Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fat does not equal lazy

Since January, I've been challenging myself to increase my physical fitness. I'm improving my diet, increasing my exercise, and trying to achieve a higher level of overall health. I have increased my water intake and have added some vitamin supplements to my diet.

I've adjusted what I eat. Does that mean I always eat healthy or low-calorie? No - but because I am trying to lose weight, I am accounting for every single calorie that passes my lips. Do I always come in under my daily goal? No - but I am more aware of what I'm eating and what I should be eating (or not). I'm a lot closer to my daily goal than I have been in the last couple of years. That's all part of health.

I've been to the gym at least once a week, every week, for the last 7 weeks (thanks, Foursquare). In the last few weeks, I've been there 4 times each week, and am working on increasing my weekly visits to 5. My pants are not looser; my waist is not smaller. So far, the only real change I've experienced is that my arthritic knees hurt so much, I can't bend them enough to step into the shower. Awesome.

I work a full time job; I am a part-time consultant for a small business; I author or contribute to 6 blogs. I own a home and am the only person responsible for the upkeep (inside and out). I pay my own bills, buy my own groceries, run my own errands. I do all of this in addition to the work-outs. 

I've worked full-time since I was 16; I've never been unemployed, even when I was a full-time college student working 30 hours a week at an internship. I have never been lazy - but I have always been overweight. I even remember being chubby at 6, and being made fun of by classmates. I certainly wasn't lazy back then; I just didn't have a good metabolism, and never made the proper adjustments. 

The one time in my life I did manage to lose weight, I did so by barely eating anything, exercising for hours every day, and taking amphetamines. I had chest pains, did irreparable damage to my knees, and made myself sick - all in the name of being thin. It worked; but the minute I resumed healthier habits, I put the weight back on. 

No matter how hard I try, I won't ever be thin. That won't stop me from from trying to get healthy or improve my physical fitness, but it does make the work that much more frustrating. What's even worse is hearing people say things like, "fat people are just lazy," or "she should just lose the weight," or "well, she chooses to be that way." 

I didn't choose to be overweight - but I do choose to be happy with myself. Every single day, I make a decision to like the woman I am, and my heart breaks when I see others losing the same struggle. I get angry with people who think that just because thin is easy for them, that means that thin is easy for everyone. Think that what works for you will work for everyone? Not so. 

Everyone struggles, and every person's struggle is different. Putting labels on people is a bad idea, because no matter how much you think you know about someone - what you know is only a scratch at the surface. 

Still, I proudly wear the label of curvy, or plus-sized, or over-weight. Personally, I'm even okay with the label fat. Why? Because I am also smart, confidant, successful, pretty, charming, funny - and very, very grateful. Fat isn't who I am; it's one part of what I look like, which is a very small part of who I am. 

Really, the only label with which I'm not OK is lazy. 


  1. <3 this and you.

    And you shouldn't accept the label "lazy" because you're so not that.

    If you point out who said this, I'll gladly kick them in the shins with pointy toed shoes.

    1. I <3 you too - but don't waste good shoes on those people. ;)

  2. What are you using as your calorie counter? I use "My Fitness Pal." It's a free app and website. I know it's on iPhone, it's probably on Android too. I've been using it since late January and I've lost 13lbs already! It really helps you realize just how many calories, fat, protein and carbs are in everything you eat.

    If you want to lose weight, you definitely need to go to the gym more than once a week. I go at least six days a week. I get up at 545am and go from 615-715 (ish). You can't just do cardio, either. You MUST do some weight lifting, too. Doing nothing but cardio actually will deteriorate your muscles. I go to Planet Fitness and they have a "30 minute express workout" area where you exercise all your major muscle groups. I'm not a doctor, obviously, but every health and fitness magazine, book, lecture, etc that I've ever seen has always said you need to do strength training in order to lose weight. A lot of people are under the false impression that if they lift weights all the time (a whopping three days a week for 30 minutes at a time) they're somehow going to "get too big." It takes years to get an athletic body, plus lots of supplements and the like. Lift a little bit on a regular basis and it will make a big difference. Plus you'll be able to carry in the groceries or whatever all in on trip without getting winded!

    Lastly, I'd recommend looking into doing an Atkins-style low-carb diet. I know a lot of people that it has worked wonders for and it is completely safe if you do it correctly. Again, I'm not a doctor so it's hard for me to explain why it works but it does. Another approach is the "paleo" diet where people only eat foods that cavemen would've eaten. They didn't have bread and other carb-loaded foods back then - just protein and fat.

    I can't do either of these diets because it would mean I'd have to cut out beer. Maybe once I plateau on my current low-calorie diet I'll try it. We'll see.

    good luck to you.

    1. Thanks! I am using My Fitness Pal; have been, actually, since the beginning of January. Since then, I've steadily increased my visits to the gym, and am up to 4-5 workouts a week, which includes a focus on cardio, but weight work, too. I've also done the 30 minute workout thing at Planet Fitness.

      I've been going to the gym for about 5 years. I used to go 3 times a week diligently - with no results. I was younger then, which is why I don't anticipate an improvement this time around. Losing weight gets harder as you get older.

      Like I said, I've struggled with my weight my entire life. There isn't a diet I haven't tried, including reduced carb and no carb. They focus solely on weight loss, and while they work in that respect, you give up other health. I suffered terribly on those diets, and I'd never go back.

      I physically can't lose the kind of weight My Fitness Pal or Weightwatchers or anyone else thinks I should. I'm a 38 year old woman, who has never had kids and does have a thyroid condition. My body literally fights me when I try to lose weight. Can I improve? Yes, but I'll never be thin.

      My point isn't that I won't try, or that others should give up trying, either. My point is that no one should judge someone else because no one can understand someone else's struggle.

      For example, I can do exactly what you do, and get completely different results. I'm still trying my hardest. I might even be working harder than other people. But some take one look at me and assume that because my results aren't as good, I'm not doing my best. That's frustrating, which is my point.

  3. I too am not lazy, but I am fat. Always have been, everyone in my family is. I don't have the best diet all the time, but I try. I have genetics fighting me at every step. I too will never be thin, no matter what I do. I am closing in on 200, and will be super excited when I get below that mark. That will put me at the thinest I have been since puberty. As much as I love Weight Watchers, their "goals" are not reasonable for me. I'm sorry, but I will NEVER be 150 pounds. 180, that's possible, and my current goal by the end of the year. Really, I just want to be healthy, work toward minimizing the meds that I have to take, and live a long time.

    1. I am so proud of you. I know you're working hard, and you have way more courage than I, signing up for that challenge. Go you! I should come down when you run it and support you. :)

  4. I think that you are doing a wonderful job.
    You are taking responsibility and charge of your life.
    The way you eat and treat your body.
    These are all positives.
    If you lose weight, GREAT.
    If you every become SKINNY... ALSO GREAT.
    If you are a curvacious HEALTHY ROCKSTAR (like I am too) AMAZINGLY GREAT!

    You are not one of those people set in their ways and losing the battle.
    You are doing something about it.

    Some days are good days
    Some days are bad days
    My weight goes UP
    My weight goes DOWN
    I know where I want to be size wise.
    I am doing it the healthy and right way.
    I may not be consistantly losing the weight... but I am consistantly feeling better.

    Try Icing your knees at the end of the day.
    Ice causes inflammation, which brings blood to the area, which aids in healing.

    Once you hit the numb phase of icing, take it off, then the healing will begin.
    I learned it while getting my MT license, and it works.
    My knees feel better the next day.
    And, that's good enough for me.

    I love this blog.
    I love your outlook.

    How's your injury?

    1. It's not an injury, really. I have arthritis in both knees; have since I was 15. Exercise will make that worse. I offset it by doing exercises to strengthen the muscles around my knees. Ironically, losing weight would help ease the pain, but I have to be in pain to lose the weight.

      Thanks for the tip. I have tried icing - some days it helps, others it doesn't. But I'll definitely keep it up - can't hurt, right?

  5. You? Lazy? No way.

    I think you forgot... strong, compassionate, insightful and independent, to name a few. True beauty can only be found in one's presence, and yours exceeds the masses.