Saturday, April 24, 2010

Working Out

Now if you know me at all, I am a person who is very comfortable in her own skin. I don't really mind if I am overweight, nor do I mind if people think that "sayang naman, maganda ka, pero mataba." For me, dress size and weight does not equate beauty. I do not envy those skinny models at all. I sort of even pity them, being so thin. I admire rounder and shapelier women. Who gets turned on by looking at a bag of bones? For me beauty is how you carry yourself, how you dress and how you talk and your intelligence. If I were a guy, I would rather go for someone I can actually talk to, rather than a jejemon who is thin but won't be able to carry on a conversation that does not have "po" or "you naman."

So I never did see why people think that a person is ugly because they're fat. I never see why a person is a "waste" because they're overweight. I do understand, however, if people are concerned about someone else's health.

Maybe a month ago, I finally got myself a gym membership. I think the biggest hurdle is actually walking through the door and saying, "so, how do I sign up?" The second biggest hurdle is going into the workout area and not knowing anyone and...anything.

But things have changed. I now know a few people. The nice receptionist still gets my name wrong, but you know, whatever. At least she DOES recognize me as part of the gang. The name I am sure she will remember after asking a few more times.

I promised myself to go to the gym at least 5 times a week, at least for the first three months, unless something more important comes up. I've been good so far. Going on the treadmill or lifting those goddamned dumbells has become relaxing for me. I can totally get my mind off work and just concentrate on the counting and breathing (which, trust me, does not come so very easy after running a couple of miles). I am also changing the dynamics of my diet. So far I have lost a pound and a half, which is a healthy start.

In any case, this is not an entry about my losing weight. It is an entry that celebrates different kinds of women, and the struggle to make others understand that there is always a story behind every woman who seemed to have "let go." Most people see a fat woman and right away they would say "man, that one is letting herself go." I, for one, gained weight after working nights at a call center, everyday hating my job but I still went for it because at that time I had no other choice. At that time I was also primarily taking care of our finances and also sending some home. At that time, I was a 20-year-old girl who had the genetic tendency to gain weight and a lot of stress. So I turned to the bad guys: soda, pizza, junk food. Food felt good. In hindsight, I realize how gross it was to have eaten all those things (imagine 1 gallon ice cream AND pizza AND cake) with no single thought of my health. It was easy to put on some extra pounds that way, but is it REALLY fair for you to say that I let myself go? Wouldn't you if you were in my shoes?

A young mother I met recently at my other job told me that she has gained so much weight (from 137 lbs to 175 lbs, 5'1", in one year) after her baby was diagnosed with cancer. She was working two full time jobs, one at an office and the other one home-based, so she can provide for her baby's treatment. She carried her laptop with her and worked in hospital hallways as doctors would operate on her sick child. She made a lot of money working twice as hard, and she would "reward" herself with all the treats she can eat. Like me, food was her drug, and the only thing that kept her going, quite literally. She's definitely not a slob, only someone who is trying everything to get going.

Can we also blame those whose parents have spoiled so much? Those whose families bonded over food and parties? Is THAT considered "letting go"? How about those with metabolic problems?

My whole point is for people not to be so quick to judge. There is always a story behind that fat girl scarfing down that bag of cheetos. I am not saying it's healthy. All I am saying is that you're not helping any, so shut your face.

Which reminds me to add this little footnote. I am not going to the gym for anybody but myself. I am the one with weight problems, I am the one with a family history of heart disease and hypertension. I am doing this for myself. I love Allan, but I am not doing this even for him, although I am quite happy that he is going with me. I am not doing this for fashion, or to fit into a size 0 or look sexy in lingerie. Those are only fringe benefits. Gone are the days when women want to look good FOR men. Most empowered women today want to look good because they want to look good and I feel the same way. I am terribly annoyed at people who even make this ignorant assumption. I am doing this for HEALTH, nothing more and nothing less.

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