How to Deal: “YOU run?”

For those of us who are not waifish gazelles, inevitably we will be met with the look of skepticism and voice of shock as the person asks, “YOU run?”

I’ve been told by a few people I don’t look like a runner.  You go to enough running groups and depending on the group, you feel like you don’t belong.  I’m not saying the groups aren’t welcoming, but when you’re left in the dust and you’re the only person there with body fat, well, it’s awkward.

Recently, in tabulating minutes for a fitness challenge at work, no one believed my tally. I walk to work, I run after work, I row after work.  A colleague looked at me and (innocently) said no one would believe my numbers.  I can’t fault him, I’m surprisingly active and you wouldn’t really know it to look at me. Sometimes, I wonder what it’s like to just be naturally thin and have everyone baseline assume that you work out, or that your working out means more.

I sit on the rowing machine in the gym and see the thin girls on the elliptical as I sweat and huff and puff my way through another 1k repeat and I can’t help but feel a little irritated.  Here I sit, working my ass off for modest (if any) gains, and socially they get rewarded for reading Us Weekly while leisurely stepping. No one’s questioning their minutes tabulated at the work fitness challenge.

My friend chastised me for “skinny shaming” with these thoughts and I balked at that.  How would it feel to have people doubt that you did a marathon, hm? How would you like it if people questioned how active you were because, let’s face it, you just don’t look like you do anything aside from sit on the couch and eat? Exactly, you’d be fucking pissed off and angry, too, so maybe let’s exercise a little less thin privilege, shall we?

So to all my fellow peeps who get shit about not looking like they work out, I tell you this: like Michael Jackson said, you are not alone and I am here with you.

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3 thoughts on “How to Deal: “YOU run?”

  1. OH MY GOD you are in my head. I can run ten miles and gain four pounds. BUT I CAN RUN TEN MILES. Sometimes it’s really discouraging to be the slow, non-thin person when others make it look so easy. And I work with 7th graders who are often VERY concerned with body image. I try to remind them that hey, I’m not skinny but I can run a half marathon. I’m working on taking my own advice. 😉

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