Thursday, January 11, 2007
Pointing Out The Obvious
This post was inspired by Anon1 and something that he wrote on his blog. I say this not to encourage people to visit his blog and lambaste him, but to let you know why this post came to fruition.
I AM FAT! I have been overweight most of my life. There are a lot of reasons why I am fat. Inactivity, boredom, fear, lack of initiative, poor eating habits are some of the reasons why I am now what some people term a "fattie".
When I was growing up I was always skinny until I was in 6th grade. What started the weight gain is a bit hazy as a lot of things happened around that age. I hit puberty, was raped at the age of 10 by my cousin, my parents divorced and my mom was rarely home as she was working full time to support her family and go to school full time so that she could give us a better life.
Being poor and on welfare we had a very limited food budget and we ate a lot of pasta and high carbohydrate laden food. I would regularly have Top Ramen or macaroni & cheese for dinner as it was cheap and meat was usually only reserved for weekend meals when my mom was home.
Fast forward 3 years and I was a size 12. Between 8th and 9th grade my mom married a guy named Jim. He lived in a big house out in the country and we packed up and moved 3 hours away to our new home. There was nothing to do. Literally all that was there was a row of mail boxes. I have never been a nature girl so I would stay in the house and read. One winter our furnace caught on fire so we used a wood stove and individual space heaters in our rooms. That winter I stayed in my room, laid in bed and read a lot. I was bored and I hated it out there so I would read and eat. This brought on a pattern that as much as I have tried to break it, follows me to this day. Mom divorced Jim when I was a junior and we moved into town and I was a bit more active but it was a small, redneck town and I didn't fit in. By the time I graduated high school I was a size 16.
My first job after I graduated high school was at Dairy Queen. We got food half off so I would eat the majority of my meals there. By the time I left DQ I was a size 18.
My second job was at a convenience store/sandwich shop and I was moving around a lot and went back down to a size 16. I was there for about a year and was the promoted to a job at the corporate office. Now I was sedentary again and I went back up to a size 18.
Over the next couple of years it was the heydey of stretchy pants and oversized shirts. I didn't really pay attention to my size and got to a size 20 without even realizing it.
I changed jobs and started to work at a specialty food brokerage firm. Another office job. I sat at a desk typing and all the time people would bring in yummy food for us to sample to try and seduce the product placement people to take on their product.
While I was there I started to work out for the first time. I would go 5 days a week. Three days of cardio and 2 days of weight circuit training. I toned up, slimmed down (probably an 18) and felt great. Then I got pregnant.
Once I got pregnant, I lost my job and lost my workout partner. I was sick for 6 months and could barely function. I didn't eat, didn't work out, didn't do anything. After I had my son I had lost 40 pounds from the first time they weighed me at the OB office. I was a size 16.
I decided to breast feed and since I had gone so long without being able to keep much down I went a bit off the deep end and ate whatever I wanted without any concern over caloric intake and started taking the Depo Provera shots. Within a year I had gained back the 40 pounds I had lost plus some.
Since then my eating habits have been very poor and I haven't really exercised. I did lose 50 pounds once by eating a very restrictive diet and exercising every lunch hour. Then my job scaled our lunches to 30 minutes and started ordering in all the time to make us feel better. I put it all back on and I haven't tried another diet since. I am currently a size 22.
I know I am fat. I don't need people to point it out to me. I can't count how many times I have heard that I have such a pretty face. No one ever continues with the always present thought "Too bad you are fat" but I hear it just the same.
I would like to lose weight. I try and picture myself skinny. I see the super cute clothes that skinny girls wear and I know that I can't wear it because it will make me look horrible. I try and dress tastefully and you won't ever see any space between the top of my pants and the bottom of my shirt. I know how disgusting muffin tops are and I won't subject myself, let alone anyone else to mine.
I decide that I am going to start to diet and exercise and I constantly sabatoge myself. I take sneakers to work to walk 20 minutes at lunch. Then I don't put them on. I am tired. I didn't eat breakfast. The treadmills are taken and it is too cold to walk outside. Any excuse will do.
I don't know why I sabatoge myself so I try and convince myself that it is OK that I am fat. That people should love me for who I am on the inside not what I look like on the outside. I know that people look through me like I am invisible and I try my best not to let it get to me.
I extend myself in friendship to people hoping that they will take the time to get to know me. That my personality should be enough. If they reject me then I convince myself that I wouldn't want to be friends with them anyway because they are too superficial. Inside I am devastated and I eat to suppress the pain of rejection.
People who have never been overweight can't understand why I just don't buckle down and diet and exercise and lose the weight. Imagine that your goal is to climb Mt. Everest but you haven't ever been hiking. It is overwhelming and you give up before you even start.
It is MUCH easier to get fat than it is to lose weight. That is just plain biology. You gain weight you add fat cells. You lose weight you don't lose fat cells, they just shrink. People who have been fat have a much higher chance of becoming fat again than someone who has always been slim.
What you don't understand is that to me, food is an addiction. I crave food when I am hurt, lonely and bored. The irony is that I can't hide my addiction and I can't ever recover from it. If I was an alcoholic, I could hide it from people who weren't close to me. I would look normal on the outside but would be falling apart on the inside. Being fat doesn't allow me to hide it. Anyone who looks at me can see my addiction and many of them judge me for it before I even open my mouth. If I became a recovering alcoholic I would stay away from alcohol 100%. I have to eat. I can't survive without food.
People can be and at times are very cruel. They think that being fat is synonymous with being slothful or dirty. That I may not be a good employee because if I can't control my eating, how can I be a productive employee? I watch people. I see their looks, their rolling of the eyes. The glances between two friends where one will puff out their cheeks to emulate being fat and the other will double over laughing.
Discriminating against and making fun of fat people is one of the only acceptable forms of prejudice. You would never openly mock someone because of their race, sexual orientation or religion. You might do it behind closed doors but not to their face. But it is OK to make fun of fat people. Why? Usually they don't fight back. They look at you with a sad, disappointed face, turn and walk away. Yelling after me to join Jenny Craig won't change anything. Do you really think that I am going to stop, turn around and say "You know what? You are right and I am going to go right now to sign up so that I can be skinny like you and then I will be able to make fun of fat people too".
Some people say that they are concerned about fat people because of the cost to our health care system and that this nations life expectancy rate is actually going down because of obesity. Those are valid concerns, but mocking me or being mean isn't going magically strip 100 pounds off of my frame.
It isn't disgust or hatred that causes people to mock fatties. It is fear. You can't change your race or color. If you are gay or straight more than likely you will stay that way. Most people never change their religion and very few in this country are forced to do so.
Now, here is the important part. People hate and fear fat people because unlike race or sexual orientation nearly EVERYONE has the ability to become fat. You are mean to me because you see in me what you are afraid to become. Sure there are some people who are naturally slim and almost nothing would cause them to gain weight or be fat. The funny thing is that they are jealous of people who CAN gain weight. Not becoming fat, but being able to put on a few pounds.
I know I am fat. You don't have to remind me. You don't have to shove in my face tracts for Weight Watcher, Jenny Craig or any other weight loss program. Nothing that you say or do will motivate me to get off my ass and lose weight. I have to decide for myself that I want to lose weight and then hope like hell that my friends and family will be supportive and positive.
The next time you are on the verge of laughing, making a derogatory comment, mooing at me or trying to convince me to lose weight, please don't. Nothing that you will say hasn't been said before and the only thing that you are making obvious is how much of an ass you are. Everyone already knows that I am fat.
I am sure that people are going to have very strong feelings one way or another about this. Please feel free to comment. But please, do it respectfully.