blog / it’s ok to lift when you’re fat

I’m on the exercise wagon once again, the sixth attempt in seven months, but this month I seem to be sticking, hitting about 50% of the days so far this month instead of falling off after 2.

And as usual, I need to write this note to myself like I do every time, to remind the future-me that falls off the wagon what he’s missing, and to get back on.

I also write in the hope that it might encourage others who struggle like I do with this. But I also don’t want to be that typical naive, ableist, neurotypical asshole going “depression? maybe you should try exercise.” Take this as one data point, I suppose. Here’s what seems to be working for me, and I’m excited about it.

I’m writing it here in a blog under a pseudonym as a sort of first-draft that I’ll clean up before making Really Public. (I wouldn’t want any prospective employers to know that I am actually a human with human flaws.)

If you are (like me) Too Fat, and someone has discouraged you from doing the only kind of exercise that you actively enjoy because “lifting won’t make you lose weight,” then I highly recommend ignoring their advice.

I say this for 2 reasons:


Because (for me) lifting brings immediate results. I can feel the change from the very first day. Maybe it is placebo effect; I neither know nor care, because it always works:

When I lift – even after shamefully neglecting to do any exercise for months and having to start back at tiny beginner weights – my self-critic gets muted for a day.

Oh it’s still in there, screaming itself hoarse at me, but after a set it is as if someone has cut the power to its bullhorn and suddenly it’s a distant squawky mumble unable to sufficiently project from its soapbox.

I can look in the mirror and see: an overweight dude who needs to work harder on developing healthy habits instead of

piece of

It’s really night and day.


Due to #1, I am more likely to accomplish other goals.

Lifting will help me lose weight, because it gives me the willpower to do other weight-loss stuff.

After lifting:

What about running instead of lifting?

Outside? Strapping on a sweatband, tiny running shorts, and an always-too-short polyester blend shirt that my stomach will hang out of, ruining every passer-by’s morning by waddling my steaming lard ass down the block before I crumple over and vomit gasping for breath and trying not to faint?

No sir, no way. I hate the very thought of it. Not even if my life depended on it, apparently, because according to my doctor, it does.

I know my history. Something I hate as much as that, even if I muster up the motivation to do it once or twice, I will never be able to make into a habit.

Using a treadmill indoors, sequestered away in my shame-cave, I could probably keep up for a bit. But it still feels awful, and I certainly wasn’t able to make it a habit the last time.

But now that I have been lifting? Meh, I could probably do running. It still feels awful and I’d still rather ride my bicycle until I vomit, but there’s nothing stopping me except time.

What about those hypothetical people whose days I would ruin by the mere act of existing while fat and gross? Suddenly, somehow, I don’t care so much about that. Fuck them if they’re judge-y while I try to improve.

Getting strong doesn’t matter.

Losing weight doesn’t even matter right now; reducing my heart attack risk is the eventual goal.

Lifting somehow reduces some of my anxiety and enables me to make other changes that I otherwise couldn’t.

And that’s why I’m convinced it’s okay to prefer lifting to strict dieting and aerobics (at first) and why I need to keep it up.