I eat all the time. Sometimes, dessert is dinner. I still fit into clothes from over 20 years ago. I have a great body. But I’m not lucky.
How People Comment on My Body
Throughout my life, people have apparently believed that the fact that I am tall and thin gives them a license to comment on my body.
Specifically, they seem to believe it’s acceptable to say things like:
- You must never eat.
- Do you live on lettuce?
- I bet you don’t eat dessert.
I know that people who say these things intend their remarks as a compliment. We can discuss, some other time, why this intention doesn’t make it ok.
By now, I’ve learned how to brush off most comments. But there is one that really pushes my buttons:
- You’re so lucky.
Let me assure you:
This is not luck.
Yes, there may be a certain amount of genetics involved. But I cannot eat “whatever I want” without consequences. I learned this lesson in college. I learned it when I started my career as an attorney, and learned it again when I started my real estate practice a decade ago. That lesson returned when I turned 40. Genetics alone aren’t enough.
Here’s what you don’t see
I start every day with fitness first. No matter what. I haven’t missed a morning workout in over 4 years.
Most days, I do another physical activity in the evening. Twice a week I have flying trapeze practice. I also swim. I do yoga, pilates and a variety of other fitness disciplines.
In between, I am often on my feet and on the move. Like many New Yorkers, my feet are my car. If I can walk, I walk. My next best option is the NYC subway. I walk almost everywhere. If I have a choice between the escalator and stairs, I take the stairs.
Last year, I started tracking my steps. I have hit at least 10,000 steps a day for the 542 consecutive days (as of the date this is published). That’s not an average of 10,000 steps a day.
Many days, most days, it’s a lot more.
To say I lead an active lifestyle is an understatement.
The other night, I hit the gym at 10 pm for my second workout of the day, after a long day of sitting and deep work. As I moved the stagnant energy through my body, the echoes of those comments rang through my mind.
You’re so lucky.
It’s not f*cking luck.
I started my day here. I’m closing the place down. I’m not on the couch scrolling Instagram or watching workout videos on YouTube. I’m actually working out.
The other echo I heard in that moment was all the people who ask me about how to create a fitness habit.
This is not a habit.
Do you think I just automatically put on workout clothes and sneakers and walked over to the gym? At 10 pm?
I assure you, I did not.
Whether it’s the morning or the evening, a workout never just happens.
Also, this is not discipline.
This is a commitment. To my physical fitness, and also to my mental and emotional fitness.
Let me assure you that I’m far from perfect.
Every day I disappoint myself in a million ways. Except for this one.
I was there, pushing hard, because I knew that when I rested my head on the pillow, after completing my evening journaling ritual, I would know that I kept my commitment to myself to take care of my mind, body and spirit.
This has nothing to do with goals or habits or discipline.
It’s certainly not about luck.
How “Lucky” Insults Me and Sabotages You
When I was younger, people told me to brush off the comments. They said people who made stupid remarks about my appearance were just “jealous.” Maybe that’s true. (It doesn’t make those comments acceptable, by the way.)
Maybe you don’t want to exercise. That’s OK. Some days, I don’t either, to be honest. What works for me may not work for you.
When you call me “lucky” you undermine the work I put into maintaining my health and fitness.
Worse, when you call me “lucky,” or when you attribute any person’s success — in any area — to luck, you send a message to your subconscious: This is out of reach for me.
And that’s a lie.
My results didn’t come from luck. They come from dedication, commitment, and persistence.
You have those qualities too.
Isn’t that infinitely more empowering than ascribing my success to luck?
I’ve been thin and weak, and thin and strong. Most people just see thin. But it’s not about what you see, or even about what I see. It’s about how I feel, during and after my workout. I put my body to the test every day. And every day, it rises to support me. Hard to feel anything but gratitude and love for that.
The questions and speculation about my eating habits bothered me for years. But I’ve learned to let that inappropriate behavior roll off my strong, muscular back.
I have only one request:
Please don’t insult me, or yourself, by calling me lucky.