Saturday, May 14, 2022

M.O.M. Entry Two

Greetings! The Unleashed One here, back with another journal entry.

The pictures above are old pictures, most were taken within my first few years of being in New Jersey. The one in the center was taken during a visit to MS where this photographer was offering a photo package at a discounted rate. As you all know, I don't look like that now.

This episode of Misconception On Monica (M.O.M.) is not going to be a rehash of the Highway to Healthy but will shed some spotlight on some of the views and behaviors of others since being at this smaller size.

Note: This is coming from an observatory place, not in a place where I'm trying to call out or induce shame ... if any of these observations hit home. If anything, it's to provide awareness and clarity.

MOM #2: Now that I am no longer seen or classified as plus size, I now look down on those who are or try to push the gym down their throats.

This is highly laughable to me.
If you will allow me to detour and take you on a trip down memory lane ... I promise this has a purpose.

I was allergic to physical activity. Allergic in the sense is that I would try to avoid it or do the bare minimum. I loved anything that stimulated my mind. Any activity that would serve to de-stress.

When it came to anything involving exercise, gym, physical education ... whatever you want to call it ... in my world, that wasn't it. Legit, that setting was one of the few (if not only places) where I did the bare minimum as opposed to going above and beyond. I disliked the discomfort in the team arena, especially during the years when my body was going through changes. Like, who wants to do any type of jumping when you had breasts that went beyond the training bra stage? On top of that, I hated that feeling of being extra sweaty.

I battled with insecurity about my appearance for most of my life. However, that wasn't enough of a needle to sway me in the direction of having to do something about my appearance that would involve movement.

As someone who was brought up on Southern cooking/soul food, I was that person who liked what I liked, and if I even heard that it was made another way or had ingredients in it I wasn't familiar with, just apply that aforementioned gif.

Now ... on with the present.

What I have realized ... and I'm speaking for ME ... is that even when one loses weight, there are remnants of the heavier individual still in there.

It manifests in different ways, and one of the main ways is how I see heavier individuals that are in the gym.

I still feel solidarity with them because I still remember how intimidating going to the gym can be.

When I made my first attempt back in 2013, I was absolutely petrified. There were so many thoughts going on in my head that I almost got back in the car and drove away.

I admit, that scene from Carrie where the pig's blood was dumped on her and Carrie hearing her mother saying "They're all going to laugh at you" played in my head initially. I thought of all of those fit people staring at me as if I didn't belong.

To my relief, I didn't experience that when I first joined back in 2013. Other events (which I addressed in previous entries) put me on hiatus not too long after I joined. It was because I had a positive experience that one of the first things I did when embarking on my Highway to Healthy was to go back to the gym.

The key to sticking to any activity is enjoyment. 

It takes more than motivation.

It takes more than willpower.

It takes more than discipline.

You have to like what you're doing. Otherwise, it won't stick.

The shift in my mentality involving physical activity is finding something in it that I enjoyed.

On my first stint in the gym, I discovered that I liked certain weight machines and walking on the treadmill. I knew that once I returned to the gym, those machines I wanted to continue using.

Upon my return, I made the decision to branch out to find out if there were other machines and types of cardio I enjoyed doing. Some discoveries led me to swap out machines for others while other findings led me to incorporate them on a rotation or on a more frequent basis. Yet, even in the experimentation, I found enjoyment.

Just because I like the gym does not mean I've become a Gym Disciple, spreading the gospel of all who I encounter.

If a person is inspired by what I'm doing, that is an honor, but I'm not one to say, "You have to do what I'm doing."

First off, I'm not a doctor ... I don't know what one's physical limitations are. Secondly, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if I say it, the question is: Do you want to do it? Is it something you will enjoy? Do you realize that becoming active isn't a fad or phase but a lifestyle change? If you can answer yes to all those, that represents readiness.

How you get there isn't dictated by me, and I would never look down on anyone, regardless of if you decide to take steps to lose weight or decides you're not ready.

I have gone through experiences since my Highway to Healthy journey where individuals have made either cringy statements or suggested/done activities that had the potential to derail my progress.

Some of the following statements:

"What are you doing that for? You don't need to lose weight."

"Men may not find you attractive if you lose too much."

"Girl, where did your boobs go?"

"You think you're better than me because you're a Skinny Mini."

"You're working out too much."

"You're losing your curves."

"Why are you eating salad?"

"If you're in pain (in this case, the pain was really DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), that means you need to quit working out."

"Why are you building muscle? Are you trying to look like a man?"

Some of the following suggestions/activities:

The suggestion that I should take a vacation from fitness while I'm on vacation

Offering foods that I've expressed I'm no longer eating

Insisting that I have more food when I've stated that I'm full

Acting insulted when I decline food or beverages I no longer eat or drink

Assuming that my palate hasn't changed over the years (re: not asking about any dietary restrictions/eating preferences)

In the rare situation where I permit one to cook for me, unwilling to make healthy substitutions, even when I offer the pay for the substitute ingredients if they aren't in the home

Guilting me for not wanting to go somewhere that doesn't have healthier options or smaller portions available

Giving shade to my sleep schedule (it's paired in conjunction with my workout regimen)

Annoyance at my "Don't disturb" rule as it pertains to my workout

What I'm doing for the benefit of my life shouldn't be this polarizing or such a hot topic for discussion. Yet, because it has been, what was already a small circle of people that I was associating with became even smaller. It causes too much animosity, angst, anxiety ... you name it ... to have individuals who claim to be friends but can't support you enough in being the best version of yourself.

My Highway to Healthy did result in weight loss and eating differently ... it doesn't necessarily manifest that way for everyone. I didn't expect anyone to do it with me, but to at least cheer me on along the way without making yourself a roadblock, you know? 

I don't do the whole back and forth. I've never been one to plead with people to remain in my life. A person should be there because they want to be. 

If who I am currently is no longer for you ...

Nostalgia cannot keep me bound to an individual. Not even time invested. It's what's reciprocal. It's beyond showing up; it's being present.

I am open to newness ... to get to know people through shared activities and interests. That is something that going to the gym, particularly the one that offers fitness classes, has opened the door to. 

No matter where I am in this journey, I will always be an advocate for those improving their lives, especially if being overweight or obese is getting in the way of how they feel about themselves. I will never be that person poking fun, staring, or giving unsolicited advice, for I was on the other side.

I do hope this entry has put this MOM to bed. 

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