April 17, 2015

Fit Shaming; it’s a real thing

Ok so this is a topic I have been chewing on for quite some time. In my weight loss journey I have been on opposite sides of the weight spectrum at various times in my life for various reasons. Really the last 6 years were a bit of a roller coaster ride in terms of weight for me. And at any given day I would have 6 different pant sizes in my closet, which only one would fit, and unfortunately for me not always the smaller size. The last few years, I have cleaned out my closet, sticking to one size, and I am maintaining my weight and fitness level to better myself. I would say, that I am currently in the best shape of my life. Something I am proud of and have literally worked my tail off for. But with that has come this new found awareness that somewhere along the line being healthy and fit has become offensive in some way. Is it possible that fit shaming is the new fat shaming?

I’m not really sure when I started noticing this exactly, but it’s definitely there. I make people uncomfortable. Sometimes I bring my pre packed food with me, I order salads and not burgers. I go to the gym like it is my party time….and you know what, it is! I have come to love the gym. I love it for more reasons than fitting in my skinny jeans. I love ordering salads and not cheesy fries at this point in my life. I like to do those things because I enjoy the reward of being healthy and fit. It is worth it to me. But nonetheless I have lost friends over this, and I see people get uncomfortable with my food choices because I’m not eating what they would prefer to see me eat. They want to “feed me”, tell me to “eat something,” “I’m too skinny,” yadda yadda. You get the picture, right? Don’t get me wrong though, I do love pizza, burgers, fries, and pretty much any type of baked good…oh and Mexican food, I can’t forget Mexican food! But, I give myself the space to make a choice on what to eat and when to eat it and keep everything in moderation. I know at some point I crossed the boundary of a person losing weight to an obsessed female weight lifter. It really has become a passion of mine. So maybe it’s the extreme nature of my passion that is offensive, annoying, or whatever. Either way there definitely was a shift in people’s perceptions.

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In today’s society we celebrate women at all different sizes…but do we really? I was watching TV the other day and watched the “I’m no angel” campaign from Lane Bryant. I loved it, but it did get me thinking. There are lots of these campaigns that celebrate the “real” woman today, women with curves. I get it. I love it. If you are comfortable and confident with your body that’s awesome regardless of size. But if you are too fit I guess it’s not ok? Who says! Let’s stop saying one is better than the other! There should be no “one upping” of women’s sizes. Let’s be supportive of one another. Do whatever makes you happy, and be whoever you want to be. Confidence is beautiful no matter the size, not because of the size. I’m not really sure when it has ever been ok to voice an opinion about someone else’s body.   But people do! They definitely do! My kindergarten teacher once told me a golden rule “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

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It is so interesting to me why this is so taboo. At a certain time in my life when I was eating Dairy Queen every night, pizza a few times a week, and 50lbs overweight I never heard a word about my food choices, or my body. Now that I am making healthier choices people seem irritated that my eating might be …..what…..to healthy? Not enough? Weird? Eating disorder material? There are a number of comments and judgments out there. So I guess healthy eating is annoying…I get it (kind of) but why do people care so much about others eating habits? Honestly it’s no ones business, period.

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The truth is you can never please everyone. Fitness and health is such a personal journey to find balance with food, fitness and life. There is no reason to judge others if their journey is different. Everyone should be allowed to do what makes them happy and be whatever they think is beautiful, free from judgment. So I will keep chugging along and doing what makes me happy.  And I will keep these quotes in my mind when confronted with judgment on my lifestyle….“Never waste your time trying to explain yourself to people who are committed to misunderstanding you” and “never dull your shine for someone else.”

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