I’ve been pretty candid that I am a heavyset woman. If I was honest on the “what body shape are you?” quiz, I’d select “Paleolithic Fertility Idol.” Floppy boobs, big ol’ belly, tree trunk thighs, and hips made to populate the world — that’s me, the Share-a-Size Sarah. And boy howdy, I’m awesome.
I should back up a little bit.
In the months that I’ve been getting into lifting, I’ve run into one really off-putting attitude. It goes, “I don’t want to look like you.” It’s usually said with a sneer by someone who would have to decamp to the couch and mainline straight HFCS for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a year to even scrape the edge of my size. It’s an attitude that walks hand-in-hand with “I don’t lift weights, because muscles are masculine.” When pressed, the person who doesn’t want to look like me explains that women who lift weights are either super fat and ugly because they’ve bulked up, or are scary orange and veiny, because they’re participating in body building competitions. Either way, lifting weight will result in a totally gross body.
It’s so cloyingly sweet the way ignorance cavorts with body shaming, isn’t it? Also, I love how some folks have no shame telling me to my face that looking like me would be the absolute lowest point of their lives.
Well, fuck you, I’m awesome.
Hey, I get it. I do. It’s an image-conscious, image-driven society. Every January, millions flock to health clubs and gyms with the goal of going from Before to After. Everyone knows that After is what it’s all about — because After gets tagged with “Happily Ever.” Who doesn’t want to be happy? So get with the program. Get on the elliptical. Eat fake food and do penance for not being pretty. Pay out the nose to have program after program fail because genetics plays a big damn roll in a gym perfect body. Suffer and never enjoy life and living until that goal weight has been achieved.
But here’s the thing: this is the happiest I’ve been in my life. I was telling the Captain the other day that it’s a pretty simple equation: Deadlifts + Adequate Sleep + Baby Snuggles = Joy. Who’s going to turn down joy?
There are so many benefits to the lifting besides the satisfaction of moving heavy weight up and down. I’m building a strong body so I can lug a toddler around town. I’m beating my family history of osteoporosis into submission. I’m impressing Target cashiers with my ability to tote the big box of cat litter with one hand. I’m giving DudeBros the side eye.
Yeah, I’m the Paleolithic Pin-up Girl living in the twenty-first century and loving it. Fuck the haters. I’m awesome.