A Letter to the Girl Who Said She Was Too Fat to Run

To the girl who said she was too fat to run,

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you ever since I overheard you fat shaming yourself last Tuesday night. It was at the most recent New Balance Girls Night Out event downtown, where we could participate in either a SurfSet workout on the Esplanade or go on a 3.5 mile fun run around the city. Like you, I was surprised at how quickly the SurfSet workout filled up, and I overheard a lot of people mumbling about it at the beginning of the night. Some girls said they were nervous to go on the run because they don’t usually run that far a distance, some didn’t want to go on the run because they already logged training miles that day, and others simply were disappointed they wouldn’t have the chance to try out the trendy surfboards.

Girl, I overhead a lot of comments, but yours was the one that stuck with me. I heard you putting yourself down when we stepped out of the store and onto the sidewalk outside. You were with your friend, and the two of you were debating whether to do the SurfSet workout without a surfboard, try the run, or power walk the run instead. I wasn’t being creepy listening to you guys, but you were standing right behind me. The friend I was with was also debating what to do herself, so I thought she might be able to tag along with you guys.

As you and your friend went over your options, I overheard you say, “I’m too fat to run.”

NBGNO July 2[Source]

I wanted to turn around and tell you a million things at that very moment. That you aren’t fat. That it made me so sad to hear you putting yourself down like that. That if you’re alive with two functional legs, you can run. That you may not be as fast as the girl who runs every day or started her running journey years ago, but you can do it. That if you get out of your own way and stop using your weight as a threshold for what you can and cannot do, you might surprise yourself. That you are beautiful and it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run, it just matters that you showed up and tried. I wanted to ask if you would ever tell your friend that she was fat and put her down in the same way you just put down yourself. Instead, I bit my tongue and went off to try SurfSet. But your comment stuck with me, and I guess I can thank you for inspiring this blog post.

Girl, if you somehow end up reading this, I understand you may not even realize that it’s about you. You may not even remember making the comment you did. But please know that you are so much more than a number on the scale. You are so much more than an extra few pounds of body fat. You are so much more than your physique. You may want to lose weight, lean out your legs, or be able to run longer distances, and all of these things are totally okay… but only if these goals come from a place of kindness to yourself, not a place of hate or self loathing.

NBGNO July[Source]

So please, girl, wherever you are, stop judging yourself when you look in the mirror. Accept your body as it is right now. Make goals for yourself, but make them from a place of love.

Don’t let the “I’m too fat” trap become your story, your reality.

Your body is capable of doing amazing things, but it’s only when you start showing yourself some self compassion that you’ll be able to realize that. It’s only then that you’ll be able to become a stronger you.

Hope to see you cheering for yourself next time,

Athena