If you are offended by the “F” word then buckle-up buttercup…I am going to be using that word, that scary word, that one hurts, that causes all kids of emotions to well up, LOTS. You see, I am FAT. FAT, FAT, FAT. F-A-T, FAT. I can almost hear some of the reactions as I write this. (GASP) “We don’t say THAT word.”, “No, you’re not. Don’t say that!” Let’s be real people. My doctor certainly has no qualms with telling me like it is. You can all stop pretending. Guess what?!?!? It’s OK. It’s so OK. Would it have always been OK? No, it’s taken a long time to get here. Over thirty years. 13, 14 year old me, I could.not.have.even handled it. I would have run to a very dark place, locked myself away, waited for the house to be empty and then I would have had a one-man party in the pantry.
But my Doctor, she tells it like it is. When it happened I was SO angry. I had to get a physical in January of this year. But I was in great shape going in to the appointment. I had been running, working-out regularly, eating well, I was down about 20 pounds at that point. I just knew I was going to walk in there and get all kinds of KUDOS for my hard work. I rattled off all the things I had been doing as she busily typed away. Then she looked through her leaflets and handed me a pamphlet for a weight loss program, and said so matter-of-factly, “these numbers show you are obese.” O-fucking-bese. (I warned you, it was coming; you thought I meant the other F word?) Are you kidding me here? Did you NOT hear everything I JUST SAID? Where’s my “good job”? Where are my pats on the back? Nada. A stupid pamphlet and a print out with the word OBESE circled right smack in the middle of it. I grumbled out of there thinking, “well, you are freakin’ obese too lady!”
Deflated. Angry. Upset. How dare she? I am NOT obese. I have some work to do still, but OBESE? Obese, that’s what people on all those reality shows are. I am not obese. I am thick. I am big boned. I am heavy. But not obese. Not fat. We don’t ever call anyone fat. Lies. All lies. I AM FAT. I WAS FAT. Fat is just a less acceptable word for the clinical term – OBESE. And, well, my doctor, her job is to tell me the truth, good or bad, and she did. She said, I AM FAT.
It took me a minute, well, lots more than a minute, to adjust my sails and really sit and meditate on that. How the hell did I get HERE?
When I was growing up, I had issues with my weight. I was not a skinny kid. I was not fat, but I was definitely not thin and I was so self-conscious about it. That self-consciousness developed into huge insecurities about my size and my body. I was the girl who had lady curves in fifth grade. Boobs. Not little nubs. Boobs. I wore real lady bras that boys snapped. I had curves that attracted boys and men much older than me. The attention it gave me only made me want to crawl out of my own skin. To hide myself away somewhere. I didn’t want the body I was given. I was not fat on the outside, but in my mind, I was HUGE. I felt like the biggest girl in school. I believed I was fat and there was nothing anyone could tell me that would have made me believe anything different about myself. Those thoughts lasted for a long time.
Those thoughts fostered all sorts of self-destructive behaviors, I confused attention with love, I was drawn to unhealthy relationships, and it fostered an eating disorder. I used food as a coping mechanism. It did not help that it was SO DARN DELICIOUS. I can binge like no bodies business. I am a super-star, A-plus student, at eating my feelings.
Then, in college, I met the man of my dreams. Someone who loved ME for ME. All my quirks. He really is a gem. I am all kinds of wack-a-doodle sometimes and he somehow just gets it. He is the mellow to my Jell-O. He’s the calm to my crazy.
I no longer binged. But I did get comfortable. I still dieted. I lost. I gained. I crashed. I lost again. I gained and added ten more. I am a pro dieter. I have done EVERYTHING. This went on for almost all of my adult life.
There is always a moment. A moment that serves as a catalyst for change. Right before I began this health and fitness journey, I did a photo shoot to have pictures for my blog and social media. In my mind I had a vision for the way these picture would look. I chose my sweater and my earrings and one of my favorite beach overlooks, Sunset Cliffs. I knew exactly what the finished product would look like. And then I saw the finished product. I did not recognize the woman in those pictures. Who was that? That was not me. That person is not the person I envisioned. But she WAS me. I was so much larger than I had allowed myself to believe I was. I did not allow myself to perceive how bad things had gotten. That was the highest weight I have ever allowed myself to get to, 262 pounds. I was fat. I no longer felt fat. But there SHE was. And SHE was me.
That was the catalyst for change. When I finally allowed myself to truthfully see my outside self, and to not attach my value, my worth, to what those pictures revealed. I was still an awesome mom. A kick-ass wife. A successful business owner and entrepreneur. I was all those things AND I needed to lose some weight.
So I began to run. When I started, I could not run more than two minutes without coming close to death. I almost died; I am certain of it. But, now I can run a 5k comfortably. I work out 4-5 days a week. Hard, sweaty workouts. I don’t just “go” to the gym. I WORK-out. I SEE my muscle definition under my skin. I am getting SO much stronger. I eat clean and I have lost 40 POUNDS!!! I’ve still got work to do. And there have been plateau’s and bumps in the road (and let’s be honest – pints of snickerdoodle cashew milk ice-cream). I still have 60 pounds to go. But I am HEALTHY. I am HAPPY. And this healthy lifestyle – its just that, a lifestyle.
And here is the kicker, my Doctor STILL says I am OBESE. And guess what? That is OK. It is OK because FAT defines WHAT I am, not WHO I am. My fatness is a temporary state that I have the power to change.
I am still super fabulous awesome. I can still rock a power-pose. I can shoulder press 50 pounds. (You think that’s no big deal, try it) My kids LOVE me (Well, with the girl child – I am not always certain). My husband thinks I am THE BUSINESS, and I think he is pretty awesome too.
So say it. It’s OK. Don’t be afraid of whatever your “F-word” is. What do you need to be honest about? What areas of your life do you need to work on? You know what? You are awesome too. Who cares if you have some things that need changing. Admit it and move forward. When we can be true to ourselves. When we can stop making excuses, look in the mirror and admit we have work to do, that’s when we begin to change.
2 thoughts on “Fat Is What I Am, Not Who I Am”
I love the point you make about it’s what you are not who you are. Good stuff! And You look like you’ve lost A LOT MORE than 40 pounds. Great job sister!
Great work! I love that you call it a healthy lifestyle because diets or weight loss plans imply a certain period of time. Changing a lifestyle is permanent.