06 January 2015

But I Don't Want to Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days!

I got a sweet set of weights for Christmas from my mother-in-law.  I have not even used them yet and I am already in love.  No more using two 5lb weights taped together and feeling like I am not even lifting anything when I do bicep curls. No more doing like 3 gbillion reps of every exercise because five pounds doesn't necessarily feel like "work" to anyone who carries a purse (or 50 pound kids, laundry baskets, grocery bags...you get the idea). It is going to be so nice!

Of course new gear means new workouts.  I spent yesterday evening looking for some good arm workouts and/or any good at home workouts done with free weights/kettle bells.  Now, I did find many great resources, but every single one was advertised using this format:

Lose [some number] pounds in only [some value of nanoseconds] with our easy [even fewer nanoseconds] workout. 

The basic gist of all the copy was that by doing this exercise for a mere 6 hours a day and eating only celery (make sure you get the low-fat kind!) you too might lose 3 ounces of body weight and finally be worthy of living again. Of course, if you fail, it is because you didn't want it enough! You have to want it! Do you EVEN WANT IT ENOUGH!?!?!

Nowhere in any of the text did anyone talk about health, or how strength training is good for bone density, or how fitness at any size is good.  Nope. Clearly, the only reason one would ever bother to ever workout is to get thin.  I mean, after all, if working out doesn't make you into a Victoria's Secret model, when even bother?

This didn't sit well with me. Apparently I am not alone in this.  No sooner had I had this thought, I saw this great post by Dances With Fat and though "well, yeah, that explains it."  Exercise culture is far too entwined with diet culture. Thanks to the "War on Obesity" the inherent value of fitness (and eating as well as possible within the parameters of your resources) has been completely lost to the endless quest for some number on a scale.  The "War on Obesity" is not about health at any level, it is war against fat people for merely having the audacity to exist in a body that fails to meet the ideal as defined by white-cis-hetero-men.

In short, I am just feeling pretty resentful that I only have these two choices for workout materials:

  1. The Weight Loss Workouts- all exercise only serves to make you look good, by certain definitions of good, as defined predominantly by white-cis-hetero men and as embraced by predominantly white-naturally-thin-conventionally-pretty women, no focus on health or room for people who fail to meet BMI requirements.
  2. The Muscle Crew- Mostly men who are focused on getting fit (with slightly less weight loss discussion as it is traded for endless winging about "bulking up"), but comes at the price of "do you even lift bro?" attitudes. Still not a ton of focus on health, some flexibility on the BMI thing, but only in the opposite direction because if you fail to get as big as a Volvo with only 1% body fat, you are not welcome here. 
Neither of these main groups have anything to offer me, nor am I likely to welcome within them. All I want is to keep getting fitter so I can keep up with my kids and live my life without my fitness being a limiting factor. (My goals, no one owes anyone fitness.)

The good news is that it is working.  I feel ready to try and make my body do things that are outside my comfort zone, or things that fat people "shouldn't" do.  I am taking my first ski lesson in 10+ years this weekend wearing 2X ski pants that I would never buy before because I didn't think I deserved them at this weight.  The proof was in the pudding today when I had to pick up said weights from the post office.  Having refused to deliver them (being too heavy and all) the thin (and therefore fit and healthy because thinness magically equals good health) postal worker dragged them out to me and watched in awe as I (fat and therefore unhealthy and unfit) lifted the box with one hand and carried it out to my car.  So no, I don't want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, I want to be able to carry my own goddamn mail. That is really more than enough for me.