Sunday, December 11, 2011
Don't Be Afraid of the F-Word
So as you know if you've been hanging out here, I have been suffering with back pains of various sorts for months now, and I finally got it together to start working out with a personal trainer last week. I haven't worked with a personal trainer before, not as such. I worked with the inspiring Lisa Engles as a triathlon coach, and I've worked with a whole panoply of physical therapists for one injury or another (wrist, shoulder, hip flexor, Achilles tendon, back on various occasions). Having my own personal personal trainer though, that made me feel like I was committing to getting my mobility and athleticism back in a very real, and very financially draining way.
The first session went really well, as I mentioned. Khrys was funny and straightforward and cheerful, and we started chatting and giggling about things like the Great Mythbusters Cannonball Oops of 2011, Christmas lights, triathlons, and burpees.
I was resting in child's pose after a series of very modest forearm-knee planks when Khrys piped up, "So... I'm gonna try and verbailize this..."
My ears swiveled on their telescoping stems and started to quiver. Here was the inevitable conversation about my size. I was interested to see what this smart and engaging woman had to say about it. She had been quite complimentary about my strength and form as I did squats earlier, and we had talked about my athletic career as well as my rather unathletic 2011.
"I don't know... I don't wanna... Have you always been --"
"Fat?" I offered cheerfully.
"No! No! I don't like that word," she answered, looking a little embarrassed.
"It's OK," I said. "There's nothing wrong with that word. it's just a word. I'm fine with it."
She didn't offer any other word, and I let her off the hook. I told her that I was always a big kid, that as an adult I have gained and lost hundreds of pounds, always ending up fatter than before no matter how hard I worked to keep the weight off, and that I had started having issues in my sacroiliac joint in my mid-twenties, when I weighed at least 100 pounds less than I do now. I told her that the first time I had been laid up with back pain, I was at nearly my lightest adult weight (about 190) and was very active. I also told her that I understand that physics comes into play, that greater mass equals greater force at work, but that I believed that the body learned to adapt to the forces, given appropriate training and care.
So that was that conversation. I think we're going to have more conversations about the F-word, why it's not scary to be fat or call yourself fat. Khrys didn't take one look at me and say, "Well, obviously you're here to lose weight." or tell me I was too fat to go around exercising or anything. I think we're going to get along.