So, I have this friend…which is a really hateful way to begin a post, I know…but I have this friend, and I love her to bits, but she has a real knack for saying some really hurtful things – completely unintentionally.
This morning, for example, she handed me a flier for a new activity programme being run in the town. It sounded great, and I do enjoy being active, but when I read the small print….it was being aimed at people with obesity issues.
I said to my friend “Look, I can’t do this, I don’t have a BMI of 32.”
Her reply; “Are you sure? Have you checked? You can’t be far off it. It would be good for you, it’s for people like you, who don’t do anything.”
Well, thank you for crushing me just a little bit, there, with your kind concern and your good intentions!
I don’t understand; this girl has known me pretty much all my life. And I run – I have been a runner since I was about 18, with the occasional “rest periods” that some runners have when they are just not feeling the buzz.
Since my youngest started school full time in September, I have been lucky enough to be able to fit in a run after I drop the kids off in the morning. I may not be eating up the miles in the way that I used to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still do it!
My friend, my beautiful, kind, funny friend has fallen into the trap that many people do; she thinks that, because I am big, I spend my days sitting on the sofa watching talk shows and eating crisps. I felt so cross that I came home and went out for a run, just to prove to myself that she was wrong – not a very good reason for a run, but even a bad reason is still a reason. Within just a few minutes I had forgiven her for her blunder, and felt like I was flying. There is no drug that can give a high like that, or clear the mind quite so easily. The post-run snack of an apple and glass of water is somehow made so much more delicious because of the burning lungs and scarlet face that accompany them.
I realise that sometimes people need to see something before they will believe it; and I will admit to being more of a private runner than one who will walk around all day in their running gear. I don’t post on Facebook about my “Best.Run.Ever” or my “6 mile hill session before lunch, legend” in the way that some people do. I gave up long ago trying to join in the fitness conversations with the skinny mums at the school because they made it clear that someone of my size couldn’t possibly understand what it is like to feel the burn at one of their aquafit classes or bodysculpt, or whatever the latest trend is.
I have a brother in law, as thin as a rake, who likes to sneer at “fat people.” He makes fun of anyone of size, regardless of what they might be doing at the time. If they are coming out of the shop with bags of shopping, we will hear “They they are, look, on their way home for a mid morning snack,” or they might be walking the dog, and then we will hear “Go on, keep walking, another 50 miles and you might fit into your trousers properly.” Nasty, poisonous comments from someone who obviously thinks that thin is good, fat is bad. I would argue that “fit” is best, regardless of size. And I could run that skinny man into the ground – he may well beat me in a sprint, but give me a few miles and I would leave him for dead.
Anyway, enough about negativity; this post was meant to be a positive one. This post is for anyone carrying a few extra pounds who is sick and tired of the whole world thinking that they are lazy, greedy and stupid – amongst other things (I had an ex once who refused to believe that I could be cold, because in theory, my layer of fat should have been enough to keep me warm. That is why he is an ex now, the idiot.)
Big people can be fit. Big people can enjoy the same highs from exercise and enjoy all the benefits of an active life that a thinner person can. So if your size is stopping you from giving it a go, be brave and go for it. Get out there and get that buzz, don’t let the thin people hog it all to themselves.
Don’t worry about people staring – if they stare, it is because they wish they were doing it too.