The 2-Week Fat Shred Workout That Sent Her to the E.R.
“Did you hear about Q?”
I was meeting up with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while, when she brought her up.
Q was a girl that I went to high school with — I didn’t know her that well, but she was someone who I thought of as confident, smart, and ambitious. She was often active on social media platforms, advocating for queer rights, BLM, Asian representation, body positivity, and the like. People stamped her as a “social justice warrior” but she embraced the title with grace.
I shook my head, “No, what happened?”
Turns out a few weeks earlier she had ended up in the E.R. after attempting a 2-week fat shred workout. I suddenly felt my heart drop and stomach twist. How could that be?
In a shockingly honest post, she confessed feeling frustrated with her body, and began an extreme workout to rapidly lose weight and just “get it over with”. It happened that her workout triggered a chronic health condition, and a few days into the regimen she found herself one day vomiting on the floor, having uncontrollable seizures, and scared to death. She vowed she wouldn’t let herself get to this point again, but what damage had already been done?
While it was unnerving to find out that someone who I had thought of as confident and strong was dealing with such external pressure, I realized that even the most secure of us are going to have our boundaries tested by society. It made me sick to think that it was able to bring down, even momentarily, someone who was putting in so much energy in fighting these messages.
The 2-week fat shred workout was not a concept she came up with. I know it because I’ve done my fair share of looking into diets like these in moments I felt insecure or uncomfortable with the way I was perceived by others. The internet is full of articles titled “The 2-Week Bikini Body Protocol”, “The 1-Month Six Pack Diet”, or “How to Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Days” — kitschy titles that are actually dangerous health advice on eating just eggs, surviving on liquified banana diets, or continuous days of several hour-long training videos that are marketed as ‘healthy muscle-building’.
“Just a few weeks of willpower, and then I will look acceptable.”
I don’t hate things easily, but nobody should ever be convinced to treat themselves this way.
The things that drive us to hate our bodies are basically infinite, and so I know it can be difficult to feel like enough. It’s obvious to blame the sponsored ads and the toxic television shows, but the things that drive us toward insecurity can also be a community, a family member, or peer we look up to. It’s not always easy to escape the pressure.
But I hope to remind you to love and trust yourself enough, that your body will respond well when you show it genuine care. Rest when you’re tired, and eat when you’re hungry. Call a trusted friend when you’re feeling low, or write good things about yourself when you need to be alone. Go on a walk or do a short stretch, and continuously nurture that which builds and strengthens your wellbeing, to get back to a mindset where you thrive best. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and most of all you’ll be happier never worrying about the way you look again.
Because no amount of weight loss is worth a trip to the E.R.