August 10, 2015
It’s funny really, before starting up my blog I hadn’t been a regular reader of other peoples blogs but once you realise what goes into writing one of your own, you become much more interested in other peoples. This increased tenfold when I was nominated for the 2014 Blog Awards and then the Running Awards for best blog (Which I went on to win back in April) and so now I can quite easily get lost in an evening checking out other peoples fitness journeys.
But a few months ago around the time that Plus Size Wars Documentary came out I realised that I wasn’t really engaging much with other plus size bloggers and that perhaps I needed to be, so I started a search to find some awesome bloggers to come on a journey of discovery with me and become my first set of official Too Fat to Run bloggers. The simple criteria they had to meet was they had to be amazing (OBVIOUSLY), they had to be committed to giving running a go and they had to have a following of other plus sized women who might be interested in hearing about running for larger women. I was amazed at the response with well over 30 enquiries, so whittling it down to a more manageable group took some real care and consideration.
But I am pleased to announce that I have selected what I think are 8 fantastic diverse bloggers who will have full access to The Clubhouse treatment for the next 6 months and will blog (100% honestly I hope) about their experiences.
Up first we have Sarah H Plus from the blog www.sarahsmiles.co.uk, Sarah is a professional size 24 fitting model. Winner of Best Achievement Plus Size Awards 2015 and is already well on her way on her running journey, having trained for a Race for Life 10K which she completed a few weekends ago.
I love the eclectic nature of her blog and love how engaged she is with everything plus size and fashion…I reckon I may be asking her for styling advice over the next few weeks too. Having been following Sarah mainly on twitter (@sarahHplus) for the last few months I enjoy hearing about all her adventure, from Yoga to Boxing, awards ceremonies to product launches and I am sure she will be a great fit for the can do attitude found amongst our Clubhouse Ladies.
Lisa Marie Ferla from Glasgow, describes herself as a journalist by profession because every time she’s considered doing anything else she realises that she’d still have to blog about it when she got home (I know how she feels). She’s been blogging for a full 15 years and a good 10 of those have been on her own site lastyearsgirl.pixlet.net where she writes about culture, lifestyle, music, fashion, what’s going on in Glasgow, mental health stuff, feminist rants and she promises talk of a sports bra the size of her head too.
Lisa says she’s currently fallen out of love with fitness due to chronic exhaustion but is getting to the stage now where she’d really love to take up some kind of fitness pursuit again. She said in her application I thought about a Couch to 5K, but with the weather in my native Glasgow being so rubbish of late I haven’t been motivated enough to get started yet!
Elizabeth Cass Konti resides in Rhodes, Greece where she blogs at www.ourbigfatgreeklife.wordpress.com (can you guess about what?) She said she saw me briefly interviewed at the start of the london marathon thought ‘Oh wow! So there are other fat people running then!’ But it wasn’t until she wrote a blog post about her running experiences that she had a posting crisis and finally came across me on a google search. She said she was deliberating on whether to post it or not and thought, well, who is going to want to read a post about fat people running? Elizabeth is training for a half marathon in October and hopes to go on to do a full marathon in April next year, she says
Since I started running and completed my first 5K I have wanted to start a jogging club for other women in my area, but thought I had better get something respectable under my belt first – like a half marathon at least!
Rhodes might be the 3rd largest island in Greece, but its not actually that big and there aren’t many fitness activities which appeal or encourage unfit, overweight women to participate in. In April 2016 we have the 3rd Roads to Rhodes Marathon which includes a 5K. It would be beyond words to get a group of local women to take part in this.
I will be flying out to visit Elizabeth in September to explore options for a TFTR running retreat for next spring in Rhodes, and will also accompany her on some early morning runs in prep for her half marathon so watch this space!!!!
Latoyah Egerton from Exeter in Devon blogs at Sugar Pink Food, all about her weight loss journey. She has lost 4 stone so far and would love to start being more more active! She posts regular updates as well as recipes and reviews- as much as she can around working full time. She says,
I love food. I mean, LOVE food. I love cooking it, making it, baking it, tasting it and eating it. Whether I have made it myself, or if I am eating in a restaurant I LOVE FOOD. I really support fresh, local ingredients and suppliers. Being in the heart of Devon makes this perfect! I have always said that I am not made to run. I tried before and did a 5k, I didn’t train as much as I should have done and ended up falling and twisting my ankle shortly after the start, which really knocked my confidence!
Latoyahs blog is very popular with an average 100,000 views per month and a really active social following on Facebook, with nearly 16500 active fans (wow). Due to the nature of her blog she has a massive following of like minded, curvy women who are looking to get fitter so a PERFECT target audience! She is worried about looking stupid and failing over or failing and giving up all together but with the support of The Clubhouse ladies I know she can do it.
Erin Blaim is from Detroit, USA is a social worker, PHD student and blogger at www.fitfatandfeminist.wordpress.com which she started as a place to vent frustrations as a fat woman, a fat feminist woman who is not trying to lose weight. She says,
I hate assumptions that I am brand new to working out if I’m fat, that I have nothing of substance to contribute to conversations because I’m fat, and unsolicited advice on how to lose weight. I wanted my own space to talk about my experiences as a fat woman.
She talks about her experience as a queer woman in general in addition to how that relates to her fitness experiences, she has also more recently started writing a lot about disability and chronic illness issues, as a person with chronic illnesses it impacts my life in so many different ways and impacts my relationship with fitness as well.
I have been surprised though with how many people have responded that they enjoy my blog and my running posts in particular, I’m still not a big name blogger, but it’s certainly been amazing to connect with the people I have through it!
The majority of people who are actively engaged with my blog are either other people who already follow HAES, or other fitness bloggers who may not follow HAES themselves, but are clearly open to fellow fitness fans of all sizes who aren’t interested in losing weight. I think this project is something that would be very interesting to anyone who follows my blog.
We have a handful of Clubhouse members from the USA and Canada and I know that Erin will be a welcome addition.
Adele Smith is a London blogger (like me wohoo) who blogs at www.adelesmith.co.uk about her journey to a better life, she says she wants to be healthier and happier and this involves getting fitter as well. Bravely Adele has agreed to come along to my half marathon training day this Saturday, although of course she won’t be expected to run the whole 10 miles, but she will get to meet some other awesome runners from my community. She says
I have previously tried running and was actually shouted some names at by some people passing by when I was trying to use running to aid losing weight. I am looking to get back in to running as I realise it is such a great way to lose weight! (As well as other benefits of course)
I love the visual nature of Adeles blog and the fact she speaks so honestly about her issues with her weight and appearance, all the things that a lot of women of her age go through. I also chose her cos she looks so damn cute in all her pictures too!!
Stacey McCall is from Cheshire, where she is a full time mum, photography student, blogger at www.mummymsmemories.com a parenting blog which follows the trials and tribulations of being a mum to two gorgeous little girls. She also writes about fitness and weight loss and started and completed the c25k programme 2-3 years ago, then life got in the way and she stopped. She has started again and even has a new treadmill to use as its tough to run outside at the moment. Stacey was a little nervous about getting involved at first but then after a bit if persuasion said
If it’s to improve my health and get me running further then I am (which is currently 3mins!) then I am in.
Stacey is due to run a 3k race at the end of August and hopes to get her weightwatchers group involved too.
And finally… last but of course not least we have
Stephanie Curwen-Berry from Lancashire a photographer and graphic designer who is the creative genius behind www.ohsosteffany.com, I love Stephanies general ethos about life and found her application and her site very upbeat and inspiring. She says
Blogging, graphic design and photography has helped me so much over the last few years. It’s brought some amazing people into my life whom I now consider to be my family. I’ve made friends all over the world and it has given me opportunities I never dreamed possible. Seeing the joy on peoples faces that my work has brought to them is exhilarating, and if my words can help someone going through a rough time and bring happiness then I’ve served my purpose.
I truly believe that we have to ability to create our own paths in life. Why should society, and family dictate what you do with you life? If you truly have a gift or a talent, then it is your duty to give that to the world. Life is a gift, and to spend that being miserable and unhappy, around people who don’t value you, is just a waste.
She confesses that she currently doesn’t do a lot of exercise, but she is looking for ways to get fit and healthy and feels that collaborating on this project would be perfect for her and her readers. I love what she has to say on her blog about body image and accepting yourself as you are.
These days the media is bombarding us with their idea of what the perfect body should look like. We’re subjected to these images as little girls and see them every single day. In magazines, in advertisements, on television… there is literally no escape from it all. Which is why I’m loving this whole “Body Positivity” movement that is going around at the moment.
So there we have it the first batch of Official Too Fat to Run Bloggers, so please check out their blogs and keep your eyes peeled for update on how they get on over the next few months. They will be joining The Clubhouse on the 1st September for 6 months and feeding back all about their experiences. The Clubhouse is our virtual running club specifically designed for plus sized runners of all abilities. It costs just £10 a month and included weekly training session, monthly themed fitness challenges, online support, webinars and discounts plus lots more. So if you want to be more accountable in your running and have support from women just like you, why not sign up now by clicking here.