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.