Fit­ness ad­vice from an ‘unapologetic fat girl’

GA Voice - - Health & Fitness -

mea­sures — that do a much bet­ter and more ac­cu­rate job of that.

As a move­ment coach — I ac­tu­ally hate the word “trainer,” I think that word ap­plies to peo­ple who work with an­i­mals — what I try to do is en­cour­age peo­ple to do things that make their bod­ies more vig­or­ous and ro­bust, re­gard­less of their size or shape.

Any­one, at any size or shape (and even at many lev­els of dis/abil­ity) can do things to help them­selves be more phys­i­cally strong, ca­pa­ble and ro­bust. This ap­proach to im­prov­ing fit­ness is based on the ap­proach to gen­eral health that Dr. Linda Ba­con calls “Health At Ev­ery Size.”

Our so­ci­ety does not em­brace peo­ple, es­pe­cially women, who are fat. Why should we change this at­ti­tude and how can we do so?

Fat peo­ple are hu­man be­ings. Hu­man be­ings de­serve hu­man dig­nity.

It’s really that sim­ple. No one’s ask­ing for any kind of spe­cial treat­ment here, just to be given a share of the same thing that ev­ery­one else on the planet should get.

How can you do so? The same way you re­frain from treat­ing any­one else badly: treat them as a valid hu­man be­ing, just like you. You learned this one in kinder­garten.

Why are you unapologetic?

Why should I apol­o­gize? Why should any­one apol­o­gize for be­ing em­bod­ied in the par­tic­u­lar way(s) they are?

The prob­lem isn’t that hu­man bod­ies come in an amaz­ingly di­verse range of forms and sizes and col­ors and me­tab­o­lisms and body com­po­si­tions. That’s the na­ture of our species.

The prob­lem is that we’ve de­cided cul­tur­ally, in a way that is not ar­bi­trary but rather deeply racist and sexist (among other things), that only cer­tain types of hu­man bod­ies are “good.”

Do you ever wish you were skinny?

No. I reg­u­larly wish that the world I live in were more in­clu­sive of all the dif­fer­ent bod­ies that live in it, though. 1. Some move­ment is bet­ter than no move­ment as far as your body and your fit­ness is con­cerned. It all counts. 2. When you move, do what feels good to you, not what you think you “should” do. You won’t ex­er­cise if you’re mis­er­able, any­how, so why not skip the mis­er­able part? 3. You’re al­lowed to have your own rea­sons to move your body. Chang­ing your weight does not have to be on the list un­less you want it to be. 4. Move­ment is not a magic fly­ing glit­ter rain­bow pony that will fix your en­tire life. It’s still worth do­ing. 5. “No pain, no gain” is a lie. Pain is not what makes you more fit, in­creas­ing your phys­i­cal ca­pac­ity over time in re­sponse to in­creased de­mand is. If what you’re do­ing hurts, back off a bit. (See #2.)

Two things — and they’re both hard, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

First, can­cel your as­sump­tions. Ev­ery per­son you meet is at least as com­plex and mul­ti­fac­eted as you. Find­ing out what’s ac­tu­ally there is al­ways more in­ter­est­ing than as­sum­ing you al­ready know.

Sec­ond, in the words of the im­mor­tal Wil Wheaton, don’t be a dick.

You are a part time At­lantan. What is it about this city you like?

My fi­ance is a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor here, which is what brought me this way ini­tially. At­lanta has really grown on me: The re­laxed pace and lack of ar­ro­gance, in a city where in­ter­est­ing things still hap­pen and im­por­tant things still get done, is really en­joy­able.

Hanne Blank,

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