Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is it okay to be fat?

I just finished watching the Biggest Loser and was SO sad to see Dina go home. She's been my favorite since the beginning. I don't understand why they voted her off. She wasn't the lowest percentage of weight loss this week. She didn't do or say anything negative to anyone. I'm baffled.

One thing that so touched me, mainly because I can totally identify, was Shay going to the gym once she was at home. She felt so self aware walking around. She said she could feel all the eyes on her all thinking 'what's she doing here' and 'she doesn't belong here'. I know so many of us can identify with that.

For years, that's how I walked through life. I was so embarrassed to be in the skin I was in. I just knew people were always looking at me with disgust. I could feel the judgments just from the quick glances. I became real good at hiding in my own skin. No wonder I developed a horrible self image.

I used to hate it when I would walk up to the end of the line at the grocery store and the person in front of me would instinctively turn around just to see who walked up behind them. It's something quite simple and natural. We all want to be aware of your surroundings. And we've all done it a million times and probably not thought anything of it. But for me, I felt so violated by their quick glance. Because I just knew that quick glance was sizing me up perfectly.

First, they'd see how huge I was, then they'd naturally take a peek at what was in my basket or cart and the first sign of junk food would solidify in their mind why I was a big fat lazy slob. I just knew they were secretly rolling their eyes in disgust at how fat I was and saying 'man, what a pig' or 'no wonder she's as big as a cow, look at all that junk she's buying' or even 'if she wasn't so lazy and she bought healthy food, she wouldn't be as big as a house'.

Now, granted, they probably weren't thinking such horrible things, but it sure felt like it to me. And I think if you look deep inside yourself, you'll see that you've probably had similar (secret) feelings like this yourself whenever you've seen someone who's obese maybe buying junky food or eating horrible food.

Why do we do this? Think about how society as a whole shuns the obese. We look at them as if they've got some sort of contagious disease. 'Don't come around me, you're not cool.' How many kids in school get ridiculed beyond belief because of their size.

Is it because they're different? I know we don't like to be the 'odd man out'. We don't want to be the last one picked. We want to be appreciated and loved by everyone. Is that it?

Or is this some sort of natural preservation type of instinct. Is the reason we look at the obese with such disgust some sort of ingrained thought pattern created so we won't want to be obese ourselves?

I don't know, but I do know that I look at the obese in a WHOLE new light now that I'm not among them any more. I have such empathy for exactly where they are—emotionally and physically.

In fact, every time I see someone who is more than a hundred pounds overweight, my heart goes out to them. I just want to run up to them and say "you can do this, you can lose the weight that I know you so desperately want to do". And then I want to say "here, let me help you." I mean, I did it, right? I just want to whisper in their ear that I've done it and they can too.

Why don't I?

I think I keep thinking back to when I was that size and thinking about how I would react if someone came up to me and dared say "don't you want to lose weight and feel happy and healthy again?". Oh my gosh! I would have been appalled. How dare someone say I am fat! Who the heck do they think they are?! I know that's how I would have taken it. I wouldn't have seen a compassionate arm extended at all.

So I'm left looking at them from a distance and crying inside knowing that they'd be so much happier if they just lost some weight.

Which brings me back to what I first started talking about. Why is it so bad to be fat? Why is it so horrible? I mean, put all medical ailments aside. Because for me, I've always been perfectly healthy—no high blood pressure, no high sugar, no high cholesterol, no joint pains, no nothing. So I'm sure there are many obese people out there exactly like I was. So what's so wrong with being fat? Sure, it looks bad, but why? Why does it look bad to be fat? And why can't we get over this mentality?

I don't think we were meant to get over the instinctual feeling that being fat is bad. I think that's something ingrained in our beings because not everyone is like me—healthy fat. The majority of us have horrible medical problems that we would not have if we weren't fat.

So what about the people who say "be happy in the skin you're in". That can be a completely healthy outlook, right? It sure can help us through a tough time in our lives. But I think there's a big difference between being happy with what we look like and being happy with being fat. I fooled myself with this one for so many years. My husband was always supportive of me no matter what my weight. He said he'd love me no matter how big or small I was. So I took this as my license to be "happy in the skin I was in". I was fooling myself.

I was not happy.

Being fat is not happy. No matter how you twist it or turn it into something else. It's not fun. It's not happy. It's not comfortable.

It's horrible. I don't ever want to be fat again. And if there's anything I can do to help anyone out there to get past that 'happy in the skin you're in' phase they're going through I want to do it. That's one of the main reasons I started this blog. I want to help everyone I can to lose weight. I just can't approach them like I want to. I have to wait for you to come to me.

Is any of this making sense? I sometimes feel like I'm just rambling nonsensical—wax poetic, if you will.


bluenotes said...

You know what I always wonder?
There are always those people out there who say that they're happy being fat, that they like it...How do they do that? It's not that I think its weird...it's almost like I'm jealous.
and a part of me always wonders, "are they being for real? or is it just a face they put on to make it look like they're okay?"
i personally can't deal with always feeling like "i don't belong" like you said...

screwdestiny said...

Very well written post. Made me think and most of it made sense to me. I think that it's good for people to have self-love, but it seems to me that if someone lets themselves get to the point of obesity, they usually don't have a lot of love for themselves. That's obviously a broad statement and not true for everyone, but I think it fits a lot of the time. So I think it would be great if everyone had self-love, and if that means they are completely comfortable being fat, and they're moderately healthy, then alright, but I think once most overweight people get to the point where they learn to treat themselves right, love themselves, they'll realize they don't want to stay that way.

Georgia Mist said...

Some people can be obese and reamin healthy -- for a time. But the fat we CAN"T see is destroying our organs... compressing and choking them.
At 298 pounds, I was unhappy. Even the zoloft for my Clinincal Depression couldn't touch that dee hurt.
But now, 62 pounds lighter, I can honstly tell you I AM happy. And the happier I am, the more my body responds positively to all that I do.

Mzchef said...

Great post. I love Biggest Loser, as well.

Michelle said...

Cara, I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm glad I did!! Thank you for being an inspiration as I start my journey to a better me!

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

It does make sense. It's a hard concept to put into words. I wasn't happy being fat either. There's really nothing happy about it.

I encourage people to not lose sight of the fact they are living their lives no matter what their size and to cherish those moments - but within the appreciation for life there can be a desire to make a positive change!

Just like you've done.