Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fat Acceptance

I just love Kate Winslet.  She's one of those people that says she accepts her body and doesn't strive for some crazy thin Hollywood ideal.  Of course, she has an incredible body, one which I would have no problem "accepting."  I realize this photo is misleading as the post title has NOTHING to do with Kate, I would sneer at anyone that even hinted at her being "fat".  I just saw how great she looked at the Golden Globes and want to share my admiration of her refusal to starve herself into having the body of a prepubescent girl.  Though that is sort of related to my post.

So my title is about Jayne Williams, author of Slow Fat Triathlete.  Her book was so inspirational to me.  I remember when I read it back in 2008 I googled her and came upon a blog that hadn't been updated in quite some time.  I wondered if, well actually I worried, she'd fallen of the wagon.

Recently I found myself wondering about her again so I googled her and found a new blog she started in August 2009.  She's gained quite a bit of weight and has had to curtail triathlons.  She's struggling with something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other pain issues.

Of course I haven't read every post but I think I can safely say she's on the healthy-at-any-size path and a self declared "fat activist".  She, like me, had a strong reaction to "The Fat Trap" article and wrote her own detailed response.  She made some interesting points but in general she saw the article as confirming her suspicions or experiences, whereas I saw it as more undermining mine.

Why am I sharing all this?  Because it saddened me.  It shouldn't, she makes it clear in her blog that she has a new acceptance of herself and her body and that she has been liberated by that.  I suppose I am projecting my wants, and my fears, onto her and maybe I'm not sad, maybe I'm scared.  I never want to go back to being significantly overweight and or out of shape.   The Fat Trap article was a barrage of you'll fail and then seeing Jayne's take on it, it's only failure if a normal BMI is your only definition of success - well, I guess it's all scary to this former near morbidly obese person (I was 11 pounds from a BMI of 40 when I started this blog). But it shouldn't be. Aren't I always talking about flexibility, balance? Besides, there are a ton of things I can get behind - not waiting until you are some certain size to start loving your body, the elimination of discrimination based on size, striving for a healthy and active life even if a normal BMI is not going to happen for you - all of that is good stuff. So there's a place for the fat acceptance movement, right? 

This all makes me want to get on my soapbox for a moment so bear with me. What is the difference between permanent change and temporary change? I say it's two things. A true INTERNAL desire for change. Many people start on a diet/fitness plan because they want to be a good role model for their kids, or because their doctor said they are pre-diabetic. But at some point the motivation has to shift from that external one to an internal one. You have to want it for you and you must know that. It sounds like a cliche but it's only a cliche because it's true. 

The other thing is a plan that is sustainable. Any restrictive diet is almost guaranteed to fail. A crazy workout routine is probably not going to last forever. You have to ask yourself if what you're doing is something you can do for the rest of your life. I understand why some people might be more rigid when they first start. Sometimes you need that rigidity to make a clean break from the past and to establish some new habits. But eventually you'll have to figure out how to deal with birthday cake and unplanned bowls of cereal, with the flu and missing (gasp!) a week or two of workouts, with periods of low (or no) motivation - with life. It's all about balance, flexibility, and fun. And of course commitment, which goes back to the internal motivation.

Alright, that's it. Stepping off soapbox now and into exercise journal mode. I went to the gym in the evening tonight, an hour after we ate dinner, after once again not getting up at 5am to exercise.  It's looking more and more like I can't count on myself to get up that early. At the gym I rode the bike for 25 minutes followed by strength training, back/biceps/core.  I felt strong and that felt good. I took my time stretching and left feeling good.

I've got a rough idea for how to get my long run in this weekend given our trip. Here's the plan as it stands now:

Thur:  Run outside - 5 miles after work, Gym - legs/shoulders/core
Fri:  Gym - Bike, chest/triceps
Sat:  Day off
Sun:  Long run

Then I'll resume my regular schedule starting on Monday.  We'll see how this goes.  Night all!

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