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The Obesity Rebel Challenge

If you follow me on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter you probably already know about the Obesity Rebel Challenge.

If you don’t follow me on social media, you should, follow the link I just gave you and take care of that.

But I want to take a moment out of the Sex Love and Obesity blog series to talk to you about the Obesity Rebel Challenge, why it is important to me and why I am personally asking you to step up and take some steps in the fight against obesity.

 

The Obesity Rebel Challenge is a fitness fits everyone event.

Anyone CAN do this challenge. There is no distance requirement, no time requirement and no pressure as to when, where or how you decide to get your Obesity Rebel steps in. All it takes to complete this challenge is you, your own two feet and the will to finish.

The only rule in the challenge is that you have to complete the distance and submit your distance by September 30th, 2018.

Because there are no distance or time requirements you can complete the challenge in any fashion you wish. You have the choice of signing up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or 36k challenge distance.

For those that don’t know a 5k is 3.1 miles, a 10k is 6.2 miles, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, and a 36k is 22.4 miles.

There is a training plan for a 5k, a 10k and a Half Marathon included with your registration for the Obesity Rebel Challenge. Let’s say that you decide that you want to complete your first 5k or 10k as part of the Obesity Rebel Challenge. That’s awesome! What a neat thing to knock off your bucket list.

The training guides included with your registration are geared to help you meet that goal. Each one is designed for a beginning walker/runner to slowly progress you from not walking or running much at all to achieving the total distance you’ve selected by September 22, 2018. The 5k Training Plan begins on August 5th and the 10k training plan begins on July 15th.

If you decided that you wanted to take on a half marathon distance and build up to completing 13.1 miles in one day, the Half Marathon Training Plan is designed to get you there. The Half Marathon Training Plan begins on June 24th.

The Obesity Rebel Challenge allows for combined distance totals.

ObesityRebel ChallengeIf you’re not an avid walker or runner, if you have a medical issue that prevents you from doing a total distance of 3.1 or more miles all at once, the Obesity Rebel Challenge is still a very doable event for you.

I have a client that has lymphedema and just recently had knee replacement surgery. To get her 3.1 miles in she is doing 10 minutes a day on a treadmill 2-3 day a week between now and September, tracking her total distance each day and building up to a 3.1-mile distance.

I have another client who has two bad knees and is bone on bone in both knees. She has a trip to Ireland coming up. She’ll be using her total distance walked each day that she is in Ireland touring the country to accumulate her miles and is hoping to achieve a half marathon total distance of 13.1 miles.

I have another client that has decided that she and her daughter are going to do her first half marathon together. She is going to be following the Half Marathon training guide to get her distance in. That training guide will be building up her distance and she’ll be using some of her training runs to get her 5k and 10k distances in and submitting those. By the time she is done, she will have accumulated the 22.4 miles for the 36k challenge total and then some.

No matter where you are in your weight loss or fitness journey, you can accomplish and complete the Obesity Rebel Challenge.

Let’s talk about WHY participating in the Obesity Rebel Challenge is important.

A “Rebel” is a person that rises against opposition. We live in a world that marginalizes people who are affected by obesity. Those that are affected by this disease are taught that they are less than worthy. They face bias and stigma in the health care they receive, in how they are treated by medical professionals, in what kinds of treatments their insurance companies will provide.

Obesity is still commonly accepted as the punchline of the joke. People affected by obesity are often ignored or even ridiculed by clothing manufacturing companies.

They are mistreated and judged in industry standards when it comes to fitness and fashion.

They are stereotyped when it comes to mental health, and emotional stability.

Because of all of this, those that are affected by obesity or have been affected by obesity often worry about what others are thinking about them in almost any environment.

Will this doctor figure out what is wrong with me or will he blame everything on my weight? Will this nail salon charge me more to sit in their pedicure chairs? Will people stare at me in this fitness facility? Will the person on this dating site look at my photo and decide not to talk to me? Will someone yell out horrible things or make animal noises at me if I walk down the street to get some exercise in?

NONE of these things SHOULD happen. NONE of these things should be things we have to be afraid of or fear. But right now, THAT is the sad truth of the world we live in. The only way we will ever change that is by fighting back. That’s what an Obesity Rebel does. They fight back. They fight obesity and they tell the world, this sort of treatment, this sort of stigmatization, this sort of bias, this sort of judgement is NOT OKAY.

The world isn’t going to change without people teaching and educating it on how it needs to change. We are stronger together. We must rise to the opposition. We must be the Rebels leading the charge. That, in my mind is why your participation in the Obesity Rebel Challenge is so important.

If you’ve ever sat there wondering what you CAN do to help make a difference and change how the world sees and treats those effected by Obesity, I have a question for you…

Why WOULDN’T you participate in this simple fitness event?

By being an Obesity Rebel you can do exactly that. You can be an individual standing up in opposition to how the world treats and sees obesity. All you have to do is click the link register and put some steps in.

Obesity Rebel Challenge

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Nicole Arbour’s Perfect Example of Fat-Shaming

A new video entitled “Dear Fat People” hit YouTube a few days ago. This video features Nicole Arbour, a Canadian comedian, recording artist, actor, writer, choreographer and producer displaying very prominent views of weight bias and fat-shaming.

NicoleArbourDearFatPeople

Well Miss Arbour, you’re right about one thing, some people are already offended and I’m one of them.

Fat-Shaming is very much a thing. It’s an unproductive and emotionally damaging thing.

The saddest part of fat-shaming is that ridiculously cruel people like yourself think that it’s okay.

Your video makes it very clear that you believe that being affected by obesity simply means that you should eat less and move more. While taking in fewer calories and getting in more movement is definitely two of the key ingredients to weight loss, that formula doesn’t work for everyone.

I never sat in my doctor’s office and accused him of fat shaming when he told me that as a woman affected by morbid obesity I was at a higher risk of illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, severe edema, chronic depression and some forms of cancer. I took those things pretty seriously actually. In fact since my struggle with obesity lead me to all of those conditions if anything I was scared to death that I was going to be dead before I turned forty.

Oh you’re not talking to me? That’s great. Thanks for excluding me from your negative body image campaign. But wait, you are talking to me because I too was once affected by the disease of obesity.

Let me define obesity for you. Obesity is a condition that is associated with having excess body fat, defined by genetic and environmental causes that are difficult to control while dieting. Individuals affected by obesity should not be defined as being their disease. You don’t tell someone with cancer that they are cancer. You don’t tell someone with depression that they are depression. You don’t tell someone with AIDS that they are AIDS. Miss Arbour, human beings are not defined by diseases and illnesses they suffer from diseases and illnesses and making light of people’s suffering is a really unkind and inhumane action.

People that suffer from obesity wear it externally. The can’t hide it.

You can tell by just looking at them that they suffer from the disease. Unfortunately for them people like you seem to think that because they wear their disease in a physical way that it’s alright to make fun of them, belittle them and sadly, try shame them into fighting their disease in the manner that you see fit.

The problem with that is that you can not tell by looking at someone what actions they are taking to fight their disease. You can not tell if they suffer from some other illness that caused them to gain weight. You can not distinguish whether they have been so emotionally and physically abused that they used food as a coping mechanism. You can not tell whether they went to the gym this morning. You can not tell whether they suffer from depression. You can not tell if they are eating 900 calories a day or eating 3500 calories a day. But because they wear their disease in a way you can see it you assume it’s okay to attack them and tell them that they should be making better choices.

Most people who suffer from obesity are not sitting there intentionally making choices that cause them to gain weight. As someone who once weighed over four hundred pounds I can honestly say that I never consciously sat there going “Oh let me see what I can do to gain more weight today.”  

Most people who suffer from obesity would love guidance and help with weight loss. That’s where the theory of eat less and move more fails. Because for most of us that have suffered from obesity the problems go much deeper than simple calories in and calories out. Most of us have tried that method to recovery from obesity and failed over and over again.

The comparison of being a shop-a-holic to obesity as a disease is asinine. While some people who suffer from obesity do in fact also suffer from food addictions comparing a disease to an addiction is like comparing people to dinosaurs. Some people who suffer from cancer do so because of an addiction to cigarettes and nicotine. Last time I checked though the only damage anyone has ever done through a shopping addiction was to their bank account and possibly their emotional well-being.

You’ve done a really good job at showing the world what fat-shaming, weight bias and weight discrimination is all about.

Your story about being at the airport and your experience with the “Fat Family” and “Jabba the Son” is classic example of these things. You assumed that because the boy you are talking about suffered from obesity that he wasn’t suffering from any other illness. You made this assumption based on his physical appearance and nothing more.  You decided that because “he was fine, he was just fat,”  it was alright to be rude, inconsiderate and mean. You decided that nothing else about that boy and his life mattered and that he should be making better choices based on absolutely nothing but his physical appearance.

What if that family’s son suffered from Prader-Willi syndrome? What if he suffered from Cushing’s syndrome? What if he suffered from a thyroid disorder? What if that family was on their way to a specialist to try to get their son help and treatment for his obesity? You have no clue what that family was going through or why that boy was considered disabled. But here you are showing your lack of education and empathy by expressing your disgust for the overweight boy sitting next to you on a plane and trying to brand it as caring.

“Shame people who have bad habits until they fucking stop.”

“If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m okay with that.”

“I don’t feel bad for you because you’re taking your body for granted.”

These comments are not caring. These comments are cruel and malicious. But somehow you think these comments  are okay because you put a disclaimer on them.

“I’m not saying all of this to be an asshole. I’m saying this because your friends should be saying it to you.”

Nobody’s friends should be saying these things to them.

As someone who once suffered from obesity I can say that nobody belittling me, making fun of me, making jokes about me, expressing disgust about me or trying to shame me into losing weight ever helped me.

All those things ever did was make the situation worse for me. Those very things drove me deeper into depression. They made me feel unworthy. They made me feel hopeless. They made me feel like I didn’t matter. As someone who suffered from a food addiction and had a relationship with food to try to compensate for the relationships that I couldn’t have with people it drove me deeper into the darkness.

When people like you talked to me like this I turned to food to make me feel better. People like you making me feel like I was repulsive, implying that I smelled bad and making me feel like my mere presence was an intrusion in their world made me feel like I didn’t deserve to be a part of it.

That Miss Arbour is assisted suicide.

Let me tell you what DID help me…

Support helped me. Kindness helped me. Someone talking to me in a way that expressed care and concern without making me feel ashamed of myself helped me. Education helped me. Access to treatment for the disease of obesity helped me.

You end this video by trying to redeem yourself with “The Truth”

“The truth is I will actually love you no matter what, but I really really hope this bomb of truth exploding into your face will act as shrapnel that seeps into your soul, makes you want to be healthier so that we can enjoy you as human beings longer on this planet.”

Miss Arbour the truth is, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you care one small iota about those that struggle in the battle against obesity. What I believe is that you just used your fame and celebrity status to attempt to send a message and thought that the tough love and humor approach you chose to take would convey that message. You failed. What you did was make fun of a group of individuals that are already highly stigmatized.  I think you sought a laugh at the expense of others because you like many others in the world today believe that weight bias and fat shaming is acceptable because it is a commonly tolerated form of discrimination and hate.

“Think of me as one of your ride or dies.”

To all of those out there that suffer from obesity please hear me when I say this. Weight Bias, Weight Discrimination and Fat-Shaming are NOT okay.

Luckily for us though, there are some true ride or dies out there trying to make the world a better place and trying to raise awareness of this sort of behavior. I’m one of them.

After overcoming my own battle with obesity I changed my entire career path and went on to become a professional weight loss and wellness coach. I went on to gain an education in how to help others through coaching healthy behaviors and helping others with behavior modifications that would arm them with the tools they need to achieve weight loss and live happier and healthier lives.

After losing over 250 lb. I went on to become a fitness instructor in order to help inspire and motivate others to find the fun in fitness. I went on to try to teach others to use exercise as an emotional outlet to battle the sort of emotions of unworthiness, shame and hopelessness that people like Miss Arbour perpetuate in the world.

OAC-Member-BadgeAfter receiving access to care and treatment for obesity I went on to become a proud member and supporter of the Obesity Action Coalition, an organization that is dedicated to giving a voice to individuals affected by the disease of obesity and helping them along their journey towards better health through education, advocacy and support.

There are people out there like myself and over 50,000 other members of the OAC who are determined to fight to eliminate weight bias and weight discrimination and offer a community of support for the those affected by obesity.

Miss Arbour’s method and message are all wrong. We will never win the fight against obesity through shaming or making fun of the people affected by it. Obesity is not a joke. It is not something to be ashamed of. Obesity is a disease that comes with very serious health ramifications and many of us need more than “eat less and move more,” as a method of treatment.

But thankfully, like many of my fellow members and supporters of the OAC I will stand up and fight for that treatment and stand up and fight for you when someone like Miss Arbour tries to minimize and depreciate the complexity of this disease.

For anyone out there that saw this video or heard this message and felt ashamed of where you are in your battle with obesity, I am here to tell you that you are not the one that should be ashamed of your behavior. Miss Arbour and the people who sign her paychecks are the ones that should be ashamed of their behavior right now, not you.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies, a Motivational Speaker and Exercise Instructor at a women’s only fitness facility in Wilmington North Carolina.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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