I promised I would write more about this topic and here we go.  I have you six reasons people hate exercise in my previous post, and I’m giving you six more to get to an even dozen. You know–like donuts. 

Okay here we go:

7.  I don’t look like an exerciser:  Many of us have allowed media and popular culture to give us a pretty skewed idea of how exercisers look.  We imagine tanned, perfectly sculpted bodies, in perfectly coordinated fitness gear, presented in moodily lit settings.  Sure there’s a few people who look like that when they exercise, but most of them are at professional photo shoots or advertising/modeling agencies.  In fact, exercisers come in all shapes and sizes and colors and clothes.  Want to see what I mean?  Check out the amazing photos of folks on the Fit Fatties Forum.  There’s people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities working out in everything from their stylish Flying Rhinos shirts to lifting weights in pyjamas. 

8.  I can’t find gear in my size:  Finding exercise gear for larger bodies can certainly be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.  You can find plus-sized exercise gear for everything from dance to diving in sizes up to 5 or 6X at Junonia.  Other plus-sized options include Old Navy, Just My Size, Walmart and many others.  And don’t assume that you are too big to do certain things, find out.  I’ve seen posts from people on the Fit Fatties Forum saying things like: I thought I was too big to ride horses, but it turns out I just needed to find a bigger horse.  Or I didn’t know somebody my size could scuba dive, but I found a company that takes out plus-sized divers and rents plus-sized dive suits.

9.  I’ve tried exercise lots of times and it didn’t make me thin.  So why bother?  I’ve heard this one lots of times.  And the truth is that in many cases, exercise won’t make you thin.  In fact this is one of the number one reasons I’m so annoyed with all of the advertising that implies that if you buy this exercise product, take this boot camp class or do this DVD you’re going to look like a supermodel.  Because chances are, you won’t.  That said, there are a million other reasons to exercise.  It helps you feel better.  It helps you sleep better.  It helps keep you from getting sick.  It helps your mood.  It helps you manage stress.  It helps you have a better sex life.  It helps you live longer.  It helps you maintain a better quality of life.  Seriously, do I need to go on here.  Exercise may not make you look like a rock star, but exercise still ROCKS!

10.  Exercise is expensive:  Exercise can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  You can shell out less than $100 on a good pair of sneakers and have everything you need to begin a walking program.  Lots of communities have low cost classes offered by the city or the county.  Other organizations like the YMCA and YWCA offer classes on a sliding scale based on income and offer babysitting services.  Lots of churches offer classes for a small fee or even for free.  There are tons and tons of free exercise videos available online on YouTube and other sites.
11.  I am too busy to exercise:  Not having time is the number one reason that people cite for not exercising.  And I get it.  We’re all busy.  And as I’ve said before, NOBODY IS OBLIGATED MORALLY OR OTHERWISE TO EXERCISE.  It’s your body and your life and you are allowed to prioritize your life in any way that you like.  However, I submit that few things in life offer the the same bang for the buck or the same reward per minute as exercise.  You can see serious life benefits from exercise in as few as 15 minutes per day.  The most commonly recommended level for exercise is only 150 minutes per week.  How many minutes per day do you spend checking email or social networking sites?  How about watching TV or sitting in traffic?  You might be able to carve time out for exercise if you are creative!  Can you go for a walk after work and let the traffic die down before you drive home?  Here in LA, waiting an hour to leave sometimes gets me home at the exact same time as if I had left right away.  Can you walk to your lunch place instead of driving?  If you want to work exercise into your day, you might be surprised at some of the ways you can find the time.
12.  People harass me when I exercise:  I am sad to say that plus sized exercisers are sometimes harassed.  People yell things from the street.  Teachers single fat exercisers out as poster children for good or for ill.  People get eggs thrown at them.  It is really, really awful.  Some people choose to exercise at home for this reason.  Some seek size-friendly gyms and organizations.  In my experience, the local Y or a church or community center may be more friendly that a megagym or fancy fitness center.  But this is not always the case.  Or you may choose to join forces with other fat activists to create safe spaces.  You might want to join our  upcoming fat activism conference if you’d like to learn more!  And of course the Fit Fatties Forum offers lots of help and advice for dealing with that kind of nonsense.
So that’s that!  Now that you’ve read all this stuff, you still might hate exercise.  And that’s okay because you are the boss of you.  But you may discover that you really just hate some aspect of exercise.  And if that’s the case, hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas about how to work over, around and through those exercise obstacles.
Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick
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