I am overweight.
It's worth noting, that, even with years of therapy and a good feminist critical analysis, it still feels shameful to write that.
But it's the truth that as a result of genetics, too many diets started at too young an age (I was put on my first one when I was nine), too many emotional issues related to food and sheer laziness/inattention I am carrying around at least forty extra pounds.
Yet I wouldn't say that I'm unfit.
My cholesterol, blood sugars and blood pressure are all excellent. I have a resting heart rate of 66. And I have heart scans every three months (because Herceptin can damage the heart), so I know that vital organ is pumping along very efficiently.
I average 5.5 hours of cardio exercise every week. I run 3-4 times a week, for more than forty minutes. And, now that the snow is gone, my bike is my favourite way to get around town.
Yet, even people who know me sometimes express surprise when I mention that I've just been for a run. Or that I resumed running consistently a year ago. They are so surprised that many times, when I say "run", people hear "walk" (the fact that many people can walk as fast as I run is a separate issue entirely).
Neither my oncologist nor my GP are concerned about my weight.
And while I may not be fast, my endurance is better than lots of folks who are much thinner than I am.
So next time you see an overweight person at the gym, on the trail or on the bike path, please don't assume that they don't know what they are doing. Don't act shocked when they tell you they exercise regularly. Don't give them gratuitous advice on how to "start an exercise program" or "how to exercise safely."
Fat does not necessarily mean unfit.