Thursday, April 07, 2011

fat. not unfit.

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.


Amy said...

I am fat and unfit, I am working to be more fit, knowing that I might still be fat, but I will be able to do more things - that's what's important.

Nili said...

I thin, not in a healthy way.

sassymonkey said...

And by that same token thin doesn't mean fit either. Exhibit A = me.

I remember saying something once to someone about wanting to join a gym. The person I was speaking to informed me that I didn't need to join one because I was thin. I am, I said, but I'm not fit. They then became convinced that I had exercise bulimia.

I'm pretty healthy, but I am not physical fit. I'm working on it (slowly) but I'm not and I rarely have been.

laurie said...

Well said, you three.

Nat said...

I so hear you on this. Totally.

laurie said...

Thanks, Nat. You are my fitness hero. Strong!

Lene Andersen said...

I once saw a report that mentioned being overweight and fit is far healthier than the yo-yo dieting.

And you look awesome. So there.

PS I also think there's an extra wrinkle to this. Because when you've been really sick and get better, the surface matters less. I looked anorexic for 2 years when I was on Enbrel. Now that I'm Humira, I've gained some weight, have some curves, am constantly bloated (Humira again( and y'know? I like it. I feel way healthier and much less fragile.

laurie said...

Lene - you are so smart. I love it when you comment here.