Healthy, Chubby and Happy...
How comfortable are you in your own skin? Truth moment: I haven’t always been comfortable in mine. Like most women, I gained weight after having kids. But that part wasn’t so tough. With each of my three pregnancies, I lost all the weight and bounced back within a few months. It wasn’t until I was all done having babies and nursing that I started gaining more weight than I was comfortable with. So what did I do? I did what lots of people do when they think they need to lose weight. I started exercising 7 days/week and restricting my calories. And guess what? Like “magic,” I lost weight. I felt good and I was looking great. But a few months later, I was exhausted. I had gone about five months with no breaks from exercise and it started to become a chore that I almost hated. I had an ideal weight and size in mind...but my body had other plans. And to be honest, I had no more desire to fight. This was the start of me truly accepting my body.
Some will see that as giving up or copping out because maybe it was going to be too much work to "earn" the body I wanted. And I too used to subscribe to that line of thinking. It wasn't until I stumbled upon some of Dr. Lindo Bacon's (formerly Linda) work, that I begin to understand why my body seemed to prefer a heavier weight/size. The diet culture that we are exposed to in the United States was created to fuel a billion dollar industry forever. Body acceptance, fat positivity and recognition of health at every size is counterproductive to the goal of the diet industry. In order for weight loss pills, shakes, teas, meal plans, corsets, exercise programs and the like to remain popular, a large number of people must view themselves as unhealthy, undesirable, unattractive and flawed. And the most practical precursor to these adjectives is body size/weight, or simply put...fatness. If someone is fat, chubby, thick or my favorite term, "overweight," then they automatically fit the bill for "unhealthy." Pay no mind to things like blood pressure, cholesterol, resting heart rate, endurance, flexibility, strength, agility, speed or ANYTHING like that. Focus ONLY on the person's body size and you will have customers for life.
Once I figured out this formula, I decided that I could no longer be a part of the equation. I am so much more than my weight or my size. The scale and the tag inside my pants do not define me. And while there are times when I push myself to do a challenging workout or to try a new exercise, I am generally, only interested in moving my body in a way that brings me joy and makes me feel strong or accomplished. I have always enjoyed exercise, but when it became a necessity for weight control, much of the joy left.
Why? Because like many of you, I was a slave to diet culture. Remember how I said I "magically" lost weight? Well here's the catch: even when I did, I wanted to lose MORE. I still wasn't happy with my body and I sincerely thought that I needed to do more/work harder/try something new to attain a specific number and look like the picture of "health" that I had in my mind (that was of course influenced by what society commonly presented as healthy). I have always enjoyed exercise, but when it became a necessity for weight control, much of the joy left. And the loss of that joy made me less compliant with my calorie restrictions and workout program, so of course, I gained back every pound I lost. I was preparing to film a fitness program and I believed in my heart that if I didn't appear thinner, no one would buy into the idea that I could help them achieve better health. Yes, I ignored all of my education and my years of experience creating exercises, teaching, training and instructing patients and clients, and focused simply on how I (and others might) perceive my body. I feel sad even admitting this, but it is my truth.
I know that I am not any different than many of you. I fell victim to diet culture for years...but can I tell you how liberating it is to no longer have the weight of society and my own insecurities plaguing my fitness journey? It is amazing and I am loving it. And because I am all about spreading the love, I want to invite you to join me! I am compiling photos from women all over the world as a part of my Virtual Phit Chick Campaign. If you'd like to participate in this effort to normalize natural bodies, take the following steps:
Snap a picture of yourself in black bottoms and a black sports bra
Follow us and stay tuned for the presentation
I can't wait to see your pictures and celebrate the strength and beauty of our AMAZING bodies!