Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Welcome to anyone who’s come here from seeing me on panels at Norwescon this last weekend! I had a fabulous time! And many, many thank yous to those of you who said nice things about me. I would also like to thank my amazing and wonderful fellow panelists on the HAES panel on Sunday, Maida Cain, Burton Gamble, and Sheye Blaze.
There are a few things I would like to reiterate from Sunday’s Intro to HAES panel, and a few things and tips that didn’t get said.
First, I covered my four realities of life: Beauty is Subjective, Thin is a Terrible Goal (Health is a better one), Exercise Doesn’t Have to Suck, and Jerks are Going to be Jerks at You. I think those are all pretty self-explanatory, also see my earlier post talking about how excited I was to do this panel, for more details on these three precepts.
Second, before you begin exercise, and ANY TIME YOU HURT YOURSELF, see a doctor. You may have a medical condition that will rule out certain exercises, or even indicate that you should consider others. Also, when you hurt yourself, this means you can’t exercise until you get that fixed. Go fix it. And yes, I know a lot of doctors are fat-shamey jerkfaces. There are two things you can do about this: 1. You can fire your doctor (insurance permitting, Gods I hate our healthcare system) and go find another one, and 2. Make it very plain you will not be bullied about your weight. More on this later.
Third, there is no “one size fits all” baseline of health, no matter what “everyone knows.” Every body is different. One of the reasons you go to a doctor is to get a baseline of where you are at healthwise, and if you have a good doctor, or you can wade through the fat-shamey bullshit if you don’t, it is a good idea to get your blood glucose, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and thyroid levels checked. They may also be able to make some suggestions for exercise regimens.
Ok, now, on to tips I’d like to talk about that both did and didn’t get mentioned in the panel. And most of these relate to Exercise Doesn’t Have to Suck. Pick something you like doing because you will be more likely to keep doing it, as opposed to something you hate. Pick something that is fun and within your price range. Things you may be able to do cheaply include walking, dancing around the house in your underwear, using neighborhood pools for swimming and community water aerobics classes, yoga from online instructional videos… I also have several dance games for the Wii, and have been known to dance for well over an hour at a time. Maida walked a marathon.
Now, tips for adding exercise gradually to your life, even when you have a supremely frenetic schedule like mine. I keep a set of dumbells next to the couch so that I can do arm exercises while watching TV. I also keep a towel there, so I can spread it on the floor to do yoga or stretch, maybe do some other isometric exercises. Frequently I will suggest to people that if you bus, get off a stop a block or two early. If you work in a multi-floored building, start by taking a flight of stairs (as long as your knees can handle it). Once you’re good with one flight, add a second, and so on. Walk the halls at work. I work in a very long building, so I can take breaks or my lunch hour for a nearly mile long walk.
A quick note on diet. Burton made an awesome point during the panel, that you should pick a diet you can live with. If you’re eating things because you “should” and not because you like them, you won’t keep eating them. And you’ll crave stuff you do like. Also, remember, you have to eat what you can afford. A lot of people don’t realize that eating non-processed, healthy food is more expensive than pre-processed stuff, and also doesn’t give the calorie load that many people’s bodies want to maintain them through their daily routine. Eat as well as you can. Do try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables. If you live somewhere with fruit stands or ethnic groceries, they often have cheaper fresh produce, even if you sometimes need to use it within a day or two. Keep an eye on sales.
Now, being firm with your doctor. My girlfriend has a standard response to fat shaming when she’s going in to the doctor for something non-related to fat: “Since I’m not likely to lose enough weight to make you happy before the end of my appointment, why don’t we focus on why I came here.” I always tell my doctors that I do not want to know my weight, because I know the number will just send me into a spiral. When fat-shaming or diet talk starts, I just keep repeating that I am not interested in any “treatment” with a 95% failure rate. Nor am I interested in any “recommendations” that would be considered pathological if I weighed less.
I should wrap this up. Here are a couple of the blogs I mentioned in the panel.
Most many of these sites have the Fatosphere blog feed on them, so you can more easily track down others. Thank you again to everyone who came to the panel!