I have been fantasizing about hosting a Fat Camp here at the farm. I remember that being kind of a thing when I was growing up. Seems like there were movies and Young Adult fiction books glorifying the idea. Probably it is not ok to speak, or write, of Fat Camps now, and many things I do are not ok so let us add one to the list.
The physical activity I engage in on a typical day is way beyond what an average person would even be able to do. I am thinking of the average person in our current 'American' culture, maybe driving to and from their job which probably involves sitting or standing in one place for many hours of the day. My job as an ICU RN was quite physically active but when I changed to Hospice Nursing my bum got a lot bigger. I was driving around in my car, visiting with people, and then documenting on the computer what I had done all day, which was sit, on my bum.
When I moved to this farm my whole body began to change as I eagerly dug into the labor available. I have always known that vigorous exercise is good for my particular constitution but had never found a way to incorporate it into life naturally. Going to the gym was alright but my heart longed for something that I found on this farm. Exercise or keeping physically fit just became more of a side effect of my life circumstances. My body looked good not because I was all focused on slimming down but just because I got out of bed and lived my new life. This is what my heart had longed for, a complete system, a whole life. Seems like what I absorbed from society growing up was a division of ideas, a separation between parts of one's life. I have always thought of myself as strong, able to open jars when other females cannot, that sort of thing. But I also felt fat or big for most of my life. Having a goal to slim down and look a certain way always loomed in the back of my mind and seemed like its own separate box that I never quite could get checked off.
What a relief one day after moving here, to notice that, hey, I can get my jeans on easy and look, I can squat down in them with out severe pain where they used to cut into flesh. The box had been checked for me. I was slim, toned up. And the funny thing was, now I hardly even cared about it. I was living in the country and rarely going out in public, all my neighbors wear long skirts and head coverings so they did not care about my cute bum and shapely arms. My life was satisfying in so many new ways that looking a certain way had truly become a side effect and not a separate goal. Now I felt whole in a new way.
This has been a few years ago now and I continue to marvel at the strength and joy my body provides. I was charging up some hill the other day saying right out loud how grateful I am to be 44 years old, barefoot, carrying a heavy load, climbing this here gate and not even breathing hard. The celebration of my body and its capabilities is a continuous source of amazement for me. Its wonderful that I struggled with it for so long because now it just never gets old. Look at me, carrying two heavy buckets, barefoot, over uneven, hilly terrain, I'm making sugar in the woods! Look at me holding on to this rope while a 4 month old monster bull calf tries, and fails, to show me which way we are going to go. Look at me, carrying my 30 pound kid on my back for half an hour, going up and down hills, chasing cows up to the milk barn. I love it. I am not working out, I am just living.
So anyway, Fat Camp. I love the idea of hosting a bunch of soft, squishy women here at the farm. We could get up every morning and take a little walk to warm up and then do some gentle stretching.
I would lead them on a long, hilly walk out to the woods and we would gather fire wood with hand saws. There would be heavy buckets to carry and milk cans to lift, paths to be cleared and fences to tear down. The labor available is endless and its all outside in a beautiful place. The farm would benefit greatly from all the labor and the positive energy of the ladies. Oh it would be so fun the laughter alone would tone up bellies.
Living this kind of life every day is not for everyone, diversity of ideas and humans makes the world alive and beautiful. That is why I love the idea of Fat Camp because people could come for a short time to dive in and try something new while maybe losing a few pounds and tightening things up. They could gain huge satisfaction knowing their labor was a lasting contribution to something real and functional. I imagine I would be a good host because I have lived soft and desired something different. I know what it feels like to want to love my body. Putting our bodies to work, meaningful work, is such a fun way to love them. And they will love us back.
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