rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I know I'm days behind on this, but there was a wee bit of furore on a LibDemVoice article, where Jo Swinson used the launch of some size-16 mannequins to promote the government body confidence campaign and there were a number of commenters who were very concerned that this might mean fat women think it's ok to be fat.

If feeling miserable and ashamed of my body achieved anything, I'd have been toned and slender long ago. So I've tried to give up body-hatred and focus on what I can do. My body has grown two enormous babies, and fed each of them for years. I rack up 10,000+ steps a day on my pedometer, and I cycle-commute around north Cambridge every weekday. At the end of September last year, 12 weeks post-partum, I took up running with Couch-to-5k, and after a couple of gaps this year (flu in February, and the hot summer), I've re-established a habit of running three times a week and am dreaming of running a marathon next year.

Twice a week I run in my lunch hour at work. I am a fat woman and my running gear does nothing to hide this, because it is comfortable and functional. I've been enjoying seeing some of my friends making Clovember posts, and so today I snapped a couple of photos of me in my running gear before I set out. Photos and numbers are behind the cut.

Here I am in our disabled accessible loo which conveniently has a full-length mirror. (This may look oddly familiar to those of you who also see [livejournal.com profile] emperor 's Clovember posts.)

Ready to run

Blue running top from Aldi, black leggings from La Redoute, high-vis socks also from Aldi and Nike trainers. Black neoprene bumbag, which I think came from Advance Performance back when I was doing powerwalking in 2009-10. It holds my phone, my entry card, and my pedometer.

Here I decided to turn sideways and show the full horror of my tubby belly. It turns out that I couldn't take a non-wobbly sensible photo, so have the one with me pulling a face instead.

Side view

Numbers: I weigh about 105kg, my BMI is about 36, and my clothes size is around 22-24. Most of society tries to tell me multiple times a day that I am terrible for being this size, usually while trying to sell me something.

Sometimes it feels like a conscious political act, going out and being a fat woman visibly exercising in public. Sometimes it's just a good way to spend my lunch hour. I always feel happier afterwards and that's the real reason I keep doing it. Politics has nothing on endorphins.

Date: 2013-11-14 23:39 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] techiebabe
Good for you! Yes, if being what society calls 'a healthy weight' was easy, everyone would do it. Your point about being seen to exercise is interesting; as a fat woman I feel that I shouldnt be seen eating chips / sweets / unhealthy food in public. But hang on, what if it is my annual treat to myself, or similar? Why should I care what strangers seeing me might think? Yet I do. I resent feeling like that, at the same time as not being able to shake it off. :-(

(Btw, small point, it is an accessible loo, not a disabled one, unless it is broken / out of action.)

Date: 2013-11-15 00:17 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] techiebabe
No worries :-)

Thanks for raising an important issue, something Ive pondered a lot lately for various reasons, and which ppl dont really talk about. And Go You! with the running, wish I could run. Well done for finding the time & discipline. :-)

Date: 2013-11-15 01:12 (UTC)
megpie71: AC Tifa Lockheart looking at camera, very determined (Give me the chocolate & nobody dies)
From: [personal profile] megpie71
I'm another fat woman who tends to feel defensive and somewhat resentful about eating food in public. The whole time I'm eating something which is labelled as "bad for me" in public, I'm on the defensive, pre-emptively ready to snap the head off whichever arsehole decides to walk up and try to shame me for having the temerity to eat something which isn't primarily lettuce.

I've also experienced the sort of "ewwwww... get your horrible fat cooties out of our nice clean gym" thing as well (both by implication, in having a couple of teenagers giggle at my fat, jiggly, sweaty self while I was on an exercise bike; and through hearing a colleague at work complain, in my hearing, about the temerity of some fat woman having the hide to be using a treadmill when she'd been wanting to use it at her local gym). Fortunately, the local leisure centre I've started attending doesn't seem to run to judgemental arseholes in the swimming pool; admittedly, the last two times I've been there, there's been aquarobics classes running at the same time for the "over 50s" set, and the majority of them resemble me more than the instructor.

Strangely enough, the thing which tends to stop me from getting involved in more sport and exercise is the difficulty I have in finding appropriate protective gear. The sports shops in Australia tend to be positively phobic about the notion of a fat person coming in and getting their fat cooties all over the merchandise - you'll be hard pressed to find anything in a size larger than a 14. I went looking online for a sports bra to fit me (Australian size 20 band, E cup) and quickly realised I'd be looking at importing something from the UK or the US. I was lucky to find the swimwear I did - one of the local discount chains (Best & Less, for any interested Aussies reading) actually has a pretty good range in their plus sizes stuff, and they stock swimwear which goes by the assumption that someone who's over size 16 is going to have tits which are bigger than the "12B or not 12B" cups which are standard in most swimwear. So for the first time in year, I have a set of swimwear I'm not spilling out of the top of - it's great.

Date: 2013-11-15 09:34 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Nice sporty pics!

Glad to hear you're having a good time exercising and that you've got things that fit in with your lifestyle.

And, gah concern trolls! Spare us all from them!

Date: 2013-11-15 10:17 (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
You look good (especially in blue!), you're healthy and best of all, you're fun to be with. It's a delight and an honour to be acquainted with you. :)

Date: 2013-11-15 11:20 (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I've never really understood the logic in the nasty fat-hating trolls; if you were trying to comply with their demand to be thin then surely exercise would be a part of that? Shouldn't they be all "yay, the fat woman is trying to be thin, keep it up". LOGIC THEY DO NOT HAVE IT.

Your high-vis socks are excellent.

Date: 2013-11-19 04:33 (UTC)
monanotlisa: Diana as Diana Prince in glasses and a hat, lifting the rim of the latter rakishly. HOT! (Default)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
No, these people are full of seething, bubbling hatred, and are looking for targets that allow them to still think of themselves as good people or somesuch.

Different groups facing discrimination are not the same, of course, but I do wonder what these haters of fat people would have said about other groups in another time or place.

Enjoyed your post!
Edited Date: 2013-11-19 04:33 (UTC)

Date: 2013-11-15 12:46 (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
I still don't understand the appeal of running, but I'm glad it works for you :-) Good pictures, too: it took me several goes to not be staring into the phone when taking selfies using the loo mirror!

Date: 2013-11-15 13:52 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] irishkate.livejournal.com
Well done.
I have lost weight recently but I am not fit. You out fit me and I am envious (but not enough to do anything about it)

You should be proud of what you have accomplished and you look great.

Date: 2013-11-15 16:57 (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
Since my weight gain, I've been trying to focus on fitness not fatness. Because my primary goal is to be healthy, not to fit into other people's boxes. But shopping and exercising in public (other than walking a lot) make me feel rubbish. I can totally understand that Exercising While Fat is a political statement, and you're doing an awesome thing.

Another person saying you look cool to me

Date: 2013-11-15 17:18 (UTC)
jinty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jinty
TBH I wouldn't say from that photo that you look like you weigh 105 kg, not because I want to flatter/reassure you (on the grounds that's not something I reckon you need or want); but because I think we don't normally get a good sense of what weight actually means in our society. Not sure that I can express any more of my rather inchoate stream of thought at this point on a Friday though.

(By saying you look cool to me I am not saying that you or other fat women exercising need to look cool to me etc etc etc.)

Date: 2013-11-15 21:34 (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
I would like to know what the justification is for people insisting that it's not okay for fat women to be fat that doesn't rely on (a) "They look ew." and/or (b) "DEATHFATS". Because both of those are pretty much bunk.

Just reading your exercise ambitions and accomplishments is exhausting.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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