BEDA promotes cultural acceptance of, and respect for, the natural diversity of sizes, as well as promoting a goal of improved health, which may or may not include weight change. The views expressed by our featured bloggers are their own.
A nationally-recognized speaker, author and educator, Rochelle Rice empowers people though movement with a Health At Every Size® approach. Being a former professional jazz dancer and her history of bulimia brought Rochelle to the Health At Every Size® approach after realizing the inordinate stress put on thinness in our society, rather than fitness. She is the author of Size Sensitive Training, Programs and Environments and Real Fitness for Real Women and earned her Master’s degree at NYU specializing in Plus Size Exercise Programs. She has appeared on Fox News, ABC World News Tonight and the CBS Early Show. Her fitness program has been featured in the New York Times, the LA Times, Family Circle and Fit Magazine. Rochelle is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and is an Accredited Speaker with Toastmasters International (TI). She is a member of IDEA The Health and Fitness Association, the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) which embraces the HAES ® paradigm.
Glorious and Divine Human Beings
I was at a professional event recently when a new colleague approached me and brought up the fact that the alternative doctor sitting next to him (they had never met) suggested she could help him lose weight. Oh no she didn’t!?! Yes – she did. She then made it a point to see him before she left the event to tell him she would follow up with him. Of course when he asked me about what I do, imagine his surprise when I talked about ending weight discrimination.
There are some small shifts happening in the fitness and medical communities, and I have to take note of that. I led a webinar for one of the fitness industry associations in late August. I was rightfully called out by a trainer on the webinar for ‘assuming’ all the trainers on the call were ‘thin.’ I usually speak live at the fitness industry conventions and I’m able to see who is in front of me. But I made a very incorrect unconscious assumption (though I never stated it) and was extremely pleased to learn there were a number of shapes and sizes on the webinar – including a trainer who used to work for me many years ago. Hard lesson to learn but one I am grateful for – grateful there are more sizes and shapes showing up in the fitness industry, grateful for trainers having the courage to call me out, and grateful for the honest communication and ability to land on the same page with our commonality – Health at Every Size ®.
HAES supports physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they chose. It is movement for the sheer joy of movement – without a focus on weight loss.
And while there are more shapes and sizes of trainers in the fitness field today, we are still faced with the weight discrimination in the fitness industry when there is discussion of ‘eliminating obesity by 2035.’ It is not the job of fitness trainers to eradicate obesity. Theirs is to offer size-sensitive programming, impeccable technique, and pleasurable movement experiences free from weight discrimination.
If you would like to move your body more but don’t know where to start, begin with recognizing the movement that is already happening in your life – walking downstairs in the morning for coffee, sitting down and standing up, stepping up into the bathtub, walking to the car or public transportation, and walking to work, walking your dog, or walking with children or a senior family member. Recognizing all the movement that is already happening in your life provides a strong foundation to build on.
The second step would be to make a Buffet of Movement © list. Begin with the letter A and write at least one activity that begins with A. For example, A for archery, B for ballet, C for catch, and so forth. By the end of the alphabet you should have 26 different movement options that open up possibilities for you!
Lastly, chose activities that are fun and enjoyable for you. Search out groups in your community, check out MeetUp.com, look up videos on YouTube, or find a fitness trainer who can help you achieve your movement goal. The trainer should be knowledgeable in technique and know how to move the body safely and effectively without you incurring any injury. The environment should be size friendly – a place where you feel supported to move safely and effectively, free from the diet cycle and a place where you can develop – or continue to develop – a deep sense of trust with your body.
Everyone has the right to a movement program that works for his or her body. The challenge is finding one that feels absolutely safe for you – without any apologies. And if the trainer is new and interested in learning more about ending weight discrimination, speak openly and honestly with him or her.
Listen deeply, for at our very core, we are all glorious and divine human beings.