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

  1. Your message was right on, many of us negate our qualities and our strengths and yes we’d never tell a friend that so why would we tell ourselves. Do you mind if I post your message on my Facebook page (I will link your site)

  2. I understand where she’s coming from.

    I don’t blame it on being fat, but I fear being left behind on group runs because I’m too slow and walk/run the routes.

    • I understand, Danielle! I have felt nervous for group runs for the same reasons before. I think it’s the same way many people feel about trying anything new in a group of people with varying fitness levels. I always like to remind myself that everyone had to start somewhere before and can likely relate!

  3. Great post!! As someone who started their running journey years ago, I try to pass this message along whenever I meet or talk to someone that doesn’t run or is just starting out. “I can’t even run a mile without stopping nevermind a 5K”. My old coworker was saying that to me earlier this year, and I told her that she COULD if she just stopped telling herself that she COULDN’T. Sure enough, she ran her 5k without stopping. What those that are just starting out don’t realize is that we all started somewhere, we all have bad runs, slow runs, bad races, etc. But if you pick a goal and stick to it you CAN do it too. I will never forget training for my first 5K and thinking 3 miles was going to be so hard. And fast forward to where I am today, I still have improvements and things I want to get better at too. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  4. It’s so sad to hear women doing this to themselves but it’s fabulous that you’ve written this piece and turned it into something so inspiring. I hope she does read this, and wonder to herself if it’s about her, and trust that she’s got the ability to do something great.

  5. Hi from a fellow Boston blogger! Thank you for this post. As someone who is passionate about true self and body image and antti – dieting/fat shaming, I also agree it’s unbelievably frustrating how quickly people fat shame – especially themselves. Thanks for this!

    • Hi Jen! Thanks for commenting. I am passionate about body image and anti fat shaming too. I can’t wait to check out your blog!

  6. I do remember those girls but I didn’t catch that conversation… probably because I hear it all the time from people and when I’m out and about. It just seems like every day conversations because TOO MANY PEOPLE view themselves like that!

    • It’s so easy to get caught up, and none of us are totally free from it! I catch myself sometimes making a negative comment about myself, but it’s something I’ve worked on and practiced not doing for years. It’s not easy!

  7. WORD. I hear it all of the time, from friends, from family members.

    “Don’t say that. It’s not true.”

    “It IS TRUE.”

    I’m not even sure what the goal of the argument is at this point. Being the six year-old that I am, I equate real life situations to Disney and Pixar movies, and in this instance, I go with a “Ratatouille”-esque comment:

    “Anyone can run.”

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