Warning: Fat Girl Walking

Sometimes, if it’s nice out and I have reason to go, I walk to the post office. It’s barely over half a mile there and back, but I do it to get a little exercise in the course of mailing whatever it is that I need to mail. Plus it feels less wasteful than driving the few blocks there and back (unless it’s gross and/or I’m running a bunch of errands that day, then I don’t have a problem driving).

I’m not the kind of person that likes to walk if there’s not a purpose to it. And for me, walking only for the exercise is not a purpose.

When I was in grade school, I had a teacher obsessed with exercise. As such she’d take us on walks multiple times a week, making us walk long distances as fast as a bunch of fifth graders could manage. My fitness-minded mother often walked in the evenings after all of the daycare children went home. For at least thirty minutes, she’d power walk around the neighborhood to exercise. A couple of times she made my sister and I come along. She complained that we were too slow. We complained that it was pointless.

Now that I’m grown and no longer at the mercy of fitness-minded/exercise-obsessed adults, I only walk if I have a place to go and a purpose to fulfill. That makes sense to me. If I want to exercise, then I do yoga or I belly dance. Walking to the post office to mail something is bonus exercise.

But walking anywhere means that I am a fat girl walking.

For some reason, this is a sight to behold. People seem to find it very interesting. Eye catching, really.

Okay, yes, some of it is my own paranoia and projections, but we all know the truth of which I speak.

People LOOOOOVE to tell fat people to “take a walk, fattie”. And then when the fat folk do, they’re met with looks, glares, smirks, and sometimes even nasty comments hurled from vehicles as they pass. Thankfully, that last one has never happened to me. Most likely because even at my nicest I strike people as someone who will cut you.

If you can picture these two occurrences as a Venn diagram, they’d damn near overlap to form a flawless circle.

Now one would think that people so fatphobic that they offer unsolicited advice about exercising to lose weight would be supportive of someone doing just that. But no! You see, the underlying message here is not only should you not be fat, but you should also not attempt to alter your state of fatness in public. These people are only interested in the before and after pictures on the commercials; they’ve got no interest in witnessing the journey.

Furthermore, if these delightful humans found out that some of us fatties aren’t even walking to lose weight, that this is just a little bonus exercise to get things done, or a preferred method of cardio with an eye on fitness, not the scale, well, I imagine they’d be so offended by the notion that they’d melt from the heat generated by them frothing at the mouth and screaming about why this approach is WRONG.

Or, perhaps what would be the ultimate worst, that some fat people don’t walk for exercise. Not to lose weight, not for any modicum of fitness. They walk because, well, humans don’t hover. Sometimes bipedal transportation is just the only way to go. Think of all the fat people judged because they’re using mobility scooters. Now think about how those same people are judged if they’re walking around.

That judgement doesn’t change much does it?

You know what else doesn’t change?

Fat people walking around in public. That’s going to continue to happen for all of the various reasons listed above. Humans gained the ability to walk upright at some point, have been using it as a mode of transportation for ages, and well, despite all insults to the contrary, fat people are human too. We’re going to continue walking about in places where everyone and your God can see us.

So, if you do happen to see me on one of my post office walks, smile and wave.

Otherwise, keep on driving.

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Fat Girl Fitness

I like exercise. Okay, some mornings I don’t feel like I want to do it and it’s kind of a chore, but overall, I like it. I like moving my body and I like the health benefits from it.

For about a year, I’ve been struggling with my workouts. Part of the problem was working full-time. I wasn’t exactly skilled at working in 20-30 minutes of movement after working all day (I sure as heck wasn’t getting up any earlier to do it before I left for the cube). The other part has been trying to find a workout routine that I can stick to.

FitTV was my main source of my workout. Remember that channel? It’s Discovery Health now. I did a belly dance workout every morning. When Fit TV took it off the air, they put several other shows in the time slot that mixed cardio kickboxing, Bollywood dancing, Latin dance, hip hop dance, and cardio sculpting. The days that they aired segments I didn’t like, I did yoga. It was working really nicely, or so I thought, until Oprah needed to have her own network and ruined mine.

So since then, I’ve really been struggling with finding something to do that I like, that I will do every day, that will help me achieve my goal of losing the forty pounds I put back on after I lost it in the first place.

At the end of October I took another setback when I hurt my knee. My already sporadic fitness routine ended up practically non-existent as I struggled to find exercises that I could do that wouldn’t further injure my knee.

All of this struggling and lack of progress took its toll on my self-esteem. And it’s pretty common that the worse you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to be motivated to be do anything about it. Frustration has a tendency to negatively affect my productivity.

But with the new year comes a new opportunity, or at least, that’s what it feels like. For some reason that symbolic restart was just what I needed to clear out some of my baggage and get back on the fitness horse once again. I still haven’t come up with a routine that I like and that I’ve stuck to, but I’m working on it.

I’m going back to basics and taking my own advice. First thing I’ve got to do is get into the habit of moving again, five days a week, no exceptions. My knee is healing and feeling better. I can do more now (wearing a brace during exercise helps). I need to take advantage of that. I need to move. Dancing (free style and belly), stretching, and yoga every morning should do it. These are all things I like. There’s no excuse for me not to do them.

Once I get that rhythm going, then adding in some weights in the afternoon won’t be a big deal. The one thing that retail offered me was that I could work out in the morning, then I’d be walking around when I was at work at night at least a couple of days a week. Writing, I tend to be planted in front of my computer for most of the day. A little sculpting in the afternoon would be a nice way to get the blood flowing and break up some of the afternoon slog.

I’m a big advocate for fat girl fitness. I give my fat girl friends fitness advice all the time. I’ve been doing this for years and I like to share my experience. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with all of the information. It’s so easy to look at DVD taught by some skinny chick who’s never been fat a day in her life and think that you can’t do that. However, when some practical advice comes from a fat girl, someone who lives with it and struggles with it and does it anyway, it’s a little more encouraging.

This fat girl needs to listen to her own advice and stop over-thinking things. No, I’m not at the fitness level I was a few years ago and that’s frustrating. No, I’m not at the weight I was a few years ago and that’s frustrating. But I know how to get both of those things back, now don’t I? I’ve done it before.

So, shut up, listen, and do it. No excuses.