Monday, June 24, 2013

"Everyone Has To Start Somewhere"

So recently I found out that some diet pill peddlers were using my bikini photos to sell their crappy products on pinterest (thanks to the fan who emailed me to let me know!). I filled out a copyright infringement form on pinterest and it was taken care of ASAP. yay! Then, only a couple of days later, several more friends alerted me to the fact that a facebook group, Fit for Fertility, were using one of my exercise photos (the one to the left) as a sort of fitness inspiration with the heading "everyone has to start somewhere".

I have several problems with this. Firstly, that my photo was posted without my permission or credit. Secondly, the assumption that this was my first round at the rodeo. I've been going to the gym for years. Thirdly, via the comments and the page description, the assumption that exercise automatically leads to weight loss. I've never lost a single pound going to the gym.

What's funny is part of the page's description was "diets don't work". Well this much is true! But neither does exercise. For most fat people exercise won't make them thin. Just like diets, exercise has a  high failure rate as far as that goes. Now, exercise is good, as I clearly believe. It makes you stronger, healthier, and it gives you an awesome blast of endorphins. But don't count on it for large amounts of weight loss.

Then there's the assumption that I'm just starting. They have no idea how long I've been going to the gym or what my exercise routine is like. But I'm fat so I must just be starting, right? Because if I'd been going to the gym for any length of time I'd be thin by now. Nevermind that they have no idea if I had a higher starting weight (I didn't, my weight has stayed the same).

Things like this come about because of ignorance and prejudice. People make assumptions based on nothing but body size. I shouldn't be your damn fitspiration because I'm fat, I should be your fitspiration because I'm working out. I'm so tired of seeing super thin men and women lauded as the epitome of fitness while fat people are only applauded because they're trying to get super thin. Nevermind that most never will and many have been working out for long periods of time already without weight loss.

While I've filled out a form to get the photo removed from facebook (we'll see if that actually happens. Facebook seems to drop the ball an awful lot), this attitude isn't going away anytime soon. That's why it's up to all of us to fight against these ridiculous notions and stereotypes. I hope I do my part, but I count on all of you as well. Thanks for all your support and love.

Edit: The offending photo has been taken down! Thank you all my lovelies for the help and support. If you wish, you can still send her a message letting her know that what she did was wrong (she didn't take it down, facebook did) and maybe not to steal copyrighted photos next time. ;)

42 comments:

  1. I love this post! It gives me hope and makes me feel better about my own struggles. I currently weigh in at 280 and I have been going to the gym and working out with a trainer for almost a year now. My starting weight for working out was more like 250. I have gained weight! I am a gastric lap-band patient, so I can tell you I have seen lighter days but have never been skinny. I am a happy, healthy and active fat girl. I don't work out or try to lose weight because I am fat but because I know staying healthy will help me live longer. I love what you are doing.... keep doing it! I am sorry that you are dealing with all these issues with your photos being used without your permission. Just keep doing what you are doing cause you are a inspiration to me and I am sure a lot of others! *hugs*

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    1. I weigh about 280 as well :) fierce fat fit girls need to stick together! Good on you for working out for health and strength and not just to get skinny. thanks so much for your support :)

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  2. So glad to see this! I posted in your defense & thought that whole "everyone has to start somewhere" statement was stupid. You look beautiful and I am glad you are working out because for me it feels great and gives me more energy. Plus, it looks like you are at Curves! Keep up the great work girl. ~ Rene, author of Fat, Fit, and Fab.

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    1. you're right, it is Curves! Although I have since started working out at Women's Only Fitness, but I do miss Curves. and thanks so much for posting in my defense! I know the comments are just getting deleted, but I appreciate the support so much!

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  3. Did you send the FB group a cease and desist letter?

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    1. I filled out the facebook copyright infringement form. Hopefully facebook won't drop the ball and this will get taken care of asap.

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  4. Road to success! You can do it!!!! Screw what people think because Rome wasn't built in a day :). You're an inspiration, remember that when you feel like giving up.

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    1. I'm not sure what your comment is implying. Rome wasn't built in a day? are you implying that I still have more work to do? why is that? and don't worry, I never give up ;)

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  5. You have got about 2 million likes on Facebook page Fit For Fertility

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    1. yeah I know, and it's all because they think i'm trying to lose weight and i'm just starting out. they're cheering me on and telling me to "reach your goal!" (weight loss). It's all fatphobic encouragement so I'm not exactly happy about it.

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  6. Hello, I had a friend who was going through the same thing. She would work out 7 days a week and never lost a pound. Then someone told her she may have a food allergy, specifically gluten. She stopped eating it, and immediately lost a ton of weight, I think like 120 pounds. After she cut it out of her life, she hasn't had any stomach problems or anything. It's something to check out if you are interested. And good for you for being healthy!!!

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    1. Devin- I did stop eating gluten for over a year (i had a mild gluten intolerance that sprung up and then mysteriously disappeared) and I'm also vegan. My diet has nothing to do with my weight. the science is clear on weight loss and the old notion of calories in and calories out. bottom line is that diet and exercise don't work for the vast majority of people. The body's metabolism adjusts to stay at the weight that it's happiest at (which is different for different people). I highly suggest reading Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon PhD to get a better idea.

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  7. I spent time commenting to let people know you didn't want the picture up there, but didn't comment on your fitness level, or that you weren't looking to lose weight as it was a) irrelevant to the situation and b) not my story to tell.

    I also didn't link to your blog because I didn't want to risk flooding you with concern trolls and doucheweasels.

    Thank you for being visible and reminding me that I can exercise to be fitter and healthier and it doesn't have to be about pursuing a mythical weight goal.

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    1. thank you Wendy. I don't mind my blog being posted as I can always delete trolly comments ;) I just want people to know that the picture is being used without my permission and hopefully get it taken down. I appreciate your concern and your support greatly :) thank you

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  8. I only lost weight (30 lbs) when I believed it would reduce my back pain and I ate low cal foods for it. Exercise made me feel more cheerful but I didn't lose weight from it. I always would say I was exercising to lose weight because people understood it more than just saying I wanted to feel good.

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    1. Unfortunately people just don't understand that diet and exercise aren't the end all be all to weight loss or that weight loss fails for 95% of people, especially people who are looking to lose a large amount of weight. exercise can be fun for anyone and it's good for you! shouldn't that be all that matters?

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    2. While I partially agree with the Gin35, RN above that calorie restriction will take off weight, I don't agree that exercise will take off weight... I started working out daily, 1-2 hours a day in 1994 and after an initial 15 lbs weight loss which I rapidly regained, I went on to gain 60 lbs. And no, I wasn't sitting on the sofa, stuffing bon bons either! Exercise made me muscular, fit and healthy but no weight loss. I followed a low fat eating program, BTW. What the medical profession seems to not want to admit is, there is a lot of genetics involved in size and metabolism! In 2008, about 12 years after I started my daily exercise program (which I'm still doing by the way), I ended up losing my appetite due to a life crisis. So in order to make sure I ate ENOUGH, I started counting my points (ala Weight Watchers) as I just wanted to stop eating all together and knew I would get sick if I did that. When the crisis was over, I was used to counting points and there is a nice utility on the Weight Watchers website. More important, after all treatments for my severe GERD had failed, going on program made my GERD go into remission and I for the first time since the 1980's, enjoyed sleeping all night without waking up every hour with a mouthful of stomach acid (have a hiatal hernia). I liked not having GERD very much, so just stayed on program without expectation of weight loss (could care less about that) but in time, I ended up losing 100 lbs which I've kept off (same program) for over 3 years. Being at this size (I take a size 8-10 now - started out at a 22) for the first time in my life, I must say, there are certain advantages to it. But I did enjoy life when I weighed 267 also and I was healthy because I ate healthy and exercised so, seems to me, the "disadvantages" of fatness are way over estimated by society and the health issues "associated" with obesity, also seem very over-estimated. The most important factor in health seems to be food choices and cardio exercise and this is really what the medical papers say, also. I was as healthy when I weighed 267 lbs as I am now, at 167 lbs. Just sayin..

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    3. Sue, thanks for your reply. you're very right that exercise doesn't do it for most people and that you can be just as healthy at a size 22 as at a size 10. the research is pretty clear and getting clearer that fat doesn't equal unhealthy just like thin doesn't equal healthy. Society over estimates the problem with being fat because they don't actually care about our health... what they care about is how we look and societal beauty standards. i'm SO glad for you that your GERD issues are in remission and you're feeling confident and healthy!

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  9. I cannot completely aggree with this because I lost 122lbs in 2 years with dieting and exercise so for her to say that no fat peole cant lose weight is a lie I went from weighting 316lbs I'm now down to 194lbs so...

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    1. Jesus, nobody said that fat people can't lose weight. what i said was that it fails for MOST fat people (about 95%). so if you're in that 5% who's kept it off for 5 years or more, then good for you, but that doesn't mean you should assume that just because you did it that everyone can or that just because a fat person is working out it means that they're new to it or just starting.

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  10. I am so happy that I found this blog!! Thank you!!

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    1. I'm so happy that you found it too ;) you're very very welcome

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  11. I complained on the FB page in question about their using your photo without permission.

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    1. thanks so much! the photo has been taken down now! I'll update my blog post :)

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  12. Glad they had to take it down. They deleted my comments and blocked me from commenting on the page, although not without complaining about how they had the right to use anything on the net without "negative" people like me being "negative".

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    1. oh yeah, standing up against illegal use of someone else's image is soooo negative. *eye roll* thanks for commenting darlin.. i appreciate it.

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  13. Hello love! I am curious, do you have PCOS, or have you ever been tested for it?

    I am in the same position as you, slightly overweight, a strict vegan (and the healthy kind of vegan- only eating fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts made in my own kitchen), and I teach yoga and run daily. But have I ever lost weight and kept it off? NOPE. But I also have PCOS, and now that I know about the disease I am working towards fixing it. Because honestly, everyone should be able to get to a weight where they feel comfortable. So I am just curious to see if you have some sort of medical issue that is blocking your weight loss?

    If you ever want to chat more about PCOS, feel free to message me! You've got a lot of support here.

    Blessings, love, and many hugs!! <3

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    1. Nope, no PCOS, and yes I was tested for it. I do have hypothyroidism, but the truth is that there are tons of fat people who workout and eat right and don't lose weight- 95% of people who try to lose weight fail (they gain the weight back within 5 years and 2/3 gain back more than they lost.. the body just really hates people messing with it's homeostasis). Check out Ragen Chastain's blog, Dances With Fat. She's a professional fat athlete with a workout routine to make most people's heads spin.

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    2. Thanks for the info. I totally understand what you are saying. Like I said, every time I try to lose weight I gain it back plus some. It is very frustrating as a yoga instructor to not be thin like my students, but it is the struggle that the universe has chosen to give me in this lifetime.

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    3. No problem Jenna.. just remember you are not alone. you're in solidarity with 95% of fat people who try to lose weight! you're with me and with Ragen and with a whole host of other body acceptance activists. We all tried the weight loss train and it failed us each and every time. time to just be yourself and love who you are :) being a yoga teacher is freaking awesome by the way!

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  14. I'm glad I found your blog. I admit that working out to lose weight leaves me VERY discouraged. Its inspiring to me to hear someone talk about working out for the health benefits without focusing on body size or weight loss.

    I used to be very thin and am only just starting to accept my older, heavier body. I used to enjoy working out, but when I tried losing weight (and continually failed) I lost my enthusiasm for physical activity (it wasn't "working" so why bother?). Reading your post I feel a flicker of hope. Thank you.

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    1. I'm glad you found your way here too :) working out for the health benefits without focusing on body size or weight loss is absolutely the way to go. Looking back when you're older you won't say "i wish I was thinner". what you'll care about is the quality of your life and the good times you had. I hope you get back to working out- without the feelings of failure that come with not losing weight, working out is a great and fun thing!

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  15. Hi,

    I'm very glad FFF took the picture down. Typical arrogance, the attitude that anyone's image is free for the taking and "all publicity is good publicity", even if you infer without data and distort the image's meaning for commercial purposes 8P

    There have been copyright infringement situations which went a bit more viral than FFF's, and did not end well for the content thieves:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooks_Source_infringement_controversy

    I find FFF's claim of "bullying" by others laughable.

    One of my favorite notions from "Dances With Fat" is how just getting out of bed and living our daily lives (in this fat-phobic world) without hating ourselves, is a revolutionary act.

    Long live the revolution! 8)

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    1. To be honest, FFF didn't take the photo down- facebook did. FFF wasn't planning on cooperating in any way. you're right though.. it's typical arrogance and willful ignorance.

      Love being a revolutionary and here's a *fist bump* for being one too ;)

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  16. I love this. I came here via danceswithfat, indirectly first from Body Love Wellness, and I always love it when people stand up for their copyright rights!

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    1. thanks! glad you found your way here :)

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  17. I'm glad it was taken down. I heard about her pity party and how she accused you of being a bully. How dare she act like she was somehow "wronged" when she was using your property without your permission.

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    1. thank you. even the private correspondences I've had with her she tried to justify using the photo. "i don't think you understand. it was on facebook and i just shared it and i didn't know it was wrong and and..." no, she knew it was wrong because i personally posted several comments on the photo and sent her a private message. some people just can't admit when they're wrong.

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  18. I'm so glad your photo was removed from the FFF page and I remember when you first posted that particular photo, although I can't remember where I saw it...somewhere on the fatosphere, I think. :-) I think you have the patience of a devout yogi.

    One of the things that many people don't consider when they embark on a new activity regime or goal (and I'm not referring to a weight-loss goal, but an activity-specific one, like entering a 5km race or swimming at the cottage lake without having to rely on fins) is that increasing one's activity level often (read: not always) increases one's appetite. Our bodies need more/better fuel to exert the level of effort we put in to our activities. I am a triathlete; not an elite one, but a competitive one. I do it because I love the swim and the bike. I am not a "natural" runner but it's part of the sport, so I do it. When I train for races in the summer, there is a noticeable spike in my appetite as I ramp up my workouts. Once race season is over and I take my training down to my usual recreational level of fitness, I still find my appetite takes a while to come back down to "recreational fitness person" rather than "competitive athlete-in-training". Just something for others to think about, since the popular message is that increased exercise (whether quantity or intensity) will lead to weight loss. For my individual body, I find myself among the 95-98% who do not lose weight with increased activity; in fact, my body tends to hold on vigorously to everything it has.

    I trailed off-course there, but I wanted to let you know that I deeply admire your abilities to: stay focused on your goals, set clear, firm boundaries for yourself, assert yourself and your right to take up space in this world, and your laudable patience. You rock, hard.

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