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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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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If Hashbrowns Were Heroin, I'd Be Dead

I hit rock bottom with binge-eating on a Tuesday morning before class. I am proof that it can happen anywhere and any time.

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I loved hashbrowns.

My Mom used to make them by cutting up chunks of potatoes and frying them to a crisp in a pot. I never really went crazy on them but they were always my favorite part of a homemade breakfast. Eggs were always a little too soft to be my favorite.

When mornings were really busy before elementary school we would go through the McDonald's drive through and order hash browns and egg McMuffins. Eventually, I started not wanting the sandwich. I just wanted hash browns. I could eat 2, 4, 5? I was only 7? 8?

Hot, salty, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. I remember why I loved them.

I also remember holding the bag in my lap until we got to before-school care and seeing that the oil from the food had leaked out onto the bag, and onto my pants, and hoping it would dry. I didn't care. I still couldn't wait.

I managed to stay away for a long time after learning that these kinds of fried foods are just plain bad for you. Like cancer-causing, heart attack-causing bad. Not "bad" like I would be a bad person for eating them, although eventually, I felt that way too.

When my commute to school became over an hour, and I had 8 a.m. classes, I struggled. I struggled with the change, the demands of full-time school and work, and the growing compulsion to eat that came with it. I wonder if when you read this you will realize that this was only a year ago, and that I am still trying to heal from this. I wonder if you will be surprised that even though I am nutrition student, and I've lost a lot of weight, and I've created a life of love and intention, that I found myself in the McDonald's drive-through.

The first time I was starving. It was 7:30 a.m and I hadn't had a lot of dinner the night before. I was stressed, and sad. I was dieting on Whole 30. I felt the intensity of my own shortcomings. I told myself, "Just this one time." If it hadn't been a decision, it would have been an accident.

I wasn't a regular. I just went occasionally. I lied to myself a lot about how often I found myself showing up for hash browns.

I would tell myself the entire drive to school that I would NOT stop. I would go straight to school and find something healthy at the grocery store later. I could manage my hunger for the morning until after class. I stopped. I swear sometimes that my steering wheel turned of its own accord. To this day, I can't really explain it.

McDonald's enters their orders of hash brown in a very tricky way. One "order" of hash browns is two hash browns. The first time I realized that there were four hash browns in my bag, I thought it was an accident. I looked at my receipt and realized I had gotten what I paid for, and wondered why I wasn't even paying attention to what I was paying for. I decided I didn't care. I ate them.

Another time after that, I decided to see what I could get away with. I ordered three hash browns. I wanted to see if I would get three or six. It was like a mental game. I wasn't ordering six hash browns, if I got six it would be a mistake. I had a problem. I was disappointed when I received three. The next time, I ordered four.

That day, I received 8 hash browns. I remembered feeling like if I stretched myself any further across my schedule, I would just rip. I would fray. Shred. My seams would come undone and I would just float away. I think that day it finally happened.

I wasn't there.

I wasn't there when I ate them. It must have taken me all the way from the time I received them, until after I parked on campus, maybe 15 minutes to eat them all. I can't remember. It wasn't me.

I was the one watching the wrappers pile up.

I was the one watching the grease stain spread on the brown bag.

I was the one who was late to class. I was the one screaming to stop and get my ass out of the car.

I was the one who woke up in my car an hour later, ready for class, with a neat plastic bag of trash that included a hidden and tiny crumpled McDonald's bag.

I felt sick. Dangerously ill. I had a headache, a stomachache, a soul-ache. I felt low. Lower than any other time.

I felt like an absolute failure. Every mean thing anyone ever said about me, every mean thing I ever thought about myself, it was all true. I had made it true.

I was alone, ashamed, and sick.

If hash browns were heroin, I'd be dead.

Binge-eating wasn't a big part of my history, but it created a landmark in my life that I will not soon forget.

I think it's important to say that this event was not about the food. It happened because I was not emotionally well. I was not talking about my feelings. I was lonely. I was feeling sad. I was dieting. I was trying to control every aspect of my life to keep it from hurting me. I was hanging on so tightly to everything else, that I ended up losing control and hurting myself.

I was ignoring my mental health and it demanded my attention through disordered eating.

If you take anything from this story, please be reminded that your mental health comes first.

Get help with the heavy stuff. Get help, period.

You can chat with someone from the National Eating Disorder Association online to ask for help.

You can text NEDA to 741741 for help in a crisis.

You can call NEDA at (800)-931-2237.

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