Something has been eating at my mind since yesterday morning, and I just have to get it off my chest. I can't stop thinking about it...so I just have to say what I gotta say and be done with it. Yesterday morning, I saw a comment on my Facebook page from a person who left a link to an article she wanted me to read. Her intentions with sharing the article were with genuine concern. She is a person who obviously cares about a complete stranger - so I went straight to the article to have a read.
The article was written by an author who actually wrote a book on self-image. She's got a few books under her belt, actually. But the article wasn't about her books. It was about self-image. The article was Ten Rules for Fat Girls. Being that the author made it very clear from her first paragraph that "if you want to talk about how fabulous weight loss is you've got a whole internet to do it" I couldn't leave my comments on her blog. So I figured I'd bring it to my piece of the internet.
I will say that I don't want to bash this woman. Her underlying message presented with this post is heartfelt, genuine, and true. She wants women to love themselves for who they are, even if they are overweight. No on can argue with that. She then offers her "rules" as to how to love yourself as an overweight woman. As I read each rule, I understood where she was coming from. I understood her concern. I agreed with most of them. I also had my own opinions on what she had to say. Make sure you read the article. It will make a lot more sense with what I'm about to say. So...that's what I'm going to do now...
1. You Are Not Obligated to be Thin, Healthy, or Pretty. I agree. I don't think it's anyone's business about how I look. If they don't like it, they don't have to look at me...simple. She makes some valid points about not consorting to a set image that's instilled in to many people as being "normal". I don't feel obligated to be thin. It's a personal choice I'm making for myself. I do feel I have an obligation to my family to be healthy. I created my children and gave them the expectation that I'd be here for them to take care of them. When it boils down to it, though, I don't want to be healthy just so I live longer. I want to be healthy because I feel better when I'm healthy. I can do more stuff... like being active. I don't necessarily have to be thin to be healthy, I agree with that... but I know that many of my ailments would cease if I weighed less. And I already think I'm pretty...so no qualms there.
2. Don't Talk Sh*t About Your Body. This is probably one of the hardest things for me not to do. I talk a lot of sh*t about my body. I refer to myself as fat. Hello! Look at the title of my blog. I do it not because I hate myself, I just hate the way I look. I disagree with her mentality that a group of women talking about their weight loss journeys is a sign of body hating. When I'm talking about my healthy food choices and the success I'm having with making those food choices, I look at it as a victory for myself - not a bash at how I hate myself. I enjoy reading blogs about different weight loss journeys and have many conversations with weight loss minded people about the plans or programs they use. I don't automatically feel like they are bashing themselves because they are sharing their ideas and plans. I actually know of many women that would argue that their eating healthy is a sign of how much they love themselves. They treat their body as a temple and take good care of it. They love their body because of the healthy food that goes in. I definitely don't get the feeling when I read their blogs that they hate themselves because they chose to count calories or only eat certain foods.
3. Don't Talk Sh*t About Other People's Bodies. I can't argue with this one at all. I believe in the whole glass houses thing. I'm not about to talk crap about other people's bodies - thin or big. It's sad to think that people are judged based on their body size or appearance, but it happens. I just chose to not be one of the people that makes those nasty assumptions.
4. Wear Clothes that Fit. Oh, am I stickler for breaking this rule. When I feel fat, I wear clothes that try to hide it. I live in sweats and t-shirts. I try to wear oversized shirts to cover my mid-section. I don't like wearing anything tight. However, when I lost a lot of weight, I felt a lot more comfortable sporting clothes that hugged my hips a little more...showed off some curves. I loved how I felt and how I looked. I just can't do that when I feel the way I feel right now. I also refuse to buy more clothes now that I have put on more weight. Not because I love being uncomfortable trying to squeeze in to pants that fit perfectly a few months ago - but because I was happy when I wore those clothes when they fit right, and I want to feel that way again. Maybe it would just be easier to go that route, but then I wouldn't be happy...and that's what this is all about, right?
5. Demand Better Treatment from Healthcare Professionals. This rule is where she started to lose me, just a bit. Maybe it's because I haven't been "tortured" by healthcare professionals in terms of my weight. Have doctors expressed a concern about my weight and the complications it can lead to? Yes. Do I look at that concern as "fat hatred" and a social propaganda of healthcare professionals trying to mold the perfect race that should be thin? No, of course not. I don't feel hated from my healthcare professional. Or that my visiting him is a strain on his time or the economy. In fact, on the rare occasions that I've had to see him, he's made many comments about how healthy I am. But, when I have a family history riddled with diabetes and heart disease, I totally understand when he shares his concerns. If anything, I'd feel that there was something wrong if he didn't. His job is to keep me well. I don't believe for a second that I'm receiving some form of bigotry when he mentions that losing a few pounds would take the strain off of my knees and would help prevent the diseases that run wild through my family members.
6. Find A Way to Move. Another great rule. Although I can't wrap my head around her statement that "evidence directly linking being fat with illness is sketchy at best", I agree that moving is key to a happy, healthy live - regardless of size. I do agree that overweight people are often mocked when wanting to participate at gyms. They often get ridiculed for not wanting to lose weight, and ridiculed when they try. That I agree with 100%. Although, I personally haven't ever received anything but support when I attend a gym or want to participate in an active hobby, I know it does happen.
7. Stand Up for Yourself. I agree that many overweight people are bullied and ridiculed because of their size. I've lived with being taunted and laughed at because of my weight. I don't like feeling that ridicule. I wholeheartedly believe that people should stand up for themselves from body haters - and any other form of haters. No one knows the many possible causes that a person can be overweight. I'm one of those people that have struggled with being a overweight my whole life, but I also have demons that lead to the huge expansion of my waist line about 10 years ago. Each person's reasons or demons are different, and no one should ever be ridiculed for that. However, when I make a statement about how I don't like being overweight and someone offers a story of how they lost weight, I don't look at it as a form of bullying or ridicule. When I share my story with people, I don't think that I'm bullying them in to wanting to be thinner or healthier. I will never offer my advice without being asked...and I don't make anyone read my blog. I also don't feel that when I read other blogs of woman that have succeeded in their weight loss that what they are really saying is "you're still fat, I'm not, ha ha". Yes, I understand that I seek out that advice, but even when a complete stranger makes a comment on my blog with a suggestion or a piece of advice, I don't automatically feel like I've been bashed. I don't believe that everyone is out to belittle overweight people when they offer words of encouragement.
8. Deal With Your Fat. OK, I'll be honest, this one made me feel a little sick to my stomach. Hate me if you will, but I couldn't help it. When I read about how I should take extra care of drying in between my fat rolls, and taking precautions not to get heat blisters between my thighs, I felt a little queasy. Not because what she said was disgusting, but because I knew exactly what she was talking about it - and I hated it. Label it how ever you want, but I just can't wrap my head around loving my fat rolls. I just can't. Believe me, I've tried. I've often woken up thinking "so what if I'm fat", but a quick trip to the mirror brings me back to reality that I don't like my fat, never have, never will. I want it gone. I know that this is the whole point to her entire article, but I just can't find happiness in looking the way I do....and it's what motivates me to keep trying to get rid of it. I don't want to have to buy a bigger chair, I don't want to take up two spaces at a movie theater, and I don't want a seat belt extender. Not because I think there's anything wrong with any of those things - but because none of that makes me happy. Call me vain, brainwashed, crazy...whatever, but I can never wrap my head around the thought of just being happy being overweight. I'm happy trying to lose the weight...making the effort. If that's bad...then I'm a bad person.
9. There Are Worse Things In The World Than Being Fat. This rule is short, to the point, and absolutely true. There are of course far worse things than being fat. I've made that point countless times over when I put losing weight on a back burner because other priorities fall in to the mix. Although, I can't help but bring back the point that one worse thing than being fat is being dead. And even though the author clearly disagrees with me on this: Continuing to pack on the pounds could result in an early demise. I don't want that to happen. It's not the main reason I'm trying to lose weight though. My reasons are purely vanity driven. But, I will say that all of my reasons are purely for myself. I don't feel pressured to do it - I want to.
10. Don't Expect to Feel Awesome About Yourself Every Single Day Forever. I don't live with that expectation. Although, I will point out that when I weighed 212lbs I felt the most alive and wonderful I'd ever felt in a very long time. Haven't felt that way in a long time. I have good days, I have bad days...just like everyone else.
At the end of the day, this article is worth the read and the message is a good one. I guess what I'm trying to say with all of this is that no one is forcing me to lose weight. I don't hate myself because I'm fat. I don't like the way I look or the way I feel. I did a year ago, and I wasn't skinny then. It was because I had made significant changes to my lifestyle. I was eating healthy, I was active. I was enjoying life, and loving how I looked. I felt sexy. I felt powerful.
I know that there is too much pressure on society as a whole to fit a certain body image. I know that there is constant media about how the country is obese. I know that my wanting to lose weight has nothing to do with any of that. It all comes down to feelings. How I feel, how I look. My reasons to want to weigh less hasn't come from being forced in to thinking that I have to weigh less to be accepted by society or in order to be happy It all stems from my own wants. I want to be able to run long distances. I want to be able to feel sexy in lingerie. I want to be able to wear heels without fear of breaking an ankle or crippling my knees. I want to be alive for my children.
Again, I was very happy with the progress I made in 2010. I didn't transform myself in to a skinny, athletic goddess, but I made some serious improvements to my well being and my appearance. I want that feeling back again. I'm not happy. I know the point of that article was to tell me that I should be happy about myself - but I'm not. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. My wanting to change is for me and me only. I take no disrespect from people that are kind enough to share an article like this with me. I understand, I do. But, know that I am OK. I do love who I am - as a person - and I just want to better myself physically.
Till next time. ;)