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Plus-Size Fitness Excerpt from Don't Weight
"What good will exercise do for me? I will never be skinny anyway." Oh, no, another casualty of "The Lie"! All the advertising shows athletic thin people in the health clubs. The lean and perky fitness instructors look nothing like the average person. The fitness industry tells us that the main reason to exercise is to lose weight. The Lie is that you have to be thin to be fit and healthy.
The truth is that when people have a healthy eating style and exercise regularly, some will be small, some will be medium, and some will also be large.
But, since the truth does not sell health club memberships to a fat-phobic society, they keep telling us the lie.
Wait a minute. If weight loss is not the reason to exercise, what is? The reason to exercise is to feel better and be healthier! To demonstrate this point, I would like to tell you the true stories of three clients. Out of respect for their privacy, I will use fictitious names.
Betty came into my office at the mental health center downtown. She was an intelligent professional woman who was suffering from a mild depression. She had delayed seeking help because she was afraid of being put on anti-depressant medication. We discussed other alternatives. I asked her if she would be interested in trying a naturally occurring substance provided by her own body, endorphins.
Betty decided to start an anti-depressant exercise program. She added a daily walk to her life. This was not easy. She had to do a lot of problem-solving to fit a walk into every day. Each time she walked briskly for at least twenty minutes, her body would release endorphins. Since endorphins are the body's own natural mood elevators, she felt better. As her depression lifted she was able to make other improvements in her life. But it all started by adding enjoyable movement into each day!
Kathleen did not come to see me. Kathleen did not go anywhere. She was a beautiful super-sized woman who found walking difficult. Life was difficult. Mostly, she stayed in bed watching TV and reading. Kathleen's friend called to ask about a custom-made exercise video for her. I went right into my bedroom, climbed into bed, and started designing a fitness program to be done in bed.
Sitting up against the headboard with a cushion at my back, I demonstrated and videotaped exercises for the neck, shoulders, arms, back, abdominal wall, quadriceps, calf muscles, and feet. Then I showed a full body stretch out ... in bed.
Yes, Kathleen could do this work. Her TV was right there. Her own personal trainer was available anytime she wanted. Soon I had to design a workout to be done in a chair. Kathleen called her workout "Sitting Aerobics". The next workout using a walker was her favorite. I am planning a freestanding workout at the time of this writing.
I can hear the smile in Kathleen's voice as we have our weekly counseling sessions. She has changed her outlook. She now feels empowered to affect her life!
That brings me to the last client I wanted to mention in this section. As I was walking down the driveway to my studio, I saw a woman walking ahead of me. I have a long driveway, so I could not see her very well. She had on her short winter jacket with the hood pulled up. The bounce in her step and the youthful curves to her round figure gave me the impression she was in her twenties or thirties. Who could this hooded woman be?
Just then Doris turned around. Doris? Oh, yes. She was scheduled for a personal training session in a half-hour. Doris had been coming to my classes for five years. She had been exercising all of her life. Doris was seventy-six years old! As her bright eyes peered out of her wrinkled face, she told me, "As long as I keep moving, I keep young!"
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