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Stop Settling

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On a Spark Team I lead, a woman posted a concern about her feelings of fatigue when performing a certain kind of exercise. A bunch of us jumped in to say, oh yeah, that's really common when you first start out because you are not performing the exercise in an efficient way, and here are some tips for how you can make it much more effective and less likely to cause injury.

"Oh, thank you," she said. "I just figured it was happening because I'm fat."

I've also seen topics where women went to the doctor for a problem and only got a diagnosis of "it's because you're fat; lose weight." Even when the problem had nothing to do with their body size. And these women just accepted that answer.

I've done it myself. When I only had one bike and was riding a lot, I was continually needing to adjust the seat height. "Well," I thought, "that's because you're so heavy. You're just making the seat go down."

Then I got my hybrid bike, and I never had a problem with the seat height changing on it. Still, it didn't occur to me that the problem might be mechanical rather than my fault until my daughter Erin started riding that bike and had the same seat-slip issue. That was when we finally took it to the bike shop and found out that the seat stem was the wrong diameter for the bike. Because it was Erin, I thought of doing something to fix the situation. When it was just me? Well, I just had to settle for what I could manage.

When you're fat, there is a lot of assumption by society that anything wrong with you is wrong because you are fat. And that you should be ashamed of your body size and simply endure the failure state of whatever is wrong, because it's clearly being caused by your fatness.

So we settle. We assume the guilt for any failure is in ourselves, not in the product or service that failed. We are too ashamed to even ask whether the problem might not be our fault; we just assume the failure is personal and, silently and in deep embarrassment, endure it.

It's time to stop that. Yes, there are situations where weight is a contributing factor to a problem, but we need to stop just assuming that weight is the only possible factor. We need to ask questions and really look at the answers. Because the first answer may be predicated on weight assumptions made by the person we're asking. If the answer is "you just have to deal with it," it's time to ask about alternatives.

We may be on this journey with the goal of losing that weight and getting into better shape, but that doesn't mean that we should punish ourselves by settling for now.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Such words of wisdom!
    1687 days ago
    Well said MissG! And sometimes its our fault because we are "just women". Grrrrr. Don't even get me started!

    1700 days ago
    emoticon blog!
    1702 days ago
    I love this it is a very good blog

    1703 days ago
    yep, even fat people have fattitudes and perpetuate/join in with the fat bashing/rationalizations... we all need to stop ascribing issues/solutions to a persons weight and deal with the specific. excellent thougths, thanks for sharing!
    1703 days ago
  • HILLSLUG98239
    Well, yeah.

    There's a woman with whom I frequently share an elevator ride in the morning. She's a little plump, and like most people I encounter, she's amazed I commute by bike. She often comments that she really needs to work out, but she's just not a morning person. I point out to her that the best time to work out is when you're actually going to do it. Yes, there's evidence morning workouts are more effective, but if you're not a morning person, feeling guilty about not working out is not going to change the fact you're not a morning person.

    The next time I share an elevator ride with her, I hope to hear she's found a way to squeeze a workout into her evenings. We function best as a society when each of us works to our full potential, not when each of us comply with a given set of norms. Fat people should NOT expect to be unhealthy just because they're fat. We can all make positive choices for our health and well-being.
    1703 days ago
    Very true -- well said!
    1703 days ago
    1703 days ago
    Excellent blog!

    I believe we settle for a lot of reasons, not always because of feeling fat. Feelings of inadequacy can take many forms.
    1703 days ago
    Well said Miss G....this is a long lifetime journey. We can't just settle and wait for someday when the weight is all of. You are right . We need to dig deep to make the best and most of the day! emoticon
    1703 days ago
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