Words by Emma Kneebone
“You write about eating chocolate brownies, but you’re so skinny you can eat them every day and not gain weight. Not me, I only have to look at one and I’ve gained a couple of pounds.”
We’ve All Been There
Above is a quote from my friend following my first article last week. Now, let’s just take a moment to discuss the many things wrong with this sentence. Firstly, if it was possible to put on weight by looking at food, we’d all be fucked. Secondly, it’s not actually true – take a look at any photo of me from 2011 and you’ll see that I’m carrying extra pounds from a year of travelling, eating whatever I damn well pleased and actually taking pride in not doing any exercise.
It felt good for a while, I was denying what I SHOULD be doing, for what I actually wanted to and indulge; oh I did. Inevitably, my body and mind eventually started to shout at me; my skin looked like I was constantly due my period and my body felt like the final day of Glastonbury; battered and unkempt but surviving. And thirdly, I’m not really a fan of the word skinny. But if you must insist on using it, can I call you fat?
A Change Would Be Nice For Us All
There are things about ourselves we all wish we could change. For me; my eyebrows, which I stupidly allowed my ‘friend’ to wax when I was in my early teens. I think she thought me a bird as she plucked them off, entirely, and all hopes of the Cara Delevingne look have been dashed forevermore. I also have weirdly big, big toes which have been likened to troughs by my ex (though that’s not the entire reason we’re not together anymore). And I have a birth mark on the back of my neck, which curiously is red and people are constantly telling me in a kind, concerned voice that I have a rash, or perhaps an allergic reaction to my shampoo… ‘Err what? On my neck? Surely that would be on my head.’ Anyway, I digress.
There’s new movements in play. Shouts for ‘strong, not skinny’ and ‘big is beautiful’. I fully support and agree with any movement that promotes a healthy body image, it’s part of my core belief system. The other morning I drove the very short distance to the shop in first gear, up a hill, unable to overtake the cyclist in front of me who was causing a queue.
A Cheerleader In All Of Us
She was fat. And I say this without any hint of degrading thought or insult whatsoever. She was bright red and the determination on her face was set; if I could have gotten closer I would bet my chocolate brownie she was growling. I cheered for her, out loud in my car!
I owned the title of her private cheerleading squad and shouted out: “Come on. Keep going. You got this girl.”
As she got nearer the crest of the hill, I was growling on her behalf, in the moment with her, united in the desire for her to succeed. With strength, determination and sheer bloody-mindedness she peaked. I could see the relief on her face. “You did it, you did it”, I sang and waved my imaginary pom poms in victory.
I doubt she had any idea I was putting on a show of support behind her. Most likely, she was more concerned about the queue of traffic and fearful of reprisals from stressed commuters begrudging her the few seconds required to make her victorious for the rest of the day.
The girl on a bike got me thinking, was her victory more victorious because she was fat? Yes I decided, it is, but only because she had more weight to push up the hill. Just as people would be more impressed if, as a skinny person, I picked up a really heavy person and started doing bicep curls with them.
Society wants us to be slim, but not too skinny. It wants us to be wholesome, but not too fat. We must have normal sized toes, decent sized eyebrows and blemish free skin. But for me, in reality, when I start scrolling through my Instagram and seeing these pictures of ‘perfect’, I feel negative about my weird big toe and the strange ‘rash’ on my neck.
Instead, what apparently really inspires me, is a fat girl on a bike giving it her all up a really steep hill bang in the middle of commuter time traffic. The fact is, I couldn’t care less that she is ‘fat’ or that I am ‘skinny’. I refuse to apologise for my brownie eating ability just as she should refuse to apologise for delaying traffic a bit to make herself feel great. If you want to be scientific about it, I have an ectomorph body shape and she an endomorph body shape, there are limitations in regards to nutrition and fitness for us both, but I call on all of us to be proud of what our Mama’s gave us.
So to the girl on a bike, if you’re reading this, thank you for being my motivation to cycle to the shop the next morning. Keep doing what you’re doing, I thoroughly enjoyed our moment together. I can only hope I have a private cheerleading squad encouraging me the next time I battle up a hill too.
Tags: Blog, bristol, bristol city, brownies, chocolate, ChuckSports, chucktown, Chucktown magazine, chucktown sports, cycling, cynical, eating, Emma Kneebone, fat, Fitness, HIIT, HiiTtoFit, personal trainer, PT, skinny, uphill