On social media last week, an acquaintance posed the following question:
Fill in the blanks:
If I lost ___ lbs, then I could ____!
I couldn’t decide if my reaction was outrage or sadness or a combination of the both. So I responded:
If I lost zero pounds then I could still do everything I can do right now because my weight does not control me.
My friend and teammate Steena also had an awesome response.
Weight is a very sensitive issue. There are plenty of people out there who want to lose weight for a variety of reasons. There are also plenty of people out there who have realized that life and health are about much more than weight. It’s a complicated, emotional thing, and I’m sure like many, I will always be a little conflicted about the whole thing.
But one thing I am sure of is that you shouldn’t let your weight hold you back. If there’s something you want to do, go do it, regardless of your weight! Want to take an awesome vacation or wear a bikini on the beach or join a running club or ask that cute girl or boy out on a date? Go for it! Don’t wait until some nebulous future where you think you will be better because the scale says you are slightly lighter than you were before.
I get it. I definitely have fat days, days where I don’t particularly like the way my body looks. I participate in a sport where I wear spandex. In public. And I let people take my picture.
However, while I’m racing, I never feel like the chubby girl. I feel powerful. My abs aren’t something to be sucked in but something that helps keep driving my body forward as I race. My thick thighs are a family trait, passed down through generations of strong women (who probably aren’t pleased that I’m running around so scantily clad).
I’m a proud Athena triathlete. I’m not ashamed of my weight when I race, and if there is an Athena class (to qualify, a woman just needs to weigh over 165 pounds, regardless of height), you’d better believe I’m registering in the class, and I’m going to gun it to try to get on the podium too. Have I had people call it the fat girl category (including other Athenas)? Sure. Do I care? Honestly, sometimes I do. I try not to, but that’s easier said than done.
Do I sometimes look at other triathletes and think “I wish I had her abs or her shoulders?” Sure. But maybe she looks at me and wishes she had my hair. Maybe she struggles with self-confidence and body image too.
Let’s not let our bodies hold us back. Let’s celebrate what they can do in the here and now. Because every body is awesome.