I came across this article from New York Magazine a few days ago and it resonated with me. I remember when I initially started to eat cleaner and exercise more, there was nothing but encouragement around me. I was SO out of shape at that point that I don’t think anyone objected me to changing my situation. I packed salads and grilled fish for lunch at the office. But after a while, people would start to put out the odd remark such as, “Wow, is that all you’re eating?” or “Why are you always eating so clean?” I didn’t make too much of it at the time and I simply replied that I was trying to be healthier.
After I came back to Taiwan, I started hitting the gym hardcore. Especially after my personal training sessions ended, I ramped up gym sessions to at least 5 days a week. I also continued to eat clean, which, by the way, is EXTREMELY HARD to do in Taiwan. I cut out rice, a staple in the Taiwanese diet, and I try to stay away from all meat except lean fish. Those around me took notice. In place of encouragement, I was getting eye-rolling and judgmental remarks along the lines of, “Oh, you’re one of THOSE people now.” I suddenly felt like I was being guilted for exercising and eating cleaner and that I was being reversed body-shamed for being fit.
It was not a good feeling to have. I feel women, in this day and age, can never do anything right when it comes to fitness. You’re either too curvy, too voluptuous, too fat, or you’re too skinny, too thin, or too fit. I am NOT going to apologizing for my lifestyle. I’m not going to feel bad for eating healthy at the office while other people are chowing down on fried dumplings or fried chicken. I will not apologize for going to the gym on a regular basis. I will not be shamed by people who feel a need to judge me because they see it as a deflection for their own laziness. I will continue to be the fitness goddess that I am and continue to kill it at the gym.