Padded Lilies

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The Padded Lilies are a synchronised swimming troupe of heavy-set women based out of Oakland, California, United States.[1][2] The group was founded by fat activist Shirley Sheffield in 1997[3] to promote "synchronized swimming, body-acceptance, fat-empowerment, and fitness at any size."[4] They have been profiled in People magazine, interviewed by the British Medical Journal,[5] and featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno[6] and in the short film "Weightless."[7] In 2003 filmmaker Julie Wyman made a 27-minute film about the Padded Lilies called Buoyant.[8] Fat activist Marilyn Wann has swum with them.

In the UK, they have been featured in a BBC scientific program called Horizon's 2002 episode entitled 'Fat Busters'. The program looked at the belief of the swim troupe that a slow metabolism caused their size and then showed that although science had proven fat people to actually have faster metabolisms, there were a variety of ways in which there could be truth in the Lilies' idea that there was something genetic about their size.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thorkelson, Berit (n.d.). Dive Right In.
  2. ^ Naked on the Inside Press Kit Archived 2008-07-19 at the Wayback Machine (2007).
  3. ^ Thorkelson, Berit (n.d.). Dive Right In.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Hammond, Phil (1999). "Fat, Fighting Fit." BMJ.
  6. ^ Without Measure. "Q & A with the Padded Lilies". Size Acceptance Org. Retrieved Feb 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ "Weightless" on
  8. ^ Chastain, Raven (2013). "Fim Reviews: Fathletes". Fat Studies. 2 (1): 110–12. doi:10.1080/21604851.2013.739051.
  9. ^ "Fatbusters". BBC. Retrieved Feb 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]