My friends and I are bitches. We are skinny bitches. (I would never, ever call myself skinny, but some do.) But we are those girls who, at most, have just a few vanity pounds to lose, yet complain about the “need” to lose them. We complain about how poorly we eat, how we suck because we don’t make it to the gym x days per week, and how we didn’t get in our xx miles for the week. We whine about the cut of our jeans make us look like we have a muffin top, how our shirts cling to our guts, and how “nothing looks right”.
Bitches. All of us.
I realized how dumb all of these moans and groans are last week. It doesn’t make my feelings any less real, but it really makes me think about the things I say, to whom I say them, and how I behave.
I was at my local gym, in the middle of some sort of torturous workout which included several 250m repeats on the rower. I hate the rower. (I can run 100 miles but hate every moment of a 1000m row. Shoot me.) (See? Bitch.) This particular workout took me to the rower four times, with about 8 minutes between each visit. On my 3rd visit, as I was cursing that wretched machine, two people climbed on the two treadmills directly in front of me.
It looked like these two folks were a couple. He was extremely overweight, if not obese. She was most certainly obese and had a hard time just getting on the treadmill. I saw them both power up their machines as I wiped down the rower. I moved on in my circuit, wondering how long they might hang around.
When I returned for my fourth and final row, they were still there. They were both walking pretty slowly and she was really, really struggling. She was struggling so much that she had to step off the belt, onto the sides of the machine. I cocked my head just enough (while rowing) to see what she was doing. She was walking at 2.0 mph at a few percent incline. She had been on for 7 minutes and was struggling a ton. I popped off the rower, cleaned it off, and finished my circuit.
When I came out of the locker room to get Little Dude from childcare, I could see that this couple was sitting in the massaging recliners at the entrance to the gym. She was completely reclined and looked miserable. She looked like she had just run 100 miles, but she had walked 0.33 miles.
I looked at them and thought “YES!” I didn’t know how to say anything to them without it coming across as rude or condescending, so I said nothing. I send the most positive thoughts I could to them, as hard as I could. I wanted them to know that what they did was awesome. I wanted them to know that it was the step in the right direction – whatever their goal was. I wished they could read my mind, and that they could know that I meant everything in the most sincere way possible. I wish they knew I wasn’t really a bitch all the time.
These images stuck with me over the next few days. I wondered if this was their first time there. I wondered if they felt comfortable at our gym, with our increasing number of very lean, fit people. I was so happy that they were there – that they were trying. Honestly, I was sad that it was so hard for her to complete her goal of 10 minutes. Most of all, though, I wondered if they would be back.
Seeing her struggle with her walk made me realize how dumb I sound when I whine about my fat stomach, my big thighs, my run that was “only” 10 miles, that I could “only” eek out 25 push-ups, or that I struggle with a 95 lb deadlift. How irritating must that be to the people who I force to hear such things? I have a few girlfriends who listen to me and then whine just the same. But sometimes I make such utterances to other people who I’m sure want to slap me.
My “problems” (as I’ve outlined in this post, anyway) are not real problems. I have created them and I can (maybe?) make them go away. I could choose to accept my current weight and forget about losing the few pounds that irritate me. I could choose to stick with a more “normal” workout routine and not push myself to make arbitrary goals. I could quit trying to fit into the trendy outfits. While those goals help to motivate me to do all sorts of things, they can also cause me a lot of stress and angst. It’s all silly, really. Why can’t I just be happy with the fact that I can live my life as a healthy individual and that walking up a flight of stairs isn’t a problem?