Tag Archives: sleep

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)

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Time for a Little Self Care

Coming off a very busy week after an incredibly busy weekend hosting the first annual Fat Activism Conference.  Over 30 hours of content with over 40 speakers in 3 days!  Followed by two days this week of meetings and proposals and general running around regarding the next projects to come down the pike.  I’m so excited!  But…

But I’m continually surprised by how long I really need to recover from some of these things.  Sure, I took a day off after a very intense weekend like I had.  I knew I’d be tired for at least a day.  But after age 40 after going like crazy for a week and not really getting any good sleep, I kinda have to remember that one day of resting up just might not do the trick.

At the end of yesterday’s meetings and running around, I found myself spent.  Like eat a PB&J for supper and sleep in my clothes spent.  And I’ve decided that today, I would finally listen to the messages my body is screaming at me and take a little break.

Maybe I will get a massage.  Maybe I’ll fit in some time for meditation or maybe just a nap.  For sure I’m going to take time to find myself something wonderful to eat–something that nourishes my body and my soul.  Because helping to change the world, even a little tiny bit, is a whole lot of work.  And we have to remember that caring for others requires that we have energy.  And having energy means that we have to have time and space for self care.

It’s like the old adage about the airplane oxygen mask.  Make sure your mask is secure before you start helping other people with them.  It’s not about being selfish.  It’s about understanding that your effectiveness to help may be severely diminished if you are flopped over on the seat, gasping for air like a fish.

I am incredibly inspired by the speakers I heard this past weekend.  I feel more motivated than ever to do the work that needs to be done to make the world a safer and better place for people of all races, ages, shapes, sizes, types and abilities.  But this work will not be done in a day or a week.  It won’t even be done in a year or a decade.  So I’m going to stare at puppies and take a long nap.  I’m going to eat something fabulous and listen to awesome music and dance in my undies.  I am going to do what I need to do to rebuild my energy and gird my loins.  So I am once again ready to fight the good fight.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Loving Your Body by Listening to Your Body

listening

I’ve been married for nearly 20 years, and that’s quite a while.  If I’ve learned anything over this past 20 years about relationships, it’s this–if you love somebody you have to take time to listen to them.  Sure, it’s important to buy each other presents, and show affection.  And yeah, sex is pretty important too.  But few things are as important as taking time to really hear what your partner has to say.

Today is Love Your Body Day, and I think that’s wonderful.  It’s a day which encourages us to celebrate the bodies we have as they are.  It’s a day which encourages us to put diets aside and to spend at least 24 hours not comparing ourselves to unrealistic media ideals of bodies and not beating ourselves up for failing to “measure up”.

But I think we can take this relationship with our bodies a little further than failing to beat ourselves up.  And I think one of the most important things we can do to show our bodies love is to learn to listen to them.

Our bodies are mysterious and magical and wondrous.  So much of it works without our having to think consciously about it at all.  Our hearts beat, and breathing happens.  Our stomachs digest food and our bodies break it into nutrients that fuel movements both conscious and unconscious.  But for things that we need to do consciously like find food and move our limbs, and lay down to sleep our bodies have a very sophisticated built-in wiring system intricately connected with our brains.  And if we become attuned to that wiring system, we can learn so much about what our bodies need.

So many of us have learned to be frustrated by the fact that our bodies get hungry.  But I for one, am deeply grateful for it.  I am a busy person who is easily distracted.  Were it not for hunger, I think I might find myself stranded on the side of the road somewhere completely out of fuel and without roadside assistance.  Luckily, I get hungry often and in no uncertain terms.  So even if I find it really annoying, I find that I have to take the time to find food on the regular.  What’s more, I find that if I take the time to listen, my body is pretty specific about what food it wants.  The more carefully I listen to my body, the more attuned I am to what nutrients I am lacking and what foods might best top off my nutritional tank.  Sometimes my body craves carrots and sometimes (well most of the time) it craves chocolate.  And it seems the more carefully that I follow my body’s menu choices (rather than my brain’s dictates about what I should eat) the better I feel.  And when I really listen to what my body wants to eat, and give in by eating precisely as much of those things as my body wants, I am rewarded.  My body feels warm, wonderful and satisfied.

Another area where I’m learning to finally listen to my loud-talking body is in movement.  Our bodies are capable of amazing abilities to move through space.  Not only can we walk across a room or catch a ball without thinking about it, but we can also hike and swim in the ocean and dance.  And this is another place where the highly sophisticated wiring in our bodies has a lot to tell us.  If I sit too long, my body protests.  My back and knees stiffen.  I feel pain in my head and neck.  On the other hand, if I move too much or too long or in a way that is too intense for my current fitness level, my body sends me messages of pain and fatigue.  Now just like hunger, pain and fatigue can be deeply annoying.  My schedule may convince my conscious mind that it does not want to get up and move or it may not want to stop moving or it may find it extremely inconvenient to sleep.  Thankfully, my body sends signals that are difficult to ignore and I try to find ways to meet my body’s demands by moving or resting or sleeping.  And when I get this right, my body rewards me.  I feel a lightness in my limbs and a glowing sense of energy when I am well-exercised and well rested.

Our bodies strive for something that is so difficult for us to achieve in modern life–balance.  Our bodies tell us when we are eating more food than we need or not enough.  Our bodies tell us when we need more broccoli, and when we need buns.  Our bodies tell us when to leap and when to laugh and when to rest and when to run.  And when I listen, truly listen, to my body, it sings.  The energy flows through me and I feel a hum that runs from my toes to the top of my head.  That’s what it feels like to be in a loving relationship with my body.  It feels wonderful. It’s enough to make me strive to make every day love my body day.

Love,

Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

Desires–What I Wanna

I LOVE jammie time!

I LOVE jammie time!

Not all cravings are for food.  Sure, chocolate chip cookies are important, but there are other things in life.  And in learning to listen to what my body wants to eat, I am learning to broaden the question and listen to the other things my body wants.

At some point every day, my body craves rest.  Especially since I am such an early riser, there comes a point where my body wants to just curl up somewhere under a nice blankie and get some sleep. And it feels so good!  I love, love, love my jammies.  In fact when my friend and super talented photographer Kelly Varner came over to take some pictures, we went through the closet to look for some clothes.  When she saw my collection of PJs she laughed and said, “you have a lot of pajamas!”  To which I replied, “of course!  Jammies are awesome!”  At some point in the evening, I’ve been known to shout out, “What time is it?”  To which my husband has learned the Pavlovian retort, “It’s jammie time!”  At which point I’ve been known to burst into my own version of “Jammie Time” which is based on “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.  I’ve even got a special little song I sing when I slip into a bed made with clean sheets fresh out of the dryer.

Sometimes, I really just crave some time alone.  I want to shut the door and shut out the world.  I want to read or surf the net or display my wrath via computer games and I don’t want to talk to anybody or be with anybody.  Sometimes I crave company.  Sometimes I want to talk to somebody and sometimes, I just want to go to the coffee shop and sit in a room with a bunch of strangers–just to be somewhere other than my room all by myself.

Sometimes I feel the need to go out into the world and sing and dance and play with others.  Sometimes I want to walk or bike or stretch or shake my groove thing.  And sometimes I need to withdraw from the world and be outside and be with nature.  Sometimes I want to shut off my phone and simply look at some clouds or some trees or the ocean.

My point is that there are many, many kinds of cravings in my life.  Some of these cravings involve food.  Many do not.  But I find that when I am ignoring cravings in one area of my life, other cravings tend to intensify.  If I’m craving alone time but find I can’t get it, I find myself craving more sleep.  If I’m craving sleep, but can’t get it, I find myself craving sweet or starchy foods.  When I’m feeling the need to go out and dance and shout and shake my groove thing and can’t do it, I crave shopping for new things.  I have learned that there are many “displacements” for when I ignore the underlying cravings in my life.  And I have learned that my life works better when I can find a way to satisfy the underlying cravings rather than the displacement cravings.  Now life being what it is, I can’t always get whatever I want whenever I want it.  And I’m a little old to flop down on the floor of the local grocery store to have a kicking and screaming tantrum.  But even when I can’t have what I want, I find it helpful to know what it is.  And I’ve found it helpful to make peace with the replacement cravings too.  They are all part of me and it’s all good.  It’s all good.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Right Now Show Episode 005: The Big Fat Cookie Cycle

In Episode 005 of the Right Now Show, we explore the cycle of dieting, deprivation and desperation that I have dubbed “The Big Fat Cookie Cycle”.  Learn a few reasons why dieting typically fails and why the Health At Every Size(R) approach seems to be so much more successful.

Here are some important references offering more information on Health At Every Size:

The Fat Chick Works Out! Book and DVD

The Association for Size Diversity and Health

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight

Big Fat Stats

And finally, if you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe at: http://www.youtube.com/jeanettedepatie.

Thanks so much!

Love,
Jeanette
AKA The Fat Chick
http://www.thefatchick.com

Love Your Body Week TRAVEL Edition (sigh…)

funny-elephantBaby elephant metaphor day 2.  Yup, last night and this morning’s travel kicked my butt.  Not gonna lie to you.  Started out in Harrisburg, PA at around 6PM EST last night and finally got to my home in my bed at 4:00 AM PST (That’s 7AM EST) this morning.  Wanted to get up early but was feeling like that little elephant guy in the picture up there, with my head under the pillows, saying, “I don’t wanna get up and you can’t make me!”  That, my dear friends is why you are getting The Fat Chick Sings After Dark Edition.

I was really pleased and proud of the way I got through things last night though.  I got through the first leg of my trip okay and landed at Washington Dulles right on time.  Our flight for LA boarded on time and we just got settled into our seats when we heard an announcement.

The pilot told us there was an issue on the plane but they thought they could get a deferment.  He said that the deferment would probably take about 30 to 60 minutes.  I was bummed but determined to just stay calm and make the best of it.  Ten minutes later the pilot made another announcement.  He said that he was told the deferment, if we could get it at all, would take much longer.  So they found another plane we could take to LAX.  Unfortunately it was a long way away in another terminal.  A lot of people groaned and complained, but again, I resolved to make the best of it.

We hiked the 15 minutes to the other plane, and as we went a lot of people were still angry and complaining.  But I KNOW it could have been so much worse.  A lot of people in the last 3 or 4 days have faced delays of 10, 12 or even 24 hours.  In the past, people have been trapped in their plane on the runway for 2, 3 or even over 4 hours while repairs or mechanical adjustments were made.  So  I decided to see this as a minor setback and a chance to stretch my legs.  After about a 40 minute wait, we all boarded the new plane (in exactly the same seat configuration) and soon got underway.  All in all, we arrived about 50 minutes late into LAX.  It was pushing 2AM by time I got my bags.  But I got back to my husband safe and sound, and all was good with the world.

So many times I have faced situations like this with anger and frustration.  So many times in the past I have cursed and muttered and fretted. But this time I made a special effort to be calm and to make the best of it.  And you know what? It really did make things better.  There were plenty of people around me who were plenty angry.  But they didn’t arrive in LA even one minute sooner than I did.  In fact, the trip probably seemed a lot longer to those folks who were really mad.

So I took that as my karmic lesson for yesterday.  I decided to take a deeeeeeep breath and just roll with it.  This is one of my real-life resolutions for this year, and I think it’s a good one.  So what do you think? How do you cope with life’s copious pain-in-the-butt moments? I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or stories.

By the way, The Fat Chick’s internal clock is infernally messed up right now.  Expect schedule changes from my usual posting times for blogs, videos, The Right Now Show and hours of consciousness. There are will be no meal vouchers or refunds available.  Thank you for your patience.  That is all.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. Speaking of travel, the Fit Fatties are aiming for Vegas baby!  Help us gather those few hundred miles needed to get us to Sin City by Friday.  Click here to learn more!

Tucking Myself In

sleepyTruth be told, I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep.  So I’m writing my blog tonight, turning in nice and early and planning to get up when my body says it’s time to get up.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been caught up in the pre-holiday frenzy and I’ve been staying up late.  For most people, this isn’t a big problem.  But when you’re an early riser, like a 4:30 or 5:00 A.M. early riser, going to bed after midnight is problematic.

So tonight, I plan to engage in a little self care.  I’m finishing up my blog.  I’m taking a bath.  I’m putting on the comfy jammies.   I’m drinking a glass of warm milk.  I’m telling myself a story.  And then I’m tucking myself in for the night.

Because you know what?  I’m finding that just like a small child, when I don’t get enough sleep, I get cranky.  I get irritable.  I find myself inching ever closer to a total meltdown in the candy aisle at Target.  So before I throw a complete and utter tantrum and get taken out of the store and told to wait in the car, I’m taking a little preemptive action and going the heck to bed.  I choose not to be another one of those drivers on the California highways who is perpetually running late, engaging in complex multitasking, frustrated, angry and focusing on everything but the road.  I’m setting my intention tonight and catching some ZZZzzzs so I feel inclined to make a space and wave for other cars to merge in front of me while I sing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs.

I’m making space for an awesome day tomorrow, by simply putting things aside and crashing tonight.  *YAAAaaaawn*  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Nighty night.

Love,

The Fat Chick

By the way, interested in getting a little extra help as you plan your fitness efforts for the new year?  Why not join one of the special fitness groups on the Fit Fatties Forum?  Ragen and I are creating four special groups to help you get and stay fit.  See you there!