Tag Archives: running

I run because–t-shirts and food policing.

Today, while visiting my sister, I happened to look at an ad flyer for a local department store.  And guess which t-shirt was being advertised (just in time for back to school body hatred…)

CupcakeShirt1Look, I have no problem with people making their own choices.  Want to run?  Awesome, me too!  Want to eat cupcakes?  Yes, please.  I’ll have mine with extra sprinkles.  What burns my butt is the notion that we are not allowed to eat certain kinds of foods unless we do certain kinds of exercise.  What chaps my hide is the notion that we share a whopping dose of food policing and body shame as some sort of back to school special.  And by the way, this shirt was conspicuously absent from the section of the flyer advertising plus-sized clothing, junior or otherwise, because, duh.  Fat girls don’t get to eat cupcakes EVAR.

It always astonishes me that clothing buyers at these stores are so incredibly clueless that they still think this is okay–this after the controversy over the “girls can’t do math” t-shirt and the “asking Santa to bring me a new butt for Christmas pillow”.  Seriously?  Don’t these guys pay attention to social media, like ever?

This notion of fitness as punishment or penance or atonement for some sort of sinful eating is one of the reasons we have such a hard time sticking to exercise.  Rather than seeing fitness as something joyful we do because we love the way we look, we see exercise as something painful and awful we have to do because our bodies are in some way unacceptable or because we have to avoid even the slightest chance our bodies will become less acceptable in the future.  We don’t bother finding fitness that we love because we don’t feel we deserve it.  And then we are surprised when we choose not to stick with the icky, painful, punishing routine we pick for ourselves.

But in the end, this sort of body shame and food policing is unproductive, punishing and downright damaging.  It doesn’t help us feel better.  It doesn’t help us feel better about ourselves and it doesn’t help foster healthy behaviors of any kind.

So my advice is to go ahead and run for a different reason.  I’ve even immortalized it as a t-shirt.  Here ya go!

Bodyshirt2

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to speak at your school or company or organization?  Learn more HERE!

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Slugs on Hamster Wheels, Belly Flopping Corgis and Other Poster Creatures for Unselfconscious Exercise

Okay, so the video visual quality is not awesome.  But even before I saw it, the title had me giggling.  I mean “A Slug using a Running Wheel”?  Come On!  When I watched it, I laughed until tears came.  Because you know what?  That slug is not really worried about whether or not he is defying my expectations for fitness.  He’s not worried about what sort of gym clothes he should be wearing or where he will place in the all animal 5 meter sprint.  He’s just going about his business doing his thing.  He’s just cruisin’ along.

Some wonderful art from our friend at http://babbler-slimyslugfriends.blogspot.com/

And in doing my research for this blog post (by which I mean tootling around on Google this morning) I’ve learned that the humble slug is actually an athletic mascot!  Yes!  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Fighting Banana Slugs of U.C. Santa Cruz!

     

Seriously.  I want to go back to school for the express purpose of an Alma Mater with fighting Banana Slugs for a mascot.  For. Realz.

All of this reminded me of another delicious animal video on YouTube.  Check this one out:

Classic!  I love corgis and have a sweet corgi/chow chow mix at home.  (We’ve affectionately named him a chorgi!)  And I love this video.  While there is no question that this dog is out of contention for Olympic medals in high or even very low dive, there is also no question this dog is having a blast.  He’s not covered in existential angst.  He’s not worried whether the springer spaniel down the street is going to look better than him or make fun of him.  This little corgi is just having a blast and doing his thing!

dogsign1 copyAnd all of this has made me wonder.  Maybe we need some animal fitspiration in our lives.  Maybe instead of looking at photos of perfectly tan, hairless, glistening human bodies presumably in the process of working out, we should just watch some dogs and cats and chickens and dolphins frolicking, playing and having a great time.  Because when I’m looking for fitspiration, that’s what I want–examples of pure, unselfconscious, unadulterated fun!

What do you think?  Send me some links of some of  your favorite inspirational  exercising animals.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Fat and Bad Knees

naughtyknees

This ad for moisturizer suggests you use their body creme ” for sexy knees”.

One of the things I am constantly told as a fat person is that for fat people, knee pain is inevitable.  And in fact, I am told, I can expect a lifetime of “bad knees”.  Now, given my somewhat skewed view of the universe, rather than scaring me silly, the threat of “bad knees” usually make me think of an image like the one in the body cream ad above, or this silly image below:

BadKneesBut putting the silly pictures aside for a moment, I am an athlete who has had some problems with knee and leg pain my entire life.  I have been lucky enough to have some doctors who are great, but have also run into the all-too-common problem of fat-phobic doctors diagnosing me with having knees while fat.

My feet and leg problems started at birth.  When I was very young, and quite skinny, I was severely pigeon-toed.  As a result, I wore a brace with bars connecting my feet to bed every night.  It looked sort of like this:

footbraceNow I wore this brace to bed back when I was too young to untie and tie my own shoes.  I’m fairly sure that the need to get in and out of bed to go potty while wearing these things has shaped my sardonic view of the world, but I digress.

When I was in high school, and I was going through one of my thin periods, I ran track.  I ran the mile and the 2 mile races (mostly because nobody else wanted to…).  When I first started running, I had severe problems with shin splints.  Because I was thin, nobody thought that the solution was simply to tell me to lose weight.  We tried a variety of things including elaborate taping, different icing regimens and a lot of aspirins before somebody figured out that I just needed tennis shoes with a different sort of arch support.  For an investment of $25 the problem was solved.

Later in life, I suffered a few injuries.  I had a fairly severe meniscus tear in my knee as a result of leaping onto a pile of mats to adjust some audio equipment at the gym.  I also tore a ligament in my foot because I tripped on the front of my sandal and landed wrong.  Each of those injuries netted me a month or two on crutches.

So when I got midway through my most recent jaunt of marathon training, it’s not surprising that I found myself coping with some knee pain.  Luckily I had a great GP at the time who referred me to a sports medicine doctor.  He confirmed that I had a whole lot going on in the lower-extremities department.  He noted the flat feet (that I’ve had since birth) the fact that my feet pronate (also had since birth) and prescribed some custom shoe inserts and a few specific exercises I could do to strengthen my knee joint.  Problem solved.  Marathon finished.  Cheap medal and sweaty finish line photos earned.  And even though I was about the same weight then that I am now, neither my GP or my sports medicine guy gave me any flack about my weight.

444pmI didn’t realize then just how lucky I was.

Since then, I have moved and changed insurance and have had other doctors.  These doctors were not so great actually.  One of them asked about knee pain (I didn’t bring it up).  And I said, that yes, sometimes after a tough workout, my knees will be a little sore.  “Aha!” the doctor cried. “This is proof positive you need to lose weight.  If you lose weight, your knee pain will go away.  If you stay this weight your knees will hurt all the time!”

Okay.

The fact that my knees function at all, given the foot problems I was born with as well as the athletic injuries I’ve suffered is pretty amazing.  And at no point, did this doctor ask about any medical history regarding my feet, shoes, injuries, sports activities or anything else.  He simply predicted that I would be in pain as long as I was fat and that the remedy was simply to lose weight and keep it off.

Never mind that I didn’t come in there asking about knee pain.

Never mind that there is no method, and I mean NONE that is proven to be successful for long-term weight loss in most people and that even if I was one of the 5-10 percent of people who are able to lose weight and keep it off, there is no guarantee that it will do anything at all to relieve knee pain.

Never mind that there are successful methods of coping with knee pain that are widely considered effective for people of all sizes and that these methods have nothing to do with losing weight.

Nope, once this doctor diagnoses you with fat knees, the treatment is a single piece of paper with a diet on it.  According to Doctor Know-It-All, the way to fix your knee problems is, Breakfast: One egg (boiled), one piece of wheat toast (dry), one cup of coffee (black) and 4oz. orange juice, etc…

And my story is so mild compared to the other stories that I hear from folks about this subject.  People who are suffering from knee pain and told that all they have to do is lose weight and their knee pain will go away.  And they are told that their doctor won’t bother to try any other treatment for knee pain until after they lose weight.

It’s lazy and it’s unethical.

If you are coping with knee pain, there are some things you can do.  Very often, knee pain can be improved by correcting underlying muscle imbalances.  You can get help from a physical therapist or sports medicine specialist.  You can supplement this therapy with simple at-home exercises like those offered by my colleague Cinder Ernst.  Also, you may need to see a foot doctor to get custom inserts made for your shoes.  Sometimes simply switching to a good sturdy shoe with good arch support can make all the difference.

You may also find help, as I did from somebody who teaches Alexander Technique and can help you figure out what you are doing in your every day life that exacerbates your knee pain.

Exercise can really help folks coping with knee pain, but it’s important to do it the right way.  Make sure you get the help of an exercise instructor or personal trainer to make sure that you are working out in a way that strengthens and doesn’t threaten your knee joints.  I offer a few simple tips in this video.

Not all fat people have knee pain.  Not all thin people are free from knee pain.  But whatever your size, there are things you can do to protect your knees and help you cope with knee pain should it arise.  Make sure you get the help you need, and don’t let anybody scare, threaten or intimidate you by diagnosing you with having knees while fat.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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The Right Now Show 008: Fit Fatties Cross the Finish Line!

In this episode, we watch the Fit Fatties as they enjoy the final leg of their virtual journey–swimming, cycling, walking, running and dancing across the USA. Watch as they issue a new challenge to Fit Fatties Around the World!  The Fit Fatties are members of the Fit Fatties Forum created by Jeanette DePatie (www.thefatchick.com) and Ragen Chastain (www.danceswithfat.com).

Learn more and join the new challenge at http://www.fitfatties.com.  And if you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe!

Love,
Jeanette DePatie
AKA The Fat Chick