Overcoming the Fat Girl

My morning started off pretty well, with me finishing off Rachel Cosgrove’s “The Female Body Breakthrough“. If you recall, Maya sent it to me as a surprise gift last month. I had been reading something else at the time, but this past week I was finally able to get to it. I really enjoyed parts of the book, including Cosgrove’s discussions of the female hormones (and how to use your cycle to your workout benefit) and overcoming unhealthy relationships with food.

While I probably won’t adhere to everything just as written (running may be an advanced exercise that I haven’t “earned the right” to do at this point, but I’m signed up for a 12K next month, so I’m going to run!), I was completely excited about the idea of starting the strength program. While I used to strength train when I first joined the Y in 2007/2008, I didn’t keep up with it. Plus, I only used weight machines. I was always envious of those on the weight floor, working with free weights and just body weight, but the trainer who prescribed my weight circuit plans told me he wanted me to build up a little before he introduced me to free weights. I sorta never built up and made another appointment. My bad.

After finishing up my reading I did something that I think makes me either totally badass, or perhaps slightly out of my mind: I registered for the lottery entry for the 2011 Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I’m not sure why I’ve recently become inspired to try a half marathon, especially given my difficulties with running just a 5K sometimes. Nevertheless, I just decided that I wanted to try.


Plus, I’m a sucker for bling that comes in a blue box.

One of the questions in the registration for the lotto was the following: I RUN TO BE ______.

Your job was to fill in the blank with one word. I spent a lot of time thinking about this. I know most people would just say the first thing that popped into their head, but not me. I stopped to really think about why I run. After a lot of time and consideration, I declared:


I know. A weird thing to say.

I guess that because of my past and various things that have gone on in my life, I am always afraid. Of failure. I could never run as a kid, so I think part of me just associates the act of becoming a runner (or at least completing a substantial race distance, such as a half marathon) with reinforcing the idea in my brain that I can do anything I want to. I just need to commit and do it. All of the doubts, worries and silliness is all in my head. I want to conquer this running thing so that in the future, when I think I can’t, I can remind myself of what I have achieved and that if I can haul my butt 13.1 miles, I can do anything.

With thoughts of my new mantra ringing in my brain, I closed my laptop, changed into my workout clothes and headed towards the Y. I figured I’d drop off my clothes in a locker and do the AT&T loop. I needed to get in a run as my wisdom teeth extractions had put me behind in my Bay to Breakers preparations. Just as I was about to hit Market and Van Ness, I approached a large (maybe 10 or so) group of homeless/street people sitting on the sidewalk. As I started to walk past them, one of them yelled out something at me.

I don’t want to get into what he said specifically. Essentially, he made a comment about how a part of my body looked in my workout clothes. A nasty, rude, offensive and frankly, mean comment.

I flipped him off and kept walking.

But the damage was done. I hadn’t even looked back to see which guy said it or who was laughing. I was looking at the ground, feeling my face turn bright red and tears welling up in my eyes. I kept walking. I used to have strangers publicly humiliate me due to my size on a daily basis, but it has probably been a couple of years since it has happened and frankly, it hurt a lot more than I remembered it hurting.

I briefly toyed with the idea of skipping my run. I felt fairly demoralized, all of the joy from the morning’s fitness related activities drained from me. I thought about just going to the Y, showering, changing into my street clothes and then going to work early. However, when I got to the locker room, I just shoved my backpack in a locker, grabbed a runner’s stamp from the front desk and went out to the Embarcadero.

The first mile hurt. I ran against the wind as fast as I could and I made myself promise that I wouldn’t stop until I reached the turn around point near AT&T Park’s Giants retail store. I was pushing myself so hard I couldn’t even think about anything. I just ran. When I hit the turn around I felt spent. It may’ve only been 1.25 miles, but I was huffing and puffing as if I had just ran a marathon. I walked for the rest of the distance around the park, catching my breath and drinking my Nuun. I thought about what had happened and how I felt.


But I realized it wasn’t because of how I looked in my work out clothes. I had already noticed the way my body looked in this outfit. I hadn’t been too bothered by it. I mean, if I am in my work out clothes, that means I’m working out! No shame there. I realized that it just hurt because I was ashamed of the fact that I haven’t been giving things my all in life. Even my recent plans. Though I’ve been doing so much better, I’m still not doing my best. That is the only thing in the world that a person should ever be ashamed of.

If you are doing your best, what more can you do?

So what I put to myself was the following question: Every time someone teases you or gives you a hard time, are you going to cry? Or are you going to be fearless because you’ve done your best?

There is only one choice worth making.

Once I hit the Embarcadero I took a leisurely pace back to the Y and finished up my 2.5 mile loop.

While I felt much better after my run, I’ve still felt pretty low today. I am making consistent efforts to not “be the fat girl” anymore, but sometimes it is just hard to be convinced when others have the nerve to tell you to your face, whether it is true or not, that you still are.

12 thoughts on “Overcoming the Fat Girl

  1. I really appreciate your candid viewpoint of how this situation made you feel and how you dealt with it. I have not had others make comments about me but it is what I do to myself when I look in the mirror. I, too, need to feel fearless instead of worthless. Thanks so much for you post!

    1. It’s hard to choose to feel one way or another, but as I said in the post, the other choice is useless. It’s even worse to do it to yourself…just don’t do it.

      I know, I know. Easier said than done!

  2. Hooray! I’m glad you entered the lottery & my fingers are crossed that you get in. It will be an amazing accomplishment (and I’m TOTALLY with you on the blue box. 🙂 ) I hope I get in, too! 🙂

    I’m so sorry to hear what happened while you were walking to the gym — some people are totally thoughtless and cruel. I know the harm was been done and there’s probably no way of talking you out of the funk you feel but 1.) thank you for being honest & sharing what you’re feeling about this, 2.) Good job for still getting your workout in, and 3.) There no way in hell you’re “the fat girl.” I mean, come on! Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re not anywhere close.


    1. Thanks Alyssa.

      I understand that physically, I’m in the high range of “normal” weight and that I’ve come so far. What I struggle with is breaking with the mental part of “being a fat girl”. That is a lot harder to let go of…and as I say, when someone actually says it to you, it gets even harder!

      I also know that what some homeless guy (who looks like he hasn’t showered in three weeks) says about me really shouldn’t carry much weight…but my brain is kind of screwy on this matter. 😛

      I hope we both get it! Fun times!

  3. I really hope you get into the race! That would be so exciting!

    I think you handled the situation with the homeless person so well. I probably would have turned around, gone back home and felt horrible all day, or beat the hell out of whoever said it (just kidding, but I would be tempted!) The fact that you didn’t let some asshole get you down is so great! When it comes down to it, you were out there working out, which is more than a lot of people (including that clown!) can say. Go you! 🙂

    1. I hope I get in too!

      (That’s what I say NOW, before I actually have a half marathon to train for! 😉 )

      Trust me, the temptation to beat him up was strong…..after I was on my run. Probably better I didn’t have that feeling on the spot…there were like 10 people there in his group!

  4. 1. Those guys have nothing better to do than harass people all day, so why pay any attention to anything they say?
    2. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d certainly rather be fat than a homeless douchebag.

  5. That really sucks. And I don’t think you should be mad at yourself for reacting to the comment; the guy verbally assaulted you. If someone walked up to you and punched you, you’d feel pretty crappy too.

    It is good to turn around a negative by responding to it positively. But just don’t dwell on it. That guy has way too many problems to waste brain energy on.

    Also, that’s awesome about the half marathon lottery!!! I so hope you get in. Fearless is right. 🙂 Your motives for running it are pretty similar to my motives for running my first half last November, and attempting a full (May 1st… gulp!). You’re right, it proves that you can do anything you put your mind to.

    Rock on!

  6. You ALMOST inspired me to enter the lottery, but I’m too nervous I’m not good enough [yet]! I’m with you on the, sometimes I can run an awesome 5K and sometimes I can’t run a mile, bit. But I totally want that necklace. If you get into the race YOU’LL DO GREAT!
    I think I run to be awesome. Or fabulous. Those words embody so much self-esteem, I just love them! Who doesn’t want to be awesomely fabulous?

  7. I’m glad you liked the book! Like I’ve said, I don’t agree with everything she says in there.. but I do love her approach and views, and I love how she frames and breaks down the why and how for certain things. It’s also nice that she’s been pretty much all over the place with her own body, and has learned from all her experience.

    Total suck about the bum.. but I’m proud of you for pushing through it. It’s hard to always stay positive, but the best you can do it to keep on going forward even when the negative hits.

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