I can remember the day that I made a conscious decision to eat myself to obesity. My youthful metabolism had finally slowed on me (along with the success of landing a nice desk job). That was a day that I struggle to never have to live through again. The struggle to stay fit isn’t a daily battle anymore but there are times, though fleeting and rare, that I still have to fight back the urge to let up. Staying sober, 20 years later, isn’t much different so I don’t anticipate ever hitting a place where I can simply relax.
I’ve been meaning, for quite some time, to address the charge leveled on a fitness blogger for posting a photo of her smokin’ hot self after her third child along with the caption “What’s Your Excuse”. They called it “fat shaming”. How being fat is not a shame, I don’t know. How is it not a shame that my favorite aunt ate and drank herself to death before her 50th birthday? Hell folks, that’s a shame if I ever heard of one – she went from 350 down to 130 and then back up to close to 400 pounds in the space of ten years (she was fat, lost the weight through diet and exercise, then gained it all back plus some almost immediately after she got married – she died divorced and alone, her husband having cheated on her and bringing home a gnarly little surprise from his 19 year-old girlfriend).
What this photo did was confirm the truth that those who choose flab over fitness have done so of their own volition – that being fat is a choice. She was also busting the myth that fat-by-pregnancy is inevitable. In fact, here is another poster that addresses the same topic from the male perspective.
What Maria Kang did was bust the myth that having a child is a fat sentence – in one photo – and those who chose the couch instead are pissed. It’s that simple
The problem here is that she went after a “protected”, vociferously defended myth – and this is what interests me: The attempt to hide from reality because it’s uncomfortable.
I pulled the photo above from a post entitled, People I Want To Punch in the Throat where I found exactly what I figured I would:
“I can see both sides of her question. She says “What’s your excuse?” is meant to be inspirational, although I didn’t read it that way. To me, “If I can do it, you can too” would have been far less in my face and a lot more inspirational. But then again, I am a chunky monkey sitting on the couch making excuses every day why I can’t work out, so of course I took her question to mean “What the fuck is your problem, you lazy piece of shit? Get off your ass and do something already. You disgust me.” OK, maybe I didn’t interpret it that harshly, but I did feel like it was more accusatory than inspiring.”
There is no difference between “What’s your excuse” and “If I can do it, so can you”. None. I am my own worst enemy – or more importantly, the manner in which I interpret what I see, hear and read is. When I see that photo I see a woman who busted her ass to get her body back after having kids – end of story. Anyone who knows anything about genes knows that while they do have an influence, it’s a small one. Getting old wrecks everyone who doesn’t do what it takes to stay in shape. This truth is universal. You either eat very carefully, eat well and exercise or you eat and gain weight – this is not rocket science. There is no such thing as skinny people who eat a lot and stay thin while riding the couch after 30 – the notion that there are is a myth.
I am my own worst enemy. I filter what I see through my personal experience and I have a tendency to mess that interpretation up which, in turn, hurts me. Without a constant vigil against it I will lay blame anywhere but where it truly belongs – on me. This is the root of all evil in my little world and only by triumphing over it can I know peace.
Here’s how I interpret that photo now: She had a lot more going against her than I do and she was able to get herself back to smokin’. I don’t have anything more difficult than that to get over so my excuses, my desire to be lazy, can be overcome. Same with that first link – and that guy was missing a leg. For those who take it negatively, all I can say is that your interpretation of the photo is simply a confirmation, a reinforcing if you will, of what you believe about yourself already. The question is what are you willing to do about it.
Misinterpretation to lay blame elsewhere to escape reality: It’s a tributary to that thing that isn’t just a river in Egypt.
Stay tuned for part two – where I’ll reconstruct the process I use to beat the common misinterpretation problem…