08 Aug 2014

From childhood and into my twenties I endured scrutiny and criticism from others regarding my weight. There isn’t a name I haven’t been called or a fat joke I haven’t heard at my expense. When I was overweight the insults were many, the unwanted weight loss advice came in abundance, and there were plenty of folks ready and willing to monitor my every bite of food and shake their head in disapproval if I dare go for seconds. The solution to this problem in my mind was to lose all the weight and by doing so I would silence the critics, but I was very wrong.

April before1

It took me years to achieve my weight loss goals. You would think I would have lost the weight sooner considering I was eager to end the insults but actually they had a reverse effect on me. After being told for so long you are fat and unattractive, despite your best efforts, you actually begin to believe your tormentors and can have a very hard time finding the drive and determination to become a healthier person because you have been put down for so long. At 26 and 255lbs though I finally found the motivation to take the first steps and become a more fit me. I thought the world would welcome my healthier approach to eating and a more active lifestyle with open arms. After all I had listened to the weight loss suggestions for years and was convinced I was finally doing what had been preached to me for what seemed like forever. It didn’t take long though before I became a victim of fit shaming a very real and also hurtful thing. I quickly discovered my new found determination would be met with less enthusiasm than I originally thought it might get.

After giving birth to my son and second child in 2012 I waited the Dr.’s prescribed amount of time before engaging in strenuous physical activity and starting a healthier diet. More than one person informed me that it was acceptable being a mother of multiple children to be overweight, in fact it would be odd if I wasn’t and there was no rush in trying to achieve a svelte figure. Others encouraged me to overindulge in goodies and sweets and laughed when I replaced fattier food with salads. When I’d take smaller amounts of food than usual it got me just as many raised eyebrows and stares as when a heavier me would make a second or third trip to a buffet. Laughs and comments would usually accompany my smaller portions and I was told on more than one occasion that because I skipped dessert I wasn’t living life.

My regular workout routines were often a conversation starter as well. Multiple trips to the gym throughout the week inclined people to tell me to take it easy. Too many walks were frowned upon, and any mention of a workout DVD led to a full onslaught of criticism especially if it was one deemed too intense by a person who believed themselves to be a fitness expert ( they never were one though ) . Crazy and obsessed were words commonly used with my name in the same sentence and I handled it all as best I could. I was usually able to let the opinions disguised as concern go in one ear and out the other. Even though I was shocked at first by the negativity that surrounded my new approach to life, I learned to deal with it then it led to loss of friends and accusations of being a neglectful and selfish mother.

Friends were the first to go. Facebook played a large part in this, I often posted workout statuses, and weight loss milestones reached, pictures of healthier food options and so on. These were deemed as annoying and even though there were plenty of other fb friends posting equally as many status updates about other topics those were endured while fitness and weight loss were considered less desirable posts to read on a news feed. I watched my friends list dwindle and then phone calls were fewer and far between. Finally it seemed the more weight I lost, the more I worked out and the more I posted my progress the less likely I was to be invited to a get together. I no longer belonged to the club of ladies weighing over 150 and even though I never judged my friends based on the number on the scale they were very quick to do that to me.

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I really was not prepared though for the verbal attacks I had to endure because I took time out of my day to work out though. In today’s society you are deemed a better mother by the less put together you appear. No makeup, messy hair, yoga pants, and obesity are all signs of an attentive care giver apparently. If you don’t believe me simply log on to any social media website and you are bound to find an e-card or two being shared about how letting yourself go is part of having kids. A fit mom is deemed as selfish and neglectful and “Real women” are plus sized. Putting my kids in a gym daycare for an hour a couple days a week might as well be the equivalent of abuse considering the uproar it caused. An hour long DVD is time taken away from my little ones or so I have been told even if they are down for a nap, but no one bats an eye when you’ve been logged on fb for forty five minutes plus. I was informed the time I spent working out would be put to better use doing something with my children and it was often overlooked that I did my very best to work out around their daily routines and tried not to take time away from them . If it just so happened the kids were awake during a workout routine for one reason or another I would attempt shorter ones or encourage them to join in. In my house it’s considered fun to do jumping jacks and planks with mama. My critics never considered the bigger picture either that by working out I was trying to become a healthier me so that I may be more active and hopefully present longer in my children’s lives. There were lots of people who had no reservations about telling me exactly how working out made me self-centered. It took a lot of time to develop a tough skin and not allow these accusations to affect my journey.

Now fluctuating between a 137-139 lbs. I still get regular criticism. The jokes might not be the same and the names I’m called a little different but in the end it is still considered shaming. It turns out the insults don’t stop when you lose the weight, fat or fit it doesn’t matter you will never please everyone. At the end of the day you need to do what is best for you. Words can be mean and hurtful but you are not alone there are lots of people out there who endure the same harsh opinions of others regardless of their size. It’s all about being happy with yourself and becoming the best version of you, regardless of what others say, you need to be comfortable in your skin this is your journey not theirs!

april after2
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2 thoughts on “Fit Shaming is for Real by April Kinzler

  1. I think you are a wonderful person for bettering yourself! It also makes you an even greater role model/mom for your little ones. Be proud of yourself for what you have done

  2. *hugs* People will just exclude you because your healthier habits are not in line with theirs. I get that too; friends started ostracising me even though I don’t update social media with workout photos or status updates.

    You CAN, however, find friends with similar interests. You’ll feel better because these friends will lift you up to a better place and more wholesome lifestyle : )

    Chin up and keep going!

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