Is it possible to be overweight and also be fit?
Louise Green, the founder of Canadian exercise boot camp Body Exchange, tells HLN the answer is yes. After founding Body Exchange in 2008, she now has six locations across Canada. And all those locations have one thing in common: They cater directly to the plus-sized woman.
"People want to be fit, but they don't know where to go, or they feel intimidated going to a gym," Green said. "Canada doesn't have a lot of body love advocacy currently."
Green decided to fix that. In addition to the organizations she founded, she is also a public speaker for the "fit and fat" movement and believes strongly that the media's image of bodies is deterring people from staying fit -- or finding satisfaction in their current size.
"What I believe has happened is that the media has pushed out obesity headlines for so long now that there's no way to consider that fat is anything but wrong," Green said. "If we see a better representation of size diversity, it will help. In current fitness videos, we do not see plus-size women. We are invisible."
Green said that the insurance fees on running plus-size fitness gyms and groups are high -- sometimes between $1000 - $5000 to insure -- because insurance companies define these groups as higher risk. But the cost did not stop her.
Green has taken the workouts from her bootcamps and created home fitness videos which not only feature plus-sized women, but also show varying levels of difficulty in the same workout -- including a sitting workout for beginners. She says that she wanted to bring her workouts into the home for people who didn't feel comfortable going to the gym to work out. But she says the fitness itself is only part of the equation.
"We have to tackle the reasons why we eat. No one is tapping into the cognitive portion of eating," she said.
Green, who is still 50 pounds overweight, runs half marathons regularly, and says that she is in the best shape of her life.
"We can't presume that fat people cannot be healthy," she said. "They can be."