Fat! So?

(Yes, I realize that that is the actual name of someone's book. But it's so clever!)

Today, I am discussing the idea of fat acceptance with my sophomores. And it's only natural that it gets me thinking about my own attitudes towards fat people and being fat myself.

I am fat. No two ways about it. I don't remember the last time I checked my body fat percentage, but I remember that it was in the high 40's. My body is almost HALF fat. It's just a fact. However, because I am also in fact big-boned and muscular, I'm probably a little smaller than other people who are my same height and weight. But yeah... it's the truth: I'm fat.

That's a loaded statement of course. I have said "I'm fat" to other people, and been greeted with responses of, "No you're not! You're just big-boned!" or "You're not skinny, but you're not, like, fat fat!" Fat has become such a dirty word, and being fat brings on a whole host of negative associations. This may be a controversial conjecture, but I daresay that we are moving towards that point where LGBT individuals will be more easily accepted than fat people.

Fat people are lazy and unmotivated ("If they would just TRY, then they wouldn't be so fat"). Fat people are unclean ("Look at them sweating buckets just from climbing the stairs! Gross!"). Fat people are unhealthy ("Being fat leads to heart disease and diabetes"). Fat people are ugly ("Eww, look at all the rolls of fat!"). Fat people are stupid ("How can they keep eating that way when they KNOW it's making them fat?"). Fat people have no self-control ("Why don't they just eat less?")

But really? Weight, like many other aspects of ourselves, is a combination of nature AND nurture. It is a combination of our habits as well as our genetics, the way our bodies are hardwired to respond to food and exercise.

I wish I could accept my body for what it is, but I cannot. As much as I would like to be able to rise above the media's constant "thin = the best!" message and just be glad that I have a heart that ticks and a body that lets me run and skate. But... I can't. As much as I would like to insist that all my weight loss efforts are in the interest of staving off obesity-related medical issues, the truth is that I want to be the hot girl. I want to be the person that people look at and instantly say that I am beautiful, instead of being the person that people might think is beautiful after they get to know me (if even that!). I'm tired of hearing stuff like, "You could be so beautiful if you lost weight," as if the only things standing in the way of me being a total goddess is the 24-pack of coke in my fridge and my penchant for carne asada.

Oddly enough, even though I apparently feel like I cannot be beautiful and fat at the same time, I recognize that others can - there are so many women who are gorgeous, period, not despite of their fat but maybe even because of it. Their total package is beautiful. I however do not feel like my total package is "complete" until I lose weight.

You know, the only time I ever felt beautiful and comfortable with my largeness at the same time was when I was pregnant. In fact, I remember wanting to be bigger, wishing my pregnancy was much more obvious to the world. (And then I ended up having to watch my diet EXTRA carefully because I developed gestational diabetes. Why hello, irony.) But after having the baby, all my old insecurities crept back up.

I wish I knew how to learn to love my fat. I wish I COULD just tell myself, "Yeah, I'm fat. So what? I'm great!" but it's a very hard thing for me to do, and if I'm being completely honest with myself, I bet that my fat is a way of keeping myself from examining my other flaws. Like if I blame my fat as the reason why I feel so worthless and unloveable all the time, then I don't have to look at deeper issues like my selfishness or my shyness or other inside things like that. People don't like me because I'm not beautiful and thin, not because I'm heinously awkward in social situations. (Ooh, self-awareness is such a bitch.)

Maybe it's not my fat that I need to learn to love, it's something else entirely.

Comments

  1. Hmm, yourself! Love yourself! It's hard, definitely. Everyone tells us that we aren't good enough for whatever reason, so buy this, do this... I think you're beautiful, not solely because I know you a little, but you just seem so confident and sure of who you are regardless of your insecurities you may be feeling. I would've had no idea.

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