Fat Girls Hiking

Fat Girls Hiking is a body positive hiking community that promotes diversity and weight-neutrality. Their motto, Trails Not Scales speaks to the fact that healthy is not a size. Although Portland-based, the group hosts events all around the country. All sizes, genders and skill levels are invited to these events. Which are usually free with an optional donation. They do ask that anyone who joins the group events refrain from diet talk, body shaming or weight loss talk.

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“I’ve been plus size for almost as long as I can remember. I can’t remember a time where at least one X wasn’t on my label. Even in elementary school, I was tall & developed and just barely fitting into clothes at regular stores. I’ve been so embarrassed about it for the last 20+ years and tried so hard to pretend to live in the straight sized world. . Even as an adult, when someone would say ‘Cute dress! Where did you get it?’ ‘I don’t remember,’ I would lie EVERY time, of course remembering I got it from a plus size store. But I was so mortified to tell anyone I had to get it from a special place for big people like me. . I’ve been acting like a broken straight-size person who just needed to wish/exercise/diet/lie a little more until I could be ‘normal.’ Well frankly, I’m OOOOVER it. I’ve embraced the plus size label of my body in the last few years and I couldn’t be happier about it. I am not embarrassed about the shape or size of my body and it’s the most free I’ve ever felt. There is literally NOTHING wrong with the numbers/letters on your clothes. They don’t show your worth or your value or your place in the world. . So whatever label or aspect of your identity you might be struggling with (size, marital status, religious/nonreligious, sexual orientation, etc), YOU ARE NOT A BROKEN PERSON. You have a place here in this world, just as you are. WE NEED YOU AS YOU ARE. Embrace what makes you different and use it to make a place for others.” —@elysegeorge / Elyse

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The amount of attention paid to diversity in size, race, and accessibility on the Instagram page is impressive. Fat Girls Hiking is not only helping to shatter the stigma that surrounds the word Fat. This group is also proving that fat bodies are capable of reaching some of the highest peaks.

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Inspiring Hiker: @ladee5o says, “Story time!!! So we get to the campsite at Canyonlands National Park, and I look over to my right and see this older Black gentleman bringing a cooler out of his RV. Excitedly, I tell India and Alice ‘Look, Black people!’ Always quick to correct, India says ‘person.’ Anyway, we’re kind of hype to see someone Black. We greet each other as soon as we get out of the car, and he welcomes us by saying ‘nice to see some color out here!’ We laugh but the feeling is mutual. He comes over to our campsite and tells us about one of his first experiences camping while Black and some of my anxiety is slowly going away (first time camper). His story reminded me that Black folks and other POCs are missing in the outdoors and it’s noticeable. I hope it was heartwarming for him to see young Black women enjoying the outdoors, just as it was inspiring for us to see an older Black man traveling the US. He left the following morning, and we didn’t see another Black person for the rest of the week. But we were there! We were there to add a bit more color to this colorful place.” . #blackgirlshike #outdoorafro

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Inspiring Hiker: @tko_kailey / Kailey says, "I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. I played in the hot rain and chased lightening bugs. I made mud pies with my brothers. We had a big back yard. Me and my brothers would make ramps and ride our bikes over them until the sun came down. I moved to California when I was 15. A lot of my childhood trauma resurfaced and my last 3 years of being a teenager were rough. I did not spend as much time outdoors. I did not have the same appreciation for it as I did when I was a kid. Many things have changed for me in the past 6 months. I left a toxic relationship. I started a journey of self love and self healing. This past Janaury I started hiking. Hiking makes me feel at peace. I hike to heal my soul. When I am on the trail I feel whole. I feel grounded and centered. I feel strong."

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Visibility is important and Fat Girls Hiking is a fantastic platform that’s showing the world that fat people of all shapes, races, religions, classes, abilities, genders and sexual identities should be celebrated. That we demand the opportunity to take up as much space as we need. That we will no longer hide because others are uncomfortable with our bodies. We are exploring the great outdoors and the enjoying the fresh air.

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Inspiring Hiker: @georgiemanthey / Georgie says, "I grew up outdoors, in one big adventure, exploring wherever my feet could take me. I have learnt that this adventurous spirit of mine is something to be cherished and nurtured. Growing up, my adventures have become more extravagant. Playing in puddles ➡️ Snorkelling in the pacific islands. Building forts ➡️ climbing mountains. Rescuing insects ➡️ Volunteering in 3rd World Countries. Playing sport ➡️ Managing a competitive soccer team. Jumping on the trampoline ➡️ tubing down the Nile I feel such peace and freedom being outdoors. What's my next expedition: not even I know, but I can guarantee it'll be fun."

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What are some of your favorite fat positive Instagram groups? Let us know in the comments below.

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