Tag Archives: FA

FA Missionary Revisted

A week or so ago I got an email from a woman who said she represented a group that was developing some kind of online health education program. The email had the words “weight management” in it, and enough about my blog to let me know it wasn’t spam. I wrote the woman back and said that I thought she’d maybe misread my blog, because I’m definitely not interested in a weight loss program.

She wrote back and eventually it became clear that the program was in development, not something already running, and the people producing it are attempting to make it HAES-friendly but don’t know how. It was her job to do market research by talking to bloggers and mine was the one of the few she found that talked about HAES (!!!) and that her bosses liked especially that I talk about exercise. (I think what happened was, she was looking at weight loss blogs and some how came across mine in the mix. She said the self-loathing on the other blogs was spectacular, which tells me they were not part of the Fatosphere.)

I sent her some resources and she wrote again asking if we could talk on the phone.

Remember when I wrote a few days ago about about being an FA Missionary?

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On Being an F.A. Missionary

When I first started training, I had the goal in mind of being ready (and able) to join a boot camp program when we move this summer. I saw it as a step toward my athletic goals.

The things I’ve learned between then and now, about myself and about FA and HAES are amazing.

The thing about learning and growing: sometimes it makes something that might have been easy two months ago more complicated.

If I decide to take part in this boot camp program, I have to step out of my own comfort zone and carve out a place for myself in a situation where I have to risk not only being triggered, but also (the reason we all hate leaving our comfort zones, right?) being uncomfortable.

On the flip side, putting myself in a vulnerable, visible position might encourage people to talk to me and ask me questions about what I’m doing.

And if they’re asking questions, it’s a good bet that they’re listening. And if they’re listening they can learn. Just like me.

Kaia F.I.T. is a women’s only functional training program in Northern Nevada and some areas of California. (WARNING: The video below has mention of weight loss.)

Basically, you sign up for 6 week blocks where you meet up for an hour a day and do interval training. They also have a running program. I mentioned Kaia F.I.T. the other day and someone posted a really thoughtful comment about how joining a boot camp might be triggering, especially because I struggle with wanting to weigh myself.

And they’re right. It might trigger me. Joining a program where one big way they measure success is with the size of my body is sure to, actually, on some level.

But is there a time when it’s okay to risk being triggered in order to put yourself in a position of possibly bringing about even a small amount of change? When you’re fighting for change, can you isolate yourself from triggers entirely?

I called and spoke to a woman who is part of the program and she spent some time answering my questions. She said that the program usually weighs and measures you three times every six weeks, beginning, middle and end. When I asked if there would be a problem with me choosing not to measure my progress this way, she said “absolutely not.” She didn’t seem to think I’d lost my mind or anything, which is a good sign.

Weighing myself is something that’s hard for me. In fact, of all the triggery things involved with joining a program like this, the weighing and measuring is my most triggery. However, I’m already triggered in this way by going to a gym that has scales in every bathroom and having a tape measure in my house.

I’m going to have to find a way to be athletic in a world that equates success with reduced body size, no matter what. I went a year without even thinking about weighing myself before two months ago, but I spent that year in my house or at my job.

I can’t live totally isolated from every scale and every mention of weight loss in the world without limiting my participation in the things I want to do. It’s access to a scale and talk of weight loss that triggers me. Maybe training without daily or almost daily access to a bathroom scale would be less triggering to me than my current situation.

I asked if there is a lot of encouragement during the workout to “feel the burn” or “burn those calories, ladies” and she said that most of the women who are there want to lose weight, and that the trainers do stay upbeat (her word) and try to push you a little harder. I tried to pin her down on whether the push was to work harder or to burn more, and was not entirely successful.

I finally asked whether someone who was there to train athletically and didn’t want to focus on weight loss, even though the trainers might assume they needed to do just that, would be comfortable in the program. If I told a trainer that I don’t want to be encouraged to lose weight, would my request be respected? She said yes, it would. Again, she didn’t sound like she thought I’d lost my mind, even when I told her how much I weigh.

The Kaia F.I.T. program also offers a “nutritional plan”, encourages a one week detox at the start and another week at the end of every six week block, and access to a nutritional expert (the woman I spoke with said she wasn’t sure if the expert was a certified nutritionist, but that she had a college degree in nutrition.)

This, I think, would be more triggering for some people than just about any other aspect of the program. And this is what made me think about the idea of sort of infiltrating a lose-weight arena, because diets don’t trigger me as much as they might someone else. I won’t look at the diet and be tempted to follow it to the detriment of intuitive eating.

The woman I spoke with said that “clean” eating is encouraged. I told her that I’d done a lot of work on learning to eat intuitively and that the detox weeks or following any kind of a diet would not be something I’m willing to do. She said that was fine and that I wouldn’t be the only one.

If you have the opportunity to join a community where most of the people don’t know the message that means so much to you, do you do it? What if that community is offering something you need to meet your goals? I’m not likely to find any kind of training program with adult women in it where weight loss is not somewhere in the picture.

But maybe I can make space for myself in one that isn’t filled with people who already agree with me, and in the process spread the word about FA and HAES and what it means to be a defiant athlete. (That makes me sound like a FA missionary, doesn’t it?)

To be honest, I’m a little scared. Judging by the pictures I’ve seen, while the group seems diverse in age and shape, I will be the largest woman by quite a lot. I’m also not good at confrontation. It freaks me out and makes me want to cry. What if I show up, and people are mean to me when I say I don’t want to be weighed or look at me like I’m crazy when I say I’m not there to lose weight?

It would be easier to stay home, to keep walking by myself at the gym or in my neighborhood, to find my camaraderie here, with you. But is that what’s best? If my personal set of triggers/hang ups/healing wounds are such that this kind of group won’t damage me—or at least that the risk of damage is worth taking for me–maybe I can find a space there. Maybe a teaching space.

The woman I spoke to said that when we go to Carson City next month for a few days, I can come to a couple of training sessions. I’m going to do it. I am going to test drive being a F.A. missionary.

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