Recently Nike release their plus size workout gear. They had print ads to promote the new gear with plus sized models wearing it. I saw it and was like that’s cool. I’ll get some when they make it to TJ Max (I’m fiscally responsible). As a longtime member of team chunk, this was inspiring. But as usual haters gone hate. Folks where saying that Nike was promoting people being fat. Fat shaming is nothing new but damn what’s a big girl to do if we can’t even have workout clothes that fit. It’s ok for a thin person to wear Nike while eating a burger. LeBron can promote Sprite while rocking Nike shoes but no protest against him (soda drinking is killing all of us). There are countless TV shows showing extreme weight loss. They emphasis the exercise and the before and after photos. But where is the emphases of the transformation of person inside and out.
I have been a member of team chunk since about the 5th grade. I hit puberty and put on a little weight that I have continue to carry. I carried that weight while being on the basketball and track teams during middle school. I carried it as I worked part time jobs during high school while maintaining a high GPA. I was even considered one of the cool kids (I never thought it but I was told that by someone I went to in high school while in college. Maybe I was just cool to her.) I did the freshmen 15 in college but backwards. I lost 15 pound with not concerted effort. As a lady in her 30’s, I am still a member of team chunk and I haven’t really worried much about. I have a good job, I own my own home. I have great friends. Overall my life is pretty good. Being overweight hasn’t weighed me down. I love wings and fries so I learned to love my thighs. However I know I can live a healthier life.
A few years ago I decided to join a gym. I even decided to go all in a get a trainer. When I went to sign up the young cutie asked me all these questions.
Him: “How tall are you?”
Me: “Not tall enough.”
Him: “How much do you weigh?”
Me: “A lady never tells.”
Him: “What is your ultimate goal for working with a trainer?”
Me: “Well, my Grandmother recently passed away from heart disease. I have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes and host of other things. Seems like most people in my family end up having a knee replaced. Really I just want to live a healthier life style and stave off some of these things that I am genetically predisposed to. I want to be a total bad ass.”
Him: “So what size jeans to you want to wear?”
Me: “Mother fucker I don’t want to die!!!”
I know he need a measurable goal to write down but he missed the point that I am not here for aesthetics. I am here for a better quality of life. I am more concerned with my genes than the size of my jeans. My life matters enough to me that I want to be the best version of myself. Maybe I don’t lose a pound but I can do 20 plus push-ups without feeling like dying. I can do planks for minutes at a time. I want to feel strong. I want to flip my dog in a yoga class (BTW, I can). I started working out with a trainer who reinforced how I felt and it was refreshing. He had a holistic approach to health. It wasn’t just about hours in the gym but what are you eating. Are you sleeping? How much water did you drink today? The workouts kicked my ass, but afterwards I felt stronger and more confident. If I had taken before and after pictures they wouldn’t look any different but the change in how I felt about myself could not be captured in a photo.
I have never been sure how to take the comment of you look like you’ve lost weight. Is this a compliment? Do I look sickly? Were my clothes too big before and now I am dressing my size? It usually presented with enthusiasm and approval. Like I have achieved a goal, even though I have never shared a weight lost goal with anyone. It’s an acceptable change. People assume if you are not skinny that you are always trying to lose weight. Also other overweight people assume you have the same insecurity as they do. Once I was about to board a plane and a woman walked up to me and sparked a conversation. She stated that she wanted to change her seat because she didn’t want to be the person people dreaded seeing coming down the plane isle. At first I was confused and then I realized she was trying to fat girl commiserate with me. She wasn’t even that big. She was the size of an average American woman. Although I did not share her concern, I understand how she may feel this way. If you are constantly feed images of people doing all that they can to not look like you anymore, it’s hard to have a positive self-image. Why wouldn’t she have a hang up about her size?
That’s the thing about weight. People are always projecting their standards on you. If you gain weight someone has something to say. If you lose weight someone has something to say. Either you got too fat or you got too skinny. You can’t win for losing…literally. So forget them. Any changes will be for me. I decided a long time ago if you can’t handle my love handles then you can’t handle my love. Now I know I can no longer lay around like an infant and eat like a teenager. I am taking my health seriously. That includes my physical, mental, spiritual and financial health. None of us can out run our insecurities on a treadmill, but we can train for all life will throw at us. I will work on being the best version of myself daily. If the best version of me is a size 16 that’s cool, just point me toward the sale section.