Tag Archives: panic

New Beginnings Now vs. New Years Resolutions

Recently I saw a reporter request asking fitness and medical professionals why they shouldn’t wait until New Years to get fit.  And I imagine they were expecting a lot of talk about not gaining weight through the holidays, and getting  a jump on your all new body and blah, blah, blah dee blah.

I do think there is no reason to wait until New Years to begin a fitness routine.  If you want to start now, by all means do so.  If you think now is the last time you want to begin a fitness program, then don’t.  But there are some advantages to beginning a program now:

1.  The gyms and parks and fitness facilities are quiet.  Everybody knows that the first 3 weeks  in January are the worst times all year to go to the gym.  The place is PACKED!  It would be a lot easier to find your way around and get attention from the staff in November or December than in January.

2.  For many, the holidays are stressful.  As long as you are beginning a program as a kind and loving thing you are doing for your body, and not so you can tell your aunt to shut up about your weight and pass the stuffing already, exercise can be a great tool to help deal with holiday stress.

3.  It forces you to carve out time for you.  During the holidays so much of our lives can be focused on the needs of others.  Sometimes exercise can allow us to find a little bit of time for some loving self-care in the midst of all the holiday giving.

4.  It can be a new holiday tradition.  The holidays are a great time to begin new family or personal traditions around fitness.  Maybe you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and  look at the holiday lights?  Maybe you could spend Saturdays sledding or ice skating.  Remember, fitness means moving your body in a joyful way.  This doesn’t have to happen on the trail or at the gym.

And perhaps the best reason to begin a fitness program now is:

5.  It divorces exercise from the panic of New Years.  Oh my goodness.  How many of us have fallen under the tyranny of the New Year’s Resolution?  How many of us have started January 1 watching diet commercials on TV and promising that this is the year we change EVERYTHING?  Then we go out too hard and too fast and are injured and despondent by Valentine’s Day.  Wouldn’t it be nice to begin a fitness program without that kind of pressure and panic?  For the record, you can begin a fitness program in January without buying into pressure and panic.  But it might be easier and less stressful to begin before the entire world goes into its annual body bashing frenzy.

Except it might not be a good time after all.  I can hear some of you out there saying that if you have to add just one more thing to your holiday schedule, somebody is gonna be ho-ho-hoping they never mentioned it.  And believe me, I get it.  So here’s a tip.  Take a second to consider starting a fitness program before January.  If now doesn’t feel like a good time to start a fitness program, then now isn’t a good time to start a fitness program.  There are at least 365 days in a year, all equally good for joyfully moving your body.  Pick the day that feels right for you.

As we embark (already) on the holiday season, I wish you peace, love, light and joyfully loving the skin you’re in.  Fa la la la la!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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The Childhood Obesity Challenge

Uuuuugh!  Well we’re halfway through “Harass Kids About Their Weight Month” otherwise known as “Let’s Build Eating Disorders As Young As Possible Month” or “Childhood Obesity Awareness Month”.  I’ve mentioned before how I feel about this.  I can’t think of any adult or child in this country who is not aware that the dominant culture likes little kids to be thin.  I don’t know of any kids who aren’t aware, by age five or six, that thinner is better.  And this whole month seems designed to amp up the shame felt by larger kids and parents of larger kids to “11”.

This was brought home to me in a very visceral way today as I read a facebook post by a parent who had a negative reaction to being nominated for “The Childhood Obesity Challenge” on facebook.  I have no idea how widespread this “challenge” is.  Apparently a “friend” in this woman’s feed posted an apres workout “sweaty” (that’s a selfie where the folks are sweatin’ y’all) with the following text:

“Another sweaty for (fb friend)’s call to action for childhood obesity. Children learn from example. I will challenge some amazing parents I know to do the same. You all inspire me and make me better.”

Only problem, the parent with the negative reaction had been a fat kid.  She understood the real challenges of being an obese kid in a fat-hating world.  And her kid was also not as thin as some in society deemed acceptable.  And her kid was facing health challenges that made exercise difficult.  Yet there she was, nominated to post a picture of her sweating after a workout to prove to kids they shouldn’t be fat.

Seriously.

Yes, kids do learn by example.  And if we want our kids to be healthy, here are a few options of things we could model:

1.  Let’s choose not to judge by appearances.  You don’t know what is happening in another person’s life by looking at them.  You don’t know if they are healthy by looking at them.  Let’s not make snap decisions about a person’s health or moral worth because of how they look.

2.  Exercise can be fun!  Let’s not ruin exercise by making it about arbitrarily changing our body size.  Let’s make it about getting together and having a great time!  Because sometimes moving our bodies feels awesome!

3.  Exercise can be fun, but it’s not a moral obligation.  And exercise is a whole lot easier for some people than for others.  Let’s decide not to worry about how much exercise other people are doing.  And let’s decide on exercise for ourselves based on our own bodies and how we feel.

4.  Let’s not panic about our body size!  People come in all shapes and sizes.  There are greyhounds in this world and there are pit bulls.  Everybody looks a little different than everybody else and that’s okay.

5.  Let’s not boil down a very complex issue like childhood obesity into some silly facebook game, okay?  Let’s choose to accept that body size is influenced by a wide variety of factors–both inside and outside of our control–and learn to love our bodies as they are.  That way we won’t feel quite so much need to judge other people’s bodies, okay?  (See point #1).

And if modeling points 1 through 5 doesn’t work, we could always model how to fake a sweaty. (A little blush, a little water spritzed on the face and hair and TA DAAAA instant sweaty!)

Or if you want to be more professional about it:

I can’t help but be frustrated by the whole notion of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month as it currently stands.  It’s time for a Childhood Weight Stigma Awareness Month.  During this month we could talk about how to help kids avoid eating disorders, we could talk about how bullying based on size is at record levels, and we could talk about how social media is pressuring kids and parents more than ever to have “perfect bodies” at all times.  That’s a movement I could get behind.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Cravings

Recently, a very dear friend sent me a link to this video.  I think it’s partly because she knows how I feel about cookies.  But it got me thinking about what length I would go to to get a chocolate chip cookie and all about the nature of cravings.

In a recent post I talked about the “Big Fat Cookie Cycle” and how deprivation and binging go together like peanut butter and jelly.  There is no question in my mind that systematically restricting our access to certain foods gives us cravings for those foods.  But it seems to me the whole issue of cravings is somewhat complicated.

Cravings can also be driven by nutritional needs.  And as we become more in tune with our bodies I think we can learn to listen when our body is asking for certain foods.  Sometimes I crave things based on what my body needs like vitamin C or protein or carbohydrates or all the happy stuff in green leafy vegetables.

But what about chocolate chip cookies?  Does vitamin C stand for “cookie”.  (Alas, no.) Cravings can sometimes be about nutrition, but cravings can be about other things too.  Am I craving sugar because I’m looking for a boost?  Am I craving cookies because they just taste delicious?  Am I craving a chocolate chip cookie because it is simply one of the best foods invented ever?  And so sometimes these cravings happen and I’m okay with that.

Sometimes I crave a cookie because I’m feeling sad, tired, overstressed, lonely, depressed, or just feel like I need a pick me up.  And you know what, I’m okay with that too.

Sometimes I grab a cookie because I have three minutes in which to stuff food into my body before my next appointment and a cookie will allow me to quickly get enough energy to get through the next two hours and still keep one hand on the steering wheel.  Unfortunately cookies consumed for expediency as opposed to genuine desire do not taste so good.  So I’m working on this whole aspect of things.

The truth is, I crave different things at different times for each or all of these reasons.  I am not an “intuitive eating” ninja who always understands why I’m eating what I’m eating.  I don’t always have 40 minutes over which to enjoy a leisurely meal complete with linen napkins and candlelight and savor each bite of deliciousness and ponder its purpose in my life and resultant effect on my well being.  And I don’t only crave foods that my doctor or the latest diet guru says I should.  Sometimes I crave kale and sometimes I crave chocolate.  I am a real person with a real life.  And so I can’t always tell you why I want a cookie.  I just know if I don’t get a cookie when I really, REALLY want a cookie, (see above video) there’s likely to be a backlash.  And when that backlash hits, one cookie simply will not do it.  Take away my cookies for too long and I don’t even know if that jar on top of the fridge would be enough.  So I will continue to eat cookies when I really, really want cookies and try to make time for the deep philosophical pondering later.

Then again, had he lived in our time, Freud might have said, “Sometimes a cookie is just a cookie.”

Love,

The Fat Chick

Big Girls on the Red Carpet

Jeanette working the Red Carpet with the two directors of the Haute Curves Fashion Show for LA Fashion Week: Angela Rene’ AKA “The Purple Diva”, CEO of PurpleDivaDesigns.com and Jasmine Epperson, CEO at Kris Eliza Boutique

On the list of things we big girls are told we will never experience, you can add wearing beautiful clothes.  As a kid, I never thought I’d get to wear gorgeous things and the idea that there would be plus-sized models seemed extremely remote.

So in my week of saying “neener, neener, neener” to the list of stuff we fluffy folk “shouldn’t expect to enjoy,” I’m telling you that the models ROCKED THE HOUSE at this past weekend’s Haute Curves fashion show for LA Fashion Week.  For over two hours we watched unbelievably gorgeous men and women of all sizes, small to super-sized, strut down the runway in some extremely gorgeous clothes.  And folks, these were not your mama’s muumuus.  There was an awful lot of extremely beautiful clothes from delightfully weird to sporty to super sexy on that runway.  Angela and Rene put on an absolutely spectacular event!

The Fat Chick near the runway at the Haute Curves fashion show.

So besides the need to feed my considerable ego by showing you pictures of the cool thing I got to do on Saturday night, why am I sharing this with you?  I think it’s important to bust myths about what people of size can expect for their lives.  I know for me, the panic over the things I thought I would miss as a plus-sized woman, like true love and a kickin’ black leather skirt I could wear, once filled me with feelings of panic.  And I think in some cases our loved ones (especially our parents) are unduly fearful of the things we will miss out on or can’t have if our bodies are larger than societal ideals.

It took several decades, but I now realize that there is virtually nothing completely unavailable to me as a person of size.  (Well maybe a comfortable coach-class airplane seat, but I’m not sure ANYBODY feels comfortable in one of those.)  And it has taken several decades, but those who love me most have come to realize that I can do all that I want and have all that I dreamed of without losing 100 pounds first.  And let me share with you, it has been an absolute blessing and a joy for all of us to just calm the heck down about the whole thing.

Yes Virginia, there is a Sexy Santa Claus costume just for you.  There’s even a fabulous black leather skirt in your size, just waiting for you to claim it.

Love,

The Fat Chick