Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The truth about being fat part 1

People really have no idea what its like to be fat. And by fat I don't mean slightly overweight, although I'm not minimizing the psychological downsides of people who have just a bit of weight to lose, were all fighting the same battle here. But there's a difference between 15 lbs and 150 lbs to lose. That nasty word, obese. Obese, obese, obese. A definition by which people term me and define me. Fat chick, beached whale, pig, lazy slug, etc. These are all things Ive heard many times over my life, and I daresay most overweight (and some even mainstream size, I'm sure) people have heard continuously.
This beautiful, first world culture we live in judges a woman's value and desirability by how much skin she can show, the size of whatever part of her anatomy you fantasize about most, and if her nails match her purse. Never mind judging her by the way she lives her life, the work that she does (no matter what environment), and the morals and beliefs that she holds dear to her heart. Thank God there are exceptions to this rule, people who look deeper than the surface. But in any case, having defined the sad rules of objectifying, consider how a person who is overweight feels in this world where average bodies have a hard enough time.
Now, after reading that last line, if you thought something like 'she should stop complaining and start exercising', or 'maybe if she stopped eating she wouldn't be having this problem' or 'its her own fault shes so big, she must obviously eat McDonald's every day' or anything similar, I invite you to stop reading and click that little x at the top right of your screen. Or, alternatively, you could keep reading and open your mind as to how it feels to be an outsider 24/7 because of your size. We cant escape it, there is no reprieve. That being said, I decided to put into words the truths that we live with, so that maybe if another person of a bigger size reads it, s/he will know its not just them thinking/feeling this way. And maybe it will give some perspective to people of regular size, to be able to see into the mind of someone that looks like me.
  • Fat people are ULTRA aware, at ALL times, of the motion of eating. By that I mean, we are always aware of everything we put in our mouths in public, the way we eat it, how we chew, what it is that were eating, how were sitting while we eat it, what we must look like to other people while we eat, etc. I absolutely HATE eating in front of other people, if I could go the whole work day without having to eat in front of other people, I would. I actually take the initiative to hide in the corner, in our lounge area, and eat as fast as possible in case someone sits next to me. I hate the way people look at me while I eat, no matter what it is. If its healthy, then I MUST be on a diet, and if its not, I'm just the fat chick who's eating again. And don't even think about asking for seconds, if I'm hungry. Don't even think about saying the words 'Im hungry' out loud. Your fat, so you must ALWAYS be hungry. I hate having conversation while I eat, I hate eating in a restaurant. No matter what I order, there's that judgment in their eyes. People from other tables looking at me while I eat, I overhear what they say about me often. I am absolutely paranoid, but with good reason. You say I shouldn't give a fuck, and deep down I don't, but day after day, meal after meal, there's so much a person can take, and I might be real strong, real proud, but I'm not made of stone, and I would rather remove myself from the situation if at all possible. Consider all the times you eat in the day, whether its just a small snack or a couple of sips of water, to a main meal. Imagine feeling observed and judged EVERY SINGLE TIME you open your mouth to eat/drink. That feeling, every day, multiple times a day. Next time you feel like making a comment about how I eat, or an unpleasant thought crosses your mind when you see someone like me eating, trust me, WE KNOW.

  • Fat people are ULTRA aware, at ALL times, of what their bodies look like. You know that feeling of not knowing what to wear, and just throwing on something and not thinking about it for awhile? That doesn't happen. Every piece of clothing I wear, I know exactly how my body looks in it. And I mean exactly, down to where the hem falls and how the fabric looks at this angle with that light. I know exactly what my legs look like when I'm walking, or how my arms move when I wave to someone. I know how my face looks like when I talk, what my neck looks like when I prop my chin up. What my stomach looks like in that dress, how I look when I'm swimming. It sounds like an obsession, but its not. Its more of a reflex that you develop after hearing/seeing everyone else around you notice these things. People do it subconsciously, and so do we. In an effort to see what other people see when they look at me, Ive even recorded myself going about doing things so I could observe myself. Sounds sick? So is my morale when day after day complete strangers hate me because I'm overweight. Trust me, we know IMPLICITLY, what we look like, at all times, and it is so fucking hard to have high self-esteem (or really, any positive self-esteem at all), to feel like you could be pretty today, or just to feel normal, when you see time after time people's judgment and derision in their eyes. It doesn't matter how much time I spend on myself, to look good, there is always a comment pertaining to my weight. On my own wedding day, the day when I felt the most beautiful woman in the world because J looked at me like I was (and truly, to him I was), I had my hair and my nails done, makeup the whole shebang, and I heard no less than 3 people tell me that I was pretty but if only I was skinny, I would have made such a beautiful bride. If your shocked at this, consider what comments I hear in my normal life, when I dont have an army of people to make me look beautiful.

  • There is a HUGE psychological effect that comes with losing weight. Overweight, and especially obese people, cannot just 'lose the weight'. People don't grasp the intense mental process that needs to come with a major weight loss. Think about everything that Ive written so far, think about the idea that overweight people get used to that kind of treatment day in and day out. Its the norm, for us. We build our identity, albeit subconsciously, around the fact we don't have an identity to others beyond 'fat'. For people, strangers, to befriend me, they must first get beyond the fat factor, which limits greatly the number of people that I call friends. Ive had people out of the blue tell me that I was a really great person, but couldn't hang with me because they weren't comfortable with my size. They weren't comfortable spending time with someone that garnered all that negative attention. They couldn't take the heat that wasn't even directed at them. And I understood, after a fashion. If I had a choice, I wouldn't willingly put myself under the fire either. So having gotten used to the idea that were nothing but our body mass, imagine if you will suddenly getting that rug pulled from under our feet. Not hearing, seeing anything pertaining to your weight every day? People assessing you and finding you attractive? People not even noticing you past a quick glance? Not being fat anymore would mean for the most of us, completely losing the identity that we most likely have spent years in. We lose ourselves, the people we know/knew, and have to redefine who we are as a person, what it means to interact with people, the things we know and have counted as daily occurrences don't happen anymore. We have a new body, an alien body, that does things the previous one couldn't, that works in a different, everything about us is different. If you were freaking out about getting used to a new hairstyle, imagine getting used to a new body. All these changes have to occur mentally, our minds have to catch up with our bodies, and its an extremely difficult process. When I was in high school, I lost maybe 50-60 lbs, I was very close to 'my healthy weight'. Instead of experiencing joy when people commented on my weight loss, I felt fragile, insecure, weak, and under incredible pressure. That's another unspoken aspect of weight loss. Once you start losing, people EXPECT you to go all the way and make comments to that regard, thinking that its encouraging, but really all it does is add pressure onto more pressure. And when the yo yo happens, the disappointment is unbearable. And constant. People exhibit pity or disgust, and it makes us feel even more like shit.
There is so much more that I have to write about this. Part II, and maybe even III to come!


  1. This has really gotten to me. I agree with so much of this. I can related to so much. The ultra awareness. Oh lord, you know you're going to get me blogging.

    It's horrible, to realize, that I can accept- and deal with all of these things being done to me. The way I'm made to feel, I brush it off. But when I hear it happening to someone I love and care about, it really makes me sad.

    Being in therapy has made me more aware of my feelings- and just to speak with you about them, it really just confirms things.

    This is a journey in acceptance. This is our Serenity Prayer!

  2. Loving this series! I CANNOT BELIEVE people said that ON YOUR WEDDING DAY. I actually am shocked. Dear God do people have no decency!?

    1. Yup, people are just not aware of what comes that out of their mouths! The worst is that they meant it in a compliment.