Monday, April 23, 2012
Dear friends. The Fat Chick Sings has MOVED. It is now found at www.fatchicksings.com. Come on over and see what's new!
The Fat Chick
Posted by The Fat Chick at 10:19 AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I've had a recent experience which has really shaken me up and brought back a lot of drama and stuff that I thought I had vanquished in adolescence. Yeah right. We all like to believe that we've exorcised our demons until they come screaming out at us and bite off our heads. And for an extra special grownup bonus, I've been allowed to see this drama from both sides.
Let me explain. I am involved with various groups and companies in my life. My experience with one of these left me feeling bitter, resentful, deeply hurt and very, very angry. I'm not talking about little feelings here. I'm talking about deep, depressing, stay up all night and can't sleep kind of hurt. I'm talking about the kind of hurt that makes me lash out at those closest to me. Which led me to ask myself, "What is going on here? Why is this hurt this big? Why do these people and this situation matter SO much to me?"
Eventually, in the middle of the night, it came to me. I was back in the cafeteria being told I couldn't sit at the lunch table with the cool kids. I was back on the playground being excluded from the fun because I wasn't one of the "in crowd". And as a 43-year-old woman, I was pissed off.
I carefully evaluated the situation to see if I was making it up. And I realized that no, I wasn't. Rules applied differently depending on whether or not you were one of the cool kids. If you were one of the inner circle, you were trusted and complimented and if your feelings were hurt, the cool kids rallied around you. If you weren't one of the cool kids, you were dangerously "other". Sure, you could be used--everybody needs minions--but not trusted. What's more, the leadership of the group at large were no longer the same as the leadership of the clique. The "in-group" began reflexively trying to protect it's supremacy against the outside leadership and the conflict began to tear the group apart.
I had my first "aha" moment. I was amazed that all these years later, I could get so freaked out because I was picked last for dodge ball. But you know what? There was more to it than that. I realized that in my desire for acceptance from this group, I was willing to work incredibly hard. I gave and gave of myself in the hope that they would accept me and decide I could join the cool kids. But here's the thing. It didn't work when I was a kid, and it didn't work now. And being excluded hurt all the more, because I had tried so hard.
At nearly the same time, there was a ripple in the size acceptance movement. Many of you know about the amazing and awesome I Stand campaign created by Marilyn Wann. Although the facebook program was totally open and anyone could join, some people objected to the campaign saying it wasn't inclusive enough of groups that are often underrepresented in the size acceptance movement. My first reaction was, "Don't they know how awesome this thing was? Why are they fighting something that makes things better for people of size?"
And then, last night, I had my second major "aha" moment. I had been following a thread about this issue on facebook and a commenter said it brilliantly. "In a movement where many of us have found acceptance for the first time, it is troubling that some of us still haven't found it." And that's when I realized just how easy it is to slip into the role of one of the "cool kids" myself. My first instinct when being called on privilege was to deny that it referred to me. And I might have stayed in that wonderful little cocoon of denial had I not just recently been the one on the edge of the playground with nobody to play with me. Granted I only got a very small taste of what those disenfranchised by the size acceptance movement were experiencing, but I can tell you, it didn't taste good.
So here's what I'm learning here:
1. It's not fun to be in the "out" crowd. No matter how old you are, it hurts when you don't feel included.
2. Working harder is not likely to make those in the "in crowd" accept you more.
3. Those in the inner circle may be blissfully unaware that there is an inner circle and they are in it. They aren't doing it on purpose. They are just quietly enjoying their privilege.
4. I need to learn to recognize when I am feeling left out and that it hurts. Then I need go find somewhere to belong or start my own darn group.
5. Recognize that I have felt left out in the past, it can be very tempting to create my own special cliques. It feels good to be the top dog for a change, but I we really want to soothe my hurt feelings by hurting someone else?
My dear chicklettes, this is a VERY long post. But I've done a lot of learnin' that I mean to share. So I'm headed out to the playground to look around the edges to find somebody to play with. Hope you do too.
The Fat Chick
Posted by The Fat Chick at 7:02 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2012
|The Fat Chick in front of Independence Hall|
So on my recent trip to Philadelphia, I saw Independence Hall. Besides being a gorgeous building, this was a site where some pretty amazingly radical things happened. For one, the Constitution was created here. For another, the Declaration of Independence was both written and signed here. This along with an excellent blog post by ASDAH Secretary, Fall Ferguson, JD, MA.
All of this together got me thinking about the notion of body independence and how our current national obsession with the size and situation of bodies is so very antithetical to the ideas the founding fathers scribbled down in this building. And being the type of person who will follow an idea to its furthest reaches, beyond all reason, and with a preemptive request for forgiveness from our founding fathers, I've decided to lay out a draft of a
Declaration of Body Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all bodies are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
My body is my own to care for in whatever way I wish. No one has the right to tell me what to eat or how to move. If I want a cookie, I shall have one. If I want broccoli, I shall have it. I shall boogie down with my bad self, or not as I choose.
I have the right to compassionate, competent and equitable health care. This includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual care. Whenever any Form of Medicine becomes destructive of these ends, it is my right to alter or abolish it and institute a new form of medical care--seeking a form that will seem most likely to effect my Safety and Happiness.
I have the right to look the way I look. I may wear tiny prints or vertical stripes. I may expose my fleshy arms as I embrace my freedom. Fashion shall dictate no law that keeps me from dressing and expressing myself as I darn well please.
I am endowed with the unalienable Right to walk down the street unmolested by individuals (well-meaning or not) wishing to ply me with "cures" purported to change the size of my body to meet their ideal.
I am allowed to create my own definition of health and seek it (or not) as I see fit.
When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce me under the absolute Despotism of size oppression, it is my right, it is my duty, to throw off such Forces, and to provide new Guards for my future happiness.
So, my little chicklettes, cast off the chains of oppression! Launch a body revolution! Viva la resistance!
The Fat Chick
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Now that we're through the resolution craze of New Years and the thwarted crazy expectations of Valentine's Day (alas no Lexus with a giant red bow on top for ME) we're headed towards the insanity of the media telling us to "get ready for swimsuit season". Seriously. They're talking to us months in advance because "preparing for swimsuit season" is mediaspeak for getting a body that meets societal expectations about how it should look in a swimsuit. Meaning tall, blonde, white, tanned and thin, thin, thin.
According to many in the media landscape, getting ready for swimsuit season needs to start months in advance, while it's still snowing in many parts of the country. This is because getting ready for swimsuit season requires a lot of preparation. Like THIS GUY who suggests putting on your suit from last year and standing in front of a full-length mirror and also stepping on a scale. His regimen includes joining a gym, lifting barbells in front of the TV and walking around in skimpy gym wear so you aren't accidentally, blissfully unaware of just how awful you look.
Here's the thing, in my book you can get ready for swimsuit season in about 2 minutes. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Put on a swimsuit.
Well, I guess it's just one step. So for all you procrastinator chicklettes out there, worry not. In my book, you've got quite a while before you need to worry about "getting ready for swimsuit season."
The Fat Chick
Posted by The Fat Chick at 6:42 AM
Thursday, March 1, 2012
This past weekend, I did my new "Divaluscious" workout (honoring the academy awards) at the Operation Fitness Expo at the Century City Mall near Beverly Hills, CA. I was so very lucky and honored to have some very, very special women with me from NAAFA-LA including Coral, Julianne, Anita and Terry. We all donned our feather boas, big blingy sparkly rings and strutted on to the stage. We boogied down to some great size-positive tunes and rocked the crowd of several hundred people that were hanging about. Perhaps the best part is for minutes after we finished, brightly colored feathers continued to swirl about in the breeze like a super-awesome technicolor snow. Yup, we were so powerful we changed the WEATHER. That's just the way we roll. The event producer called the next day to say how much he loved watching us. "You guys were ROCK STARS!" he exclaimed.
I have to admit, being referred to as a "Rock Star" feels pretty darn good. I mean compared to all of the other things I've been called in the past few weeks, rock star is one that I'll take. But it struck me what an amazing contrast this posed to the recently released (and subsequently unreleased, soon to be re-released) Habit Heroes exhibit at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. This exhibit was designed to help kids learn healthy habits by highlighting healthy heroes like "Will Power" and "Callie Stenics". Unfortunately they also highlight some bad guys like, "Sweet Tooth" and "Lead Bottom" and "The Snacker" (pictures below) who look an awful lot like terrible caricatures of fat people in our country. Amidst the epic poo storm of controversy over the potential for this exhibit to shame and harm children of all sizes, Disney has closed the exhibit and the accompanying website for "retooling". (Which is Disney speak for rethinking the exhibit while the studio marketing folks retool their resumes).
Which leads us all back to the rock star thing. Why can't we make healthy role models for kids who don't look like SI Swimsuit Models? Why can't the health role models for kids be as diverse as, you know, the kids? How can we help ALL kids feel like rock stars? I humbly submit that there are some answers in the picture below:
This picture shows the NAAFA-LA girls strutting their stuff in all their boaed and bejeweled glory right along with some thin people. Up front and center, you've got a little kid dancing along. And what message is this kid learning? That fat people are sad and should stay home and hide until they get skinny? That fat people never exercise? That fat people and thin people are different species from one another? Nope! She's learning that people of all sizes have the right and the ability to get out and shake their stuff!
This is why we women of ALL sizes need to let our inner rock stars shine through. Not just because it feels awesome. (And it CAN feel awesome!) But because it gives kids of all sizes some REAL healthy heroes to admire and emulate.
So my dear chicklettes, I implore you. Get yourself some bling, some righteous tunes, and go shake it like the rock star you are!
The Fat Chick
Monday, February 20, 2012
|Dancing with Sandra Hull (Lolcatburglar) of Lolcat Fame in my super stretchy awesome clothes!|
My dear friend Ragen and I were chatting on the phone the other day. She was killing time and talking to me while she was people watching at the airport when she remarked, "that chick's wearing 4-inch heels at an airport. What's up with that?" I assured her that I had no idea. And I further explained why I had decided to work in the fitness industry. "Well I love to dance and I love to help people. And fitness is fun! But mostly I just wanted to work in a job where I can wear tennis shoes and sweat pants every day." Ragen said, "That sounds like a blog post. If you don't write it, I will." So I did and here we are.
In fact, I've spent most of my adult life moving from the least comfortable clothes to the most. Most of you are probably blissfully unaware that I studied opera in college. Yup, you heard it right--opera. That meant lots of costumes--often with big heavy wigs, lots of makeup, long skirts and corsets. Oh, there were other compensations. I also got to wear glittery jewelry and have a gig where I was often actually required to wear a tiara. And sometimes I got to, you know, sing and stuff. But after a while, those clothes got pretty darn uncomfortable. I couldn't wear it to Starbucks and I certainly couldn't nap in it.
Next I started working in corporate America. The skirts were shorter, but the heels were higher. 8-10 hour-days in even medium-height pumps was agony. And while you could go order a Triple, Ventissimo, Frapalatte in this get up, you certainly couldn't nap in it. It was still stiff and confining. After I while, I started my own business so I could at least wear jeans most days.
Then I started working in the fitness industry. Now, I get to wear stretchy exercise pants, and super awesome sports bras and tennis shoes almost every day. This is the career for me! I'll never forget the first time I did a fitness trade show. Not only was it not a fashion crisis to wear the most comfortable stuff in my closet, but also it was what I was supposed to wear. I was invited to wear clothes that passed both the "go get coffee" and the "nap on the sofa" test. Oh happy day!
Seriously kids, the comfort and sheer awesomeness of exercise clothes is difficult to overstate. You get to wear super comfortable shoes that come in awesome colors and even have sports detailing like race cars. And the pants? Even Margaret Cho waxes rhapsodic about yoga pants. They are comfy, yes. But they are also flexible. They allow you to occupy and move through space like you own the joint. They allow you to bend and stretch and reach and dance. Exercise clothes allow you to just breathe. So if you're looking for a reason to work out--here's one. Exercising is a wonderful excuse to wear exercise clothes, which in turn allow you to move and stretch and dance and breathe.
So my little chicklettes, why not don all your super awesome stretchy stuff and dance with me? If you live near LA, you can join me for a Divaluscious Workout this Saturday. Or you can always join me for my free live streaming workouts. Or just listen in tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 21) when I'll be interviewed by Golda Poretsky along with Anna Guest-Jelley at the 2012 Body Love Revolutionaries Summit. And whatever else you choose, just breathe.
The Fat Chick
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
|Further proof there is someone out there for every body!|
It’s American Heart Month and it’s Valentine’s Day so we’re gonna talk about hearts today. I know that this cardiac cliché may seem a bit much (especially for those of you who HATE this holiday) but I’m going to ask you to just, you know, go with it.
First we’ll turn to an article recently released in Circulation, The Journal of the American Heart Association that contains very good news for all of us who are fit fatties. The study referenced in the article followed 14,358 middle-aged men (median age 44) over 11.4 years indicates that fitness is much more important than fatness in terms of cardiac death and death overall. It may seem a little morbid to talk about death on a day which is at least theoretically supposed to be about love (or maybe not—depending about how you feel about this holiday) but the message from the study is clear. “There was no association between changes in body-mass index (BMI) and risk of mortality or death from cardiovascular disease.” So we know that, regardless of your size, fitness improves the functioning of your heart and improves your chances of being around a long time.
As I’ve been saying for years and years, just get out there and shake your groove thing! Don’t worry about winning Olympic medals or winning a role on Dancing with the Stars. Just get out there and move, moderately and joyously for a total of about 150 minutes per week. It’s good for your body and your spirit, and your heart will thank you.
Because, you know what else improves when you get out there and shake what God gave ya? Fitness improves your self esteem. Yup, getting out and getting a little exercise helps you feel better about yourself. And improved self esteem is just one of the ways that fitness improves your love relationships and sex life. Seriously, forget about magic pills. A little exercise outside of the sheets can make your exercise between the sheets EVEN BETTER. Woo Hoo! Where do I sign up?
And speaking of signing up, fitness can also provide an awesome opportunity to meet other people to have love relationships and really great sex with. You could try a new dance class or fitness class. You could sign up for tennis lessons with a truly yummy looking instructor (and really rev that heart rate!) You could join a walking or running club or go lift weights. There are many forms of fitness that give you opportunities to widen your social circle and find some new friends and/or love interests.
So let’s review. Fitness helps you find fabulous new people to hang out with and potentially fall in love with. And once you’re in love, fitness helps you have better love relationships and better sex. And fitness improves your cardiovascular health so you can love each other for a long, long time. It does my heart good just thinking about it.
So my little chicklettes, this is my Valentine’s Day wish for you. Get on your dancing shoes and go out and boogie! Go for a walk outside in the fresh air. Get yourself on down to the golf course and say hello to some folks. And bless your little hearts!
The Fat Chick