So, this morning I was perusing my digital world, checking in with friends new and old from around the world, and came across a link to the blog of a person I met this last weekend.
Now, I’ve tangentially “known” this young woman for a while, but have only just had the opportunity to exchange words on Saturday when she graciously came out to offer ice water to those of us standing in line at Duke’s waiting to be let in for the Christian Kane show.
She is a beautiful woman, with a gorgeous smile…and she gets a lot of shit for no good reason from a lot of people, which is something I just don’t get. (Seriously people, what is up with all the hate?)
That aside, I was reading her blog with interest (and amusement and agreement on many things).
I am not a small woman. I am 5’2″ and I fluctuate between 275 and 320 pounds, depending on any number of factors in my life. I am fat. I am obese. I am a big honking pile of woman.
I am very aware of my status in that regard. It took me a very long time to come to terms with who I am and this is part of it.
As she says, a fat person doesn’t get fat overnight. We don’t wake up one morning suddenly 50 pounds heavier. It is a complicated mess of things that get most of us here (mind you, not all…some of us are just pigs). There are emotional factors, nutritional factors, mental health factors and physical limitations involved.
If you’re offended to think that someone thinks you’re fat, maybe the problem isn’t with them. Maybe you need to look at yourself. Maybe you need to recognize your own issues with those who are not fat. Maybe it’s time to stop being offended by someone else’s skinny stomach and tight ass and projecting that emotion onto them.
Look, I get it. We’re a fat society here in America. We do not eat right. The food we do eat is loaded with crap that tastes good, but is slowly killing us. We live a lifestyle that has us running at all hours and falling into bed exhausted. We don’t sleep enough. We don’t exercise enough. We don’t have time to digest what we eat.
I’m guilty of it too. I have Type 2 diabetes because of the years I’ve lived like that. It sucks. It really sucks.
And yes, eating healthy is hard. It takes learning what IS healthy to begin with. It takes being able to buy healthy food, which is not always the cheapest food available. It takes being willing to prepare food. It takes actually eating.
Wait. What did I just say?
One of the hardest things I’m learning in dealing with diabetes has nothing to do with WHAT I’m eating, but that I am eating. For much of my life, I was a one meal a day kind of girl. Oh, I’d grab a quick snack on the run here and there, but to sit down and eat? Who had time for that? And to just eat? To not be reading, writing, balancing my checkbook, putting stuff away, loading the dishwasher, etc…at the same time? Almost never happened.
I’m still fat. I still have whole weeks where I do not eat well. Sometimes it’s to do with money. Sometimes it’s to do with my schedule (and let’s be honest here, Kane weekends KILL my ability to eat well, on both counts). Sometimes it relates to all of those emotional and mental parts of why I’m fat in the first place. I struggle.
I struggle a lot.
But one thing I’ve learned on this journey is that the very first thing, right out of the gate? You have to love yourself. You have to let go of what other people want of you, what society expects of you, what you think is “pretty”, what society tells you is “beautiful”. If you can not see yourself as you are and love yourself, you will never, ever be able to change yourself.
Stop worrying about what some girlfriend of some bass player in some band thinks about you. It says more about you than her. Stop letting everyone tell you what is good for you, what’s right for you. Make a space in your life, every day, to really think about yourself, to identify for yourself what is good and beautiful and amazing about you.
Trust me here, that isn’t something that gets easier. I fight with it every day. I make stupid, self deprecating remarks all the time and then have to remind myself to stop. But do it.
I can offer a few other things I’ve learned along the way.
1) Move. It doesn’t have to be some huge work out schedule or anything. Just move. Park further away and walk. Take public transportation because it will force you to walk. Take the stairs. All within your ability of course. I have mobility issues that sometimes interfere with the stairs bit (bad knee, bad back), but I do what I can.
2) Eat. No seriously. You want to feel better, have more energy, and not gain weight? Eat. Five times a day. 8 oz of food. Three hours apart. I promise you that if you do, you will not feel like you are starving, you will not scarf your food down so fast that you don’t remember eating and you will not be hungry. You might even discover that you lose weight.
3) Choose foods that are as close to natural as possible. Fresh fruit, veggies and meat are best, but not always doable in our price range. Frozen veggies make a good substitute. And they often are on sale. I stock up whenever I can and you will almost always find bags of frozen veggies in my freezer. Want a quick, easy meal? A cup of frozen mixed veggies in a bowl, in the microwave, 2 to 3 minutes and it’s food. Need a little something more? Add a little shredded cheese. It’s good food.
4) Sleep. You may not think this matters. But it does. Figure out what your ideal amount of sleep is and get it. Every night. It affects your mental and emotional state, and these are very important to our self image and controlling our coping mechanisms.
But none of these are going to help unless you can wrap your head around the RIGHT reasons for doing them. It isn’t about anyone but you. If you’re doing it to make your partner happy, or because your mother is chiding you or because someone said you looked like a whale, your motivation will wane an you will lose interest and you will fail.
It’s hard work, changing who you are. It was a process I started a long, long time ago and I’m still working on it. I work out three to five times a week. I do what I can to eat right. I still weigh 300 pounds. I’d like to weigh less, but I also know that my weight does not define who I am.
Hate me for being fat, or for not caring that you hate that I’m fat…hate me for telling you that you’re responsible for your own body image…hate me for siding with the skinny chick on this one…It doesn’t hurt me. And in the end, it says a lot more about you than it does about me.