Every week Grazia includes a Real Lives piece specially commissioned to irritate, or so it seems. Ones that stand out in my memory include “I married my husband so we would have good-looking children” and “everybody hates me because I’m beautiful” (around the same time as Brick-gate, so that one probably angered more people than normal). This week, though, was particularly relevant to me. ‘Wellness junkie’ Amy Molloy tells us about her friends who are disappointed when she never takes up the offer of going for a drink, friends who have dared to buy cupcakes for her after a break-up (she refused to eat any, FYI), and friends who have stopped bothering to invite her out for pizza, because of her reaction to the P-word. Sound like terrible, jealous friends, right? Erm, not to me. They just sound like people who want to spend some quality time with a pal.
Amy talks about the fit-shaming she gets, both online and off. Now, I have never been fit-shamed. Maybe I am too thick-skinned to notice or perhaps I laugh it off with the good humour it is intended.
Mostly nowadays I spend time with friends I have made in the past few years in the city I live, most of which are active, outdoorsy people; but I make an effort to meet friends I’ve met through life, too – whose current lifestyles are not ‘compatible’ with mine. It’s only natural that your interests change and you have less in common: some of my core group of friends live in London and have media jobs, which means they spend a lot of time out drinking, one friend is a capoeira instructor and travels to far-flung places a lot, and another two live on different continents. None of them are particularly interested in fitness, nor do I bore them with the minutiae of my clean diet. Because when we are together, we laugh, joke, and talk to each other about everything and nothing, and not once have I been fit-shamed.
Probably because I practise the art of moderation.
Seriously, Amy, if for some reason you are reading this: your friends don’t pick on you because you are fit. I’m sure they’re just tired of your refusal to be flexible so you can spend time with them – because that’s what relationships are about, a bit of give and take. Go out to the pub with them (it’s fine, I do it all the time) and maybe they will go on a bike ride with you another day.
I understand the neuroses about an unhealthy lifestyle making you ill – trust me, I’ve had enough people close to me have serious illnesses to know how important it is to keep yourself well. But you’ve got to give yourself some slack. Anything in extreme is unsustainable, whether that’s an extreme alcohol habit or an extreme fitness habit. If you go out with your friends one night this week for pizza and drinks, I promise you will not end up “bloated, tired and spotty”. In fact, the stress relief and release of endorphins you will get from seeing people you love and laughing with them will be beneficial for you and you may even be healthier than before!
Although I try not to let stuff written in magazines bother me, it does sometimes get tiring seeing people with unhealthy lifestyles applauded – whichever extreme they are unhealthy in. Everything in moderation is key, which includes working out and eating clean! Now I’m off to train my legs hard so I can go out for beer and burgers with my running club tonight. Give and take, give and take…