Working out has never been my favorite thing. I have a whole lot of baggage surrounding exercise and dieting and have dealt with a lot of emotional pain as a result of being a fat person in a family obsessed with discussing their latest diets and workouts.
But I feel like I’m over a kind of self-loathing hump.
I’ve been fat for a long time, and felt fat and been worried about becoming fat for even longer. I’ve had a lot of days where I’ve absolutely loathed my body. I remember doing some clothes shopping (online, because trendy stores like to try and keep us fat girls out) just last year and sobbing because I felt so ugly and worthless and was so hyperaware of how much the fashion industry and the world hated my body.
The last few months, though, I’ve come to a greater place of self-acceptance. I can look at myself and not freak out over my chubby cheeks or my double chin or fat belly. I’m starting to see myself as I am in the mirror again. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and I… don’t really have feelings about it. I just am. And it feels really freeing.
I’ve been following the body positive and fat positive communities for a few years. This is the first time where I’ve really felt like the rhetoric of those spaces applies to me. I feel like my body is a good body worth putting time and effort into. Seeing photos on instagram of the folks lifting at Lacy J. Davis and her partner’s gym, Liberation Barbell, has been a huge source of inspiration. Seeing photos of fat women doing yoga, dancing, running, swimming, and hiking over the years has made me capable of being curious about what my body might be able to accomplish without added negative junk.
So for the past several weeks, I’ve been making an effort to work out. I’ve only pulled off two workouts so far – I set myself back with an unrelated sprained ankle – but I’m excited to keep going. I love my body and have thought for a long time about how cool it would be to be stronger, so I’m trying to act on that. It feels really amazing and freeing and positive to not have my exercise routine tainted with thoughts of “toning” my chunky arms or “burning fat away.” I have literally never engaged in a fitness activity purely for internal benefits or for something like strength rather than with an expectation (even if I won’t admit it out loud) of weight loss, and of my life becoming better because I take up less space.
I deserve to take up space, even in a gym where people think my fat ass doesn’t belong.