FAT

I love reading blogs, I think most of us do. I read three main kinds of blogs: healthy living, fashion, and fat/size acceptance.

I would like to state that these opinions are my own. I don’t speak for the Fat Acceptance Movement, Health at Every Size or anyone else. Just for me.

I have always been a “big” girl. Like, always. I was in the 99th percentile as a baby and all growing up, in height and weight. I was also a very active child. I played soccer and did gymnastics. My mother prepared very healthy dishes for us, the only time I’d ever had macaroni and cheese from a box was at friend’s houses. I thought canned green beans were a treat (ours were always fresh or frozen). My dad raises chickens, so farm fresh organic eggs were standard.

Even though I had a healthy and active childhood, I still knew that being “bigger” was “bad.” I have a diary from my childhood that says “I need to go on a diet and lose weight.” I was 8 years old. How wrong is that?

When my parents temporarily separated at age 9, I became a closet binge eater. I used food for comfort. I would find sweets in my house, take them to my room and just eat. Like whole boxes of cookies. Not at once, but probably over a 3 or 4 day period. It’s a lot for a kid. And really, I don’t think it was so much the calories that were detrimental, it was the pattern on behavior and what I was using the food to do: to feel better.

Anyway, that isn’t the point of this post. I did heal from my binging ED. But I’ve still always been “big.” This was hard for me as teenager, and a young adult. The word Fat, brought me to tears. Even if someone said something like “You are a big fat liar.” A common phrase, with the emphasis on liar, not on fat. I should probably also note that I’ve never been inactive in my life, save the three months after I got married. I’ve always been in sports, and when I no longer played sports, I worked out.

After I got married, my husband and I were poor and still lived in the town that we went to college in, I couldn’t afford a gym membership, and I enjoyed our life of going out to bars ( my husband was a bartender) and eating crappy food. We also lived next to a convenience store. Bad. My nutrition was in the toilet. I stepped on the scale at work one day, and this sounds so trite, could not believe the number that I saw. This coincided with me getting a full time job and a move to a new town. After we moved, I joined the gym and started eating better. Mostly I just added in fruits and veggies and cut out crap like hot pockets and other Frankenfoods. I started back at the gym and went 5 days a week, and I lost 25 pounds.

Throughout that time, I started reading blogs. The first healthy living blog that I read was Kath’s. Her blog really inspired me to try new foods. As other healthy living blogs started popping up, I couldn’t help but compare myself to these women. I ate so much more than they did, I couldn’t run a mile (even though I worked out 5 days a week) I had lost 25-30 pounds like they did, but I just couldn’t understand how someone with a starting weight of 150 could know how I felt. Then I started reading Fat Acceptance and Size Acceptance blogs. They introduced me to the world of Health at Every Size. The theory that one can be truly healthy even if you are “overweight” according to society. They also helped me to come to terms with the word “fat.” I can now call myself fat, and be ok with it. When my co-worker and I were discussing weight loss one day and he said to me “…but you’ve always had a weight problem right?” I didn’t punch him in the face (maybe I should have?), I didn’t cry, I just looked him in the eye and said, “What do you mean?” “I don’t think my weight is a problem.” HAES and size acceptance allowed me to know that it’s ok to weigh more than 200 pounds. It doesn’t mean that I am bad or that I need to be thinner to do the things I want to do.

I should also mention that reading size acceptance blogs helped me to understand that people of all shapes and sizes feel discrimination and bad for not being “perfect” whatever that is.

I truly believe that if you practice healthy living habits, your body will settle at a weight that is right for you, and it doesn’t and for most of us, probably won’t coincide with what society spends so much time telling us is “right.”

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10 Responses to FAT

  1. Kelly says:

    Wow…I love you honesty. I agree with you and I am glad that you have finally found self-acceptance! That is so important and so valuable. But I also want to point out the opposite side. I am skinny. I am a marathoner but I also eat A LOT. I have always been really skinny as a kid and have used weight gainers to try to add bulk to my frame. In high school I used to wear the padded biking spandex under my jeans to add a butt to my appearance. I was so insecure. Just as kids may have teased you for being overweight; I was teased for being so underweight.

    I have since learned to just accept my boy frame and move on. But I do feel like I am judged just as much as an overweight person for being underweight. I HATE it when people ask me how much I weigh because they would NEVER ask someone obviously obese how much they weigh. So why is it acceptable to ask me? Or when people make assumptions that I have an eating disorder…just as they would assume an overweight person is lazy. I just wish people would stop focusing so much on other people and just focus on leading our OWN healthy lives!

    • slowmiles says:

      Kelly,
      Thanks for your comment. It’s funny that you mention about people making comments about being underweight to you. My roommate in college was very petite. Barely tipping the scales at 100 pounds, and dang could that girl eat! We actually had this exactly discussion once. I invited her to the gym with me, and she said she no longer worked out in public, because people always commented on who skinny she was, or asked her if she was anorexic. She really opened my eyes to the “other side” if you will. As someone who was overweight, I could not fathom someone having to deal with the same stuff as I was, for being what I wanted to be!

      I actually thought about putting that story in my post, but decided against it, only because it was already long and I have a tendency to ramble!

      • Kelly says:

        What I try to do is just not judge. Albeit it is hard and no one is perfect. But the way I try to look at it is: I don’t know anyone’s (overweight, underweight, etc.) story and until I have walked in their shoes how can I pass a judgment on them based soley on how they look. Like I said, I am not perfect and I catch myself judging from time to time. But rather than beat myself up about it I just remember that everyone has a story…just like me and just like you! 🙂

        I love you blog and I truly find you to be inspirational!

  2. krissie says:

    I am right there with you! I’m not the tallest girl, but my goal weight is 174. Only because 175 is the smallest I’ve been since middle school. (And I was 175 for about 4 days in 2004, by the way.) I realize that will put me right on the overweight/obese line, but I don’t care. That number is for me. Not for anyone else, but for me.

    I think that’s why it’s so important for me to be a runner. So I can maintain that once I get there. So I can identify myself as an athlete. Unlike you, I have NEVER been an athlete. Unless you count the elliptical machine and softball in middle school, I’ve not led an active life. I think the my goal shift from being “skinny” to being “a runner” has totally changed my attitude and what I want to be. I want to be thinner so I can continue to be a runner.

    I don’t know when I’ll be able to embrace “athlete.” Maybe when I get a half-marathon medal around my neck.

    • slowmiles says:

      I can’t wait to have that half marathon medal around my neck! Soooo exciting!

      Being a “runner” is a very mental thing for me to. Even though I did sports, I was never good at running. I think I actually associate “runners” with “skinny” people, and used to assume that achieving the status of “runner” would also mean I was “thin.” I’ve since realized that isn’t necessarily true, and that even if I run a half marathon at 174 pounds, or 230….I’ll stil be a runner.

      Also, you inspire me missy!

  3. Casey says:

    Thank you for your honesty! This is an inspiring post. I have to admit, I started working out mainly for the energy and happiness benefits :), but it really does affect your body image really positively…trying not to get too wrapped up in that…I don’t want it to be my main reason for excerising!

  4. Veronica says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I totally agree that its hard not to compare yourself to others. I do this ALOT but am trying to work on it.
    If you go on Youtube and pull up videos marathons/half marathons you see that these days “runners’ come in all shapes and sizes. The amazing thing is getting out there and doing it, because not many people will ever want to/be able to. I am excited to read about your journey to your half. I am running my first half this year too!

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