You know I’m fat. You know I’m a girl. You know I run. I’ve written posts about my weight before, but how do I really feel about being a fat runner? What do I really think of my body?
Before I go on, I need to be clear that this post is about me and what I think of my body. It does not reflect what I think about other people. I’ve had enough of being judged myself to know I’d rather ‘do unto others’; so I don’t judge. Also, you’ve probably figured out by now that I am really, really hard on myself. I don’t extend that to anyone else. I would ask anyone reading this post to keep that in mind.*
The truth is, I hate it. I hate my body.
I hate it because my body is telling the wrong story.
I look in the mirror and all I see is a fat, ugly, disgusting blob; a waste of a human being. I hate my reflection and cringe whenever I see it. I avoid looking into mirrors or windows because the person I see reflected is not the person I expect to see.
I don’t see a body that ran a marathon after 7 months of training. I don’t see a body that runs 5 days a week. I don’t see a body that has been working out on a regular basis. I don’t see a body that is fed with healthy foods. I don’t see a body that takes on interval training, hill sessions and tempo runs every week. I don’t see a body that has a healthy heart. I don’t see a body with clean lungs, a strong core and healthy blood. I don’t see a body that is running faster than ever and still improving.
All I see is a fat, ugly, disgusting blob.
I am aware that some of these thoughts stem from a long history of low self-esteem; with people and experiences in my past that tore my confidence into shreds and from which I’ve never fully recovered.
Some of these thoughts come from what I know society thinks of me as a fat person. I’ve read about websites devoted to hating fat people. I’ve heard of message forums for people who hate ‘fatties’ where they can post with like-minded people. I’ve heard all about the cards handed out to fat people in London, telling them how much they are hated because they are fat. I’ve seen celebrities derided and mocked in magazines and newspapers for putting on weight.
Personally and closer to home, I’ve been called any number of names because I’m fat. I’ve been insulted, laughed at, pointed to and sneered at; all because I’m fat. Worse than that, I’ve had well-meaning but still hurtful comments about my weight from friends and people who know me. The very worst thing a friend ever said to me, the most hurtful thing, was this: ‘when I see fat people I think god I’m slim’. In my mind I thought ‘I knew it. I knew skinny people felt this way about me’. To have it confirmed made me incredibly sad.
So I know what society thinks of me and my body. I know society assumes that because I’m fat I must sit on the couch all day, eating cakes and cookies and crisps before ordering my takeaway dinner, scoffing it all then washing it down with a two litre bottle of Coke before waddling off to the doctors office and taking up a chair that rightfully belongs to someone who is ‘really’ sick. I know society thinks a fat tax will help me lose weight because then I won’t buy those cakes, cookies, crisps and Coke if they are taxed through the roof.
What society doesn’t know is that I don’t eat those foods, or drink fizzy drinks, and can’t even remember the last time I was at a doctor’s office. All society sees when they look at me is a fat, ugly, disgusting, blob. They see that because my body is telling the wrong story.
But as much as I hate my body for it; I am grateful for my body as well.
My body is healthy. My limbs are intact and in working order. Everything works the way it should. My body is fit; it had the stamina to train for and run a near-7 hour marathon and the ability to be back running 9 days afterwards. It has the strength to run 5 days a week and workout once a week on top of that. It has the energy to run interval, hill and tempo sessions the way my coach wants me to. My body has a strong, healthy heart. My body has clean lungs, strong core and healthy blood. My body is able to run faster then ever, and is still improving.
My body is pretty awesome to be able to do all that. Even if it doesn’t look like it. Which is why, whenever I do get a glimpse of myself in the mirror I feel so disgusted.
My body is telling the wrong story.
But I don’t let that stop me. Regardless of what society thinks and despite how I feel about myself; I don’t let it hold me back. I will use my strong, capable and healthy body to keep on running. I have training to do, races to run and PB’s to chase.
*Why am I posting about this now? Because I think that despite the growing ‘fat acceptance, love your body’ movement, there are some of us who struggle with body image and who can’t envisage loving our bodies the way this movement wants us to. But like any belief system, just because others tell me I should think differently, doesn’t mean my thoughts and feelings about myself are invalid. They are anything but; they are valid and valuable. No I don’t ’embrace my curves’ and I feel it’s ok not to so long as I don’t let it stop me from achieving my goals. And you know, not loving my body doesn’t mean I’m any less happy with my life. Hating my body doesn’t mean I hate myself. I have a good life and I’m happy. I love my personality and my quirks. And that’s ok too.**
**I know this is a touchy subject. I invite comments/debate/discussion, all I ask is that you comment with compassion. As usual, comments are moderated.