Them: Hi! So, I just wanted to come over and tell you what an amazing job you’re doing. Keep it up, okay? You’ll get there!
Me: Ummm…okay, thanks!
You see, I am a super-active girl who enjoys dancing, sports, and various bootcamps. I am also plus-size. Most of the regulars at my gym know that I’m the plus-size girl who works out like a beast, so they let me do my thing. But, the people who have recently joined the gym treat me like I’m a walking “before” picture from an episode of The Biggest Loser. But some of us are fat — and fit.
One thing big girls often hear is something to the tune of, “you need to get healthy and lose weight.” It's usually said as one word: “gethealthyandloseweight.” Statements like this make the assumption that fat and fit are mutually exclusive. They are not. Statements like this make the assumption that skinny and healthy are synonymous. They are not. There are skinny people who have heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes. There are fat people who run 5K races, avoid junk food, and get clean bills of health from their doctors.
Last year, I began a healthy curves journey that I call #PSPfit, Plus Size Princess Fitness. I set three goals for myself: eat clean, train dirty, and love myself at any size.
I was already in the gym four times a week, so that was an easy habit to keep, but I amped up my workouts by adding intense cardio and tons of strength training. Then, I put on an apron and got cooking to ensure processed foods were eliminated from my diet. I also made regular mani/pedi appointments and went shopping for cute plus-size gym clothes (Yep, I took the “love myself” part very seriously).
My health began to improve in unexpected ways: My skin cleared up, my period became more regular, my eczema went away, my sleep improved, and my energy skyrocketed. Oh, and I lost 55 pounds.
Sure, weight loss was a part of my health improvements, but here’s the thing: In the past, I’ve lost more than 80 pounds and still had bad skin, annoying eczema, and terrible sleep patterns. So, weight isn’t everything. It's certainly something, but it's not everything.
I can do jumping jacks, pushups, planks, side planks, swim laps, and keep up in bootcamp classes galore. I eat green smoothies and cook yummy, clean recipes. I life a fit lifestyle, I’ve shed dozens of pounds, and I’m still a big girl. Even though the numbers on the scale continue to slide down, I’m pretty sure that I'll always be a big girl. So, what does that mean? Is being fit what you look like, or how you live? Is it what size you wear, or what you can do in the gym?
I’m starting to realize that a healthy, fit lifestyle will enable my body to find the appropriate weight for my optimal health. Being healthy and fit is about choices and I’m making good ones. So, the next time a newbie at the gym assures me that I'll “get there,” I can remind myself that I am already.
On her blog, Plus Size Princess, CeCe Olisa has detailed everything from what it's like to be the only big black girl in a yoga class (fine, thanks!), to her adventures in plus-size dating in the Big Apple. Now, the New York City transplant is lending her poignant, often-hilarious voice to R29.