A book review by Green Mountain alum, Jill C.
“The Fat Chick Works Out” Author Jeanette DePatie is a Health at Every Size (HAES) advocate and exercise instructor who wants you to rediscover movement and the powerful benefits it can bring to you at your current size. Those immediate benefits can include a lower risk of cancer, improved mood, better joint/bone health, stronger muscles, and a reduction in stress. But another immediate benefit she stresses is the joy of being in your body. Let me explain.
Jeanette lays out a practical and accommodating 12-week Fat Chick Plan that helps enable long-term exercise success and sustainability. It aligns well with Green Mountain mantras like “Your Pace is THE Pace” and “Something is Better Than Nothing.” She encourages you to take it slow, have the proper equipment, and find an activity that works for you.
But what I really appreciated were the mental exercises she also recommends to help you find the joy of moving your body. Living outside of our heads can be very challenging. However, experiencing your whole body is an important strategy for achieving fitness. It allows you to be attuned to the benefits that exercise is giving you, whether you are losing weight or not.
The exercise that was the hardest, yet most powerful for me was Exercise #10: Full Body Walkin’. Jeanette asks you to spend an entire workout session being in your body. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating and has absolutely done EVERYTHING to avoid being in my body, this task seemed impossible. But, I decided to face my hear head on.
Here’s how it worked. As you move your body, you name the body part that you are using. Try to be in the moment and really feel the sensation of that part working to make you strong. Be an observer and just take notes. No judgment. Jeanette even asks us to say the name of the body part out loud.
I tried this exercise as I was going up the logging trail while at Green Mountain. As I climbed the hill, I tried to be present with different parts… legs… arms… fingers… lungs…
The exercise didn’t ask me to give honor to my body as I did this, but I noticed a deep appreciation for what my body could do, as opposed as bemoaning what it looked like. In the past, I mainly focused on how good I felt AFTER I worked out. But Jeanette suggests that you take time WHILE you are exercising to connect with your body. Instead of just focusing on completing an activity, live in the joy of being in your body, especially when it is working so hard to sustain you.
Now that I’m home from Green Mountain, I’ve continued this practice of being in the body. Whether it’s in Warrior One pose, crunching my abs, or walking around my neighborhood, I’m now trying to live in my body, instead of using food to avoid it.
Have you read The Fat Chicks Works Out!? What were your thoughts?
Jill C blogs about eating mindfully and living intuitively at http://eatingasapathtoyoga.wordpress.com