Friday, July 23, 2010

You work out? Yeah, right! or Why this faux concern for "FATTIES" really grinds my gears

You see them legs in that profile pic? I wasn't born with those. Those are a product of a ton of hard work.

Those legs belong to a girl who wears greater than a size 12 and up until about 4 years ago, wore greater than a size 20.

I AM one of those chicks who works out exceptionally hard (hell, I've graduated from p90x TWICE), does her best to eat as healthy as possible and still wears a 16. NO LIE. I run 3-5 miles a day. I can out-push up /out pull-up my husband (and most men at my gym) . And I've lapped many a skinny girl on the track.

I do all the "right" things, but don’t look it. At least.. I don't look it to people who have a mental heuristic of a healthy person also being a thin person.

I don’t do it for looks. I'm not trying to get skinny. The skinny anesthetic doesn't work for me. I know because when I was sick a few months back and had abdominal surgery, I lost a ton of weight from not consuming a single thing other than lukewarm green tea. People thought I had cancer. No, really, people were scared I was going to die. My hair was falling out, my skin was ashen and my eyes were sunken. But I was thin(ner)! o_O

No, I don't do it solely for looks. I do it because my father has the trifecta (hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol– and he’s THIN) and I don’t want that to be me. But my numbers are great and my doctor (blessedly) continues to compassionately encourage my healthy living. Looking better in my clothes, buying smaller sizes is the byproduct and serendipitous benefit of my efforts. The icing on the cake, if you will.

But I have an admission to make. This seemingly confident girl is exceptionally fragile. I read an article on the FreshXpress (which I refuse to link cuz that shit was MEAN and STUPID) that caused me to question my commitment to my lifestyle. It actually had me a little messed up in the head for a while. I was downing myself because, for a MOMENT I questioned whether or not I was doing enough. I even almost cancelled a trip to Las Vegas with my dearest college buddies because I thought I was going to be the biggest girl there. I was scared to hang out with girls who knew me and loved me when I was near or at my largest. My homegirl had to give me a reality check (and I love her for it) cuz I was slowly going toward the deep end.

That alone proves just how fragile a woman’s– hell a PERSON’S psyche can be. How certain things people say or do can be triggers and tipping points that can send them off the edge into unhealthy thinking and behavior. You never know a person’s history or where they are on their journey. Reminding yourself of this is important before you go judging folk or screaming “INTERVENTION!” based on how a person looks.

I’ve always been a big girl- even as a baby (9lbs 2 oz,23 inches long)- just like my mama and her sisters, so being super slender clearly is not in my genetic make up. But the day I realized I was about to buy a pair of size 24 jeans was an eyebrow raiser for me. When I went to my doc because my feet were constantly swelling and she told me my blood pressure was in the pre-hypertensive range?! Oh that shook me into reality so fast. I realized that I wasn't healthy. I didn't realize it because someone shamed me into it. I didn't do it so that people would stop talking about me. I did it because I saw the road I was going down and I decided that was not going to be my future.

I joined a gym with my then boyfriend (now husband). We work out together daily. We shop healthy together. We take care of ourselves, for ourselves and each other, because we want to be healthy active parents and partners to each other.

I’m 4 years into my new lifestyle and love it. My goal is fitness, strength and health for life– not a specific dress size.

Note: If you anonymously throw shade in the comments, I will verbally eviscerate your ass. If you throw shade and stand behind it, I'll still eviscerate you, but you may gain a modicum of respect. Hmmm... come to think of it, no, you won't.


Naturally Alise said...

That post you speak of really had me feeling some kinda way too... then to read some of the commenters I was appalled at the deep as a puddle attitudes folks had...

namia said...

hey, kinda identify with you to weight was always an issue..i was bigger than my 4.9feet frame could handle. when i starting eating right an in co-operating the odd walk for 30 minutes minimum..the weight started going off..loved my new body happy every body said i couldnt do was in my genes bla blah..well turn out when i back slid on the healthy life style thats when the kilos kick in..struggling to take off 3kgs aint a picnic

Reggie said...

Excellent post!!!

The man of color in me firmly believes that don't nobody want a bone but a dog; and that the only thing that a woman that weighs 100 pounds can do for me is point to one that weighs 150. That said, I believe that we should all strive to be healthy. All of us aren't meant to be a sub 20 on the BMI.

I am 6'1 and I weigh 175 pounds. A year and a half ago I weighed 215 and my doctor was threatening to put me on medication because my blood sugar level was too high and my cholesterol was all busted. I committed myself to a healthier diet that cut down on much of the red meat and fried foods I was eating. I also kicked up my daily 3 mile walk to at least 5 miles a day, often 10 miles a day and when I feel like being a fool 20 miles a day. Today I didn't walk.......I feel kinda lazy now.

When I went to my annual physical a few weeks back the difference was amazing. I am healthier and happier. There are days when I'll eat a steak (once a month maybe) or I'll eat a piece of fried chicken (once a month, maybe twice); but a healthier lifestyle is what most of us could use.

....and you're right it's a lifestyle change.

Excellent post!!!