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Fat and Fit: Does Exercise Have a Place in the Plus Size/Body Positive Community?

Fat and Fit: Does Exercise Have a Place in the Plus Size/Body Positive Community?
Fat and Fit: Does Exercise Have a Place in the Plus Size/Body Positive Community?

Can you be fat AND fit? The answer is hell yes. One of the biggest misconceptions about plus size women is that we do not work out or stay active. I mean, if you’re fat, that means you just sit on the sofa all day eating chips and ice cream, right? In my experience, this is ridiculously far from the truth.

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Many overweight women in my world are strong, active and healthy – and just as many normal-weight women in my world are sedentary, weak and always sick. Research shows that health is a spectrum with many genetic and lifestyle factors influencing it. All fat people are not healthy, just as all thin people are not healthy. And having extra fat DOES NOT mean someone is unhealthy.

It is possible to be fat AND fit. Want proof?

See this 2011 study that shows that “a large segment of the overweight and obese population is not at increased risk for premature death.” And one in 2014 that found “Physical activity has a protective effect on biomarkers in normal, overweight, and obese individuals, and overweight (not obese) active individuals have a similar cardiovascular profile than normal weight inactive individuals.” And this 2015 study shows that “only those individuals that were inactive were at a significantly increased risk for all-cause mortality independent of overweight/obesity status.” Another 2015 study found that “overweight or obese individuals who are fit/active tend to have morbidity and mortality rates that are at least as low, and in some cases lower, than normal weight individuals who are unfit/inactive.”

So what is the main takeaway? Whether you’re fat or thin, exercise is good for you and can improve your physical health.

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In the past year or so, coinciding with the wider adoption (some would say appropriation) of the body positivity movement, there seems to be a hesitancy to talk about working out and exercising as part of a healthy plus size lifestyle. I’ve seen my fellow bloggers and publications struggle with how to support/encourage exercise without falling into the diet-lose-weight-transform-your-body-get-bikini-ready type of verbiage. It seems like working out and exercise talk has almost become taboo in the plus size community. I’m here to change that!

Exercising While Fat

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I, for one, am a firm believer in being active. Hiking is my all-time favorite activity! I have climbed dozens of mountains in my life and have visited 10 National Parks in the last 2 years.

I’m a runner (well, a jogger really) and even completed a half-marathon a few years back. It was really hard, and I have no interested in running a full one! I’ll just stick to my 2-mile runs around the park, thank you. I also love love love swing dancing and have taken classes off and on throughout the years.

It’s important to not let “being good” at something get in the way of actually doing it. I love tennis (even though I suck at it!) and try to convince my boyfriend and my bestie to play with me every so often. And I even tried my hand at surfing while I was in Hawaii, resulting in some hilarious pictures…

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Yoga is also a regular part of my exercise routine. It helps keep me flexible and balanced.

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Changing the Conversation

I think we have an amazing opportunity to change the way exercise and workouts are talked about and portrayed in real life and in media/social media conversations. I want to start a positive and supportive dialogue about exercising while fat, and leave out the whole concept of dieting and losing weight.

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So, I’ve decided to start a series of recurring posts discussing working out and exercising from a plus size girl’s perspective.

What do you think? Should we be talking about exercise and working out in the body positive community? What do you do to keep active? Do you think this is important to talk about?

Please leave a comment below!

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3 Comments
  • J says:

    Good post! I really like you adding in some lifestyle posts among the already cool fashion stuff.

  • Lisa says:

    Hey Amber, absolutely! Thanks for your article! I could underline every word.
    I see you like hiking, and so do I.
    A few weeks ago, I was desperately looking for trekking/hiking pants – it was so hard! I don’t live in the US, but we have a growing variety of plus size clothing, especially regarding online shopping. But to find good sports clothing is still hard. I really didn’t want the “yoga pants for being comfy on the couch” I was offered. Finally I found something in a plus size store which is visited mostly by women with age 50-70, but the black hiking pants were perfectly fine 😉
    Hugs and greetings, and keep your style and your smile, you look stunning!
    Lisa

  • Dasha says:

    I love this idea Amber! When you take diets out of the conversation of fitness it takes away the shame. Can’t wait to see more posts like this.

    XOXO,
    Dasha | https://windycitywardrobe.com

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Amber from Style Plus Curves

30-Something Plus Size Fashion Blogger Living In Chicago
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