I Need a Kick Up the Bum

Published November 24, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I got talking to a guy a while ago who is really into body building.  He’s not one of those huge mega muscular Mr Universe types, but he spends a lot of time and energy in sculpting/shaping his body into a particular shape and muscle definition as a sport.  To look at him in an everyday setting, he just looks like a lean guy.  Very handsome, but not like I think of when I conjure up a picture of a bodybuilder in my mind.  But he tells me in the context of his sport, his shape and muscle definition is a class (like boxers have classes, you know, featherweight, heavyweight, lightweight etc) and he works really hard to get himself to what is considered peak for his sport category.

I’ve known him for awhile, we chat fairly often in passing, he’s a nice guy and we have some common interests, and often find ourselves chatting when we cross paths.    I knew he was into body building, but I’ve never talked to him about it because I assumed that he would have the attitude that as a big death-fatty, I would be unhealthy and he wouldn’t be at all favourable to a fat acceptance philosophy.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions?  They make an ASS out of U and ME.  In this case, I think my assumptions have made a big old ASS out of ME.

For the first time ever, I broached the subject of his body building a while back.  He eats.  All day.  But it’s very specific things, at specific times.  I had been noticing this eating pattern for awhile, and seen how much time and energy he puts into this regime, and I’d drawn a lot of parallels to my own history of eating disorders.  The strict regime, eating certain foods at certain times in certain combinations.  This particular day, I was watching him mix up some concoction and I said to him “I’m sorry dude, but that looks gross, do you actually like the taste of it?”  He told me he didn’t find it too bad, and it’s what works best for him.  We got talking about his body building and what it takes to maintain the physique he has, which is to me, a hell of a lot of work for someone to put into just the shape of their body.

Of course, I forget that I used to do that and more in my past to try to change the shape of my body.

I don’t know why, but I finally decided to broach the topic of fat acceptance and body positivity with him.  I actually braced myself for the usual ZOMGBESITY CRISIS! reaction, the lecture about health and such.  The response I got surprised me, and in hindsight, it shouldn’t have.  He simply responded “I’ve always believed that your body is YOUR body, and you know what’s best for it.”

*blink*  *blink*

Yes my lovelies, I was speechless for a moment there.

As our conversation continued, he told me how he knows that he spends a hugely inordinate amount of time and energy on his regime for his body building, but he loves his sport and knows that his lifestyle is not sustainable for a whole lifetime, and that when he decides to retire, he will have to adjust to having a body that is a vastly different shape to the one he has now.  Like any athlete, he has made a commitment in the here and now to his body and sport, and he’s fully aware that it’s not his natural body shape, and that it’s not really anyone’s natural body shape.

I told him about fat acceptance and health at every size, and he was totally on board with it.  I’ll be honest, I had assumed that this beautifully sculpted man who spends a very significant portion of his life on his diet and exercise would have a very poor attitude towards fatness.  And I shouldn’t have.  Nothing of his behaviour towards me, the fattest woman in our mutual environment, ever indicated that, he has always been friendly, respectful and pleasant towards me.  We’ve talked about subjects both very personal and small talk.

I realised that I was absolutely judging him on his eating and exercising habits.  The very judgements that I criticise other people for casting on me and other fat people.

I need a kick up the bum for that.  I have no more right to judge someone at the highly fit and regimented end of the body spectrum than anyone has to judge a death-fatty like me.

What is really important to me is to take that lesson that I’ve received from this man and use it.  To adjust my thinking, shift my assumptions, and make sure that I own up to those stupid assumptions I had.  Not to mention share the lesson with others.  We can’t judge the mega-sporty-fit people any more than anyone can judge we fatties.

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7 comments on “I Need a Kick Up the Bum

  • Wonderful post! Actually, I’d known that one of the relatively early advocates of fat acceptance is Ken Mayer, a body-builder. (His book, *Real Women Don’t Diet*, came out in 1993.)

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about how size can equal power, on a totally primal psychological level, and some hatred of fat people, especially women, seriously, is based in fear–a deep, animal-based fear that no one would ever, ever admit. Worse because you’re intimidated by someone that society says you should despise! That works with body-builders being more accepting, as they both are big and feel strong.

    Also, to me being obsessed with food in terms of what my body wants and in terms of what I need to do to lose weight are emotionally totally different. As a diabetic, and older, I really watch what fats I eat, how much of anything especially carbs–and I eat mostly vegan, for both ethical and health reasons. But for one thing there’s no desperation–if I want a bit of something, no biggie. It did take me years and years to get past my post-dieting craziness to this approach. Someone who never weight-loss dieted, as the body-builder probably did not, would have a big advantage. Generally, teen fat boys exercise and teen fat girls diet, sadly for us. That’s chaging, though, in both ways.

  • This reminds me of me and my roomate. My roomate has an hereto unknown secret nickname called House Candy because he is young, he is hot and he is always working out and has a very sculpted bod, he runs etc etc. Like you I assumed that he must have these secret thoughts abuot MY body and lifestyle etc etc. A few times you know I would make remarks like, “you know for a fat girl…” commenst that in general I do not even notice that I make. His response? “You are beautiful and perfect the way you are.” He is always quick to catch phrases like that and correct them.

    yay for house candy!!!

    • Absolutely. Just because someone chooses to sculpt their body with diet and exercise doesn’t mean that they believe everyone should. And in the case of this guy, he even said that he finds fat women really attractive.

      It was a good wake up call for me.

  • See, I would assume the same as you did. In the vein of all things positive though, perhaps I should allow people the opportunity to prove me wrong and instead assume they are body positive until they aren’t. Thanks for this, Kath. Just goes to show that we never truly know until we ask. =0)

    • You know the silliest thing? I know this guy has a good attitude towards women, is friendly and kind, and has an open mind. We talk all the time. So why would I get it in my head that he must be a complete bigot about fat bodies?

  • This is a good article and I enjoyed reading it.

    As a lady who is a lot chubbier than she would like, I know that I am my harshest critic – those who aren’t happy with their shape are generally the ones who are most vocal about others’ “problems” as they perceive them.

    That said, I do not criticise other people for their choices. At least I try very hard not to do so. I do think the criticisms – default reactions are hard to reprogram – but try very hard not to let them out of my mouth, or colour my behaviour towards others.

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