I have wanted to write this blog for some time because Fitshaming is something that I feel pretty strongly about, but I promise to try and make this more constructive rather than ranty, so bear with me.
Our society is pretty consumed with double standards when it comes to appearances and weight; we all have a person in our close network that is leaning towards the overweight side of life, which isn’t surprising when 35.7 % of adults on this planet are considered obese. But the thing is we wouldn’t dream of highlighting the fact they are overindulging, being a danger to themselves, so the words ‘ be careful, you are eating too much ‘ would never (well rarely) come out of our mouths.
But why don’t we say this? Is it because we are worried that we will upset the person? Is it because we don’t want to be the one responsible for making them go home and stare at themselves in the mirror for hours on end scrutinizing their bodies? And why do we assume that overweight people have such low self-esteem that any comment with be crippling?
Now on the latter, how many times have you pointed out to someone that is dedicated to health and fitness that they do not eat enough? Or that when you see them eating something unhealthy you have said something that points this out, insinuating that it’s a flaw in their will power, because after-all we look good so we simply cannot get offended by these comments, right?
We (fitfreaks) spend the majority of our Sundays planning our workouts and meal prepping for the week ahead as for the next 5 days we get up at 5:15 every morning, head to the gym, come home get ready for work, go to work, come home , eat dinner , sleep and start again. This type of routine is intense, it requires constant will power and energy, so without tip top nutrition we would be unable to sustain it, or enjoy life; and we absolutely know this because believe me we have learnt from our own mistakes when we ramp up the intensity of a workout.
Every single thing that we eat Monday – Friday is carefully thought out, meals and snacks are carefully constructed to ensure that we are consuming the correct amount of carbs, fat and protein (that’s right fat and carbs – so drop that stereotype now please).
We spend so much of our time working on our exercise and food routine that that when someone ignorantly throws out a criticizing judgement fueled sentence like ‘do you eat enough?’ it is extremely hurtful and sometimes harmful, because even though we know deep down we are eating enough, it can make us wonder if we do have issues because we are different from the person standing in front of us that doesn’t understand, it can ultimately cause us to feel shame for our lifestyle.
The effect of ignorant comments
Why do we feel the need to instantly assume that people aren’t eating enough when their body lacks in cellulite and when we can see definition in their muscles? Is it because perhaps onlookers feel the need to tell themselves that these people are unhealthy just so that they can feel better about themselves? Put others down?
The really sad thing is that no matter how optimistic and self-confident fit people come across, there are still some people out there that get crippled to the level of developing an unhealthy mindset, a disorder perhaps. Pointing out that every single healthy thing a fit person is eating is going to draw unnecessary attention to them, and over the past 7 years of my fit journey its happened to me, and I have fallen into the trap of ignorant comments; there was time where I stopped having unclean food entirely because I was fed up of comments people would make when I ate something that was not healthy; that there is unhealthy, and that was not an unhealthy choice I made myself, it was reaction to being fed up of peoples comments.
During my 7 years of fitness I’ve had the anorexic card thrown at me a few times because I went from party girl to fit girl (which is absolutely not okay, anorexia is a serious disease that people die from). I’ve had ‘friends’ tell people behind my back (people tat haven’t had the chance to get to know me)I have issues, but then when these people get to know me they realize that in fact I put their eating and health to shame. All it takes is one person to cripple someones self esteem and health, all because they simply do not understand. Thankfully with some self-education and realization that some people just don’t get it I am able to ignore such comments, but there are some people out there that may not be able to do this.
So remember how we don’t like to say things to overweight people because we don’t want it to spiral into bad body image? Well guess what the same thing can happen to perfectly fit and healthy people.
The bottom line.
FACT: I am the strongest I have ever been, I’m the most focused and educated on nutrition than I’ve ever been. I have nurtured and trained my body to the extent that I can leg press my entire body weight, I can complete pull ups, I am able to push myself through an hour long HIIT class, and more importantly I am able to make it through the work day with full focus.
FACT: We probably eat more food than most people in a day; difference is its all clean,healthy, nutrient dense foods.
FACT: Burgers, fries, chocolate, pancakes,beer; you name it, we will eat it, it just won’t be every day and neither will it be from McDonalds. It will be food that tastes good and that doesn’t have a tonne of additives; and fat free dressing? No thanks.
FACT: If we get to the end of the day and we haven’t reached our macro goal, chances are we will not go to bed under fed (well I won’t anyway), it’s the perfect time to have a light snack before bed.
FACT: We do not have a direct correlation between working out and eating; we don’t work out so we can eat lots, this mindset is a recipe for unhealthy habits. So if you ask me if I’m going running because I’ve just eaten, or if I only have stairs in my house so that I can get extra exercise in I will probably turn my back on both you and your rudeness.
Here’s the thing, no matter anyone’s size, or how great their optimism, they can easily get hurt and offended by flippant ignorant comments made by people that just do not understand their way of life. If you do think that someone has a genuine problem and is not looking after themselves look out for the signs, don’t just assume and label because they look a certain way, and absolutely do not shame them for taking pride in their health, it’s all about context and understanding.
Thanks for stopping by,