I look in the mirror and I can see the facts just as plain as you do. I can see the start of the double chin, the flabby arms, my no where near flat stomach. I know my thighs rub together when I walk and I know that my body is not what Hollywood and Social Media would consider attractive. But, you know what? I'm okay with that.
I spent many years in a relationship with an ex husband who constantly belittled and criticized my weight. When we met, I was 112 lbs, most of which was in my boobs. After a few years of dating, I went on birth control pills which caused me to gain a significant amount of weight. Not enough to be considered obese by any way shape or form, but I went from 112lbs to 140lbs in less than 1 month. I was told to change my eating habits. It didn't matter that I hadn't changed my eating from maintaining my weight at 112lbs and suddenly put on nearly 30lbs - the fault always lands on the diet of the person who gains weight and never on any other factors. (It was later found that the pills had damaged my thyroid, which resulted in the weight gain).
After gaining weight, I remember my husband telling me that I disgusted him - even telling me that if I gained any more weight, he would still love me but would have to find someone else to have sexual relations with because he was no longer attracted to me. I did what any woman wanting to save her marriage would do - I went on a diet.. I went on MANY diets. I developed a very destructive relationship with foods and calories. I tried to make healthier meals but then my husband refused to eat them. His idea of a vegetable was either corn or potatoes, the only green vegetable he would eat was canned green beans. He threw a fit when we ate chicken and eventually he refused to even buy healthy foods at all. He controlled the money and he wanted Dr Peppers and Wendy's.
The result was either I ate fast food (which he still eats at least 2 meals a day several days a week) or not eat. I tried to watch what I ate, I tried Slim Fast, I went to a doctor who prescribed Phen-Fen. I tried what was in my abilities but still I did not lose weight and so I cut even more calories from my day. I skipped breakfast, I usually skipped lunch and would eat a meal for dinner. The results were I gained more weight (probably much to do with the fact that even that 1 meal, being fast food, had more calories then I needed). The only thing that kept me from being anorexic was the fast that I had people around be who insisted that I ate something at dinner and refused to allow me to only eat a salad.
For nearly 20 years, I ate like this.. Even after we divorced, the bad habits continued, although I no longer ate fast food. I was working, supporting myself (and eventually my new family) and so I made healthy meals. I swapped out white rice for brown rice, whole wheat breads, more vegetables, red meat rarely and instead chicken. But still, I only ate one meal a day. I didn't gain weight but I did maintain the weight I was currently at, a weight that many would consider unhealthy.
Lets fast forward to 2 years ago. I went in for a checkup to the doctor and after a panel of blood work, I was told I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Of course, the first thing out of the doctor's mouth was a discussion about fast food, unhealthy food and how my overeating was affecting my overall health. No questions about what I ate, how much I ate, ect. It was automatically assumed I was stuffing my face with Whoppers, Oreo's and potato chips all day. I tried to talk to the doctor, he wouldn't listen. He had it in his mind I was a typical, lazy, overweight American who lived off junk food. I was given medication for the high blood pressure and told to come back in 2 weeks. ( I should point out the doctor was a younger guy, attractive, with a drop dead makeup artist wife).
I was upset, to say the least. I work in the medical profession so to have my input so quickly dismissed pissed me off.. So, I did two things. I kept a log of all my meals for those 2 weeks. If it went in my mouth, it was recorded.. Every teaspoon of coffee creamer, any snacks.. Even the calories in my fish oil capsules and multivitamin that I took each day. The second thing I did was I asked my husband to go to the doctors appointment with me. A very attractive, ideal weight, healthy male, my husband was my support.
When my appointment came, I was once again told I needed to reduce the calories I eat on an every day basis. I was told I needed to reduce my caloric intake to 1200 a day. So I pulled out my diary. A SHOCKING diary it was as well. On a really good day, I ate roughly 700 calories. On an average day, I age about 500 calories. There were a few days I ate less than 300 calories.
My doctor instantly gave me attitude when I showed him a diary from a typical day. I was told "But this is only 1 day, you have to look at the overall picture of what you put in your mouth, not just one day. One day doesn't make a difference".. I tried to tell him that WAS the overall picture, again, he wouldn't listen. To him, I was nothing more than a fat body who created my own problem.
That was when my husband stepped in and told him that was my typical eating habits and had been for about 20 years. Well, of course, he listened to him. He looked over my food diary for the 2 weeks and said "Well, wow, you don't eat enough." A few more blood tests and I was diagnosed with EDNOS - Atypical Anorexia Nervosa. What that means is that I have limited my caloric intake to such a severe level for such a long period of time that I am considered Anorexic even though I am fat. Go figure!! My high blood pressure and high cholesterol is not from my diet but from my body being in starvation mode. I was told to increase my calories, little by little, each week, my eventual goal being 1200 calories a week.
Two years later, I still struggle with making myself eat.. I still do not eat Breakfast, even though I know it's not healthy for me to do so. I just don't think about it.. Many times, I'm forcing myself to eat lunch. I make the kids lunch each day, however, half the time, I don't feel like eating. Eating during the day makes me sick. There are days I don't even feel like eating dinner, especially if I ate lunch and once again, I'm forcing myself to eat. When I do eat at least twice a day, I actually lose weight. After a week long vacation at Disney World, eating their food twice a day, I came home a few pounds lighter as opposed to the normal extra pounds. If I eat, I lose but I don't like to eat.
But people don't see that. Instead, all they see is a disgusting fat body.
I even now, I struggle with increasing my calories. If we were out shopping, my husband would bring me over to Taco Bell where I would get one chicken soft taco, fresco style to make sure I ate something.. That would be all I got, 140 calories. But when you're overweight, people don't pay attention to what you eat but instead where you eat. That 140 calorie soft taco might have well been a XXL Stuffed Burrito with two helpings of cinnatwists for all anyone noticed. It made me feel guilty for eating - guilty for trying to get healthy again, like it was a crime I should be eating anything at all.
This is why I get so upset when I read all the fat shaming. Each time an article is published trying to convince women of all sizes to be happy with who they are, there's always someone saying they shouldn't. People argue that we're making excuses for obesity, trying to convince everyone that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes when instead it just promotes overeating and being fat. They tell us that being overweight means we eat unhealthy and that because a woman is overweight then they automatically feed their kids Mcdonald's and are making them unhealthy.
My kids eat healthy. We rarely eat fried foods. Fast foods are usually limited to when we're on the road or occasionally we get Subway out of convenience. When we are at home, our meals consist of fresh vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Salads are almost always an offering and take up a majority of the plate. Occasionally we eat breads or pastas. I have a garden outside where I am currently growing my own vegetables and each week we buy a box of organic produce from our local CSA. While I do admit that we drink more soda then we probably should, most times we can be seen drinking water. But even with all of that, society today makes me feel guilty for eating at all because I do not fit their standards for attractive or healthy.
A story came out on the Huffington post today
showing 14 women of various sizes posing nude. The purpose of the article was to state that America is made up of various body types, all of them beautiful. The comments attached to the posting were downright hateful and fell in the lines of "All fat people are ugly and lazy".. This story came on the coat tails of the viral video of Fitness instructor John Burk's profanity laced tirade
where he called overweight people lazy, disgusting and bad parents.
What these "perfect" people don't realize is they help to compound the problem.. My weight problem is a direct reflection of the unhealthy relationship I developed with food in an effort to conform to the standards my ex husband demanded of me. He once told me (after we divorced) that he belittled me about my weight because he felt that it would encourage me to lose weight. Instead, it caused a downhill spiral leading me to an almost permanent starvation mode.
These same people tell overweight people to start exercising, yet they are the ones sitting in the gym laughing at the sweaty fat person trying to do exactly that. Larger people stop going to the gym many times not because they are lazy but because they are uncomfortable with the ridicule they receive. Even I have been out walking in an effort to do something about my weight, only to have people drive by and yell rude comments or ride up beside me and blast their horn.
Even worse, if a person responds to a debate on Facebook, there's always someone who looks at their
facebook profile and has to respond that they can't have an opinion because they are fat and ugly. At what point did someone's intelligence rely on how they look. If the numbers on the scale go beyond a certain point, does their IQ points instantly go down in relation? Does being skinny or attractive instantly mean your a genius?
Fat shaming is not right, regardless of your intent. And there's an old adage that says "When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me".. Until you've walked a mile in someone's shoes, you don't know what that person has done or why they are where they are. Stop assuming everyone who is overweight is that way solely because they stuff hamburgers and ice cream down their gullets. Stop assuming that they are all lazy and never get off the couch. Stop assuming that just because they look normal, that there's not an underlying medical condition that has led to their situation. Yes, we all know that there are plenty of people who eat too much but stop lumping everyone in this general category when you don't know their history.
I will end with saying I have a friend who is currently overweight. More than a year ago, she was a very attractive, slender woman.. One night, she was in an auto accident that nearly killed her and she still and needs various surgeries to correct the problems. She's currently on steroidal medication which has caused her to gain a large amount of weight, compounded by the fact she cannot be active due to her injuries. Her husband left her because she got fat. This young woman, who is still very beautiful even thought she is heavier then she once was, is lucky to be alive. However, she has talked numerous times about wanting to take her life because she feels she is unattractive and unloved.
Society, YOU created this problem. Each snide comment you make, each sneer you give. Each time you tell a woman who is overweight what a disgusting person she is, you compound the problem.
I am a disgusting fat body, by all of today's standards. But you are a disgusting individual. My being over weight does not give you the right to be a bully to me or anyone else. The way I see it, if my weight affects your life so much that you have to open your mouth, then you need to be paying my rent, car note and helping clean my house. Until then, zip it.