“You’re Thin! You Don’t Need To Work Out” Is A Statement That Needs To Be Cancelled 

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I’ve been brought up in a family that takes health seriously. My dad regularly goes for walks which is great, but this is followed by being part of the laughing club, which is not so great. My mom does yoga and  despite I haven’t been able to get into a fitness routine for myself. I find it boring honestly. And for some weird reason, it’s something I can do only when I have company. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve attended various dance classes, picked up swimming and then pursued yoga. For me, working out has to be fun. But all this was before the pandemic. During the lockdown, my exercising became inconsistent and eventually came to a full stop.

My parents tried to encourage me to get back to some form of physical activity but the motivation wasn’t setting in. As someone who has an imbalanced hormones (in that they occasionally go absolutely nuts), it is vital for my health to do some form of physical activity. And I was always averse going to the gym because I used to feel a little embarrassed of how skinny I am and wonder what the guy in front of me carrying a 10 kg weight will think of me when I even struggle to pick a 2.5kg weight. Anybody else feel me?

Working Out GIF

Being Thin But Healthy

I’m still working on letting go of this inhibition but I’m taking it one step at a time. And the first step I took was to get back to the grind. I started calling a fitness coach at home to help me gain strength, stamina and some muscle. Just after a month, I could see and feel the difference. So I felt proud of myself and happily began telling people about my progress. But to my surprise and dismay, many people questioned me and a remark I often heard was, “Why are you working out? You don’t even need it. You’re so lean and thin already.” And this, my friends, is way too problematic a statement, and I’m going to give you my two bits on it.

 

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A post shared by Naomi (@nmdrawsx)

The Thin Is Ideal Trope

You see, people are still under the impression that being lean or thin is the ideal body shape. But when they make this statement, they imply that only those who are on the slightly heavier side or in the plus size category need to exercise in order to get thin, because that is perfect. And this is just wrong!  You’re contributing to body shaming, putting body types in buckets and contributing to the stereotype of what society thinks is beautiful. It’s time to move on from this trope and realise that everyone of all shapes and sizes can exercise as it’s good for your health. Plus it’s a scientifically proven fact that you feel good–exercising releases feel good hormones aka endorphins. And for some people, exercising is also a choice. And for others, it’s something they genuinely can’t pursue on account of health related purposes, not because they’re lazy. In fact, research has continuously proven that healthy bodies can exist in all sizes. So why the disparity?

Similarly, shaming someone because they’re thin isn’t correct either. Pushing them to eat more or passing comments on their physique is wrong. Sometimes people are thin purely due to genetics or other reasons that they need not justify to you.

There’s no such thing as a perfect body. But yes, if keeping your health in check is something that will benefit you and working out will help you achieve that, then do it 100%. Never neglect your health and what’s good for your well-being. And while you’re at it, don’t pressurise yourself into it and don’t even let others put pressure on you. Start your fitness journey when you’re mentally and physically ready. It took some time for me too but I eventually got there. And now that I am on that path, I’m setting realistic goals for myself that I can achieve over time, not overnight. If you’re too convinced about losing weight or gaining weight to get the so-called ideal shape quickly, it’s only going to lead to self harm. So take it slow and easy. Keep self care as your priority. After all, a healthy body is the goal, not a perfect one.

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Illustration by Gina Shord

Opening Image by @lulusketch_

Thumbnail Image by @sasa_elebea

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