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I am NOT an Airhead! – Geek Turned Athlete

I am NOT an Airhead!

Right now, I’m working on some breathing techniques to calm me down over a short conversation from earlier.  Beware, a rant is directly ahead…

I was asked to go talk about my experiences from last year at the Bazaar at a meeting today even though I am no longer part of the group that runs it.  I happily agreed, b/c they do raise a lot of money, and they need to fill my position for this coming year.  I showed up, did my spiel (while people are snickering in the background talking about how everyone had gained weight last year except for me because I rode my bike in to the 4 day event which wasn’t even true.  I rode in one day!  This was not in a good tone either, RUDE!), but I kept my cool.  I was happy to talk about my chair position on the committee, and I emphasized that the person taking over needed to be outgoing otherwise you would not be able to sell tickets and raise money for the community.  After the more than 2 hour meeting, I finally got into my car and started to drive away when I saw a lady that had mentioned her interest in my old position.  This is how the conversation went:

Me: Hi!  Please let me know if you have any questions regarding your duties or anything else for that matter!  If you want, we can get together for coffee to discuss the details of the job! (Please note that I don’t randomly have coffee with anyone.  I am really busy with my other commitments during the day, but I offered this anyway.)

Her: Oh thanks! (fake, fake smile) Insert blatant sarcastic voice for the next statement: Or we could get together, and we could just workout!  Yeah right!

Me: Um, (forced smile, feeling awkward) or we could just have coffee.  I just want to help you feel comfortable with this position. (gritting teeth)

Her: Yeah, okay!  Bye! (sarcastic, fake smile during comment, then rolled eyes as she turned her head away from my car)

Keep in mind, that I don’t know this woman other than a few minor encounters at the pool when I used to lifeguard in which I was very nice in all of those situations.

I am so sick of being nice and smiling when people make comments like that.  I get them all the time.  People “don’t get” why I run or do triathlons.  I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I start dabbling in half Ironmans and hopefully an Ironman.

Just because I’m a fitness instructor and like pink doesn’t mean I’m an airhead or an idiot!

Just because I am working hard towards a goal of being a better runner, swimmer, and cyclist, doesn’t mean I don’t have a brain!

Just because I take health seriously, and I eat healthy most of the time (I go overboard sometimes just like everyone else) doesn’t mean that I’m anorexic!

This totally reminded me of a situation that I had back in Tucson.  The president of the engineering firm called me into his office, and said that he was worried about me and my eating habits. He said that no one saw me eating (he probably meant that no one saw me eating the donuts and chocolate in the breakroom).  Let me just preface this with the fact that I had a back office in which I would maybe see 3 humans a day.  Half of the drawers in my desk were full of food.  I ate ALL the time.  I thanked him for his concern, but I let him know that I was eating 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day along with a lot of running.  Let me just also say that my natural weight on my small 5’5” frame is anywhere from 120-130.  It just depends on my fat/muscle ratio.  I wasn’t mad at my boss.  He was like my dad over there.  I was mad at my co-worker instead.  I guess some girl (who was jealous) was spreading rumors about me at the office.  She was struggling with her own issues in weight loss.  This was annoying because I had been through and beat that whole eating disorder thing a couple of years before and weighed 15 pounds more than I did when I was going through that.

I don’t want this to sound like some skinny girl bitching about her troubles with being skinny, but I get annoyed when people seem to want to punish or make fun me for wanting to be healthy or workout or train.

I am an educated woman working on my masters, and this woman today was treating me like I was an airhead.  I have no idea what her problem is with me or what, but I was annoyed to say the least.  I care about all my students, and safety is my number one concern when I teach indoor cycling.  Everyone is shaped differently, and I think everyone should love their bodies!

Do you ever hang out with people who don’t work out, and get treated differently?  Do you ever feel pressured to eat a certain way in social situations?

Thanks for letting me vent!! I feel much better!  😉

{ 29 comments… add one }

  • Leana January 21, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Wow, sorry to hear that woman made you feel that way! People often really have a lot of misconceptions and it isn’t fair. I have friends who are way more active than me, and ones that aren’t active at all. We all treat each other equally no matter what. Interestingly enough though, the only real negative response I’ve ever gotten is from someone who is super active (rides to work every day even in the cold, will often win his AG in races). He once commented, “You are going to do IM?” and the look on his face! Oh well, yes I AM!!

    • Nicole January 21, 2010, 2:18 pm

      Thanks! How rude for that guy to say that!

  • Emily January 21, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I know right where you are coming from Nicole! I have some of the same struggles at work. I was on a Team at work where my boss would bring in doughnuts, pastries, cookies, and brownies for our 9:30 AM section meetings. She and my co-workers would always make snide comments because I didn’t want to eat a brownie at 9AM!

    They would make comments oh Emily can’t eat that she is running 8 miles this weekend… Or like yesterday I told them I went to lunch with a Co-worker for her birthday and they asked what I ate and replied there was no way I could have eaten all that food! I kinda just let it roll off my shoulders but I do feel the pressure to just have one of those doughnuts so they leave me alone!

    I think they do it because they feel uncomfortable, when in reality they are doing that to us!

    Hang in there girl! Your drive to be healthy, workout, and train shows your determination and willingness to meet challenges and over come them in your life!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite January 21, 2010, 2:21 pm

    People can be just straight up mean. I truly believe it all stems from jealousy and insecurity. Keep your head up :)

    Have a great day girl :)

  • Michelle@Eatingjourney January 21, 2010, 2:34 pm

    A couple of things:

    1. My friend is REALLY thin my natures. 5’8″115-120lbs. She doesn’t diet and doesn’t workout. Anyways people constantly accuse her of being anorexic..which isn’t fair to her.

    2. When I was down to my lowest people would always say to me ‘you’re too thin, you need to gain weight’. what the weird to hear that.

    I think that people manifest their inward jealousy and envy sometimes on people who have what they want. It’s hard to deal with, but I’d encourage you to just look at them as human beings, send happy vibes towards them and go on your merry way. I know it’s not easy and believe me I’d rant as well. But, you’re better than that!

    • Nicole January 21, 2010, 2:39 pm

      Oh, I was nice to her and to everyone else. You are so right with people having their own problems. I try to handle things with grace most of the time, but sometimes when the straw has broken the camel’s back, I need to vent! 😉

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) January 21, 2010, 2:45 pm

    I absolutely know what you’re talking about. I am very petite and get that sneering “you just don’t eat” glare from people. Being vegetarian, people also assume I live off of lettuce and sprouts. I started lifting weights mostly to show how strong I was and to prove that I wasn’t anorexic or skinny b/c I starved myself on lettuce. Sadly, I was actually sitting on a spin bike next to this jerk who kept making annoying comments about how I must not really eat or I must workout 8 hours a day. I really wanted to smack him in the head. I promise my biceps were bigger than his! teehee! Unfortunately, most of my friends don’t workout like I do. So they don’t really “get it.” Just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t let anyone get you down is all I can say!

  • caitlin January 21, 2010, 2:58 pm

    ahhhhh. i have never really talked about this on my blog, but i have had a few people tell me (in real life) i’m ‘too skinny’ and have a problem because i ‘only eat healthy food.’ obvi, i have a great relationship with food, myself, and exercise. people have such a warped perception of what a ‘normal’ level of interest in health and food are in this country. although most of the time, i think people are coming from a caring place, i dont think your boss or that other lady was! they were just being asses. i’m sorry – i hope the vent helped.

    • Nicole January 21, 2010, 3:02 pm

      I think that my boss was coming from a good place. He was really like a dad to me at the company. I was more mad at the chick that made him worry than him.

      As for the lady this morning, I don’t think she likes herself very much and that is why she was taking it out on me. She was being an ass though!

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) January 21, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Why is it that people all strive to be thin, but then when they see someone who is, they are somehow offended, annoyed, or perhaps it’s just jealousy? I mean, I totally understand if they honestly think you’re too thin and are being caring about it. But, in my experience, it’s not always the case. I eat, I eat a lot really. I just make healthy choices, and I exercise. That’s it. Not rocket science. The most annoying comment to me is when I say I’m cold and the response, “Get some meat on your bones.” Ok, so I need to get heavy???? Seriously, that’s the answer?

  • Marisa January 21, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Nicole, those women are just jealous of you! I think you are definitely an inspiration to other women! I admire you for all that you are doing – and when I grow up I want to be like you 😉 BTW I can help get rid of them without leaving forensic evidence ….JUST KIDDING!!! girl you walk with your head up HIGH because you’ve earned it and just laugh at how stupid those women are, they have nothing else going on in their lives and probably are too lazy to even get on a bike!

  • Graze With Me January 21, 2010, 4:09 pm

    Gah – I hate when people outwardly judge others. Of course this woman has issues with you, but whatever they are it sounds like she needs to take a look at herself and figure them out. Luckily you won’t have to won’t have to deal with her negativity everyday!

    I think you’re amazing and it takes a lot of courage/strength to be as fit as you are so don’t take it to heart. I’m small and thin but it’s not just easy to maintain anymore – I eat right and exercise while none of my friends do. I’m definitely the outcast but I’m ok with that.

  • Julie @savvyeats January 21, 2010, 4:24 pm

    Ugh, how rude of that lady! I think a lot of times when people criticize healthy eating/fitness habits, it is because they feel bad about their own exercise/eating in comparison to you. Rather than try to do better, they just try to bring everyone else down.

  • Retta @ RunRettaRun January 21, 2010, 5:28 pm

    I completely understand. People always think that if you are wanting to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s all about being “skinny”. That is so not true. I have faced those comments myself and while I believe some people are truly concerned (though they may not know much about healthy eating, etc), I think the majority usually are insecure with themselves and they lash out because of it. Keep your chin up!

  • 'Drea January 21, 2010, 5:45 pm

    Maybe the woman was having difficulty in the pool and thought should have come to her rescue? Okay, I’m sure that wasn’t the case. Sometimes people are just nasty…

    People think that I exercise too much and that I should relax about eating out and what I eat…

  • Mike January 21, 2010, 6:52 pm

    I decided long ago that there are people who are my fans, and there will be people who are not. You have to learn to ignore people who are not your fan and what they say. It is tough, but you know all they do by disparaging you is exposing their own insecurities.

    And then you pass them on a run. 😉

  • Good Taste. Healthy Me January 21, 2010, 6:58 pm

    Yikes! That is so rude. Why can’t people just be nice?

    I always feel so much pressure to eat things in social situations, whether it’s with family or friends. When I hang out with other healthy people it’s so much nicer because it’s not “weird” to get something healthier on the menu.

    Be strong! They’re just jealous! :)

  • Joy (A Little Bit Fit) January 21, 2010, 7:59 pm

    Great post! You are right, people can be SO rude.

    Many years ago, after a night out on the town, we saw someone out jogging and my boyfriend jokingly said, “There is nothing I hate more than a good example.” While he was just kidding, it seems like a lot of people think this way.

    It is amazing what rude things people will say to someone making healthy decisions that they would never say to someone who was unhealthy/overweight. “Are you really going to eat that?” They also feel free to comment on your weight, like it is fair game because you are healthy.

    People can be jerks. :-(

  • Zoë January 21, 2010, 8:25 pm

    Geez! What a rude woman! Talk about trying to “kill her with kindness” and her not taking a hint. That sucks. I’m sorry.
    I totally hear you about the whole “you’re too skinny” and why do you run so much situation. My sisters are always complaining that I’m so skinny and why aren’t they more like my weight…well, it’s because I run my arse off! Gah! Frustrating.

    I hope your day gets better. You’re not alone!

  • Mary January 21, 2010, 9:25 pm

    Hey Nicole, I’m sure you still remember me from working at the RAC, right? 😛

    Regarding your post though, I can’t stand it when people act like that towards me either. I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life I have put up with people telling me things like you’re too skinny, you need more meat, etc. I just chalk it all up to them being jealous and ignore them, rather than give any attention to it. It’s frustrating, yes, just don’t let it bother you! :)
    By the way I love reading your blog, I wish I knew you better when I was still in Germany, believe me I would have been out there running in -5 weather with you…. :)

  • marit c-l January 21, 2010, 9:55 pm

    Hey Nicole-

    I’m so sorry this happened – people can be extremely rude and judgmental, without understand the full spectrum of what’s going on.

    At the end of the day – YOU are an incredible, beautiful, healthy, happy person – and that’s all that matters. People are going to think what they think, make comments regardless of what you do OR don’t do. You are amazing and a wonderful example of balancing fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Oftentimes, people are just really negative towards things they don’t understand….

    Keep your chin up, stay strong, and keep doing what you’re doing – and know that you ARE incredible, whether you eat the donut or not. :)

    Hugs to you!

  • Mandy @ University Cooking January 21, 2010, 9:55 pm

    I get this feeling when I eat with family friends, or relatives who knew me before when I weighed more. I always feel like they’re judging me now that i eat more regular portions, and that I am skinnier. Because they are always telling me to eat more, or telling me that i eat so healthy. When really it just seems like normal eating to me. Just because I enjoy my veggies doesn’t make me weird.

    But you have to just let people think whatever they want.

  • Nicole January 21, 2010, 10:41 pm

    Hi Nicole, Those people are just jealous of you. I have been reading your post for about a week and to me you are a very intelligent, healthy, strong, independent woman. They all wish they were more like you, so don’t let anyone put you down. My daughter is a lawyer, loves to run, very healthy and get comments too. Just keep in your zone Nicole, your a GREAT person!!:)

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 21, 2010, 10:58 pm

    Ugh– I can see how that would make you really uncomfortable. I’ve had to deal with this to a certain degree after going vegetarian– people love to give me grief, and some even try to sabotage my efforts. People can be really rude in situations like this, I think sometimes without even knowing it.

    Sounds like you dealt with it the best way possible. Glad you got to vent– what else are blogs for? :-)

  • Laura Georgina January 22, 2010, 8:38 pm

    I’m glad to see your day today has gone better after the rant! Still, couldn’t help but comment.

    It’s really hard to be in the kind of situation where you end up dealing with ridiculous, jealous people, and sometimes I wonder whether we’re better off snapping back or being nice. Generally, though, nice is the way to go and you definitely kept the higher ground–much better than I could have! Well handled, and very deserving of a rant.

    I’ve had all sorts of ridiculous comments from coworkers after losing a lot of weight this past year (I’d say around 35-40 pounds), all done by changing my food habits and discovering a real love for running and swimming. I don’t talk about it with officemates and don’t do silly weight-loss competitions, snack all day, and I eat huge veggie-filled lunches, yet I still get all kinds of grief about “being on a diet” and passing up desserts (which I always do because I’m lactose intolerant and all desserts here have cream!). It really bothers me because it’s no one’s business but my own how I eat, feel and live. I don’t even like getting the compliments because they always are followed by diet talk! When I’m tempted to snap back, I try to emphasize that I’m training (if I’m feeling nice) or allude to my food allergies (when I want them to feel stupid).

    Sorry…. I just identify and this touches a real nerve. Thanks for putting up your rant!! You’re not alone :-)

  • Lauren January 23, 2010, 1:22 am

    Hi Nicole, ouch. Comments like that can be so hurtful, not to mention annoying. Not to invoke a cliche, but when someone behaves that way, I have to assume that she’s pretty insecure with herself.

    I have definitely had a lot of resentment and mistrust directed my way because I’m ambitious, I run, and I take care of my body. Two years ago, I was training for a triathlon and lost 5 pounds in the process (even though I refueled properly). My natural weight is about 132, and since I’m 5’7″, people have the tendency to think I weigh less than I really do. Well, when I lost 5 pounds, I had quite a few people ask me, in all pseudo concern, if I’d “suddenly become anorexic” or if I was just “being crazy” about my training. A coworker even asked me in front of a crowd if I’d suffered a trauma! These comments were embarrassing and hurtful, and I would be lying if I said they didn’t bring me to tears at some points. But you know what, at the end of the day, *I* knew that I was not only training prudently, but was doing something that was good for my body and spirit. And you’re in the very same position.

    Love your blog!

  • Holly January 23, 2010, 6:32 pm

    oh girl…i know how these comments go. it is so hard to let them roll off, but i always remind myself that they come from a place of jealousy/low self esteem and really have NOTHING to do with you. glad you could rant though – we ALL need to do that! happy days ahead :)

  • Liz January 26, 2010, 4:09 am

    I do wellness stuff at my office, as a 100% volunteer position in addition to my usual duties, and everyone acts that way toward me at some point. They’re just intimidated (and sometimes rude), but it breaks my heart when they won’t take advantage of the resources being offered to them!

    Oh well, what can you do except keep living your life and hoping to help convert people.

    But I’m really enjoying your blog and looking forward to trying your black bean soup :)

  • Maria February 2, 2010, 10:05 pm

    OH MY GOSH!!! This post was like you jumped into my head and ripped out my thoughts! I get those sarcastic remarks and attitudes regarding my food ALL THE TIME!!! What – because I’m no longer fat and I choose to eat healthy most of the time and I choose to work out regularly and I’m a vegetarian – I’m an anorexic or have some other kind of eating disorder??!! WHY????? Why is it that because I am raising my daughter’s vegetarian and signed myself and my 8 year old daughter up to do a 10k together (while raising money for the ASPCA) is that considered “pushing my issues off onto my children”????

    I am so glad to know that there are people out there like me who feel the way I do and are also opening their mouths and speaking about it!!

    THANK YOU!!!


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