I was going to tell you all about this great way I have found of exercising discreetly. Inspired by that scene in the movie, Rocky, where he trots up and down a flight of stars in order to get in shape, I have been roaming my local parks to find fabulous flights of stairs and I have been running up and down them. It is brilliant, if knackering exercise. But what I was going to say I liked best about it was the fact that if someone else came along while I was doing this, I could simply pretend that I was walking up the stairs and not actually exercising.
That’s quite a bizarre thought, really. It got me pondering. Why is it so important to me that people do not realise that I am actually out there, exercising? Is it because fat people exercising are often viewed as figures of ridicule and scorn? (Why IS that? Surely doing something about your problem should be applauded, not derided?) Or is it something else? Less to do with fat shamers and more to do with fat shame?
You see, I am deeply ashamed of being fat. I wish I weren’t. Like the hairy German girls I mentioned in a previous blog, I am in awe of fat people who appear confident enough not to give a toss about their size. And the truth is, if you met me in real life, you might well mistake me for one of those people.
In real life, I would never in a 100 years admit to you that I am unhappy about my weight. I am more likely to make jokes about it and be faintly scornful of people who are too focused on their appearance and don’t “enjoy” all the food, drink and fun that life has to offer.
Yes, I am a big fat hypocrite as well as a big fat person. I hate being fat. And exercising in public is like an admission that I don’t like my looks and want to change them. It is also an admission that I am not very successful at it and perhaps all the fat shamers out there are right, and I am just a weak-willed, unself-disciplined, lazy, rather stupid slob.
Of course, what I should do now, is acknowledge how nonsensical this position is and get my chubby butt out there and join exercise classes and run along the road and basically just get over myself. But do you know what? I am not going to. I just don’t feel like it. Instead, I am going to continue trying to find covert exercise opportunities. I am going to break into my shuffling run only on deserted woodland paths. I am going to trot up and down outdoor stairs and huff and puff up steep hills. I am going to do these things in clothing that can pass as ordinary, everyday clothing, not specific workout gear. You are not going to know that the sports bra under my shirt is so tough it could probably be used as a weapon. My trainers are black and can easily pass as loafers. When you walk past me, you will see a chubby woman out for a walk with her dog. Unremarkable.
I suppose this would be a bit trickier if you encounter me in the pool as it is tough to pretend that one just happens to be wearing a swimsuit while grinding out length after length in the water. But the beauty of the pool is that you won’t really be able to see me. Most of me will be underwater and I will be wearing goggles – a great disguise. In fact, I had an absolutely brilliant swim this week in the big 50m training pool. It was practically deserted and everyone who was there was focused solely on getting their lengths done. Plus, the changing rooms have direct access to the pool, so a minimal walk of shame in cozzie before getting in the water. Result!
And my fears about all the serious swimmers being lean, mean, fit machines were completely unfounded. In fact, I definitely saw someone who was fatter than me there. She was one of the enviable “don’t give a toss” tribe and seemingly completely comfortable in her well-padded skin. Turned out she was a swimming instructor for very little kids and probably spends all day in her cozzie. Now that is impressive.