"Fat Girl Yoga" and Support Group
Following up on my semi-serious New Year's Resolution about losing weight I have some thoughts to share. First, I am serious about the losing weight part but less serious about the how - to part. Clearly diet and exercise are considered an important part of such an initiative. The diet plan is to eat less and better. I got that. Exercise is a bit more complicated.
Biggest challenge for me is finding a way to exercise that will not intimidate or humiliate. Intimidating is any program where I am asked to do things I cannot do. Humiliate is where I look stupid doing these things. Unfortunately, exercise requires that you do it more than once. In fact, you really need to do it regularly. If I am intimidated or humiliated I will not continue. I am 56 years old and I know myself pretty well.
It seems to me that there ought to be a thing called Fat Girl Yoga. I googled it and there isn't. But if there was, I would go. The assumption is that everyone in the class would be at the same level. Overweight and not highly accomplished yoga practitioners. I would even consider placing my yoga mat down next to the least accomplished person in the room just so I would look better. I get that this makes me sound sort of petty but I believe it is human nature to want to be with ones like oneself (and not skinny athletic types who just make me look even worse than I am (in my own mind)).
I facilitate a Caregiver Support Group once per month. It is a lot like Fat Girl Yoga. People come to the group because they need help. They are afraid that they will be intimidated or humiliated. Intimidated because they are asking for help with something that they think should be a "no brainer." Taking care of your mother is a given right? Why am I angry about that? I bet everyone else in support group takes care of their mother with a smile on their face and love in their heart. Those people will make me feel worse than I already do because they are doing it right and I am doing it wrong. Humiliated because not having a good attitude about caregiving is a sign of my weakness. I am physically and/or emotionally deficient because the job of caregiving is not easy for me.
I am here to tell you that support group is not at all like that. When you sit down at the table you are sitting in between two other caregivers who wish they were perfect but are learning that there really is no perfect. The fact is that caregiving is a job that will challenge even the most practiced participant. There are good days and bad days and we support each other in our imperfection. You cannot look stupid to people who have walked in your shoes and made the very same "mistakes".
And like Yoga, or any other activity we use to make positive change, we need to commit to participate regularly and to use the skills we learn in between meetings. I can testify that you will see a positive change in how you feel about yourself and your job as a caregiver. So join us. Throw down your mat next to someone who understands what you are going through. You'll be glad you did!