Food for Thought On Exercise and Weight Loss

img_7471.jpg By Naomi Kolb

While the recent sunny days have given us a tentative promise of the beautiful seasons to come, some not-so-beautiful conversations about our bodies have also begun taking place. There’s a certain rhetoric around “shedding the layers of fat” that we gained during the winter, or hitting the gym to get “bikini body ready” that seems to get more prevalent as we draw tantalizingly closer to spring break. I recently started working out more and was floored when someone asked me how much weight I was trying to lose. The answer? None. There have certainly been times in my life before this that I was actively trying to lose weight, but my relationships with food, exercise, and my very sense of self were deeply fractured during those times.

It was jarring to again be exposed to the idea that working out is often synonymous with losing weight, or that losing weight prior to being able to don a swimsuit during spring break is some sort of inherent expectation. So why am I working out then, if not to lose weight? For one, I love the way that yoga makes my body feel and how strong I feel while doing it. For another, I want to be able to go camping and hiking with my friends without getting too fatigued. Lastly, I’m doing it just because I’m finally able to try to develop a healthy relationship with exercise.

My desire to work out is no longer fueled by the hatred, self-loathing, and internalized fatphobia of my past. Rather, it’s become a new and exciting way for me to connect with myself, my friends, and the world around me. So let’s stop associating working out with losing weight, and let’s start looking forward to a spring break hopefully full of radical love and acceptance for our bodies no matter where they’re at. 

Sweat to be sexy? I don’t think so

Sweat to be sexy? I don't think so

By Amanda Katz

“I think you look good already! You don’t even need to work out.”

This was the text message I received after telling my friend I was going to go the gym and I’d text him back later.

Let’s get some things straight.

I don’t work out to impress other people. I work out to be healthy and feel good about myself. The opinion of a male makes no difference in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

Too often girls are told to diet and work out to be “sexy” or “attractive.” What happened to working out and eating properly for health reasons? Why does my choice to be active have to be to gain a reaction from a male? Is that all I’m meant to do, strive to be attractive to gain suitors?

I don’t understand why so many guys feel entitled to think that I would work out to gain their attention. I don’t need the approval of any guy on my body, because at the end of the day the only opinion of my body that matters to me is my own.