A few weeks ago, I completed my 100th ride on my Peloton bike, also known as a century ride. To many, this may seem like a frivolous milestone. Don’t get me wrong: I love earning a digital badge and a special t-shirt, but my excitement had much less to do with the bike itself and everything to do with what these 100 rides, and the term “century club,” represents to me.
Did I put up a sign and celebrate? You bet:
I’ve been in a Century Club before. Actually, I’ve been in it at least twice – each time for losing 100 pounds. Was the second time because I gained the first 100 back and lost it again? Yep. I was on a hamster wheel of daily weigh-ins for decades. An eating disorder, nearly zero carbs for years, and compulsive exercise were all components of my Century Club “achievements.” My feelings about diet culture and body image have changed dramatically since I started this blog in 2009 as a place to publicly share my weight loss progress. If you're new here, I share some of that journey in this post.
As I mentioned in a previous post about the Peloton bike, I bought it with the goal of finding joyful movement after a few years of feeling very disconnected with my body after moving to a new city. Could I actually be motivated to move my body if I didn't have weight loss as my measuring stick?
YES. A very enthusiastic yes.
Beyond a badge and a special t-shirt, this Peloton century ride represented:
- 100 times I honored my body with joyful movement
- 100 workouts without getting on the scale or measuring to see if I was getting smaller
- 60 times I was able to move and regain strength after beating COVID
- 500 miles of intentional movement, when the past 3 years combined, I intentionally moved less than 10
- 20 weeks of consistent movement that I looked forward to
- Growth of finding 5 minutes of cycling very difficult, to crushing a 60 minute climb
My favorite Peloton instructor, Christine D’Ercole, often says: “you are bigger than a smaller pair of pants.” So naturally, I wanted to do a live class with her as my 100th ride. I'd previously done up to a 45 minute ride with a 5 minute cool down, but a 60 minute climb was a stretch goal for sure. I got really emotional during the ride. I thought about the intense self-doubt I had when I got on the bike the first time and the struggle to catch my breath when I had COVID. I was so grateful that my body could recover and get stronger. Eight friends joined me from around the country to take this ride. The past year has felt really lonely, and the company was a gift. The high fives coming in on the leaderboard from friends were such a boost.
I don't share every ride I do to Instagram Stories, but when I do, I inevitably get a few comments from people complimenting me on perceived weight loss. They have totally pure intentions of being supportive and encouraging in a way that we've all been conditioned: smaller body=better body; and that body transformation is the key goal of exercise. Entire industries profit off of our insecurities, ready to sell us something to change who we are, so I understand that dismantling those beliefs is difficult. When you're in a fat* body such as mine, it's hard to imagine that weight loss isn't the goal. I understand, and I battle those urges fairly regularly. *Fat used as a neutral descriptor of my size.
I hope that by sharing, more people can appreciate that weight loss doesn't have to be the only goal of movement.
And finally, if anyone was curious, this is the century club shirt. Once you complete your first 100th class of any discipline, Peloton will send an email with a link to select your size and shipping address. I received the email 2 days after my century ride, though I've heard it can take longer. It was delivered within a week of filling out the form. This is a unisex shirt, and is a soft cotton. I'm wearing their largest size offered, a 4X.
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