CableFlame ( c4bl3fl4m3 ) wrote,
CableFlame
c4bl3fl4m3

My Exercise Journey & the Fat Acceptance Movement

Here's a post my long time readers probably never thought they'd read. ;-) This is a very hard post for me to write, so be very gentle in the comments, ok?

Since I got my gallstone, I decided to start exercising. I figured, I'm already on a (low-fat) diet anyway, I might as well exercise as well and see what happens.

Knowing that if I bought something, I'd feel obligated to continue exercising. (I also dig having all the statistics & graphs & such.) I picked up a Nike+ Apple sensor to go with my iPod Touch on December 1st. My friend Jolly gave me his old UP band at the end of January. I've been walking since the beginning of December, sometimes just tracking my walks to the bus, sometimes hitting the treadmill. Since the middle of March, I started lifting weights again, too, as I've seen the muscles on my new sweetie (who has a similar story of body reawakening, only not prompted by illness) and realized that the muscular arms and back I've wanted for a while is, indeed, possible.

I can walk a 5k now. My pants no longer fit me (which you think would be good, but it's annoying). I've even started jogging a bit (even though I REALLY shouldn't because it DOES fuck up my knees more). I can run for 90 seconds solid... I couldn't do that when I was skinny & in shape as a teen.

I have a lot of feelings on this. One of them, frankly, is anger & betrayal at the fat acceptance movement. Frankly, they lied to me. They told me no one ever loses weight, and no one keeps it off. They told me diets always fail. I genuinely didn't think it was possible to lose weight or get back in shape. It is. I'm doing it, and, frankly, I'm loving it. They have lied to me, and I am PISSED. For YEARS, I could have been feeling this good & enjoying my body this much, and I wasn't. I wasn't because I genuinely did not think it was possible to go back to a place of better fitness. I thought, once fat & out of shape, always fat and out of shape. This is wrong. I'm not there yet, but I'd like to get to the point where I can ice skate & rollerblade again and it won't hurt my ankles. I'm a long way off from there, but I miss skating and I want to do it again.

I still believe in the goals of fat acceptance in society. I do NOT believe that we should lie to further those goals.

First off, let me speak truth to the movement. This has been a long time in coming for me... it's taken me a LONG time to gain the self-confidence & courage to state the following. Weight loss, strength gain, endurance, and a greater level of fitness ARE ALL POSSIBLE. It IS possible to get in better (notice better, not necessarily "best". Just bettER.) shape (not necessarily lose weight) if you want, and it doesn't necessarily have to suck balls completely. (I'm proof of this.) Now, weight loss may not be possible for all bodies. I'm not going to state that it is. I understand, everyone has unique situations. I understand about genetics and untreated thyroid conditions and the whole shebang. But Health At Every Size needs to modify itself a bit. Maybe not everyone is healthy at every size (I know I wasn't healthy at the size I was. I'm still not where I'd like to be, healthy wise. I'm getting there, though.), but there is a size (or sizes) that's healthy for each individual, and it may or may not be skinny. Yes, HAES is trying to make the person as healthy as possible at the size they are instead of focusing on changing size for health, and I agree, that's a fantastic goal that should go without saying, but people should also be encouraged to find the size THEY want themselves to be at for what feels right for them.

(On an aside, we've gone from encouraging people to like themselves at their size to making it mandatory for people to like themselves at whatever size they are. Frankly, as a feminist, I find it offensive to be told how I'm supposed to feel about my body, and I find that the fat acceptance movement has been in some ways as bad for my self esteem, telling me I HAVE to like my body at its size, as the world has been telling me I have to HATE my body at its size. It's taken me a long time to learn to be confident in myself enough to come to terms with the fact that I want to change my body. Yes, you read that right. I had to learn to be confident in myself so that I could dislike the way my body looks (sometimes, in some places, with a certain [healthy?] amount of dislike... there's things about it I like, too!) instead of just parroting back "I love my body" all the time. I'm tired of ALL the judgements on my body, good or bad. My body, my feelings, my choice! The fat acceptance movement needs to go from "love your body!" to "you don't have to hate your body... loving it is an option!" Then people can decide for themselves how to feel about their bodies & their weight.)

Fat acceptance is a VERY important goal. Our society needs to stop judging people on their size. That being said, we can't do it by telling fat people that they'll never be able to eat healthier, so why try, or that they'll never be able to have more energy and endurance, so there's no reason to go exercise. Fitness needs to be an OPTION, not a MANDATE. But, God damn it, I want my option to fitness.

I also owe an apology to those that I told those things to. I'm sorry. I was wrong to take that tactic. Maybe 95% of diets DO fail within a year. But is that a reason to not start small and to try eating healthier if that's what you want? No. I spread around their discouragement and lies as a reason for fat acceptance. Fat acceptance stands alone without discouragement and lies. We don't need to say "diets & exercise fail, and that's why we should accept fat people." FUCK NO. We need to say "we should accept fat people because they're people and judging people off of the way they look is fucking bullshit & totally uncool".

What will happen when I no longer need a low-fat diet & I get my gallstone out? Will I gain the weight back (and more)? Maybe. Frankly, I just don't have the taste for super fattening foods the way I used to before... they just don't seem appealing to me anymore, at least not nearly as much as they used to. Will this change once I'm not scared to eat them anymore? Maybe? The times I have eaten a few bites of fried food, it was good, but not NEARLY as good as I remember. Which, in a way, is a bit sad, because I used to revel in bad for me foods.

Will I stop exercising? Doubtful. The truth is, I LIKE exercising. It feels GOOD. I was a very active child & teen, and as a teen, I used to cycle to get out of the house. My body knows what it's like to fall into a rhythm, into a cadence. It knows how to create exercise high. It always has. It hasn't forgotten that over the years. And it feels FANTASTIC. (The cardio feels fantastic. The weight lifting, however, makes me shaky and want to cry and emotionally feels like crap, and I'm not sure why, as I used to lift weights as a teen and I always enjoyed it then. [Back then, I always saw results within 2 sessions or so. Now I'm not seeing any & am just having to hope it's working.] Any ideas?)

There's another part to this, a part on how hard it is to find size positive folks & sites & ideas in the exercise & fitness sphere of the Internet, and how that also keeps (both SP & other) folks that would otherwise like to exercise & participate from going out there & doing what they want with their bodies. But this post has already been long enough, so I'm going to post it now.

This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/6505.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: activism, exercise, fat acceptance, fitness, politics
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