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Plus-Size Fitness Excerpt from Don't Weight
What Matters Most is HOW You Feel When You Walk.
Where you walk is important to your success. Many people feel comfortable walking anywhere. The park, a neighborhood, downtown, the seashore, for some people it does not matter. If you are one of those people, you are lucky. Enjoy your walk on any level surface available. For others it is not so simple. For many people who have been taunted about their body size when in public, walking around in public places is not a comfortable experience. Even if nobody says a word, some potential walkers might feel uncomfortable (in our weight prejudiced culture) about what people who see them walking might be thinking.
This is not paranoia. This is a reasonable response to an unreasonable prejudice. The only way I know around prejudice is to fight it. First, I will comment on fighting the prejudice that is found in the culture. (Next, I will comment on getting the prejudice out of your own head.) One way to fight negative attitudes toward large people is to do what you want and not let those attitudes stop you. I have seen many clients do just that. They went out and walked, regardless of what others may have been thinking. Soon the prejudiced thoughts of others were irrelevant and did not matter to the walker who was enjoying moving through time and space. Often, the large walker was joined by other people who wanted to walk but might have previously been uncomfortable. I have a high school track at the end of my block. In the spring, I see the track filled with lean running athletes for a while. Then, as soon as a few average and large people start walking around the track, there seems to be a consistent increase in plus-size walkers. You could be the beginning of a trend at your location.
What about the bad feelings in your own head that are triggered when you walk? If you have internalized some of our cultures fat prejudice, you can start to get rid of it. If you notice yourself thinking negative things about your fat body, disagree with those negative thoughts. Disagree in full sentences in full paragraphs. Your mind cannot think two thoughts at the same moment. While you are disagreeing with the prejudice that you learned, you are getting some distance from the hurtful thought. See the section in chapter one called "Flipping the Coin: Finding Positive".
Sometimes, when walking is more difficult than it used to be, there is a tendency to criticize yourself. If you notice yourself thinking body critical thoughts, you can change your mind. You can, with effort, focus your mind on appreciating your present effort. You can appreciate what your body CAN do, instead of criticizing for what you can not do.
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