Swimming in Judgement

Fun Fact: in my nighmare that's always mint chocolate chip...

Fun Fact: in my nightmare that’s always mint chocolate chip…

I live in Los Angeles, California- arguably the epicenter of vanity. As an overweight woman, there’s a thin layer of loathing that I sometimes feel from men in this city. “Why are you here? You’re supposed to be hot. Everybody here is supposed to be hot for my viewing pleasure.” Sometimes the guy giving me that look has bigger boobs than me.

When I topped 200 lbs one of my first paranoia-driven nightmares was that, while taking in the sights of the Venice Boardwalk or the 3rd Street Promenade, my ass would be featured as “camera-about-town” stock footage of the obesity epidemic.

You know how the segment goes:

  • 1.) A 90lb Anchorwoman declares a new study has found being fat is even worse than previously believed.
  • 2.) An Anchorman gasps, and both talk as if fat people (and not obesity) are, themselves, a contagious disease that is costly and unstoppable.
  • 3.) Cut to the fat-asses-walking-down-streets montage footage. With heads cropped out. Y’ah know. For their dignity.

In my worst nightmares the cameraman would catch me waddling around one of these tourist attractions EATING SOMETHING.

To onlookers, a smoker isn’t a smoker until she has a cigarette in her hand. An alcoholic isn’t an alcoholic until he’s stumbling out of the bar reeking of booze. The nose-picker isn’t a nose picker until his finger goes a-digging. But people don’t need to see you stuffing your face with a fistful of cake to know you’re overweight. Your vice is inescapably apparent and is open season for everyone’s judging enjoyment.

I’m especially wary of this kind of judgement as I start lap swimming. Do you want to know what courage is? It’s being obese in a bathing suit. In public. During daylight. But screw it! I’ve decided that the public’s interest in how I look in my bathing suit probably breaks down like this:

And we can't let the Jerkfaces win.

And we can’t let the Jerkfaces win.

So I’ll dive in and start swimming again. And maybe I’ll look forward to a time when a news story featuring stock footage of my ass won’t be about obesity, but about terribly unfashionable pants instead.

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Turbo Fire says, “I’m going to eat you for breakfast.”

So yeah… this is happening.

“I’m not a class person.”

I say this all the time about the gym. I have friends and family who love their spinning, kickboxing, yoga, and Pilates. “Classes are fun!” they say. “It really gets you motivated!”

It’s possible I don’t like classes because I’m so out of shape the competitive person inside me dies a little when I have to jog in place to catch my breath while everyone else is helicoptering kicks and air squats like it’s not burning their thighs at all. Perhaps it’s just an athletic self consciousness that I’ve carried with me since kindergarten when I couldn’t cross the rings. I’m not saying that any of this is good reasoning from staying away from classes, but I have no complaints about hopping on the elliptical. When I do it. Which, up until this point, isn’t as often as I should.

Enter Turbo Fire.

Turbo Fire is an “Intense cardio conditioning” fitness program put on by Beach Bodies, who make the notoriously hardcore P90x that I keep hearing about. It’s more than just a workout DVD; it’s several DVDs, with a “class schedule.” I really want to wax smarmy all over this, but I am in absolutely know position to throw stones. I need cardio. I need convenience and a schedule. This has both.

I will strive to be psyched as they all seem to be.

I initially doubted I could even do these videos. Intense, high-impact workouts are great ways for obese people to blow out knees. But when a friend graciously let me preview one of the tapes I saw that there was a nice, cheerful Asian girl (Holla!) on the side who did the “lower impact” version of the workouts.

So I’m committing, and this bomb is dropping on Monday (because that’s when the “class schedule” says to start, I’m not procrastinating, the pamphlet says so!). Updates to follow.

Is anybody out there doing a Beach Body Program? Is anybody else out there a “Class person” with a tip that could get me over the hump?