Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting It Up

Get your minds out of the gutter, people. :) I mean my big, fat ass!

I know pretty much everyone that comes here also reads AndreAnna, but in case you happen to come here first today (although I don't know why you would, because she's way cooler than I am), she's issued us all a fitness challenge - work out, report your total time per week to her, and she'll donate $1 to breast cancer research for every five hours logged!! Plus, she's doing Couch to 5K, which will coincide with her running the Komen 5K in the fall.

I'm going to do the C25K program too. I also joined sparkpeople.com this morning, which is a site devoted to all aspects of fitness - meal tracking, calorie tracking, exercise tracking, animal tracking (oops, not really that last one), you name it. I need to get myself in gear, and overcome both my mental and emotional insecurities. In the name of full disclosure, I'll admit my dirty little exercise secret to you.

I am afraid to really work out in public. There, I said it.

I have been heavy all my life, to varying degrees. When I was in school, until high school, I was The Fat Kid. I had almost no friends until junior high, and was the constant butt of every joke you could imagine. I was laughed at, ridiculed by people I knew and those I didn't. As I got older, I gained friends and lost some weight, but still the habits of children die hard, so even though I was an acceptable weight in high school, I was still called names by those looking to have someone to pound on. Those names have stayed with me my entire life.

Even as I have gotten older, I think I still radiate the expectation of being ridiculed, because I still hear comments sometimes, mostly from either kids or low-class types, but regardless of the source, they still hurt. Ironically, the times I am most likely to hear comments is when I'm exercising - nothing like being told you have a jello ass when you're doing the very thing it would take to get rid of it, because the first thing it makes me want to do is go home, put away my sneakers, and hide under a blanket with a book.

I used to feel relatively safe at the gym, in lifting classes. I have always been strong, and yoga and weights have always been my strong suit. That is, until last year, when I was in a strength class at my new gym for the first time and was singled out by the trainer as being off balance and 'doing it wrong' in front of the entire class, and I had to admit in front of everyone that I have scoliosis and one of my legs is longer than the other as a result. She was slightly abashed, but the damage was done - everyone was staring at me, and I was humiliated. I never went back.

Over the years, I have learned to compensate for whatever it is that attracts people to pay me attention. I exercise quietly, by walking - never running, which would make my boobs jiggle and invite comments - or doing yoga at home. I always have my dogs with me when I'm outside, both because I like having them with me and because they distract attention from me / give me a focus other than what people may be thinking about me.

I am 35 years old, was most way to an MBA before I stopped working while pregnant with Patrick, and can sew fabulous party dresses for Josie. I volunteer, sing in a choir, and can deliver children's messages in front of an entire congregation with ease. I did the Avon 3-Day a few years back. In short, I'm a smart, sometimes interesting person, and I generally don't care whether people agree with me or not. However, if someone should make even the most remote comment about my body, I want to die. This is a ridiculous state of affairs, that I should have reached this point in my life and still be internalizing what people think about my looks. It will stop here. I'm going to do this workout schedule to join AndreAnna, to raise money, and most importantly at the moment, to show myself that I can do it. I will shut those people up, yes, but I will shut up my own demons as well. I WILL.


AndreAnna said...


I'm so glad you're in this with me!

Swistle said...

Okay, totally, WHAT IS THE DEAL with people who say mean things to people who are exercising?? I was running last summer and some boys in a car yelled out some fat stuff, and I was like, "OMG!! Shouldn't you be screaming encouragements if you think being fatter than a slim high school girl is such a BIG HUGE AWFUL thing??"

LoriD said...

Kids can be cruel, but my cruelest comment came from a mom. I was swimming in my friend's pool, holding onto the edge while kicking my legs. I made a joke that this exercise would help me get rid of my big butt. My friend's mom said, "oh, you'll never get rid of your big butt; it's the way you were born and you're doomed to live with it forever" I was 10 years old and SKINNY!

I'm exactly the same as you in the exercising quietly department. I'm self-consious about my level of skill and would die if anyone made a comment about it.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

That's awesome that you're going to do the C25K.

I hear you on internalizing what people say about your looks. I have lost weight. I can run (just did 6 miles yesterday!). BUT, I am SO self-conscious. I don't belong to a gym so I run outside. I HATE it when the neighbors see me running so we run really early in the morning, or my preference, late at night (because it being dark helps me feel less conscious about what I look like). And it is sweltering here already so there is no hiding behind sweatshirts or sweatpants unless you want to die.

And I'm that way from comments made in the junior high locker room (can I forget those already? sheesh!), comments my mom has made, and other stinging comments I can't get out of my memory.

When will it be ok? That's what I want to know. I guess I just need to build up that confidence to shatter the hurt from the past.

Elizabeth Channel said...

OK, I need to check out AndreAnna so I can get motivated. I started walking two weeks ago and I have actually gained weight!

Maybe all that strawberry short cake ice cream is the culprit?

Rebecca said...

Great post! I started the 30 Day Shred yesterday in addition to my gym workouts and I do have to say I haven't been this sore since I very first started working out. OUCH. It's good though I think. Sparkpeople is one of my favorite sites! WTG doing the couch to 5K... One day I WILL run a 5K too! Off to look at this challenge :)

Hotch Potchery said...

I am a BIG girl. BIG. NOT small. I am doing the Couch to 5K program, and it is working for me. Now, I must say it has taken me the better part of a month to do "week 5" and I am slower than their times might suggest I would be, but I AM DOING IT. Luckily, I have never really been taunted about my weight (that I can hear), except by a 6 year old once, and by an anonymous student who called me a fat bitch. But I always imagine it happening, and it is beyond mortifying. Awful. I encourage you to do it anyway. You said it yourself, you rock. DO NOT LET the assholes get you down. Sorry to hog the comment section, but yay, another C25K'er!

Marie Green said...

Holy shit, I'm scarred FOR you just reading that. I exercise outside often, I am overweight (my BMI says I'm obese) and I've NEVER heard a comment like that.... is it a "Minnesota Nice" thing or WHAT? It's just so... OBSCENE. I'm in shock.

However, I DO remember kids being teased in school, most especially for their weight. Man, I furvently hope that I can raise kids that don't do that. Please, God, PLEASE???

In any case, I've done (part of) the C25K a couple of times, and while I've never actually made it to the 5K, I DID really learn to enjoy running. Recently I've been commited to exercising more too- doing the 30DS almost every day, and most days doing 1/2 hour of something else as well (usually just brisk walking). I'm open to tryig the C25K again, once the weather warms here (currently it's BLIZZARDING), and this time I'm more focused on staying active that getting thin. A good place to be yes?

(Though I have to admit that I'm also trying to conquor that BESHITTED BMI reading. FARK.)

So, I'm not sure how reliable I can be to report my hours of exercise to AndreAnna, but know that I'm sweating along with you... and feeling stronger and better by the day.

Marie Green said...

Oh! One more thing- I would HIGHLY recommend measuring yourself instead of going only by the scale. I did this, and last week I gained a pound after working my ASS off, but lost SEVERAL inches from my waist, hips, arms, and legs. So I didn't feel nearly as discouraged as I would've without seeing those numbers drop. I'm not sure how I could GAIN weight but loose inches, but I did. I guess muscle really *does* weigh more than fat.

Marie Green said...

Oh! One more thing- I would HIGHLY recommend measuring yourself instead of going only by the scale. I did this, and last week I gained a pound after working my ASS off, but lost SEVERAL inches from my waist, hips, arms, and legs. So I didn't feel nearly as discouraged as I would've without seeing those numbers drop. I'm not sure how I could GAIN weight but loose inches, but I did. I guess muscle really *does* weigh more than fat.

Marie Green said...

Also-also, I am a smart person but a horrible speller. Please believe me. ;)

desperate housewife said...

Good for you. And gosh, don't you just want to smack those little bastards!? Who DOES that? I'm with Marie. I think that is crazy mean. Around here, oh my gosh, I think a kid WOULD get smacked for saying something like that. By the closest adult around!

Anonymous said...

Good for you! You can totally do this.

And I am with you on exercising in public- that Is something I've never been able to do. In a a confused fit of motivation, I went to the free (military) gym and signed up, feeling all good about myself. That was two months ago. I haven't been back since! I don't know what I wadthinling. All the other gym people who were there stared at me JUST WHILE I WAS WALKING THROUGH ON THE TOUR! How could I possibly change into workout clothes and exercise in front of them? Another part of the fear is that I'm clueless when it comes to how to work the machines. I suppose the mature thing to do would be to just GO and GET OVER IT, but who wants to be mature?

Anyway, it's awesome of you to be taking this step. Maybe you have a friend who'd be able to do the public exercise with you? That would make it so much more bearable, at least for me.

Kristi said...

Go You!!

The Couch to 5k sounds like a great plan.

I'm trying to get more active too. I really want to wear shorts this summer! And take Kaeli to the waterpark without feeling embarrassed!

Chantal said...

I did the couch to 5K and loved it. It really is a great way to learn how to run. I started last May and I am running 5K consistently now. Although winter was tough. I have heard about sparkpeople. I never signed up though. Maybe I should. I could use some extra help. I was overweight as a child, and even though I thinned out as a teen I was never as thin as my friends and it made a huge impression on me. Just this weekend I visited with an old friend and she couldn't get over how still to this day I obsess about my weight. And I remember feeling humiliated as a child. Oh man. Take Care!

Stimey said...

I have the couch to 5k information sitting on my desk right now. (Of course it's been sitting here for two weeks—as have I.)I relate to so much of what you say here. Good luck!

Susiewearsthepants said...

To this very day, I hate wearing my hair up because of my ears. They aren't big, they just stick out. A lot. My older brother made fun of me SO much, that at the age of 33 I still keep them covered all the time. I am sending a very long lasting, irritating itchy rash in a very uncomfortable place to all those who teased you. (I would send something more serious, but that's bad karma)

Bring A. Torch said...

My shrink always says she thinks I've lost weight. Now that I have finally actually lost a teeny bit, I saw her yesterday and she doesn't say anything. I hate hate hate what happened to you at the gym, and it makes me incredibly grateful for the places I've found where it feels safe to jiggle my Jell-O. You kick ass.