Big Girls DO Work Out: The Plus Size Princess Fitness Challenge!
I was 12 years old when I found out I was fat.
I say "found out" because I was truly unaware. I stepped on the scale in my pediatrician's office and she moved that big black box to one set of numbers... then another. I climbed onto the doctor's table, feeling the nevereneding roll of tissue paper crinkle beneath me. Instead of continuing with my physical, my doctor launched into a speech about my weight.
I sat there shocked. I was fat... who knew?!
Image: Cece Olisa
Fast forward to today: I'm in my twenties, following my dreams in New York City. While I can talk for days about being a Plus Size Princess with an awesome dating life, or being a fashionable Plus Size Princess, it's taken a long time for me to stop associating health and fitness with being thin. Although I'm realizing that a healthy and fit lifestyle can be achieved at any size, I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to embrace that idea, because I've been living proof of that from the time I was 12 until now.
You see, I never stopped eating my veggies, taking dance classes or playing sports, but a nasty little bugger called PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome makes losing weight beyond difficult. With PCOS, you can eat perfectly for weeks and exercise constantly with little to no results. Sadly, PCOS often goes undetected in women, so for years we beat ourselves up for not being able to keep our weight under control, like I did from the time I was 12. Looking back, my "wait, I'm fat?" moment was actually the first indicator that I had PCOS, but my doctor wasn't aware of it. She just lectured me on eating right and getting some exercise (things I was already doing!).
From the moment I had my 12-year-old "I'm fat!" epiphany, I set my sights on being skinny. Over the past decade, I've done all sorts of crazy diets and hit the gym obsessively, but those habits aren't sustainable, so while I did lose weight, I inevitably gained it back and I constantly felt like a failure.
Around Christmas of last year, I had another epiphany: Maybe my body isn't meant to be super skinny, so maybe I should shift my focus. Instead of a "Fat = Failure/Skinny = Success" mentality, what if living a healthy life became my goal? The idea of doing all of the right things -- like eating well and working out regularly for the sake of my health instead of being skinny -- became way more manageable and doable. Setting my sights on "healthy" instead of "skinny" changed everything for me.
#PSPfit is an awesome encouraging community of women who understand that there's more to health than the "before and after." We understand that the daily in between of fitness and taking care of yourself isn't always easy but it's worth it. We also understand that even if we don't lose a pound, the #PSPfit lifestyle will only make us stronger, happier and healthier.
The ongoing #PSPfit commitment is to:
- Exercise four times a week for at least 30 minutes
- Follow your favorite eating plan (The main goal is to increase our fruit and veggie intake, but some of us do WeightWatchers, Jenny Craig, clean eating, etc.)
- Post your meals on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr and tag #PSPfit
- Post pictures of you working out on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr and tag #PSPfit
(Of course, always check in with your doctor, before and during a lifestyle change like this.)
Focusing on healthy living and accountability through social media has helped me be able to do jumping jacks, "boy" pushups, and climb the subway steps in NYC without holding onto the hand rails for balance. My menstral cycle is super regular now and to top it all off, I've lost 35 pounds. No matter how much weight I lose, I know I'll always be a bigger girl, so the Plus Size Princess Fitness Challenge is a way of life that I can take with me through all the stages of my life.
If you log onto Twitter or Instagram on any given day and click on #PSPfit, you will see thousands of images and tweets from women who are (or used to be!) plus size. We announce when we're at the gym, what we eat in a given day and even when we're craving a brownie!
— Different by Design (@Such_a_Lady215) February 28, 2013
The devil wants me to eat a brownie. Leans over to @thebiggirlblog for a disapproving look and smack on the hand.
— Kellie Brown (@ItsMeKellieB) March 5, 2013
Upset that the scale hasnt moved in 3 weeks & then I discovered that I just needed a new scale. 8lbs more lbs down. Yay! -Jeka #pspfit
— LaMaisonDeux (@LaMaisonDeux) March 4, 2013
— Jazzy Belle (@BlkGrlsDontDate) March 5, 2013
— Amanda Sartori (@mandasar) March 6, 2013
Up,getting on this treadmill on Saturday! #pspfit
— melissa(@xomelissasue) March 2, 2013
#PSPfit is an ongoing movement, but in a few weeks we're going to take things up a notch and do a six week #PSPfit pre-summer challenge with Virtual Nutrition and Personal Training sessions. Summer is an easy time to "fall off the wagon," so we're going to reaffirm our commitment in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day. For more info on #PSPfit and our Pre-Summer challenge you can email firstname.lastname@example.org