This is how a Facebook note was titled that showed up on my feed. I read it with interest, as the author is not a fat person, and I wondered what she had to say. (Note: I asked if I could quote the author of this on a blog post, and she gave permission)
I went to the gym late last night to pound a few miles out on the old treadmill (my favorite thing ever… not!) and I noticed this larger woman next to me really giving her all to her workout. She was huffing and puffing along at a really quick pace… in essence, making that treadmill her little bitch.
I was impressed. So much so that I upped my pace a little bit in response. Thinking, “Man, this lady is making me look like a chump and she easily has 25 years on me. Don’t be a wuss, <name redacted>!”
So, I picked it up and found myself covered in sweat. By the end of the workout I was slightly delirious, tired and my knee twinged with every step. This woman hopped off her treadmill like an over-caffeinated squirrel. She looked pumped! Ready to take on the world and all that… schtuff. The look of happiness on her face made me wonder at how far she had come to get to this point. No one looks that happy getting off a friggin’ treadmill… oh wait, yes they do. It’s when they’re getting on it that they look like they’re surrounded by dead puppies.
Well, this lady went bounding out the door on her happy little legs with a giant grin on her face, while I slowly trudged myself over to get some water. After 10 miles, 20 feet looks like forever. I wanted to crawl.
On the way there, I overheard some twenty-something dudes talking about her.. and how fat she is.
I about dropped my water bottle.
Really?!?! You see this middle-aged woman knock out 8 miles on a treadmill and the only thing you notice is her weight?
Cheese and rice. You’ve gotta friggin’ be kidding me.
And here we have the real “obesity paradox”: fat people are told, “You have to get exercise, eat right,
and STOP BEING FAT IN OUR VICINITY lose weight so you can be ‘healthy.'” Yet, when fat people do that, join a gym, go out running or biking or otherwise exercising in public, we are the recipients of cat calls, looks, and other things that make us not want to go out.
Okay, make me not want to go out.
I have to ask, just how are we supposed to get that exercise, lose that weight, be the “good fatties” that society wants us to be, if we can’t leave our homes or apartments? And if we give in to societal pressure, and keep our fat bodies inside, and become the “fat person who needs a crane to be rushed to the emergency room,” society uses that against us and says “see what happens when you don’t take care of yourself?”
These douche mongers should have given this woman double high-fives to recognize her rockstar ability to make someone half her age look like a little nancy-girl on that treadmill. They should NOT have completely ignored her efforts to get healthy.
The sad part is, you see this kind of garbage all the time. Do you know how many times I’ve seen someone yell out of a car window at an over-weight runner as they’re passing by? The answer is ‘too many”, just in case you were wondering.
Does this make any sense at all? You make fun of people for being over-weight and when they try to do something about it… you still make fun of them.
I’ve heard people say that if health (meaning weight loss in their eyes) was really important to the fat person, they shouldn’t let this kind of thing stop them.
Knowing human reactions, is that a realistic expectation to have? If a person (any person) goes out and is mooed at or ran off the road or otherwise abused whenever they are taking steps for their health (read health to mean as shown by real indicators of health, which include blood pressure, cholesterol, and other indicators that require tests from a doctor to know the results), how long do you think it’ll take before they stop going to the gym? Stop going out for that afternoon five mile speed walk? For that morning bike ride? Or the daily bike ride to work? And how long before they eventually stop going out at all?
Other people are seeing it. It’s not just “all in our heads” and we are not “too sensitive” about it.
The way to encourage people to really care about their health (again, as indicated by tests the doctor has to take) is to, you know, actually encourage them; to tell them (when they ask) how great it is that they are training for, or have run, that marathon; to tell them that even the little steps add up to health in the long run. Riding a bike for even one mile a day is a step toward better cardiovascular health.
The shame-based “encouragement” so many people seem to engage in, however, does nothing good.
The woman in this story was out there, working on her health. She was kicking butt and taking names, and inspired a younger, and socially more acceptable (in looks only, don’t know about any other way here), woman to crank up her workout. Does it really matter that the woman was fat? And if it does, what does that say about the person who has that view?