The Burden of Being a Fat Woman

I am fat.

I hate saying those words. For me, it’s admitting defeat. As if somehow writing it down and posting it makes it real. I have eyes. I can plainly see that I’m overweight. I have been for years and all the pulling and tugging at my clothes will not change that. Most days I feel like I’m wearing a suit of shame, like my weight is some sort of punishment.

It’s hard being fat. It’s even harder being out of shape. I’ve decided to start working out again. These days working on my abs feels like working out while being 9 months pregnant because I am so out of shape and my stomach is so massive. When I sit down, my stomach literally touches my lap. It disgusts me. When did this happen?

I wish I were one of those women who didn’t care what size her clothes were, what her body looked like in clothes or what people thought of her looks. It’s weird because while I couldn’t care less what people think of my opinions or beliefs or me as a person, I have always been consumed by what people might think of what I look like, more specifically my body. Believe me, I’ve tried to change my way of thinking but still, I feel like being fat is my biggest and most embarrassing failure in life.

I’ve been binge watching TLC shows about being overweight; My 600 lb. life and My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I find myself baffled that people have let themselves get that overweight. Then afraid it could happen to me. Unfortunately, I cannot relate to finding fabulousness in being overweight at all but I am glad others can love their bodies at all sizes.

I used to restrict calories and work out to the extreme. I used to be good at it; too good at it. I was masterful at the art of will power and self-control, where eating was concerned. The rest of the world could be spinning out of control but I held tight the reins on my food intake. My entire world could be off the hook but my stomach was always tight. When people told me that I looked “sick”, it made me happy because I felt like I was doing something right.

Food is an addiction, worse than any other because while if you are an alcoholic or a drug addict you can choose not to partake. You can quit drugs and you can quit alcohol. It’s fucking hard but you can do it. You can’t quit food. Well, you can, but you will die. I know, I’ve tried and was pretty successful and unfortunately, being too thin because you are obsessed with your weight and food intake is just as terrible as being too fat because you are eating too much. Being too skinny is just as unhealthy as being too fat. I know because I’ve been both.

My food issues started around the time I turned 7, at least that’s when the photos show that I gained weight. I wasn’t overweight at all but I wasn’t rail thin any more. I’d love to be able to tell you what triggered it but I can’t because, honestly, I can’t remember most of what happened the years of my life between the summer I turned 7 and sophomore year in high school. It’s all a blur. I just remember wanting to fade into the background.

My dad was an abusive alcoholic who was always angry and my mom shut down to survive. I felt abandoned and the only attention I got was unwanted so I wanted to be invisible and somewhere along the way, I did that because everyone knows the quickest way to not be seen is to become overweight so I hid there, unnoticed. People stare at beautiful things but no one wants to make eye contact with the ugly of the world.

fat, weight loss, change, women's health, being fat, obesity

I’m realizing that somewhere in that haze is the answer to the question of why I have always battled my own self-image and why I have such a problem accepting the skin I live in. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at war with my body, my health. Always beating it into submission or ignoring it all together. When I write it down, it looks like a metaphor for my childhood. Maybe that’s the entire issue.

But how do I stop? How do I learn to love my body, myself, unconditionally when I never felt that as a child? It always felt conditional. I feel like by having my own daughters and loving them so fiercely and unconditionally, I’m slowly learning that everyone deserves that kind of love and acceptance…even me.

Even if you’re not fat, how do you learn to love something that you’ve spent your entire life wishing you could change?

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Comments (10)

i have always been overweight, and believe I’m an emotional eater stemming from childhood issues. Now I’ve been diagnosed as type 2 diabetic and have to manage that if I want to be around for my family…omg so hard. You look great btw…don’t be so hard on yourself.

Well, after years of yo-yo dieting starting at the age of four I just stopped trying to lose weight and gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted without feeling guilty. In my most recent weight loss journey I’ve been focusing on health and not weight and that is working for me. That doesn’t mean I’ve been able to buy into the body-acceptance movement so I don’t have any answers for you there! But since my focus is on my health and my numbers rather than my weight and appearance it helps.

I want to squeeze you so badly right now. You are battling so much on the inside. I understand partly some of your feelings – I am definitely not my healthy size. I AM NOT HEALTHY. I’m trying… taking real steps to take care of myself, but sometimes it’s hard to love ourselves enough to be healthy when we’re so busy loving everyone else.
Be gentle with yourself, friend… and take steps to be healthy because you are so worth it. xoxo

Sending you so much love. I listened to a podcast that really made think about how I treat my body. “It takes a lot of mental strength to change how you eat.” I would add to this. It takes so much mental strength to love ourselves in the body we are in while also wanting to change that body. I try to recognize what my body has done for me. Yoga helps me recognize the strength and progress I have made.

Oh love – you are so beautiful and talented and smart and amazing. I wish I had answers. I wish I did. sending so much love to you. I want to hug you. xo

Your post really touched me, thank you for the tears 🙂 I feel like you took my thoughts and put them in writing. I too have been struggling with my weight and have tried literally every diet out there. I’ve also tried many techniques to accept my weight and love myself regardless but that doesn’t work either. I realize that my weight does define me in many regards because regardless of how much we would like to believe we will be treated the same by those who don’t already know and love us, is a fantasy. Being overweight is now more than ever a major social stigma because not only do people now judge for our appearance but now we are judged for being unhealthy. I want people to see me without the distraction of my weight. I want to be at a party and meet new people who don’t automatically start judging me before they know the real me. The best advice I read a few months ago was, no diet will work if it’s not something you can sustain forever. I know myself and I will never eat 100% perfectly. I love good food and think life would totally suck if I gave it up forever. For me, the compromise of eating healthy Mon-Thu and weekend lunches and whatever I want Fri, Sat and Sun dinners has been working. It’s something I can do forever because I don’t feel restricted or deprived. Of course that may not work for everyone but you never know what little change can make a huge difference. It is most certainly an addiction like you said but we have to find a way to keep “using the drug” in a more balanced way. I wish we were not defined by first impressions but I know that’s not reality. I do truly believe that within all of us, there is a way to make the inner self shine without obtaining perfection. Thank you for sharing your story, you are an amazing woman!

Carrie,

Thanks for sharing yours. I think you are right, we have to do something we can sustain long term and it can’t be all about deprivation. There has to be a happy medium where we can be healthy but eat the things we like in moderation, at least, on occasion. I think once you put a food on a forbidden list it becomes that much more appealing.

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