Several weeks ago I was on a walk with my husband. We do it once a week in Winter, more so in the summer. It’s on top of the two dog walks we do a day – it’s just us walking, talking, climbing the cliff to go get a coffee…
It is one of my favourite parts of my week. First – I get to 10k steps before 10am on a Sunday, but also because I get this lovely uninterrupted time with my husband
Sometimes the cliff part feels hard. My cardio pilates class on a Friday is mainly one hour of jumping so my legs are pretty well used (it is not unusual for my legs to be wobbly at the end of a session!) – plus I normally do the Saturday pilates class followed by a lovely long beach walk in the afternoon. And it is generally before breakfast, so I’m a little empty, with tired muscles, hanging out for the coffee we get at the top of the hill.
I am most definitely round. Or fat, or whatever you want to label it.
I am also most definitely active.
We reached the bottom of the cliff and another woman was approaching. I thought we should let her go first, as there were two of us.
Before she went past she stopped, looked at me up and down and said “Oh good on YOU”
I thought at first, and then I hoped at first that I was being praised for allowing her to go before us (which I very much regretted as I like to storm the cliff with vigour, seeing if I can push my heart rate up as I stride up the steps and I had to slow down behind her.And yes, I puff up that cliff. More than my husband does. I’m aware my cardio fitness is not as good as my strength which is why I am walking up this cliff…)
I know it was not because of this, because when I got to the top of the cliff there she was – she clapped her hands and she PRAISED ME – An fat adult stranger who just walked up the SAME cliff she and my husband had, but because I am FAT, I needed to have her affirming words to egg me on
These are things I would have said to her if I was a little less polite
“No good on YOU, after all you are pretty old”
“Oh you mean, well done for rolling off the sofa amid all the chips and lolly wrappers? Thanks!”
“Yeah – it’s a bit of a hard slog after legs day at the gym”
It is so arrogant to assume anything about a person’s physical activity because of their size.
And fat people are not like toddlers – your praise does not motivate us. In fact it was the first time in fourteen weeks where I actually considered an emotional DONUT. (But “why punish my body for her issues?” I told myself. So got a long black instead.)
So here’s a tip to anyone watching other people exercise in public – your “keep going”, “well done”, “hey great job” comments are really not doing anyone good except your own need to remind us that you think people like me are lazy, incompetent and really just a naughty little toddler that needs to be praised when you see them doing the right thing.
FYI – I’m an adult. And I don’t want or need it.
(For the record – who can give me praise about my exercise/ fitness are in the following list:
- My husband who walks with me every week. I give him praise too (he’s like a freaking mountain goat!)
- My Pilates instructor.
- My friend Rachel who trains alongside me.
- Anyone else I train with (IE not at the same time, but I have a training/workout relationship with them and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it’s a two way street.
- My kids (because they are my kids and they can praise me all they want :D)
- and my doctor.
THAT IS IT)