Fatty Goes to the Gym

15 11 2008

So, in a week I’m off to Rhode Island to participate in a 5k memorial race.  It’s not competitive; I’ll be walking along with most of the people I know.  A 5k isn’t long as far as I know– Google told me it’s 3.1 miles, which I should have no problem with.  I don’t walk as fast as my (“normal” weight) acquiantances, most of whom live in Boston and simply walk a lot more than I have as of late.  A few months ago, my boyfriend signed me up as a “sponsor” at the U Maine school gym.  It’s a great deal: 25 bucks a semester.  A lot has been going on since I signed up, though, so I haven’t been able to make it out to do anything.  Now, of course, there’s a fire under my butt to start going.  I want the little boost of resistance and leg muscle to walk a little faster.  Thursday night, Kevin and I decided to go.  He’d do basketball pickup games while I waked on the indoor track and maybe hit the stair climber.

The gym was packed.  There were ten people on the (somewhat small) indoor track, and roughly 80% of the machines were in use.  Kevin said he’d never seen so many people show up for the basketball pickups.  We’re walking through the facility to find a place to put our stuff.  Looking around at the hordes of people, I realize: there is not a single female (possibly even male) that I did not outweigh by 180-200 pounds.  Yes, I had to be double the weight of almost every person in the place.  Not a single person even approaching chubby.  It was incredibly upsetting.  Now, I’m not really a self-conscious person.  I have no problem swimming at a public pool, ordering dessert after dinner, and I always go through the world as if it didn’t even occur to me that someone might think less of me because of the fat on my body.  Standing there, though, in that gym, surrounded by skinny girls and trim guys, I crumbled.  I was mortified.  I went to the car while Kevin played some basketball.

Sitting in the car, anger started to wash over me– at myself, at the gym.  I love being active.  I let myself deprive myself of that.  I started thinking, though– was it really me?  College girls can be truly awful.  If I got on one of the stationary bikes, surrounded by them, what might happen?  Could some of them be volatile enough to say something?  I really did not want to take the time to verbally rip them a new one.  I know that, when all is said and done, I have every right to be there, just as much as they do.  On some level, the assumption that I might be there to lose weight infuriates me.  I am not opposed to weight loss really, but I am not trying to and the concept of being misunderstood bothers me more than anything.

Too Fat for Fitness deals with this subject as well, sort of.  It’s hard as heck to be healthy and active when one can’t even go into a gym and feel comfortable.  Maybe a lot of fat people feel this way, and that’s why they don’t go.  In the summer, it won’t matter so much because it’ll be warm out, but it’s not like I live in Southern California.  This is Downeast Maine.  It actually gets cold here.  I guess I just don’t know what to do.

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3 responses

25 11 2008
Mary

I think you should go ahead and go to the gym and show them how the fat girls do it! I’m 5’3″, 235 lbs and I am active. I do hot yoga (yoga in a 105 degrees room), do cardio 2-3 times a week and my goal is not weight-loss it is healthy living.

My goal is to be the fittest fat girl around. So, don’t let the skinny minnies get in your way of your health. Because by showing them how active you can be when your at the gym will dismantle someone’s perception of fat girls being lazy.

A healthy and strong body is a healthy and strong body. So, go on with your bad self and sweat like you mean it!

Love yourself first.

29 11 2008
Lorna

This has been happening to me a bit lately. I recently got a Dr referral to the gym to help sort out my back/ease my acute tinnitus as a sort of therapy, as they have run out of ideas what to do with me lately. I would also like to lose a bit of weight to help my back but that can just happen when it happens (Dr even offered me WLS right there and then, funny how I didn’t even ask for it in the first place and there it is, handed to me on a plate, also very frustrating considering all the heartache Donni is going through, fucking postcode lottery) anyway, thats a whole other subject… but I figure it’s important to be healthy first, so I just thought, grin and bear it. I actually enjoy working out but I do really despise those looks of ‘you go girl’ I get at the gym I get sometimes, last week an instructor actually said the words ‘looking goood’ to me. I didn’t know what to do first, laugh or punch the patronising fucker in the face.

I can be really, really hard to get motivated when I am feeling down and I especially find it overwhelming when its a busy day; always a lot easier to accidently catch someones eye *squirm*…

I just take my headphones and get on with it and I can truly say that when its all done and dusted I feel so glad I went. Not because I’m hitting any goals, or aiming to get in a size smaller…I just feel so damn happy about how good it makes me feel. I sleep better and stand better and most of all, I feel good that I’m setting myself up for life. I want to be fit and healthy and prove to others its possible, whatever my size.

You deserve that time to yourself, watching and feeling your body move and strengthen. Stamina is so important and so easily lost when not active (well, is for me anyway) so ignore the lot of them, put your best gym outfit on, stick on you mp3 and go and enjoy yourself. £20 says you’re the hottest chick in the room anyway as we all know – being thin don’t automatically equal pretty!

I did a 5k run last year. I actually just walked it and ran the last 100m with my skinny, but equally unfit mates, we did it in just under an hour, and people were still trundling on past behind us for a good 1/2 hour.

Oh, one last thing, just be thankful you’re not a pasty ginge like me, as soon as I get a tiny bit hot my head turns into a shiny beetroot; I get so red in the face sometimes that I actually get looks of concern from the gym staff!!

You and your bloody olive skin probably just glisten in healthy ‘just stolled in from a day on the beach’ kind of way. 😉

1 12 2008
Donna

Girl, I got to agree with the ladies who’ve already posted.

From a gym person’s point of view, I can also assure you that 99.999% of the time, when somebody is working out at a gym, they are there to exercise and honestly, I can say I’ve virtually never noticed anyone else when I’m doing so. I mean, yeah….you’ll NOTICE somebody else but really everyone is going to be focused on his or her own workout. On a bet I couldn’t describe anyone who’s ever been next to me on a treadmill or stairmaster; I just don’t care.

You paid your $25, ergo you have as much to right to be there as anyone.

There are always going to be judgemental jerks in the world, Is it possible somebody might have a nasty thought? Sure. But a person like that is just as likely to assume a skinny person doing a hard treadmill sprint is anorexic or a muscled weight lifter is taking steroids or an older person is frantically working out to recapture his/her youth or somebody in tight workout clothes is only wearing them to attract the opposite sex.

Get back to that gym, plug in your ipod and enjoy yourself BB.

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