What if You Did It Now?

I wasted years of my life with one simple thought:

“I need to concentrate on losing weight right now.  I’ll [do things I want to do] when I reach my goal weight.”

Days, weeks, and months and years that I will never get back tracking every bit of food, calculating points, eating gross pre-packaged food, giving up sugar, wheat, dairy, meat, drinking weight loss shakes, no popcorn at the movies, no cake on my birthday, punishing my body at the gym. Believing that everyone who tries hard enough becomes thin.

One day a friend invited me to a dance class and my first question was “but how good of a cardio workout is it really – how many calories do you think you burn?”.  My friend looked at me like I had three heads and asked “What the hell kind of question is that – do you want to dance or not?”  It hit me – I did want to dance.  I love to dance.  How had this many years gone by without dancing?

I had spent years only moving my body with the goal of changing the size or shape of it – only choosing the things that burned the most calories even if I hated doing them.  I snapped, I had had enough.  I went to dance class.  I didn’t try to estimate the calories that I was burning, I moved because I love to move.  I danced because I love to dance.

At that point I didn’t know what I know now – that weight loss hardly ever works and that my experience was the same as almost everyone who tries to lose weight.  But sill, I decided to try some of the other things that I had been putting off until I reached my ever elusive goal weight, maybe I could do them fat.

It’s really scary to think of the life I would have had if I hadn’t made that decision.  My body and I have had some crazy awesome adventures.  I haven’t succeeded at everything I’ve tried (I once had my money returned by a hip hop instructor who said “You’re obviously a very talented dancer but baby, this isn’t for you.”) but at least I tried instead restricting 3500 calories a week and dripping sweat all over an elliptical machine for 3500 calories a week and not losing the 2 pounds I was promised and feeling like a failure without even trying to hip hop.

Whatever you’re dreaming of, what if you did it now with the body you have now.  What if you tried it, raised your physical voice, moved your body for the sheer joy of movement, right now.  What if?

Want some support?  Check out the Fit Fatties Forum, a place for people of all sizes to talk about fitness from a Health at Every Size Perspective. We have groups for newbies, oldbies, runner, and more

I’m a big fan of putting pictures of active fatties out in the world.  I’ll show you mine, you can show me yours (which is to say you can put awesome pictures and videos of you in the comments to encourage others…)

Things my big gigantic 5’4, 284 pound, Class 3 Super Obese, top of the BMI chart body can do:

Short Spine. It kind of feels like magic when it goes well.


Back bend on Reformer. It only seems death-defying until your hands hit the bar.
Splits on Wallstreet. Hell Yeah I’m that fatty!
Photo by Substantia Jones.
My nickname at my favorite gay country western bar is spin bitch.
It took me a year to get this move, it’s even harder in releve!  Photo by Richard Sabel
Leaping on concrete – super fun! Photo by Richard Sabel
Yay Kicking! This is the dress that Cindy the judge said she couldn’t stand to look at me in. Look away, Cindy, look away. Photo by Richard Sabel!
Pilates move called “Teaser” Thanks to Kate Wodash at the Mindful Body Center in Austin.  Photo by Richard Sabel

31 thoughts on “What if You Did It Now?

  1. Ahem, now I’ve calmed down I can tell you how much this approach to exercise has changed my life. I only ever did exercise to try and see results on the scales. And I always gave it up after a while. I thought there was something wrong with me as I never seemed to be able to enjoy going to the gym or doing aerobic exercise, however much I kept it up. I then did my back in after having two kids and had pilates recommended to me by an osteopath. One year on, I can’t imagine NOT doing pilates several times a week and I feel as strong as an ox and as flexible as a teenager again. Oh, and my back’s totally fixed 🙂 The truth is getting sweaty in the gym will never be for me and I thought that meant all exercise was out of my lazy reach. Now I’ve found the right movement for me and it has nothing to do with my weight, just joy!

  2. “SPIN BITCH!” I LOVE IT! My poor dance coach can’t get me to spin without puking for nuthin. I keep trying, though! So impressed with how strong you are, holding yourself up on the ball of one foot. That’s just ridonkulous. Take THAT, meatheads!

    It is my birthday and I’ve been blue, thinking of all the things I haven’t accomplished by this point in my life…this blog was perfect timing. Thanks for that. 🙂

    1. Happy Birthday! Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come back on your next birthday and tell us your nickname for yourself!

      Maybe that should be my challenge too…

    2. Happy Birthday and may I congratulate you for managing to survive another year in this world without snapping and needing to hide a pile of bodies (at least I’m gonna assume you have *grins*)

  3. What did she mean she couldn’t stand to look at you in that dress???? What sort of stupid comment is that?

    And yes, you are totally amaze balls.

    And Darci – happy birthday!

    1. Fat lady arms!! OOGA BOOGA!

      Regan mentioned this a (long?) while ago in another blog post about a competition. Basically the judge cornered her at the elevator and said Regan was a good dancer, but she needed to cover her arms because looking at them made the judge feel sick.

  4. I am still inspired every time I see these photos of you. You radiate such positive energy, not to mention your posing captured in these are some of the best dancing shots I have ever seen.

  5. Yesyesyes. What a perfectly timed post. I agreed to take my kids and their friends swimming today and my mindset was all. “Ugggg. Am i crazy???I don’t want to appear in public in a swimsuit much less a 2 piece which is the only one I have that fits. If I was only one of those skinnymom types this would be different .” Time to reset my thinking. Screw this. We are GOING SWIMMING. And I am wearing the damn 2 piece. Taking a bunch of little kids swimming might be a little crazy. Wearing the swimsuit is just putting on clothes.

  6. I love that dress, and it looks great on you! You kick ass in my humble opinion!

    You know, I’ve come to the realization that if I let other people tell me what I can and cannot do, I’ll miss out on a lot in life. Screw those other people! 🙂

  7. I appreciate your comments about living now in the body you have. I started with that philosophy, regarding weight loss, in the early 80’s. Thus I had only frittered away about 30 years of my life in “waiting.” I got into belly dance and water exercise, and, yes, social dancing. But, now, as a retired person, I realize that all my working life, I had also been waiting to do things until I retired. Please, take the same advice. Don’t wait. My body now has limitations that prevent me from doing some of those things I was waiting to do. And, I am glad I danced when I could.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I am 40 and find that my job leaves me exhausted! I don’t make time to do much else. But I like what you said and might make use of it as my new personal slogan: I’m glad I danced when I could.

  8. Really inspiring! Favorite line:”My body and I have had some crazy awesome adventures.” 🙂 Yeah, me too! I just submitted a pic over at the wonderful online community of the FitFattiesForum, (because I couldn’t figure out how to post it to you here) of myself at the finish line of a 40+ mile ultramarathon road race.

    1. Hello Heather,

      Hey, I don’t know if you’re still around, but I would love to see this picture. Any chance you could post a link to it? I searched for ultramarathon, ultra marathon, and heather whiteside, without luck.

      I completed the walk/run segment of a triathlon in 2009, and have since been quite interested in hearing about people like me exercising in areas most people think are impossible.

      Thank you !

  9. Yeah, I could wait to be thin to do something with my body… or I can walk in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for my city for the third year running.

    Funny thing, I put on purple this morning, and went and put up posters for the walk at lots of businesses downtown. Next month I will walk for a cure, for patient services, and for support for families dealing with a deadly disease… and I will do it all while being DEATHFATZ, BABEEE!

    Also, I will look awesome and wear a great hat while doing it, because style is always a plus.

  10. I love your splits! I envy them. oooo!

    And I wanted to say that, while my adventures on being in my body as it is weren’t about weight – you speak so eloquently about things I understand in my bones just the same. i feel all kinds of passion about the ways people try to ‘wait out their bodies’ in order to feel pleasure, or express what is inside them. I wish there were magic words to encourage people to stop doing that – but i have a hard time finding any words at all to express my experience that don’t just end up frustrating me. the relationship between body and heart is just too complicated and rich and more poetry than mechanics… Instead I dance, aerial style.

    So here’s mine:

  11. Those photos are amazing. Thanks for being so inspiring; your blog is one of the first international one I look at in my RSS feed these days.

  12. Thank you so much for posting this. I keep feeling like I can’t go swimming until I can avoid looking like a whale in a swimming suit. You are absolutely right, though! I like to swim. There’s no reason not to! The same goes for riding my bike, and those are activities I can do without exacerbating my asthma or chronic fatigue issues. My partner loves my curves and I’m sure they will also be grateful to you when I tell them about “this girl’s post” that made me rethink my obsession with weight loss. You rock!

  13. You are so right on about this. I’ve done so much in my life, but I can’t help thinking of what I could have done had I not been so absorbed in making myself smaller than I am. I really wish I hadn’t waited until my fifties to admit to the world that I love food…cooking it, baking it, eating it. I’ve gotten to be a pretty decent chef as it is, but if I had just been able to stop denying my love for food 30 years ago, who knows what might have been?

  14. I went from ballet and starving myself to 10 years of self-loathing, to bellydance – and then teaching bellydance. Any body can dance – that’s my motto now! And mine DEFINITELY dances! Old photos. Hard to admit that I’m often the one behind the camera – hence few of me! http://stitchingwithashimmy.com/2007/10/24/63/

  15. Wow. You are really amazing, and pretty, and it’s a damn shame that so many people like you won’t accept their bodies. And “overweight” or not, I’d say that you look much prettier than you would as one of the skinny fashion model types. I kinda want to get back into gymnastics now…

    Won’t be happening for a while, my stupid leg has been hurting for I have no clue what. Haven’t even been able to do my ice skating recently.

  16. Thank you! When I was a child I always wanted to do ballet, but my dad told me that I am too fat for that. That’s the one thing I can’t forgive him… I spent years thinking about how I’d loved to dance ballet but that I am too fat, too lazy, lack dicipline, all those clichees… now I am 34, definitely too old to be a ballerina. But I started to try some ballet just for me. It made me feel good, but the same old thoughts came in again: Who are you to think that you can do this? You will never be able to, cause you’re too fat… Today I have seen your great photos – and I think I’ll give it a try again! Thank you!

    At least I started to go swimming some time ago again. I love water, but I was scared to show my body in a swimsuit. Now, thanks to all you beautiful people out there reclaiming our fat bodies, I don’t give a shit what people might think. Some weeks ago a woman even approached me in the shower and asked me if I would like to join her dieting group! Sadly I was so perplex that I couldn’t say much more than no, and honestly: I hope to meet her again, just to make some things clear 🙂

  17. I am so loving this blog and all you stand for!
    I am a 220 lb. Ballet teacher. I have been a dancer since the age of 3 and have a BFA in dance. I was never the ideal “ballet body type” I have been a dance teacher for 19+ years. I am currently teaching advanced ballet and pointe. I’m a musical theater choreographer as well. I love what I do and try to be an encouragement to my students while giving them a strong technical foundation to dance injury free.
    weight struggle and stigma have haunted me in my view of myself and my self esteem. But I continue to press on because I have a passion for sharing my knowledge of dance with the next generation.
    Thanks for being an encouragement!

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