Tag Archives: supermodel

For People Who Hate Exercise (continued)

I promised I would write more about this topic and here we go.  I have you six reasons people hate exercise in my previous post, and I’m giving you six more to get to an even dozen. You know–like donuts. 

Okay here we go:

7.  I don’t look like an exerciser:  Many of us have allowed media and popular culture to give us a pretty skewed idea of how exercisers look.  We imagine tanned, perfectly sculpted bodies, in perfectly coordinated fitness gear, presented in moodily lit settings.  Sure there’s a few people who look like that when they exercise, but most of them are at professional photo shoots or advertising/modeling agencies.  In fact, exercisers come in all shapes and sizes and colors and clothes.  Want to see what I mean?  Check out the amazing photos of folks on the Fit Fatties Forum.  There’s people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities working out in everything from their stylish Flying Rhinos shirts to lifting weights in pyjamas. 

8.  I can’t find gear in my size:  Finding exercise gear for larger bodies can certainly be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.  You can find plus-sized exercise gear for everything from dance to diving in sizes up to 5 or 6X at Junonia.  Other plus-sized options include Old Navy, Just My Size, Walmart and many others.  And don’t assume that you are too big to do certain things, find out.  I’ve seen posts from people on the Fit Fatties Forum saying things like: I thought I was too big to ride horses, but it turns out I just needed to find a bigger horse.  Or I didn’t know somebody my size could scuba dive, but I found a company that takes out plus-sized divers and rents plus-sized dive suits.

9.  I’ve tried exercise lots of times and it didn’t make me thin.  So why bother?  I’ve heard this one lots of times.  And the truth is that in many cases, exercise won’t make you thin.  In fact this is one of the number one reasons I’m so annoyed with all of the advertising that implies that if you buy this exercise product, take this boot camp class or do this DVD you’re going to look like a supermodel.  Because chances are, you won’t.  That said, there are a million other reasons to exercise.  It helps you feel better.  It helps you sleep better.  It helps keep you from getting sick.  It helps your mood.  It helps you manage stress.  It helps you have a better sex life.  It helps you live longer.  It helps you maintain a better quality of life.  Seriously, do I need to go on here.  Exercise may not make you look like a rock star, but exercise still ROCKS!

10.  Exercise is expensive:  Exercise can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  You can shell out less than $100 on a good pair of sneakers and have everything you need to begin a walking program.  Lots of communities have low cost classes offered by the city or the county.  Other organizations like the YMCA and YWCA offer classes on a sliding scale based on income and offer babysitting services.  Lots of churches offer classes for a small fee or even for free.  There are tons and tons of free exercise videos available online on YouTube and other sites.
11.  I am too busy to exercise:  Not having time is the number one reason that people cite for not exercising.  And I get it.  We’re all busy.  And as I’ve said before, NOBODY IS OBLIGATED MORALLY OR OTHERWISE TO EXERCISE.  It’s your body and your life and you are allowed to prioritize your life in any way that you like.  However, I submit that few things in life offer the the same bang for the buck or the same reward per minute as exercise.  You can see serious life benefits from exercise in as few as 15 minutes per day.  The most commonly recommended level for exercise is only 150 minutes per week.  How many minutes per day do you spend checking email or social networking sites?  How about watching TV or sitting in traffic?  You might be able to carve time out for exercise if you are creative!  Can you go for a walk after work and let the traffic die down before you drive home?  Here in LA, waiting an hour to leave sometimes gets me home at the exact same time as if I had left right away.  Can you walk to your lunch place instead of driving?  If you want to work exercise into your day, you might be surprised at some of the ways you can find the time.
12.  People harass me when I exercise:  I am sad to say that plus sized exercisers are sometimes harassed.  People yell things from the street.  Teachers single fat exercisers out as poster children for good or for ill.  People get eggs thrown at them.  It is really, really awful.  Some people choose to exercise at home for this reason.  Some seek size-friendly gyms and organizations.  In my experience, the local Y or a church or community center may be more friendly that a megagym or fancy fitness center.  But this is not always the case.  Or you may choose to join forces with other fat activists to create safe spaces.  You might want to join our  upcoming fat activism conference if you’d like to learn more!  And of course the Fit Fatties Forum offers lots of help and advice for dealing with that kind of nonsense.
So that’s that!  Now that you’ve read all this stuff, you still might hate exercise.  And that’s okay because you are the boss of you.  But you may discover that you really just hate some aspect of exercise.  And if that’s the case, hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas about how to work over, around and through those exercise obstacles.
Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick

The Unwritten Sports Stat: Female Athletes Must Be Gorgeous

A friend forwarded me a link to an interesting article in the Guardian about how female athletes fear that how they look may outrank how well they perform in terms of their careers as sportswomen.    The article chronicles the results of a major study commissioned by BT Sport.  The study was commissioned after the 2012 Olympics partly in response to Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Adlington’s very public admissions about body insecurity after the games.  The study included over 100 elite female British athletes.

To those of us who study body image questions, it’s probably not that surprising that 89 percent of the athletes polled felt that they could relate to insecurity about body image.  67 percent felt that the public and the media valued their personal physical appearance over their athletic prowess, and over 70 percent said that it affected their diet and training regimes.  Let’s take a moment to ponder here.  We are talking about professional athletes who make their living from the capabilities of their bodies who are making training decisions based at least in part on how they will look in their singlet.  It makes you wonder if their performance might have been even better if they could allow their training and nutrition to be focused exclusively on what pushes their bodies to their best performance.

I have written before about the fact that I love the Olympics with a big old passion.  I have also expressed before, my deep disappointment over how we could spend time skewering the very best Olympic gymnast for the quality of her hairdo, or why we need to make Olympic uniforms look like outfits for cheerleaders.  (Another group of highly trained athletes that are hypersexualized to the point of ridiculousness.)  And don’t even get me started on Olympics advertising that looks like softcore porn.

And we’re not just talking about Olympians here.  Anyone from tennis stars to golfers are expected to look runway perfect these days.  Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about our Fit Fatty Virtual Events this year.  It allows you to complete all kinds of fabulous physical activities wearing what you want, wherever you want and on your terms.  We have had several incredibly inspired entrants who have completed significant tasks wearing pajamas.  We have had entrants complete events and perform community service simultaneously.  We have met Santa Claus on a 5K and performed epic, family-style, living room dance parties with kids of all ages.

Because Ragen and I are crazy enough to believe that physical activities should be about moving your body and having fun.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

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.


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!