On Wednesday last week our talking point had to do with Health and fitness. To illustrate the topic, we embedded the BBC video 'The full-figured fitness instructor', where Lauretta Johnnie talks on what being big means, the reactions she gets from people, the support from family and friends, her resolution to lose weight, and her choice of career.
Some of my students found the video interesting and asked me to prepare a listening activity around it. Here it is. Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.
The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.
1. Lauretta's students are shocked when they see she's big.
2. Big people feel self-conscious and can't keep up with Lauretta's class.
3. At some stage in her life Lauretta ended up using a wheel-chair.
4. Lauretta was sleeping right before the argument on the bus.
5. The bus incident motivated Lauretta to change.
6. Big people usually get very little understanding from society.
7. Lauretta has only changed her diet to lose weight.
8. Lauretta is a role-model for some of her students.
My name is Lauretta Johnnie. I’m a plus-size fitness instructor. I’m quite big. When I jump, my body moves. I’m not lean and muscular. The kind of reactions I get in the class are some people are really delighted and some people are quite shocked, and I’ve seen , I’ve seen that, you know, wow, you’re the instructor.
Big people sometimes don’t feel comfortable attending normal classes because they just feel no synergy with the instructor, they feel that the instructor feels so different to them and then, then don’t necessarily aspire to be slimmer, they just want to be fitter. They may feel self-conscious, they don’t feel that they can keep up with the class. Big people just completely felt left out, so I’m felt let me try and offer a service that can meet those needs.
I weighed about 26…, 27 stones initially. Life as a big person can be quite challenging. You have issues of mobility and for me it became quite bad, I found it hard to walk properly and walk a long distance and I ended up using crutches.
In terms of being big, people seem to feel they can say what they want to say about you, or they can stare or so on. I was on a bus and there were two seats. I sat down and I was drifting off and the lady sat on me, she sat on me leg, and she kind of slid off and then she just moves me with her hip, so I kind of woke up, opened my eyes and said why did you do that? She said this is the seat for two people, you are one and a half. I was fuming at that woman, she was so rude, she sat on me. She was, you know, that was like the whole of society saying ‘get lost, you fat person and whack’.
I just said Lauretta this is it. You’ve got to the point where you have to change. I always knew I had to, it was to do with my health, it was to do with just my social life, my confidence. I had to make changes because, you know, my weight was just becoming overbearing.
I’ve been blessed to have lots of support from friends and family and… who helped me on my journey, who offered to come walking or cycling with me, they just listened to me, they are really encouraging, their language… sorry I feel overwhelmed… Sorry!
There is a lack of compassion. It’s not just for me. I think generally about… a lack of understanding about big people. It is as if they’ve become less human when you are big but and… And I just wish people didn’t have that… I mean people speak on behalf of big people, people know how they feel, they know they should lose weight, they know they should cut down, and it’s so difficult to do all those things. They know they should exercise more. It’s very difficult.
I changed my diet and I also changed things such as portion size and I use a smaller plate often and I have a lot more salads and vegetables.
I actually ask people ‘why do you come to my class? I’m bigger than you’, and they say Lauretta I like the way you teach, I’ve seen you lose weight and I’ve watched your body change, and that inspires me to come.
I don’t have an issue with a big instructor because obviously that instructor wants to get fit, so I think that’s quite commendable.
She’s got that personality that brings people together in just, you just want to jump up and down really just enjoy, it’s just a party.
Well done, ladies.
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