Wednesday, 9 January 2008


So much for going to the gym making you feel better. I just went for my induction thing now and feel utterly pissed off. And quite angry actually.

I had my little chat with the instructor and confessed that I hadn’t been to a gym for 4 years (well, I have been busy having babies, you know) and then he got out his scary fat pinchers and did some measurements and calculations. “There is a degree of obesity there,” he pronounced after consulting a chart.
I nearly fell off my chair. Hello?! I wear size 10 trousers. How can you be a size 10 and obese? If you saw me walking down the street, I promise you would not think “Oh, here comes an obese person”. Okay, you wouldn't think, "Blimey, she is so skinny I'm surprised she hasn't snapped in half", but all the same... I am not obese.

I felt like crying actually. Back in my teens/early twenties I had what the magazines would coyly call ‘body issues’ – namely I felt really fat and ugly all the time. I look back at photos of myself then and do you know what, I was neither of those things. It was all in my head – put there by a few nasty ex-boyfriends and certain other horrible people. Anyway, I feel a bit sensitive about it even now so I couldn’t keep my mouth shut this time. “I think that’s a really dangerous word to use, obese,” I told him. “I don’t think you should use that word lightly – it’s very emotive.”
He just didn’t get it. “I’m not saying you’re obese,” he went on blithely. “Just that you’re carrying around some excess fat that you need to lose.”

Honestly, I felt like going home there and then. I know that probably sounds very drama queeny and humourless of me but… you know. I felt like I’d been slapped.

I’ve got to go back on Friday morning to learn how to use all the torture machines. Whoopee-do. I can hardly wait.


Vicky said...

don't listen to him, he's only trying to sell his gym-routines. what does he know anyway! probably prefers these really muscular women to proper, soft, curvy females! just do it for yourself and your metabolism. your man loves you just the way you are!

Helen said...

what an awful instructor. they should not make you feel like that. I feel pissed off for you.

I'm telling you - sod the machines and the so called 'instructors' and join a class. Much better. ;)

Lucy Diamond said...

Oh thanks you two, I was hoping someone would reply quickly and say nice things. I felt really crap about this!
I am probably being a bit over-sensitive. It was only a word. And I know I look okay. I feel okay too, which is more important.
The gym man was in his fifties, ever so well-meaning, just a bit tactless, I guess. I bet a woman wouldn't have been so blunt about it.
Vicky - you're right, thank you for the pep talk!
And Helen, sod the machines indeed. Bring on the classes.

SpiralSkies said...

Oh, he sounds a right pillock. I really admire you - I couldn't find it within me to visit a gym no matter what. If anyone came near me with their fat-pinching devices, I would be compelled to punch them on the nose.

I think you were most ladylike and restrained.


Kate said...

You are SO not obese, my lovely skinny writer friend. You have an enviably gorgeous slim frame and you look great. I am amazed you need to go to the gym at all.

Totally agree about the use of the word obese, even if you were plump. And he's using the word incorrectly anyway, as per this definition of Obesity:

Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of body fat, usually 20% or more over an individual's ideal body weight. Obesity is associated with increased risk of illness, disability, and death.

You can't have 'a touch of obesity' any more than you can be a bit pregnant. Obesity is an overall condition. I'm not an expert (though I am plump!!!) but I would guess that the word would be fatty tissue. Not glamorous, for sure, but not obesity either.

The man is a dumb-bell.

Pacha said...

When I read your previous post I laughed at the scene of humiliation that you depicted. Because it seemed so unlikely.

But it wasn't far off the truth in the end.

I AM SO CROSS! LET ME AT HIM! I'll throw my excess fat - obsesity on him and knock him out!

And well done you for saying what you did. Maybe he'll think twice before upsetting someone else.

Pacha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucy Diamond said...

SpiralSkies - you made me laugh, thank you! I think a punch might be in order if he comes out with any more obese comments in my direction. Grrrr!

Kate!! So nice to see you here and thank you for your lovely words. I will shove a dictionary at the dumb-bell's face next time I see him. That's after I've punched him, of course. He will regret the day he insulted me, mark my words!

Pacha, I was honestly surprised too. I wrote the earlier bit jokingly, not realising I was in for such a humiliating time. I just think it's really irresponsible to bandy that word about. Bloody gym pillock Dumb-bell. I would so love to see you knocking him out!

A. Writer said...

What a tactless git! Don't listen to him.

Well done going to the gym. I know I should join one but can't be bothered! lol! My writer's bum is getting bigger every day... it's not good!

yourman said...


Vicky's right, I will always love you just the way you are, but in any case the only thing fat around here is that man's head, my gorgeous. And I should know.

Hmmm. Thought about saying more but given this is your blog and I'm not sure of the etiquette of these things... Besides you know the gleam in my eye whenever I look at you.

I'm due for my induction at the same place next week. I hope I don't 'accidentally' drop a 10kg weight on his foot.

Let's stick with Patsy...

All my love,

Your Man xxx

Lucy Diamond said...

Hello A Writer, I think I might ban gyms for the good of this nation's health. I will campaign to get everyone assigned their own copy of Patsy Palmer's workout so they can exercise their writerly bums in the privacy of their own homes. What do you think? Lucy Diamond for Prime Minister?

Oh...hello lovely Husband-to-be. (I didn't even pay him to write any of that you know.) Thank you. I will point out the culprit to you and you can go in there shouting, "Did you call my bird fat?" at him. Then do the thing with the 10kg weight. It's definitely a plan xxx

pierre l said...

It seems to me that he failed the diplomacy classes. Unless you have already paid and committed yourself long-term, perhaps you need a different gym. Or, at least, a different instructor.
Isn't he effectively a salesman for his company, trying to make so happy, so you'll recommend them to your friends? It doesn't sound as though he succeeded on that count.
I hope things will improve.

Sally Lawton said...

What a complete plonker of a man. I hate, hate gyms...
Don't listen to him and I definitely agree to join a class.
I joined a gym in the summer and I NEVER go on the machines or speak to any "instructors" - I just go for a nice swim, have a nice jet spa and leave feeling refreshed!


Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Pierre L,
He definitely failed the diplomacy exams. I think he bunked off that day for some tuition in Making Women Feel A Bit Crap About Themselves. And yes, I will be slagging off that gym to all the locals, you wait, I'll have them out of business before the end of the month. My partner was all for going down there and getting me my money back (sadly I had already signed on the dotted line) but... well... there's something about having your fat pinched by a gizmo that makes me want to get rid of it. So I'll just have to hold my head high and do some voodoon on the Dumb-Bell until the fat pinchers read zero. Sigh.

Hi Sally, your gym sounds much nicer than mine. I like your style! I think 'not speaking to instructors' is definitely going to be the way forward for me too... Vow of silence coming up!

Gorette said...

this man was incorrect in using the word in regard to your body. Any adult who is a size ten cannot be obese. You should have slapped him! What a jerk, doing that just to get you signed up.

Lucy Diamond said...

Gorette, you're right, he should have had a slap. I couldn't sleep last night because all these old feelings had come to the surface after years of feeling good about myself again. I wish I'd been a bit stroppier to gym-man now. When I'm feeling more confident again, I will Have A Word with the manager.

Lane said...

Arghh! He's just jumping on the bandwagon and spouting all that 'thin people can be fat on the inside' malarky that was going around a few months ago. He needs some serious diplomacy lessons and good on you for speaking up!

Lucy Diamond said...

Aaargh! indeed. He did actually say that "According to this system of calculations, Linford Christie comes out as obese too so don't worry about it"...!! I'm sorry but the world's gone mad when anyone can say that Linford Christie is obese. And me. Pah!

Helen said...

I told my husband about your gym situation (he has been a gym/sporting fanatic in his 'prime') and said. "He wasn't using that ridiculous chart was he?'

Now I see your reference to Linford Chritie I believe he is. People like Martin Johnson (former england rugby captain that led us to victory in the world cup) is considered seriulsy obese on these charts. These charts have been printed in women's magazines which made me angry enough to actually write to the mag in question (it wasn't printed). They take in no account for anything other than height to weight ratio. Nothing to do with muscle or fitness or anything. And you are right they can cause serious damage psycologically.

According to those charts I have a 'weight problem' but it takes nothing into account my weight training and hours of cardio I do a week. Pah!

I know this country does have an obesity problem but calling people like yourself obese doesn't help anything. It can have the reverse affect. Oh I could go on with my rant but I won't take up any more of your blog space!

This is a pasionate subject of mine - if you hadn't guessed!

Lucy Diamond said...

Helen, not at all, I feel strongly about this subject too - I think this particular chart is very misguided and potentially very damaging. I felt down on myself all yesterday afternoon/evening/night because of the wretched thing.

I will definitely say something to the manager once I've plucked up the courage. Imagine if I'd gone in there with an eating problem to be told that. It's really irresonsible.

I wish I'd joined the big swanky gym in town now. If there's any more of this nonsense I will do just that!!

Lucy Diamond said...

Irresponsible, I mean. Typing too quickly and crossly to spell!

Caroline said...

Size 10 is obese!!!!! OMG that is so flamin ridiculous!

First of all ... let me lick your toes for being a size 10 after having 3 babies in the last few years. Next, let me go and kick the nasty man in the face ... please.

There are so many women with image issues and men like that fuel the inner angst. I bet in a few months, you'll be the same size but not at all obese ... oh and look how wonderful he will be for getting rid of that for you!

A size 10 obese! My big fat smelly arse is it!! Grrrrrrrrrrrr.


ps I can't believe that you're going to go back!

pps please let lovely h-t-b drop something on his foot.

Lucy Diamond said...

I am definitely organising a lynch mob. Caroline, you're in charge of kicking him in the face, Jen can give him a punch, h-t-b's going to drop a few weights on his feet, Pacha's going to knock him out, Helen, I'm putting you down for a good old rant down his earhole, I hope that's okay?
Blimey what a violent lot we are. Me, I'm getting those fat pinchers and will give him a very nasty twist somewhere that will make him cry. Oh, gym-man, you've got it coming to you, sunshine!

PS I asked one of the mums at school about the gym as she goes. She was outraged and said to report gym-man to the manager. She's never experienced anything like it there before, and was telling me what a fab place it is usually. I think gym-man is new. Looks like he'll be back down the job centre soon at this rate... (if not casualty when our gang have finished with him)

Leigh said...

He was just trying to be clever, using buzz words that he doesn't understand have real meaning. Sure sign of ignorance, if you ask me. Stupid boy.

Kate Hardy said...

Blimey, Lucy, that's SO out of order.

I'd report him to the gym manager - clearly the guy needs some training in both how to deal with clients and also his facts aren't straight.

The guy probably has a self-esteem problem and the only way he can feel good about himself is to make other people feel bad.

... and you can always put bits of him in your next book *g*

I'm the other side of the country or I'd come and sit on him for you. And then he would know what a very overweight person looks and feels like!

And all kudos to your HTB :o) (What a lovely guy.)

Lucy Diamond said...

Leigh - ignorance is about right. He'll be getting hard Paddington bear stares and a dignified silence from now on. Pah.

Hello Kate! He is DEFINITELY going in my next book. I might engineer some dreadful accident involving a very heavy gym machine.
I have reported him and the manager has had a word. And I know that because one of the mums from school overheard and reported back to me! They can't escape my spies!

wordtryst said...

Idiot obviously doesn't know the meaning of the word. What an ass.

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi wordtryst, I haven't actually seen him in the gym again. I wonder if he's been given the push?