exercise

All posts in the exercise category

Does a Bear Shit in the Woods?

Published August 18, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

In Time “Healthland” this week, journalist Bonnie Rochman asks “Does Nike’s ‘Greatness’ Ad Exploit Fat People?”  As you may be able to guess by the title of this blog post, I think the answer just might be yes.  But not only does it exploit fat people, it further stigmatises us, as does Ms Rochman in the way she writes her article.

Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Perhaps we should all watch the ad:

So this ad uses a 12 year old fat boy, Nathan Sorrell, and Nike had him run behind a Porsche.  On the second take, he threw up in a ditch.  In the boys own words:

“We’ll try to work with you,” Sorrell said, quoting the director. “They were lenient with me.”

As though Nike were doing this boy a huge favour, and that they were generous by allowing the boy time to recover from being sick.

The advert goes on about greatness, how anyone is capable of it, all of us.  (Even the poor fatties!)  All the while focusing on a fat, sweaty boy running slowly towards the camera.

Even Ms Rochman in her piece uses words like “lumbering” and “bulk” to describe Nathan, words that suggest he is somehow ungainly, unattractive and even pathetic.

The implication of this advert, and even the article, is that we should cheer on the poor fat kid, because he’s working hard to lose weight, even if it is a bit pathetic.  This friends, is not an ad that is designed to celebrate fat people being active.  This ad is telling us “well, at least you’ll be better than this sorry fat kid.”

Even Rebecca Puhl from Yale’s Rudd Centre, quoted in the article, misses the point.  She refers to this advert as “featuring an overweight boy in their ad (and doing so in a respectful manner)”.  How is this respectful?  How is it respectful to have a 12 year old boy run repeatedly behind a Porsche (a fucking Porsche!) until he vomits?  How respectful is it to show a fat person struggling and sweaty, even looking like he is unwell and in pain (which we know he was) and adding hushed tones about how “anyone can be great”, with the implication that “even this pathetic fat kid”.  And let’s not get started on the fact that they used a twelve year old child for this, rather than an adult.

Also note, they have used a fat boy who is trying to lose weight, who is running because he doesn’t want to be fat any more.  Nike are even dangling the carrot of perhaps returning if he is “successful” at doing so.

How is this not stigmatising towards fat people?  There is nothing celebratory about this ad.  The ad isn’t celebrating Nathan, it’s just saying that he has the potential for greatness if he loses weight.  In fact, this ad is saying “Keep running fatty, until you’re not fat.”

If Nike, or anyone else, wanted to feature a fat person and do so in a respectful manner, they wouldn’t be using weight loss as a “greatness” metaphor.  They wouldn’t be using some poor kid who clearly is only running because he thinks he has to be thin.  They wouldn’t be featuring a struggling 12 year old boy who looks like the unhappiest kid in the world.

If they wanted to feature a fat person and do so in a respectful manner, which would be absolutely radical advertising, they would perhaps feature some fat people being active – running, playing sport, dancing etc in their Nike shoes and having a great time!  They’d show fatties laughing and having fun.  They’d show positive representations of fatties engaging in physical activity, not having some poor kid run behind a Porsche until he vomits.

Now I’m not expecting people to look pretty when they are physically active.  It’s hard work and it’s sweaty.  But instead of going on about how anyone has the potential to be great (which implies young Nathan only has the potential, he has to lose the weight first, he isn’t great yet), how about having some fats talk about how running makes them feel good?  Or how they love getting better and better at [insert sport of choice here] by practicing hard?  Or how working up a sweat makes them feel strong and alive?

Instead we are sold this lie that to achieve greatness (and do be worthy of wearing Nike’s gear), we must be working hard to shed the pounds, to reduce our fat bodies.  Fat people are not required to engage in physical activity to get a pass in society, nor are we only allowed to be fat if we are trying desperately to not be fat.  We are not potentially worthy (which is what this advert is really saying) unless we’re potentially thin.  Not to mention that health is not a moral value, nobody has an obligation to be “healthy”, whatever that is.  Running behind a Porsche until you puke is not healthy by my standards, that’s for sure.

Want to see some representations of fat people engaging in physical activity that are respectful and positive and non-exploitative? Check these out from Stocky Bodies*:

Frances stretching

Sonya swimming

Even me! On my bike!

THAT’S how you feature fat people engaging in physical activity in a respectful manner.  Not by focusing on their “lumbering bulk”, talking about how they have the “potential to be great” because they’re trying to lose weight (I think the three of us are already great up there in our photos!)  And certainly not by using a child who is very clearly unhappy about his body and is willing to run behind a Porsche until he is sick, and call it leniency on behalf of the director.

*Images by Isaac Brown for Stocky Bodies.

Interview: Rene Rice of Flying Pig Apparel

Published June 3, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Recently I was contacted by Rene Rice of Flying Pig Apparel, a startup plus-size activewear business, and I got excited.  Really excited.  Because I’m incredibly frustrated at the dearth of activewear available for fat women.  Especially since there is an assumption that we’re all sedentary and lazy, and the constant calls of “Just move your arse fatty!”  I’ve really struggled to find suitable clothing to ride my bike in, and even worse to find clothes to do yoga in. 

I asked Rene if I could interview her for Fat Heffalump, as I think it’s really important to support a business that is finally going to start catering to all fat bodies, and particularly one that is run by people who know what it’s like to live in a fat body.  I know I’m going to be supporting this project, and I hope you all will too.

For starters, will you introduce yourself Rene?

Rene Rice is a 20-something from Albany, Oregon.  She’s been sewing for herself and others since the age of 5, and has made things as diverse as a corduroy couch cover to a fuchsia wedding dress.  Short, wide and voluptuous, Rene has had a love/hate relationship with all things active.  She loves being outside, camping, hiking, and even horseback riding.  She hated P.E. and still isn’t a huge fan of competitive sports.  Right now she’s obsessed with her latest project, Flying Pig Apparel, a small line of active wear for plus size women.  She’s more than happy to talk to anyone about it, it’s getting her to shut up that’s the trick.  🙂

What made you decide to go into business producing activewear for plus-sizes?

It actually happened kind of spontaneously.  I began my self-acceptance and Health at Every Size journey late in 2011, and joined my local YMCA at the beginning of 2012.  I rapidly realized that I didn’t have anything appropriate to work out in that wasn’t stained or worn to bits.  I tried searching for active wear to fit me online (because I knew full well that my local stores didn’t have anything) and was shocked and annoyed that I could only find ONE company that made work out pants large enough to fit me.  And despite hearing several glowing reviews of the quality of their products, I was simply unable to pay their high prices.

Thankfully I’m a skilled seamstress, so in place of spending $80 for a single pair of yoga-type pants, I purchased some fabric and made my own.  I also bought some fabric to make a few cute work out tops after seeing another plus size woman rocking hot pink leopard print top in a zumba class at the gym.  Bobby, Barb, and Audre had all seen me in one of the tops, and we got to talking about our frustrations with clothing in general.  Someone made an offhand comment that we should just take over the world and I replied, “Well, maybe not the whole world, but we could probably manage the fashion world.”  I spent about two weeks feverishly doing research on the plus size active wear situation and also searching for wholesale suppliers of fabric and notions.  I also randomly heard about Kickstarter during that time.

From there, things have just fallen into place in really amazing ways.  I was given a serger, which made producing our sample garments much easier than it was for me to make those original pieces.  Then one of us had a bit of a windfall, which allowed us to purchase the fabric, and a few parts for the free serger.  And it seemed like every time one of us turned around, we’d end up in a conversation with a friend, a neighbor, or a random person on the street who expressed how much they loved our ideas.

What size ranges are you planning on offering with Flying Pig Apparel?

Want to know something wonderful?  All of our garments will be available in any size, no limits.  Two of the things we’re purchasing with our start up funds are pattern drafting and grading software and a large format printer.  Basically that will allow us to take any customer’s measurements, plug them in, and within a matter of minutes have a pattern that will fit them, regardless of whether they have a 27 inch waist or a 72 inch waist or larger.

I can’t even describe how discouraging it was for me, back in January, to be searching for active wear.  Each time I’d check the size chart, regardless of whether their top size was a 2X or a 6X, the largest hip measurement was in the 55-60 inch range which put me a little bit over.  It sends a strong message that larger people should not exercise.  We don’t want lack of adequate clothing to be a barrier for anyone trying to get active.

Where did you come up with the name?

We were all brainstorming ideas for a name for the business.  I knew I wanted to play with words.  I played with acronyms of fat for a while, but I heard someone use the phrase “when pigs fly” and it just clicked.  And just to be clear, we’re not calling ourselves or our customers pigs, not even cute flying pigs.  We’re saying the proverbial pigs are flying, so now what?  We’re giving ourselves permission to go out and do all of those ‘impossible’ things we’ve always wanted to do.  Starting a business is one of them for us.

Tell us about the Flying Pig team?  Is it just you or do you have others you work with?

Oh, if it were just me, rest assured that Flying Pig Apparel would have never come to be.  I’m incredibly thankful to be surrounded by a group of friends whose strengths compliment my own.  I don’t have much business sense, but thankfully Bobby knows all about running a business and has done it before.  I’m a reluctant newcomer to social media, but thankfully Audre has stepped into that role beautifully.  And thankfully Barb is here to take on the marketing and shipping duties… silly me, I was pricing boxes for shipping things in!  *chuckles*  I get to be the spokesperson right now, but as soon as I’ve got some sewing to do I’ll happily go back and hide in my sewing room and let one of the others do the talking. 🙂

You have a basic range – do you plan to expand that in the future?

Absolutely!  We’re starting with this basic range of active wear for two reasons: we felt it was the biggest gap in the things available to plus size women right now, and the logistics of manufacturing them was the easiest to arrange.  We’ve got a lot of ideas of things we’d like to develop, and we’re still working out a strategic plan for when and how to introduce those items.  I can tell you that we’ll be working on expanding our active wear line first, bringing some more sport-specific and high performance options.  For example, we’ll be working on bicycle shorts/leggings as soon as I get my hands on the pattern drafting software.  I’d also like to offer a complete men’s line as well.  Oh, and sports bras!  I think we can make better sports bras, and I think we can make the high quality ones more affordable for lower income women.

But we’re not stopping at active wear.  I’m also passionate about ensuring that all women have access to the wardrobe basics that can be so difficult to find.  I’ve worked in retail and restaurants for 10 years, and there’s never been a year that I have not struggled to find a pair of basic black slacks.  I’ll admit, I’m picky, but I know what looks good on my figure.  I don’t want an elastic waistband.  I don’t want pleats.  I NEED pockets.  Other things like basic white or black button down shirts or polo shirts are important too.  And they need to be high quality but affordable.  After that, the sky is the limit.  We’ve got ideas crowding our brains across all categories of clothing, from undies to formals.

When do you plan to have your store open for business?

We hope to have our retail website up and running by mid-August, September at the latest.

Are you only marketing to HAES practitioners or size acceptance peeps?

No, we’re welcoming of all women of size (and men too, though we don’t have any men’s products just yet) and so we’re taking a diet-neutral stance.  We won’t accept any body shaming or diet talk on our blog, but on the other hand we’re not going to engage in bashing dieters either.  I don’t personally agree with dieting, but I still think those who have chosen that route are deserve the option of nice looking active wear.  On the blog, I talk about the four healthy habits that are proven to lower the risk of mortality across all weight ranges: avoiding smoking, moderate drinking, eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and getting exercise 3 days a week.  Regardless of what your goals are, those are healthy choices to make, and we’ll encourage those habits in our readers and customers.

How can people support you in your startup of Flying Pig Apparel?

First check us out at flyingpigapparel.wordpress.com.  We have photos of our samples posted and more information about our vision and values there.  We’ll be running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds we need to start the business as well as make the first 250-ish items.  As soon as the Kickstarter campaign starts, we’ll post a link on our blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you’re connected with us.  I won’t go through all the rewards, but if you contribute at the $50 level you get your choice of one of the tops, and if you contribute at the $100 level you’ll get a full outfit.  Shipping is included in that amount.  So think of it as pre-ordering.  Can’t afford that much right now?  You can back us for as little as $1, and every dollar counts. (Note: The Kickstarter page is up!  Click here!)

Can’t pledge your support?  You can still help us out.  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or follow our blog and share it with your family and friends.  The more people that hear about us, the better our chances of meeting our goals.  Kickstarter works on an all-or-nothing principal, so if we don’t receive enough pledges we don’t receive any of the money.

Food Freedom

Published March 23, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Well what an exciting day or so I’ve had.  What with my piece being published in The Hoopla, I’ve had a whole lot more attention here, on Twitter and of course in the comments on The Hoopla.  Mostly people are pretty cool, they get just how damaging fat stigma is.  Sadly, many of them experience it themselves, which is always heartbreaking.  Of course, there are always a few who are willfully ignorant who go down the route of “BUT THERE’S AN OBESITY EPIDEMIC AND YOU’RE GONNA DIE FATTY!!” and just will not be swayed otherwise.  I even got my regular hater cropping up there too, how special do I feel to have someone who hates me so much that they go through all of my online accounts and search for clues of my health/eating/lifestyle?

Anyway, the message I keep seeing repeated by those who just don’t get it is that fat people all overeat, we’re lazy and we clearly have no idea to take care of our bodies.  These comments have a definite purpose – they’re designed to make us justify our bodies, our lives, our health and our choices.  The purpose of those comments is to make fat people say “But I eat healthy!!” or “But I’m on a diet!” or something along those lines.  It’s another control mechanism to make us jump when they say so, so that they can feel superior.

But of course – we unconsciously do it.  We don’t talk about the food we eat, or if we do, we justify our eating, making it clear that it has been ages, or we’re eating “good” foods, or whatever.  We’re careful about talking about needing to rest or sleep, always sure to be clear how hard we’ve worked so that it’s clear we’ve “earned” that rest.

Well, I’ve had enough of that shit.  Eating is not unhealthy. Not even for fat people. Nor is sleeping. Every human being must do both.  Nobody, not even fat people, owe anyone an explanation or declaration of their health. It’s irrelevant to almost everything.  Fat people do not have to prove that they are “worthy” of basic human respect and dignity to be allowed to live.  All of us except a very small few are not “addicted to food”, no more than we’re “addicted to breathing”.  We need food, rest and sleep to survive.  Every single one of us.

It’s time to set ourselves free of the need to justify the things we need to do as human beings, particularly eating.  It’s time to set ourselves free of the urge to prove that every morsel we eat is “healthy”. We have to stop letting other people determine what we should and shouldn’t be eating or doing with our own bodies and lives.

So I started tweeting with the hashtag #freefatty earlier today, and urged other people to do the same.

https://twitter.com/#!/Fatheffalump/status/183044928421634049

https://twitter.com/#!/Fatheffalump/status/183045064795242496

Some of the responses I got back were:

I even decided to tweet a picture of myself eating something that would be labelled “unhealthy”, check it out:

Om nom, lolly snake.

I know, I know, how dare I put anything in my mouth that is not, as Kate Harding would say, Splenda flavoured air!  How dare a fat, Type 2 diabetic eat a lolly!  I tweeted a picture of the piece of birthday cake that I ended up having too, after my boss went and got one for my colleague.  Look:

Happy Birthday Kellie!

It is my colleague Kellie’s birthday, and we wanted to celebrate that.  I think this was raspberry coconut cake, I forgot to ask.  It was made with real butter, eggs and sugar.  I didn’t talk about how “sinful” it was for me to have a piece of birthday cake, I didn’t apologise for joining in the celebration and I didn’t make a comment about how it would go straight to my hips/thighs/waist.  I just accepted a piece like everyone else, wished Kellie a happy birthday and enjoyed a little down time with my team.

And you know what?  Here’s my dinner tonight:

Yup, that’s a real bagel, with real cream cheese (not light), ham and roasted capsicum.  It doesn’t come in a box marked “Lite”, there are no points on it, it’s not powdered and intended to “stave off hunger pangs”.  The bagel is the authentic deal, not low carb or gluten free.  I don’t have to make sure everyone knows I “earned it” because I exercised or had a busy day.  I don’t have to make sure people know it is “diet” or “healthy”.  I don’t have to promise I’ll “be good” tomorrow to justify it for my dinner.  It’s dinner time, I have beautiful fresh, real-deal bagels and fresh fillings, I’m hungry and it tastes good.

None of us have to play those games around food, sleep, rest and health any more.  We don’t.  If someone passes comment, reply “Well lucky I’m eating it and not you then.” or “It’s food, not the anti-Christ, you won’t go to hell.”  Or simply “Please don’t place judgement/comment on my food or my body.”

I am free to eat my dinner, relax and live my life.  And so are you.

Feelin’ Good

Published November 14, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I have the most delicious feeling of weariness tonight.  Not so much tired, but the feeling of having spent some time this afternoon moving my body in a way that I enjoy, and getting delicious fresh air into my lungs and bloodstream.  I know that when I go to bed tonight, I’m going to sleep well, in a strong, deep sleep that refreshes me beautifully for the day tomorrow.  I’ve come home hungry for a good meal (I’ve got some beautiful home-made chilli con carne I whipped up in my Thermomix last night) and to stretch a little before quietly winding down for the night.

It’s a good feeling, one that I really relish.  And it comes from being physically active.  I won’t use the term “exercise”, because I think exercise is what people do as either punishment or penance.  Or because they feel they are supposed to.  To me, exercise is not something you do because it makes you feel good and because you enjoy it.

Enjoyable physical activity is routinely denied to fat people.  We’re told that we must exercise or we will die.  We’re told that we have to exercise to atone for our fatness.  We’re told that we’re only worthwhile if we exercise to diminish our bodies, to make them smaller.  We’re told it’s simply not possible, and it’s often disbelieved if we say we do it.  Physical activity becomes exercise which then becomes punishment or a chore.  Yet if we do find physical activity we enjoy, we are not given access to suitable equipment or clothing to fit our bodies, we are often patronised as if we are children “well done, keep it up”, (I’m surprised we don’t get a pat on the head) and on top of that we are regularly shamed if we dare to engage in physical activity in public.  The cowcalls and things thrown at us from passing cars, the sniggers over the clothing we wear to engage in that activity, the calls of “Keep going fat arse!”

Part of fat activism for me is engaging in the radical act of living my life to suit me, not because others say I should or must.  I reclaimed my right to engage in physical activity because it’s fun, it makes me feel good and helps me relax and sleep.  Because riding my bike by the sea, or walking through the shops for the afternoon, or going to the beach with a friend is something I love to do, not something I feel I should I must do.  It doesn’t make me a better person than those who don’t engage in physical activity, it doesn’t make me more worthy of respect and dignity, and it doesn’t act as penance or an excuse for my fat body.  Fuck that, who wants to carry that crap around.  It makes me feel good inside and out.  It makes me feel good.  When something makes me feel good, I want to do more of it.

But there’s a little bonus.  It really pisses off fat haters.  It really sticks in their craw to see a happy, positive fat person doing something and having fun at it and feeling good.  It messes with their imagined world where fat people just stay at home and sit.

And anything that messes with a fat hater’s world is something I want to be doing.

Fat Acceptance and Health

Published December 29, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Inspired by this post over on the taking up of space, and some comments on my last post about concern trolls, I want to talk more about health, the various levels of it, and fatness.

One of the things that frustrates me about discussing health and fatness is how absolutely loaded the subject has become.  I am constantly irritated by the fact that if you are a fat person talking about health, or foods that are considered “healthy”, or any form of physical activity, then for some, it is assumed that you are selling yourself as a “good fatty” and therefore denigrating on those perceived as “bad fatties”.  There’s also a perception that if you feel healthy and strong, that you must be “virtuous” when it comes to your eating and exercise.  Health at Every Size, has become the keywords to justifying fatness, which is sad because it detracts from Linda Bacon’s work, and her excellent book (which I am currently reading).   You CAN be healthy and happy and indeed fat without living a HAES lifestyle.  It’s not compulsory to Fat Acceptance.

Now for any of you who haven’t come across the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy, may I suggest you read the excellent post, As Fat as I Wanna Be by Tasha Fierce over on Red Vinyl Shoes.  I completely agree with Tasha when she says that any time a fat person is included in any discussion about body shape/size (and not just in the media, but anywhere), she is expected to wave her “I really do have healthy habits” card to prove that she is a “good fatty”.  And I agree that ALL fat people should be able to live their lives with respect, dignity and fairness, whether they have “healthy habits” or not.   There is no such thing as a good fatty or a bad fatty.

But what does bother me, is that the minute you do talk about your own personal health, you are at the risk of others implying that you’re buying into the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy.  And this is from your peers.

This bothers me because if anyone else talks about their health, whether they have it or not, they are not accused by their peers of selling some kind of morality via health.  If anyone else talks about enjoying a sport, or the great salad they ate, or how they went to the doctor and got a clean bill of health, then they’re simply taken at face value.

But for fat people, it is assumed that we’re making excuses for our fatness if we talk about physical wellbeing, physical activity or food that is perceived as “healthy”.  Why is it that when a fat person talks about physical activity, or “healthy” food, or physical wellbeing, it is assumed that they are either making excuses, trying to conform, or are casting negative judgement on those who are otherwise?

Of course, we do need to acknowledge the fact that not everyone has the ability to be physically active, not everyone has access to the same foods, and not everyone has the privilege of being illness free.  It’s important to be conscious of a measure of privilege when talking about health (whether you are fat or thin or somewhere in between) and to acknowledge that the measures of health for one body, are not replicated through all bodies.  We also need to acknowledge that a high number of us are dealing with histories of disordered eating and body image issues.

Not to mention, there’s no rule that says that you can’t live off fast food and get no physical activity at all, yet still feel great.  Getting a clean bill of health from a doctor, or indeed feeling healthy, does not necessarily mean you’re on a macrobiotic diet and exercise for 30 minutes every day.  It can simply mean you’ve found the balance of lifestyle that is right for you.

I feel that as well as smashing the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy, and speaking out against food/health as a moral indicator, we need to also be busting open the attitudes that suggest we should not speak about being/feeling physically well, that our bodies can feel good and strong, that we can eat foods that are perceived as healthy without it being suggested that we’re justifying our fatness.  By casting any judgement on fat bodies, regardless of their eating habits, level of activity and real or perceived health, we’re creating more taboos about fatness.  By suggesting that it’s not ok to talk about feeling good/strong/healthy lest we create a good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy, we’re actually perpetuating that myth.  Self censoring because of what others project onto us is as damaging as being censored by external sources.

So long as we’re not proselytising anything, and we’re mindful of privilege and body autonomy, then we need to talk about our health, our bodies, what makes us feel good, what doesn’t, and all subjects around bodies.  We need to smash the taboos around fat bodies and food, activity and physical wellbeing.  If it’s good enough for bodies that are not fat, then it should be good enough for those that are.

Activism is Never Resignation

Published August 31, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I have another fantastic post to refer you all to.  This one is from the wonderful Spilt Milk, who writes on how Fat Acceptance is not about “giving up”.  Go read it now.  Go on, I’ll wait here while you do…

Did you read it?  Good.

See, isn’t it a fantastic post?  She writes that well all the time, blows my mind and inspires me no end.

Anyway, on to the topic that I want to talk about, which the Spilt Milk post led me to think about, is my experience around discovering Fat Acceptance (FA) and deciding that it was the philosophy on life and health and my body that I decided not only works for me personally, but is something that I need to be actively promoting.  That post got me thinking about how little “giving up” I personally have done when it comes to my health, happiness and body.  In fact, resignation is the furthest from the choice I made in taking to Fat Acceptance.

One of the things I think the critics of FA fail to grasp is that choosing a FA lifestyle is not something you just fall into, that you give up and then it happens to you.  It’s a conscious, intelligent choice that one makes.  It has been a lot of hard work, introspection and decision making that has led me to FA.  I didn’t just decide one day “Well I couldn’t be arsed any more with this whole business of trying to lose weight, I think I’ll become a Fat Acceptance activist.”  It took months and months of reading and thinking and journalling (later blogging) and even discussing my thoughts and beliefs with my counsellor.  The more I thought about it, the more I looked towards making a choice of how I wanted to live my life, the more Fat Acceptance began to fit me.

Then came the realisation that not only do I need to live this way, but I need to share it, to advocate it, to take part in activism for it.  That was a massive decision, because it’s a coming out of sorts – Fat Acceptance is confronting and challenging for most people, and to become an activist meant that I personally had to start confronting and challenging people, attitudes and beliefs.  This is so far from resignation to me that I can’t express it.

The very word “activist” means someone who intentionally takes action.  Action is never resignation.

Of course, there is the health/body side of things.  Yeah, we’ve all heard it.  By adopting a Fat Acceptance philosophy, we’re just giving up on taking care of ourselves, we’ve given up on our health, we’ve given up on trying to look good or be active.

Let’s call bullshit on that one too.  I don’t know about the rest of you FA folk, but I’m far more active in my health than I have ever been.  Instead of shutting out my body, I listen to it.  Instead of denying my physical feelings and the needs of my body, I use those feelings to tell me what my body needs, and I respond appropriately.  Not to mention that I have gone from someone who avoids doctors at all costs (because I couldn’t handle any more of the shaming from them) to one who actively sought out a good GP and now takes the time to know my body and work with my GP to be the healthiest I have ever been in my life.

Physical activity has also become something that I engage in far more than I ever did long term in my life.  My method of physical activity, or exercise (which I refuse to do these days, I don’t engage in exercise, I engage in activity that I enjoy) in my body loathing days was to exercise binge like a madwoman until I either collapsed from whatever illness I brought on myself from poor nutrition and overwork, or hit a wall of depression so big that it would literally cripple me.  Or I would be so ashamed of my body that I wouldn’t get out of the house, I’d hide away feeling hatred towards myself, too ashamed to be seen exercising.

These days, I do whatever I enjoy, as often as I feel like it, which is fairly damn regularly.  I walk, I cycle, I dance, I do yoga and anything else that pleases me at the time simply because it’s fun.  It feels good.  My body likes it when I keep active.

As Spilt Milk says, Fat Acceptance is anything but giving up.  It’s about improving your quality of life without waiting around for your body to change size (or shape) to do so.  It’s about embracing the here and now and living your life to the full.

There is no resignation in that.

Sorry, No I Won’t Hold

Published June 5, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I’m sitting here with a little sunburn today.  Not anything really painful, just a bit pink and tender.  Lightly toasted.  My sunscreen wasn’t enough for the stunning day that was today.  Check it:

Iris and the Story Bridge

See that gorgeous purple creature there?  That is my gorgeous, wonderful, adorable bicycle Iris.  Yes, her name is Iris and she’s totally a her.  My friend Kirk named her Iris, because she’s purple and Dutch.  Dutch because she’s an Electra Amsterdam.

When I was a kid, I loved my bike.  I had a red dragster one when I was in primary school, and rode all over town in every spare moment, that bike was my freedom.  Then in high school I got a full sized ladies bike, which I didn’t like as much because it was pretty uncomfortable.  I much preferred to ride my mother’s bike, which was a lot better quality.  But I still had that mode of transport.

However, there came a time where the douchebags and bullies picking on me for being a fat arse on a bike got too much, and the bikes went into the shed and never came out again.  Eventually my mother sold them, and I no longer had that transport.

Which is fairly significant, because I don’t drive.

Last year, my Manager bought an Electra Townie bike, and I fell in love with it on sight.  I was lamenting that I no longer bicycle, and she suggested that the very perfect bike for me would be an Electra Amsterdam.  I saw the pics, and was even more in love than I was with the Townie.  I just knew I had to have a purple Amsterdam.

Well, a few months ago, I bought one.  I went to New Farm Bikes, somewhat apprehensive about how they would receive a fatty buying a bicycle.  I didn’t need to worry – it was never even an issue.  As the guy in the shop said “I’m so happy to get another bike on the road.”

Going to New Farm Bikes is just so much fun because the bikes are so pretty.  I mean, look at these:

Electras

The detail on them is just fabulous. Not all of them have decals (mine doesn’t) but when they do, look how exquisite:

Pretties

Now that I have her, oh how I love my beautiful bike.  Look, if you’re a DeathFatz like me, cheap bikes just aren’t going to cut it.  You want something strong and comfortable.  Here I am with my bike:

Me, Iris and the Story Bridge

See?  DeathFatz.  But happy and comfortable.  I went for a ride along the riverside bike/walk way today with a friend, and had an absolute ball.  What a beautiful day it was, and the ride was just so lovely.  Look at that view behind me!

I can’t believe I gave this up years ago because other people were asshats about me being fat and on a bike.

But I did.  And I regret it.  So much of my life I put on hold, waiting for when I got thin.  For 20 years I put things on hold, because I either felt I didn’t deserve them, or I wasn’t able to tolerate the bullying I got just for being a fat person living her life.

No more.  Life is too short to put it on hold.  If you do, you risk missing days like this:

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!