This is Tiffany and Chrystal. We both run 5ks. We both eat healthy (most of the time – hey, nobody’s perfect). We both work out regularly. We have both been told we inspire others to be more fit. However, people’s perception of us varies greatly. Here, we tell our own personal story. The funny thing is, we’re more alike than you can possibly imagine!
People have told me (and my husband) that when they first meet me, they think I don’t like them, or that I’m stuck up.An old co-worker of mine actually told me she thought I was prejudiced when she first met me.Not because of anything I say, but just how I look at them.Obviously, this is not something I intentionally do.Quite the opposite.I’m SO worried about what people think of me when I meet them because of my weight.I think a lot of people see a heavy woman and think she is lazy, or eats a lot of donuts and ice cream.They would be wrong – about me anyway.
I do have my moments of weakness with food.When I do have those moments of weakness, and order a Big Mac or a donut, I wonder if people are looking at me and thinking, “Gosh, she shouldn’t be eating that.No wonder she’s fat.” I work out 5-6 days per week, sometimes every single day.I’m training to run a half marathon.I have run three 5Ks and completed a Warrior Dash this year.I LOVE to exercise.I don’t lock myself in my bedroom and eat bon-bons and watch TV all day.
I haven’t always been heavy.I was actually asked in high school if I was anorexic because I was so thin. (Of course, I thought I was fat at the time.) I was NOT anorexic.I didn’t become part of the obese crowd until after I gave birth to my son.I gained 65 pounds when I was pregnant with him.I finally lost all of that weight when he was 4 years old, only to get pregnant with my daughter the following summer.I gained 70 pounds while pregnant with her.I’ve lost 33 pounds so far, but the journey is far from over.
The problem is, if people look at me right now and don’t know that I am Workout Girl, or see me running at lunch time, they would make an assumption that I’m lazy.I’m not.You never know where someone is in his or her journey just by his or her current size.For all you know, I could’ve already lost 200 pounds.Don’t judge me.
When I walk into a room, people notice. In fact, I usually get stares. No, no, no. Not what you’re thinking. Not the slow motion, hair blowing back, and my theme song is playing kind of stares. I get the “Who the hell does she think SHE is” stares. Other women usually automatically assume I am a bitch. Or at least that’s how I feel. This puts me on guard and generally shuts me down. Small talk seems impossible because I’m not even sure how to approach them. So, not only am I a bitch; now I’m a stuck up bitch. People watch to see what I’ll eat. They’ll give their friend a knowing glance if I pick up something healthy (Of course, she eats healthy. She probably had an iceberg leaf wrapped in a romaine leaf for lunch. I bet she’s hungry.)If I pick up something unhealthy instead, it’s a different kind of glance (Oh, look she can eat whatever she wants. She must have a high metabolism.) Neither of these assumptions about me are correct.
If I’m in the locker room, I also get looks. These REALLY suck because these are women I KNOW I have something in common with. We’re both at the gym. Obviously we’re both interested in our health. But they look at me like they’re daring me to say something to them. I DO want to say something to them. I want to scream, “Girl Power!”. Or ask them what their work out is going to be. Or if they’ve tried the new spin instructor. Or what did they do to get those beautiful shoulders. But I don’t. I offer a half ass smile and move on.
Here’s what you don’t know about me. It’s just as hard for me as it is for anyone else to turn down a donut. Or not order the cheese burger. I do not have magical will power. (Although I sure wish I did. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?)I don’t always want to work out. Or eat healthy. Sometimes I don’t do either. However, most of the time I do.
I haven’t always been thin. I’ve lost 30 pounds the old-fashioned way. Diet and exercise. Yes, diet and exercise. The two words no one wants to hear but the only true formula for success. I feel like people think I don’t have to try. Boy, how wrong that is. Maintaining is just as hard as losing was. You don’t get to stop when you get to your magic number. Don’t get me wrong. I jumped up and down like a ten-year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert when I saw “the number” on my scale. But you know what? I still have to work out. I still have to watch what I eat. That doesn’t stop.
This is not a sad tale where I’m garnering for your empathy. Quite the contrary. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m secretly cheering on every girl I see who’s working out, regardless of her size. I remember what it was like to “run” (more like a fast walk, slow jog type of thing) when I was heavier. It sucked. It was hard to breathe and my knees hurt. Now when I run, it also usually sucks. The thrill comes when it’s over. So you think I’m staring at you while you’re running? I am. I’m giving you a mental high-five. I think you rock because you’re doing something that most people aren’t – getting off your ass and doing something good for yourself. So like I said, I’m not looking for your empathy. I’m saying don’t judge a book by its cover. We may be more alike than you ever could imagine.
* For more info on Tiffany, AKA Workout Girl, please visit her fabulous facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/goworkoutgirl