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

The Burden of Being a Fat Woman

by Deborah Cruz

Being fat is not what I wanted to be. Admitting that I am fat is even harder. 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.

Being fat is hard.

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 willpower 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 f*cking 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 anymore. 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.

Being fat was my way to disappear.

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 haven’t experienced being fat, how do you learn to love something that you’ve spent your entire life wishing you could change?


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Dana 2015/02/17 - 12:56 pm

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.

Leslie 2015/02/17 - 1:05 pm

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.

Jenni Chiu @ MommyNaniBooboo 2015/02/18 - 1:54 pm

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

Jen 2015/02/18 - 3:59 pm

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.

tracy 2015/02/18 - 11:25 pm

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

Carrie 2015/02/23 - 3:56 pm

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!

Deborah Cruz 2015/02/24 - 8:03 am


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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Christy Maurer 2017/04/19 - 4:34 pm

I feel like the entire society is so overweight now. The foods we eat, the hormones, etc. that they put in our food, is making us all this way! It really is so much harder to lose weight! I have no willpower anymore. Food is addicting and being overweight is not fun. I wish I could eat healthier foods, but then there is the cost. It is a lose lose situation. thanks for sharing your story!

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:13 am

It is hard. It’s not easy to get healthy. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, self-sacrifice and money but to be alive to play with my grandchildren some day…that is worth all of it.

Jeanette 2017/04/19 - 4:42 pm

I am SO sorry that you are struggling with this! We all have our own struggles and the key is to find something you love about yourself and surround yourself with people that love you for you! I have friends that are over weight and I love them for them and not what they look like! 🙂 I hope you find what you are looking for!

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:11 am

Your words are true. Unfortunately, the root of my problem is not the outside but more my own opinion of myself. It’s a control issue and when I see myself overweight, I chastise myself for letting myself get here to this point. To not have control, when you are working with an eating disordered person’s brain, is to feel worthless.

Katie Kinsley 2017/04/19 - 4:49 pm

I have gained twenty pounds in the past year because of stress and moving across the country. It is very difficult to change my lifestyle back to being healthier!

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:09 am

Been there, done that. It’s all so hard. But we can do it, we just have to stay at it and not give up.

robin rue 2017/04/19 - 5:53 pm

I have struggled with weight for my entire life. I don’t like it, but it is what it is.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:08 am

At least you can accept it and that is major. I can’t let it go and that is part of my burden.

Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle 2017/04/19 - 5:59 pm

I love this post. You know, being fat is just the most obvious example of being burdened with something that is difficult for us to change. But whatever it is, we all have those things that we will struggle with for our entire lives.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:08 am

So true. We all have our burdens, on all levels. being fat just happens to be one you can’t hide from the outside.

lisa 2017/04/19 - 6:18 pm

I was always a heavy child, so I battled eating disorders as a teen. I finally found my saving grace in working out. I tried kickboxing and found out I was actually very good at it. Now I love to work out and eating is less dominating in my life. It’s all about finding something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:07 am

That’s what I need to find but I find that I always go overboard. When I worked out, I worked out 3 times a day. When I watched what I ate, I restricted to less than 400 calories a day. I know there is a happy medium. I just need to find it and have enough forgiveness for myself to live in it.

Lisa Kempton 2017/04/19 - 7:27 pm

Weight is such a difficult subject for women. I am trying to focus on being healthy, but that number on the scale is a difficult thing to face. I saw something on Facebook the other day that made me smile. It said “You are not fat, you have fat. You also have fingernails, you are not fingernails.” This gave me a little perspective.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:05 am

I love this. And I too am focusing on health not weight.I just want to feel confident in my body. I want my clothes to hang right and fit.

Pam 2017/04/19 - 8:00 pm

It is so hard to love your body. There are always messages telling us that we will never look or feel good enough.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:04 am

The worst part is my messages come from within. I am my own worst critic on every level. I see the beauty in everyone else but,in myself, I focus solely on the flaws.Not by choice but by habit.

Claudia Krusch 2017/04/19 - 8:46 pm

It is so hard to cope when you feel like that. I had to decide one day I did not care what anyone else thought anymore. I needed to change and had to do it for myself.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:03 am

Yes, this has nothing to do with anyone else. My eating issues are all my own. It’s a control issue coupled with a lifetime battle with body dysmorphic disorder. I will never achieve the perfection that I sought but I want to be happy in my own body.

Joely Smith 2017/04/19 - 9:32 pm

Even a skinny person can hate their body and be unhealthy. I know you know this. I am sitting here wondering what one could say that you do not KNOW logically, intellectually etc. You know, and you know those kiddos need you to BE healthy. Don’t go overboard is what I am saying. Eat well, right, etc, but DO eat. Exercise but don’t let it consume you. Yes being “fat” is hard, I have never been REALLY large but I have been up to 166 which is quite heavy for someone who is only five foot three. I did have an obese friend though, and she passed very young sadly – not just due to her weight – she had other medical issues but that was a big part of it – no pun intended.
Thank you for sharing your story. I know someone out there will be helped by it!

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:02 am

Thank you for your words. they hit my heart. You are right,I know. I just need to reconcile what I know with what I do. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

Corine 2017/04/19 - 10:24 pm

Love your honesty, Deborah! As someone who has been self conscious & battling my body image/weight since I was 8yrs old, I get so much of this.

After “hibernating” and eating way too much pizza (because Seasonal Affective Disorder) this winter I put on shorts & tank this weekend and began picking myself apart as I do every spring/summer. It’s a vicious cycle.

So this week I’m back on track with my eating healthy and working out – if you’re looking for a gym/accountability buddy, let me know! 😉

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 10:00 am

Corine, I am in! Seriously, I know the feeling. I am trying to get on track with the healthy eating and working out. Life gets so crazy sometimes and then all the running for kids activities and just a million things. I know it sounds like excuses but its life. I think the key is that we need to prioritize ourselves as much as we prioritize the people we love. Let’s do this. P.S. You are already gorgeous. And pizza, my downfall. Carbs, I love them too much.

Dogvills 2017/04/20 - 4:07 am

I wish I had all the answers for you. Take it easy though. Just try to eat right and exercise. What’s important is you become healthy. You will lose the pounds eventually.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:57 am

You are 100% right.

Karlyn Cruz 2017/04/20 - 7:53 am

I hate being fat! Yeah, seriously. That’s why I strictly take care of my body. Such a great details.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:57 am

I’m not sure anyone enjoys being overweight. It’s burdensome to carry that weight and to not be able to have clothes fit you correctly, or at least that has been my experience. Good on you for taking care of yourself. I am working on getting better at it.

Chasity L Boatman 2017/04/20 - 8:08 am

Wow what a vulnerable post. I’m sorry that you had to face such difficulties like alcoholism within your family. Try to embrace the parts of yourself that you like and remind yourself that your weight doesn’t equal your worth.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:56 am

I do, every single day. But now, its at a point that I really need to consider my health more than the size of my jeans.

Victoria Heckstall 2017/04/20 - 8:30 am

Its a great information to know. Very detailed. I like this topic!

Terri Beavers 2017/04/20 - 11:25 am

Love yourself because you are special. I spent half of my life trying to put on weight so we all struggle with self-image no matter what size we are. I finally just decided that God made me skinny, bony knees and all, and since God don’t make mistakes, I was made perfectly. Hope that helps you.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:54 am

Thank you for your kind words. I don’t think mine was God’s doing though. It was a lifetime of unhealthy choices including an 8 year battle with anorexia/bulimia that obliterated my metabolism. This is my issue and I need to learn to be the best me in the skin I am and love the body that gave me my children. I’m trying.

uprunforlife 2017/04/20 - 4:58 pm

I have watched this show and I am happy that most of them have reached out for help. I too have been overweight for most of my adult life. Last year, I started my weight loss journey and lost 40ish pounds. It helped but I still need to lose more. My health is making it difficult to resume my weight loss. I keep getting sick or my rheumatoid arthritis is causing flares. I am trying so hard not to regain the weight too.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:52 am

Great job on losing the 40 pounds. I hope you start feeling better and can resume your healthy lifestyle. Good luck to you , my friend.

sara 2017/04/20 - 8:00 pm

I also have been overweight my whole life. It is hard and it sucks, but really, I have kind of gotten used to it. I know this is me and I know I probably wont be able to change it. If someone doesnt like it, oh well. Too bad for them.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:51 am

I love your self-confidence and acceptance. That is where my issue lies; the self-acceptance.It’s never been about others, it’s always been me. It’s a control issue. I have to learn to let go and accept what I can’t change and work harder ( in a healthy way, no more anorexia) to change what I can.Thanks for the support. You go, girl!

Shannon Gurnee 2017/04/20 - 9:59 pm

I just want to send you hugs right now. I’ve just recently started gaining weight rather quickly (I’ve always had a fast metabolism and then it suddenly changed at age 35). Hang in there girlie.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:48 am

Thanks for the hugs. I’m sorry that you are going through this. It’s hard to deal with feeling uncomfortable in the skin you live in. We’ll get through this with some support, exercise and self-love.

Debra Schroeder 2017/04/21 - 1:44 am

I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. Sending you hugs and will keep you in our prayers. It’s hard to change a lifetime of belief, but you can. And I know you will do it so that you can the role model you desire to be for your daughters.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:47 am

Thanks Debra! You are very kind. I try. Every day I try because I never want them to go through what I’ve been through with disordered eating. I’m a work in progress. I’ll keep working until I feel comfortable in this skin.

Mimi Green 2017/04/21 - 6:45 am

Thanks for sharing your truth. You have to start changing your perspective. Start with affirmations, post them in your bathroom, in books, in your car and pop up reminders on your of home. Repeat them out loud every time you see one. Eventually you will start to believe it.

Start here, say “I AM AMAZING!”

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:46 am

I used to do this. It was part of my recovery from anorexia but its been years since I’ve done it but maybe I should try because even though the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, I still need the boost in my belief that this body is good enough.

Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen 2017/04/21 - 7:53 am

I’ve always been fat when I was a child but through working out and diet I lost weight in college. When I became a mom and gave birth to two children, I became overweight again. I am now in pursuit of being fit and healthy.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:45 am

I am trying to find the right way to my happy place…comfortable in my own skin. I’ve done my stint with eating disorders and I never want to go back there again because it is a hard road to recovery.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:55 am

Keep on working at it. You can do it. I am working on me too. I just want to be healthy. I don’t care so much about “skinny” anymore. I just want to like my body.

Echo 2017/04/21 - 10:15 am

I completely understand this post.

I am a fat woman, that became fat as a girl and yes, fat was my way to disappear. It was my shield, but now, it is a heavy burden and reminder.

Oyinkan Ogunleye 2017/04/25 - 1:40 am

I understand why it may be hard to lose weight…especially when youre used to certain ways of living. No worries. Live your life and set minor goals that will allow you to get excited about every milestone achieved.

Deborah Cruz 2017/04/27 - 9:44 am

Yes. I think little goals are the way to go.

Eloise 2017/04/25 - 11:15 pm

It’s hard to find the right words to say when speaking of this topic and to someone who knows it well… What I can say is that I believe no one here on earth is perfect, we all have hurdles, troubles, problems we must learn to deal with and we should NEVER judge others because we are all equals… no one in this entire world is flawless AND no one is ‘better’ than the others (that’s what I mean by equals!)… Learn to accept yourself for who you are, a beautiful caring woman. Learning to accept yourself is the first step to not beating yourself up and in turn you will grow more confident, which will lead to ‘wanting’ to help yourself get to your goal (self-care/self-love!) WANTING is the need, is the motivation, is the desire that keeps you on track to becoming successful. I wish you all the love and support to loving YOU! I know you can do it! do you?
I wish I could help more, you can always contact me for emotional support : )

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