Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Fat Kid Struggle

So here's the deal, I seldom get swept up into the drama of a Facebook status...BUT every once in awhile someone comes along and posts something that I just can't ignore.  This was one of those times and I'd like to share it because writing is therapeutic for me and maybe my words will help you fight off your own bully

the status that sparked it all:

Another gym pet peeve.... Fat people that I saw 2 or 3 months ago in the gym.... Are still as fat as they are right now... You are just wasting time and money... ‪#‎weightlifting‬ ‪#‎transforming‬ ‪#‎changesomething‬

I considered just ignoring it or blocking the person, but I have this thing where I sometimes feel the urge to right a wrong or fight an injustice...I guess that probably comes from being the daughter of a formal social worker so here's what I replied:

at least they're still trying...maybe you could try helping them and put some positive energy out into the world

It seemed like the perfect response, short, sweet and calm (because we all know I had the burning desire to really dig into this guy and tear him a new one). I patted myself on the back for not stooping to his level and kept my head held high.  Then I saw that little notification icon light up and this is what I read:

They have mouths.... I think it would be more discouraging to say "I haven't swan your body change in the last 3 months. May I step in and help"... Close mouths don't get fed

Yup, it took quite a bit of self control to not type the first 10 things that came to my mind.  I took a deep breath, pulled up my big girl pants and  carefully crafted this retort:

I can't speak for them, but I speak from experience as a fat person myself, that going to the gym in itself is really's scary to put yourself out there and get a treadmill next to someone skinny who doesn't have to stop to catch their breath or worry about their flabs of skin bouncing everywhere as they move their body. Trying new machines is tricky if you've never used them and those pictures don't always help, it's embarassing to ask for help with something that everyone else is making it look like child's play. It takes courage to walk into a gym and get your workout done as you feel like people are watching and judging you. Which clearly, they are after reading your post. Also, 2-3 months isn't that long for some people to see changes...your body often takes times to readjust and lose inches instead of pounds. They may have started well before you noticed them and are currently at a plateau, it happens. I'm sorry that their fat bodies somehow impede your gym experience, but if you're not willing to do anything to change it I don't see the point in complaining about it. You could easily walk up to them and say "Hey I've noticed you've been working out for a few months, if you ever want to train together and I can teach you some routines or give you tips let me know" 

This last comment spurred a whole array of comments from others who either were now just noticing this little conversation or perhaps (and maybe this is just wishful thinking) my words gave them the courage to also speak out.  Then of course, he had to go and ruin the positive vibe we had going by adding another of his ignorant comments to the mix:

if you don't see anything changing (weight or appearance) wouldn't you say..."hmmmmm I must be doing something wrong" let me ask someone who has knowledge on how to help progress

I'm not saying I'm a fitness pro or anything, but I do know a thing or two about weight loss and fitness from my own personal trials and tribulations.  Not one to bring all the attention to myself and make it all about my journey I simply said the following:

They could be asking for help, and maybe they've tried lots of different things, but just haven't found what works for them yet...I guess the point I was trying to make was that you haven't been in their shoes, you don't understand their struggle, and assuming they aren't making an effort to change when they clearly are by their determination and commitment to going to the gym is just sort of naive on your part. You may not see their changes, but I'm sure they feel them and that's what keeps them coming back. Perhaps their victory is getting through a mile without stopping and they're improving at a slower rate. Progress is still progress even if YOU can't see it.

It's been over an hour now and he still hasn't responded so I'm guessing that last comment had it's desired effect.  Or maybe he fell asleep, who knows.   Please please PLEASE don't let people like this discourage you.  They can't dim your shine.  No one knows or understands what you're going through and what your journey is like.  We all have different paths for a reason.  Seek out those who wish to uplift and encourage you along the way.  It pains me to see that people like this really do exist, and worse that they appear in my newsfeed.  I learned a lot from this experience though and hopefully you can too.  Be confident in yourself and know that whether or not others see it, you're making a difference.  Don't be ashamed of your body, love it and be proud of it, because THAT body is the one that is putting in the work, going to battle every day, and pushing/fighting as hard as it can to get to the body you want.  

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