Recently, I was getting ready to leave the gym when someone congratulated me on my “new healthy lifestyle.”
“You’re doing great, by the way,” the person said. “How long have you been at it?”
I felt my annoyance surface and finished putting away my supplies before I answered.
“Actually, I’ve always worked out and been active,” I said.
I knew that the comment was well-intentioned, but I was irritated nonetheless. Purely based on my physical appearance, this person assumed that I was unhealthy and working to change.
I’ve been working out consistently for nearly 10 years. Being in the gym makes me feel strong and sexy. However, when other people see me in the gym, they see something else: someone who is just getting started, who is weak and unsure.
Over years of being in the gym, as my body ranged from a size 20 to a size 12, I’ve heard the most ridiculous things:
“Just being here is what counts.”
Yes, this is true. Being active is very important for everyone, regardless of size. But please don’t assume that because I’m the biggest person in the class, I need an easy out. I’ll be held to the same standards as everyone else, thanks.
“What diet are you following?”
The diet of none of your damn business! Most recently, this came from someone who had recently started working toward diet and nutrition goals, and she was approaching me for guidance. However, opening a conversation by asking about my food consumption habits is still completely uncomfortable.
Bec Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk about our obsession with body image and how to find exercises that work for you. Post continues after audio.
“Even if you’re not thinking about weight, you should think about your joints.”
Ah, this gem. I’ve worked with personal trainers for a long time, and am always up front with a new trainer that the scale is not a primary indicator of my health of progress. This particular trainer felt the need to remind me that every pound I carry increases the pressure on my knees, and could lead to long-term damage. Thanks for that dose of encouragement!