I'm overweight. I've always been overweight. I remember being eleven years old and my dad asking me to go on a diet with him and my mom. I always knew I wasn't skinny like the other girls, or more specifically my older sister, but that was the first time I felt fat. I felt like I had let my parents down. I felt ugly. My grandpa made a joke about me to my dad at a family party where he laughed and said, "Every time her mouth opens, her elbow bends." Even though I love my grandpa, and I know he was just making a joke, it still haunts me to this day. There is truth in all humor, that is what makes something funny and relate able, and there was truth in that joke. My older sister never let me forget that I had a large butt. She would come up behind me and knee me repeatedly in the rear end like my butt was a soccer ball she was bouncing around. I think they call it "corn dogging" today. "Bubble Butt" was her endearing name for me. I'd go on power walks with my mom listening to Richard Simmons on tape. It was humiliating to be the only sibling in my family that had to do that. We even went camping and my mom made me hike around the park as to not miss a work out. Even on vacation I was not allowed to forget that I was fat. My food was counted and weighed and my siblings laughed at me because of it. I quickly detached myself from my family, it somehow made it easier to exist that way. If I was in the shadows, no one would notice me, then no one could hurt me. I somehow still live that motto today.
After my divorce, I quickly realized that I was not the ideal woman for almost any man. I would date men and they would either ask me my bra size on the first date, or mention how good I'll look once they get me into the gym and drop a few pounds off of me. I bought into that mentality and basically starved myself into a smaller size. I limited myself to only 30 grams of carbs or less a day and ran six days a week. I kept telling myself that this is how others want to see me and that this was all positive. And for the most part, it is. However the primal motives for my weight obsession were rooted heavily in the fact that no one wanted a fat girlfriend, a fat daughter, a fat anything. After two years of starvation, plantar fasciitus in both feet from running, monthly bills for trainers and gym memberships, and countless people telling me how proud they were of me, and how good I looked, I was still not happy with who I was. I was still not thin enough, not pretty enough, and still had the fat version of myself looming in the background like a haunting addiction I could not escape. The pressure of being thin, or even acceptable to others was weighing so heavily on me, I began to fail at trying to be thin. I found myself depressed more now than I had ever been. It slowly occurred to me that if I gained back any of the weight I had lost, all those "I'm so proud of you's", praises, attractiveness, and overall acceptance would fade and I would be left with the corn dogging and funny jokes with more than mild undertones of truth that left me so alone in the first place.
I then so quickly, jumped head first off the diet train and into the arms of my long lost love of food. I figured, if anyone was going to love me, they needed to love me for me. And not for the size I was, not for the weight I had lost, not for the expectation they had for me, but for the fat, funny, beautiful me that had been there from the beginning. I basically rejected the notion that I needed to change to please anyone, especially myself.
Of course I rapidly re-gained the weight I had struggled to loose and was back to the average weight my body had been accustomed to for so many years. I knew I was fat, it didn't make me happy, but I felt more like me than I had felt in years.
So now, I tell you all this, not to gain sympathy, but to broaden your understanding of this particular blog's question. I am currently pregnant and just over five months in. I have lost about 30 lbs total, even though my belly has grown immensely. The clothes I could barely fit into before I found out I was pregnant are now baggy and hang off my frame and enlarged belly. For the first four months of my pregnancy I could not eat a thing. I was so ill, I basically starved for those long months. And now that my morning sickness has ended, I find myself regularly unable to eat more than a small child's portion of food at a time before feeling sick. Occasionally I am able to eat more, but I usually regret it because of the over stuffed feeling I have after the fact. Even though I am still wanting to eat because I feel hungry, I no longer experience that desire to ingest food. So the consequence of such means I am still loosing weight daily. I regularly experience comments from family or friends praising me about my weight loss. My husband is regularly supportive of me and laughs every time he sees my butt because he cannot believe the difference in it's size. On some levels I feel blessed to have this built in weight loss program that seems to be working even during a time where I should be gaining weight. But then I also feel that negative side affect of where the fat voice in my head makes me feel like they didn't like me before and now will only like me if I am thin. Even at the expense of me not being able to eat regularly for five plus months.
Now I understand the logic in their comments. They are truly supportive and encouraging. It is only me that seems to categorize them negatively. So my question to you is this: Do we ever really get past being fat in our society today? I throw this question out there because I feel I never will. I will always be the viewed as the fat sister, the fat wife, the fat (insert noun here) even though all my other qualities show I have such a pretty face. Until I am ultimately thin and stay that way, do we ever really let go of being fat?