To The Gym-Hating, Food-Loving Women: Be Proud

It’s not that you don’t care about your health.

In a world swirling with talk of Pilates and the danger of carbohydrates, you sometimes feel alone.

At the lunch table, when those around you are talking quinoa and boiled chicken, you’re eating last night’s delivery pizza leftovers -- on a good day. You see the glares from the women around you, silently questioning how immature or irresponsible you could be. Don’t you care about your health?

In the gym, you’re the woman in the corner laughing because her Downward-Facing Dog pose isn’t even close to being on point. You’re huffing and puffing after 20 seconds in the plank position because there’s just no way you can make it a minute. You’re the woman who is sneaking breaks during crunches when the instructor isn’t looking.  If you make it to the gym twice a week, it’s a victory because let’s face it -- sometimes Netflix binges are real.

In a world swirling with talk of Pilates and the danger of carbohydrates, you sometimes feel alone.

Again, there are glares from other women, the women who are putting more weight on their bar instead of less. There are condescending looks from the women who are self-proclaimed plank lovers and Tree Pose experts. Their scowls at your laughter scream of their judgement. Are you even trying? Don’t you want that six-pack by the end of summer? Do you only come here once a week?

In a world that touts gluten-free as the healthiest choice and sugar as the devil, you love your dose of white pasta and ice cream. You love fried foods, and you’re not afraid to dig into the candy bowl when you feel the need. Food, for you, is a friend, not an enemy to be combatted. Calorie counting makes your head spin.

It’s not that you don’t care about your health. You try to eat some fruits and vegetables. You try to show restraint from time to time and get your cardio in. When your pants start to feel snug, you cut back, you get it together.

But you’re not perfect. Dieting is hard. Exercising is hard. Give you a good book, a glass of wine, and some delectable pastries any day, and you’ll rock it. But healthy-eating and a jog after work? It looks like it might rain, so maybe you better stay in. And, uh-oh, you’re fresh out of vegetables. Guess it’ll have to be take-out until you get to the grocery store.

The world will try to tell you to stop making excuses, that you can do this. The world will tell you to put your mind to it -- this is your life, your body. Don’t you want to rock the bikini this year at the beach? 

Do your best in your workouts, but don’t be afraid to laugh when you roll off the ab ball. Be who you are and pursue what matters most to you in life.

Over the course of your struggles with diet and exercise, though, you’ve learned one thing: There’s more to life than body perfection.

Sure, those girls in bikinis are envy-worthy in your magazines. Sure, you wish your muffin top would simmer down. You know you’d feel stronger, better, more energized if you turned down the afternoon doughnut at the office or skipped the ice cream tonight.

But life’s about balance. Your life is about so much more than how few calories you can eat or how many burpees you can do. 

So gym-hating, food-loving women, be proud. Do not let anyone food shame you or gym shame you into feeling like you’re not worthy. Eat your chips and salsa with a side of candy for lunch with pride. Do your best in your workouts, but don’t be afraid to laugh when you roll off the ab ball. Be who you are and pursue what matters most to you in life.

Life’s about finding joy. For some, joy comes from the challenge of the gym. For some, joy comes from fueling their body with the best food choices. For you, though, joy comes from a completely different place.  Know that’s okay. Ignore the glares at lunch or the scowls in the gym. Do what you can to be healthy, but know it’s okay if it isn’t your only mission.

Know you are beautiful -- six-pack abs, quinoa addiction, or not.

Lindsay Detwiler is the author of three contemporary romance novels including Voice of Innocence, Without You, and Then Comes Love. She is also a high school English teacher in her hometown. She lives with Chad (her junior high sweetheart), their five cats, and their mastiff Henry. You can find out more about Lindsay at www.lindsaydetwiler.com, www.facebook.com/lindsayanndetwiler, or on Twitter @LindsayDetwiler.

CONVERSATIONS