zumba face

 

I’m fat. I don’t see it as a negative word, more a descriptive one. Overweight, chubby, curvy… however you want to describe it, I’m a big girl. It is what it is, and it won’t be like that forever. But right now, I’m overweight.

 

Contrary to what you might think after seeing a post-Zumba photo, I’m loving exercise, and I don’t see my size as a barrier to that. I might not be as quick as my thinner sisters, but I sure do give it my all.

 

But I know that a lot of big women don’t enjoy exercise – for various reasons. Some are worried about what people will think or say if they exercise in public, they worry about whether they can keep up, worried they’re going to look silly in exercise clothes… the list is endless. It often feels like there’s so much pressure on us in general, and exercise kinda exacerbates that.

 

But I just wanted to share a story with you, aimed more so at women who are perhaps nervous about taking up exercise, and I hope that sharing this will spur you on. But it’s a cool story either way.

 

Regular readers of this blog will know that I go to Zumba three times a week and I tend to cycle everywhere and so last night, after a particularly horrendously difficult and hot-as-Hades Zumba class, I cycled home. It takes me six minutes to cycle to this venue, because it’s all downhill, and therefore twice as long to cycle home, because it’s all uphill!

 

I was dripping with sweat. I looked like I’d gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. I was red, exhausted, dead. My rucksack felt like 10 bricks were inside it, instead of a small towel and a bottle of water. I couldn’t wait to get home but every push of the pedals telt like I was climbing Everest. As I turned the corner to start the hill, I took a deep breath, put my head down, and slowly made my ascent. I was so slow that the man walking on the pavement beside me was quicker than me on a bike. But it was fine, I wasn’t put off, I just pushed on.

 

(Quick insertion of my favourite Zumba faces)

 

zumba faces

 

Anyway, as I approached the first junction on the left of me, a jeep type vehicle pulled up with a guy probably my age driving it. He was on his own, the window was down and I wasn’t sure whether he would try and nip out in front of me, especially as I was going so slow, or whether he was going to say something ‘amusing’ that would piss me off and make me want to throw my bike at his head.

 

But instead, he waited patiently for me to pass, and then called out of his window:

 

“Keep going love, you’re doing really well!”

 

It wasn’t patronising or sarcastic – trust me, I’d know if it was, it’s my second language. It was genuine. It really took me by surprise because in my head, I always think that people laugh at me when they see me exercise, especially men, but this man didn’t laugh at me at all.

 

It spurred me on again. The pedals went a little bit faster and before I knew it I got to the top of the hill. I turn right at the top and a car came round the corner and had to wait for me to get to the top before it could carry on down the road (if that makes sense.) As we crossed paths, the lady in the driving seat, sitting next to her teenage daughter, wound down the window:

 

“Well done! You’ve got this!”

 

I was really taken aback – which is a little sad in itself, because these are just regular people saying nice things, but I’m not used to it and it was magnificent. I was seriously chuffed.

 

So the point of this post is to say that you, and I, need to stop listening to that internal negative voice that tells us we look fat and stupid when we exercise. People don’t think that. Most people look on in admiration at us trying to better ourselves. We don’t look stupid, we look like the absolute Queens we are.

 

I may never hear comments like that again, and most of the time I bumble about with my headphones in any way, but that night, I’m glad I heard every last word. I’m fat, but getting thinner, fitter and, quite frankly, more awesome by the day. And so is every woman reading this – remember that the next time doubt creeps in. Let’s be proud of ourselves, no matter how beetroot-red we get after a Zumba class!

 

kate sutton

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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29 Comments

  1. Totally agree. When I started my fitness kick a year ago, I was mortified at going out, but now it doesn’t bother me. Teens sometimes make fun as I’m a slow runner, but nobody else does.

    We’re doing it for us. Well done you. I dropped 7 stone in a year and doing nicely at keeping it off. Best wishes and keep at it. X

  2. Very uplifting to get positive feedback. I’ve been doing my local Parkrun for 9 weeks and running on my own during the week and I get lots of encouragement, kind words and nothing negative so far.

    I’m a chunky monkey and trying to get fitter and slimmer in that order.

    Love keeping up with weight loss and other topics, JJ

  3. Those voices are so incredibly loud though… made louder still when you can’t ride a bike and your lovely OH bought you one because he knows you want to exercise more. I am terrified. But, this has helped a little… not a huge amount because I live in a way more judgmental society. But maybe, just maybe, it’s not going to be as bad as I imagine!?

    1. I won’t lie and say it’s easy Sharon, most things are scary, but why not start by having your headphones in? (One ear so you can still hear the traffic lol), but it is a good way to get used to the fact that no-one really cares about what we’re doing and, if anything, most people are supportive. Give it a go, maybe just round the block to start with, and see what happens. And then let me know!

  4. That’s brilliant Kate – I am definitely in your target audience for this post. I need to get myself into some kind of shape to be able to go on holiday comfortable in my own skin next year, so I might well be back to re-read this post once baby arrives!

  5. I love it when people encourage others. Ross and I regularly do this to each other when we exercise – and I HATE exercising in public. I think much of the time we are too worried about what people say or think – and the negative ones really do spoil it for everyone else. Well done Kate, you are doing a great job (for the record, I wouldn’t cycle downhill let alone up!).

  6. I don’t do cycling up hills. I might die, for starters. But I do ride my bike and I swim, and I don’t worry what anyone else thinks on the basis I assume they’re too busy worrying what I think about them. But I did read a post a year or two back that this reminded me of – it was from a slim woman about what she thinks when she sees a fat woman working out, and it was about how she admired them, how hard they were working because they were carrying more weight with every step, how they were committed to being healthy regardless of weight/size, and I guess I bear that in mind when I’m being lapped by some size 10 granny at the pool = I’m swimming harder, pushing harder and if I’m a bit slower, well, so be it!

    1. Thanks for sharing that story, I love hearing about other women being supportive of other women … because these days it just doesn’t seem to happen very often! I think as women, no matter what our size, we just presume (often wrongly) that other women are judging us in a negative way, and it’s hard to envisage they’re thinking anything else but the thing is, we’re all insecure about our bodies, and we’re all just doing our best to live our lives and, in some cases, better ourselves. Whether it’s swimming or cycling uphill … I reckon we should all just be a little kinder to each other.

  7. I love this Kate. You’re so right about our own inner voices often being our worst enemies when it comes to pushing ourselves to achieve something. Since moving house I’ve not had the same network of support to look after the kids while I exercise and I’ve been starting to put on the lbs. Part of me is now thinking I’m making excuses for myself. You’ve inspired me to think again about fitting some exercise into my day, even if it is with two pre-schoolers ‘helping’ me 🙂

  8. I always think ‘well done you!’ when I see someone who is a bit bigger running. I think because I am not what you would call svelte and I know it’s not easy getting out the door. Never thought to say anything to them but I might just next time!

    1. If you do decide to say something, I’d love to know how it went! I think we should all just be more positive to everyone in general, but this is a good place to start I reckon.

  9. OMG Kate i stumbled upon your blog this eve pining your weetabix brownie recipe, and something about the way you write just made me have to read more. I love the posts. As a slimming worlder myself a lot of what you have to say and are going through resonates with me. This post in particular. I started running when i started slimming world. Needless to say i looked like a swan being chased by a rabbid dog. However running round a local lake an old man said to me ‘keep going duck (im in stoke!) Ill see you on the other side i bet you beat me’ needless to say i didnt! But yes there are nice people still out there. I have to say im a fan and ill deffinatley keep reading. Keep it up and not to sound to cheesy but you go girl! 🙂

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