2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fat Girl But Not Fat Horse Related (Health At Every Size)

First, I want to apologize to those who prefer not to read weight-loss type entries - this is a vent, I had to get it off my brain, and it has been cooking for a while. I am not going to be very eloquent here, either, because I am still putting together the thought process.

Second - I want to promise that there IS going to be a goals and resolutions post BEFORE THE END OF JANUARY (I'm writing it down to make it so - one of my new goals, follow through!), but again - this is on my brain and I have to talk about it.

Lately, I have been feeling conflicted, and it kind of came to a head tonight, while reading an article about a woman who weighed 303lbs and lost 130lbs. In the article, she talks about eating "two or three pizzas", and big bags of chips in one sitting, and that's "a normal day". You see it all the time - articles about phenomenal weight loss from people who started well over 250lbs - they eat whole tubs of ice cream, they eat McDonalds EVERY. DAY., they like their chicken triple fried with extra gravy and biscuits. You hear about these crazy unhealthy eating habits which got them to the place they reached.

A lot of you know (since I've posted it on the blog many times) that at one point in my journey, I weighed 324lbs. Never did I eat "two or three" pizzas (or even ONE whole one!) in one day, or a whole bag of chips by myself, or a whole tub of ice cream. I have never liked sugared sodas. Did I overindulge by times? Of course, like any normal person. Here is the kicker - I was born 10lbs 11oz. I am now 6' tall with size 12 ladies feet. When I was an early teen,  my mother was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and so she formatted the way that we ate - she lost some weight, I never did. I grew up on whole wheat, lots of veggies, real fruit juice, lean, homegrown meats. It was not uncommon to take a second helping of those things, however.

I am what I would call reasonably active (I walk my dog usually about 5K a day and when I am walking to and from work in good weather, I am walking closer to 6 or 8K a day - I ride twice a week), I eat moderately well MOST of the time - during the summer, my regular lunch is salad! My body has settled around the 250lb mark. I am sure I can go lower with more salad and more walking, but the point is that this is where my body sits when I live a "normal" life (not too much, not too little), and that, to many, is not "normal". I firmly believe in the value of fueling and moving your body the appropriate way, and maintaining it (you wouldn't put watered down gas or drive on flat tires on your car would you?), but I also don't believe that in order to be "normal", you should have to restrict yourself to 1200 calories and exercise 4-6 hours a day.

Ever since watching Joy Nash's "Fat Rant", there has been this niggling in the back of my mind. I mean... I want to be able to live a life that is enjoyable, without having to consider every SINGLE calorie that enters my mouth and spend any time I am not at paid employment working out. WHAT IF I treat my body the right way, but I am still not "normal" by society's standards? What then?

The Health At Every Size movement is incredible. It is based on the idea of loving your body and treating it right and being kind to yourself if your "normal" body size is not what everybody else considers to be "normal".

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that every person that is overweight is "supposed" to be, and I do believe that it is possible to lose weight and find your body at its ideal weight, not the weight that society has arbitrarily told you is "ideal" or "looks the best". I do believe there are some of us hanging onto weight out of laziness or emotional challenges or medical issues. But I also believe that some of us look exactly how we are supposed to. I am saying that if you are treating your body the right way and enjoying life and you still don't look like someone that is regularly featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan, that's probably just fine, too.

The biggest enemy, however, of the self love and acceptance movement of HAES, I believe, is articles like the one I mentioned above. I am very happy that the woman featured found enough self love to stop treating her body like a dumpster - I am thrilled that she seems to have found a weight where her body is happy... but an article like this, detailing the way that she abused her body prior to treating it right perpetuates the idea that ALL fat people are this way because of gross neglect of our body, when that may not always be true. An actual comment on my blog told me to "get off the couch and stop stuffing [my] face with Doritos and ice cream"... the truth is - I love Doritos but I can't remember the last time I had them, and while I do try to include a small amount of frozen yogurt (masquerading as ice cream, my favourite is chocolate chip cookie dough!) in my day, if my hunger and calorie budget allows it, I am not much of a full fat ice cream eater. I do take a couple of hours to myself, a few evenings a week, to sit on the couch, yes - who doesn't? And why do I deserve to do it less than anyone else? And when I tell people what I am doing, and am not losing crazy amounts of weight doing it, I'm "lying" about how I am living. It is a vicious cycle.

If you haven't already checked out the HAES movement, I strongly encourage you to. It makes a lot of sense, if you are somebody like me - active, eating moderately, and not dropping weight hand over fist (anymore). It also really goes hand in hand with the idea I have been trying to promote with this blog - the most important first step to being happy is loving yourself, and caring about yourself - this is how you will accomplish your goals, this is how you will live the most fulfilled life possible. There is also a page full of resources - blogs and websites, books and communities that follow the HAES movement. Do yourself a favor and check it out!


  1. Thank you for doing these posts. I've always hated my body so much, and still do. I'm trying to figure out how to accept myself. I do need to lose weight I gained after a serious car accident after which I wasn't allowed to exercise, but I do fear that no matter what I do there will always be that self-hate aspect. Of course, my horse does inspire me to be better! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know your posts give me hope!

  2. Great post. Reminds me of the fact that my cousin started gaining weight when she was young and it kept increasing all the time until she was really overweight. Sharing an apartment with her in our first year of college, though, I soon learned that she ate like a bird and soon also discovered that her size was due to Polycystic Ovarian Disease and that there was nothing she could do to lose weight. Her disease kept her at this size and no amount of dieting or exercise had any effect. I think society needs to put this whole 'tolerance' shtick they're on where their mouth is and really learn to accept people the way they are. Not everyone has control over their size and frankly, even for those who do, if they want to overeat and not exercise, that's their business. As a society we seem to stick our noses where they don't belong far too often. The days of knowing how to mind our own business are long gone. Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to so many.

  3. This is a fabulous post. I agree with you 100% that obsessing over calories and exercise should not be necessary in order to lead a normal life. I think each of us can figure out for ourselves where the balance is. I am learning that self-acceptance is a more important part of the journey than the physical acts involved in weight loss, or attempts at getting "healthier". Somebody said to me the other day, "You are NOT your weight", and I am finally starting to believe that is true. Am I at the ideal weight for my body type? No. I believe I have some work and changing to do. But I am starting to believe that I do not have to look like someone from Hollywood in order to be "okay" or acceptable. In fact, I am beautiful the way I am. But I need to love myself enough to change the things that need changing too. That is where I am at in my journey right now.

  4. Agree with the above post A, you are an inspiration! NBS took the words right out of my mouth, I love reading this blog as you radiate such positivity and self acceptance - something everyone needs to aim to achieve no matter their size!
    I for one love your blog and am appalled that someone posted such a comment along the couch/dorito lines - that person obviously never read your blog and were just lashing out.
    I despair for humanity at times - seems some never learned the age old lesson of "don't speak unless you something nice to say" Have never understood why some feel the need to lash out at others :(

  5. I will admit, I've overindulged and I haven't eaten well. But at no time have I ever eaten two pizzas a day or McDonalds every single day! (I don't really like McDonalds, actually, and I've found I've mostly lost my taste for most fast food, but my problem is not ever having much of a taste for "good" food and so I have to work on improving that since otherwise I subsist a lot on cereal and pizza).

    I agree that nobody should have to obsess over every calorie they take in and how much they exercise off. Not everybody needs to be a size 6 or less. I'd be happy to get down to a size 10 (I'm currently up to 18 or 20, depending, and hovering around the 225-230 pound mark at 5'4"). And yet, when I look in the mirror, I don't dislike what I see. I like who I am and I like myself, though I know I could stand to have improvement, let me just say this...

    I've been to the doctor a lot lately. They take my blood pressure every time I go. They listen to my heart. They listen to me breathe. They check my reflexes. I've had like...eight vials of blood taken for various blood tests among other things. I am not diabetic. I don't have high cholesterol. My blood pressure is in the good range. You get the idea. By all of those standards of health, I'm pretty damn healthy.

    But I also realize that as I get older (I'm almost 30 now), that will get more difficult to maintain without a bit more work. I realize that to be a better rider for my horse, I need to spend more time off the horse doing exercise, and that if I expect him to eat better to maintain a good weight, I can't really expect less of myself.

    So I'm still trying to figure that out and I know it's taken me a while, because it's certainly something I've been thinking about for sometime, but I think I can get there. And I think you're on to something. :)

    Sorry for all the rambling, I've been in a very rambly mood all day. I may be starting a new blog. :)

  6. Wow. I weighed 380 at my absolute highest, and I never ate THAT much! My problem stems not from how much I eat, but what I was eating. Wheat, sugar, starchy things like potatoes and bread, bread, bread. I've come to realize I simply can't eat the way "nutrition" experts tell me to eat, and be healthy.

    I get a lot of guff from people these days about my chosen way of eating, the keto diet. I feel wonderful, and my body just seems to work well on it. But I can't escape the judgey looks from people when I go to the store and buy lots of meat, coconut oil, green veggies, butter, and heavy cream.

    If I were stuffing my face with low-fat everything and feeling like crap, people would nod approvingly. But you know what? I've lost 10 pounds in two weeks, eating regular, filling meals and not exercising one bit. My skin looks awesome, I no longer have dry patches all over my back and sides. I have energy. I can walk around a store without my back screaming at me for the first time in over a year.

    We need to do what's best for our lives and our bodies- if that means someone needs to be a vegetarian, fine. If someone needs to eat meat and butter and cheese, fine. If someone needs to eat nothing but fruit, fine. We are all different, and different bodies have different needs. You are beautiful and strong, and take great care of yourself!

  7. Check out Ragan Chastain's blog, Dances with Fat. She talks a lot about the Health at Every Size approach and also standing up for one's right to live in the body they have and not be shamed for it...she has a lot of really eye opening, great posts!!
    Her blog can be found at www.danceswithfat@wordpress.com.

  8. Yay for health at every size1 I was so down on myself for never managing to keep off the weight no matter how much I limited my eating and punished my body with exercise when all around me I saw thinner people (including family) who ate more and more crap than me. So glad to be off the 'treadmill even if I have to be careful not to let that sort of thinking creep back in.

    There is another aspect to this too, though, and that is that we have to avoid the 'good fatty bad fatty' divisions. if people do choose, or feel compelled, to eat 'bad foods'or more than some designated healthy portion of something, they still shouldn't be othered for that. If we are running around trying to show everyone that we are 'good fatties' then we will never be free. We will still be seeking approval and we will fail ourselves and our fellow fat people because we will be justifying ourselves forever and no-one will believe us anyway. We have to instead help educate that you can't tell how healthy someone is, or what they eat or do for exercise by looking at them. We need to stop judging people for how they look and teach that everyone deserves respect and empathy, fat or thin, healthy or unhealthy. We are all still souls who feel and suffer. xxx

  9. Thank you for this honest post. And thanks also for sharing those resources. I appreciate the info and will check them out. I'm a fat woman of 53. I'm 5'3" and weigh roughly 230 lbs. Have not been on a scale for almost a year though...I've always felt fat, even when I now realize, I wasn't fat. I have a problem of comparing myself to what I see in others. My bone structure is average and I'm stoutly built and have always been muscular, and strong, and active, and very healthy...physically at least. The problem used to be in my head and has now accumulated around my midsection as well...sigh. I eat more than I should, and am less active than ideal. But I'm moderately active and I eat a fairly healthy diet most of the time. I've never eaten as you mentioned some obviously do. But life is more about counting calories as you also mentioned. Loving my self and the body that I'm in, is the hard part. I'm thankful for my body, but do not view it as beautiful. I know that's the place to begin, and I'm becoming more comfortable with myself overall and in general as I age. I have just reached the point where my weight is beginning to interfere with the active things that I've always enjoyed. That has to change, or the vicious cycle will gain momentum. I am also a rider, and that is my single most favorite activity, ever. If I want to continue, I need to get to work...no more procrastinating. You are an inspiration, and I hear what you're saying. There are so many reasons for people to be, or become overweight. So very many. But you aren't ever going to change people, so don't even try. Be the proverbial duck...let it roll off like water on your back. So glad I found your blog! :)

  10. Wow, I have to say that your comments are wonderful, and very insightful!! I hadn't read them before, but I'm humbled at the honesty and the thoughtfulness with which people have spoken here. Really good stuff!!

  11. Do you have a Blogger interface? If so, you can add me to your reading list. Otherwise, if you follow the Facebook fanpage (linked near the top), I post an update there every time that there is an entry! :)

  12. Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have blogger. Still can't find the button to add to my reader list. Where is it?