As fitness trainers we come across many reasons why people are interested in personal training. Probably the biggest one is weight loss or, more specifically, fat loss, so it was with interest that I learned about the Fat Rights movement recently.
Fat activism began in the 1960′s in the USA with the launch of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA ) to fight against fat discrimination. It’s a controversial issue, especially as greater numbers than ever are joining the ranks of the overweight and obese while at the same time, the health risks are more broadly understood and disseminated.
Obesity isn’t something people are born with like the color of their skin or the length of their legs. It’s something that can be changed. Some argue that for this reason, “fat activism” is unnecessary. Why protect the rights of people who are actively creating a state of potential ill health for themselves?
It’s true that obesity is considered a risk factor for cardiac disease and type 2 diabetes. It’s also true, however, that obese and overweight people can successfully engage in physical activity with the end goal of improving their overall health and in this they share the same benefits as anybody else. In fact, being sedentary is a far greater enemy to health and well-being than simply being fat.
We are reminded constantly via the media how bad it is to be fat. Celebrities are demonized when they put on a few pounds, children are sent to weight loss camp when they get too heavy, low calorie (and nutritionally poor) foods and drinks are pushed at us from every supermarket shelf, women obsess about getting “bikini-ready” in time for summer, savvy marketers turned “weight loss gurus” make millions with the next quick fix for fat. Is it possible we’ve lost the plot?
The sane and simple solution for anyone, fat or skinny, is to start on the road to better health by increasing physical activity. With more emphasis on feeling better and getting healthier rather than trying to look like a bikini model or a Men’s Health cover boy, sticking with your exercise commitment is very doable.
Working with a professional fitness trainer increases the likelihood of success by ensuring you are doing the right activities at the right level of intensity (NOT the way it’s done on shows like the Biggest Loser) and progressing at the right time to the next level. The issue of accountability comes into play as well and for this, a competent trainer can be a godsend.
It’s amazing how much a human body can change with the right prescription of exercise and a few tweaks in the diet. We see this on a routine basis.