October 27, 2010

Praise

Tonight I was out on my walk/jog (or as Erica puts it, my "wog") and a woman getting her mail said, "I just have to tell you, I see you every day when I'm coming home from work, and I think, 'I wish I had her determination.'"

Well, goodness. That's pleasing, isn't it?

It does take a certain determination to exercise FOR HEALTH, ANYWAY when the body isn't responding with aesthetic changes, and in fact increases appetite considerably to compensate for the Worrying EXERTION. It takes a certain---and I am just going to come out with the word, even though it's about myself---BRAVERY, to expose one's not-aesthetically-perfect body to teenaged boys who drive by in cars yelling out the windows "YEAH, RUN FATTY RUN!!"---and to people who don't yell it, but think it. It takes a certain deliberately-put-on-despite-not-feeling-it thickness of skin not to give up when it is made ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that it nauseates people to see fat people even WALKING ACROSS A ROOM---let alone EXERCISING, my GOD, the SWEAT and the JIGGLING, GROSS!!! Why don't they just STARVE themselves like NORMAL people??? It does indeed take DETERMINATION to keep exercising when people are saying that if other people were being HONEST they'd be THIN. It takes a certain OOMPH to continue exercising when other people assume that if you're fat, you never exercise and you don't know how to eat right.

There is not a lot of positive feedback for people who exercise but do not as a result of it become thin and "fit." The reaction at first is HIGHLY FAVORABLE ("Oh good, you're finally working on that problem!") but if the weight doesn't come off, the reaction can be aptly described as "Um, points for trying, I guess?"---with the obvious assumption that the person must be eating fast food six times a day to counteract the fitness that would otherwise present itself in the form of an Awesome Bod.

I guess what I'm saying is two things:

1) I'm pissed that "rockin' abs" is considered wayyyyy better than "determination."

2) I'm nevertheless so pleased to get praised for "determination."

47 comments:

Christina said...

You read the Marie Claire article didn't you?

I'd prefer determination over rockin' abs - those body building women just freak me out.

I didn't know you did a wog everyday! I think that's awesome. I often joke with people that my only exercise is the walk to get the mail. Except it's not really a joke.

Swistle said...

Christina- MAYBE. MAYBE I read it!

S said...

OH! This whole post just feels like something I say EVERY FREAKING DAY when I'm out running. I used to have huge truck drivers (talking like 400 lbs) taunt me as I was running asking me if I would run a little faster for a donut.

ARGH! Just ARGH!

Also that article - SO AWFUL!

Shelly Overlook said...

Determination is hard. It's so much easier to say you'll stay on the sofa just 30 more minutes where you're nice and comfy. It's so much easier not to get all hot and sweaty. It's so much easier to think you'll skip today but definitely go tomorrow. Determination deserves a medal, quite frankly.

StephLove said...

When I was young and thin, I used to swim laps and I was always inspired by the fat people in the pool because they were going out in public, half-naked, which had to be hard for some of them, in order to do something good for themselves.

Now that I'm middle-aged and fat, I still swim sometimes (though not as often as I'd like). When I go out in public half-naked I try to imagine that if anyone's paying attention at all, they might be thinking charitable thoughts. It does help.

Stimey said...

Geez, exactly. Rock on, you, for keeping at it. You're doing better than me.

Slim said...

We praise our children for effort rather than results, right? Why does that ever have to stop? And not in an "Oh, well, at least you tried [IN YOUR PATHETIC, INEPT WAY, YOU LOSER]" sense, either. Just in an acknowledgment that sometimes all the responsible, mindful behavior in the world is going to yield diddly, except for character. Which we like, right? Character?

halloweenlover said...

I am actually HORRIFIED and OUTRAGED that teenage boys yell taunts out the window. What the FUCK? Where are their parents? What kind of human beings are we raising these days? Wow. Just wow.

I think determination is the best also. Plus, I don't know. At some point the walking has to help, right? Your heart has to be better at some point, don't you think?

Oooh, you should ask neighbor to walk with you! Walking buddies are great!

xo

Christine said...

So glad she said something to you. If someone said that to me it would make my week! I am out there 6 days a week and the teenagers love yelling at me. I could care less.

Every time I see a heavy person walking I want to honk my horn and yell in encouragement! I don't because I am afraid they will take it like I am making fun of them. Instead I yell "you go girl!" in my van and say a little prayer for them. There is not much that makes me happier than seeing someone out there pushing themselves to be better.

el-e-e said...

BRAVO!! I like your style... And subtlety. :) I've just started ( yesterday) a renewed fitness quest and I'm not expecting to get visible results. But: Determined, yes!

Swistle said...

Halloweenlover- DEFINITELY. I ASSUME it's helping my heart/lungs/circulation/muscles/whatevs, or I wouldn't do it. It's frustrating, though, that exercising for health reasons doesn't necessarily show on the outside.

momma on the run said...

It is ridiculously hard to exercise (in public... where people might SEE you) when you know that every part of your body is bouncing and jiggling with every move you make. That was one of the hardest parts for me when I decided to find some of that thing called 'determination' about 10 months ago. The couch is so much more comfortable (physically and emotionally). But it is so worth it... health benefits, higher energy levels, blah, blah, blah. So high five to you and your 'determination'.

@ S... Asking if you would run a little faster for a donut? What the HELL is WRONG with some people?

d e v a n said...

This post is all kinds of right. Just knowing that you wog every day is making me feel better and less self-conscious when i do it.

Caitlin said...

I want to say some Very Terrible Things about those teenaged boys, but I know how you feel about The Swearing so I am trying to refrain.

Instead I will say this: You are right about everything you said. And you ARE brave. Brave and awesome.

Mimi said...

Amen, sister. I wog all over my neighborhood, worrying all the time about my jiggly butt, tummy, boobs. After reading that MC article, it just reinforced those negative thoughts about myself. But now! after reading your post, I will try to think that everyone is thinking charitable thoughts, like StephLove said. There are a lot of kind people out there. =)

Katie said...

Pardon my French but
Hell Mother Fucking Yeah.
I am pleased as punch that woman gave you props. I mentally give props to every non-skinny-mini I see out exercising, and I am always jealous that they do get up and GO, knowing how hard that is (at least for me) and how much easier it is to just sit on my size sixteen ass and wish I was out there doing what you're doing. Thanks for being an inspiration. As soon as I'm cleared in one month (six weeks post partum) to exercise, all systems are GO, I swear it.

Christina77 said...

Reason 1,232,489 why I love you, Swistle.

Julie said...

Your blog is the one I most look forward to and this post is the perfect example of why.

I just joined a running group that is training for a half/full Marathon. I debated because I knew I would easily be the biggest girl there. And I am, but it's okay--the entire group is super supportive. Plus, I. Have. Determination.

But the funny thing is that my endurance is much better than a lot of the others. And I actually had to slow my pace to stay in sync with my buddy. And she's a totally fit-looking former triathlete!

Nevertheless I have no doubt which one of us aesthically displeasing girls can expect to hear "Run fatty, run" in her future.

Amanda said...

See, when I drive by someone who is out there exercising and is obviously doing it to lose weight I feel happy and proud for them. I feel empathetic because I know how hard it is to get out there and how much it sucks. I admit to my empty car that the person out there exercising is doing far more than I am doing. I'm cheering you on!

Don't imagine all those idiots driving by - imagine there's a person like me cheering you on in every car that goes by.

Slim said...

"is obviously doing it to lose weight"

How can that be obvious? If you see me out there, you may think I need to lose weight, but I am doing it in an effort to be healthy, not to lose weight.

GratefulTwinMom said...

I am boosted up by your determination. For years I have been exercising for health instead of vanity. It's been pretty obvious to me, as I sit with extra lbs each and every year, that no amount of exercise that's acceptable to my lifestyle (kinda busy with the full-time job and 2 kids, right?) will make me look like a fashion model.

I love that you picked up about that part of the Marie Claire article about being nauseated by watching fat people walk across a room. Thickness of skin indeed. I've had to have it all my life. My heritage is German for God's sake. Doesn't bode well for tiny, skinny legs.

But you and me both know that our DETERMINATION will mean extended quality of life with our families--the most important thing.

Kudos to Slim for mentioning praising children for determination. I'm with you--that never has to stop. Keep at it, Swistle. I'm right behind you.

Rebecca said...

You should check out Jen Lancaster's reaction on her website to that Marie Clare article. She said it all.

I would be disgusted if my teenage son yelled things at people on the street! WTH??

Listen to the complimentary neighbor lady, ignore the rotten people who obviously have NO BRAINS, and rock on with your bad self! You're awesome!

Rah said...

"Why don't they just STARVE themselves like NORMAL people???" heh heh. [from one of the un-normals]

M.Amanda said...

This is precisely why I only exercise in the privacy of my own home. I don't want anyone to see me. Even if they did not see the jiggling and laugh, surely someone would be there to laugh when I inevitably trip over my own feet. Bravery is a good word.

katiemae said...

You know, I have consistently gotten taunted/whistled/honked at while out running, no matter what I've weighed (and there have been MANY various weights). What is it about a lady out exercising that makes her fair game for dudes in cars? Sometimes, I have given The Finger...probably not the most constructive reaction, but The Finger just floats out there, unbidden.

Shelly said...

This is so spot-on! I could not agree more. And the Marie Claire article was infuriating!

Jen said...

I have not read anything but I have to say ANYTIME I see ANYONE running/jogging/walking, all I think is Rock On! Because really, it all takes effort and discipline, regardless of size or speed or outcome or anything.

Jen said...

Oh and I meant I have not read the article being mentioned...uh, because of course I read your post and um, other things.

Saly said...

YES! YES! YES! You said it all right here.

GinaAnn said...

Ugh. I know just how you feel. Not because I'm working out now, no.. I'm lazy now. But! I used to work out and it took SO LONG to get anywhere and I had to switch gyms because I felt like people were looking at the Chubby Girl thinking "If you did more weights/picked up your pace/didn't eat so much you'd lose faster". I finally found a gym where I was the average sized one and... yeah. It felt so much better! And then the gym closed and I went back to the lazy.

ToyLady said...

You just . . GO GIRL! It is infuriating that you can't see the difference it makes, but . . . I think eventually you will. It is THE SUCK, yes - I've been eating like a freaking, I don't know what - vegetable soups and lentils and beans and crap, PLUS the MILES of forced marches that the dogs takes me on Every Single Day, and I ask you - WHY do I not look like a twig yet?

Character. And it's good for you anyway. And it'll catch up. That's what I tell myself. Oh, and it's HEALTHIER this way. :)

JMT said...

Swistle, you are awesome. Yay for wogs! I finally gave in and joined a gym (I am soooo cheap, but I realized that I value my long-term health enough AND that the cheapness will force me into regular gym attendance so I am getting my money's worth). I have to be motivated by long-term health benefits because guess what has been happening since I've joined the gym? I gained 7 pounds.

Yeah, I need to just stop weighing myself and maybe try inch measurements for motivation or something. I am doing cardio and weight lifting 4 days a week - it turns out, I frickin' LOVE weight lifting. And I guess the muscles will burn more calories? But in the meantime, yes, I'm now nearing my highest-ever weight and even though the waist/butt/other fat parts look kind of normal or maybe very slightly less lumpy than usual, it is discouraging to get on the scale and see that it has gone up.

On the other hand every night when I get home I show my husband my awesome flexational guns and try to get him to arm wrestle me. (he refuses. wimp!)

Bird said...

No seriously, good for you. I haven't been able to motivate myself off the couch yet despite TALKING about it all the time. When I see people actually doing something I feel proud for them because I know how easy it is not to exercise (especially at night after a long day.) So yes, you should be proud of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Swistle that was PERFECT. You said it all for me. That is exactly how I feel. LOVED this post because I totally identify. My favorite line "the person must be eating fast food six times a day to counteract the fitness". I almost peed my pants. Love you girl! Thanks for saying what I think every time I go out for a wog.

nicole said...

Every time I see someone exercising, regardless of their size, I always think "good for them" and then "why am I so lazy?" (except on the days I did actually do something). So not everyone is thinking what that writer said. I will echo the neighbor's praise and say good for you, Swistle! It takes MORE determination to keep at it when you are not seeing visual results anyway.

Jess said...

I have learned to tune out the judgmental looks at the gym. Apparently what we need is like a special gym with tinted windows for fat people where we can all work out round the clock until we are thin enough that everyone else can stand to look at us. And yes, this post points out the fundamental issue--sizeist people hide behind the "but it's for heaaaaaaaalth" argument when the judgment and opinions and disgust reflect the true nature of the reason behind their opinions. It IS discouraging.

Jen said...

You have a serious case of the awesomes. For realsies.

Alice said...

i regret to confess that i've yelled at runners before... back when i was in college i used to yell "THERE'S NOBODY CHASING YOU!" at joggers, because i was an asshole college student. however, i was equally assholey to joggers of all shapes and sizes. uh, yay?

Anne said...

Yay for you and your determination! I'm somewhat less determined than an every-night wogger (hee I love that name), but I'm trying.

I've been running several times a week for almost five weeks now (brought on my all the health stuff you already know about from my blog), and when I started I could only BARELY do the run one minute/walk 90 seconds pattern in the beginning runners thingy I'm following. BARELY. I thought my lungs would exit my body via my nose at any moment. Last Sunday (the most recent day I ran, thanks to some crazy weather here lately) I ran for NINE MINUTES IN A ROW HOLY CRAP.

Even if determination doesn't pay off much on the outside, it does seem to pay of in ability-to-run-longer, at least so far.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

A wog every day?! Go you and your determination! (Also: your awesome writing.)

oxox

the new girl said...

For whatever reason (there are plenty, really, I suppose) this post made me want to cry.

Determination is difficult, for me anyway, under optimum conditions and having to face (most kinds) of adversity on top of the necessary determination often ends in a death knell for whatever I'm trying to accomplish.

So, how awesome to get some constructive feedback from a kind observer.

P.S. I stopped wanting to cry when I read Alice's comment because if someone screamed out the window to me that there was nobody chasing me, I'd probably pee my pants while trying to laugh and jog at the same time.

drhoctor2 said...

I'm SO mad at the people who yell things out of their car windows. Who DOES that? I would KILL my kids if I ever heard of them pulling such nonsense.
Honestly..I rarely think anything about the sizes of people walking/running/whatever around..I must be extremly self centered..or maybe..not very rude..even if nobody's watching.
You have my permission to yell back that I said they should all go @#%$ themselves with a @#$%ing @#$%^&*er in the @#$% !! Twice !!
Yelling at people outdoors..I am incensed ..feel like my own grandmother..hmmph.

Anne said...

Dear Swistle...
this is why you need to be lined up with me one very early sunday summer morning and do a triathlon. With all women.
All ages, all sizes, all out there not caring about anything than the thrill of finishing.
All proud of what our bodies can DO, not how our bodies look.
But...that being said, it's different in the combined races. I feel much less confident in the races with men and women, especially if I have to squeeze into a wetsuit.
I say good job on just moving your body every day. Some people- even skinny people- do not do that.

I have not read the Marie Claire article, but my first year of running and trying to do my first triathlon I had lots of people sneering in the neighborhood. And I felt fat and felt like they were judging me. Then I did my first race and it was awesome and I kept running and training, and a neighbor stopped me and snottily said, "Why are you still running? It's not like you lost any weight." and now each time I run past her house I flip her two big birds and say YEEE HAWWWW, and if it's summer I make sure I stop and jog in place and talk to her husband and watch him get hypnotized by my big fat....chest. I exercise because it makes me feel good. I'm 6 foot tall and LOVE everything my body can do, including sitting on not nice people. Do you want me to come sit on some people for you?

(and I seriously think you should try a triathlon. Even if it means we find a way to do a relay team and you can walk/jog wog the 5k)

Anonymous said...

I saw you at Target once. I was struggling with my 2 yr old and you were holding the bathroom door open for me while effortlessly herding your brood. I realized who you were too late to tell you how much I love your blog. What struck me at the time is what a pretty and kind smile you have, the kind of smile that made me feel better in a tough moment. I can't speak for others but I know for certain that someone in REAL LIFE didn't judge you on your weight, even when I didn't know who you were.

Deanna said...

I KNEW you would have something awesome to say in response to that ignorant, hateful, judgmental article. (WHY, oh WHY would the editors of that website think that was worthwhile material to publish?!)

Also, I hope you are smiling at the Anonymous comment right before this one, because it made me tear up just a little...AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW YOU. : )

Swistle said...

Anonymous 3:51--- OMG OMG OMG!!!! My eyebrows are up SO HIGH!

Kelly @ Student of the Year said...

Fuck Marie Claire.

You're doing your body good. My Anatomy & Physiology prof gave me yet another reason to continue my 5-nights a week jog: stressful exercise (that involves the kind of contact that gives running a bad name) helps build bone cells. Osteoblasts.

I told this to my husband, who I've been trying to convince to join me for the better part of two years, about this. "I've given you a thousand reasons why it's good for you!"

You know what he tells me? "I need one more." Smart ass.

Boys in cars are the reason I use a treadmill. In my basement.