August 8, 2014
With all the extra publicity my blog has received over the last few weeks both in the UK and further afield unsurprisingly I have split opinion in this whole fit and fat debate, there are of course the “good on ya” brigade who whether big or small themselves can see the value in me simply accepting the way I am and enjoying the sport of running anyway and these guys have been in the majority it must be said, but I have also noticed a growing set of protesters who think it is impossible to be larger than what is considered the norm and still be healthy, I would go even further than this and say that some of these individuals are actually incensed that I should suggest such a thing.
A couple of weeks ago I was accused on Twitter by a well known ultra runner/author in the UK of encouraging women to “stay fat”, well how very dare I do such a thing…in all honesty I don’t care one way or another if the ladies who follow my blog get bigger or smaller, why is someone elses changing body mass my concern? I care more about their mental wellbeing and their sense of worth than I do about what numbers their scales tell them, or if they are able to wear a pair of size 8 skinny jeans or not.
One chirpy chap responded to my latest Huffington Post article with the following condemnation,
“With such an attitude, no wonder you are so damn fat – i am sure you like to tell yourself it’s not your fault, but your dna or metabolism or whatever’s fault.”
My days of blaming anyone or anything for my size are long gone, I am the size I am so just deal with it.
It’s not like I expected everyone to agree with my way of thinking, the world is full of twats just waiting to have a go…talking to the Daily Mail about my story was asking for it I guess, but that article brought me more followers to my Facebook Community than anything else I have done…so I have no regrets. Besides the article was fine, it was the subsequent comments that really brought it home to me that what I am doing is still so important.
Comments ranged from people with genuine concern for my knees (which I can assure you are fine)
“Running with that much weight on is a huge stress on the body and will surely mean long-term health problems. She may be fit, but she certainly isn’t healthy.”
To assumptions that eventually running would make me slim
“If she keeps this up, she will not be fat for long.”
It makes me laugh how people feel so comfortable assessing my health without even knowing me. The most obnoxious comment has to go to this guy though (and yes it does appears to be a guy)
“I believe every medical professional would beg to differ. There is NOTHING healthy about being fat. Just because you do some healthy things (i.e. running), doesn’t negate the fact that you overindulged by consuming more calories than you burn. Nice try.”
The debates (and near on arguments) which have unfolded on the comments pages of these articles makes me sit back and think about how we will ever accept that some people are naturally larger than others. I am not for a minute suggesting that overeating and inactivity and the reliance on convenience food does not play a part in the worlds widening waist band, but I am thinking that even if we all ate exactly the same foods and did exactly the same amount of exercise our weights would still be very very different.
A few months ago at a weight stigma conference I attended the key-note speaker gave a talk titled The War on Obesity makes me sick. At the time I listened with great interest at concepts that were kind of new to me, sparking a new way of thinking yet still leaving me a little unable to respond (which is why I never blogged about it until now that is)
You see the process of writing this blog over the past 4 years has forced me to stop and really look at myself and to find some kind of solace and understanding about my current weight situation and the more I read and the more I talk to other women just like me I realise that I am not “doing it wrong”, there is no “miracle cure” just round the corner and my life is not going to get better if and when I get slimmer…so Dr Deb Burgard not only does this war on obesity make me sick, it has MADE me sick having spent close to 20 years brain washed by the media and diet industries into thinking that being overweight is some kind of disease that I should be ashamed of, well I am not ashamed so how about that?
So what did this Deb lady talk about?
At that acedemic event in Canterbury this colourful american lady opened my mind to a new way of thinking with one simple slide, she showed me a collection of photographs depicting certain breeds of dogs, she then asked us to consider the differences between those breeds, their characteristics and their lifestyles. That concept has stuck with me, it’s an image I can’t get out of my mind. So much so I recently asked the ladies in my FatGirlRunClinic retreat “If you were a dog what dog would you be and why” in relation to their running of course, and they got it, just like I did that first time.
Now I am not a dog person at all, I don’t actually know much about different breeds and I have never owned one as a pet so maybe I am not the best person to make these analogies but shit I am never going to be a Greyhound!!!!!, If anything I am a Great Dane…but my quest to become a Greyhound all these years has played havoc with my Great Dane make up and I am now this frustrated overweight Neopolitan Masstif (look it up) with one hell of an attitude.
This world would have you believe that there is only one breed of human being, one acceptable human form…the ones on the covers of magazines and the glamorous figures cast on tv, but this is simply not healthy. This quest that we have found ourselves on to become this thing that we just can not be is making us so sick and so unhappy and it has to stop.
If you starved a Pitbull Terrier by constantly feeding it the diet of a Chihuahua what would happen to it over time? Similarly if you forced a St Bernard to endure the life of a Basset Hound how miserable and broken would that poor dog become? So why is this concept so simple to see this when we are talking about dogs but impossible to accept when we speak about humans.
Whether you are fat or slim, tall or short, if you fit the accepted idea of normal or you do not you must see how damaging this worlds obsession with the perfect body is, and its not just women these days either. How much more of our lives are we going to waste in the pursuit of happiness a happiness that is never going to come, not if we keep fighting against what nature intended us to be.
You know how earlier I said I have never had a pet dog..well I realise that is kind of a little white lie. My dad in fact had a dog when we were little, a tawny brown Greyhound called Jans Vest (after my mums thermals). It wasn’t our pet though as it was kept in kennels of course miles away from where we lived, it never won anything and I only ever visited it twice as my Dad got bored and got shot of it once it failed to make him his millions.
Thinking about it tonight, what a poor little sod, born and raised purely for the entertainment and enterprise of others. Who on earth would want to be a Greyhound anyway?