By Zinhlezonke Zikalala
Do you agree?
It’s the question that’s been doing overtime on our timelines: can you be fit… and fat? Some say that being heavy doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not healthy; others vehemently disagree. Our take: think twice before judging a person’s fitness by their body. Here’s why…
1. Jessamyn Stanley
Far from fitting into the cookie-cutter yogi box, Jessamyn Stanley is breaking stereotypes and changing perceptions.
A yoga teacher and body-positivity advocate, Jessamyn believes that anyone can pick up yoga. “I am fat. I am not the person you would typically imagine teaching or practising yoga. Or even sitting behind a reception desk in a yoga studio. I know how it feels to be an outsider. I know how it feels to be discouraged and excluded in an environment that’s meant to foster calm and serenity,” admits Jessamyn.
READ MORE: 6 Signs Your Metabolism Is Out Of Whack
“The truth is that you only need to attend one drop-in class at your local yoga studio to notice that the modern Western yoga world is very diverse and practitioners come in every colour, shape and size. But if you’re only paying attention to the stereotypical image of physician-approved Western health: slender, long and young, it’s easy to see how you might feel a little alienated and lost.”
“Between you, me and my yoga mat, I would never claim to have mastered any yoga poses. I have, however, made substantial progress with a dedicated daily home practice. It’s the one part of my day that is completely devoted to my mental clarity. Believe me when I say that I’m not really in this for the health benefits and the exercise – I am addicted to exceeding my personal expectations,” she says on her blog.
2. Tracey-Lee Lusty
“I always say that healthy is an outfit that looks different on everyone. And this is the same principle that can be applied to being fit. An overweight person (like myself) who trains twice per day and follows a well-balanced carb-cycling eating plan, should be considered extremely healthy – yet is overweight,” explains Tracey-Lee.
Polycystic ovary syndrome increased CeCe’s dress size – but it didn’t diminsh her zest for life. “Don’t wait on your weight to live the life you want,” she says. We wholeheartedly agree!
Plus-Sized Training Tips
Breathe easy: Learning to control your breathing during exercise will help you carry on to the end of the session.
Follow your heart: Use a heart-rate monitor to check that you’re in the fat-burning zone (but not pushing into the danger zone).
Take a load off: Cross trainers and recumbent bikes will alleviate the impact on your already-stressed joints.
Do the splits: If you can’t run for an hour straight, break up your cardio sessions into three 20-minute stints.
Mind your form: Excess weight can compromise your running form. Get your gait analysed and buy specialist trainers.
Portions of Jessamyn’s story excerpted from Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017. Available from Loot.co.za (R238)