Size Doesn’t Matter

Today’s guest blog post comes from fellow plus size running advocate Jill Angie from across the pond. We had a little misunderstanding a few weeks ago but in the interest of international relations and the good of the plussize running community we are joining forces to help promote a move diverse picture of the running community.

Enjoy

The other day I was out running, enjoying the sunshine, and one of my neighbors called out to me “You’re looking good! I can see how hard you’re trying! Keep up the good work!”

I gave him a cheery “Thank you!” but inside, I bristled. Yes, the sentiment was well-intended. But it stirred up all kinds of thoughts and feelings inside me. Immediately, my mind went to a not-so-nice place:

Just because I’m not thin, he thinks I’m struggling and need encouragement.
I bet he wouldn’t say that to a thinner girl. I’m too fat for anyone to think I’m a real runner.

Really? I thought I was done with all that negative self-talk, but it turns out that a friendly compliment from a well-meaning man unearthed all sorts of crap in my mind.

The truth is, sometimes I still struggle to find my place in the running community. Although it might just be my perspective coloring my thoughts, I always feel like people are ‘rooting for me’ rather than just accepting that I will succeed. That somehow I need their extra support to get me through. Don’t get me wrong – I love any and all kind words that come my way. But I don’t need them to keep me going. I’ve got this. All on my own.

But really, who can blame someone for cheering on the heavy person who’s out there exercising? The overweight community is underrepresented in the fitness world.

If you Google the phrase “Overweight Woman Running”, 90% of the photos that come up (and that’s excluding the ridiculous cartoons of a fat woman in sweatpants huffing and puffing on a treadmill) show a woman who looks like she is suffering. This infuriates me to no end.

Promoting the concept that overweight people have a hard time exercising is ridiculous. First of all, exercise is hard whether you’re skinny, fat, or anywhere in between – especially when you’re a beginner. And I can think of tons of thin people that suffer their way through every workout. I also know an equal number of overweight people that enjoy each and every workout. Unfortunately, the media paints a picture (thanks, Biggest Loser) that if you’re fat, you must be working out for the sole reason of losing weight, and that it must be so difficult for you that you end up fainting from the exertion.

It’s no wonder the kind gentleman down the street thought he needed to give me a little extra help – he was probably worried I’d end up having a seizure on his front lawn!

All kidding aside, we’ve got to get the message out to the world that your size is not always an indicator of your fitness level. Fat does not equal out of shape, and skinny does not equal athlete. Exercise more than a path to weight loss. People of all shapes and size run marathons, do triathlons, lift weights, kickbox, climb rock walls, and whatever else they feel like doing. Let’s get out there and represent ourselves properly in the media, and support the Fat Girl’s Guide to Running image bank – send in those photos of yourself running or otherwise rocking your workout!

Let’s get out there and represent ourselves properly in the media – post those photos of yourself running or otherwise rocking your workout on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can find out more about Jill at www.fabfittraining.com

Comments
9 Responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter”
  1. emilygoesforit says:

    Couldn’t agree more on this.

    I remember a few years ago I read a magazine article that featured four women. They were the following sizes: 6/8, 10, 14 and 16/18 and it asked which you thought was the healthiest. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this, but I like many others (I’m assuming) chose the size 10, but I was wrong. The healthiest on tea of fitness etc was the size 16/18, she was pure muscle and played for the country in netball. The media is constant portraying bigger ladies in the wrong way.

    • fabfittraining says:

      Oh, I just love that the largest girl was the fittest! Appearances can be so deceptive, and the media feeds right into it. So refreshing to see a different perspective portrayed.

  2. junkride250 says:

    Can’t believe I’m sharing these. These are me doing a Rugged Maniac last year – Sept or Oct 2013.

    Had a blast! Also cannot believe (even though I deny it) how much I look like my mother (ugh)

    TMI looks like I need a new sports bra too (lets not share that tho)

    Not the youngest, oldest, biggest or smallest , but I got it done.

    The first one is my daughter and me. (She’s a beauty)

    CDG

  3. mariekeates says:

    Sadly, as I walk alone there and the weight is now more or less gone there really aren’t many photos of me power walking. I agree though, even at my fattest I was probably far fitter than most of my skinny friends and I walk because I love it not to get thin.

    • fabfittraining says:

      Such a beautiful sentiment: “I walk because I love it”! Guarantees you’ll stay fit – exercising as a means to an end is never fulfilling, you have to enjoy it!

  4. Your post made me smile. Up to about 3 years ago I was doing a lot of belly dancing – I even did shows. I could go through a class, do some rehearsals and kept better up than most of the skinny girls. At one of the shows one of my fellow dancers came up and told me “for someone of your size you are really good at the difficult moves”. Yes I could have accepted that as a compliment but in my mind she was pointing out that I was overweight. At the same show someone came to me during the interval and said “I assume you make your own costumes since they don’t have bigger size costumes on the costume sites” – so was this a compliment on how pretty my costume was or that I don’t fit in a predetermined idea of costume sizes. (my favourite comment is still “you so graceful for someone of your size” – really really?) The short version is eventually I just stop dancing since all these type of comments (although they might have been well intended made me feel like I was not good enough).

    • fabfittraining says:

      Oh my gosh, “for someone of your size” – it breaks my heart when I hear someone qualify a compliment like that. It really just tells you what’s in their head, and what their own issues are, doesn’t it? I hope you start belly dancing again soon, sounds like you were really good at it!

      • I will for sure pick up belly dancing again and move more towards the Tribal version – I think it is more sensual since the movements are slow.

        People really don’t think when they comment.. that is just the sad part.

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