Since fitness is important to me I read a lot of articles about it. One of the things that comes up pretty often is the idea that fit is the opposite of fat. For example “After losing blah blah blah pounds, Sandy went from fat to fit!” This activates my bitch slap reflex.
If Sandy lost weight then she went from fat to thin (at least for the short term). If Sandy increased her strength, stamina, and flexibility, then she became more fit regardless of her body size.
I think one of the biggest tragedies of the “omgdeathfatz war on obesity” rhetoric is the lie that the only way to become fit is to become thin, and that if our efforts at fitness don’t make us thin then they won’t make us healthy. That’s not what the evidence tells us, but the idea persists – that fit and fat are opposites when in fact they are unrelated. In fact, while most fat people will never achieve long term thinness, almost all of us can become more fit. To be clear, there is no obligation for anyone to choose fitness, it’s all about what you want.
Fitness is about what you choose within the parameters of what your body can do, within the context of your body’s particular abilities and limitations. I think of fitness as being built on the three pillars: strength, stamina and flexibility in whatever combination and at whatever level you want to and can achieve.
Nobody can tell us how fit we need to be, or how we need to be fit. We each get to come to fitness on our own terms. For example, I don’t enjoy running or yoga so I choose other ways to work on stamina and flexibility. My training is also sport specific – I train to improve my dancing and so there are some things that I do that I don’t completely enjoy – if I wasn’t a dancer my fitness choices would be different.
If you are looking for inspiration and/or company, I suggest you check out the fit fatties forum. It is full of people who choose to focus on their fitness in all different kinds of ways and at many different levels. There are fitness newbies and oldbies, strength athletes, dancers, runners, joggers, walkers, triathletes, yogis and more.
So when you see fit discussed as the opposite of fat, I invite you to think BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT!!!!!
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