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.”