Bad Romance: Getting Over Your Messy Break Up with Exercise

Written by Ragen Chastain. Posted in Featured Posts, Fierce Fatness, Fitness, Spirit, Think

I travel around the country giving talks about body positivity, size acceptance, and Health at Every Size. In many of my talks, either in my introduction or during the talk, the fact that I am and have been involved in the fitness world – as a certified group fitness instructor, as a dancer, as a marathoner, and now training to be an IRONMAN – comes up. Whenever I talk about fitness, people of all sizes tell me about the horrible experiences they’ve had that led them to decide not to be involved in the fitness world. Some even tell me that just the word exercise is triggering or sends them down a shame spiral.

Before we get too far into this, let me be clear: fitness, or involvement in fitness or movement of any kind, is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness. The choice of whether or not to participate in fitness is personal, participating in fitness is completely optional, and those who choose to participate in fitness are not in any way better or more laudable than those who choose other hobbies.

There are people who aren’t interested in exercising for whatever reason and that’s completely ok. The people I’m talking about are those who tell me that they would like to engage in movement for whatever reason, but they feel stuck or blocked about it because they had a messy break-up with exercise, because exercise was used as a way to mistreat them, to punish them for their body size, because they were forced to do exercise that they didn’t like, or were shamed because they weren’t “good enough” at the exercise (Junior high school gym class, I am looking at you).

My Greater Self Rose Up

Written by Sheree Greer. Posted in Featured Posts, Heal, Spirit, Think

Overcoming Denial and Facing My Alcoholism

I didn’t like her. I didn’t think anyone would. Who would like a woman with a self-destructive drinking problem and special talent for hurting people? When I wrote Kiana, the main character of my novel, she disgusted me – the way she lied, the way she spoke to people, a sharpness to her comments that cut to the quick anyone who threatened to get too close. I shook my head in disappointment with every decision she made, and I rolled my eyes with impatience every time she stumbled over her own lies.

I was approximately twenty pages into Kiana’s story when I got stuck. The scene I was writing was a particularly important one, and I didn’t know what Kiana needed to do, but it had to be something despicable, and I didn’t know what she needed to say, but it needed to be hurtful – selfish, shameful, and overflowing with guilt.

So, like I always do when I get stuck in a narrative, I took to my journal.

Brain Stretch: Train Your Brain and Create Healthy Habits

Written by Marcia Brenner. Posted in Featured Posts, Think Features

“How do patterns develop and stick? What does my ability to make some good habits and struggle with others say about me? How can I break bad habits and create healthier ones?”

behavior patterns, end bad habits, brain plasticity, change habits, New Years resolutions, learn good habits Seven years ago, I lost 92 pounds. During the two-and-a-half-years it took me to lose the weight, I made many new healthy habits that I still have, like regular exercise and eating more veggies. In the past two years, I regained about seven pounds, and I was kinda okay with that. Then, this year, I added another ten.

The old “bad” habits I thought I had conquered—like emotional eating, rewarding myself with food, and portion control—had, to a degree, boomeranged back, while some newer habits, like tracking my food and going to weekly Weight Watchers meetings, had slipped away.

So now I’m back to counting, back to meetings, and back to asking the big questions: How do patterns or habits—the good, the bad, the mystifying—develop and stick? What does my ability to make some good habits and struggle with others say about me? Do I somehow lack “discipline” or “motivation”? How can I break bad habits and create healthier ones?

The Self-Defense Paradox

Written by Lynne Marie Wanamaker. Posted in Defend Yourself!, Featured Posts, Think Features

Empowerment, Victim Blaming, and Feminist Models of Self-Defense

self-defense, feminism

Sometime in 1988, I found my way to a bare-bones studio over a discount store in Brooklyn and the practice of empowerment-model self-defense. I was a women’s studies undergrad at the time and—although I didn’t yet identify as such—a survivor of sexual trauma. Falling in with that sweaty group of feminists saved my life.

Self-defense was feminist theory come to life. An embodied practice, it introduced me to physical and emotional power—my own, and that of other women. It invited me to diverse community, to learn from and alongside women whose backgrounds were different from my own but who shared a common vision: a world free of violence and oppression.

Not the End of Ariel: Ariel Gore on her Memoir, The End of Eve, and Finding Humor in the Hard Places

Written by Liz Baudler. Posted in Featured Posts, Ms. Fit Momma, Think, Think Features

End_of_Eve_247_400_80 At age 39, Ariel Gore, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Hip Mama Magazine, and author of The Hip Mama Survival Guide, found her life uprooted when she took on the role of caregiver of her Joan Crawford-esque mother, who was dying from stage four cancer.

The resulting memoir, The End of Eve, is a darkly comedic exploration of the tenuous nature of family ties. It has been described as “Terms of Endearment meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.” Liz Baudler chatted with Gore about how the experience upturned her daily existence and stretched her in ways both terrifying and ridiculous.

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