(Note: I originally locked this post, because all my posts are locked. At the request of a few people, I've unlocked it. All comments that were made when the post was locked have since been screened; from this point forward, all comments will default to unscreened.)
I've been sitting on this post for a while, and am not 100% happy with it. I suspect that no matter how much I tweak it, I will never be 100% happy with it, and in fact I've actually almost deleted it once, but I'm going to post it anyway. I've seen too many ads for thighmasters, abmasters, buttmasters, questionable pills, and all sorts of other products aimed at people unhappy with their current physiques. All these products promise the world, and for the most part, they are all full of shit.
A lot of what I'm about to say here will sound a little discouraging, but that's the last thing I want to be. I've reaped serious benefits from exercising regularly and making changes to my eating habits, and if that's what you really want to do, I'll be standing in your corner with pom-poms for encouragement, and I'm sure I can come up with some lewd rhymes if jumping around with pom-poms isn't enough. But I also want to counter a lot of bullshit.
When I refer to "change," I'm talking about either losing fat or gaining muscle, which are the two most commonly desired changes in our culture, and the ones pushed hardest by our popular media. I'm not saying that there aren't cultures (or even subsets within out own culture) that consider fat a desirable goal, but I don't really consider myself qualified to discuss it.Change is possible... if you have the resources.
Junk food is cheap. Healthy food is more resource intensive, both in the fact that the raw ingredients are probably going to cost more, and you're going to end up devoting more time and energy to turning those raw ingredients into meals. This implies, of course, that after you get home from your job, you'll have
the time and energy to devote to turning raw ingredients into meals.
Gyms are not cheap. If you decide to buy equipment yourself, it'll cost money, and you'll need to have enough spare living space to put it when you're not using it. If you decide to go to a gym, there are membership dues. If you decide to get a trainer, they're going to want to be paid. (My "personal trainer" is free, admittedly, but not everyone is on her mailing list¹, and not everyone has my ability to turn anger into beef.)
Just want to run? Most of us are capable of at least walking, but not everyone should. Depending on where you live, taking a walk outside may come with more health risks than being fat. These risks tend to be bigger if you're underage, or female. Living in a neighborhood where it's safe to go out for a morning constitutional takes resources.
With any luck, you have the emotional resources to get out of bed with no trouble. Some people don't. Some people suffer from depression, or other conditions that make it difficult to face daily life, let alone deliberately adding new challenges to it. Some of these conditions respond well to medication, which, again, takes resources. Some do not. (And quite a few medications, ranging from antidepressants to contraceptives, cause some of their users to gain weight.)
If you have all these resources, by all means make the most of them. Just be aware that not everyone else does. Whenever you see a fat person, keep this in mind. Practically no one
in this culture "chooses" to be fat. This culture treats fat people horribly, and they don't need your shit on top of that. If "all it took were willpower," there'd be a hell of a lot fewer fat people around.
Okay, that was a rant on my part. I'll get on with it now, shall I?( Change is possible... conditionally. And there are a LOT of conditions. )