If you read my Facebook post on Saturday then you knew this was coming.
When Dana presents me with the pictures she’s taken of me from our many photo shoots, she always gives me the “side eye” and says, “Do not spend time picking these pictures apart.” She knows me. My stomach is like the Boogie Man. On top of having three kids, being really overweight and having a hysterectomy, I discovered after YEARS of crunches, Pilates and weird diets, my stomach is the LAST place I lose weight. Whenever I bend, it triple folds. And the truth is, very few people know I actually have a six pack. It’s just covered by all of that loose skin and muscles. So, imagine my horror when a gentleman walked up to me at the gym on Saturday, pointed to my stomach and said, “You’re gaining weight, aren’t you?” I happened to have on several layers of clothing (which I pulled up my jacket and showed him) which I thought would stop the conversation (and kept my own attention off of what is really lurking down there) but he came back with a final blow and said, “Oh. Because I was getting ready to say all of that exercise isn’t helping.”
If I had not been shocked (and perhaps not at work), I’m not sure what I would have said. It took me a minute to really take in what he had said. This gentleman knows I am a trainer and instructor. I’m not really sure if he thought he was helping me out by telling me. After all, since “I” am the professional, if I had gained weight, it would be an issue. If he brought it to my attention, maybe I would do something about it and hold my place as Superwoman, who has no bloating (I have lots of gastrointestinal issues), doesn’t age (the closer I get to 40, the more my metabolism likes to play with my mind) and cannot gain weight (let’s not even talk about what happened last weekend). The question I posed is what if I DID gain weight? And I was surprised that I was “challenged” in my humanness, given the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech and may have been (because everything is left up to interpretation) told that I cannot gain weight because I am a role model.
Who gets to decide how much we should weigh? I have been criticized about my weight even in the 140’s. I have been called too big on the higher end and too small on the lower end. Some people literally PRAISED me when I got down to 138 lbs. What they didn’t know was that I was having panic attacks and a severe case of irritable bowl AND other gastric problems where I couldn’t eat any food but oatmeal. I was still teaching classes, weak as I don’t know what and because I was “thin”, in the eyes of some, I was better. I was on the front cover of the health section in the local newspaper teaching Zumba in the 160’s. I completed Jen Hendershott’s first Phat Camp in the 160’s and could only complete some of it at 140 pounds because I couldn’t eat and had no energy. What I am saying is that people on the outside have no idea what the struggle/story is about your weight. They are just merely “enticed” by what they see and long for what they think will be better when they have NO IDEA what it takes to get there. I have been very open about my struggles with anorexia and binge eating. There are LOTS of personal trainers/fitness instructors who have had lipo, other cosmetic surgery, starve themselves and take diet pills to maintain the image that others feel like they should maintain.
Here’s the catch with me. I teach holistic LIFESTYLES not diets. And I live it. I eat well. And I exercise. It’s what I do. So, if I were to gain weight, then it would be because of something other than that. And watching me handle that publicly, in my opinion, would be more empowering to other people than to go get it sucked out and pretend like I didn’t have the problem in the first place. Just last week, I went on a 30 hour trip, which included a flight, a five hour layover, a nine hour training, and a six mile run then my husband went out of town at the last minute and left me and my crazy schedule wrapped up into the crazy schedule of my children and then I had to take another less than 24 hour trip which included driving two hours to take a flight, flying in, doing a 5K obstacle course run, flying back and driving two hours back. I basically gained quite a few pounds from drinking Starbucks (airports aren’t very vegan friendly), eating on the run, eating what I could and not sleeping. If someone had seen my number on the scale, they would have kicked me out of the fitness arena for sure. Five days later, after getting my body back together, I was down seven pounds. Something as unstable as weight shouldn’t be a deciding factor in ANYONE’s life.
I don’t want anyone’s weight being dependent on mine. I’ve lost close to 90lbs. so if that’s the case, I know quite a few people that need to catch up. 🙂 And I don’t want my weight to be a factor in anyone deciding whether I can do my job.
And, as for my stomach, well, I have some amazing kids, I’ve eaten some amazing food and I no longer have menstrual cramps. It’s a small price to pay. 😉