*Trigger warning: contains content concerning body image, dieting and specific numbers regarding pants size and pounds*
To the personal trainer who told me I need to lose ten pounds,
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you probably didn’t realize how triggering a statement like that could be. But I grew up as a ballerina. My teen years were full of weighing and measuring and comparing and worrying if I was enough. Or if I was too much.
You probably didn’t realize that for some people, coming to the gym isn’t about tracking calories or going down a pant size. You didn’t realize that I’m here to empower myself, to be my strongest and healthiest and happiest self.
And you probably didn’t realize that my strongest and healthiest and happiest self has absolutely zero interest in what my BMI is or the number on the scale or my exact body fat percentage.
You probably didn’t realize that I silently told you to f**k off as soon as you told me that according to you I am over weight and you think I should lose ten pounds.
Because I disagree. Because I love me. Because I haven’t ever loved my self as fiercely as I do these days. Because I don’t give a flying rat’s ass if you think I’m not thin enough or strong enough. Or if you think I’m too much of anything.
I love me and I don’t care what you think.
I could have cried when you told me, a woman who wears size zero jeans, that I’m overweight. I could have left the gym and skipped dinner. I even thought about texting a friend to call me and fake an emergency so I could leave my session with you early.
But I didn’t. I silently reminded myself that you were wrong. I played along until my hour was up. And I went home where I cooked a full meal for myself. Veggies and chicken with spicy sauce. Accompanied by red wine and followed by chocolate cake. I knew that you telling me to lose weight didn’t impact my worth. And I knew that I was confident in myself that I could ignore what you thought.
Because I love me. Because I’m not more or less worthy of love and food and self-care based on someone’s opinion of my body. Because I am enough.
This unfortunate event isn’t going to stop me from going to the gym. I’m not going to stop attending dance classes. I’m not going to let myself feel like I’m only able to track my progress if I go by numbers on a scale.
The thing is, sir, you asked me how I was supposed to be able to track my progress if I am not going to weigh myself or measure what my body is doing. How much did I want to be able to lift? How far did I want to be able to run? How much weight did I want to lose?
I was stumped, I didn’t know how to articulate it in person to you then. But here is my answer:
I count my success at the gym by feeling healthy and strong in my everyday life. I track it by the smiles my workout playlist causes. I’m succeeding when my muscles feel comfortable in familiar ballet poses I haven’t attempted in years.
I’ve never actually gone to a Saturday morning yoga class, because I love sleeping in on weekends, but if I ever get myself there I’m sure I’ll consider that a success too. I’ll know I’m successful when I’m 70 and I can still move and dance and wiggle around. (Y’all I wanna be fit and healthy like Jane Fonda when I’m 70 – ya feel?)
To anyone out there who’s ever wondered if you’re too much, or if you’re too little. You’re enough. You’re exactly how you’re meant to be. And you deserve to define progress for yourself as you strive to be strong, happy and healthy.
I texted my friend Kara after this experience, and I wan’t to end today’s post with some of the encouragement she gave me:
Weight is just our relationship with the earth and gravity. The number would be different if we were on the moon. Meaning it’s literally just a number.
The world needs MORE of you if anything, not less. Do something tonight that allows you to feel one with your body, connected and appreciative of it! Affirm it out loud tonight, treat it gently.
Cherish your weight and be grateful for every inch. It has gotten you where you are today.