January 2013 | RE:

Welcome to Ms. Fit!

On January 2nd, 2012, I quite suddenly got it into my head to train for and run in a marathon. Although the idea wasn’t completely out of left field – I had run in a number of 5K races over the previous years – it was kooky enough to feel exhilarating. Prior to this, running in a marathon had never been a particular resolution of mine, but choosing to try it filled me with resolve to follow through.

Every new year, people resolve to make changes in their lives, usually with the idea of emerging from the year as a new and improved, better person. But if you “fail” in any or all of your ambitious list of self-improvement projects, you often end up feeling worse about yourself, an ironic and all-to-familiar turn-about.

Many women’s health and fitness magazines play off of this self-image see-saw, promising the secret piece to the puzzle; the key to creating a Brand-New-Better-You!  Only six weeks to six-pack abs, glowing skin, great sex, a twenty-inch waist, buns of steel, inner peace, cut arms, and thick, silky hair. One can question the value of this type of proffered “perfection,” but one thing is for sure – you are being set up to fail; at least, to fail by a questionable standard of what we should strive for, what success means, what it means to be good, awesome, beautiful, healthy, and strong. These magazines often preach self-acceptance but profit from reinforcing that we don’t quite stack up.

In creating Ms. Fit, we hope to create a forum for real people to re-imagine what it looks like to pursue a healthy lifestyle; a forum that accepts as a matter of course that we are all already radical, amazing, and strong in five million important ways. This, to us, is an important part of what the “feminist” in Ms. Fit means. Our lives have value, our experiences are worthwhile: as women, as queer folk, as anyone who doesn’t see their faces and their experiences reflected in mainstream fitness magazines. In other words, the “misfits”.

United by a simple theme, “RE:” the stories in the inaugural issue of Ms. Fit challenge readers to redefine what it means to be engaged in an active, fitness-minded lifestyle, and to maybe rethink some of the most commonly trafficked assumptions about health, wellness, and happiness. A commitment to fitness, health and well-being is not something that can be measured by success or failure. It is a lifestyle choice that is constantly reinforced, reevaluated, and recalibrated.

During my four months of marathon training, I could say that I “failed” many times: failed to always eat right, failed to always train right, failed to always run enough. But each failure was followed by a recommitment.  And on May 13, 2012, I finished my first marathon!

Like this story? To date, Ms. Fit Mag has published more than 100 original stories on a wide range of subjects from feminist pregnancy and childcare; to body-positive fitness; to recipes, reviews, and D.I.Y.; to personal essays and practical tips and advice about wellness and healthy-living from a distinctly feminist perspective. Help us continue publishing great stories like this one by making a donation to our year-end funding drive. Your donation of $5 or more will help keep us publishing in 2014.  Thank you!

Click here to donate to Ms. Fit magazine.


About the author

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist is publisher and editor-in-chief of Ms. Fit Mag. She teaches writing at Columbia College Chicago and edited of the anthology. "Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast" and is co-author of "A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago." Pulled reluctantly into a fitness lifestyle by her wife and partner of many years, Bergquist is now a runner, a boot camper, and a yogini.

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