Hello babes. Up front I want to give y’all a bit of a content warning. I’ll be ruminating on exercise, fatphobia, weightloss and eating disorders. Please care for yourselves and if these are not your jams, please take care. That said, I’m not going to be graphic about things but there’s gonna be some stuff.
First I want to preface this by saying a couple of things. I do not believe with any bit of my being that fat and health are the same thing ever. I don’t believe that thinness or even being a “normal” weight are the end all be all arbiters of health. You cannot tell the state of a persons health in any nuanced way by looking at them. Full stop. I will not argue that ever.
Second, with Adele’s weight loss in the news a lot of folks are in their feelings about it. Listen. A multi grammy award winning artist with an amazing voice losing weight is not the peak of her or anyone elses accomplishments. And if you believe it is, you have work to do. I also want to say that I believe that weight loss done from a place of fatphobia or self hate is not gonna be healthy. Sorry not sorry.
If you’re interested in point number two I encourage you to google around and read some stuff because I don’t really have the spoons to go full Fat 101 here today/
OKAY buckle in.
I have recently been as y’all know engaging with my health and evaluating and changing how I care for my meat sack. I’ve been really focused on getting my nutrition to a better place, I’ve been working hard to feed myself well, and the last bit of this has been me looking for movement I can engage in with joy and not hurt myself.
Being that I have a disordered history with both food and exercise, I’ve had to tread very carefully. One of my huge ED triggers is the allure of control over my body. Results. A huge trigger for me. Unfortunately, I thought I had a better handle on my feelings about it. I do not.
What started as me looking for some things to cobble together for some workouts turned into me planning and plotting ways to control my body. I was able to back off of being so triggered and that masochistic urge to continue enough to observe a few things.
This experience I’m having isn’t unique. I know a lot of people who fall into the same hole. Even super fat accepting, body politic heroes. And what I have come back to is that when we front load weight loss and results and massive fast body changes as the point of fitness, we just get swept up in disordered behaviours and feelings and it is not good for anybody.
This is what happens when we don’t separate ideas about being as health as you can be in the body you have, appearance, weight and what health is or can be. What I mean by that is, if you look at a lot of fitness related content the motivation is often based in creating shame in the consumer and turning it into “motivation”.
The language tends to sway between saying, OH you’re not fixing that flat/fat ass? You’re lazy and not worth X thing etc etc. Then the person seems to be pumping you up, following the shame there is the cheerleading. They look great, they are perky and yelling and telling you, YOU CAN DO IT. A lot of the discourse is framed like so.
If you really loved yourself you’d want the flat stomach/shredded abs/big booty/thigh gap and if you REALLY COMMIT you can have it. And if you don’t get the results, well you did it wrong. You ate too much. You’re too lazy. And frankly it is abusive.
This method of selling/gaining followers is the voice of my ED. I recognized that recently and it set me back a little bit. I realized that regardless of my political leanings, my love of bodies, all bodies, my respect for all bodies, I still have a hard time giving myself the same treatment. I caught myself and have been working through it but fuck y’all.
I think I didn’t see it to begin with because my intentions with my fitness are very specific. I have a lot of chronic pain I’ve had for many years and through many pant sizes. I enjoy moving my body and I’ve been really interested in reconnect to that joy. So I went looking.
It was really hard to even find say back pain relief exercises that weren’t also cuddled up with weight loss as a goal. I don’t want that. I don’t need it and it harms me. It harms a lot of us.
What if we could have something different?
What if I could easily find a workout designed for just loosening up and enjoying my body? What if we could skip the toxic messaging about weight and how we should want our bodies to be?
For me, I really wish more fitness professionals would take a step back to look at how their own language and methods can be harmful.
For me it has been a really difficult few months with this. On one hand I’m wrestling with those ED triggers on multiple levels. One part of me remembers the peak/low of my purging via exercise and the memories of having trouble walking because I’d spent 7-8 hours exercising is fuzzy but remembering the feeling of control and doing something “good” are strong.
I remember tearing an ab muscle and powering through it and the warm congratulations of my instructors.
I don’t want to do that again.
I don’t want to contribute to anyone else doing it on any level.
There will be more of this. I have other stuff to say but for now let’s leave it here.
The health, wellness and fitness industries really rely too heavily on toxic and disordered behaviour and we really need to figure out how to not engage with it.
Shit is hard.
I’m workin on it.