Episode 11 Big Fit Girl - Louise Green
TWO BLACK GIRLS TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING PODCAST: EPISODE 11
In this episode, we talk to Louise Green of Big Fit Girl about her journey into fitness, what it means to be body positive and size-inclusive. Louise is one of the pioneers of body acceptance sharing the idea that fitness looks all kinds of ways. There is no one way to be active or to strive for health. Louise is the author of Fitness for Everyone and the creator of Big Fit Girl App. Join us for this joyful conversation.
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Speaker 1: (00:02)
Speaker 2: (00:12)
Two black girls talk about everything, podcasts. I’m Dianne and I’m Dee and we’re going to be talking about everything. We’ll talk about yoga and fashion and everything black girl. Talk about, Hey, everybody Dee and I are absolutely thrilled to be talking to Louise Green, founder of big fit girl. She’s an influencer global fitness coach and author, and a really good friend of mine. We are publisher mates. She has the book Fitness for Everyone that followed Yoga for Everyone. And we have been talking about yoga and fitness for everyone. For quite some time, we had an opportunity to talk to Louise green on the two black girls talk about everything podcast. And to give you a little insight on Louise green, as if you don’t already know Louise Green is the founder of the fitness brand Big Fit Girl. And for over a decade, she’s aligned her career as a plus sized personal trainer and global fitness coach activist and author changing the narrative around idealistic standards in fitness culture. She’s an influencer. She has a unique approach to fitness and sustainability, and is not looking at physical fitness as part of an aesthetic, but more of a way to understand our bodies, to, to face the social and cultural challenges and barriers that we face that are set up for us by a culture that is more interested in controlling our bodies, as opposed to hearing our ideas. We had a great conversation with Louise Green around what it means to be a positive influence in the fitness industry. Can’t wait for you to take a listen,
Speaker 2: (01:55)
Thank you for alking to us. I do know Dee and I are totally fan girling. I have been a big fan of yours for years. I learned about you through my friend, Amber Karnes. Uh, I think you were wearing one of her. She did a line of t-shirts a few years ago, and you were wearing one of her shirts and she texted me and she went, Oh my God, Big, Fit Girl is wearing my shirt. And I was like, Whoa. And then I was over there than I wanted to sh I wanted to have a shirt that you would wear. So I’m like, I need to make the shirt and send it to her. But I’m inspired by you forever. Will you? Yeah. Will you share with us your story and how you got started? Like, for those of, for those out there who don’t know you, which I can’t imagine, people don’t know you, but, um, tell us how you got started. Like w what was the impetus as a plus size fitness person? Like what got you started in changing the narrative?
Speaker 1: (02:51)
Um, what got me started was kind of, I didn’t realize I was getting started. I was trying to lose weight. I was on this perpetual cycle of this body’s not good enough. I must do something about it. And now I’m going to attempt 898 attempt. And that happened to be a run clinic that was a learned to run 5k clinic down in Vancouver. And I just, you know, approached the group with complete imposter syndrome. I thought I wasn’t good enough. I was too big. They were going to leave me in the dust. I was petrified by exercise, but it always came part and parcel to me trying to lose weight. But that night really changed my life in every aspect. And it was because I had so much fear. And then this woman stood before us, like out of the crowd out of nowhere, stands up and says, my name’s Chris, and I’m your run leader. And I looked over at her and I was like, she’s a plus sized woman. She has a body like mine. And I had never seen that before in fitness leadership. So just to preface that this was before Instagram, and this was, you know, I think Facebook was a thing, but it really wasn’t because we all had flip phones and there wasn’t, you know, like barely anyone was on Facebook cause it was hard to even get on. Um, so I didn’t have the luxury that we have today to look at diversity amongst fitness. It was just whatever was in the magazines and whatever you could see in your community that was so the magazines weren’t certainly weren’t covering, you know, diversity and representation in any way. And, um, I had just never seen a woman like myself running down the street in my community. So I was completely taken back. What it did do for me though, was it really eliminated this crazy amount of fear and intimidation I had and I thought, wow, she can, yeah, do it.
Speaker 3: (04:59)
Maybe I can do it. And so I did train with her for 12 weeks and it was through that 12 week process. I realized, wait a second, fitness, doesn’t have to be about earning more food. And it doesn’t have to be about punitive of measures because you went drinking with the girls on Friday night, or it doesn’t have to be about, you know, expenditure and bikini season’s coming and tank talk, you know, all that stuff that went along with it, which is what I thought it was. And she profoundly changed my life because she was a larger woman who was not trying to be smaller. And she was about digging deep into your athletic roots and feeling physically and mentally powerful as a woman. And that, that profoundly changed everything for me. I just, I couldn’t, I just, I never witnessed that before. So that’s really how this started because I was like, Holy, there’s a new way. Like, there’s this whole way that I didn’t know. And I can’t sleep at night, not letting other women know.
Speaker 2: (06:16)
Ooh, I’m all with my feelings now. I see that. So, yeah, because it really touches something for me. I got goosebumps from that, you know, it’s the organic, it’s the organic journey, you know, it’s it’s, I love how you answered. Like, you didn’t realize you were getting started. It was you just, it just happened organically. And I love that. And now you are shining your light.
Speaker 3: (06:50)
Well, I’m a believer in, I don’t know what the universe and the stars and alignment, like there’s a reason I know Dianne Bondy and there’s a reason why I went that night. You know, she wasn’t the only leader. There was a reason that I was there because I believe that I was born to do this work, but had she not been my catalyst, I would still be, you know, God only knows where I have no idea, but I trained with her. And then I just kept training. I thought, my, my capacity for possibility expanded enormously, I thought nothing was possible before I thought that, you know, my body was kind of dirt. I just, you know, until it was smaller, it was not, not acceptable. And that changed. And so I did more runs and then 10 Ks and half marathons. And, and she eventually asked me to become a run leader with her.
Speaker 3: (07:51)
And that’s when I really was like, okay, hold up. This is my life’s work. I need to be leading other people. And I was a talent agent. So I was working in an industry that really elevates the message that you need to be thin and you need to be white and you need to be all these idealistic things. Right. Um, you know, I think, you know, talking about people of color in, in Vancouver, we had like two black actors and they were like, anytime it was called for, it was like, Oh, get those people, you know? Cause it just, we barely had any sense of representation. There was always like, get the, okay, so we need a mother. Um, let’s, you know, the casting call will be 18 to 20. I’m like mothers are not 18 to 20, like guess some are, but, but typically that’s not, you know, like mothers look older and they look tired and they look, you know, like, can we just be realistic about things?
Speaker 3: (08:56)
So I was actually part of the problem. I was part, I was working in an industry that was immensely part of the problem. So I was out on the weekends leading people to believe that anything was possible and that their bodies were miracles. And that you can do anything you want and forget about diet culture and all of this messaging that I was emulating on the weekends. And then sitting my down in my desk on Monday morning and looking at producer notes and being like, Oh, I have to tell Jane that she needs to whiten their teeth and lose some weight.
Speaker 2: (09:33)
Yeah. Yep. Yeah.
Speaker 3: (09:34)
It just started to not reconcile. And so I left and I opened up a fitness business that was dedicated to plus size women.
Speaker 2: (09:43)
That’s amazing. And so what are some of the things up? Well, one thing that struck with me that you said one time, I was taking a class with you on your fitness app because you got a fitness app. Uh, I signed up for the trial and I was taking a class with you. And one thing that stuck with me is when you say it’s not all or nothing, it’s all or something. And I got to tell you, and every yoga class, since I heard that from you, that I teach, I say that, I say that, I say, this is what I say, say my idol, this woman that I love. And if you’re not following, you should be following her Louise Green, Big Fit Girl always says, it’s not all or nothing. It’s all or something. And I, you helped me to see over the years that fitness did not have to be tied to changing my body.
Speaker 2: (10:37)
And that was mind blown because I always liked to move, but I just felt like I didn’t deserve to move because there weren’t clothes that fit me. Like I couldn’t go into a store and find a cute outfit to go to the gym in or to walk in. And then when I was at the gym and my body, I felt like I didn’t belong there. And then people would come up to me at the gym and, you know, cheer me on for working hard. If you just keep with it, you’ll lose that weight. And I always, I always wanted to know that there was something more than that, that I could just move for the sake of moving. And I abandoned the word in my, my new iteration of movement. I abandoned the word exercise because for me, exercise was tied to this idea that my body wasn’t good enough and I had to lose weight and I’m exercising for an outcome and I am indeed exercising for an outcome, but my outcome is, I’m a menopausal woman. So I’m trying to keep bone density. I’m trying to keep my muscle mass and I just want to feel good. So I shifted my whole perspective to joyful, mindful movement. And that has resonated. I just wrote a blog post. Um, and the, the, uh, blog post title is I hate the word exercise because exercise always sounds punitive to me,
Speaker 3: (11:55)
Same with fitness for a lot of people like, Oh, you know, you need to get a fitness routine. There is so much tied to moving our bodies. What I’ve learned is when I opened my fitness business, I thought I’m going to be teaching people how to do like pushups and squats. And that is not what I’ve been teaching people. What I’ve been teaching people is so much. And what I realized while working in the trenches with women in boot camps for so many years, is that there’s so much loaded, um, energy around moving our bodies. And it becomes from, it comes from negative fitness experiences or movement experiences. And in fact, some people have experienced what I call fitness trauma. And I, you know, I was talking to a psychologist one day and he was like trauma, really? And I’m like, yes, trauma really actually, because we have people that, um, I’ve worked with that were so traumatized by their fitness experiences, whether it was parents like making them exercise or coaches that were just way too hard on them or putting on these tiny shorts in high school that never fit you and running around the, doing the morning mile and coming in last while all your peers snicker at you, um, you know, experiences like that have kept people on the sidelines for decades.
Speaker 3: (13:30)
So if the experience is so strong that somebody is not willing to put themselves out there again for 20 years, it’s trauma, right. That’s right.
Speaker 2: (13:43)
That’s the one thing about talking online. There’s always that pause. Cause you’re going to be back to being in gym class and we used to have to do this like fitness testing in gym class. Like you had to hang on the rope, right. And you had to do so many pull-ups and then you had to do in grade school. It was the four minute run. And then when I went to high school, it was the 12 minute run. And what always blew my mind about myself is that I could do the four minute run. Like I could do it. And it never occurred to me the run, uh, or the 12 minute run. I was one of the only kids in my class or only, you know, people in my, in my class that could actually run for the full 12 minutes and not stop wasn’t very fast. And that’s when I started to think to myself, that fitness had nothing to do with my body Size. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (14:33)
Because there were all these other people who looked at wedding to me because they were small and they couldn’t run for four minutes. They were walking. And of course your gym, teacher’s screaming at you. in their tiny shorts with their whistle because remember all of that. And then I could manage to run and we had to hang on this rope and I was good at hanging upside down. I figured out from hanging in the tree at my house, that if I flipped upside down and wrap my leg around the rope, I could stay up for the minute because people were dropping off. Like, you know, I’ve had this natural athletic ability, but I never pursued it because my body was fat and it just didn’t align with what I saw. But my grandfather was a professional boxer. Uh, my mother ran track in high school.
Speaker 2: (15:23)
My dad ran track in high school. And, um, I was always this fat kid that my parents would constantly put on a diet. I got put on a diet when I was eight years old. I got taken a weight Watchers when I was eight years old. Um, my dad was so mad at me that I was fat that used to make me skip like skipping the basement before I go to bed and I’d have to skip for five minutes without stopping. And that just took the joy out of skipping. I never bothered to learn to double Dutch with my friends because skipping was punishment for having a fat body. And it wasn’t until I, um, kind of had this epiphany in gym class. And it’s all coming to me now that there were all these thin people who couldn’t do all the things that I could do in this fat body. And maybe it didn’t fully connect that maybe my body was athletic, but I didn’t look like an athlete. And that was, and then I, then I abandoned it at that point. Cause I didn’t have a look.
Speaker 3: (16:18)
Well, that’s really interesting that you have that epiphany because what most people have during those tests is that it is because their body is fat. Um, it is that they’re not able to perform because they are fat. Um, when maybe that wasn’t the case, you know, like maybe it wasn’t, you know, most likely it wasn’t the case, but when you’re being tested amongst your peers at a time in your life, when all you’re looking for is social acceptance and you don’t have any athletic ability or that’s not, that’s not your biggest talent. Right? So it just creates, like I posted a picture of those badges, the Canadian excellence, and then they’re called the president’s awards for anyone in the United States. That’s listening. Um, that is probably the most commented on post I’ve ever put on Facebook. And it was like the stories and, and a lot of people that have been taken to diet programs as children, you know, really those, those are the clients that really struggled the most with accepting their bodies because it’s not just about, Oh, I want to get my child in a lighter weight.
Speaker 3: (17:31)
Really what you’re saying to that child when you’re taking them to a diet program is how you are right now. Isn’t really cutting it for me. Like, and so to have that kind of, I don’t know if it’s rejection or, I mean, I wasn’t taken, I wasn’t a heavy child, I started to get larger when I was around 18. So, um, I didn’t have that, but the clients that I work with that have had that from a parent, whether they were taken to a diet program or not, or if it was just something they were harped on about a lot, are the ones that really suffer the most trauma connection with moving their body.
Speaker 2: (18:14)
Right. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve had, um, as Dianne, you were talking about when you were younger for me, I was always very athletic all through school and a smaller size. And I, as I’ve gotten older things, change your body changes. And I have started to put on weight, but I’ll tell you, I am the strongest that I’ve ever been in my whole life. And it, I proved this to myself last year when we ran our half marathon. But yeah. Um, and I think like most women who have spent a lot of time hanging out on the scales, well, they went through adolescents or their, their younger years. It’s when you decide to break up at the scale, it’s always, it is a hard thing. And I will admit there’s times where I do fall back on it. Cause it’s like that it’s like an addiction, right.
Speaker 2: (19:15)
You kind of, you know, fall off. Um, and I actually last summer got on the scale just to see, and I don’t like to throw numbers out there, but I was significantly heavier than like the last time I had tried running, which I could not run the last, like I was not a good runner. And we were beating, our times are doing PRS last summer. And we were so strong. So it, I had this, this epiphany last summer, just it had my streak has nothing to do or my athleticism or the things that have when performing in life or my wellness or my mindset has nothing to do with the number on the scale because I am at, I am the healthiest, happiest person at this point in my life and the heaviest that I’ve been in a long time. So that’s the problem. Um,
Speaker 3: (20:16)
The advertising and media messages, why can’t we have more of that messaging, right? Like I think that cosmopolitan tried to do a good job with their magazine. And of course it backfired for a lot of people like hugging, you say, this is healthy,
Speaker 2: (20:36)
Your thoughts on that. So, you know, like, I guess
Speaker 3: (20:42)
What some people were saying is you can’t tell someone’s health by a picture. True. But I think that they were giving examples. They were, they were just, they were trying to show a representative of what healthy could look like. And of course, everyone jumps all over it and really they’re jumping on Kelly Thorpe, right? Like Kelly is the largest woman there. And she has just endured so much hate because of it. And constantly does, like, I follow her on her Instagram and she has a lot of fans obviously, but it’s like, why are we so hateful? Why are we so negative? And why are we so fearful? Because really this is what it is. It’s fat, it’s fat phobia. So when, when a woman stands up and just like Dee just said and says, I am the happiest, the healthiest and strongest person I’ve ever been in my life. And I’m also the heaviest, like why is that a problem?
Speaker 2: (21:41)
You know, it’s, it’s because tying, this is my thought, this is my arrogant opinion, keeping women small and tying us to our appearance, keeps us disempowered. And for her to say, that shows that she’s powerful and that makes people uncomfortable when you are happy in your size and in your body, for whatever reasons that makes people uncomfortable. And I really have to ask people if you are attacking somebody because they are living their best life in their best size, feeling good about themselves. That’s about you because happy fulfilled people, don’t go on Instagram, tearing down other people who are celebrating, who they are, happy, fulfilled. People don’t do that. And a friend of mine wrote a book, uh, Sabrina Springs on fearing the fat body, or sorry, fearing the black body and has a lot to do with diet, culture and fitness culture, as it is now in the lens of whiteness and perfection and beauty, right?
Speaker 2: (22:43)
Fitness as a function of beauty fitness, because you want to look a certain way is really a pushback against being happy and content in a plus sized body. And a lot of imagery that we’ve seen around black women, um, traditionally has been a bigger size body. And that has been linked to indulgence and lack of discipline and all of the things that society deems unacceptable. And she makes a lot of, uh, she draws a lot of research. Like it’s a heavy book to read every chapter I read, I have to put it down, walk away and like process it. Cause she backs up all this, you know, all her, her, all her research, she backs it all up. But we have a problem with, with allowing, especially women to feel good about themselves at any size. We have a problem with that because that fault that allows women to be powerful. This is just my arrogant opinion. Exactly. Right. Exactly. And we let them be powerful. Then what? Then we lose power as a patriarchy or then we’re not seen as whatever. And the, and I really feel that thinness is actually tied to obedience for women. You’re you’re you were going to say something,
Speaker 3: (23:56)
What I’m going to say might come across quite negative. But a lot of that negativity comes from other women. Totally. Oh my God. I understand.
Speaker 2: (24:12)
Right. I agree. We are the worst. Like when you read the comments, we are, we are somehow threatened by each other. And yeah.
Speaker 3: (24:20)
So we can talk about patriarchy and we can talk about, you know, male obedience, and we can talk about, um, you know, the, the world of commerce that is really driving diet and beauty industries is like a, a white male driven industry. But really it’s. I agree with all of that stuff. I’m not taking away from that. Also have a whole bunch of other women tearing each other down too. Totally.
Speaker 2: (24:48)
Because our proximity to the patriarchy provides us safety. So if we can tear women down that way and align with those values, we somehow feel empowered and safe. That’s again, my arrogant opinion, right? Like the closer we can, people get some kind of glee and joy out of tearing other people down. And we see this plus size woman loving her life, living her life,
Speaker 3: (25:19)
Eating the cake, eating the cake drinking the wine. Doing her thing.
Speaker 2: (25:22)
And all of a sudden that’s a problem for us. That’s deep problem that we have. And why can’t we get to a place where we’re empowering other women? I’m not about that. Even if I’m fighting with somebody, I don’t like, I’m not going to go online and tear them down. No, I’m not going to feed into that narrative. I’m just not going to participate at all. And if it comes up in conversation, I have nothing to say, unless somebody specifically asks me or, you know, I’m doing something, I’m talking to somebody privately about something that happened to me, but I’m not about that anymore. We have to change that. We have to stop tearing each other down. When those cosmopolitan pictures came out, Jessamyn Stanley also got torn to shreds. She also gets a lot of that. Um, and my friend, Amber Karnes gets torn down a lot.
Speaker 2: (26:06)
I, for whatever reasons I think it has to do with the color of my skin, I don’t get as much hate, but I also, the minute I get hate, I delete and block. I don’t leave the comments up there. I look at my social media as my living room. I’ve invited you to come into my home and I’m sharing my life with you. If you come into my home and pee on my new sofa or take a dump on the, on the, on the carpet, you got to leave it off and you got to go. And so I follow Sonia Renee’s, uh, philosophy with trolls, be blocked and be blessed. So I don’t listen to, I love her too. I don’t listen to of that nonsense. And I try to put out there that we’re not tearing each other down because I’ll say it again. Cause I think it bears repeating happy, fulfilled people don’t go online and tear other people down. They just don’t.
Speaker 3: (26:56)
I also don’t get a lot of, um, trolling. And I think it’s because, um, I think it’s because our body size it by our body size, albeit plus size is acceptable or conforming plus size body. Plus when you had the athletics element to it, there’s kind of this, okay, well she gets a hall pass. Cause at least she’s doing something about it.
Speaker 2: (27:24)
Do you know what I mean?
Speaker 3: (27:27)
She’s at least about health. So, you know,
Speaker 2: (27:33)
She’s a good fatty.
Speaker 3: (27:35)
Exactly. So, but when you have people like Tess Holiday who are like really not fitness-based and they’re eating the cake and she’s in a much larger body, that woman, I don’t know how she does it. She just lets that roll off her back and just keeps doing her thing.
Speaker 2: (27:52)
I don’t understand it either. I have a lot of respect for her for being able to take all that, to take all of that because she takes that all the time, trying to think of other plus size models out there. Um, I also watch Ashley Graham get some pushback and she’s also in one of those acceptable fat bodies too. Although she recently had a baby and her body has changed even more. And she’s been really great about putting it out there and you know, pushing back against the trolls that are telling her, uh, her body isn’t right. And it’s time. Like I think it’s time either, either we say that this is no longer acceptable and we keep pushing back or we keep towing the line and we have to make a choice.
Speaker 3: (28:35)
They’re telling her her body’s not acceptable behind a computer screen with an anonymous name and no profile picture.
Speaker 2: (28:42)
Exactly, exactly. In their mothers’ basement when she brings you lunch, I’m sitting here because I keep thinking about how even, you know, I, I always like to relate to myself because obviously that’s what I know. Um, I’ve had people say like, Oh, you know, I’m trying to like give the message of like self, like self-love and just being accepting of the changes that your body makes throughout your lifetime. You know, people say to me, well, you know, like you’re still not like, almost like I don’t deserve to be happy because I am not necessarily plus sized. Do you know what I mean? So I get that pushback as well. Yeah. You know, I was going to say, we need to stop commenting on people’s bodies. And if you feel, you know, sometimes I’ll say, you know, as a plus sized person go, well, you’re not plus size.
Speaker 2: (29:42)
Like you’re thick. Like somehow being plus size is a bad thing. Like that’s what I hear you saying. If you’ve got a little bit of whatever, whatever, you know, your thing, you know, kind of, yeah. I don’t know. We just need in general to stop commenting on people’s bodies. Like nobody has the right to tell you Dee how do you feel in your body? Whether they, whether you identify as having a curvy shape or your plus size or whatever, that’s your identity to own? Do you know what I mean? Nobody gets to come and tell me, well, you’re not, you’re not really fat. Like, I don’t have a problem with the word fat. Like I seriously, don’t, it’s a descriptor like currently I’m rocking purple and blue hair. So it’s a descriptor like I’m, I’ve got blue hair today, or I’m wearing a black sweater today.
Speaker 2: (30:31)
Like, I, we need to somehow find a way, and I know not, everybody’s there to take that charge out of the word fat, because you know, when you were a little kid fat was about the worst thing you could say to. And I got into a fight with a troll and I don’t usually bother, but they said something that just set me off. It was one of those days where everything was setting me off. Um, and this person set me off and they told me, well, you have a fat. I’m like, you know, I have a fat, like an insult. You think I, don’t got a mirror. I know I have a fat and I liked my fat. And then I’ve got, you know, and then I went there. I, I told that person back. I said, I might have a fat, but you’re always going to have a small Dick. And it was just not the way to go. I know, I know, listen, listen, listen, I’m petty. Okay. I’m just going to say it. Sometimes I get my feelings, I’m having a bad day. And I was petty. That was just, you know, I can already hear my son, you know, that’s really sexist. I can already hear my son saying that to me, but you know, I just went down this rabbit hole. So I think my lesson is just not to engage the trolls because they drag you down with them. Cause it just gets sideways. Real fast. . Yeah.
Speaker 3: (31:50)
It’s always the same troll too. It’s like the, you know, 25 to 35 white guy.
Speaker 2: (31:59)
No, the worst
Speaker 3: (31:59)
Trolls I’ve ever had are kind of like the, um, the bodybuilding type. So there were a lot of like, you know, big busk, if I’m like seen in any kind of media, they’re the first ones that come knocking
Speaker 2: (32:20)
Bro mentality. That mentality. Yeah. Yeah. I joined the gym about a year ago. I mean, the gym’s been open for 57 days in 2020, but I joined the gym for that a year ago. And when you joined the gym, they give you a, you know, a training, whatever, you get a couple of workouts with a trainer, because really they’re trying to upsell you on the training. And so I get a, what I think is a bro. So I show up and I get this young guy in that age room done some fitness shows or whatever. And the first thing I say to them is like, listen, I’m not, you’re not calibrating me with that stupid machine. I’m not getting on any kind of scale. I said, I’m not interested in any of that. I have a thyroid disease that has made me weak. Like I’ve always had a strong body and I have a thyroid disease where I couldn’t walk.
Speaker 2: (33:11)
I was like, shuffling my proprioception was off. I could only do like restorative yoga. I couldn’t do anything that, um, you know, to build strength. And I had lost a lot of strength right away. And I said, I’m just here because I, my meds everything’s regulated. I’m in remission. And I want to get some of my strength back. And what was really interesting to me is he had said to me that a lot of his clients were coming in and now saying, I’m not interested in losing weight. I’m not here to lose weight. I’m here to get stronger. And that message has really changed in the gym. I found in the gym environment, I was hesitant to go back to the gym environment because when I was at the gym, I was, um, I was nursing my eating disorder and in a place of deep self-hate and completely over-training to maintain a body size that was never going to happen without starving myself to death and working out six hours a day, like it was just not going to happen.
Speaker 2: (34:03)
So it, it had going back to the gym, had a lot of emotional baggage for me. And so I was really, um, relieve trauma. Exactly. Right. It was a very traumatic place and it was the same gym that I had, you know, nurse that eating disorder at. And then it changed hands. Now it’s a good life. And I went in and I was like, relieved not to get that feedback. Right. Like it was never about, like, that was amazing to me to hear them say, that the majority of his women, clients don’t want any of that. Either they’re coming in here to get stronger. And that was the focus. So there was no body shaming in any of my training, which I thought was great because there was a lot of that when I used to go to the gym body shaming in your training.
Speaker 3: (34:50)
Well, I think that’s something really to think about what as a trainer. Okay. So what I’m starting to work on now is, is educating trainers. And you don’t know what somebody is walking into your gym with. And there are tons of women that are recovering from eating disorders. So if you’re going to slide across the table, a 1200 calorie meal plan that you have no business doing, if you’re only a certified trainer, um, and, you know, sell them five to six sessions a week so that they can excessively exercise, you have no idea what kind of triggers that is doing for people. And so really what our education system is teaching trainers, um, is that if a larger body person comes in, it is our job and our duty to make that person smaller. So all the case studies that we did in our personal training certification was, you know, Bob has high blood pressure.
Speaker 3: (35:49)
How are we going to, how are we going to, you know, manage his blood pressure? And it was always about like getting Bob exercising, but also weight reduction is always the key point. So, you know, and if, and if any trainer says, well, that’s not really what it’s about. Well then why are we weighing people? Yeah. So if it’s not about that, why are we weighing them? If we’re, why are we measuring them? I recently, um, had a coach that in the intake, it said, take a picture in a bikini of your before and before picture. And I was like, no, like, no. And so if you’re going to slide that kind of intake in front of like, you know, people that are coming in, like it’s highly triggering to, um, people that have all different kinds of things going on for them in what I call the underbelly of their wellness. Right? So we’re, we’re very presumptuous that everybody that walks in is there to, you know, meet the, the, this ideal. This is where our fitness culture has to change is it’s not about that.
Speaker 2: (37:00)
I was, uh, I actually did personal training certification. Like I certified personal trainers for numerous amount of years. And that was the one that, that was one of the things that really made me so sick was that it was not about wellness. That was the main thing that was missing. And I just thought we could so change somebody’s experience just by, just by a couple of different changes within, uh, introducing ourselves, like not weighing, um, not taking the calipers to them. You know, it’s just like those simple things that can change. And let me say this too, because this is one thing that used to just infuriate me. I would have clients that would come to me and tell me, like I went here and I went there and, you know, I received this meal plan and that meal plan and personal trainers are not certified unless they are nutritionalists to give meal plans, you are not certified to do that dangerous, very dangerous, very, very dangerous.
Speaker 3: (38:03)
So on the other point to that is like really weight loss is more about food. It’s not really about, I mean, you can exercise yourself thin, but like Dianne said, it has to be like hours a day to exercise yourself thin. Um, so, so if it’s, if it’s not about, um, you know, if we’re not, if we’re not able to prescribe nutrition plans, which we’re not, you know, it’s, how are we still trying to get people thin? I don’t, I don’t understand it. And
Speaker 2: (38:36)
It would start with the certification. It was always canfit pro anyways, was you refer people to the Canadian food guide, the Canadian food guide. Right. And then there’s the whole thing with that as well. Yeah. So, but also missing the wellness part too. So there’s all these missing links in my opinion. So how are we going to repair that fitness? Not wellness, don’t say wellness because we’re not talking about up here. Right. All we’re trying to fix is the body. There’s a problem with the body. Let’s fix it. Let’s fix it. Let’s deprive calories. Let’s let’s excessively exercise if we exercise, let’s fix that. But what about here? That’s wellness. Yeah. Whether it’s feeling good. I love
Speaker 3: (39:26)
The quote. There is no health without mental
Speaker 2: (39:29)
Health, a hundred percent,
Speaker 3: (39:32)
No health without mental health. And so diet culture. For the most part, I hate why I hate washing over our fitness industry and saying our fitness industry, because there are some really fantastic trainers out there that go above and beyond and self-educate themselves and, and kudos to all of them. But the curriculum is, is not really focusing. It’s not even really brushing against mental health. And, and like, what does it feel like for a larger woman to come into a gym, which is already, excrutiatingly intimidating to cross the threshold of the gym to be calipered.
Speaker 2: (40:13)
Speaker 3: (40:15)
And weighed publicly, like, what does that feel like? Like,
Speaker 2: (40:19)
You know, right
Speaker 3: (40:20)
Off the bat before she’s even done,
Speaker 2: (40:22)
One is already more. And the gym, when I was part of the gym, they used to put up before and after pictures in that front hallway as part of their marketing. Um, and I worked with a trainer, uh, at the height of my eating disorder. And she was really instrumental in helping me fine tune my eating disorder. She didn’t know she was doing that, but I was taking all that information. Well, you know, before the internet and all that stuff, I subscribe to magazines. And I want to actually ask you about your, uh, self magazine called, but I was usually using all that stuff. And there was all these like fat burners. And then at the gym, there was a nutrition store attached to the gym and they were always selling you all those thermogenic things. And so there was a, that was really, really instrumental.
Speaker 2: (41:08)
I mean, how hard is it to be Calipered as a plus sized person, who’s really on this journey of hopefully learning to accept yourself and build, you know, maybe your, your cardiovascular health or whatever it is that you come for to have this fitness trainer that looks a certain way. Cause my fitness trainer was clearly there working out every single day and was living up to the fitness ideal that I was seeing in all the magazines coming at you with a caliper. That was the thing that would kill me. And that was the thing that would push my eating disorder to the edge. I would come in and see people training for shows, which I think is the furthest from health and Dee can, speak to that because you’ve done a fitness show or two, but training for those shows and seeing them, you know, a week out from their show when they’re dieted right down and spray tanned and all that and go to myself, Oh, that’s health. And that’s what I want to look like. And that was the dangerous thing of walking into the gym space because I see those people working out and you know, and I see these before and after pictures all over the wall and I’m being told in that moment, this is what I need to do.
Speaker 3: (42:11)
So the whole messaging and the whole culture is driving that it’s, it really is driving out. I mean, it is slightly changing, but not fast enough. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (42:24)
100%. Tell us about your Self column. Like I never really, I always put Self with like Cosmo and other and Glamour and other beauty magazines, which are I noticing, starting to shift a little bit because there is pushback from, from women saying we’re no longer interested in this content. How did you come to write for self? And what, what has that experience been for you? And I thank you for featuring me in your column. I appreciate that.
Speaker 3: (42:51)
Um, what did it, so it, it came about because when I wrote big fit girl, they, I had a publicist who was trying to get some editorial into Self. And so they said, well, we’re not just going to promote your book. You need to write a piece about plus size fitness and what that means for you and how you, how you came about writing this, writing this book. So I, I wrote, I think I wrote kind of, I think I wrote about the run clinic experience and how that profoundly changed my life and my career and everything. And, and, um, you know, I think it was just one of those moments where it was at, it was in their face at the right time. And they were looking to kind of change things up. They had a new editor in chief who really wanted to be more inclusive and, and, you know, self, I, you know, if you look back before is exactly what we’re talking about.
Speaker 3: (43:47)
It was, you know, right. Something white ripped ups like that, you weren’t going to see anything, but if you go to their website now, you know, you’ll see, you’ll see a lot of diversity and representation on their site. And the way that they do it now is like, here’s an upper back workout and it’s not like, it’s not like here’s a plus size upper back workout that this is just, this is just a workout. So, um, after I submitted that piece, they said, you know, we’re looking at, we are wondering if you want to provide some size inclusive content and have a column. And I actually didn’t even what a big deal it was at the time. I was like, yeah, sure. That’d be cool. Like, I didn’t realize like here I am four years later still writing for them. And, um, it’s been an incredible opportunity to have that voice and I’m in a fitness platform like that and, you know, share with them, the people that I know and admire and share the content, you know, I can’t always share the things that I, you know, sometimes it has to be like, what’s your favorite water bottle?
Speaker 3: (45:00)
Or like, you know, really dry fitness content like that. But I try to make sure that it is, you know, th the next article that’s coming out. I think this today maybe is how to improve your relationship with movement. And it talks about a lot of what we’ve talked about today. So I get to have those conversations in a magazine platform that often does talk about things like how to get your booty butt. Right. Right.
Speaker 2: (45:29)
I think it’s amazing that, um, back when I was in high school and grade school, I couldn’t get a pair of jeans past my thighs. I, uh, lived in a time. Well, maybe we all did lived in a time when there was no spandex in denim and wearing a pair of jeans is like wearing a baseball glove. It was like the worst, trying to get these things on. And then they would stretch out over time. And my mother would put them in the dryer and I start back at, you know, I would never wash my jeans because I finally get them and then she would wash them. Um, and you know, it’s, it’s interesting to see everything kind of evolved with interested to see body image. Like body image is a trend when I was in high school, the big, um, you know, the big image that we were looking at was often Charlie’s angels.
Speaker 2: (46:18)
These really thin white women with the, you know, the flipped hair running, you know, with a gun. Um, and now we have the card that we have the Kardashians setting the standards for what the body should look like. And now we have this trending where you’re supposed to have a tiny waist and a big butt. And like, you know, you’re supposed to be like we were talking about before thick T H I C C, and this is now, you know, this forever changing or this, you know, this ever-changing idea of what your body should look like, and that we’re never going to be satisfied. If we’re going to allow mainstream media to set the standards, we’re never going to be satisfied. It’s always going to be this moving target that nobody’s ever going to be able to achieve. And right now, the people who are setting the standard are surgically enhanced. None of them look that way without a ton of money, plastic surgery, lighting, makeup, all this kind of stuff. And this is now setting the stage for the next generation coming up around how they should feel about their bodies. So I can’t, I can’t stress enough how much, um, representation matters that we see all kinds of bodies and that is no one way to be fit. And that there’s no one way to be fat either. Absolutely. And I’m all for people being, as you say, Dianne, you do, you boot, right.
Speaker 2: (47:46)
I’m not, anybody’s judged. So if that’s what you’re doing and you are truly authentically happy, how about it? Whatever. Yeah. But I think it comes down to, we all have to continue to do the inner work and be happy with ourselves, because if you’re not happy with yourselves, you’re always going to see somebody that you would rather look like. Right. Yeah. I agree. It is
Speaker 3: (48:11)
Sad though. Um, because even just yesterday, I posted on my Instagram, just a quick caption, how do you feel about your body? And it’s kind of chronic that so many women just don’t feel good about their bodies. And you know, I’m not saying that every day I wake up and I’m like, Ooh, look at you. Uh, but
Speaker 2: (48:35)
That was one day. And I think part of that healing also comes from being honest about it for you saying that Louise, it’s like, we’re all, sorry, go ahead. No, no, go ahead. Go ahead.
Speaker 3: (48:49)
Or in a place where I’m like saying horrible thing, you know, like I, I used to be like, you get, you know, like, I don’t even want to say it that the words hurt my ears too much now and your heart. Yeah. So, so like, I’ll go through days where I’m like, I’m not really feeling it today, but, but, um, it’s not like it used to be, but just to hear a woman say, I hate my body is, is very, very sad to me because it is a product of our society. And it’s a product of our messaging and advertising and media culture that we, um, are immersed in. And now when we’re on computers and we’re at bus stops and like we’re on our phones, like you’re being bombarded constantly. Um, and although the, you know, representation of diverse bodies is coming out more, it’s not strong enough to compete with the opposite. So we’re still in a place of deficit where we are the majority of the messaging that we’re getting. And we’re talking about grown women here. My biggest concern is young women. It’s like, I don’t want women to go through what I had to go through and go through like a 20 year, 30 year process of having to like, come full circle.
Speaker 2: (50:17)
Yeah. You want to save somebody the stress and the grief and the harm. Like when I think of all the harm that I’ve done to my body, it’s amazing that it still functions. It’s amazing to me that it still functions because I nursed an eating disorder for the better part of 30 years. And I, you know, who knows what will happen 10 years from now, who knows what will show up. And, um, there’s been some studies saying that the thyroid disease that I have now has been directly linked to this chronic eating disorder that I’ve had. It’s, it’s a correlation. It’s not a causation. So there, you know, it’s, it’ll be interesting to see how now that I, I talked to my body in a much different way, how that will influence the rest of my life. Like it took me a long time to get here.
Speaker 2: (51:01)
It took me, and I’m also always a little hesitant to show my workout routine. Um, but I do like, I I’m in love with my spin bike. Like I literally, why are you hesitant? Why are you hesitant? I don’t want people to think that this is I’m changing my body, but this is some kind of weight loss journey. Like, you know what I mean? Because when I got sick with my graves’ disease, I lost an enormous amount of weight. Like it just because it’s a hyperactive thyroid. And then I lost strength and I, and it really with my head as a person who had an eating disorder, it really screwed with my head, but I wanted to feel better. And one of the things I did to feel better was to start walking in nature. And that’s what I did. I said, okay, I need to build my strength back.
Speaker 2: (51:48)
I can’t do anything. I can’t lift anything. I feel really weak and tired and sick and horrible, but walking makes me feel better. So I’ll just walk around my neighborhood. And then it began walking to the Hill that you and I ran all summer. And then it began walking along the riverfront. Cause I want to look over at Detroit, like it really changed. And then walking slowly became like, Oh, I feel better. Well, I used to like to run, let me just run for like one minute. And if I don’t die, like that’s my theory for running. I will run for one minute and a re-evaluate. And I did this all summer. I’ll re-.evaluate Wait. Okay. Didn’t die. Okay. I can run for another minute. And that’s how I ran for another minute. I’d be like, okay, I didn’t die.
Speaker 2: (52:28)
I didn’t die. Okay. I’m all sweaty. I’m all sweaty, but I’m okay. I’m okay. And then, you know, and then that’s how it started again. And then I was just worried because there’s a lot of people I think who follow me who think that this whole evolution of my body from like say five years ago to now, because I do look very different is some kind of weight loss journey. And it’s never been that. And that’s why I’m always scared to share my, my fitness journey. I’m up here and I’m telling them I’m on here. Cause I love it. Like I did a spin class this morning to funk music from the seventies. Good Lord. I was, I was in my glory because I grew up in the seventies and eighties. And I remember my parents playing was in the basement. And I remember we used to have Friday night dance party at my house and my dad would put on his like Marvin Gaye and his Cool and the Gang.
Speaker 2: (53:12)
And we would just like rock out in our fun things. And then there was a whole like class around this today and I’m like did into it. And that’s what I want share. But I’m always afraid that the backlash will be like, you know, that I’m sharing this because I’m trying to change my body. And that’s my fear. And I never want people to think that I don’t see that at all through your social media. I don’t, I don’t see that. And I always say that your message should also a lot of the times come through your struggle. So continue to share that can continue. And I think we’re all doing that. Absolutely. I mean, I got battle ropes that I’m all excited. I’m excited about like I did a four minute battle and again, I do it for a minute and like, I didn’t die the next day. I’m like, I’m a little sore, but no, it’s okay. It’s okay. I didn’t die. But, uh, what I’d love to hear. What’s your movement routine like Louise? Like what, what, what do you do? Like how do you celebrate your body if I watch you here and there on the gram? So
Speaker 3: (54:18)
I also do a lot of wilderness walking, like
Speaker 2: (54:22)
Every single day. Um,
Speaker 3: (54:23)
That’s kind of how I start my day. My body feels really creaky in the mornings.
Speaker 2: (54:30)
Speaker 3: (54:30)
Just feeling that as I’m getting older, just need to move before I do anything else. And I’m working with an Olympic lifting coach right now because I want to compete in the masters. And when I turned 50, which will be next year. So, um, I’ve been, I’ve been training with her and that’s been, I love it because it’s extremely challenging, not just from a physical position, but mentally like it’s so technical that like, I’m tired just thinking about all the things that I need to do. So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Um, I’m still coaching women to run and I do a little bit of running, but I don’t know. I lost my lust for running.
Speaker 2: (55:16)
I ran, I
Speaker 3: (55:18)
Ran for like a decade solid and all kinds of distances. And that was my mainstay of exercise. And then I was like, it was almost like I turned into Forest Gump, you know, when one day he just stopped.
Speaker 2: (55:32)
Yeah, no I’m done.
Speaker 3: (55:39)
I like to run, um, maybe like a two or three or a five K and then anything beyond that? Nothing.
Speaker 2: (55:47)
That’s okay. That’s fair. I feel like the full marathon Dee and I, when we were running our half, I don’t know how we ended up running two halves. You know, how we ended up Dee was like, Oh, by the way, like, there’s this we’re already like, kind of trained up. So there’s this like run, you just want to do it. And I looked at the schedule, I’m like, Oh, we’re already running a schedule. Then we ran it. And then I was like, I never want to run this distance again. Oh yeah. I signed up for Detroit. And so we just like fell didn’t we just fall right off. Like after that first one, we fell completely off the running thing. We would have to be running these long distances midweek. And the two of us, she just couldn’t run six K today. I know we’re supposed to run 10, but maybe we’re already trained up.
Speaker 2: (56:27)
But it turned out to be the best thing ever because we had a better time. The second one, because I think the second half marathon was like five weeks after the first one. And we had a better time and we didn’t run nearly the distance we were running before. And we were just like, and the great thing about it was, it was in the middle of quarantine. We got a group of us together. We all ran like different paces. So we were really well spread out and we just ran around the park and we ran down by the river and we took pictures and it was just for the fun of it. And I think that also had a big impact how we finished. And then when we were doing the last, I think one K of the 22 K uh, your husband and your kids came, rolled up beside us in the car and they’re like, “we’re going to Tim Hortons, you want anything?” you know, it was just like the sheer joy of it.
Speaker 2: (57:19)
And you know what I mean? And then after that I was like, yeah, I don’t think I need to do that again. And then Dee’s, like, let’s do a full and Alan looked at me and went, no ma’am, it was just like, you know, you’re going to be like, but it’s always funny. I feel that way I drop in and I drop out of running. Like I run and then I don’t and then I run and then I don’t, and I’m rehabbing my knee right now and it’s been minus 17 here. So I haven’t really been interested in going outside.
Speaker 3: (57:44)
Yeah. That was the thing for me is waking up on a Sunday morning and it’s just like, I have to run 10 kilometers today. Like I, and it’s going to take up half my day and then there’s recovery right from that. I’m exhausted. And I just, yeah, I am. And then I started doing triathlon, which I thought was like a great way to kind of, you know, bring some, a few disciplines together. I really enjoyed that. Um, but right now I’m right into the weights. That’s more.
Speaker 2: (58:16)
You and I are going to do a duathlon. I think we, but I’m not swimming. I don’t. She said to me, the exact, I was thinking in my head and Dee said it out loud. She says, I ain’t trying to get wet. That’s exactly what she said is I was like, Oh my God. I just thought that exact same thing. I don’t want to be wet, but yeah, I would do a duathlon, her and I both got like spin bikes. And like I said, I’m obsessed. I never thought I’d like a spin bike. I, when I started spin classes, I’m like, this seems stupid. I’m riding to nowhere. Cause like I can’t run on a treadmill to save my life after seven minutes. I’m like, there’s no turnaround point because for me with running, I’m like, I’m running away. And then I turn around and I run back and I’m so joyful. When I make that turnaround, I do a little, whatever I tap, she was obsessed with the turnaround.
Speaker 2: (59:17)
We get to turn around the bike with bike is like, why am I getting a bike? And my husband was making fun of me. He’s like, you know, you’re riding to nowhere. It’s the same as being on the treadmill because I like to be outside in nature. And I often put a picture up of what my bike is in front of the stairs of my deck right now, outside. And it’s just covered in snow. So I’m riding again. I’m riding nowhere, I’m writing nowhere, but I love the music and all that kind of stuff. So it’s really taken a turn for me. I never thought I’d want to hug my spin bike because she makes me feel so good. I’ve named her Spindarella and she’s just my friend. We are no longer adversaries. We’re friends. Her and I are in this. It sounds so crazy.
Speaker 2: (59:57)
Doesn’t it. We, her and I were like, Ooh, let’s get it. Let’s be on the same girls. Right? Like a party. Beyonce, like must you turn the blue tooth speaker up at 6:00 AM on full tilt. I’m like, it’s a party. If I could get a disco ball in here, totally what? Like I’m living for this. And there was never a time in my life when I felt about fitness this way. Never because I’m just on it for the sheer joy of it and look how happy I am happy about it. Right. I want everybody to feel this way. Like I don’t want it to be like a spin bike. I’m like, Ooh, I get to go to my spin bike. And once the weather breaks here in Ontario Dee and I’ll get back out there and we’ll look like, it’s just, Oh, there’s the snail. Or did you see those flowers? It’s like so different now. And that is just the most wonderful experience ever to change that idea around what training or fitness means to you. And I appreciate your work in this field. You have been awesome. Like honestly, Dee and I were fan girling. Oh my God, she’s going to talk to us. Oh my God. She’s going to be like, I just on her podcast.
Speaker 2: (01:01:06)
So inspiring. I want to mention your book. I don’t know. I put it down somewhere, but Oh, here it is right underneath my notes. I want to mention your book. And it came out at the end of December, right? The last week of December, it’s a book mates with Yoga for Everyone. It’s Fitness for Everyone. And she’s got some really awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome people in here as well as. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I’ll put pictures up. Um, and I’ll link to where you can get this book. Always buy it from your independent bookseller, but if you can, it’s available anywhere. Fine books are sold, right. Fitness for Everyone. It’s a great representation of all of us on our journey. So we thank you for that. Plus you also have a fitness app. You do coaching. Where can everybody find you Louise, if they want to connect with you? Probably the best place is Instagram,
Speaker 1: (01:01:57)
Speaker 2: (01:02:00)
Wonderful. And you’re pretty active on your Instagram page. I noticed that you’re always sharing. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Louise, for your presence in the world, We’re grateful that you’re on the forefront of changing what this industry
Speaker 1: (01:02:16)
Look like. We need people like you. Hey you, for listening
Speaker 2: (01:02:20)
In to the podcast with Louise green, a big fit girl Dee and I had a blast talking to her and I hope you learned a lot. If you are enjoying this podcast, it would be great. If you could go to Apple podcast, rate it like it, comment, it really helps get the podcast out there into the universe. Once again, thank you for joining us and continue to listen. If you have any questions or want to reach out either to myself or Dee you can reach us on our social media pages. I am Dianne. Bondy yoga official on all of the social media channels, and you can catch up with Dee at Deevine intentions. That’s DEEVINE intentions and reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you. We’ll catch you next time.