The Starting Line

26 May

I’m a big girl and I’ve almost always been one.  The last time I was “ideal weight” was in high school and I was still getting being made fun of for being fat.  For years I’ve struggled with my weight, jumped in and out of fitness regimens and always found myself back at the same damn starting line.

I recently decided, terrified into action by my younger brother’s impending nuptials, during which I will be wearing a sleeveless dress, that I needed to drop some weight and start working out again. The more I thought about it the more I realized how much better I felt and slept when I was exercising. Starting back up seemed like the best idea I’d had since breaking up with my ex-boyfriend.  I turned to some women’s fitness magazines to help me get going, establish a routine, and set realistic expectations for the kind of exercise I should be doing.

NOT the best idea I ever had.  Women’s fitness magazines are for fit women…or women who need to lose 10 lbs to get into a bikini.  The last time my ass was in a bikini I was a toddler and being chubby in a bikini was cute. Fitness magazines assume I can jump onto a treadmill and break into a full-on run…and sustain it….for 30 minutes….or do intervals….and not die.  Fitness magazines don’t ask whether my knees and ankles are shot from my little-known sumo wrestling career.  It doesn’t even seem to occur to them that I might have more than 20 lbs. to lose and that the closest I’ve gotten to exercise equipment in a while was to hang a bra from the handles of my stationary bike to dry.

A few weeks ago I stated,via my status update on Facebook, “Someone needs to create a magazine called “Workouts for Fat Chicks.” Every fitness magazine assumes I’m already in marathon shape but I don’t run unless someone is chasing me.”  The response from my friends, even the svelte ones, was overwhelming. So it got me thinking…I’M a fat chick…I write for a living…and hey, I know people who know stuff.

I spent a number of years working in gyms. I’ve worked with trainers who had contests to see who could make their client puke first….but I’ve also worked with trainers who are consummate professionals, love what they do, care for their clients, and truly work to make their clients’ programs match with their current fitness level, goals, and abilities and continuously push them farther and farther from the starting line. If there’s one thing I can tell you from my own experience, the trainer who makes you puke or works you out so hard during the first session that you need a team of oxen to get you out of a chair the next day is not doing you any favors.  The truth is that they’re probably pushing you OUT of the gym unless you’re into sado-masochism in which case – hey! whatever blows your skirt up! Who am I to judge?

So, for all of us who have been forsaken, whether you’ve got a ton of weight to lose, little or no weight to lose but need to get back in shape, or just look at the moves on a fitness video and say “You want me to put what where?!?”, this blog is my attempt to facilitate useful, realistic fitness and diet information.  I’m not a trainer or a nutritionist. I can only tell you what works for me and doesn’t as I’m stumbling through this and hope to hear the same from you.  I’m going to lean on the people I know who have the expertise, credentials, and experience to give you professional advice.

I hope you’ll join me in this experiment and chime in and tell me about your experiences. I think our goals can all be achieved when we’ve got the right tools. So let’s stop listening to people who are telling us to use a sledgehammer to put a nail into the wall to hang a picture and get the show on the road at the speed that feels right for us.

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5 Responses to “The Starting Line”

  1. Sarah 05/26/2011 at 9:19 pm #

    GREAT idea…I just started back at the gym last week, so I’m two weeks in. It’s a little about weight loss, a little about overall strength and stamina, and mostly about the current girth of my butt. I’m totally with you!

    • fitnessforsaken 05/26/2011 at 9:36 pm #

      You can do it Sarah! I hope you’ll let me know what’s working for you and what’s not. Since my ass is getting it’s own zip code I can sympathize entirely…not that my ass is getting deliveries or is a post office or anything…that would be wrong on so many levels.

  2. Maven 05/27/2011 at 11:20 am #

    You can do this. You can make gravity and exercise your own personal “bitch!”

    There’s a trainer, of whom my husband has several of her DVDs. Tamilee Webb, and she has a whole series of DVDs on “Tight on Time.” The series of exercises for the arms, you can do seated (I do this myself, tho in the DVD they don’t make the distinction that you CAN do them seated), at your desk at work (tho, I have seen your cubicle! It might be a tight fit for some of the “combinations” involving extension). It’s 10 minutes from start to finish for arms (and this DVD has other series for other parts of the body, too). I did it once and “felt it” a day or two after.

    Also, somewhat related, but not really… have you considered a shrug? Because if so, I could probably knock one out for you. You know, just as a back up in case you exercise and then the day of the ceremony don’t have the confidence to go sleeveless.

    I, myself, have soft upper arms (and that jiggly “grandma arm thing” under the arm), and I go sleeveless despite it. For me, my own comfort has always been chief, over whatever some asshole might think or say about how the arms appear.

    XOXOXOXO

  3. kicknknit 05/31/2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Holla! I started my “fitness” blog three years ago and although I really didn’t think I made that much progress I looked at a pic from three years ago and almost fell over ded.. ded I say!

    Do yourself a favor.. take some before pics.. they are hard to do, but they give you a visual marker.

    If you go slow(ish) you may not realize that things are working.. find a way to keep a record so you can refer back to it and say DAMN I’m doing GREAT!

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