Saturday, January 23, 2010

SPONTANEOUS VEGETABLES - GUMBY LIVES!

Last night my mom and I were finishing up watching the DVR'd first episode of this season's WHITE COLLAR and my pinched sciatic nerve was really beginning to hurt and so she decided to show me some stretches I could do to make it feel better. Crossing her leg and putting her right ankle over her left knee she asked me, 'can you cross your legs like this?' . . . To be honest, I hadn't attempted to do so in a very long time but when I lifted my right ankle to my left knee it did not resist. Then she told me to pull up on my right ankle while simultaneously pushing down on my knee. Okay, that felt good but then the good went away and it just felt . . . normal. So she suggested I lift my right ankle as high toward my head as I could go to stretch my butt muscle, so holding my right ankle in both hands I pull my toes up toward my chest - no strain. To my collar bone - no strain. To my chin - no strain. To my nose - you guessed it, no strain. I then pulled my foot all the way up to the top of my head. Yes, I - a 300+lbs woman while sitting, can pull my feet up so that my toes touch the top of my head. Is this abnormal? Freakish? Come to think of it, I have always been able to do things that other people automatically assume I cannot do. Now that I think about it, that kinda pisses me off.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, my uncle was taking some form of Karate. He was stretching by lying on the floor face down with one leg behind him and the other in front, as though he were doing the splits but with the leg going forward bent at an angle under his chest. In reality, he wasn't ACTUALLY doing the stretch. He was attempting the stretch but complained about previously torn ligaments and not enough flexibility, yada yada. So I decided to try it out and had no problem laying flat on the floor with one leg behind me and one in front bend under my chest. To this day (I tried it last night) I don't have a problem doing this.

The other night, my 8 year old cousin (who by all physical rights is the human double Popsicle - a teeny tiny torso set upon legs so spindly they may as well be toothpicks) sat down on the floor Indian style and I sat down with her. She asked me if I wanted to see the stretches she had done in PE that day at school. Of course, I said sure and she showed me the butterfly. I copied her. "No, No," she said. "like this." I was doing it exactly as she was. I have always been able to do the butterfly and even able to pull my heels into my crotch and bend over. So, I didn't get what she was talking about. "I'm doing it just like you," I said. "No, you're not," she insisted and proceeded to push my knees down toward the ground. Ah, naivety is bliss. Sorry dear, the fat on my thighs don't allow my knees to ACTUALLY touch the ground but if said fat didn't exist, my knees would indeed touch the ground. No, I didn't say this to her but it is what I was thinking. To her I only said, 'ah, you're right. My knees don't touch."

Another thing I don't have a problem doing that people think I should is cardio exercise. Okay, not just any cardio but elliptical cardio. I will never forget the day (and it was truly quite insulting now that I look back on it) that I went down to the gym that the company I had been working for at the time provided free of charge. I was working out on the elliptical, pumping away and one of my coworkers came over and her eyes bulged when she saw I had been doing it for 45 minutes straight. "Wow, I can't barely do 10 minutes on that thing without a break." She said to me. Her comment wasn't insulting but I can only imagine what she was thinking. She - this svelte, toned, healthy girl watching me . . . probably 2.5 times her size outdoing her on this machine. Why is it that thin people underestimate fat people? Why is it assumed we are substandard and cannot possibly even aspire to do what thin people do? Why is it assumed that we are gluttons, with voracious uncontrollable obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to food? I don't get it. For the same reason I don't like to be stared at or picked out of a crowd because I'm fat, I don't like to be stared at or singled out because I am doing things fat people 'aren't supposed to be able to do'. I find it absolutely ridiculous and highly insulting.

How about you? What do you think?

And one more question. Because I am able to do all these weird positions and not feel any true kind of stretching, how is it that I am supposed to stretch? Any ideas?

The Fat Chick

3 comments :

  1. Ug, I HATE the elliptical. I'm not a fan of those cardio machines. I've never really been flexible either; that's not dependant on weight either! But yeah, I hate it when people assume you can't do something because you're bigger. I'm more physically fit than many of my friends, but they probably wouldn't think so because they're thinner than me.

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  2. I think you should do whatever you want to do. Because here's the deal: if people are thinking these things, they're stupid and naive. And regardless, it's not like you're really ever going to see them again. Kick butt, and don't worry about anyone else. :)

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  3. I run into this stuff ALL the time... you should read my entry on my blog called "the things people say".

    In addition to being surprised when I exercise I have had the same kind of comments when out eating in public with school or work potlucks ect. a. they freak out because what I made is healthy and b. they always expected that I ate more ( like are you sneaking candy bars? hint hint)

    Ignore them, be glad your heart is still strong in your youth and remember to stretch even if you are flexible it has a way of catching up with you some at 40.

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