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Getting Back to 30 Minutes a Day (or Haters Can Kiss My Fat Ass)

December 12, 2014

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Weight LossFat PoliticsFat HealthExerciseMy Boring-Ass LifeDickweedDiet Talk

Trigger warning: Discussion of diet and exercise to improve health.

Just about a year ago, I realized I had to do something to help myself feel better. I was physically miserable — collapsing with exhaustion by 3:30 in the afternoon, suffering from a lot of swelling and water retention, hurting, not sleeping.

So I started a 100 Day Eat the Food Experiment that involved eating a minimum number of calories a day that took my personal basal metabolic rate (BMR) into account and exercising at least 10 minutes a day (which grew to about an hour a day). The results were pretty spectacular. I felt almost shockingly better after about six weeks, and I kept feeling better and better and better.

And now, a year later, I’m still feeling pretty good. Not as good as I could, though. I let myself be distracted by haters who, most significantly, went crazy when I called myself an athlete. I let myself be torn down. And when my shoulder started hurting and I needed to let it rest–I let myself fall away from what was working.

Fucking haters. (I actually feel sorry for them. I can’t imagine what’s happening inside of a person that leads to spending your time the way that they do. But still, FUCKING HATERS.)

Here’s the thing though: 30 minutes of exercise a day is like magic — at least for me. It improves my mood. It improves my health. It gives me energy. It reduces my risk for all kinds of health issues. And if considering myself an athlete helps keep me motivated to keep moving, then yeah — I can’t even begin to fathom why a bunch of people who purport to be in support of people exercising (especially fat people) would have a problem with that.

I can’t control them, of course. I wouldn’t even want to try, because EW. But I’m unhappy with myself for letting them get to me so deeply. I mean, I actually did feel like an athlete. And what’s wrong with that?

I was thinking about this recently — wondering why I feel the need to put on an athletic mindset for exercise. I guess part of it is because I was a competitive athlete for a long time, and I like feeling some of that again. I like competing with myself. I like feeling that I’m working toward some physical goal.

I’m frustrated with myself for letting people who mean nothing to me get to me.

But that’s what’s going on. And then I had something happen in the last month or so that doesn’t have anything to do with my personal health, but that really made me realize that I can’t let assholes who get off on tearing other people down make my decisions for me. It doesn’t matter that I still am struggling to regain my athletic mindset. I want the benefits of exercise.

I need the benefits of exercise.

So, I’m back on the wagon. Starting with a commitment to 10 minutes a day — because for whatever reason that amount of time is enough to motivate me to start. I feel like in 2014, I really got the eating part of Health at Every Size® (HAES) and Eat the Food and, oh I don’t know, the whole life thing, under control. I’m making 2015 about really getting a handle on getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

I’ve shared this video before, but it’s worth watching again. Thirty minutes of exercise a day is a goal worth pursuing for reasons that have zero to do with weight.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2014 1:55 pm

    Shaunta, you are an athlete. One of us. One of us 🙂

  2. behemoth permalink
    December 12, 2014 3:27 pm

    The word “athlete” is commonly applied to people that excel at a sport or some other physical feat of strength. Simply doing regular daily exercise does not make you anything close to being an athlete, especially at a mere 30 minutes a day. This is not being “hateful”, it’s simply being honest and realistic. In fact, it’s awesome that you have the discipline to exercise every day; you’re already doing what many people don’t have the will for…but you also need to keep it in perspective. I hope you don’t take this as a personal attack, because it is anything but that.

    • December 12, 2014 5:51 pm


      Wrong wrong.

      Wrong wrong wrong.

      I’ve written about this before, but I’ll say it here again. The literal definition of athlete is “A person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” There’s nothing about being an “athlete” that requires excelling. You can be a “good athlete” or a “bad athlete” or even an “elite athlete,” but so long as you’re training to improve your physical ability you are welcome to claim the title of athlete. Period.


    • Stacy permalink
      December 12, 2014 8:12 pm

      What Shannon said. Also, if someone needs to be in the “athletic” mindset to motivate themselves to exercise every day and to stay healthy, why in the hell would you be such a stickler about definitions and tell them “you can’t call yourself an athlete”!? Who is it hurting that she calls herself and athlete if it’s keeping her healthy?

      Also, various different dictionaries define an athlete as “a person trained to compete in sports or exercises involving physical strength, speed, or endurance” – who’s to say that someone can’t compete with themselves and their own times/distances/performance and can still be an athlete? Lighten up and let the woman enjoy her athletics.

    • December 17, 2014 11:21 am

      This is what I don’t get: but you also need to keep it in perspective.

      What you really mean is I have to keep it in YOUR perspective. I have to stay in the box you put me in. Fuck that. Seriously.

  3. Sophie permalink
    December 12, 2014 10:53 pm

    I freaked out when I first read the second paragraph, I forgot to read the trigger warning. I thought oh no what is the 100 day eat the food plan, caloric intake , aaarrgghh. Then I went back over old posts and read about the plan, ok, I can relax, it’s not a diet.

  4. December 13, 2014 1:19 am

    Great job on the movement. I think when we have that former competitive drive in our cellular memory it never completely goes away!

    I have a question or request for recommendations. I’m doing a huge online summit for women on body image bringing in researcher, biz gals, coaches, artists, etc. I would love to have a plus size model to interview and some other interesting perspectives that are closer to the margins, I guess. Not completely mainstream. Does anyone have any suggestions for who would be good?

    Thanks so much!


  5. December 15, 2014 7:10 am

    Nicely done you! I loved reading this article, it is a lot like me, I had to say enough (that was two years ago), and start fighting for me. I know people don’t look at me and think I’m athletic, but I know I workout harder and more often than most of the haters. Not listening to people who don’t know a thing about you, who knew that would be so tough. I think it is more disbelief that anyone would have the nerve to say what they say, pure sad lifers, they are. I struggle with calling myself an athlete, I train with athletes, but goid thing they are all wonderful people who remind me I’m one of them. Here’s to 2015, a new year of amazing possibilities!

  6. December 30, 2014 6:20 pm

    I really appreciated this post, the gentle reminder I needed about how good I also felt doing 30 minutes a day. I also liked that video and shared it as well.

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