Let's just be clear: I work really hard to stay in shape. I'm at the box 6 days a week and I do additional programming for specific weaknesses. I watch what I eat. I put in the effort. It's taken me years to get here and I'm not done. Now, when people compliment me on these things, of course I appreciate it. But if no one ever said anything it wouldn't matter. Because I don't do this for them. I do it for me. And while of course being told you inspire others is hugely rewarding, that's not the goal.
This summer I embarked on a new nutrition program. It's called counting your macros, or macronutrients. I've written about it here. For 12 weeks I weighed and measured everything I ate. I barely drank alcohol and I rarely ate out. I lost about 10% of my weight and it completely changed my body composition. But here's the thing. I still weigh about 150ish pounds. I am not skinny. I am not in danger of being anorexic or anything else. I simply wanted to dial in my eating and see what worked for my body. And I succeeded. My energy was up, I felt amazing, I crushed workouts and I slept like a baby.
I ran into an acquaintance recently and she said something to the effect of, "If you get any thinner..." Now, not to be harsh, but this person is obese. Morbidly so. Imagine if I said to her, "If you get any fatter..." It's awful, right. I know you're thinking it's not the same thing. But fit-shaming someone is just as bad as fat-shaming. Because the point is, who the fuck do you think you are commenting about my body in a negative way? Even if it's a positive wrapped in a negative. It's none of your fucking business. My health is my business. Just as yours is yours. I realize in this day and age of social media everyone feels like they have a right to comment about everyone else. And yes, I put my photos out there. But I do that because I am proud. Because I have been at both ends of the spectrum and while having someone chastise my fitness is one million times better than being called Moose all through High School, the bottom line is you have no right to say anything about anyone else's body.
I was at my mother's house over Thanksgiving and she pointed to my traps and said, "I don't like that." I turned to my sister-in-law, who was witness and responded, "hmm, did you hear me ask her to comment on my shoulders?" My Mom, bless her, says, "I know you didn't ask me, I just think it's masculine." So again, this doesn't hurt my feelings because I know how hard I worked for those muscles, but it's not her body. It's mine. And I love it. And it makes me happy. And it allows me to lift things and pull things and push things. And I can't control how it changes when I work out. It just does. I don't point to her arms and say, "I don't like how they flap underneath." Because that's mean. So why isn't what she did also mean? And judgy? And of course, unasked.
How about we all make a pact here and now to do our best not to judge someone else's body - male or female. And if we find ourselves doing it, even silently, try to shift to something positive. Or try to understand that you have no idea what that person's journey is. Maybe they don't love themselves. Maybe they love themselves too much. It doesn't matter because unless they ask you for help or advice or appreciation, it's not your place to comment. So as all mothers say, including, ironically, my own - if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.