There was an article about a news anchor who got a snarky email from a dude who said she should not have a public job because she’s fat. (It’s here at Upworthy.) From that article, I found fatnutritionist.com. This site’s author reflects what I’ve been saying for years: you can be fat and healthy.
For the record, I *do* think dieting is a huge problem. I have dieted my whole life and I think it’s what started and ensures my obesity. I think starving so much when I was young messed up my metabolism. I also think that genetics has a HUGE impact on your body type and how much weight you’ll carry. You can NOT fight genetics, people.
I’ve been called fat my WHOLE LIFE. And that’s not a lie, I have BEEN fat my whole life. I was called Fat Pratt in elementary school (this is the first time I’ve publicly admitted that, btw). In High School, I ate saltines for lunch every day and was still 15 pounds heavier than my peers. I didn’t look fat, but at 120 pounds, I certainly FELT it. How crazy is that?
While I’ve always weighed more than the charts say I should, I’ve looked OK. I have photographic evidence that I looked pretty damn fine at 165 pounds (the famous vinyl dress photo). I never looked like I weighed as much as I did – I could always fool the age/weight guessers at the fair. But you know what that does? It sets up a fucked up little vicious circle in your brain that goes like this: you’re fat -> no, I look pretty good -> but look at the scale -> Ok, I’ll diet -> but I look pretty good -> you’re fat. Which leads to constant self loathing and dissatisfaction with yourself. No bueno.
Middle age has been horrific for me. The weight gain is awful and by gods it’s STAYING. I exercise at least 5x/wk. I count calories. I have to wonder, why do I do this? I really think it’s habit at this point. I’ve lived my whole life this way! I agonise over the weight, exercise as much as I can without hurting myself and count calories until I’m blue in the face. AND FOR WHAT?
I really can’t answer that question. It’s not like it’s working! Again, how crazy is that? Pretty damn, if you ask me.
I have a beautiful husband who loves me even at this tonnage. Yet I am disgusted with my body and I hate to be touched. It is a BIG problem in our relationship. Some days I feel a bit better about myself, then I get a glance at how fat I am and that’s the end of the self esteem.
THAT is the tragedy of all of it. The self loathing is pretty intense. I try not to indulge it, but it’s there every time I get dressed. It lurks in every corner of my existence.
I’m not into blaming others for my fat ass, but dammit, the societal pressure is pretty huge! NO, it’s not anyone’s fault (including my own, I try to remind myself), but it certainly FEELS like it’s all my fault and I should just stay out of public until I can lose 75 pounds or so. Being at cons is excruciating – despite the fact that I’m surrounded by fat nerds who totally do NOT judge. I feel like a total failure for being unable to shed this weight that’s glommed onto me in the past decade.
Obesity and weight loss are complicated things. They are inexorably linked and so very, very painful for those of us in the never-ending loop. Knowing that there are people out there who are actually exploring this concept of fat and healthy is comforting. People like Linda Bacon (Health at Every Size) who promote the idea that there actually is a wide range of sizes in humans and fat humans can be healthy is a good thing.
But it remains that I don’t WANT to be fat, yet I am. And it hurts my psyche every single day. I wish society would cut me a little slack. But even if attitudes change, I think the psychological damage is done. I don’t think I’ll ever cut myself any slack.
The paradox of being fat and healthy is that there’s nothing to blame. No disease, no disorder, not a thing to point to and go: “SEE! It’s not my fault!” Therefore it must be YOU. Which is also incorrect, but that’s what you think and feel. It’s insidious.
This is not a “pity me” post or a “fishing for compliments” post or most definitely NOT a “give me advice on diet and exercise” post. It’s just a post about my response to the fat newslady clip and the information I found on Fat Nutritionist and Linda Bacon. My obesity is not something I talk about and I feel it’s about time I did. I wanted to acknowledge that being fat is a shameful thing in this day and age and I’m not immune to those feelings no matter how wrong they are.
We all have our crosses to bear and this is mine. I’m glad to have found some tools to help myself get out of the self loathing and self blaming loop. I hope these tools will help others who are in my boat. I think there are a LOT more of us than we know – just hiding in the fat closet, dying to come out. If I can do it, anyone can.