manage stress.

Ever since I felt a sniffle, I’ve been rubbing menthol on my feet and sucking a zinc lozenge every few hours and drinking massive quantities of tea.

I’m doing everything that statistics suggest I should to prevent and minimize colds.  So why am I still sick?

I got sick because I got sick. No matter how many steps you take, you can stick get sick at any time.  Does that mean I shouldn’t have taken those steps to try to minimize my risk and minimize my symptoms?  Well no.  The steps didn’t have many potentially negative side effects and weren’t too difficult.  And they might have worked.  And who knows, things might have been worse had I not taken those steps.

But this is the thing about statistics and health.  If there’s a 1% chance of getting sick, that means that out of every 100 people, about 1 will get sick.  And no matter how many remedies you try, no matter how strong your immune system may be, that one person might be you.  And as tempting as it might be to believe you didn’t get sick because of the mouthwash you used, or the special ritual you followed, you might not have gotten sick because of dumb luck.

So as much as we may wish to believe that we are “healthy” because we are virtuous people who eat whole grain cereal and do yoga, I think we need to give at least a passing nod to all the other stuff that goes into it.  As Fall Ferguson writes in her post on the ASDAH blog: there are many, many factors that go into whether or not a person is healthy.  Doing healthy stuff is just one of those things.  So where does this leave us?

We may wish to do stuff that increases our odds of being healthy.  How much stuff we are able to do may well be decided by our socioeconomic status or access to good healthcare.  How effective those healthy behaviors are may well be decided by our genetic makeup.  How much stuff we choose to do is up to each and every one of us.  It’s time we give up the notion that being healthy is “virtuous” and being sick is a sign that we are “weak, lazy, undisciplined or unconcerned”.  Sometimes we just got sneezed on by the wrong person at the wrong time.  There are no guarantees.

So even though I feel tired, and cranky and stuffed up and sneezy and sick, I choose not to bother feeling guilty.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. Still waiting to hear when our Katie Couric episode will air.  Will keep you posted!  oxoxoxoxox

 

Exercise, Empowerment and Free Botox at the Finish Line

OMG does my makeup look okay?

My friend and colleague Kjerstin recently posted this article about the upcoming “Diva 5K” in Miami Florida.  The race, which exhorts women and girls as young as 8 years old to “Run like a Diva!” is offering an amazing prize package including botox (for winners 18 and older) and teeth whitening and laser hair removal (for winners 15 and older).

I cant even…

To my mind, one of the best things about participating in an event like a 5K is to empower women to think about their bodies in terms of what they can do rather than obsessing about how they look.  Women can focus on being strong, and capable.  Women can focus on being healthy and vibrant.

Unless we’re talking about the Diva 5K where women are encouraged to be wrinkle-free, white toothed and OMG hairless!  Apparently all participants will get a chance to be greeted at the finish line “where handsome young men from the local dance schools will sweep you off your feet.”  Because heaven knows, we can’t be interested in walking or running or otherwise exercising for our own sakes.  Goodness NO, girl.  We run to be thin, hairless, wrinkle-free and gorgeous for the hot “MENZ”!  Jeez don’t you know anything?

As a fitness instructor with several decades of teaching under my belt, I find this sort of thing so intensely frustrating.  We claim as an industry that we want people to exercise.  And then we make ridiculous promises to people that we know are false, and we trivialize the unbelievable potent real rewards that come with being fit.

The fitness industry has always promised that if you exercise hard enough, you’ll look like a hot, young, supermodel, AND a hunky hot man will be waiting to sweep you off your feet.  I’ve rarely seen that notion put into practice in quite as concrete a manner as we’re seeing with this Diva 5K, but it is a common notion nevertheless.

Yet, in reality, a 5K will make you look like a supermodel ONLY under the following conditions:

1.  You looked like a super model BEFORE you started training for a 5K,

2. You have a hair and makeup crew near the finish line ready to bathe you, do your hair, airbrush your skin and make you over, and

3.  Your finishers photos are heavily retouched in Photoshop.

Here’s a quick demonstration of what I’m talking about:

The sad thing is that the TRUE benefits of exercise (like lower stress levels, better blood glucose levels, better mood management, better sleep, a stronger sense of self esteem, a stronger immune system) THOSE benefits are often downplayed or overlooked.  The transformations of the people that I have taught have had very little to do with looking like a model.  I’ve seen a Mom, for the first time ever, have enough stamina to take her kid to Disneyland all day.  And a man, who for the first time in twenty years can take his wife dancing again.  I’m talking about people who can now bend over and tie their shoes, or walk their daughter down the aisle without pain or get their blood pressure or blood glucose levels under control.  I’m talking about young women who for the first time in their lives look in the mirror and see power and competence and confidence rather than simple disappointment that they don’t look like the “after” picture they have been taught to envision for themselves.

I’ve done several races in my life ranging from a 5K Turkey Trot to a full on marathon.  And yes, I have won some medals.  And I plan to run some more.  But if you’re standing at the finish line waving a gift certificate for free airbrush tanning or liposuction for me, I’d advise you to beware.  I just might use my hard-won leg muscles to kick you somewhere soft and very private.  Even if you ARE a hunky guy from the local dance class.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

The Fat Chick

P.S. Speaking of handing out rewards, I’m happy to announce that our second winner in The Fat Chick’s Great Pedometer Giveaway is Susie Kline!  Yay Susie!

Knock it off, Michelle Obama!

AAAAAARRRRGGGH!  We’ve recently gotten news that Michelle Obama is to appear on the upcoming series of the television show, “The Biggest Loser”.  Apparently her topic will be somewhat benign.  She is to talk about the importance of drinking water.  And given the show’s somewhat checkered past in dehydrating clients to help them achieve weigh-in goals, a focus on drinking water might not be such a bad thing.  But the fact that the FLOTUS plans on appearing on this piece of crap show at all is not, to quote Martha Stewart,  a GOOD thing.

A fair amount of criticism has recently been leveled, especially by the size acceptance, eating disorder prevention and anti-diet communities against the First Lady for making this choice.  There’s this amazing video showing dozens of people from the community (including me) speaking out against Michelle Obama’s upcoming appearance.  And there’s even a petition you can sign asking Michelle to “just stay home”.  We haven’t heard much from her camp yet.  But I imagine if we do hear from her or her people about this appearance, she’s likely to scoff and say that she’s just talking about the importance of drinking water for goodness sake.  What can be bad about that?

My response?  Plenty.

Here’s a few reasons why I think Michelle Obama should just knock it off, and refuse to be on The Biggest Loser:

1.  The show is built on the notion of shame.  And as I state here and here and here and in my submission for the video, SHAME DOES NOT HELP.  It doesn’t make people healthier.  It doesn’t make people happier and it doesn’t make people thinner.  It makes people less happy, less healthy and it tends to lead people into disordered behavior around food and exercise.

2.  The show is based on BAD SCIENCE.  I wrote so much on this topic in the past, I had to create a two-part blog post.  The “weight loss” techniques depicted on that show are contrary to accepted professional practice and can be downright dangerous.  It needs to stop.

3.  The show routinely tortures its contestants.  Check out these interviews between Golda Poretsky and a former Biggest Loser contestant.  The cult-like experience of this former contestant demonstrates the unhealthy power dynamic between contestants, directors, producers and other show staff.  And the long term health prognosis for many of the former contestants is not very good.

4.  The show uses the magic of editing and other Hollywood tricks to further mess up people’s expectations around exercise, health and weight loss.  Sometimes weight losses that are depicted as taking a week actually take longer.  People’s fluid levels are manipulated to help them look like they are losing more weight than they actually are.  Extreme exercise is described as an important weight-loss tool even though it is not that closely related to winning weight-loss totals.  It’s described, oxymoronically as “reality television” even though it bears little resemblance to the real world.

5.  This show is unhealthy not only for those who participate in it, but also for people who simply watch.  Several studies came out showing that the show negatively impacts viewer opinions regarding people of size.  Additional studies show that those who watch the show wind up LESS INCLINED TO EXERCISE than those who don’t.  So much for “Let’s Move!” Michelle.

Look, I think it’s awesome that Michelle wants to encourage people to engage in healthy habits.  And it seems in many ways, she has toned down the weight-loss rhetoric in her “Let’s Move” campaign verbiage.  But even if she doesn’t appear with a weight-loss message on the show, simply being on the show adds weight and credence to a television program that is irresponsible and just needs to go away.

Feeling good and mad over this whole thing?

Good!  Let’s do something about it!

1.  Sign the petition.

2.  Share the video.

3.  Join weight neutral exercise spaces like the Fit Fatties Forum.

4.  Stop watching the show.

5.  Help spread the word about Health At Every Size(R).

Go get ’em!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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

Why BMI stands for “Blatantly Meaningless Information”

Yup, higher shoe size means higher BMI. Maybe we should re-institute foot binding for better health?

The LA Times has published another awesome article, this time taking aim at BMI.  The article headline states “For nearly 1 in 5 Americans, BMI may tell the wrong story”.  Although one of the main studies actually places the misdiagnosis statistic closer to 2 in 5 Americans, I have to give the LA Times credit for posting this story which goes on to detail something that many of us in the HAES (R) universe already know: BMI is not a good predictor of individual health.  In short:

Having a high BMI does not mean you have poor metabolic health.  Having a low BMI does not mean you have good metabolic health.

So why is this important?  Well for a lot of reasons.  First off, if your doctor is using BMI to determine whether or not you should get further screenings or tests, he or she is using an extremely unreliable metric to make this determination.  This means as a fat person you may be exposed to a lot of tests you really don’t need.  This means as a thin person, your doctor may miss some stuff that is really important or even life-threatening.  I often wonder if a significant proportion of the medical costs associated with fat people are because we have so many more tests done.  Or even if higher percentages of certain diagnoses among fat people are in part because we look so much harder for these diagnoses among fat people.

Another reason that BMI bias is such a big problem is that the workplace wellness gurus are using it to coerce or even force us into interventions that may be entirely inappropriate for us.  For example, I’ve been talking a lot about this Michigan “walking program” for fatties.  BMI was used as the sole determinant as to who had to participate.  Those with higher BMIs were told they either had to wear a pedometer that reported their steps to the “home office” or they had to go to Weight Watchers.  There was no initial fitness assessment done.  There was no assessment of eating behaviors.  The program simply assumes that people with higher BMIs don’t engage in fitness and eat very poorly.  It’s entirely possible that people in the program had to reduce other, more strenuous and more enjoyable exercise programs in order to comply with the stupid walking rules.  It’s entirely possible that people in the program with well-balanced healthy eating habits were encouraged towards more disordered eating habits after their new stint with Weight Watchers.  It’s almost certain that people with low BMIs who are also sedentary and eat nothing but junk food were patted on the head and told to “keep up the good work”.

But we’ll never know because they never tested this stuff.

You know what?  When company money and government money and my money gets spent on stupid health programs that are just as likely to make people less healthy than before, and nobody bothers to test the hypotheses because “fatties” I get pretty annoyed.  In fact I’m crossing right over the line towards enraged.

It’s not like this research is all new.  It’s not like the problems inherent in the BMI as a measurement of individual health haven’t been known for decades.  But as long as entire industries are set on putting their fingers in their ears and chanting, “La, la, la, I can’t HEAR you!” I’m just gonna have to keep on saying the same things over and over and over.  As long as people walk around with misdiagnosed brain injuries because doctors simply think they need to lose weight, as long as thin people miss out on important medical screenings because they are assumed well, and as long as some insurance programs think it’s okay to strap a piece of hardware to my a@@ to track whether I’m moving enough just because of my dress size, I’m gonna keep on talking.

You hear that universe?  I’ll keep shaking my chubby fist and you and shouting that your BS. Measuring. Instrument. is not a valid way to understand anything about who I am.

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

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Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

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Body Hatred–We have an “App” for That!

iphoneappsadArrrrrrrgh!  A good friend recently shared this link with me.  (Warning–following link leads to stupid picture and ridiculous article.  Please check your sanity points level before you engage.)  It’s an article about an upcoming Anti-obesity app that will show people how they will look in the future if “their diet and exercise habits don’t change”.  Developed by the same folks who created an anti-smoking app that shows people what they will look like if they continued to smoke, the idea is that people become so horrified at their future, fatter selves that they will magically stick to restrictive diets and vigorous exercise programs and will stay svelte and beautiful for-EVAH.

Except maybe not.

It’s instructive that the story suggests that people using the app will be able to enter queries asking “what I will look like in four weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks, 26 weeks or a year.”  Because one year is about the point at which many weight loss attempts start to go south and regain becomes common.  It’s interesting that the article does not suggest you will be able to ask what you will look like in five years.  Perhaps that’s because by that point, you have a 90-95 percent chance of looking the same or even larger than when you started.

Also, it’s been widely reported that bodies metabolize food and exercise very differently.  I’m wondering how this “app” will account for that.  We all know there are some people who eat a lot of junk food and spend a lot of time watching TV but never gain weight.  We also know some people eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and exercise quite a lot but don’t lose a lot of weight.  So how will this app account for those differences?  My guess–it won’t.  It will be based on some ridiculously over-simplified, generic, set of statistics that are custom-built to have the biggest impact on your “avatar” that has little or possibly even NO basis in reality.

beforeafterThere are many things about this upcoming app that make me angry and a little crazy.  But maybe one of the things that makes me most upset is the notion that this app, built by researchers at a freaking UNIVERSITY are working with the notion that shame will help make people thin.  Just how many research studies do we need exactly to prove that shame doesn’t make people, especially young people thin?  Seriously?!  And does the app have a convenient “Thinspo” feature that allows people with eating disorders utilize these visualization features?

Come on colleges and universities!  I mean, totally fabulous “Love Your Body Week” programs aside, you’ve got a way to go here.  It’s not just Professor Terrible that’s the problem.  It’s the fact that you approve and even allocate funding for projects like this stupid app.  It’s the fact that fat people are less likely to be admitted to your universities than thin people.  Maybe it’s time to stop focusing so much on people with big fat wallets and start focusing on being fair to people who are simply fat.

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

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Big Fat Yoga Pants

Yesterday a brouhaha was begun when former Lululemon employee Elizabeth Licorish told reporters that her former employers routinely discriminated against larger customers.  In other news, water is wet.

I mean come on.  The store only stocks clothes up to size 10 or 12.  And they label their size 12 as XL.  Clearly this is a company who has never catered to a plus-sized clientele.

Licorish claims that while she worked at Lululemon, the company only stocked a few items in sizes 10 and 12.  She also asserts that these lonely larger sizes were not displayed prominently in the front, folded neatly on shelves or hanging from display racks, but rather, were crumpled up in the back.

Which leads me to ask a question.  How exactly is this different from nearly every other retailer on the planet?  Aside from the few stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid and Christines that cater specifically to plus-sized customers, most stores have pitiful, tiny poorly managed sections for their larger clothing.  Even if you look at the major, high-end department stores, the plus-sized section is much smaller, has much less inventory and is less well-staffed than virtually any other clothing department in the store.  Given the fact that about half of American women are plus-sized, I have a hard time understanding the reason why plus-sized clothing gets less than 10 percent of the floor space devoted to clothing in the local neighborhood mall.

Lululemon is not so different than most clothing companies, in that they fail to see the amazing market afforded by plus-sized customers and they are letting their brand arrogance lead them into leaving millions of dollars on the table.

But they know this already.

So instead of yelling at Lululemon for improperly displaying the “ginormous” size-12 yoga pants retailing for over $100,  I’m going to take this moment to remind the world that there are now some truly fabulous resources for budding plus-sized yogis out there.

On our Fit Fatties Forum we have the super amazing Abby Lentz moderating our Yoga group.  Aside from being an awesome yoga teacher, Abby also has her Heavyweight Yoga DVD and an especially cool feature on her website called “Change the Image of Yoga” where she features lots of beautiful, smiling yogis who don’t look anything like the ads or the saleswomen you’ll find at Lululemon.

Another wonderful Yoga Teacher that I know and love is Anna Guest-Jelley.  Anna is founder of Curvy Yoga and also offers certification for other teachers who are interested in learning the Curvy Yoga method of instruction.  She also offers her world-famous 30 Days of Curvy Yoga program.

And if Lululemon pants fit neither your butt nor your budget, you might want to check out the yoga wear at Junonia.com.  They have some lovely, high-quality pieces of yoga wear available up to a size 6x.

So may  I make a suggestion?  Rather than be upset that one hoity-toity “yoga wear” company doesn’t want to take your money, how about supporting one of these amazing businesses?  Help them to help you and many, many others to spread the word that yoga is for every BODY.

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!

New Study Finds Shaming People Doesn’t Help Them Lose Weight: Confirms Ursine Creatures Poo in Forest

Bear poops in woods.  News at eleven!

Bear poops in woods. News at eleven!

Yet another study came out this week confirming that perceived weight stigma does not help overweight get thinner people.  In fact, weight discrimination is more likely to make them gain weight. 

Participants who experienced weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to become obese by follow-up (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.58–4.08) and participants who were obese at baseline were three times more likely to remain obese at follow up (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 2.06–4.97) than those who had not experienced such discrimination.

In other news, a study confirms the pope is Catholic.

It’s possible by now you are well and truly sick of hearing me say that fat shaming people does not help them lose weight.  I know I’m a little sick of saying it.  But as long as the world takes this “fat shaming doesn’t work but let’s try it again” approach, I’ll feel honor-bound to keep repeating it.

On the same day that I came across this new research, I came across this gem (warning, serious asshattery) touting some new “hard-hitting childhood obesity ads” out of the UK.  While the article on Buzz Feed praises the ad for not showing pictures of fat kids looking miserable (as in the Georgia Billboard campaign), the author clearly needs a delivery from the clue department.  Because, even if you use kindergarten level graphics or an image of an overflowing urn, shaming people is shaming.  And shaming people doesn’t work. Shaming people doesn’t work.  SHAMING PEOPLE DOESN’T WORK.  *Grabs paper bag and starts breathing into it…*

Despite all the evidence mounting from all the studies about shame and obesity, the anti-fat people regularly demonstrate the qualities of insanity by trying the same things over and over again and expecting different results.  I think the reasoning goes something like, “Even though it didn’t work last time, fat-shaming gets government and organizational funding like nobody’s business.  Let’s get a grant to do it a little bit differently than we did it before and spin the results like a Maytag washer.”

So it seems that folks are going to continue to spend money on ineffective and dangerous fat shaming.  And I’ll continue to write about it.  It’s the circle of blog life I guess.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

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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!