Before I launched the site, I created a list of topics I wanted to write about and in what general order I thought of doing them. But sometimes when you're really feeling something, you just have to go with it. And for heaven's sake, this is my website after all. I can do as I please and write about what I think is right for that moment- because, in the words of Queen Béy:
This is a rather serious topic for a Monday, but I would like to share my story from yesterday.
There is a man who I see pretty frequently around the gym. I had just finished training a few clients and I had gotten changed to get started with my workout (which nowadays means my physical therapy exercises and some upper body...Every day is upper body day now.). As I am about to plug my headphones in, he was right by me. I glanced up and we made eye contact and I smiled at him. He then came over to me, and the following conversation ensued:
Man: "Hey, how are you, haven't seen you in awhile."
Me: "Oh yeah, summer schedule has been a bit different, and I was out for 6 weeks because I had surgery."
Man: "Oh wow. I haven't seen you working out like you used to- your body used to be sick and I've been wondering what happened."
Me: "....um well....can't really workout intensely right now...yeah"
Then I hurried away.
Two things happened immediately afterward: First, my face was white as a sheet from embarrassment and I felt like I got hit in the gut with my cast-iron skillet. Then, all the blood came rushing back into my face as I became furious and immediately regretted the fact that I even dignified his rude and ignorant comment with a response AND even more regretful of the fact that I instinctively felt a need to even explain myself to him.
My road to recovery from my hip surgery has not been easy physically, but it's been way tougher emotionally.
Last year, I got in the best shape of my life and found a deep love for strength training and fitness. Then my hip injury imploded on me and suddenly, I found myself unable to workout without unbearable pain and my body reached a point where it wasn't even about the pain anymore because my body was physically restricting me from movement I was telling it to do.
Working out to me is so much more than exercise and feeling good. It's my outlet, my happy place, and my "me" time that has helped me work through a lot of overwhelming times of uncertainty in my life. So imagine if someone told you that you couldn't do the thing that made you feel good, healthy, and happy. That's a serious blow.
I haven't talked many details yet about my disordered eating- but I'll state something plain and clear from the start. This is not an illness that you just up and get over and move on with your life and forget. It's like a little creature living under your bed- you can't eliminate him altogether, but over time, I've put him to a deep sleep. But there are moments in life that make loud noises and threaten to wake the little bugger up, but with healthy behavioral changes and being in tune with myself, I am better prepared to tuck him back to sleep.
But this whole ordeal has been a constant barrage of little earthquakes for him. Obviously when I stopped being able to workout 5-6 times a week like I was formerly doing, my body started to change. This hip thing all started in November of last year and I only had my surgery in May, so that's 7 months pre-surgery that I could do a bare minimum of "working out." I was getting depressed, unmotivated, and I lost a good deal of that hard-earned muscle and put on some body fat/weight. This started to set off alarms in my brain that the little creature was awake and lurking to wreak havoc.
While it's nice to say "the only one who notices or cares about my body and size is me," reality is, is that it's not necessarily true. There are some jerks in this world. Especially when you have a job like mine where your body is essentially a walking advertising tool for my business. And sometimes I'm forced to deal with those jerks like that guy yesterday. But should I give a flying monkey about what asinine people like him think of my body? Uh, hell freaking no.
No one, I repeat, NO ONE has a right to judge you and your body.
Anyhow, instead of giving the little creature what he wanted and obsessively control every bite that did or didn't go in my mouth, I purposefully went the opposite direction and tried to relax and accept the situation the best I could and still live. Sure, I wasn't happy with the situation and still to this day have moments where I feel quite uncomfortable in this weaker and slightly softer body, but preserving the health of my mind and behavior has been of far higher priority than starving myself to remain perfectly fitting the same size jeans.
I know I can get my athletic body back if I want to once I'm ready to really workout again, but my sanity isn't something guaranteed back if I willingly sacrifice it. I've done it before and will never do it again.
So I want to sum this all up with a response I would like to give to that man:
Thank you oh so very much for thinking my body was sick last fall- clearly, I did all that hard work so men like you could do me the honor of complimenting me! As for what happened, not that it's remotely any of your business, but I've been up to a lot. I had a very serious injury that led to surgery, so indeed, I haven't been working out like I used to, and that's changed the shape of my body. I'm someone with a history of disordered eating that wasn't helped by people like you who spread body judgement, especially on the female population. I've worked quite hard to reach a point where I can love my body for the way it is, regardless of what size I am at, but people like you are who make it that much harder for women to accept and love their bodies. I'm sorry that you don't have anything better to do with your time than to notice, judge, and remark on the trainer who you've never spoken to before's physical appearance. Now go back to doing your sh*tty crunches that aren't good for you and have a nice day!