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Fat Yoga

Curds 'n' Weigh: Fat Yoga

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fat Yoga

I had a great mid-day walk with Anna from Fat Yoga.  We talked about everything from self-esteem/body image issues, size-positive groups available in Portland, aloe vera juice...and of course yoga!  Anna started Fat Yoga after studying for some years and experiencing the discrimination towards "cushy" and otherwise less-abled people.  After searching unsuccessfully for a place that was accepting of her size and willing to teach modifications, she decided to study to become an instructor herself.  A bit eccentric and quite opinionated, Anna passionately detailed her story of how she came to start her business.  There was an instant openness and comfort that I don't often find.

As we started off on our walk, she turned to me and said "I don't think you see yourself the way that others do.  There's no way you have 200 pounds to lose!"  I chuckled a bit as I've heard this so many times since I began telling people my goal--you don't even look that're so pretty and at least you're proportionate...maybe you should just work on losing your stomach, but the rest of you is fine.  I don't know if it's because I'm so tall that people don't realize how large I am, but I am in no way content with myself at this size even if I am proportionately pudgy!  I explained to her that it was about me feeling good about myself, not because of society.  While the weight loss is completely incidental (I'm more focused on being able to reach my fitness goals...complete a cycling race, learn contemporary dance and a partner actually be able to lift me!), losing weight is a vital part in me being able to be the person that I want to be.  She did, however, bring up a great point about being able to completely love and embrace myself at any size.

She told me about a movement called "Health At Every Size" (H.A.E.S.), which encourages people to stop dieting and focus on making good food and fitness choices....for health, not for weight loss.  While this has been my approach, I must admit that I do obsess over the numbers more than my actual health.  In reality, I'm in excellent high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid or other issues commonly associated with people my mobility or other issues...I'm just FAT!  H.A.E.S. emphasizes that losing weight does not increase a person's are just as beautiful before or after the weight loss.  It also teaches the detriment of dieting (and yoyo weight loss/gain) and focuses on a lifestyle of healthy habits. 

I had to chuckle when we started talking about the many things that big people do to make thinner people more comfortable...I can name a million things that I do: walking more lightly, talking more softly, moving completely out of the way, making myself "smaller" so as not to impose on others...maybe I do see myself as much larger than I really am.  I can remember once being on the elevator with two other ladies and I accidentally backed against the fire alarm; I was mortified thinking that I brought the elevator over the weight limit (which was 3500!)...I guess my preoccupation with my weight and how big I am made me think that everyone else thinks the same thing when they see me.  Maybe this is why I'm always the "jolly" fat can't be mean or hurtful to someone who's like Santa Clause right?

Overall, the walk was a very nice break and it was wonderful meeting Anna.  I look forward to trying one of her classes. 

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