This will not be my usual upbeat blog post today because I have had a couple of experiences recently that kind of shook me up, but I promise there is a positive ending so bear with me while I rant a little.
The first was about a month ago. I have been lifting weights at the gym now for a while. I have been reading about the benefits of a particular supplement called BCAA’s which stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids.
It’s purpose (for the record and for full disclosure) is that it helps you burn fat more effectively, while helping to create lean muscle which dieting can sometimes take away. I am no expert but it seems to be helping me.
Anyway, I went into a local supplement shop recently to ask about BCAA’s. I don’t like to name names but you can find this shop in most malls, and their name rhymes with DMV.
When I told the clerk I was on a weight loss journey, and I gave him a fair amount of details. I told him I had been adding weight lifting to my routine and had been reading about BCAA’s. I asked if it would be of help to me.
The clerk never even got up from his chair behind the counter. He looked at me with total disdain and asked “Do you even work out?” so apparently he had not really been listening but looking at me as someone who still has a way to go. “For you, I would say it’s a waste of time.”
I walked out of the store feeling totally humiliated for asking a question. Thank goodness no one else was in the store. I sat on this for quite a while and then finally decided to do something about it – the modern way. I took to social media.
I went on Twitter and related my experiences, making sure to tag this particular store by name. Sure enough I got a response fairly quickly. They were so sorry, and someone from head office would call me.
This started a game of phone tag between me and the company rep. He was apparently a VP of something or other. After many rounds of phone tag, I left a message saying email would probably be the best way to get a hold of me so we could discuss their lousy service. I have heard nothing since.
The other experience was just this weekend. There was a major marathon happening in Vancouver. It was the BMO Marathon and attracts runners from all over the world. They also have shorter walks but I would be busy that day helping out the Hike for Hospice.
They did have a 3 day Fitness Expo that was free to the public so I went. There is always something to learn, not to mention freebies.
As I was walking around checking out the different booths, I noticed at one booth they were handing out t-shirts. I walked up and asked what the t-shirts were for. This guy who was bigger than I am, and I suspect was not a runner, looked at me and said “These are small”
I said, OK no problem. He said “If you sign up for our run, you can have a 2XL” and as I got a little father away I heard him say “Maybe a 3XL”.
I did something I rarely do. I turned on my heels and walked right back to him. I stepped up to him (as in ‘in his face) and said “I will have you know that in the last 8 years or so I have lost 190 pounds and I happen to wear a large, so maybe you should think before shooting off your mouth.”
On top of my experience with the supplement place, this guy really ticked me off so I just let him have it. It felt really good to call someone on their fat shaming crap.
Just this morning I was reading an article from the New York post that was talking about the show The Biggest Loser, and how most past contestants have gained almost all if not ALL of their weight back and then some.
There seemed to be this underlying tone that if you are fat, you are just doomed to be fat forever. They gave all kinds of medical reasons about the body wanting to get back to the fat level and how the people’s metabolisms had been messed out making weight re-gain inevitable.
I have always said that show was dangerous. If I lived on a secluded ranch for months, had people weigh me, prepare my food and beat me so I would exercise 8 hours a day, I could lose weight too, but for how long.
These people eventually have to return to the real world of the family, the job, and real world experiences like cooking, eating, and shopping with no follow up.
They don’t talk about the excess skin from rapid weight loss, the other damage to their bodies, not to mention the sometimes mental damage done.
People cheer for the contestants when they win, but are very quick to scoff and criticize when they gain it back. It also gives them the excuse “Why bother. It will just come back anyway so why try.”
In spite of all this, you know what I have learned? I am not them. I am me, and the only person I am in competition with is myself.
One other thing I saw at the Fitness Expo was a photo booth from New Balance, a running shoe company. They were doing green screen shots where you could make it look like you were running on a long road, or you could have a background with words of encouragement. That was what I chose. You will see it at the end of the blog.
Don’t let the fat shamers take up room in your head. They don’t know your journey. They don’t know your pains or your triumphs. Stand up to them. If they are ignorant enough to say stuff to you, or more commonly to TO you but ABOUT you when you are within earshot.
Call them on it. Tell them they are being ignorant, and that is NOT ok. You can’t make (nor should you) cracks about a persons race, religion, sexual orientation, social status etc, so why is cracks about being fat OK? Simply put – they aren’t.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!