One of my biggest frustrations as a fat athlete is the lack of safe, comfortable forums that exist for me to discuss fitness goals, achievements, training tips, clothing options etc. There are lots of forums out there that discuss these things, but there are some major issues for me.
The first is overall goals: many of the people in these forums engage in fitness for the sole or very predominant purpose of manipulating the size and shape of their bodies. That’s absolutely their right, but my goals are sport-specific performance and health from a Health at Every Size perspective and I don’t want to have to slog through a whole bunch of diet talk and weight loss challenges to read what interests me.
Also, while some are accepting of fat athletes, many spaces online are highly un-fat-friendly (remember the Runner’s forum comments when 400 pound Kelly Gneiting completed a marathon). Finally, while I don’t mind being the token fat girl or token HAES practitioner, I really wanted a community chock full ‘o fatties and HAES practitioners
I started talking about the idea with Jayne Williams (Slow Fat Triathlete) who was kind enough to lend her time and expertise to shaping the project. Then my now-good-friend, fat fitness professional Jeanette DePatie (The Fat Chick) and I started talking about it and I found a get-shit-done soul mate!
In early January I told you that I was doing a super secret blog project and I asked for pictures of fat people doing physical things. The response was awesome and we got over 150 pictures and they are absolutely amazing. Today Jeanette and I are launching this project, that has been months in the making, and that I’m as excited about as I have been about any project I’ve ever done.
The forum, which is free to use, is a place where people of all sizes and abilities can get support for being fit by their own definition (whether that means walking to the mailbox or finishing a marathon) in a safe, Health at Every Size environment. It is a moderated forum that includes:
- Discussion threads (you can also create your own)
- Groups devoted to specific topics (and you can create your own)
- A Photo Gallery (you can add your own pictures)
- A Video Gallery (you can add your own videos)
- Ask a Fit Fatty – you can ask your questions about anything and get an answer from an expert
To join just go to www.fitfatties.com and follow the simple login process. (Even if you don’t join, I recommend checking it out to see the awesome banner of fit fatty pictures!) If you have any problems please let me know. When you log in you’ll see all of the sections in the navigation bar at the top, you can see the community intro and agreements down the left hand side. Read the agreements, then dive in, get involved, and make it your own! We did a beta test so there are already a some members. We are absolutely open to your feedback. If you are so moved it would also be really fantastic if you would pass this information along to other super-cool people who might want to be involved.
Several people have asked us about the name – why we called it the “fit fatties forum” when we intend it to be for people of all sizes. The reason is that when it comes to fitness and athleticism, fat people are often ignored, erased, hidden, discouraged, and called liars. The forum name was created to give fat people a tangible place in the fitness world, not to indicate exclusivity. We are proud to be fit fatties claiming our rightful place in the world of fitness, and we are happy to welcome people of all shapes, sizes and abilities to join us.
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