Louise Green
Greystone Books, 2017
248 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77164-212-5

Reviewed by Megan Wolfe

What does an athlete look like? Do they have a flat stomach with rippling muscles under spandex or could they have curves and cellulite? Big Fit Girls, as the title implies, is geared toward the latter, those big, fit, want-to-be-fit women who are tired of being underestimated or overlooked because they are outside a very narrow stereotype.

Green’s book is one-part autobiography, one-part motivational/self-help, and one-part activism. She shares her struggle to be taken seriously as an athlete while also being a plus size woman. In an effort to put plus-size athleticism on the table, she highlights other women of size who have accomplished feats that have been seen as exceptional by the media rather than a result of hard work and dedication.

She calls out ridiculous physical and cultural standards and the dangers they pose to both mental and physical health, and encourages other women of size to take a “body positivity pledge” that encourages women to “ditch negative media … refrain from negative self-talk … surround [themselves] with positive people who elevate [them]” and to “accept compliments graciously.”

As much as this is a book about fitness and being the healthiest version of yourself possible, it is also a book about being the happiest version of yourself possible. Green tells readers that happiness has nothing to do with the size of your clothing, or the number on the scale, but instead with what makes you happy and surrounding yourself with people who are supportive. This is nothing new, but it bears repeating.

A 13-week couch-to-5k training guide, stretches to prevent injuries, and recipes to fuel your goals rather than starve your body are also included. Green showcases women who have found their fit in their late 30s and mid-40s. This indicates to younger women that it takes time to come to a place where you can be happy with your body, but it’s never too late to live a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.

Green founded Body Exchange in 2008, “a revolutionary fitness program dedicated to the plus-sized community” and has been featured in TEDx with a talk called “Let’s Think Again about Athleticism.” She coaches women of size to find peace with their bodies in North Vancouver and is currently working on a second book.

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