Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Who loves exercising?

Well, I do.
I mean, not every day of course...some days I am not in the mood. But generally, I enjoy exercise, for the following reasons:
1. It brings health
2. It brings happiness. (Literally. Endorphins. People with depression need endorphins.)
3. I REALLY REALLY love nachos!!

Why do people love exercising?

Well, it's a proven method for stress relief, sleep troubles, health benefits, etc. Body shape and size is such an ongoing argument in today's society, mostly because people can't decide what the perfect body is or isn't, and they find it easiest to just pick on anyone who looks differently than them. Its funny...because you know women don't compete for a man's attention. Are you kidding? Women compete with other women. They want to be better than the girl next to them.

I know. Stupid.

Unfortunately, this image competition has gotten way out of hand. Also, the tables have turned, for when it used to be overweight individuals being picked on, it has now turned to fit people.

As if muscular women just popped out of the womb that way, and never had to work a day in their life for it. If you understand fitness at all, at all, you understand how difficult it is to build muscle. Not just build it, but retain it. Muscle memory is critical. And strength training takes daily maintenance. So these women that are incredibly fit, like muscle tone fit, not the skinny starving celebrities on TV....just you really think they wake up each day just looking the way they do? And does it give anyone the right to be angry or mean to them? It's so easy to pick on someone who has something you don't. Its easy to call a successful businessman a brown noser. It's easy to call a wealthy woman a crook or thief. She slept her way to the top. It's easy to call a chubby person lazy and it's easy to call a fitness guru arrogant.
I'm going to talk about the latter.
Before I get into this blog, I want everyone to know this is a personal subject for me. I feel very passionate about nutrition and exercise. I have been involved in what some people consider "excessive" fitness since the age of four. To me, It has all been very normal...and enjoyable. But, because of my diet and exercise, I've been the target of harsh bullying almost my whole life.


NEWS FLASH: people get bullied for reasons like being alive, having a weird name, stuttering, wearing glasses, being overweight, being underweight,.caring about life, not caring about life, being happy, being miserable, being smart, being dumb...okay you get the point.

The point is a jealous or hateful individual doesn't need a reason to bully, they just will.

All throughout elementary school I was teased for being short. Like, midget and shrimp were my two Nicknames and I'd ride home on the bus every day crying. Seriously. Ask my older sister. While I am short, I DON'T want to be told it every day in an insulating manner. The same goes for being fit and caring about my health.

I remember in 7th grade PE testing I did 25 pull ups on the bar, hopped down, and took my seat like no big deal. The boy next to me muttered under his breath, "show off!" It sincerely hurt me. I remember his first and last name too, that's how upset it made me. Was I trying to show off? Of course, not!  I was a competitive gymnast who did 40 pull ups three times a day at training....4 days a week...four hours a day. I was just doing my best, as I'd been taught to do. The reaction from a boy, a cute boy, when cute boys and their comments totally matter, hurt my feelings and made me feel like my strength was unattractive.

In 9th grade, I joined a dance team where girls would stare at me and whisper or point and say snidely, "Look how skinny she is." As if it were the grossest thing in the world. In 10th grade, I remember a girl on my cheer team (yep, first and last name) who pointed at me in a locker room while I was being measured for my uniform. That same year, a senior male friend I liked was tickling me one day and said, "Geez you're skin and bones!!" (I'll have you know I was muscular, not just skin and bones. Healthy people have muscle. Unhealthy ppeople don't. I remember a girl in beauty school who bullied me day in, and day out, almost consistently about my body. Ask the girls I went to beauty school with. I remember getting a bag of Doritos (yes, I love Doritos) out of the vending machine and sitting with the girls in the break area to eat them and she said loudly for everyone to hear, "Oh my gosh, you're eating??" It was humiliating. Even weirder yet was that I came to class nearly every day with a package of powdered donuts and a big gulp of mountain dew. (I was dancing 5 hours a day on my drill team burning that off) 

She pestered me all semester, even threatening to spit her chewing gum on my leatherman jacket. Those are over $300, you know. And all of this because she didn't like the way I look. Correction, she didn't like the way she looked.
When I returned to work after having my baby, my dear coworker literally congratulated me. Like, congratulations! On your weight! Ha ha ha...I was like, Thanks?? At least it was a compliment. I hope.

By now, one of you is probably irritated and thinking, Big whoop! So you were teased for having what everyone else wants!! Get over it!

What everyone wants is to be picked on, made fun of, secluded, bullied, disliked, and bad mouthed for doing something they truly enjoy? Trust me. No one wants that. And yes, I was doing something to have the figure I've had. 

Genetics play a small small role in my body. My genetics affect my height, my bone structure, and where I store fat. I have some depression and thyroid issues, but I have not let it ruin my desire to exercise and eat right. I made the choice at a young age to BE THIS WAY. I did not, AND HAVE NOT, given myself the option to be otherwise. The few times in my life I've been unable to exercise, as in after my surgery, or after baby delivery, I suffered tremendously. My mentality dropped. I felt sad and lazy. I lost interest in many things. My endorphins were gone!
The joke that "skinny people are just skinny" does not apply to me. I have a slow metabolism and other factors working against me. However, I still get up every day and make the choice to live a healthy life. I view food differently. I view exercise differently. These things fuel my life, my energy, my health. They impact my whole future. I MAKE TIME for exercise. Even if it takes me an hour to finish a 30 min yoga tape, because I'm playing with my daughter, or she's running through my legs, jumping on my back, picking up my weights. I MAKE THE TIME. Even on vacation. Even while pregnant. I am always always conscious of what I put into my body, even medication, and pollutants. It is so much a part of me now I feel odd NOT caring. SURE, I indulge in all kinds of junk food. Remember the nachos? And brownies. And pizza. And Chinese food! But I do so in moderation, because I know those foods are not benefiting my body in some way. If I eat ice cream one day, I don't eat it for the next 7. If I have a heavy meal, like pasta, I try to eat light the next day. Its as simple as that. But it's also work.
The idea that skinny people don't have to earn their skinniness is just people's way of bullying them for their hard, sweaty, disciplined work. Granted, there are some women who will always be thin, and never have to count how many French fries they eat. Like my sister in law ☺ she doesn't know how lucky she is. But the majority of us work, really really hard, for our fitness and health. I want to be able to be proud of my body, my muscle, and my strength, without being bullied, or called a show off. I don't want to be insulted for something that makes me happy. And I don't want the credit stolen from me. I earned this.

I am so grateful for my health. I'm grateful for a functioning body. I'm grateful for my discipline and desire to treat my body as a gift, with respect and love. Even when I have days when I hate my body, since we all do, I still go on knowing all I can do is be the best ME I can be. We all have insecurities and I have body image issues like the next guy. They were very prominent in my pubescent years when all young girls doubt themselves. But I also have a realistic view of myself. I'm more confident now knowing I'll never be 5"10. I'll never have a ballerina body. I won't have big hips, or big breasts. And there are things about my face I cannot change. (I'm anti plastic surgery so let's not go there) The hippie in me has come to a peaceful understanding and alliance with this body, the body that God gave me, and I will always cherish it and try to be as thankful as possible for it.

Please remember, what you are sensitive about, weight, acne, height, money, etc, may be different than what someone else is sensitive about. May we, as women, be better at encouraging one another instead of belittling each other.
Lastly, our bodies are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. My ideal body is different than yours, and that's okay. Someone out there on this enormous plant will be attracted to your body and you should never have to fit into somebody else's idea of perfect. Just find a perfect that makes you happy. And if you're struggling getting there, remember, it won't be easy but it will be worth it!

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