Rebuttal! To “the Fatty Running on the Westview track.”

Via elephant journal
on Mar 12, 2014
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Update: here’s a response not necessarily from the person described, below, but from a rather famous blogger who felt as if he shared shoes with said person.

“To the man who judged me on the Westview track,

I see that you wrote a Facebook status about my journey and me. It described me on the track and from what I gather it was supposed to inspire after a little insult. It went viral.

So let me tell you what I think of your post…

First off I would suggest you not judge me at all. You have my journey all messed up. My journey did not start twelve days ago. It started over a year ago. You see me at 300 pounds but what you do not know is I was over 400 pounds. You did not know this because I was embarrassed to run in front of other people. So I would come to this track when no one else was around. Sometimes I would go for a couple of minutes. Sometimes I would go for four minutes. It all started when I went for 48 seconds my first time running. Yes, I timed it. Yes I was upset. And yes, I promised it would never happen again.

When I was over 400 pounds and decided to make the commitment to change my life I would wake up and look in the mirror. I would find at least 100 negative things about my body. All the descriptions you made about me…I was even harder on myself.

Then after losing a few pounds I looked in the mirror again. I did not look at my body. I looked in my eyes. I saw determination and character. I saw a man who did not want to be an inspiration for others but one for himself. I was that man.

Your whole post insults me like no end. I do not eat midnight snacks or drink beer. You probably think all “fat” people do this. Well, we do not. I ate better than most at 300 pounds. In fact, I have not had a drink in well over 20 years.

I look down because I see you stare at me all the time. I do not want to give you the satisfaction of looking into my eyes. There are people who were supporting me all along. Not people who made up fictional parts of my life.

I also do not listen to music because I hear everything. I hear the laughter and I hear the snickers. They are never about me except they always are. I have been overweight my whole life. I have not had my blinders on for some time.

There are no mantras going through my head. When I run it is clear. I have no anger or happiness. I am there to complete a task. I am good at that.

You fooled people on Facebook but you have not fooled me. You do not have respect for my journey because you do not know it. I have told my story to thousands of people. I have been told that I have inspired many as well. Not because of the way I run but because of the person I am. Not because of my 200 pound weight loss but because of the words that I have had inside for years.

Many of us have been that person being judged and then twirled into some weird inspirational story. I was judged at the gym at 400 pounds. I was laughed at in Panera at 350 pounds. I was embarrassed at 300 pounds and honestly I was the same person at 195 pounds as I was at 420 pounds.

I tell people now that weight loss should not make you love yourself more. That is the mistake I made.

So next time you look at me on that track do yourself a favor. Look away. I do not look like I once did. I do not want to be your inspiration or your motivation.

I am a runner. I was a runner at 420 pounds and I am a runner today.

And runners do one thing.

They run. Not write about other runners.


Tony Posnanski > The Anti-Jared!

Original post follows:

that fat girl has yoga pants on
We all love to casually judge others.
But what if we remembered that those of us who are stiffest in yoga class, skinniest in football, heaviest in running and shortest in basketball aren’t to be ridiculed, but admired? 
Via Facebook
Via Closer, via Facebook

“There’s something you should know: You f**ing rock.

“Every shallow step you take, you carry the weight of more than two of me, clinging to your bones, begging to be shaken off.

“Each lap you run, you’re paying off the debt of another midnight snack, another dessert, another beer..

“It’s 20 degrees outside, but you haven’t let that stop your regimen.

“This isn’t your first day out here, and it certainly won’t be your last. You’ve started a journey that lasts a lifetime, and you’ve started it at least 12 days before your New Year’s resolution kicks in.

“You run without music, and I can only imagine the mantras running through your mind as you heave your ever-shrinking mass around the next lap. Let’s go, feet. Shut up, legs. F**k off, fat.

“If you’d only look up from your feet the next time we pass, you’d see my gaze has no condescension in it.

“I have nothing but respect for you. You’ve got this.”

An Open Letter to the Fat Girl I Saw at Hot Yoga in New York City. ~ Joshilyn Jackson


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17 Responses to “Rebuttal! To “the Fatty Running on the Westview track.””

  1. Shannon says:

    Not inspiring. Condescending. The response from this person referred to in this piece of trash is inspiring.

  2. Tia says:

    I am glad you posted this rebuttal. The original post left a very bad taste in my mouth and emitted judgement and othering that seems very anti- elephant journal.

  3. You run because you want to run. You run because it makes you feel good. There is no law that says you have to be decked out in the latest gear or have a certain look when you run.

    More power to you.

  4. CharmingLucy says:

    My yoga studio had a great poster on its wall that said something like: "If you're focusing on anyone's mat but your own, you're not doing yoga." Maybe we should all pay attention to our own journeys and not project our judgments – whether negative or positive – onto others'.

  5. Monique says:

    I disagree entirely! As a fairly curvy girl, well over her suggested healthy weight, I relate to the original post when I see someone bigger than me doing what I do not do (ya know… making excuses and saying I'll start next week.) When I go out to exercise I worry people are thinking far more negative things than what was said in the original post… things like "you don't deserve to be here" or "it's about time you dragged your ass to the gym, fatty."

    It's sympathetic and empathetic, in my opinion, to say the things in the original post that some readers are finding offensive… to say "You're doing it wrong because you're new to it. You seem self conscious. You've made some bad health choices in your past… but keep your head up because simply by showing up and doing your best you rock!" says to me that the reader sees the obvious possible reasons I am there and is cheering me on in support.

  6. Dee Bee says:

    No matter how the poster ENDED his story, "to the fatty running on the Westview track" as a beginning totally ruined anything he/she was trying to say. It was derogatory…PERIOD!

  7. jackie says:

    I agree with you Dee. The start said everything. To call another human being 'the fatty' is beyond belief. It was sensationalist, and how does he/she have the right to decide if somebody else 'rocks'???
    This feels like an exercise in moral supremacy, I have the right to look into your eyes…. who put the slimmest or fittest in charge?

  8. Cheryl says:

    OMG! Shame on all of you, including the rebuttal! Humanity, humility and respect has been torn from our society and frankly, I'm sick if it! While the original posting may have had its rough start, I admire it because it was "spoken" with truth and support. Everyone turns a blind eye to the ugly of our lives and pretends the bullying, foul comments and inner thoughts we have don't exist. You can't truly claim to be a better person without acknowledging this! Quit fooling yourselves and take a drink from the truth fountain for a change. To chastise the support of another human being is a crime. This notion of "I am" has gotten us nowhere, can you not all see this? Try building a car in a factory with 1 person, try letting 1 fireman put out a 3 alarm fire by himself and see where this gets you. We NEED each other people, even if only for a smile and a "atta boy". It's called community, humanity and society. Try it on for a change, maybe our kids won't be bullying and killing each other, maybe that single mom feels she can make it, maybe that kid won't join that gang, maybe you won't be afraid to walk in the dark tonight because the world is a little bit of a better place because you took a good look at what is wrong and took one little step to make it right. It's not if you arrived first (and alone) at the end of the journey, it's the imprints you leave as you traveled on the journey……..what imprint did you leave today?

  9. Craftymom says:

    Why don't both of you gain some courage and actually TALK to each other instead of posting on facebook? You may find a friend, some inspiration, some support! Every day is a new day. Don't live in the negativity of the past. Move on and make it a great future. Good luck to you in your journey.

  10. Somebodyshy says:

    EXACTLY! I myself am over-weight and I agree with you COMPLETELY.
    There is no room or time for spite if you truly want to make a positive change to your life.

  11. olga says:

    I think your rebuttal is focused on negative instead of positive. I felt you were judging more than the person who wrote praising post to unknown runner on Westview track. If I was a person from the Westview track reading your rebuttal I would be deeply offended. If people were focus more on the positive out of any situation than negative( like you did here) world would be more forgiving, loving and understanding.

  12. ATimeOutIsNeeded says:

    All of you not speaking in favor of OPEN dialogue with ultimately POSITIVE messages… those seeking validation, or dictation of HOW to go about your messages of support SHUT THE MOUTHS AND OPEN THE EYES, HEARTS, AnD EARS. Quit being a puppet to your offing egos!

    I am a Former Marine… but you know what I was BEFORE that… a "FAT KID". I was a "FAT LOSER DORK MORON IDIOT NERD UGLY FREAK WITH NO FRIENDS" Funny, I became fat BECAUSE of the vitriol and stupidity of others. I was active, participated in sports, and was "husky" but healthy until mid-middle school when I recused myself to hiding in my room, eating comfort foods/snacks, and sinking deeper into my depressive swings of my BPD.

    As someone who saw the satire and thought-provoking imagery of the original post, I can understand it. I can also understand the knee-jerk reaction to lash out at it from an empowered social standpoint by those threatened by its POTENTIAL interpretation (or their ignorance). However, let's be HONEST about it based on its context. The OP was not ABOUT the negative terminology but about calling OUT those preconceived notions ON BOTH sides of the fence.

    From the people not holding their heads high when struggling to lose the weight – afraid of the negative messages their own egos are possibly telling them others are thinking the WHOLE time they are out in public…
    To the people ACTUALLY thinking such things and aligning themselves to the initial imagery of the post (and then HOPEFULLY) seeing the error in their judgments of others as they read the rest of the posting.

    It is subjective and interpretational… yes. But looking at the context and the SUBTEXT is something you MUST do to be a mature, RESPONSIBLE, and level-headed member of this supposedly self-aware and intelligent species called HUMANITY. Quit the blame games and the ego-driven propaganda rants. Quit trying to dictate to those with a cleverly styled message of motivation (and love) has formed his/her message and worry more about the underlying ISSUES/SENTIMENTS of humanity's members. You arrogant, sanctimonious extremists out there are probably the same ones recklessly tossing cliche, pop culture pseudo-psychological phrases like "Fat-shaming" at every and anything possible instead of embracing FACTUAL and REALISTIC dialogues about what IS, what ISN'T… and what COULD BE.

    I'm sick of seeing the cowardly laments of those lumping the well-intentioned and supportive into easily dismissed and trivialized groupings all because it isn't ultra-senstive to the delicacies of those with WEAK egos. (this goes for ANY area of human existence – not just weight).

    Grow up and embrace ALL good-intentioned dialogue to FURTHER understanding – you folks making condemning, extreme interpretations further NOTHING with your "my way or the highway" spiels condemning the good intentions of others.


    Pathetic. Utterly pathetic… and this is what military service members get to see after sacrificing years, limbs, sanity, and LIVES for… to see you CHILDREN bickering over the subjective and TELLING each other what is and isn't instead of ASKING each other's opinions and input?

    That kind of things makes it really hard for me to quell the hate left over inside of me from those years as a kid, a "fat kid" bullied and alone because of the intolerance and STUPIDITY of others.

    Frankly… at THIS moment… I don't care about open dialogue with any of you extremist, intolerant ragers… just… go take a time out and sit in the corner and think about what you have done… you overgrown CHILDREN and BULLIES.

  13. Cheryl says:

    Well said! I was trying to get to the same place with my post but you stated it better. I can feel the same intensity that I had when I wrote it.

    Thank you for your service and your words!

  14. kimosky says:

    This rebuttal is lame, the original was much better.

  15. guest says:

    "Update: here’s a response not necessarily from the person described, below, but from a rather famous blogger who felt as if he shared shoes with said person."

    I think the title needs some work, along with the rebuttal. It misleads the reader into thinking the response is actually from the person on the track, when it isn't.

  16. taralynn1000 says:

    I don't know, obviously the title and a good part of the piece was written so that it would be read, but I thought the underlying message was positive. I genuinely am impressed when someone who has been looking to lose weight meets their goals, because really, how many of us set goals and then actually achieve them! Actually runners impress me as well, because I get exhausted after just a minute of it! I don't know, sometimes there really isn't a hidden agenda. Then again, I probably shouldn't comment much because I don't run and am trying to gain a good 30 pounds but my ridiculous body doesn't seem to want to let it happen. Maybe we can just agree to a compromise: I won't compliment anyone on weight loss goals and in return don't grab my wrist and make a big deal about how small it is.

  17. Former Fatass says:

    Former fatass here who doesn’t need anyone to sugar coat the stupid choices that made me fat. My obesity reflected terrible (and medically dangerous, check US diabetes rates if you doubt that) and scornworthy actions on my part and my adult choice to eat properly and exercise as wise humans do all along is not especially praiseworthy although the example is useful. If you dig yourself a hole of course you should climb out.

    Morbid obesity (unless you have a PROVABLE, testable medical condition) is the result of relentless, determined and deliberate bad choices. I was alive before the US exploded and witnessed those choices on that national scale.

    Obesity takes time and money to “accomplish”. You don’t get fat by accident. You don’t get healthy by accident either. Choices reflect deliberate effort.

    You are not “the same person” when you wallow in gross consumption and gluttony as when you make the adult choice of self-mastery. The rewards of self-mastery are tremendous and not the transient pleasure of high-fructose corn syrup.

    BTW my late father was the only person who was honest with me. My “friends” were no help, but Dad, childlike in his dementia and honest as a child, said “Fatass, you look pregnant!” with a look of surprise on his face. He was right, and spurred me to change. Cardio and proper eating feel great and I’ve no regrets other than not doing it sooner.