So my dear reader, it can’t have escaped your attention that it’s a new year. I’ve talked about it and written about it and recorded movies about it. And it’s no wonder. The new year is a time fraught with peril for many of us. On the one hand, many of us face the danger of what I call the “big fat cycle”. We are drawn in by the gazillions of weight-loss ads and new years resolution frenzy into a cycle of panic and body hatred, followed by weight loss fantasy and unrealistic expectations, followed by deprivation, guilt, defeat and despair.
But even when we are able to move past this “big fat cycle” of panic, fantasy and despair, we are still in grave danger of allowing our enthusiasm to run away with us. Just because we manage to shun weight loss messages, doesn’t mean that we are automatically immune to unrealistic expectations and are completely in tune with our bodies. And it’s important not to be so loudly shouting body positive slogans at ourselves that we aren’t hearing what our bodies have to tell us.
As you probably know by now, I am deeply committed to the notion that Every BODY Can Exercise. I’ve just announced by Every BODY Can Exercise 12-week program. And my dear friend Ragen Chastain and I have launched a series of virtual fitness events including a decathlon and a double decathlon on our Fit Fatties Forum. And you know what, I am SO excited about both of these things. And I’m so excited that so many of you are so excited about these things!
But, (and this is a biiiiiig but) I also want to council that we need to approach all of that excitement with a little bit of caution. Because, without a little bit of care, this kind of excitement can land us in the waiting room of our nearest sports medicine specialist or even the hospital emergency room. Which sucks. Trust me, I know.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LToTYAOoqE&w=560&h=315] So, I’d like to take this moment to remind you, that life is a distance race and not a sprint. And in this case, it often pays to take the role of the tortoise and not the hare. By all means, get excited about exercise. Come on out of your shell. Start on down the track. But let’s make sure that we are continuing to listen to our bodies as we engage in this process. The phrase “no pain, no gain” needs to be stricken forever from our fitness lexicons. Because as the hare well knows, pain often leads to temporary gain, followed by high hospital bills and a long recovery period. Let’s take a page from the tortoise’s book and learn to check in with our bodies regularly. Aches and minor pains can be very helpful tools to let us know when we have done too much too fast, or are exercising with improper equipment (like shoes or a bicycle that doesn’t fit properly), or are doing an exercise that isn’t right for our body at this particular moment.
Aches and pains often start as a whisper that progress right on to screaming when left unattended. It’s best to catch these messages “on the whisper”. Because once you get to the screaming point, you may find yourself seriously injured and have to put your fitness dreams on hold for quite a while.
Look, I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer”. I don’t want to rain on your parade, or “pee in your pool”. But I do want you to just take a moment as you charge towards your fitness goals in 2014 to choose the way of the tortoise. It is often the very fastest way there. See you at the finish line (eventually).
Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
P.S. It’s not too late to join me for my 2014 Every BODY Can Exercise program. Enrollment will remain open until midnight on January 12, 2014. And enrollment is still wide open for the Virtual Events program on the Fit Fatties Forum. So start today (but not toooooo fast!)