There were times when people thought I was too fat to be fit. I remember telling someone I really wanted a motivational gym tank that said “Get Sweaty”, “Train Insane”, etc., and that person responded: “I don’t think that’s a good idea. You don’t look like the fit type.”
That moment crushed my soul. At that time, I went to the gym every morning, ate oatmeal for breakfast and had kale salads as much as possible! How could I not be fit? Well, it happened again, except this time it was the opposite. Some of my loved ones said I was too scrawny. If I didn’t have any muscle tones, I would be a terrible role model to other girls who wanted to be fit. A terrible role model? At that time, I couldn’t even determine which was worse: to be chubby or weak.
I think it’s ridiculous that others judge people based on their appearance as to what their lifestyles are like. If you’re looking at the food they eat, watching them sit on the couch 24/7 and seeing they’re not fit, then that’s a different story. And you know what? Who would even have the time to do that–unless if you’re a personal trainer, a registered dietitian or a mentor? A lot of people feel as if they can just step into others’ lives and tell them what’s right and wrong for their lifestyle. America’s a free country, but it’s not a nosy one.
Body shaming isn’t new to the fitness community, despite that there is such diversity in shapes and sizes. It’s like race. You can be a mix of everything–Mexican, Italian, African, Japanese, Scandinavian, etc., and people think it’s gorgeous. So why is it such a crime when you’re slim overall without a crazy amount of muscle tone and a little flab in some areas? It just so happens that certain mixtures seem more attractive than others, and unfortunately, people feel the need to degrade those.
Take a lookie at these five pictures of me. Collage, collage, in the post, who do you think works out the most?…..
………Take a guess yet?
Just kidding, it’s a trick question. They all do! (In fact, I think the girl on the far left spent more time exercising than the girl on the far right.) All of these “mes”, you could say, were/are crazy passionate about anything health and fitness. We love the gym, slurping on spinach smoothies, shopping for lululemon and Nike’s, etc. But be honest with yourself. You probably thought some were fitter. Actually, you probably even thought one or two of me were fat compared to the others.
I’m always curious where people get their standards from. Skinny and fat are such general words that there’s so much controversy over them. By skinny, do you mean Victoria’s Secret model skinny or skeletal thin? Whereas for fat, is it “Biggest Loser” obese or someone on the more curvy side like Nicki Minaj? (BTW, she has a wonderfully toned and voluptuous body!)
People may look at me and think I have a tiny build, others think I have a larger one. As an Asian, you’re stereotypically expected to be smaller-built, though I was definitely on the chubbier side–so much relatives believed I was born big-boned! Once the excess weight shed off, they were awestruck–some even worried I looked too gaunt and sunken in. You can never please everyone. Sigh.
If I was seriously underweight or too chubby to look good in that “Get Sweaty” tank, then fine! But have you ever stopped to think what if they have a certain condition that prevents them from looking thinner or curvier than they want? How shallow and ignorant is it to admonish others by the way they look!
Take Cassey Ho as a perfect example. In 2012, a few of her POPsters expressed concern for her slimdown during the bikini competition. She even said that she couldn’t maintain that low fat percentage for long, and later an influx of people commented that she wasn’t cut out to be a fitness instructor because of the weight gain. (You can find more about her story here in this link). Now that she’s found a happy medium and still doesn’t look like her bikini competition self, more people bashed her for not having a six-pack or a runway model body. I think she responded in the best way possible through “The ‘Perfect’ Body” video (linked down below!).
People did the same with Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, and Demi Lovato, three inspiring, confident and beautiful women millions of people look up to. As for thin shaming, Rachel Frederickson from “The Biggest Loser” was targeted for losing too much, too soon–all for a freaking television show. Logically speaking, do you think someone who lost that much weight in such a short amount of time could easily maintain it? I commend her for gaining a little bit of weight for the sake of soothing her fans, but at the same time, I feel sad that such outrage influenced her so much that she had to change the way she looked for them, even though she was happy to begin with.
When I was thin while I restricted my calories, fruits, fats and carbs, overdid cardio with no strength training, obsessed over every meal and second of sleep I needed, then yes, I wasn’t fit–I was absurd. But while I looked a bit bigger than the average woman and ate an abundance of vegetables, lean proteins, fruits, whole grains and exercised frequently with a healthy balance of running and weights? You see, looks can be deceiving. Someone can be overweight but athletic and perfectly fit, while naturally underweight people can munch on cookies and soda by the TV 24/7. Mother Nature can be a little cuckoo with biochemical individuality. Accept that already.
In the end, body shaming is just unnecessary. People use it as an excuse to get attention or to shamelessly impose their diets (ex: raw till 4, keto, iifym, hclf, hflc, etc.). To those of you who have the time to shame others for how they look, what benefit do you get? You don’t have their bodies, you’re not them. Do you even take the time to look at how happy they are with themselves? What gives you the right to rain on their parades? We need to take action against this plague, because we were all guilty of this at least once in our lives.
Let’s take it back to the days when it was merely about getting to a certain goal, making friends and cheering people on. Be more respectful of what people eventually look like–aka thigh gaps, six-packs, Kardashian booties and watermelon guns aren’t made for everyone. Before you decide to comment on how fat, anorexic or “steroid-built” someone looks, think twice about how well you know the person and what real benefit you’re getting out of it. That’s right: nothing. Besides, fit isn’t a scale weight, clothing size, BMI, fat percentage, let alone a number. It’s a characteristic, a state. Fit is a sweaty shirt, messy hair and a smile on someone’s face, knowing that person killed it at the gym.
And doesn’t body image take away something much more important in the community? For instance: the FOOD?? #canwejustgetbacktothefoodpornplease
Recipe link: Sweet Potato Nachos
Have you ever seen any instances where people are irrationally judged based on how they look? How did it make you feel?