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Julie Creffield Headshot

Too Fat to Run?

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"Tell me about your weight?" he asked and I knew where this was going. "The problem is you are just too unfit to run this marathon" he continued. If rolling your eyes was a more acceptable way of showing your contempt I would have done so but instead I simply replied, "What you mean is I am TOO FAT?" To which he just smiled and sat back in his chair.

You see despite my size 18 frame I am a runner. I have in fact been a runner for the last ten years running everything from 5k fun runs to full marathons. I run because I love the feeling of running, I love the community of runners where I have made many friends, but I admit I also run to keep control of my weight, and to help me lead a healthier and happier life.

As an obese woman and that is what I am according to my doctor, I of course have concerns about my weight, most woman these days do what with the media's obsession with thin, but after years of yoyo dieting and obsessing about my weight I am now at the point where I will not have my sense of worth based purely on my physical appearance.

I had pulled a muscle in my back whilst picking up my young daughter 3 weeks before I was due to run a marathon, the trip to the doctor to sort it out left me absolutely enraged because as far as I am aware fitness is not something that can be assessed via a quick look at me and despite me trying to convince him that I was someone who exercised regularly he was adamant about his original diagnosis.

When members of the medical profession make inaccurate assumptions like this about what an overweight patient is capable of what hope do we have. I am sick of doctors telling overweight patients to try swimming or walking for weightloss, when they are capable of so much more. I did go onto run that marathon just 3 weeks later, but his comments and the way I was treated in that consultation room will stay with me for a while.

Activity of any type makes you feel great, when you feel great you eat better (and sometimes even less), then you lose weight and tone up, and then you feel great and want to do more of that physical activity stuff.

The opposite of this is feeling lethargic and lazy, eating for comfort, getting depressed, feeling hopeless. I know because I have been there too. But as an overweight person you often feel like the journey ahead is too long, too difficult, too embarrassing.

That doctor wrote me off with his Too Fat to Run attitude, so I now run in a hoodie with those words as a slogan, however I included a big fat question mark to encourage other people big and small to challenge their perceptions of what we believe those around us are capable of.

So I ask you the same, are you "Too Fat to Run?"