The title of this particular blog is not intentionally sensational. I don’t actually have a problem with the word fat. I surrendered the negative connotations I had tied to the word fat, years ago. Let’s look for a moment at Webster’s definition of fat. It says that fat is: notable for having an unusual amount of fat. What a bizarre definition. Beyond the fact that they used the word in the definition of the word, it also sends a very clear implication. If there is “unusual fat” doesn’t that also mean that there is a “normal” amount of fat?Growing up I truly believed the lies I was told by countless people. I can remember a few years ago, calling my wonderful sister in an absolute bewildered state. I was confused because I just KNEW I was fat growing up. It was my reality and it was based on fact. Until it was no longer my reality. My mom had asked me to go through a box of belongings in her basement. As I picked up the shoe box of pictures, from childhood, I was curious to see what had been captured. I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. As I took those pictures out, one by one, I didn’t know how to process what was being presented. Where was that fat girl I remembered? Where was that obese girl? Where was the repulsive person? Because what I was seeing was in stark contradiction to my memories. I remember every day while riding my bike down our front yard, these older guys who lived across the street would stand in one on the guy’s garage, and yell things like, “hey…hey…..hey….here comes fat Albert” Being shamed or ridiculed is nothing new to me in this life. I have been feeling the call to write this blog for a while, but in all honesty was afraid of the implications of putting this out there. Today, I am done hiding behind the size of my body or anyone else’s perception of my worth as a human based on my weight. The following confessions are based on my experience. My hope is to give you a glimpse into the life of someone with weight problems: 1. Spatial Awareness: When you are not an average size, you develop an ongoing awareness of exactly how much room you take up. I can judge across the room if there will be room for me on the coach, in the car, or to walk through a certain area. Until recently I wasn’t aware that thinner people don’t walk in a room scanning it to avoid problems or issues. 2. Activity: One of the top 5 misconceptions out there is that all overweight people are just lazy people. Let’s bring it back to the biggest nutrition myth out there, “less calories in and more calories out equals weight loss”. This is just not empirically correct. My first year of college I worked three jobs. While going to grad school I worked out at a gym every morning for over an hour, went to school and work, and then walked three miles every night. How much more activity does that theory mean I needed to exercise in order to dissolve weight? 3. Food Consumption: Here’s a news flash. I don’t over eat. Not every overweight person is a binge eater. In fact, my experience is most of them are not. My go – to, method of eating in the past, has always been to restrict food. Earlier I told you about a time when I was exercising a lot. During that time I also found a way to allow 3 ounces of cheese to last for 2 ½ weeks. I was eating nothing else, and only drinking water. The absolute biggest weight loss myth out there for me is “decrease the calories and increase the exercise”. Clearly that’s a flawed philosophy. 4. Body Hatred: There’s a conception out there that every over weight human being hates their bodies. Those same theorists would also go so far as to say, “how could they not… Look at them”. I can stand before God and everyone today and say I don’t hate my body? Why should I? Does that even make any logical sense? My body provides for me every day. It provides housing for this phenomenal soul that I love and cherish. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I am not overly thrilled with the physicality of the looks surrounding it. But I have surrendered the need to abuse or degrade my body based on the number on a scale. 5. Self Esteem: Another misconception is that all overweight people suffer from huge amounts of self-esteem. I can no longer buy into that theory. Do I think that I am the most gorgeous and intelligent person on the face of the earth? No. But along those same lines, I am unwilling to allow myself to take my weight personally. I am acutely aware that I am a positive, loving, giving, and attentive person. I am aware that my weight does not determine my worth as a person. If it does in your eyes, than you have my sympathy. Those people who want to judge me based on my weight, have no idea what they are missing. I am conscious of the type of people that I surround myself with, today. I choose to separate myself from toxic people and their toxic beliefs. 6. Medical excuses: I can’t tell you how many people I have witnessed engaging in fat shaming and saying things like, “Your thyroid is not why you are fat. Put down the gallon of ice cream”. My response to this varies depending on how much I care about the person. However, here’s the bottom line for me. I have no thyroid and I have been diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity and Lyme disease. Which is a great explanation for my weight. I don’t need to justify my weight to anyone today. I am focused on healing my body and I am okay with where I am at today. 7. Value: This is basically an all-encompassing category. I have worked with so many women with eating disorders of varying forms. There’s a huge social stigma out there that says if you are above a certain weight (albeit a secret weight limit) you can’t do_____”x”____ well. That X can range from careers, to relationships, to hobbies, behavior and clothing. Reject that crap and allow yourself to be, do, or wear whatever you determine!
In my perfect world, we would all be amazingly healthy, happy, and whole. However, I still reside on earth currently. My mission is to remove the need to judge ourselves or others based on any characteristic. How much better would our lives be (as well as those around us) if we replaced that judgement with love? The other recommendation I would like to make to you, is to take back your power! Don’t allow the connotation of some word or words to control you or your reality. As a piece of that, don’t allow other people’s judgement, fear or hate to impact you.
Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. She offers in person and distance sessions. Learn more about her here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com