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“So fat”

3 Oct

 

I’m going to try to write this without offending too many people (too late!).

But ladies, why do we go around saying how “fat” we are? I’m really talking to you ladies who are in no way “fat”.  I say this as a card-holding chubby girl, whose BMI tells her daily how she’s “obese”.  Someone who has been 200 lbs, which at my  height, makes me one orange tan away from Oompa Loompa.  Short and 200 lbs do not mix well.

I make a conscious effort to not call myself “fat”.  If I accidentally do, my daughter is the first to go “You’re not fat Mom.” with all honesty and sincerity.  If for no other reason, I shouldn’t call myself “fat” for her sake.

It’s not easy though, especially when women who are, in my eyes, at a good healthy weight say “OMG!  I’m sooo fat!  I need to lose ten pounds!  Blah!!!”  or “OMG, when I weighed 140 lbs, I was soooo obese!”

When their start weight is your goal weight, and they think that’s “fat”, it’s hard not to see yourself as the proverbial great white whale in comparison. And yet these same women will say to me “Oh hon, you look good!”

Somehow, I don’t quite believe them.

Do I think they’re lying to me?  Not really. But if they think they’re “fat” at 140, my God, what would they consider themselves at 200 lbs? If they would consider themselves “obese” at my current weight, why should I believe them when they tell me I look “fine”.

Do I look good for a “fat” girl?  Is that what they’re saying?

Honestly, I don’t think that’s what they’re saying – at least most of them.  I’m sure there’s that rare horrible former mean girl who does think that.  She can suck eggs.  But for the rest, I think they need to start judging themselves with the same eyes they judge their friends and loved ones.  I know I need to.

Woman all across the country swear they’re trying to raise their daughters to be less conscious about their bodies, to accept people as they are, to love themselves – the irony is, we’re our worst enemies.  Our daughters hear us talking about how “fat” and “disgusting” we are, when a good percentage of those people who feel they look “disgusting” at their current weight are the ones the rest of us percentages are trying to look like.

It’s great to want to be healthy, be strong, be fit.  I have absolutely no issue with that at all.  I want to be healthy and fit, I need to be stronger.  That’s all good.  This isn’t about shaming, fat or skinny.  This is about the words that come out of our mouths, the way we put ourselves down, that inadvertently make others feel put down, that gives our daughters a misconstrued idea of what is the accepted appearance.

Lord knows, we get bombarded enough by the media and all their airbrushed perfection.  We have those little store clerks eyeing us when we shop and those sadistic bastards who cut jeans in all sorts of ways so that the same size never fits right twice.  It’s hard enough being female, why be our own worst enemies?  Why do we call ourselves fat, even when we aren’t – or hell, even when we are?  The world is ugly enough, why be ugly to ourselves?  And what example are we setting to our children?  “Yes, you are beautiful the way you are, who cares what anyone thinks – btw, mama’s a fat disgusting cow – but don’t you let anyone tell you you’re less than perfect just the way God made you!”

Mixed signals much?

Talk to yourself like you do your friends or your children.  It’s time we start being more positive, use healthier word choices.  “I need to lose weight” or “I need to get healthier” – that’s all great.  “If I wear grey, Greenpeace is going to try to roll me back into the ocean.” is not. (Okay, I’ll confess, I’ve said that – but I was 9000 months pregnant a the time with an 8 1/2 lb baby.)  “I’ve gotten a bit soft, I need to tone up.”  Lovely!  “Holy crap, I look like the friggen Stay Puftf Marshmallow dude!” Not as lovely.

Does that make sense?

These thoughts are brought to you by the woman who does need to lose some weight and get fitter so she can wrestle her ever-growing special needs daughter out of bed every morning, whose goal weight right now really is 140 lbs, which will bring her safely out of that Oompa Loompa zone.

Me and my girls - 2012 Photo credit: Elisha Clarke

Me and my girls – 2012
Photo credit: Elisha Clarke

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18 Responses to ““So fat””

  1. Helen October 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    What a beautiful picture of you and your girls!

  2. Robin October 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Oh boy, you took on a tough issue! Self-esttem. I just wrote about this, in a different way….but here’s the thing. No matter what size we are, we don’t really see ourselves the way others do. I think many of us see ourselves relative only to ourselves…know what I mean? And everyone else?? They all look better! I have a tough time w/this…and am working on it! I do love your post though; you speak the truth!

    • bloomeeorg October 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      Robin, I love the way you put it, I second that 🙂

    • franhunne4u October 4, 2013 at 12:06 am #

      “No matter what size we are, we don’t really see ourselves the way others do.”
      I second that!
      Self-perception against public perception … That is true for ALL people, including men.
      Though most men have it the other way round – they judge themselves to be MORE attractive. So do I even though I am a woman. But I can be cured by watching photos of myself … 😉

      • Robin October 4, 2013 at 7:29 am #

        Thank you! I love the point you make about men. I just wonder sometimes what the heck they are thinking and why women are the way we are, and how men don’t seem to care as much. And yes, it’s just like the Dove beauty sketches; I very much identify with that!

    • plf1990 October 4, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      YouTube ‘Dove Real Beauty Sketches’. This is exactly what you’re talking about. Good post.

  3. Kathy Usher October 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    I hear ya! Same here!

  4. Jaymi October 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Love this post!

  5. Sherry October 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    I once saw two college girls in a clothing store hold up a pair of size 14 pants, giggle, and then one said, “You could fit *two* people in these!” I leaned over and said, “Or one of me.” They replaced the pants and scurried off.

    Now, you couldn’t fit one of me in there. Sad face.

  6. cherithfluker October 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    Gosh. This post caused so much conviction for me. I’m constantly calling myself “fat”. I”m glad that I ran across this post today. You were speaking directly to me. Time for me to change the way I think.

  7. plf1990 October 4, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    YouTube ‘Dove Real Beauty Sketches’. It is a really clear portrayal of how differently we view ourselves to how others view us. Hope that helps.

  8. Dean B October 4, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    I love the photo of you and your girls! You all look beautiful! … I’m afraid I’m one of those women who constantly say “I’m fat”. But I only say it to my husband, don’t say it to others. Like you I’m really short, so even though some may say I’m not fat, I definitely am carrying excess weight for my height. I have a 3 year-old, so I agree with you and should really stop saying this, especially since I don’t really have plans to do do anything about the excess weight. I’m 40 now and sort of accepting and coming into terms with my body. Thanks to your post, this will serve as my reminder – I’m not fat!

  9. shecrochets October 4, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Thank you so much for writing this!! At 5’1″, I am also “obese”. It’s hard to see past it, especially since I look more like I’m pregnant than just fat. It’s a constant struggle, and your words are inspirational. Thank you.

  10. Grainne October 4, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    I loved the humor in this piece. I’m one of those 140 pounders who feels overweight and uncomfortable with my body. I was put on meds for a chronic condition that slapped 40 pounds on in a few months and I went from “stick figure” to this. I don’t feel the same as I did before, nothing seems to fit my body right. It’s hard when you used to be one thing and you become something else….it’s not I think I’m “Fat” but I feel like something different from myself. I spent 35 years weighting 100 pounds. I was 160 when nine months pregnant, I’m 140 now. It’s not the end of the world, for sure, but it matters to me. I will make a conscious decision to not let the word ‘fat’ enter my self-vocabulary in future. It’s a damn good point you make.

  11. bobmielke October 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Bless the innocent hearts of children. When I was growing up my mom, 4’11” and 85 pounds of her, didn’t seem short or tiny to me. I was 200 pounds and 5’10” by age 10. I was the biggest kid in grade school. My younger brother by 19 months was the exact opposite, 6’00” and 145 pounds slopping wet. Side by side we looked like Laurel & Hardy. Our close friends jokingly referred to us as “Fatman & Ribbon” instead og “Batman & Robin”. Today adults would refer that as bullying. We just shrugged it off and kept smiling. We had no more to do with the way we were born as the kids that chided us. God doesn’t make junk. If you are happy with that fact life will be a lot happier for you no matter what people say.

  12. Courtney Eaton October 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Very nicely put! I know this is something we deal with as our daughter gets older. Worrying about what to buy, what her friends are wearing and what they think, that is a lot to deal with when your 12 and your body is going on 18! So we let her wear what’s comfortable even though it may not be as flattering, it’s what makes her feel comfortable! And we try really hard not to use words that are going to make her feel less then what she is, which is a very beautiful, confident, loud, awesome young lady! We try and talk about making healthy choices and being active in a positive way! Thanks Phoebe for a great post!

  13. myhealthychef October 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    This is a really lovely post! I think these same thoughts all the time, but then still find myself wanting to be skinnier just to please others. On anther note, have you heard of DietBet? It’s an online weightloss game. I played last month and lost 8 pounds, plus won some money. Nothing weird or fishy, no products to buy, etc. Check it out. I’m thinking of starting a new game if you’re interested. It’s always easier to lose weight with a friend (especially one who lives far away and can’t tempt you with chocolate while crafting). http://www.dietbetter.com

    • phoebz4 October 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

      I literally just heard about this thing yesterday! Another friend invited me 🙂

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