Tag Archives: the fat chick

Is Godzilla Yo-Yo Dieting?

Japanese fans are up in arms about the new Americanized Godzilla’s hefty size–citing poor diet as cause for the unwelcome change.

The trailers for the newest Godzilla film have hit American shores and has spawned some significant controversy.  It appears that Godzilla has come “under fire” not for his acting (which has been notably wooden in the past) but for his BMI.  No we are not talking about the Bad Monster Index–where Godzilla holds the undisputed title of King of the Monsters.  We are talking about the Body Mass Index.  Many are currently arguing that Godzilla is just sporting too much weight on his 350-foot high frame.  Using the current BMI, Godzilla could weigh about 750,000 pounds before he hit the dreaded “Obese” category.  Godzilla has not been forthcoming about his weight, but many Japanese fans have calculated that the hapless lizard may have stomped out of the “ideal weight” category.

“He’s so fat I laughed,” was one particularly cutting remark found on Japanese forum 2chan.  Others have referred to him as “metabozilla”, “marshmallow Godzilla” and even “pudgy and cute”.  Some have speculated that Godzilla’s size is due in part to his American diet and sedentary lifestyle.  “That’s what happens when all you do is eat Snickers bars,” said one commenter.

Much of this has led to speculation about Godzilla’s diet.  He has never been shown on screen eating (although he has ingested a nuclear reactor and seemed to absorb energy from that).  He has been seen in comic books eating raw seafood.  Most people guess that he lives largely on radiation and sushi.

It seems pretty likely that Godzilla has to eat quite a bit to sustain is 350 foot high body.  An African elephant weighs in at about 7,000 pounds and needs to eat about 500 lbs. of plant matter per day to sustain itself.  Using that same ratio, Godzilla would need to eat about 50,000 pounds of plant per day.  Now the King of Monsters might be able to absorb some of his energy via nuclear radiation.  And naturally protein sources like fish are more dense in calories than say, trees.  But I ask you, do we really want a creature that needs to eat 10,000 pounds or more of food per day to turn to a protein diet?    So far as we know, Godzilla does not eat people, yet.  But I don’t know if I want to encourage him.

But Godzilla hasn’t always been svelte.  A quick look at his film debut publicity photos in 1954 show a relatively “fluffy” monster with more of a pear-shaped figure.

There is no question that Godzilla has gotten bigger over the years.  Traditionally, the giant lizard has grown larger in proportion to the buildings he stomps around.  The Godzilla of 1954 was a mere 50 meters tall.  The newest Godzilla is over 100 meters tall and noticeably beefier:

But if you look carefully at the creature’s shape, you might notice something very interesting and somewhat familiar.  It’s even clearer if you look at this picture here:

Clearly the great monster’s shape has cycled too.  He appeared to have shed some pounds in the the MusoGogi period (1964) beefed up considerably in the BioGogi period (1989-91) gone through some sort of radical weight loss program in the Shodaijira period (1998) and bulked back up for his current appearances.  Seem familiar to you?  Seemed that way to me too.  In fact, I think Godzilla is experiencing the most common outcome of trying to stay slim.  I think the King of Monsters is weight cycling–probably from yo-yo dieting.

Now there is no way to know for sure.  As my good friend Ragen Chastain says, the only thing you can know about a fat  person (or monster) by looking at them is your own prejudices about fat people (or giant lizards).  But if our good friend Godzilla is experiencing weight cycling, he would certainly be experiencing the same thing that most people who try to lose weight experience.  Most people are able to keep some weight off for a while, but the vast majority of folks (90 percent or more) regain the weight they’ve lost and often a little more.

So this leads us to the question of what should be done about Tokyo’s most famous building-stomper.  I think if we are seriously going to spill digital ink regarding the size of a fictitious reptile who bangs buses together for fun, we should use this as a truly teachable moment.  Let’s talk about what really works in making creatures of all shapes and sizes happier and healthier.  I think the first thing we should do, is to stop trying to shame the poor creature.  There is ample evidence after all, that shame doesn’t help anybody lose weight.  I’m sure the producers at The Biggest Loser are planning epic monster battles between Godzilla and their “Monster Trainers” as we speak.  And even though the King of Monsters’ agent is probably taking calls right now from diet companies seeking his endorsement for the new “Monster Weight Loss Formula”, we should probably discourage him from falling into his old habits of dieting and weight cycling.

I recommend the same thing for Godzilla that I recommend for everybody else.  He should eat a varied diet including foods that he loves (but not including people).  He should engage in joyful and pleasurable physical activities (not too close to major cities).  In fact, I think he should try my DVD.  He should sleep well.   And he should manage his stress (again, hopefully not too close to major metropolitan areas).   At 60 years old, Godzilla is showing no signs of slowing.  If he follows these simple recommendations, he’s likely to stay happy and healthy for many years to come.  Which is good.  Because I freakin’ LOVE this guy.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

CEO: Every BODY Can Exercise.com

 

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In EPIC Wardrobe Malfunction, Target Creates Thigh Gap by Removing Young Woman’s Lady Bits

Close up of gruesome wardrobe malfunction. EEEK!

In it’s quest to ensure that all its models are sporting an appropriate thigh-gap,  Target PhotoShop artists appear to have removed a junior model’s vagina altogether.  The image was pointed out by several watchdog groups and blogs not only for it’s garish wardrobe malfunction, but also for the fact that it appears the junior model in question may have also been mutated into an alien creature with a very long torso and very long arms, best seen in the larger version of the photo here:

The photographic evidence of Target’s tampering have since gone viral and Target has issued an “apology” stating:

“In response to your query about the swimsuit image on Target.com, this was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize. We have removed the image from our Web site,” a company spokesman said. Asked how the mistake occurred, “It was the result of a photo editing error on our part.”

Which leaves me with a few things to say to our friends at Target.  First of all, in your “apology” I have to say that I don’t think that word means what you think it means.  Sure, your PhotoShop guy or gal messed up.  I can certainly understand how that happened.  I doubt that it’s some sort of malicious protest on the part of the graphic designer as some have suggested.  I really don’t imagine that some designer wanted to point out the brutality inherent in the system of PhotoShopping images by blatantly messing up and releasing a picture.  I’ve produced websites and games and DVDs.  I understand that stuff slips through the cracks.  That poor graphic artist is probably not being paid less per hour than your minimum wage checkers and is probably working 80 hours per week on “salary” in a web sweat shop somewhere.  And the junior manager or producer doing Quality Control on those images is probably working just as hard and not getting paid very well either.  And if anybody gets fired over this whole mess, it will probably be them.

Apology? Hmmm. Maybe not.

But I’m sorry to say Target, that you apologized for the wrong thing.  Don’t apologize to me that a graphic artist messed up and released a photo that makes it blatantly obvious that you drastically altered a young woman’s body to convince 12-year old girls that they need to be seven feet-tall, size 00 and have a thigh gap that could hold a soccer ball.  Don’t apologize to me that you got caught.  Apologize to me for feeling the need to PhotoShop these images this way in the first place.  Apologize to me for altering photos to create impossible beauty ideals to products aimed at 12-year-old girls in an environment where hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under 12 are up 119% (see Pinhas et. al.)  Apologize to me for being so certain that your model needs to sport a thigh gap, a trendy body trait that is nearly impossible to maintain for all but a microscopic percentage of the human race, that you were willing to graphically stretch her on the rack and excise critical bits of her anatomy to accomplish it.  (You could consider the techniques shown in the video below.  These are kinda cool actually.)

Target, you make me sad.  I adore your wide, bright aisles and fun POP displays.  I love your colorful and fun, yet generally affordable housewares, camping gear and sporting goods.  But this has GOT to stop.  It’s time for you to retract your fake apology and give us a real one.  Then tell us how you are going to stop digitally dissecting the already beautiful bodies of your models to sell us a dose of unreality we just shouldn’t have to swallow.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Don’t miss out on another day of body loving, booty shaking fun!  Join me here.

Because I’m Happy…

I think one of the most difficult barriers I’ve encountered on my journey towards self acceptance is the constant barrage of input telling me that people in larger bodies can’t really be “happy”.  In stark contrast to the “fat and jolly” stereotype is the notion that all fat people are unhappy deep down.  And this information is everywhere.  From our television and magazine advertising to barroom pop psychology to well meaning friends and relatives, it seems like a lot of people are pretty sure I would be a lot happier if I would just lose weight.

“But I am pretty happy,” I tell folks. Their reply, “Not really.  If you were really happy you wouldn’t be fat.”  Sigh…  One of the pieces of prejudice I find most daunting is the notion that all people who are fat are eating to compensate for some life deficiency.  Either we were sexually abused as children, or didn’t get enough love at some stage or are facing some buried psychological trauma.  “It’s not your fault you’re fat,” they state, while patting you on the head.  “We just need to fix what is broken with you emotionally, and the weight will just flow off your body.”

Think I’m making this up?  No lie, when I was getting one of my fitness certifications, one of the teachers pulled out a magic marker and headed towards the big paper pad she was using to sketch out the “fitness wisdom” she had to impart.  She drew a picture of a fat person (small oval over big round body–it was no Monet).  Then she drew another circle inside the fat tummy circle.  “Fat people have a hole in their lives,” she stated.  “There is something missing inside them that they attempt to stuff full with food.”

hollowfatpersonI was mortified.  And I was pissed.  This clearly wasn’t in any of the written materials that she or we had received with the course.  This teacher was just making this stuff up and stating it as fact in a training course that is designed to train people to teach exercise to other people.

But most of the extremely thin people in the room simply nodded their heads knowingly and accepted it as fat fact.  Along with this notion is the notion that if we lose weight, if we become visibly and socially acceptably skinny, all our problems will melt away and we will finally be happy.  This idea is so pervasive that people spend billions of dollars in pursuit of the happiness level of thinness.  I believed it.  I got thin.  For a little while after a ridiculous diet that made me very sick, I was thin.  And I waited for the happy.  And waited.  And waited…

There was some euphoria over increased clothes shopping opportunities.  There was some afterglow from the constant validation and encouragement I got about how much better I looked.  (Although there was also frankly a lot of pissed off wondering what people thought about how I looked before.)  But did I experience magical, mystical happy–smiling while eating a salad, orgasmic swooning over eating yogurt happy?  I’d have to say that never arrived.

Oh God, I think I’m… AHHHHHHH!

And now that I’ve lived and loved in a fat body for a while, I can say I’ve found a modicum of relatively reliable happy.  Am I happy all the time?  Nope.  Do I swoon over yogurt?  What, are you kidding?  But I’m pretty happy most of the time.

That is why I was so very, VERY excited to see this music video by Pharrell Williams and what seems to be half the population of Los Angeles.  Take a look. I’ll wait…

Honestly, this music video is what got me on this whole subject with you in the first place.  First of all, I have to apologize.  This great song is likely to leave you with an earworm that lasts for days.  Sorry about that.  But on the upside here we have a video with lots and lots of people who are boogying down and singing about being happy.  And remarkably none of these people look the same.  There are kids, young people, middle aged people and old people.  There are men and women.  There are single people and families.  There are people who are extremely mobile and some who are less mobile.  There are people of all different colors.  There are thin people, fat people and in-betweenies.  They all look happy as hell, and there is not one single carton of yogurt or salad in the entire music video!

Happy2

The video is actually compiled from a much bigger project called 24 Hours of Happy.  Go check out the website.  It’s the coolest!  I’ll wait.  The website contains a 24-hour long music video to this song compiled by Pharrell and his team. I have absolutely no idea how much raw footage they shot, but I imagine it must have been epic.  The net result is a web-based clock.  At any given moment, you can click in and watch Angelinos of all stripes shaking their thing.

Aside from being a super cool project, the thing I love about this is that it helps demonstrate an idea.  Happy doesn’t look the same on everybody.  You don’t have to be a particular color or size or shape to be happy.  You don’t have to be young.  You don’t have to be thin.  You don’t have to eat dairy products of any kind.  But it is still possible for you to be happy.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Privilege and wealth and security and a lot of other things can certainly make happy easier.  And there is absolutely no doubt that the rampant discrimination that accompany fat stigma can make it much harder to find happy.  But I do know that I found it extremely helpful on my journey to learn that happy was at least possible at any size.  It made it much easier for me to fight for happy for myself and for all my fat brothers and sisters.

So I will continue to blog, because, I’m happy…

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. If you like, you can join in the happy RIGHT HERE.

Love (for yourself) is in the Air

Aside from being the week of the Winter Games, here in the U.S. it’s also the week of Valentine’s Day.  It’s a week to think about love.  And I would suggest, it’s a week to start loving yourself.

Now I understand.  Yet another discussion about loving ourselves is enough to trigger a Stuart Smalley marathon viewing party.

But I have to confess that this past week, I came across an extraordinary video that once again got me thinking about what it really means to love ourselves.  I’d like  you to meet Sanah Javani, an extraordinary young woman who is coping with a disease that has caused her to lose all her hair.  In this extraordinary video, Sanah recounts a little bit about what life was like for her when she started wearing a wig and how the other kids bullied her.  She talks a little about years of agony and shame and self harming.  But out of this experience, Sanah has decided to found “Natural Day”–a day to celebrate the fact that we are beautiful just the way we are.  Why not take a look?

“I want girls to live their lives in freedom.  And I want girls to love themselves the way they are.  And I want girls to not suffer with eating disorders or cutting.  I just want them to accept themselves.  So on natural day, I am challenging girls all around the world to go without makeup and to love themselves for a day.”

Mature?  Yup.  Amazing?  She sure is!  Natural Day is the day before Valentine’s Day–February 13, 2014, and I plan to scrub my face clean and stand strong beside Sanah.  I don’t usually wear a lot of makeup anyways, but I have to admit that a day without mascara and a little bit of lip gloss has me feeling a tiny bit anxious.  But that’s an even greater reason to do it, right?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about love in general and about how difficult it can be to apply the kind of love we share with other people to ourselves.  When people we love are hurting, we care for them.  When we truly love people, we don’t berate them 24 hours per day.  We don’t keep repeating the things we don’t like about them as a mantra all day long.  We support them.  We cut them some slack.  We give them a break.

But how often do we fail to show ourselves even this simple kind of love?  How often do we berate ourselves internally, all day long, about the size of our thighs?  How often do we cut ourselves some slack?   When do you give yourself a break?  And why are we so terrified, that if people see the real us, unadorned, without control-top panty hose or self tanning lotion or hair extensions or a little bit of makeup, that they won’t like us any more?  Why does “natural day” seem like such a scary idea?  I’m not really entirely sure. But I hope to find out.  And of course, my dear readers, I’ll let you know.

Love, Jeanette (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)

What is a “healthy weight”?

I have to admit I was taken aback when I was named one of “Healthy Weight Week’s Top-35 Healthy Weight Blogs”.  I am actually aware of “Healthy Weight Week” from many years back.  I know that Francie Berg started “Healthy Weight Week” 25 years ago in an effort to change the dialog from weight (a number on a scale) to health (decidedly not a number on a scale).  This is part of Francie’s program which includes the annual “Slim Chance Awards” which chronicles some of the dumbest, most dangerous and least likely weight loss schemes of the year.

While I am firmly behind the notion of moving away from the number on the scale as an indicator of health, and I am deeply gleeful at the notion of poking fun at some of the most ridiculous diet schemes of the year (and the epic race to the bottom that THAT entails), I have to admit a fair amount of discomfort about putting the words “healthy” and “weight” together in any given sentence.  While I think the spirit of the week is a really great thing, the name of the event still seems to imply that there is a particular “healthy weight” for each person to be.  And I think that this notion is both simplistic and dangerous.

Because, you know what?  There is no magic number.  There is not a spot on the dial of the scale that, once attained, will make you immortal or even impervious to health problems or pain or sickness.  Even if you reach that number using Health At Every Size(R) techniques or intuitive eating or super fun physical activity plans.  Even if  you attain this place by deep meditation and perfect self-love (as if that even exists) and flowers and love and light.  There is no number on the scale that will make you perfectly happy or well-adjusted or even sane.  It’s just a number on the scale.  There is no perfect weight.

And there is no perfect health.  Nobody is in “perfect health”.  We’re all crumbling away–sometimes gradually and sometimes precipitously–towards our eventual demise.  I’m sorry to be a little bit morbid.  But I think that this notion of “perfect health” is something we need to put to bed right now.  I mean right this very minute.

There are many ways to define health.  Just as there are many ways to define Health At Every Size (R).  But I favor a definition that sees health as a continuum rather than a condition.  I think moving away from health is moving in a direction where we are less able to take advantage of our current physical condition to enjoy the things we love the most.  Moving towards health is living in a way that allows us to take greater advantage of our current physical condition and squeeze more of the things we love the most out of the remainder of our lives.  It doesn’t sound super sexy.  I sincerely doubt it will sell a lot of tennis shoes or create a great bumper sticker.  However, I think this definition of health allows everybody a spot at the table.  It doesn’t separate the haves from the have-nots.  It defines health in a way that can you can keep with you for your entire life.

This is particularly important in my work as a fitness instructor.  I work with many people who are coping with many levels of physical challenges.  From joint difficulties, to disease, to chronic pain conditions to plain old aging, many of my students and readers find it difficult to identify themselves as “healthy” as it is commonly understood.  And for many of my students, the notion of “perfect health” seems so remote that it might as well be another planet.  And this distance from the notion of “perfectly healthy” can be extremely demoralizing.  “How can I even start?” or “Why bother?” they ask.

And that’s why I choose to talk about health in terms of a continuum.  I tell them, “If we can do five minutes together today, we are going to ROCK those five minutes.  We are going to count it as a success and then we are going to do a booty dance of victory to celebrate!”  Because even though five minutes of exercise can’t move them to a “perfect weight” or “perfect health”,  it can move them towards a life that contains a little more energy and allows them to fit in a little more awesome.  Even as their teacher I am neither a perfect weight nor am I in perfect health.  However, my life contains a significant amount of awesome that I am happy to share.  And to me, helping your life contain even just a little more awesome is a worthy goal.

So, I am deeply honored and deeply grateful that I have been selected as one of the unfortunately-named but super-well-intentioned “Top 35 Healthy-Weight blogs”, because it gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts on this very important topic with you.  And I thank you, as always, for listening.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. If you’re interested in a fitness challenge tailored to your specific body and capabilities, I’d like to invite you to consider the Fit Fatties Virtual Events and Decathlon.  We’ve got all kinds of events both traditional (1 Mile Walk/Run/Roll, triathlon, 10 mile bike ride) and extremely non-traditional (romp with your kids or your dogs, engage in cheesy dance moves, shovel snow out of your driveway, tromp around a museum).  Join in the fun!

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Searching for Reality among the Dummies

So this week, American Apparel hit the news again with some brand new mannequins.  Apparently they are causing quite a stir because THESE mannequins are sporting prominent nipples and a prodigious crop of pubic hair.  Now some folks have applauded American Apparel for showing women that are more “realistic”.  But I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree.

These mannequins are completely in line with everything else I’ve seen from American Apparel.  It seems that their ads are not only focused on women as sex objects, but I’ve always felt that there was a gritty, DIY Internet porn, especially inelegant focus on women as sex objects.

In any case, I see very little here that makes these mannequins look more like real women.  They are still all the same size and shape.  They are still very tall and impossibly willowy.  They still portray a body that would probably be unlikely to bear children or even menstruate.  Nope.  What I see here is a dirty little boy with a magic marker drawing pictures on his sister’s dollies just to get attention.

And it’s gotten plenty of attention.  Which I am quite sure was the point.  The sad thing is that there are others making a real effort to make mannequins look more like real people.  There was THIS post I did a while back, about a shop in Sweden making more realistic mannequins.  And then there’s this video.  It portrays special mannequins being created from some very unlikely models.  The video is beautiful.  Please watch.  I’ll wait.

I can’t say everything about that video is perfect either.  But I can say that it seems a whole lot closer to the sort of work towards inclusiveness that we need in this space.  I’d love to see a mannequin that shows how clothing looks on a short, modified hourglass with apple shaped tummy body rather than the plus-sized mannequins that are 7 ft. tall  with perfectly flat stomachs.

And how does all of this relate to fitness?  I think so many people go into exercise trying to look like those bodies in the Macy’s store windows.  So many of us have spent years not working at FITNESS (being fit, being able to do certain things that we’d really like to do), but rather working at “FitThis” (being able to fit this pair of jeans, this image, be accepted by this crowd).  And so what?  Is there something wrong with having fitness aspirations for having a “better body”?  The thing is that for most people, physical fitness does not create an overly dramatic shift in the way their body appears.  Only a very small percentage of genetically gifted folks are even physically capable of sporting a visible “six pack” or “eight pack”.  Exercise doesn’t change your body’s bony structure.  It doesn’t make you taller.  And for most of us, it doesn’t make you significantly thinner.  The problem with aspirational “FitThis” is that it takes our attention away from what exercise is very likely to accomplish in our lives (better sleep, better health, better mood, better self esteem, better sex, better sleep…) and focuses our attention on an area where exercise is a lot less likely to succeed.  It sets us up for unrealistic expectations.  It sets us up to fail.

MannequinMe

So I’d like to encourage you to put yourself into your elegant, pricey, fitness store, right at the front, behind the huge glassy windows.  See yourself, happy, healthy and feeling fabulous as the epitome of what you are hoping to accomplish.  Because you are amazing.  You are inspiring.  And you are the ones who keep me doing what I do.

Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want some more amazing real life inspiration?  Check out what we’re doing with the Fit Fatties Virtual Event and Decathlon!  We’ve already had our first decathlete!  And there are some truly amazing pictures including our recent 5K finisher who walked the beach with her son and met Santa (an honorary Fit Fatty), a woman who lifted literally a TON of weight wearing jammy pants and lots more gorgeous happy people.  Sign yourself on up!