I was scrolling through IG again and stumbled upon an account by the name of Ample Movement. The name of course caught my eye…ample? And movement? Why hello hello! So I checked out the account and learned they are a community for outdoor adventures that is fat positive and inclusive. Gah, yes please! Most don’t think of us fat chicks as wanting to exercise, much less enjoy outdoor adventures. I’ve always been one for adventures and getting the adrenaline pumping, but the woman who started Ample Movement was a whole new level. She just got back from hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. Seriously?
I had to reach out to her and hope she’d talk to me, I mean collaborate with FGR. Thankfully, she did. I cannot wait to read more of what she has to say, but first…here’s Andrea DiMaio:
Who are you?
Andrea DiMaio. I am a friend, an aunt, a partner, a business owner, a yogi, a lover of the outdoors, a lover of dogs, a lover of adventures both big and small. My pronouns are she/her.
What are you hoping to accomplish during your time on our planet?
Have as many moments of awe and inspiration as possible. Also, help to show people (especially bigger folks) how awesome they are.
Do you feel heard as a fat consumer? If so, what companies do you think are really listening?
I feel this is getting better in everyday fashion, but in terms of technical outdoor clothing and gear for hiking and backpacking, that’s where I see a need. Columbia, REI, Prana (they just showcased their new plus size line and it’s really well done) and Duluth Trading Co. (just told about this one from some friends) are doing well but still only go up to a 3xL. I think there is a huge market that is just beginning to show its needs.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Only one? It would be for diet culture to have a big fiery death.
Are you comfortable talking about being a fat/plus/bigger person?
Yup. It has taken a few years, but I am quite comfortable talking about it now.
How did you get involved in the fat/plus community?
I think the spark was after a car hit me while I was riding my bike in 2015. As I healed from that, I started being much more thankful for my life and then towards my body for healing. Soon after that, I read the book “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls” by Jes Baker. That really started me on my own path. Once I ditched diet culture, with the help of Health At Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating, I began wanting to follow people and groups that held similar beliefs. This led me to fat acceptance and activist interest. Social media facilitated all of this and led me to being part of groups such as the Curvy Kili Crew, my own group, Ample Movement and more.
The journey to accepting and even loving yourself, are you on that journey? If so, at what point are you?
I am on that journey. I don’t think you ever finish or arrive with something like this. It’s interesting. I am outwardly much further along than I am inwardly. What I mean is that it is very easy for me to take photos of myself and my body doing all sorts of things, talk about being in a fat body and be a voice to try to encourage others in larger bodies to do all the things they want to and be okay with who they are. I do believe that for myself as well, but internally I do struggle with things still. Like worrying if I am the largest in a group, getting anxious about airplane seats and just worrying about the external judgment from others. I know I still have internalized fatphobia. More specifically, I have been working on accepting and then loving my belly. This has been the hardest part for me. I do know however, down to my core, that I am worthy in the body I am in right now and I have accepted it all. Loving it everyday, that is the work.
What do you think are some of the issues that need to be addressed with the body positive movement?
I, like many others, feel that as of late the body positive movement has been watered down and dominated by thin, white women. I really feel that we need to work for the people in the largest bodies. We need to lift up black and brown fat women and listen to them. It is not about being okay with your “flaws” and I feel that is what many people, especially new to this movement, think. This movement is about helping everyone, especially the most marginalized among us, feel worthy and to get society out of this fatphobic culture we have been in for so long.
What do you consider the most frustrating thing about being a fat person? The most pleasant thing about being a fat person?
The most frustrating by far is airplane seats. I suppose it’s about fitting in seats period.
The most pleasant thing about being a fat person is that I feel very strong in my fat body.
Why do you think many who embrace the current zeitgeist of equality/equity/representation/non-judgement still don’t carry these values over to fat folks?
This is a very good question. It is one I’ve worked over a lot as I am the only fat person in my immediate family and I have had talks about this with them. I think it is that people think that if you’re fat, you have control over it. Often when we’re talking about equality, equity, representation etc., the discussion is over things that aren’t seen as something within a person’s control. Things like race, gender, and sexual orientation are things people are born with. Being fat is seen as a result of things such as (ugh) calories-in/calories-out and how much exercise a person does. It’s perceived that if they want to change their lot in life, they just have to change their “lifestyle.” Diet culture (white supremacy and the patriarchy) have drilled this idea into our minds that being fat is bad and that people are fat, solely because of what a person does. Fat has been equated with negative terms such as “lazy”, “unhealthy”, “unmotivated” etc. Fat people are not seen to have intrinsic worth unless they are actively trying to not be fat. People that are working for social justice or are feminists need to see that being accepting of fat people is the next step in this arena. There is a lot to this, but I hope I’ve gotten the idea across.
One last question, because I prefer even numbers on lists…what fun guilty pleasure are you willing to share?
I have less and less guilt about anything these days, but especially when it comes to pleasure. I have a small addiction to house plants and I am always on the lookout for more.
Ample Movement: www.amplemovement.com
FB: Ample Movement
OUR SURVEYS THAT ANDREA HAS KINDLY TAKEN, WILL YOU?
- The Basics: What Do You Say? Comfortable Enough to Talk About It?
- Share Your Flare?
- How Deep is Your Need?
MORE FROM ANDREA ON FGR: