Exercise. It’s rather a dirty word when you’re fat. Some of us feel rather fit, we might go to the gym, walk, swim, run, do stuff at home, etc. Some of us are filled with enough confidence to not care what anyone says and thinks once they are out there and “doing it”.
Sadly, I’m not one of them. Despite my size and public persona, inside is someone with very little confidence who has the disadvantage of getting even louder the more nervous she is – which means folk assume the loud, brash, gobby version is the real me. So the last time I rode a bike in the village where I live, filled with my husbands words of “you CAN do it – NO ONE is looking – NO ONE cares” I set off. Once round the corner on the main road, a little wobbly, a pickup truck pulls up alongside with three men in the front, catcalling and jeering at me – howling with laughter at what they termed “the elephant with a bike hanging out of her fat f****ng arse”. That was the last time I got my bike out of the garage – and that was several years ago. I’ve ridden a bike since but only at Center Parcs, because EVERYONE there rides, and I can cope whilst in that bubble. (Just for reference, no the glass dome doesn’t cover the whole of the center parcs complex, and yes you still get wet if it rains).
I find the gym just as bad – sniggers and looks as I walk in, mostly from men, but sadly a lot from women too. Why on earth are women such bitches to each other? Why do we pull each other down rather than build each other up? I don’t know.
So, I’ll swim. I’m a good swimmer – and once I am in the pool I’m more than happy. Going up and down the lengths is when my mind clears and the words unravel in my head. I love it. I can’t wait until I am declared fit to go again.
Will I ever build the confidence to go into the gym, or a fitness class, or get the bike out again? I don’t know. I’d love to think I could be that brave, but in all honestly, I doubt I will.
So of course the side effect of the weight and lack of ability to do anything but swim means I have pain in my knees and feet, and when I walk for a while (especially carrying my rather heavy handbag), I get backache. Swing and roundabouts – the less you do, the harder it is. Yet we sit there and tell ourselves “you’re not so bad – you could do it if you wanted to – maybe tomorrow”.
So please, don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t assume we are as we seem on the outside. Don’t think we are necessarily happy in the skin we’re in, but equally, don’t assume you can change us by being cutting or nasty. In all honesty, it just makes it worse.