My wife got me a $100 folding work out bench for the holidays from Amazon. I have a set of adjustable dumbells that I got her 3 Christmses ago that I use. My wife and I are now working out three nights a week. I pulled a few exercises from online. I chose one exercise for each muscle group I want to work on. I did this three times so that the times we work out in one week each one is different. So far it is doing us well. We help inspire each other. I jog on the other nights when I can squeeze in the half hour of time to run uptown for 20 blocks and come back.
This fat girl found herself signing up for the gym last summer, much to her surprise. She realized that if she actually wanted to exercise in such a place, she had to pretend she was "one of those people who go to a gym" long before she actually was one of those people who go to a gym.
It felt like such an audacious act, signing up for a gym. Like, how dare she? She wasn't one of those people, after all.
But then she got there and looked around and noticed that by far the majority of the people there were not young, lean, hard-bodied, intimidating specimens of perfection. The bodies she saw came in every flavor of size, age, shape, and fitness level. And everyone was doing their thing, not really paying much attention to the new fat girl who walked in and bumbled around trying to figure it out.
She is still surprised to find herself going to the gym (and still bumbles around trying to figure it out, though much of it is feeling surprisingly normal and routine now)--and on a regular basis, even!--and to find herself saying things like, "So, today, I'm going to the gym, and then I'm going to..." or "I want to go to the gym today," or "I worked out at the gym today....". In spite of the fact that it's becoming routine, there's still a big part of her that feels like an imposter when she's there.
Although there are definitely days when she finds herself actually wanting and needing to exercise, she also thinks she might always be slogging through it to some degree.
Somehow, she found herself signing up for some personal trainer sessions, and has started lifting weights. Her arms are sore right now from the last session.
A few weeks ago, she did something she never would have imagined herself doing, and she is still surprised about it. She signed up for a fitness challenge at the gym. She is actually going to participate in a fitness challenge. At a gym. With other people.
The main challenge is not going to be with everyone else who signed up, though, it's going to be with herself.
She has no desire to run a marathon.
(Also, she doesn't usually talk about herself in the third person. It just sort of happened.)
One thing I really liked about Hanne's interview is her saying when you try something, try it for "100 days" -- not a week, not even two weeks, a good hundred days and to give yourself that time to get good. I realized that after 100 days in the gym I felt a lot better about being there -- I still feel a bit like an outsider, because I can't lift all the weights or row all the miles, but even though i feel on the outside, i know there are things that i can do that i couldn't do before ... and that i belong. the 100 days to make a decision makes a big difference.
I managed to lose 48 pounds last year. 15 to go. I keep telling myself I need to add exercise to the mix, that dieting alone won't do it. I was working out regularly a year ago, but I had surgery on my toe in December 2011, and that stopped me cold (surgical bootie for 6 or 8 weeks). I just never got going again.
I've been following on your blog and it's really motivating me. Just reading about what you've been doing is going to get me going, damn it! (But nothing is going to get me outside until it's warmer . . . then again I hear that might be next week).
She is one of my favorite revolutionaries.Her signing here the other night was FANTASTIC!
I love Hanne Blank. I remember being all OOOOOH when someone I was casually dating was *also* dating her a decade ago.
2013-01-09 03:52 pm (UTC)
Fit is not a weight or a size. (truly awesome convo between awesome people)
I would really love to read this book.
I have been "the fat girl" my entire life. Literally, I've never been "skinny" or "healthy weight" or any term that even remotely suggests that I am or ever have been anything other than fat. It started with what people liked to call “baby fat” – and then eventually the teasing at school, when I'd come home crying every day and learned to hate my body at a very young age. I was (and still am) a very emotional person, and while some people might take teasing as an incentive to change, I've always felt compelled to blame them for their attitudes and then go cry in the corner while I eat a tub of Ben & Jerry's.
Last year, I started a blog called "My Fat Life" because every time somebody talks about wanting to fit into their "skinny jeans" I cringe a little -- I've never had skinny jeans. My idea of skinny jeans would be the still-very-plus-size jeans I wore 10 years ago that are tucked away in the closet because they were too comfortable to trash just because I can't squeeze myself into them anymore. I've literally been fat my *entire* life.
The problem with being a life-time fatty is that I have no sense of what it means to be a normal size, but I do remember a time when I still felt healthy. I remember a time when I used to say "Yes I'm fat, but there's nothing wrong with me!" Unfortunately that's no longer true. The longer you remain fat, eating those tubs of ice cream, feeling sorry for yourself, the sooner you end up unhealthy. The sad part is that I don't really remember the point at which things changed from "sort of healthy" to "can't stand up for more than 5 minutes without needing a rest" -- and that's scary.
The long term effects of being overweight mean that I am in constant pain. Along with hereditary conditions, I also suffer from depression and a slew of other things I won’t even begin to list. As such, I've felt like there's not a lot of hope for me in the world of exercise. Everything I've tried makes my joints hurt so bad it takes several days to recover, so it's been hard to find low-impact ways to keep myself moving. Unfortunately, the less I move, the less I'm *able* to move.
I am trying to break out of the vicious cycle of self loathing and eating to try and fix it. And I realize perhaps the only way to do that is to work on something besides just my diet.
I sometimes feel like I'm the only fat girl with pain issues, because so much of what I see focuses on eating right and exercising. I like the concept of "healthy at any size" but my current size is incapable of being healthy. The weight puts a strain on my back, my knees and legs, not to mention my heart and lungs and every other internal organ that's having the life literally squeezed out of them. Still, I think exercise advice from another fat girl would be the best kind, because books by people who have never been fat, or people who say they used to be fat but weren't actually *morbidly obese* don't ring true for me.
A woman in a class once told me that she had weight loss surgery because her health chart said "morbidly obese" and she thought "MORBID? I don't want to DIE!" and that was enough to scare her into doing something. I had hoped it would help me too, but I still find myself looking for excuses.
While I may not be gym fodder, I imagine this book has a lot of other advice on how to keep moving, and keep motivated. I like the 100 day idea -- I was once told it takes 2 weeks to create or break a habit, but 2 weeks has never seemed like enough to me. Not when you're trying to change the way you live your life.
I'm worth at least 100 days. And just reading this interview has given me a push to start today -- I will walk for 10 minutes every day for the next 100 days (or more, if I'm feeling up to it). That doesn't seem like a lot, but for me, it's a big step. I've always been a fan of the term "baby steps" but I'm a big girl, and every step I take toward making myself healthier is a pretty big step.
2013-01-09 06:26 pm (UTC)
A Once Happy Fat Girl Still with Body Issues
Hi Kyle... For twenty years of my adult like I walked through life in a 200+ pound body. At 5 foot nothing that is heavy. It got worse as years rolled along, but honestly, I had strong self esteem when it came to body issues and sex. Now, after gastric bypass, which literally saved my life having horrible hypertension and sleep apnea, I find myself struggling in massive ways with my body NOW. I weigh 103 pound soaking wet... and although I no longer struggle with lugging around a heavy body, I can't seem to push myself to being intimate for fear of what I look like with all this skin. Compared to friends in my WLS Support group I have a tight little frame... but my brain is malfunctioning when it comes to embracing my new ME.
I would LOVE to have a copy of your friend's book, because quite frankly, I am still a big gal in a now tiny package... who still has ISSUES the size of a locomotive.
Edited at 2013-01-09 06:27 pm (UTC)
2013-01-21 10:38 pm (UTC)
Re: A Once Happy Fat Girl Still with Body Issues
send me your address
I've been skinny, then fat, then skinny, and fat again. It's hard man. I have COPD and exercise hurts. It hurts more when I'm not exercising regularly, and it hurts less when I'm in shape, and carrying around fewer pounds... but it still hurts. I don't run because it feels like someone took a Brillo pad to my lungs after, I work with computers so I'm too sedentary for my own good. It's hard. I don't have the magic bullet, I've given up on dieting, and I fight to stay away from junk food.
I don't have a lot to offer to others going through this... but there are three things that have honestly helped me through my ups and downs so I'll put them here.
1) My ADHD brain can't deal with regimented exercise, so I do what I call wandering meditation. I'll get on my bike, or go for a walk, but without a destination in mind. (this works better in urban areas) I'll just head out and explore. Go down streets I've driven past, walk on the opposite side of streets I regularly travel. (dogs love it when you take them on these meanders.) I don't worry about my heart rate, or the time, of how many calories I'm burning or how many miles I've travelled. I just move, and try to limit my world to what my senses bring in. If you take away all of the expectations of exercise, you can't do it wrong. And lets face it. Moving is better than sitting.
2)Treat food as an experience. Food is such a quintessential part of our lives, and yet we put so much baggage on it. This is fancy food, this is healthy food, this is fast food, this is comfort food... yada yada yada. Try this, take a bite of an apple, and ask yourself what is the experience you are having? Most of us have eaten hundreds of apples, but have you ever sat down and listened to the sound of eating an apple? Does is crunch? crack? What about feeling it? Can you describe what parts of your lips and teeth an apple touches when you bite one? Where do you feel the juices... what words would you use to describe the apple? Instead of reading a book and drinking tea, try drinking tea while you drink tea. From the hot beginning of a full cup, to the last lukewarm sip, Do the flavours change? The colours? The smells? You will be amazed at how complex simple foods are, and how kinda one note, manufactured foods can be.
3)Stop Drinking your calories. Milk, Soy Milk, Soda, Beer, Cappuccinos. I love them all. But too often I find that I use them to hydrate myself, or to wash down my meal, or to quench a thirst... the problem is you don't taste them when you do this. If you aren't going to take the time to savour a drink, just use water. Like a nice rich hoppy Beer, then take the time to roll it around your tongue, and taste it. If you are thirsty, drink water.
Life is to short to compare yourself to a chart, or an image on a wall. Food can be addicting so don't hate yourself for craving it. If you buy a Big Mac don't wolf it down before anyone notices, take the time to savour it, find the flavours, find the textures, find what it is that satisfies you, and then try to find that satisfaction somewhere healthier. If exercising bothers you, figure out what bothers you about it. For me it felt like gasping for air as I hauled my weight around, so I swim now. I take my camera and I wander, I try to find restaurants and small shops. I see where that road just past the bridge goes.
There is a Buddhist idea of learning to water the flowers. The garden of your mind will pop up weeds and flowers. You can try to pull the weeds but they will grow back. So all you can do, is only water the flowers. If you stop watering the weeds, they will shrink and die. Find what works for you, and encourage yourself to do it, if something doesn't work,if you can't keep something up, don't blame yourself, don't guilt yourself, hating it, doesn't change it. Accept it as part of who you are and find something else that does work.
2013-01-09 09:14 pm (UTC)
Fit is not a weight or a size. (reposted cuz i wanted to promote this :)
On the topic of understanding the locker room (ladies side)... Early in my attendance to a new community gym n pool, I asked the front desk woman when she was by herself and no one would hear me asking "so what is the etiquette in the locker room? Do I have to stay wrapped in a towel as I try to get dressed so not to shock anyone by my nekkidditty? ". She smile and said it was not necessary, folks wander as they are comfortable so if naked is my thing, all good as long as I'm not leaning my chest into someone else's gym bag (or them).
I've loved Hanne Blank ever since I got my first copy of Big Big Love (the first edition). I've since gotten several more copies when I find them, both new and used...it's funny how they seem to wander off with my friends and not come back to me. But that's why I keep getting more copies. :)
I just got a bike...yesterday, in fact. Freecycle is a wonderful source for free exercise equipment! I am fairly new to this area, and I am *so* looking forward to exploring both my neighborhood and beyond. I have problems with my ankles when I walk too far (they have a tendency to want to buckle under, which is a *really bad thing* when you realize you've reached your destination and can't make it back home). So, I decided a bike was the perfect way for me to get to those places that are *just barely* too far for me to walk to, and get some exercise and hopefully strengthen my ankles in the process.
My boyfriend also decided we should join a gym (he is larger than I am), and that is exciting too. It is one of the ones that preaches itself as a "no judgement zone", so I am expecting all body types and fitness levels. :)
My body image has improved over the past few years. I just came to a point where I decided, "This is what I look like. You can love it and look, or don't love it, and don't look. And I am fine with either choice."
I am very excited about Hanne's new book, its release is perfect timing for me. She has such a great outlook, and she encourages so many people that need that extra push to get where they want to be. Thank you, Hanne, for being such an inspiration to us all.