I was really hooked into this pitch:
Louise Green, a globally recognized fit and fat athlete at the forefront of a body advocacy movement, proves that you can be healthy, fit and plus size. Despite society’s misconceptions, she demonstrates that positive body images come in all shapes and sizes, and there are no limits to pursuing athletic dreams.
It goes on. About battling cultural stereotypes, empowering women of all shapes and sizes to be healthy, fit and just generally never give up on themselves or their dreams. Louise Green is living proof of all of it; certified in personal training and group fitness through ACE and the Health and Fitness Alliance in Vancouver, BC, she regularly trains and competes in half marathons and races, and is plus-sized herself.
She also founded Body Exchange, a groundbreaking exercise boot camp to help other plus-size women pursue health and fitness. In addition, Louise is also an active blogger, health and wellness retreat specialist and highly sought-after speaker and author. Her new book, Limitless, about navigating the fitness industry and being plus size while challenging public perception, debuts next year. She uses her wide-reaching voice as an advocate for the Body Love Movement, which fosters authenticity, inclusion of all bodies, self-worthiness, positive body image and more.
Her entire campaign really resonates with me. While I can't claim to 100% love myself at this size, I've certainly come to accept it and work with it a little better than I used to. I've stopped feeling sorry for myself. It serves no purpose. And my health is not amazing and perfect, but truth be told, as of a physical I had a few weeks ago, I have a pretty clean bill, which often surprises people who pass judgement based on my appearance alone.
I was really excited to interview Louise -- I could not wait to hear what she had to say!
1. As a long-time blogger, I am always curious to hear other blogger original stories. What inspired you to get online and share?
After opening my business in 2008 and training many plus size women, I realized that there wasn't a lot of information dedicated to the plus size woman online. Through my interactions I realized that, just like me, they were eager to have information that they could specifically relate to. Getting online only made sense and I realized I could potentially reach millions of women who are interested in fearless fitness at any size and positive body image, so I started to write!
2. Were you at all nervous about branding yourself in a very public forum as a plus sized person? Have you had to overcome any prejudices as a result?
To be honest, in the beginning I was. I kept myself quite small and felt really shy about being a personal trainer in my plus size body. But I think the universe had a different plan because the media kept wanting to cover my business concept and I realized that my role, whether I wanted it or not, I was going to be in the spotlight. Over time, I stepped into that role proudly as a representative and advocate. I am now happy to spread the message that your athletic dreams are not dependent on your size and all bodies deserve and epic life.
3. What do you say to people who flat out declare fat people can't be healthy?
I don't spend too much time trying to convince people whose opinions are often fueled by oppression and hate because frankly I don't think anything will change their minds. However, if I am having an open conversation with someone who sincerely wants to know, I talk about how health has many indicators and the outward appearance is not the way to measure someone's health. What about: cardiovascular health, metabolic health such as blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels or bone density, muscular endurance, etc.?
Not only that, but health and fitness have different meanings to different people based on age and culture, etc. so who are we to decide for someone what their health should look like and really why is it any of our business? It's very dangerous to assume one's health by appearance alone, but unfortunately our society has been conditioned to do so via media headlines. That will take time to turn around.
4. I'm sure your movement is an inspiration to many - as it is to me. Who inspires you? Who are your heroes and why?
I have many heroes including women who have gone through significant diversity and challenge to become successful entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Arianna Huffington; it's not easy to get to the top as a woman and I admire their tenacity to reach mogul status.
I also find huge inspiration in my clients who drink my kool-aid every week, and by that I mean follow my movement of limitless living, at any size. They trust me and completely amaze me!
5. Clearly you are a great athlete and lover of fitness. But when you want to be still and relax, what do you do?
I have a hard time relaxing; my body wants to move and my mind is full of ideas that make my job seem like fun times all the time without ever feeling like work at all. BUT, I live in Vancouver and it rains a lot here so my favorite thing is 'camping night' in the living room in front of the fire with my 6 year old son, Eli. We drag out our camping beds and watch Despicable Me over and over. It's the BEST!
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So what do you think? Can you be fat and fit? Have you ever done something contrary to what people believe of you?
If you have an extra moment, read the bio. on Louise's site -- it was written by one of my favorite blogger, Jes, AKA, The Militant Baker. It is beautiful. Like Louise is herself. Thank you so much to her for granting me this opportunity.