Exercising While Fat

A friend of mine got yelled at out of a car window recently. She’s the author of Living ~400lbs and discusses being at the sigma six of the weight curve, being active, and life at that weight.

Being active? Yeah, like me she believes in working out. Just because it doesn’t automagically make you skinny doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. (We’re both technical people and by the nature of the work, that’s darn sedentary. We have to do something.)

I have a question for people: Do you deliberately put yourself in situations where you are likely to be mistreated on a regular basis? If not, why do you act surprised when a fat person doesn’t want to work out publicly? The very worst years of my life were high school, where I was yelled at, harassed and mistreated on a daily basis, and I could not get away from it. As an adult, I am not likely to choose to be in such a situation again. Not ever.

One of the lovely things about being in my forties and having developed a prickly hauteur is that being on the wrong end of this sort of rudeness is rare. But it’s not unknown. A gym patron made a wisecrack about my weight a few months ago. This individual and I do have a bit of a teasing relationship, but I did let him know that he was crossing a line. I did have to be professional about it as I work there, mind.

What is more common for me is a locker room comment about my “bravery” for appearing in a bathing suit. No, the women aren’t trying to be mean at all. They’re being genuine. They recognize that many women who would benefit from the joint-friendliness of water exercise don’t because they’re self-conscious in a bathing suit, and no wonder. People can sometimes be obnoxious. I had to work up the guts to go work out in the college pool with all the young athletes! One thing I did notice is that it wasn’t the athletes or the hard cores that were likely to be jerks. The one time I was messed with in a lane at the college was in the evening (On land I was on crutches from knee surgery and feeling vulnerable. I swear it can be like blood in a shark tank to a certain type of person) and it was a frat boy who thought he was funny. I don’t think he found being dunked by the fat lady quite so funny. But that kind of thing can get you down. I don’t get crap in the pool much these days. My skill makes it obvious I belong there and making a comment only makes you look like an ass. Thing is, as far as I am concerned, you don’t have to earn the right to work out by being really skilled at something. You have a right to go into a gym and be clumsy or slow or whatever. You have a right to walk down the sidewalk or ride a bike, or whatever you want to do.

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