Thursday, June 16, 2011

Am I Unhappy Because I'm Fat?

This morning, I woke up, grabbed my coffee - like I always do - and sat down to read my blog roll so that I could steal get some ideas for this morning's blog.

I stumbled across this amazing guest post over at Kenlie's blog All The Weigh.  Go read it! Right now!! If you don't,  you won't really get where I'm going today.  The guest post was written by Alexa from The Curvy Nerd.  I'm not going to rewrite what Alexa wrote - because well, you can just go read it for yourself -but I found the post very interesting, and immediately started applying it to myself...and this is what I came up with.

In high school, I weighed between 130-140lbs - and I was the "fat girl".  I'm not going to tell a long story about how miserable my life in high school was.  I had friends, close friends... I even had boyfriends.  However, I was "fat" because I was not like the popular girls.  The girls that weighed about 90lbs soaking wet.  I was friends with most of the popular girls, and they weren't like those girls you see in the teen movies.  I was friends with the jocks and the popular guys, too - but date them?? Not on your life!!  I even had one boy who I had a HUGE crush on tell me one night - while we "secretly" talked on the phone - that he liked me, but couldn't date me because..well...his friends would make fun of him.  Oy!  I just have to mention at this point that I've seen recent pics of this boy - who is now a man, of course - and guess what??  He's not so skinny anymore.

It's ironic to me, now, that my goal weight is 150lbs.  I look back at photos of me from my high school days and think "damn, I'd give anything to look like that again".  I tell myself that if I get down to 150lbs, I'll be happy.

Does that mean I'm not happy now? 

After reading the post this morning, it really sunk in how many times I've told myself that I'll be"happy" once I get to goal weight.  Then, I started to think about what that means.  When I look in the mirror, am I happy with what I see?  No.  Does that mean that my life is depressing, and lonely, and withdrawn?  Heck no.  I'm not an "unhappy" person just because I'm overweight.

Weight and self image are very controversial topics.  There are so many people out there - mostly "normal" sized people - that claim being fat is a choice.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say or read in articles how "overweight people make the choice to fill their lives with unhealthy foods, lack of exercise, and lead themselves into weight problems and health problems". 

I don't know about you, but I didn't wake up one morning and declare "I'm going to eat as much as possible and never work-out so that I can be fat!"  That, my friends, is making a choice.  The truth is, I've never been "skinny".  Is that because my parents fed me a terrible diet when I was young, forced me to eat junk day in and day out until I ballooned up?  No.  So, they weren't nutritional experts - and I had my share of junk - but I was a chunky baby, a chunky toddler, a chunky kid, chunky get the idea.

In fact, I've been told by doctors that my healthy weight is 150lbs due to a large frame.  That puts me in the size 6-8 region.  Anything less than that would be considered unhealthy.  So, even after losing the weight - I'm still destined for a size which some (mostly media) may consider on the "larger" side.

I'm getting off track, here...I'm supposed to be focusing on the topic of "being happy".

I will admit, I got to my highest weight after a very difficult time in my life.  I turned to food as comfort.  That was a time in my life when I was truly unhappy - and food made it tolerable.  Just like people turn to alcohol or drugs when times get tough - I turned to food.  Did I think about what I was doing to my body?  Did I think about the weight piling on with every binge?  Of course not.

It was my unhappiness that led me to the food, not the food leading me to unhappiness.

Seven years ago, I met the man I plan on spending the rest of my life with.  I was heavy...very heavy.  My bad luck was over, I met a man that loved me for who I was, and my life was well...perfect.  I was happy.  But wait - I was also fat, is that possible??

The point of all of this is that when I think about my's not a topic of happy vs. unhappy.  I didn't consciously choose to be fat - who would do that?  I did, however, make the conscious decision that I want to be healthy. 

When the media and society label overweight people as being "unhappy" (Biggest Loser, Heavy, etc.), it makes me so sad.  On the reverse, I hate it when media and society label overweight people as being "jolly" or the butt of jokes in movies and on TV.  The comedic value always comes from the expense of an overweight actor/actress having to eat, problems getting in to clothing, difficulties doing any kind of physical activity.   Are all overweight people like that?

I currently weigh 214lbs.  I'm obese.  Yes, I'm trying to lose weight - but not because I'm "unhappy" it's because I want to be healthy.  Being overweight comes with it's fair share of medical issues - I don't want any of them.  I'm also a 214lb girl that LOVES to run.  Yes, me - the fat girl - loves doing an physical activity. I don't even do it for the exercise value - I do it to destress.  It's an enjoyable activity to me.

Being skinny or fat shouldn't be labeled with an automatic emotion of happy vs. unhappy.  Just because a person isn't overweight doesn't mean their life is a bed of roses - pure perfection - nothing can go wrong.  On the reverse, just because a person is overweight doesn't mean they are depressed, they hate themselves, or their life is miserable.

My life is great.  I have a wonderful family, amazing children, I finished my life-long dream of going to college...getting the teaching job would be nice, but well, you know....I am happy.  I am one of the happiest people I know.  My weight doesn't control my life.  It doesn't define me.  I am who I am, and I love who I am.  My weight does NOT change that.

Till next time. ;)
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  1. AMEN!

    Man, I was 140 my sophomore year of college and thought I was huge. I can't even imagine being that weight again. Right now, getting below 200 would feel like I was skinny.

    But no matter what number...I must try to remember to be HAPPY. Thank you for this reminder.

  2. I loved this post! I am tickled that you were inspired by my guest blog. I agree with you completely! The times in my life when I've turned to food and ballooned in terms of weight have been a reaction to unhappiness, but being the size I was didn't *make* me unhappy. Generally, I'm a pretty happy person -- so I'm relatively happy "fat" and I will be relatively happy "thin." I think the "happy fat makeover" story we get in the media is really damaging, because you can bet there's a correlation between unhappy fat people who lose weight and are still unhappy... and then turn to food again to deal with the fact that skinny wasn't a magic solution for their lives :(

    And, man, what I wouldn't give to weigh what I did in high school... I wish I'd had the perspective then that I do now! :)

  3. You're so right, Alexa. Those shows hardly even mention those contestants who put the weight back on. I don't know how many times I've heard of people who have undergone weight loss surgery, only to gain the weight back a year or two later. Without getting to the root causes of weight gain, the quick fix will never solve anything.

    Happiness is not defined by your body image... it's definied in who you are.

    Thanks for commenting!!

  4. Great post! The important thing is your mentality and it sounds like you have a great one.

    That paragraph you copy pasted could have been describing me. I was 130-140 in HS and felt so out of place because all the girls were under 110. This didn't hurt my self-esteem in other areas.

    I gained a bunch of weight because I was unhappy and scared about life. Food was my comfort.

    You gave me a lot to think about! I wish you the best!


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