The Fat Belly Dancer Works Out: Weeks 2 & 3

written by Andalee on August 11, 2013 in Healthy for life with 2 comments

Weeks 2 and 3 have come and gone in a flash and yet again, I’ve experienced some challenges and some wins. But before I talk about what I have done it’s time for me to come clean on a couple of things.

I haven’t been reading The Fat Chick Works Out! like I should. I have a whole blog series dedicated to the book and I haven’t even finished it! Bad me. I promise I’ll get back into it and I’ll share my epiphanies here.

I’m struggling with my weight, as in I’m kind of obsessed with secretly trying to lose it. I refused to share any of this out loud to anyone, even my husband, but then I posted a question on a private fat acceptance Facebook group and I realized that my issues with weight loss are far from gone. This is a bit of a set back for me. I’ve been trying to follow Health at Every Size which means you give up the idea of dieting and weight loss and that you follow your body’s natural cues for food and movement.

The HAES principles reject the notion that our body size or fat is linked to our health and that it is possible to be fat and healthy. Encompassed in this is the idea that health is not entirely within our control and diets fail more often than we fail them, and make your body unhealthy in the end. So I really truly believe these things are true. I just haven’t really applied it to myself in the way I need.

Now, I’m not dieting, this is true. I have no desire to restrict calories. Thank goodness. I’ve been eating what I want, when I want, and while it’s not always healthy, I do get the nutrients I need. We have a farmer’s veggie box delivered each week and it has been fun finding creative ways to eat all of the fruits and veggies we get.

But even without dieting and all that, I was still secretly hoping to lose weight. I don’t know why. It is completely irrational. You see, I went to the doctor about a health condition I was experiencing and she weighed me. I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time. I knew I had been gaining weight because I was having to buy bigger clothes (I transitioned from misses sizes to women’s sizes)–but I had no idea how much weight that really was. I was floored. I had never seen that number before. Ever. And all of my weight issues were triggered just like that.

So I’ve been weighing myself weekly (except for this week–yay, progress) and wondering about how my new exercise program will affect my weight. I see smaller bodies and I covet. I watch my dieting friends and feel jealous. However, here’s the breakthrough…this episode is much less controlling than my previous body/weight obsessions. Really! I just consider it a small set back that I will get through.

It’s a long road to body acceptance and living a weight neutral life after decades of being programmed by society, but I believe I’ll get there. I found the following links incredibly helpful to me this week:

Now, on to my fitness diary!

Week 2 was a dud of a week. It started out great; I went to my friend, Seher’s house for dance practice. She convinced me to try Rachel Brice’s Serpentine. We’re both Oriental dancers, yet Seher convinced me that it was good practice and training for all dancers, not just tribal fusion dancers. We did the isolation drills, the leg strengthening exercises, and then we cooled down with the cool down from Aziza’s Ultimate Practice Companion. It was really fun, and also really hard. I used muscles I hadn’t used in a long time. I didn’t get a huge aerobic work out from it, but I also need to build strength and flexibility.

Unfortunately, despite my enthusiasm, my body was not happy and I suffered for it big time. The rest of the week was lost to body aches and fatigue. I think I may have tried to work out, and I know I went for a walk with my husband, but nothing really materialized. I should point out that having fibromyalgia is different from soreness after working out. A lot of people say to me, “It’s normal to be sore after working out! It happens to everyone.” No, it does not. I know the difference between tired and sore muscles and the aches and pains of chronic pain and fatigue. They are different things. For example, I did some ballet for belly dancers this week and now my glutes ache a little bit especially when I stand up for long periods of time. That’s like good post workout burn. However, my torso is so tender and sore it feels like I have been beaten by rocks. OK, that’s dramatic, but my skin/flesh is extremely tender to the touch and things like bras and waistbands can feel like I am wearing a stiff bedlah all day long.

Anyway, back to exercising. Last week was a little better. It started off horribly. I had an earache that turned into a migraine on Monday, so I had to cancel my standing Monday session with Seher. Tuesday, I was still recovering. By Wednesday, I was feeling a little better. I pulled out two DVDs to work on, Project Belly Dance – The Final 6 and Mix-n-Match Fitness Fusion, both by Cheeky Girls Productions. I picked these two because they are broken into short segments.

Wednesday night I tried the Belly Dance cardio routine taught by Michelle Joyce in the Mix-n-Match Fitness Fusion DVD. I couldn’t hand with this one for very long. It’s a decent work-out (a little too basic for me), but I got fatigued very quickly. After about 10 minutes I switched to Project Belly Dance and picked Yvonne’s choreography. I thought it was a great little number, but again, I got fatigued quickly and only did about 30 minutes totals.

Thursday night I was even better. I finished Yvonne’s choreography, did some free-style dancing, and cooled down with the Yoga section Mix-n-Match Fitness Fusion DVD for about 45 minutes of exercise. I felt exhausted but good afterwards. Friday night, I was still ready to dance! Go me! I did Adriana’s Ballet for Belly Dancers segment on the Fitness Fusion DVD and Sherena’s Ballet Bootcamp for Belly Dancers segment on the Project Belly Dance DVD. Those are good to pair together and I got about an hour of exercise in. I may have overdone it just a little though because I have been fibro-sore for a couple of days now.

One thing I have realized is that I really enjoy doing belly dance DVDs in my home as my form of exercise. I think I might like to try more yoga and other styles of dance eventually, but I need to get through my backlog of barely used DVDs before I can even think about buying more.

Anyway, I finished on a good note and I hope I can keep up. I just have to keep listening to my body’s cues and not pushing it beyond my level of comfort.



About Andalee

Andalee is the founder of Belly Dance at Any Size. She is an Oriental dancer and instructor from Durham, NC, now based in Montpellier, France. She has been dancing since 2005 and teaching since 2008. Her mission is to promote Oriental Dance (a.k.a. belly dance) as a respected and valid performance art.