Friday, February 19, 2010

Public Property

Warning: the post below could be described as an emotional venting over reaction… but I’m going to go right ahead anyway.

I just ran into someone at work that I hadn’t seen since last year. I don’t even know this person and to be honest, never really liked them either – you know how you just speak to some people to be polite? Well this was our brief conversation today:

Her: “Hey are you still doing your running thing?”
Me: “Um I don’t run…. I just go to the gym and do weights”
Her: “Weren’t you training for some race or something?”
Me: “Oh no, I was dieting for a figure/body sculpting competition last year… it was in September”.
*She pauses to look me up and down*
Her: “Well wow, you look really different now. Aren’t you training anymore?”

I don’t think people realise how devastating they can be. I still weight train just as often, I’m just doing less cardio and not dieting anymore!

I’m so tired of discussing it. I’m tired of talking about why I’m eating salad, why I’m eating cake, why I’ve lost weight, why I’ve gained weight – tired of my eating habits and weight being judged and commented on… I’m tired of my a$$ being public property!

I’m obviously feeling quite self conscious right now. I know most people don’t really understand the sport. I know a lot of the judgement is probably in my head. At the end of the day no one gives a shit if I’m on a diet or not so why comment? I wish I could have a thicker skin. I feel like on a diet I have to be apologetic for being too thin and not joining in with food and off a diet I have to feel guilty for all of a sudden not having the ‘iron discipline’ I seemed to have before! Thinking about this too much is doing my head in and it turns me off the idea of competing again. I feel like if I did, I’d flatly refuse to discuss it at all – If they were really interested I could just direct them here to my blog!

I’m sick of politely answering questions such as the one above. I know she didn’t mean to be rude but… poor little sensitive me obviously took offence. So what is the best way to fob off such remarks? What would your reaction have been?


Em said...

well when she said "Aren't you training anymore?" did she actually hear you when you told her before that, that you are still going to the gym?
Women are so critical of each other - i wish we could just enjoy being happy and praise each other when instead we judge, snip, scoff and be jealous/thoughtless/heartless/insensitive.
Steph you are beautiful now too, ya know? so your focus may not be a comp anymore but maybe you need to find something else you're passionate about right now xo Em

Lauren said...

Hey Steph, it is funny how people just want to put their opinion out there on a silver platter, but they don't stop to see that they have served up something so harsh and raw on that platter!

I have only told two people in my workplace about my journey to compete this year. One is my friend who I used to train last year, and one is my boss (I had to apply for some time off around comp time and had to tell him why). Both these people were very polite about it (even though they don't really understand it) and have sworn NOT to say anything. The same goes with family. I have only told my immediate family. I figure the others do not need to know at this stage, and I don't really know if I will ever tell them (I don't see them often).

As for your little 'run in' with your colleague.....I probably would have told her that yes, I have toned the training down a little as off-season training is different from comp-prep training. And it is impossible to walk around all year in a competition ready body. I also would have said that seeing as it was such a long, hard journey to the stage, it is now time for me to relax back into a more balanced lifestyle until I decide to compete again. All the while telling her what an amazing experience it was and how thrilled I was to have placed third amongst some great 'athletes'. And thanking her for asking would also have been a good thing to 'drop' into the conversation.

I am an educator, and I always feel the need to 'educate' when I am responding in situations. I also think that by using certain terminology like 'athletes', 'competition', lifts your responses up above her provoking questioning.

I have one of these people in my workplace, and I have blogged about her before. I have learnt over time how to deal with her, and still keep myself positve after hearing her comments. She doesn't drag me down anymore. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore either, especially when it comes to people who have NO idea about what you are doing and why!!!!

P.S. sorry this is soooo long!

Kie said...

Hey Steph,
I hear you loud and clear and I still get upset when people decide by the way I look now that I dont train anymore. Take heart mate only what you think of youself matters.
Kie xx

Carolyn said...

Me, I'd probably go "Gee, thanks a LOT..." and watch her back pedal. Some people think they can comment and that's all OK - it's not, and I generally put on the offended look if something like this happens. Then I'd tell her that she probably didn't realise that bodybuilders are not in comp condition all the time.

I know how you feel with this though. People can be just plain annoying like that, they seem to think that cos you've done something like a comp that obviously that means they can comment all they like. Similar thing happened to me at the gym when my weight went up more than I would have liked - I got a bit of tut-tutting from some of the guys. Then when you lean out, they comment on you again. It's like "bugger off already!!!". It's annoying and I get really cheesed.

Don't take her narky comments to heart - she DOESN'T understand and is probably jealous of how you look now in any case :D!
All the best
Carolyn xx

Hanni said...

Aww Steph i know how you are feeling babe! I had a member at my gym come up to me couple of weeks ago and stabbed me in the gut with her finger saying "Gee haven't you put on some weight" first thought that run through my mind for a reply was " wow and you still haven't changed at all" But i bit my tongue and explained for the millionth time why i don't look like i did in sept (which im sure that was the last time she was even in)
It sucks how we feel we have to explain ourselves over and over again! These ppl are the ones that put you down just to make them feel happy bout themselves! We are human we are not perfect and yes if we aren't in comp mode we put on kgs! don't let it get you down have fun with it hehe im so going to tell some long boring ass story next time i get told iv'e put on weight ( like i havent noticed hehe)
If you need a rant i'm all ears!
Catch up soon????
Luv ya xoxo

Anonymous said...

You are still so cute, Steph! I love you for your spirit, integrity, care and focus. Unenlightened folk are really needing to be pitied.

KRISTIN said...

babe, i hear you 100%... it sucks, but i guess when we tell people what we do and they don't understand it, they then expect things from us that they have NO clue or idea about and hence make judgements that can really hurt... it's tough, but i'm learning this is all part and parcel of what we do... if we are going to continue with it, we need to take the good with the bad and it needs to be water off a duck's back... there is no way of explaining it to some people so YOU have to be happy with what YOU are doing in your off-season and while you work towards another show.

chin up, we all know you are absolutely beautiful and we all know how you feel too. you are not alone. when you rise above the rest, it can sometimes feel like a very lonely place, but just remember what it took to get there and what YOU have achieved. YOU are amazing.... full stop!

Anonymous said...

Vent away...that's why we're here :)

I'm to the point now where i'm getting comfortable in my fluff. I realize it's not ideal to see your ribs and abs all year long unless of course it's in your job to do it.

With that being said...once I lose 5 lbs i'll look at pictures from when I started feeling comfortable and think man i was so fat what was I thinking?? I'll vow to never go over 115 again, get to 110, do a show and gain 15 lbs the following day...repeat. You understand the drill.

Chelle said...

I have been in your shoes many times before and it is NOT a nice feeling. I'm not sure if people realise that asking if you are still training is just as hurtful as asking an overweight person if they are pregnant. You can handle the situation differently and come out on top, it goes something like this:
Her: Are you still training?
Now instead of taking the denfensive, cos you DON"T need to explain yourself say: Of course i am, training is going great!
Her: (this is when she'll look you up and down) Wow, you definitely look different now!
You: Well have you tried maintaining 8% (pick a REALLY low number!) body fat for a long period of time?
Her: Ummmmm, no.
I bet you, she'll have nothing more to say after that! By taking control of the conversation you come out on top and will make her feel STUPID and maybe even embarrassed for asking such a nasty comment!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Steph - you hit a sore spot for me!!

that EXACT conversation would occur regularly after my 08 comp - my response
"get f**ked - look at yourself you mole"

hahaha NA - i'm a bit more diplomatic than that.

But after receiving comments like that - it really put me in a SHIT head space all of 2009. People are dickheads - they are judgmental and LACK I turn my anger into feeling sorry for THEM for NOT understanding and NOT being able to be open minded.

SO - when I would receive comments such as this my response is pure scientific - I go on about how the body works etc etc etc - they lose interest within a minute with their ignorance, so it's a great way to piss them off as you know how your body works, they don't - they continue to try quick fix solutions and will come running to you for inspiration and guidance.

At the end of the day, how we look DOES NOT define us. I know I am still ME whether i'm prepping or not. I NEVER judge anyone by their looks and want this respect in return, if i don't get it - those people are off my Xmas list!!!

Keep smiling x

PS: we ought to catch up for coffee in the city one day?

KRISTIN said...

did you get my comment babe? it hasn't come up :(

*ANA* said...


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