*note: This post is an edited and extended version of an older post on my personal blog
It is a common misconception that all fat people hate their bodies and start going to the gym because they want to lose weight and become thin. Perhaps that kick-starts some folks’ fitness journey (and not just overweight people), but it is certainly not true for all. For me, I didn’t look in the mirror and hate what I saw. In fact, my fitness journey would not have started without first going through my body positivity journey (read about that here!).
The title of this blog was inspired by the British television series My Mad Fat Diary and it played a huge role in my body positive journey. I have spent the majority of my life hiding my body and pressured to lose weight to fit society’s “ideal” but even though there were several points in my life where I wanted to go to the gym, I was always afraid of stepping into one because of the fear of being judged. My own hate for my body and internalized hate for fat bodies was the reason for my fear and insecurity about working out at the gym. It was a scary idea for me as it may be for other fat folks. You’d get made fun of for not going (by dicks) and you’d get made fun of for going (by dicks). Now I realize “fat” is not a bad word. Fat is not even on the list for the worst thing a person could be (you could be one of those dicks..now that’s fucking terrible).
It wasn’t until maybe 3 years ago that I started to fully embrace my size 16 body thanks to the body positive community. It wasn’t until I accepted my tummy and big thighs and realized I can be beautiful at any size that I took the first step to becoming stronger and faster. It wasn’t until I finally learned to love my body that I had the courage and confidence to step out of my comfort zone, leave my insecurities about being fat at the gym behind, and dive head first into a gym bootcamp. Although my first 5 or 6 months of my fitness journey hasn’t always been consistent, I realized that having such a supportive and motivational squad helping me on my journey has made me excited about going to the gym, thus more consistent in going. I’m slowly inching further out of my comfort zone and had even done things I never thought I’d do. I did my first 5K in November and did a couple more after. My first 12K was a couple weeks ago and I completed my first obstacle the past weekend. Things like these may not seem like a huge accomplishment to some people, but they are to me because before my body positive journey I did not believe I belonged there. My first Tough Mudder and Spartan races are coming up and, although I’m slightly terrified, it is comforting and motivational to dive into new experiences with such a supportive and inspiring group of people where I feel like I do belong.
Being proud of myself when I lose weight does not make me less body positive. Numbers track your progress, but numbers do not define you. But there is so much more to be proud of then a number on the scale or on your jeans. I’m proud of myself when I don’t walk when we go on our runs. I’m proud of myself when I push myself for more reps. I’m proud of myself when I take 3 classes a day. I’m proud of myself when I complete the goal(s) I set for myself for a specific run. I’m proud of myself for doing the best I can. I loved my body when I was 35 pounds heavier. I love it now too. I’ll still love it if I gain pounds of fat back. I’ll love it when I gain more muscle. I’ll love it when I cross the finish line. I’ll love it even when there are people that tell me I shouldn’t.
A fat person simply existing and being happy is not glorifying an unhealthy lifestyle some people assume we have just by looking at us. What I do glorify is loving your body at any stage it is in. You’ve always been beautiful. Make your journey be about getting stronger, faster, and feeling better. Whatever your goals are please do it for YOU and do it out of love for yourself, never hate. Do all things in love.