The Struggles Of Being A Fat Person At The Gym

The Struggles Of Being A Fat Person At The Gym

Going to the gym is hard but going to the gym fat can be terrifying.
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Going to the gym is never an easy task. Sometimes you lack the motivation, the time, the want, or even the desire to better yourself. However, for others going to the gym evokes emotions such as fear, embarrassment, dread, and sadness. As a person who is far from fit and arguably fat, I used to experience these emotions of dread and embarrassment when I just walked through the doors of the gym, let alone when I began working out. After a few months, I figured out it was OK to go to the gym as a fat person or to talk about protein or supplements as a fat person. Once I figured that out, it made going to the gym a lot more rewarding and less stressful.

First of all, when walking into the gym as a fat person you believe that everyone’s eyes are on you. You can almost feel the judgment as pudgy parts of you begin to jiggle. You feel out of place in your plain workout shorts and oversized T-shirt. You think that everyone is asking themselves questions like: “Is she lost?,” “She’s so fat, why is she even here” or “She is probably going through a New Year’s Resolution or phase.” However, no one is actually thinking these horrible thoughts; no one cares when they are just focused on themselves and improving their appearance. And if someone is judging you, it just means they are judging themselves even harder.

Second, some individuals will think as a fat person you have no idea what you are doing. At first, it was embarrassing, even mortifying, but then I figured out that it helped. Taking advice from individuals who have been going to the gym daily, if not bi-daily, really helps to work out different muscle groups, to avoid injuring yourself, or to learn the equipment you are using. When I returned to a new gym in my hometown over spring break, I was faced with the same types of individuals wondering if my pudgy self needed help. However, when I actually laid down and benched the weight, just watching the shock in their eyes made up for the past few months of dread and self-judgment that I experienced every day while going to the gym.

Third, even though I am fat I still have the right and the knowledge to talk about different protein powders, pre-workout and fitness supplements. Even though I have a pudgy exterior, this doesn’t mean I don’t know which protein powders contain high protein and low sugar and fat. At this point, I know my local GNC like the back of my hand. Whether it’s knowing that amino acids help with recovery, or that pre-workout is needed for my leg day, or even that I know Wheybolic Protein is way better than Muscle Milk, I know what I am talking about. Don’t worry, I might still be very pudgy and blubbery, but I can still have a very intelligent conversation with you about using protein supplements before or after exercise, or determining if you have the right workout regime to use pre-workout. However, having the knowledge about protein powders and pre-workout never justifies talking about them constantly. No one has the right to do that because it is downright annoying.

In the end, I figured that it was OK to go to the gym as a fat person. Once I stopped judging myself, I finally figured out that no one cares that I am fat and working out. After I told myself that going to the gym was necessary for my daily life, it made it easier to walk through the doors and past all of the individuals who are in shape. In some time, I could be one of those "in shape" people but right now I just need to focus on not cheating with that donut or actually pushing myself on leg day, even though every day is leg day. Going to the gym is hard for anyone, but once we stop judging ourselves, the gym becomes less of a monster and more of a friend.

Cover Image Credit: HerCampus

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Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?
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This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

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What Happens When Your Pain Is Out Of Control

Once I forgave and let go, I realized that I had no control over the situation but only over the way I reacted.

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I can remember the beautiful, blue, Texas sky like it was yesterday. Even though everything seemed to be falling together so perfectly, I remember having an uneasy feeling as my sister and I drove to the river.

Even as I stood on the banks, I remember looking over to her and saying, "Are you sure I'm going to be okay?" (as if a Division I swimmer should be scared swimming in a river). When she reassured me yes, I jumped into the crystal clear water of the San Marcos River. I had on a snorkel and goggles on so I could explore the floor of the clear blue. There were plants native only to San Marcos lining the floor, fish were caught in the current with me and for about a minute and a half — I was in serenity.

But once that minute and a half finished it all become fuzzy. I remember going under the bridge, getting pulled out of the water and I heard the voice of my sister, on fire with anger. She was yelling at the boy who I was going to resent for a year later, because unknown to him, he would change the course of my life without even knowing it.

This boy's day probably started out familiar to mine. With the beautiful, blue, Texas sky and a ride to the river. But when he got there, instead of fearing the water, he conquered it by being reckless. They got to the park, someone in his group of pals probably said to him, "Dude, let's go jump off that bridge," and this probably wasn't the first time they done that, because there was a sign placed stating "Don't Jump Off Bridge." What was different from this time to any other time of taking that risk was that they roped a complete stranger into the danger with them – because this boy landed directly on me head.

I tried to google the chances of this happening — and with no luck, I have decided to make it comparable to the likelihood of being killed by a shark, which are 1 in 8 million (there is no science behind this comparison).

I was in pain. My head was throbbing and I was having a hard time forming my words — especially when I woke up the next morning with a stutter. Through E.R. visits and specialist visits, we learned that my eye-tracking was slow and that my balance was off. For an extreme extrovert and college athlete, having my speech and athleticism inhibited seemed to be the end of the world.

I had my stutter for two months and my concussion symptoms stayed with me for six months after the incident. Not only was it affecting my day-to-day life, but mentally I was drained.

As my recovery dragged on, my resentment toward this boy continued to grow. If I couldn't concentrate in class, remember a small detail or if my head was pounding, my mind would immediately shoot to blaming this boy. This injury was out of my control so the easiest thing to do when the recovery got hard was to direct all my anger at this stranger — who probably didn't even think of me half as much as I thought about him.

The resentment got exhausting. Mentally, I was crushed. My anxiety shot through the roof and it was hard to live peacefully knowing that my brain felt like oatmeal.

Once I got back into swimming with my team, the smallest things would trigger panic attacks. If someone jumped into the water near me — I would have to leave practice early. If someone scared me when I was in the water — I couldn't control my breathing. Even now, two years later, I still get jumpy.

But when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter that this boy doesn't think about what happened to me. Holding onto this resentment and anger wasn't going to make my recovery easier. It wasn't until I was fully medically cleared that I accepted that and in this process I learned things about myself in ways that I never would have if I was healthy.

Once I fully forgave this boy who hurt me — I felt free. I learned that I am resilient and stronger than I ever thought I could be. I conquered an invisible pain that didn't stop with the physicality of my brain — but the anxieties and anger that came along with it.

Once I forgave and let go, I realized that I had no control over the situation but only over the way I reacted.

Holding onto anger isn't going to make you feel at peace, but taking control of the situation will.

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