I took a tour of a new gym a few weeks ago. I moved to a new city, and needed a new place to workout. The person who showed me the gym was very friendly. However, this person said something that stuck with me.
He said that he was proud of me for getting a membership, and that working out would change my life.
I was a bit taken back. You see, this isn't a new thing for me. I am not a "gym newbie." I've worked out at least a few times a week for the last few years. I've lost weight; I've lost a few dress sizes.
But I know what he meant – he was proud of me for getting a membership because working out would make me "un-fat." I simply smiled when he offered to share some gym, weight loss, and workout secrets with me. I'm fat, so I couldn't possibly know any weight loss secrets or, God forbid, how to work out effectively. At the end of the tour, I thanked him for his time and went on my way.
He was very sweet, and maybe he meant nothing by his comments, but perhaps a small part of him meant the words he said – and the way I took them – as a slight slur towards me.
This brief conversation has made me, once again, ponder society's definition of health. This is something that is near to my heart. I will never stop saying this – health is not equal to your weight.
No, no, no. My friends, your weight is one indicator of health. Eating habits, sleep habits, amount of physical activity, spiritual health, and blood pressure, among many other things, contribute to your overall health.
Let me make myself perfectly clear, I am not promoting obesity. I simply promote not judging someone's health and worth, based solely on their weight. I am asserting that someone's physical appearance does not tell his or her story.
I urge you to take care of your body. I urge you to stay active, eat well, and love this life. I urge you to refuse to buy into the falsehood that being overweight means you don't take care of your body.
I beg you to be healthy. I beg you to focus less on the number on the scale and more on the way your body feels. I beg you to love yourself and to never let anyone have control of your self-esteem.