Month: May 2014

Fit Shaming

Social media.

It has given us the power to stay behind a keyboard and throw hurtful words and opinions without the repercussion of seeing the emotion of the receiving end. Then we have our mainstream media, who like to shove images down our throats of ‘perfection’.

Ok, so let’s think this through. Mainstream media wants us all to be thin and encourages a culture of FAT SHAMING – if someone is overweight then they are looked on differently than others and even the media eye captures them differently. Think of the plot points of “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” or “Drop Dead Diva”. The ‘unattractive’ character was slightly heavier than her counterpoint. (That being said, media seems to equate weight with intelligence – especially based on these two examples so I guess it’s not possible to be thin and smart).

Not really seeing the "ugly" in this character...
Not really seeing the “ugly” in this character…

Right, so Fat Shaming on social media has been huge over the years; especially when it comes to the faceless, uneducated masses taking on celebrities or athletes that are not their vision of ideal. Need examples? Go search #FatShamingWeek to see a hodgepodge of the satire and serious.

Recently I have noticed a shift.

We are so over-reactionary now about someone who might possibly be “fat shaming” someone else, that social media has taken another ugly turn into FIT SHAMING.

What is Fit Shaming?

Ever had a friend make a declaration of positive change on Facebook only to be met with their ‘friends’ telling them they’re doing things wrong, they look fine, or not to worry about what the scale says? This is the surface.

Remember this controversy?

Buff mom

The internet went ablaze at this physically fit woman who was making a point. The blasted her for fat shaming, and, in turn, they were FIT shaming. “How dare you exercise when you have three kids?” But that was her point – anyone can find an excuse to not be fit and healthy. She did not find excuses and, despite having three children, here she is: trim, healthy and able to fully enjoy the lives of her sons.

Since I’m on a roll of past media explosions of fit shaming, let’s go with this one:

Crossfit mom

Watch out. Here is another irresponsible woman who is lifting weights. (Oh and she happens to be pregnant.) “Crossfit Mom” stirred the waters of Fit Shaming when photos of her clean and jerk started circulating the amongst the trolls of the internet. Though she stated that she was cleared by her doctor for exercise, and her weights were low, the fit shamers needed to let her know that she was a horrible person. Let’s also remember that she had been on a Crossfit routine for a long time before her pregnancy. She didn’t take up lifting when she found herself 7months pregnant.

Alright, now let’s move into some personal experiences I’ve had.

Everyone knows that I’m an Herbalife Health Coach. I have a lot of friends that utilize healthy eating programs like I do, in combination with exercise. Do things go astray sometimes? Yes. Do we have to recommit once in a while? Yes.

In the past 2 days I have seen 3 separate instances of good friends of mine (some on Herbalife, some not) being shamed about their decision to become healthier.

I understand that the friends who were commenting thought they were coming from a good place. When looking deeper at some of the comments, I realized there was a lot of projection going on.

“Don’t do that. It’s a diet. It’s a fad. You’re just going to fail.”

“I used to be an athlete and I know you’re doing it wrong.”

“You look fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

“Herbalife is a hoax, you’re going to get fat.”

“You work out a lot. You don’t need to change your eating.”

How dare you portion your meals and have a delicious shake?
How dare you portion your meals and have a delicious shake?

Right, so those comments are just abridged versions of what I have gotten from a handful of social media sites from my friends’ pages. I also had a friend from Philly post a status about the negativity she’s been feeling ever since she rebooted her program. Not cool. I have been on my journey for over 10 years now. I have endured a lot of hurt and anger over what people have said to me. Here’s a sampling:

“You workout too much.”

“You’re obviously anorexic.”

“Stop exercising. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

“It’s weird that you take that many vitamins”

“You’re being selfish.”

[on a picture of a healthy meal] “Gross. Can’t you put chocolate on that to make it taste good?”

“Muscles are ugly”

guns

 

“No one will marry you if you lift weights, they’ll all think you’re scary.” (This is why I have my #StrongIsSexy tag)

“You’re stupid for drinking so much water. You don’t need that much.”

“You’re stupid for eating so much protein.”

“You’re getting dyke-ey.”

Photo by Down N Out

“You should be working, not working out.”

“You make me feel lazy.”

“You’re obsessed.”

“You’re too intimidating.”

I’ve also been tagged in many photos of unhealthy habits where the other party seems to be BRAGGING about the unhealthy meal. And when I have put up messages about joining my healthy journey, I have gotten remarks about “Can I do it and eat Oreos?” and other comments along those lines.

 

Should I keep going? It’s hard to go back through the memory banks and pull these out. I end up commenting on threads and conversations that I should probably stay out of because I don’t want any of my friends to hear these words from people they love and respect. No one should be told that their healthy choice is bad. No one should feel like wanting more energy and life is an insult to others.

Again, sometimes it is meant to come from a place of caring and support, but our phrasing is wrong. I know that I have a very bad reaction whenever someone tells me about the great juice diet they’re about to do for 45 days. No one is perfect, but we need to have an awareness of our words and feelings.

These negative comments come from a place of self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, inability to look at oneself to make healthy changes, or even from a simple misunderstanding of what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Those around us will look at what we are doing and see what they are NOT doing, become defensive, and sometimes go on the attack. The projection ends up on our social media and in passive aggressive conversation in day to day life. It happens all the time, and we are ok with it. Fat shaming is not acceptable, but FIT shaming happens just as often, we just haven’t put the spotlight on it yet.

**Disclaimer: If you have a friend that seriously is not eating, has dropped an unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time, or has a tendency to go from 0 to 120 mph on things, it’s ok to express your concern. Before you approach them with: “You’re doing this wrong”, ask them questions about what they’re doing and why. I guarantee that every human will be less defensive about your feelings if you come to them from a place of understanding, instead of a place of attacking.

So the next time your friend posts that they’re going to CrossFit for the first time, or that they are starting a running routine, or that they have a goal to lose 20 pounds – encourage them. Support them in public. Ask questions about what they’re doing and what made them go for it. If you’re already healthy, help them along the way. If you are not in a super healthy lifestyle, and you feel indignant, incredulous or any other negativity towards the idea of what your friend is doing, that’s fine. You’re allowed to have those feels. That is your choice, but do not spread the negativity and resentment onto the rest of us simply because your choice is not our choice.

For those of us in this world that are combating the negativity of loved ones on an already difficult journey, keep pushing forward. Life will continue to hit you with obstacles. You are stronger. When you are past all of it and can look back on the journey, you’ll be very glad you did not listen to the naysayers.

cant change what you wont face

Upcoming blogs about athletic improvement

“I want to be better at roller derby.”

I hear this all the time as a health coach with Derbalife. It’s what we do. We help people ‘get better’ at roller derby. I spend a lot of time thinking and researching what that really means to each individual person who contacts me. A 200lb female is going to have different challenges than a 135lb male in the sport.

derbalife
Static Shock of the Carolina Wreckingballs has very different goals than Hittsburg of Charm City Roller Girls; each must train (and eat) appropriately. Photos by ShutHerUp and Tyler Shaw

I’m going to do a series of blogs about how to “get better at roller derby” off the track, and I’m going to do my best to include science (or at least link science articles for you to read up on and try and translate the jargon).

Training for any sport is not simple. If you decide to compete in a marathon, you may think, “Oh, I’ll just run!” but there are different philosophies, different styles of running, different techniques to prepare for the marathon.

Charm City White Star RoadRunner knows that training for distance running takes more than just mileage.
Charm City White Star RoadRunner knows that training for distance running takes more than just mileage.

With contact sports, you must train your long endurance, short endurance, capacity for large muscle power, stability and strength in tiny ligaments and minor muscle groups, coordination, sensory reaction, mental power and cognitive understand, and the recovery time from constant impact. “Oh, is that all, Khaos?” No, it is not all. Within each individual piece are an infinite number or focuses you can take. So I like focusing on a few things at a time.

Themes of upcoming blogs:

Can’t Knock Me Down (Balance and Core Strength)

Big Power (Power lifting and large muscle group leg strength)

Feet like Hands (Busting power, acceleration, and agility)

Hands like Feet (Training and using your upper body)

Skittles Don’t Count (Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition)

The Forrest Gump of Roller Derby (Long endurance training)

So I Had a Bad Practice (Mental recovery and forgiveness)

If Only I Had Better Wheels (Overcoming fear and mental blocks in training)

Wait it’s that Thing! (Mental understanding of the game and translation to muscle movement)

The Mighty Ducks Approach (How to prep your body for impact)

Again! Again! (How to train multiple times a day safely)

Gallons and Gallons (Hydration and the importance of water to the body)

Micro and Macro and Phyto, Oh My! (Nutrients, Minerals and more)

 

If you have any other themes that you’d like to see me research and write about, please do comment and let me know! Also, if anyone would like to see these turned into Rollercon classes or seminars – let me know if I should submit. I’m always looking for cool things to teach that are inspired by blogs. I figured I’d list them out here so that I know what I’m writing about in the upcoming weeks! I need to plan out and put it out there, otherwise I lose focus sometimes.

Remember, every person has different thoughts, opinions, and techniques for training and improving. I hope to offer up some information from within the community of roller derby. The information will be useful for many sport disciplines, but hopefully these blogs will help us all get a little more awesome in upcoming months.

Stopping power, bursting power, agility, quick thinking and pure strength all exist in this ONE SHOT of two power house all star teams. Photo by Tyler Shaw
Stopping power, bursting power, agility, quick thinking and pure strength all exist in this ONE SHOT of two power house all star teams. Photo by Tyler Shaw