So, here’s a good one.

I actually get this a lot, but it happened again the other day, which drives me crazy.

I’m at the store, checking out, buying tons of fruits and veggies, tofu, a new blender and a new yoga mat (my cart is like a walking fitness commercial) and the clerk politely asks me what I’m doing for the day. 

“Dropping this stuff off at home, then hitting the gym.”

to which she replies

“You don’t need to go to the gym, you’re so skinny!”

First of all, skinny is not a compliment to me, so I am immediately offended.   Also, exercise isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about taking care of your muscles, bones, heart, lungs, preventing injury, disease, illness and releasing stress.  It gives you energy.  It  helps you sleep.  It’s quite amazing, actually. 

But, because I am not very confrontational, and didn’t feel like launching into a lecture, I said, “That’s how I stay this way.”

I’m always baffled.  Friends always tell me I workout too much, yet complain they need to because they “feel fat.” Yet, if I was 20 pounds heavier, they wouldn’t tell me not to.  People always comment on my healthy food choices, saying I need to “lighten up” as they scarf hamburgers, but if I was 20 pounds heavier, they would applaud me for my healthy meal.

It’s always about weight to everyone, and it’s the wrong mind frame.

But, alas, I have to remember it is not the cashier, or my friends’ fault.  I am immersed in the fitness world all day, everyday, training, writing, training myself, so it is hard for me to remember that most people only know what they hear on TV, and in the magazines.  They are products of our ‘lose weight and be loved’ culture, that sadly, exercise has been mixed up into.

Skinny is all that matters.  Losing weight is all that matters.

Therefore, why work out when you already the ‘ideal’ size? (Whatever that means.)

Thanks, media.  Thanks for assuming every woman that picks up a fitness magazine wants to lose weight (in ten days!!)  and use “fitness” models that I am pretty sure I could snap in half.  Thanks for giving us diets, pills, and lose-100-pounds-in-7-weeks-and-if-you-can’t-you-really-are-a-loser type weight loss shows to really drive the message home. 

Where are the messages of appreciating what your body can do for you right now? Where are the messages of being fit at any size?  Where are the messages of setting weight goals based on how much you can lift, not how much you can drop from your butt?

Everyone needs to workout, no matter what your size.  Everyone needs to work out for the rest of their lives, no exceptions.  But ask anyone on the street and they think of it solely as a way to scorch calories.

Fitness and exercise are not about weight loss and punishment, its about taking care of your body, whatever size it may be.  A healthy weight will follow, I promise, but that elusive size 10 pant isn’t everything.  Taking pride in the body you were given, and working on it to make sure you get as many miles out of it as you can, is.