Happy Fat Fitness Friday Bold Babes! We’re so happy to be covering the Curvy Kili Crew each and every Friday. Last week, we met Bisa Myles, a cancer survivor and bad ass who will be joining the climb in 2019. Today, we’re chatting with Andrea DiMaio. Andrea is a 43 year old business owner. She loves her dog and having adventures both big and small. She’s the founder of Ample Movement; a group who’s goal is to have more inclusivity in the outdoors.

Andrea doesn’t plan on stopping with her fitness journey after the climb.

“Like many of the ladies, I’m doing a safari which has been another bucket list item for me.  I love animals and being able to see them in their natural habitat is going to be an emotional thing for me. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Then, she is planning to apply to be a WHOA GAL which is the person that goes on other adventure treks.

“I would love to do more of this.  I have lots of locations on my bucket list.”

Wow! We love the energy! We’re exhausted just thinking about it. Go Andrea! What a great way to address the “trolls” who have started to take note of the group of curvy climbers. Andrea says that for the most part the response from family and close friends has been positive and supportive.  But, there are the occasional trolls saying horrible stuff, which they don’t take note of.

Well, It’s time to chat with Andrea. So let’s go!

Bold Magazine: Why did you join the Curvy Kili Crew?

Andrea: Climbing Kilimanjaro has always been on my bucket list so to speak.  I remember looking in to the trip somewhere between 10 and 15 years ago.  I have always wanted to do the trek.  Separately, I have been on my own body positivity journey.  When I saw Christa’s blog post about wanted to attempt the climb again, but with plus sized women, I jumped on the chance. It was combining the two things I am passionate about, embracing the body you’re in and outdoor adventure.  I think I thought about it for a full 24 hours and then signed up.

Bold Magazine: Hah! Nice! No time like the present! How have you been preparing? It must be grueling.

Andrea: Honestly, I have always been a hiker.  Preparing for this trip has helped my prioritize my hiking and has allowed me to feel like I HAVE to be out hiking.  I have loved that part of it.  I have made sure to get some hours in on the treadmill and stair machine at my gym every week.  I also have a friend who is a personal trainer.  I’ve hired her, to do some weight training.  Now that we are about 3 months out from the trip, I am going to be a bit more disciplined to get in 5 to 6 days of training in every week with one longer hike of 5 to 6 miles or more on one of those days.

Bold Magazine: Awesome! What’s your biggest fear going into the climb?

Andrea: I think as many on this trip, my biggest fear is altitude sickness.  You can’t predict how your body will act.  I don’t live in a place that has any high altitude climbs so aside from my trip to Portland and the altitude room there, I’ve not had many altitude training opportunities.

Bold Magazine: Do you plan on staying active in the plus community now that you’re making an impact? How else have you gotten involved?

Andrea: Absolutely.  I love this community and being in it is how I came across the group in the first place.  I am currently in a 200 hour yoga teacher training program and can’t wait to reach more plus sized folks once I’m actually teaching.  My passion is to do this and beyond with a something along the lines of becoming a body image coach.  I also am the founder of Ample Movement which is a group designed to be inclusive of bigger bodied people in the outdoors. We do group hikes, bike rides, snowshoe adventures and more.  I hope to build that up even more.

Bold Magazine: Yes!!! So, Andrea, how is this trip being funded?

Andrea: Mostly by myself with some monetary gifts from a few close family and friends.  The sale of my business helped fund some of the cost. My partner, Chris, has been wonderful about supporting me with our everyday costs so that I can put my money towards this trip. I am so grateful.

Bold Magazine: Wow! You sold your business? That’s crazy! What do you think this trip will do as far as impacting plus perceptions?

Andrea: My goal for this trip for me is more to be a representation of larger people participating in outdoor adventures.  I am not doing this to say “see, plus size people can do this too” but to say “see plus size people doing this.”.  What I mean is, when I was younger, this sort of adventure always called out to me but I never saw people that looked like me doing it even though I was “smaller fat” then.  I know plus size people can and do this stuff, I just want to SEE them doing it.  I want to make the outdoors more diverse publicly. I want it to also speak to outdoor companies and get them to start making their stuff in more sizes.

Bold Magazine: We want to see it too! You should check out Sarah Sapora! Were you into fitness before this?

Andrea: I have been an avid hiker, cyclist and yogi for many years.  Doing this trip just gave me a goal to focus on fitness-wise.

Bold Magazine: Besides the ladies on the climb, who are your supporters? How?

Andrea: My partner, Chris.  He is just the most supportive person of every crazy thing I do.  He listens to my stories and understands all the traveling I’ve been doing to prepare for this trip.  As I mentioned before, from a monetary standpoint, he has enabled me to do this since he has taken care of my immediate needs as a human so I can put my money into this now.  I am truly grateful to have him as my partner.  He is also a big supporter of the body (fat) positivity movement that I’m a part of and as a thin person, it’s so important to have good thin allies like him. My mother, sisters and many of my long time friends are also incredibly supportive.  From asking about my training to simply being fabulous cheerleaders, I’m so grateful.

Bold Magazine: Love it! Talk to us about your body positivity. Where do you get this energy and motivation from?

Andrea: For me, it’s more than just about body positivity.  It’s about knocking down this terrible diet culture and society’s traditional standard of what beauty is.  I have had many “ah ha” moments that I won’t get into here, but I have changed a lot of my feelings about my body. When I stopped listening to what our American culture has made me believe about myself. things started to change. My body has done amazing things and it is worthy now.  I get a lot of this energy and motivation from others like me on social media.  I also have unfollowed folks or companies that don’t align with these beliefs.  I also get it from these AMAZING women in this Curvy Kili Crew!!

Bold Magazine: Heck yeah! Lastly, what makes you BOLD?

Andrea: Oh boy…  I guess it’s that I just want to change the world, ha ha.   I want to support people of all sizes and show them that they are worthy.  I want to dismantle diet culture.  I am happy being out there and being a representative in my body now.  I am happy to show myself publicly doing yoga or hiking or cycling so that I can be a place of safety for someone else to come out and try it, now, in the body they have right now. I don’t want to show people that fat people CAN do this sort of thing but that fat people ARE doing this sort of thing.