To the new (and old) followers on this blog - wow, thank you for following me!
I apologize for not being very active - I found myself in a bit of a fitness rut you see, this last month. But like the usual, I found inspiration from people like you to jump back in the saddle and try harder.
Today I want to cover a broad topic… it’s been done before, certainly, but for me it never gets old to be reminded of its nature.
I want to discuss motivation and the core root of the feeling. I want to dig deep, down to the bone, of what TRULY pushes you to achieve physical fitness in the way you enjoy and desire. As I enter my mid twenties, I find myself reverting to the self esteem I thought I brushed off in high-school. I’m of course talking about the media and my generation’s twisted, lying way of promoting a women’s body (and a man’s) and the way it “should” look.
Although the shape of my health was top priority in the line of fixing when I was creeping to 200 lbs, the pressure of the beauty industry was what unfortunately, pushed me to work as hard as I did. I honestly wish I could have taken my weight loss at an easier pace (a year is what it took to get to 115). The constant imagery of flat abs and thin legs in every magazine I picked up (not just fashion - Shape and Self were a downer in the way they presented their articles and models) was a reminder that I still wasn’t good enough.
It’s bothersome to me to see this everywhere I go. It’s plastered on the internet, your local art gallery, your shopping malls, whatever. Body image is everything in the 21st century. If you’re fat, you’re obviously “stupid and slow” and a “pig”. You don’t have “intellect” and you try to “get along with everyone” so people treat you the same. You show a “lack of confidence” and you “don’t have discipline”.
And what a load of crap that is.
I have never once met someone overweight who wasn’t successful, endearing, funny, and downright full of wit. Just like I haven’t NOT met any thin, or muscular women who share the same wonderful qualities as the “fat girl”.
But on the other hand let me share something shocking with you about how on occasion, people actually cling to these lame accusations without thought. I decided when I started losing weight from 179 lbs, that I would do a little social experiment of my own. I went into the same Macy’s retail store to browse the women’s section every 20 lbs I lost. I wanted to see how the associates would treat me different, if at all, at different weights.
At 179 lbs, I had a range of service. Most of the time the cashier would watch me from the counter, and wait until I had something in my hand to try on before she would assist me or ask if I needed help. Depending on the size and weight of the cashier, however, I got treated differently. If the woman was closer to my size, she was more prone to strike up a friendly conversation with me. If she was thinner, I was most of the time ignored. If she was larger than me, by a substantial amount, I received hardly any service at all and got a few glares. Obviously not all cashier’s are like this or have a cookie cut stereotype, but you can see where my confusion started in with these three shopping trips.
I kept close watch and a pair of open ears and continued this experimental until I hit my goal weight. What I found, disturbingly (to me anyway), was that no matter what weight I was I got the same kind of reactions listed above as long as there was someone larger, smaller, or the same size as me. With the larger sized women, I felt jealousy. The smaller, an upturned nose and belittlement and of course the similar sized associates had nothing to say at all. What in God’s name is wrong with this picture?
I know it may not make sense, but I wanted to share it with you all. To wrap up, I’d like to get some feedback or stories along the way of your own experience. My questions are:
What’s really motivating you? Do you feel pressure from people or from the industry to live a healthy lifestyle, or do you have a deeper, ulterior motive? (mine is trying to keep fit for Christ first in my spiritual health)
If it’s the latter, how do you keep your focus on strictly your personal motive, and not the world’s? What has worked for you that you could pass onto those who are struggling?