Tag Archives: Ragen Chastain

Asking for help.

HELP

If I’ve learned anything this week it’s this.  Ask for help.  Ask for it sooner rather than later.  Do NOT spend time exhausting every other option on the planet first.  Just ask for help.

I think a lot of my identity is tied up with the notion that I am self sufficient.  I can handle anything.  Like I’m some sort of hybrid of Bear Grylls and Macgyver.  Just set me down with a laptop, a sharp object and a roll of duct tape and I can HANDLE it.  But this self view sometimes really gets in my way.

This week I’ve had two moments where I finally broke down (often sobbing) and asked for help about technical stuff I just didn’t understand.  And both times, the person I asked was able to help me.  And both times the helper asked me, “Why didn’t you come to me sooner?”  This is a really good question.  My stubbornness.  My need to be smart and independent and RIGHT cost me untold hours of frustration that could have been avoided.

And  I think this is part of the reason why Ragen and I have created the Body Love Obstacle Course.  I mean of course, many of us can get to a place of loving our bodies on our own.   In many ways Ragen and I did just that.  But why go it alone when you don’t have to?  Why suffer untold hours of frustration?  Why not ask for help a little sooner?

I’m proud to say we’ve released the second of our free BLOC videos here:

Click Here to check out the video!

I hope you’ll take a minute, click the button and take a look.  It’s all about being grateful for the body you have right now.  You might have to opt in.  But I hope you will.  Because we’ll all get by with a little less stubbornness and a little help from our friends.

 

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

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New Video and a New Plan

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There’s no question, I’ve been away for a while.  As this video demonstrates, I’m still spending plenty of time talking about Health At Every Size and loving the skin you’re in.  And now I am BACK baby, and I am super excited to tell you what my dear friend and business partner Ragen Chastain and I have been cooking up while I’ve been gone.  It’s called the Body Love Obstacle Course or BLOC.  We’ve been working on it for a while now, and I think you’re going to love it.  It’s designed to help you over around and through the body love obstacles that keep you from the life of your dreams.

And we’re super excited to be kicking it off with a brand spanking new FREE video. I think this might be the best video we’ve ever shot….

BLOC VIDEO

It’s about how the way we feel about our bodies affects every area of our lives, and about how we can use that fact to create our best careers, relationships, and life.

BLOC VIDEO

(There’s only one catch – you *might* have to renew your email subscription in order to see this video.)

Ragen and I had a blast shooting this one – even though we live less than an hour apart, we don’t get to see each as often as we’d like, so before we shot the video we rehearsed over
a delicious dumpling lunch, and got super psyched to shoot the video!  So we got to eat fabulous dumplings AND we get to share some of our most powerful ideas about overcoming body hatred, kicking butt and taking names.  Talk about a WIN/WIN situation.  I hope you’ll take a moment to hop on over to look at our first free BLOC video.  And looking forward to talking to you soon!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

(AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. This video will only be up for a few days…
go check it out right now:

 

Fitness is for ALL of Us

Ragen Chastain and I are so  very pleased to release our first video on our brand new YouTube Channel: Fitness for All of Us.  We’ve released our fight song to announce our intention to create a safe space where bodies of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities can rejoice in joyful movement.  Here’s our first video:

For far too long, fitness has been a space relegated to those who have a certain body type or begrudgingly to those who are actively and seeking that body type.  Some have said that “Fit is the New Skinny!” without understanding that “fit” as defined by most is predominantly skinny.  It may include an extra pert rear and muscular legs.  It may include a six pack (or eight pack) and carefully-chiseled Michelle Obama biceps.  But the fit often referred to in the “fit is the new skinny” or even “strong is the new skinny” memes bounce right out of fitspiration with rock hard, totally toned, glistening, fitness model bodies.

But what about the rest of us?  Those of us who have bits that jiggle and flow?  Those of us with rolls and cellulite?  Those of us with big, bountiful bellies and big hips?  Those of us who are not exactly the slightly-upsized Barbie ideal of big boobs, tiny waist, swelling hips and tiny, pointed feet?  That is who this channel is for, it’s for ALL OF US who are interested in fitness in any capacity and at any level.

Because this is so much of what my work is and has always been about.  Fitness should be fun and encouraging and welcoming and physically and emotionally safe for all of us.  Fat and skinny, young and old, high powered athlete and folks who just want to walk their dogs.  Runners and walkers and boaters and swimmers and yogis and dancers and kickboxers and cyclers and multisport mavens.  Seasoned experts and frightened beginners.  Fitness should be for every BODY!

We should be able to get help when we ask for it and be left ALONE when we don’t.  We should be encouraged the same way as everyone else.  We should get a quiet thumbs up or even a shout of welcome for joining the posse for being part of the fitness community, not because somebody imagines that exercise is particularly difficult for us, or that we serve as some sort of weird inspiration for them and especially not because people imagine that we are forcing our bodies to comply to some ideal of shape, size, weight, or any other parameter.

Let us move.  Let us breathe.  Let us enjoy fitness on our own terms.  Above all, let us be.

Hope you like it!

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  Want to show us some special love?  Don’t forget to subscribe!

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.

Fatshioning a Better Relationship with Clothing Companies

Plus-size model? Most of the world doesn’t seem to think so.

I was reviewing my email when this article from Digiday entitled “For brands,  marketing ‘plus-size’ is a tricky line to walk” showed up.  The article talked about the recent uproar about Calvin Klein model Myla Dalbesio’s interview in Elle Magazine where she referred to herself as a ‘Plus Sized Model’.  Social media outlets erupted in anger as many people rightly pointed out that as a very tall woman who is size 10 at most, she is considerably thinner than the average American woman.  And while she might qualify as “plus-sized” in modeling terminology (which can apply to any woman over size 6 according to the article in Elle) she certainly doesn’t qualify as plus-sized in the way that most of us understand it.  To be fair, I think it’s important to note that Calvin Klein did not label her as plus-sized.  It simply put her in a group of models of varying sizes to promote their new Perfectly Fit line of underwear.  Myla described herself as plus-sized.

But this pesky question of labeling has come up since the early days of the “husky” department and most retailers still don’t seem to get it right.  We had the kerfluffle earlier this year when some online catalog pages identified Wal-mart Halloween Costumes “Fat Girl Costumes”.  Many people took exception to this labeling as extremely rude, while at the same time, many people in the Fat Acceptance community who identify themselves with the word “Fat” thought it was just fine.  As a woman who calls herself “The Fat Chick” I wasn’t offended.  But many people were.

Walmart’s Halloween section before the site got changed and the company apologized.

Add to this, Dillard’s debacle which Ragen Chastain blogged about today and you have to wonder, who the hell is doing this marketing stuff anyways?  Who at Dillard’s thought it would be okay to put a sign that says “Dear Santa, This year give me a fat bank account and a slim body.  Please don’t mix them up like you did last year.”  Do they do any market research?  Do they understand how this will be perceived in the marketplace?  Or do they see it as clickbait with the idea that all attention is good attention as long as they get the URL right?

And then we have Old Navy, catching online flak for making their plus-sized clothing more expensive than the exact same garment in a smaller size.  There is now a national petition circulating on Change.org asking Old Navy to unify pricing for women’s clothing of all sizes.

What in the name of all that is retail is going on here?  How can these companies with so much money and such big advertising budgets and so much access to sophisticated market research continue to get this so wrong?  I don’t claim to have all the answers, but it seems to me that a few simple tips are in order:

1.  Lose the labels.

Why do you have to call these clothes anything at all?  Why do you need a plus-size department?  Or a women’s department?  That label always made no sense to me anyway.  Does that mean that all the other smaller dresses in the store are not for women?  Are they for dancing poodles or space aliens?  Why can’t we just say that we have clothing sizes 00-30 and call it a day?  If you are talking about tags for a search engine, then fine.  Tag away.  But you don’t need to call these clothes out in a special heading.  Because you are also following step two which is:

2.  Have more than a few token items in a variety of sizes.

The sad truth is that larger sizes are often relegated to their own department because such a small percentage of the store’s stock comes in any thing over a size 12. Larger people get really tired of flipping through cute and gorgeous things that don’t come in their size.  If most things on the rack had a size 14 through a size 30 or 32 or 40 on them, we wouldn’t need to go to the “plus-sized” department or the “women’s department” we would go to the clothes department.  The special sizes departments are just to keep us from hanging ourselves with a pair of stripy tights because we’ve looked at 85 fabulous things that only come in a size 4.

3.  Don’t charge a premium for larger sizes

You don’t charge more for a size 10 than a size 0.  So there is no reason to charge more for a size 16 than a size 10.  Just average the prices down the line and charge accordingly.  See?  That was easy!

4.  Treat all of your customers with respect

Treat your customers of all sizes, just the way you would like to be treated.  Do you want to see a sign suggesting that Santa bring you better judgement, more kindness and some freaking common sense?  No?  Then don’t put out a sign suggesting that Santa bring your women customers or your young girl customers a new body.  There!  Done!

I think everybody should be able to approach the holidays in some fabulous clothing that makes them feel comfortable and happy.  So retailers, listen up!  There are lots of people who aren’t size 4 or even 14 and have lots of money.  So if you really want to start the day after Thanksgiving “in the black”, get it together.  I think that is something for which we could all feel truly grateful.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  Want me to come talk to your organization about “plus-sized” clothing and fashion for folks of all sizes?  Click HERE to see some video, learn about my speeches and book me!

P.S.S. Want to connect in and get free stuff?  Join my mailing list HERE.

Marrying Me: A Day Full of Love

WeddingDance

I hope you’ll forgive me for being a bit tardy.  You see, yesterday, October 14 was National Love Your Body day.  It was also the 19th anniversary of my marriage to the absolute best guy on the planet.  So it was a day with a whole lot of love in it.  And as I contemplated my lucky, love-filled life, I had some thoughts about marriage and loving and loving your body.

I think my husband would be one of the first to say, that learning to love my body proved to be a very important turning point in our marriage.   While I hated my body, I was unable to believe that anybody else could love me or my body.  Before I learned to love my body, I felt lucky that anybody would even profess to love me.  And when my husband told me he loved me and thought I was beautiful, I thought he was lying–either to me or to himself.  But as I learned to love my body, I came to accept that my husband was telling the truth–both to himself and to me.  And I still count myself lucky.  But now I feel that I’m lucky to love and be loved by somebody wonderful and kind and special.  I no longer feel like he is with me out of pity or sympathy.  I no longer believe he is with me despite my body.  I now accept that he loves ALL of me.  So of course, I feel very, very blessed.

And as I thought over our years together before we were married as well as the nearly two decades we’ve been married, I thought about the things that make a marriage work.  And I thought about how we are in many ways married to our bodies as well.  We can’t really leave our bodies (more than temporarily) while we are alive on this earth.  And while many of us live in a state of being disconnected from or even divorced from our bodies, we really only get one.  So it’s a good idea to learn how to reconnect with and even love the skin we’re in.

So with that in mind, I thought I would have a little marriage ceremony for me and my body.  Since I’ve already learned to love my body (most of the time) it’s more of a restatement of my vows, but here goes.

I Jeanette DePatie do take my body

From this day forward.

To have and to hold,

To love and to cherish,

For better or for worse,

For richer for poorer,

In sickness and in health,

Until death us do part,

Amen.

So please accept my somewhat belated wish that you had a happy Love Your Body Day.  And let me humbly suggest that you do a little restatement of vows of commitment to loving your own body–to love and cherish all the days of your life.  And let me also suggest that one of the best ways to love and cherish your body is to commit acts of radical self acceptance and love like the over 100 acts of love outlined in the new RASCAL program created by Ragen Chastain and I.  It’s a great way to spend the rest of the year loving and being kind to yourself.  We’re only accepting sign ups through THIS SUNDAY so, REGISTER HERE RIGHT NOW!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie AKA The Fat Chick

P.S.  Want me to speak to your group on Love Your Body Day or Any Day?  Click HERE to book me!

P.S.S. Want to get free stuff?  Join my mailing list RIGHT HERE!

An announcement plus Stuff that Weighs More than Me: World’s Biggest Chess Piece

IMG_0985Okay, so we have a few things to talk about today.  One is to share with you my latest entry to stuff that weighs more than me.  In the above photo, I am posing next to the world’s largest chess piece.  I encountered it completely by chance in the Central West End of St. Louis today.  I stopped for lunch and there it was, in all it’s geeky glory–a really, really giant chess piece.  I looked at my husband and he grinned as he said, “Do you want a photo for your blog?”  “Heck yeah,” I replied.  “I’m quite sure THAT weighs more than me.”

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Indeed it does.  As the above photo indicates, the chess piece is as tall as a giraffe.  And were it used in an actual game of chess, it would require a chess board measuring over 70 feet per side–large enough to park 12 school buses.  Here’s the stats:

Height: 14ft. 7in.

Width: 6 ft. at the base

Material: 3/4″ plywood

Weight: 2,280 pounds

Conclusion: whether king or pawn, the world’s largest chess piece weighs more than me.

And now for the big announcement!  I’m thrilled to report that this blog was selected as one of the 2014 Top Positive Body Image Blogs and sites by Body Bliss Central!  W00t!  With special thanks to Ragen Chastain for the nomination!

Looking forward to heading for home and sleeping in my very own bed soon!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

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