I’ve been fortunate to not have been directly fat shamed since I’ve started running. Or maybe I have, and just let it slide. I know that so many others have, and not all of them have been exactly “fat.” Celebrities Alyssa Milano and Jennifer Lawrence have been fat shamed. Seriously. Who can forget the drama and pain of Delta Burke when her own producers — one a woman — fat shamed her and then fired her from a hit TV show.
I heard one personal trainer friend, when talking with another tall, slim, stereotypically thin runner, make snide comments about larger persons and their lack of perceived effort to get thinner. I was saddened and disappointed by her comments. I respect her knowledge and gifts as a trainer, but honestly, after that exchange she’s dropped a little in my esteem. It’s difficult to confront people about touchy subjects, and being shamed for your size is a touchy subject. I wanted to say something right then and there, to call her out on it. I didn’t. I don’t think it would have made much difference in her opinion of fat people.
Now, I know the reality is that many fat folks have gotten that way from making poor choices about nutrition and exercise. But did you know about a theory called Body Weight Set-Point? You can read more here (date unknown), but in a tiny nutshell it says your body has determined the size, weight and amount of fat you will have, and will bust its hump to keep you there, no matter how hard you bust your hump to get it to change. Some say you can change your set-point but to do so can take years of retraining your body’s natural defense mechanism against starvation, or its perceived threat of it.
I discovered this for myself a couple of years ago. I worked really hard to lose about 30 pounds over a several month period. Maintaining it would have been even harder and that thought was overwhelming, to the point I couldn’t maintain the program. The weight crept back on, and eventually my weight settled around the weight I started with. In 2015 I trained for a half iron distance triathlon — that’s a 70.3 mile race if you didn’t know. I never lost any noticeable weight. Yes, yes, I traded fat for muscle, blah, blah, blah — and yet still didn’t slim down. Muscle takes about 1/3 to 1/2 the volume of fat, pound for pound, by the way. My body likes its fat. It just does. I wish it didn’t, really.
Watch the mini documentary about one woman who has no problems shutting down haters and shamers. She is a fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador. I can’t wait to meet her and give her a huge hug.