The Fat Thing.

I have always ALWAYS struggled with my weight. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve been somewhere in between all my life. It’s not a fun thing. In fact, I daresay it’s an ASS thing. Part of it is my interests are all pretty sedentary. Writing, reading, video games – not the most athletic activities. I know some people like going outdoors but the day star terrifies me. Part of it is I just LIKE food. I like cooking. I enjoy a quality meal. The third part? I’m PCOS pos. I have a medical condition (and yes, fat haters are going to roll their eyes right now) that makes me insulin resistant. It makes gaining weight easy. It makes losing weight very, very difficult. Some girls with PCOS can’t eat anything over 1400 calories per day or they can’t maintain or lose. It’s a shitty thing.

As a fat girl/always potential fat girl, I’ve wrestled this whole body image thing for a long time. I’ve had bouts of time where I loathed myself enough to do stupid shit to lose weight. Years ago, I considered a surgery that I’m not convinced is all that good for the patients. At one point, I just stopped eating. Lost a lot of weight then, but man, that was unhealthy. At another point, I did carb free stuff and while it worked, I was pretty miserable. At no point did I establish a comfortable, happy relationship with food because the only things that seemed to work for me? Were extreme and left me drained. I looked great. I lived poorly.

Was it worth it?

The pendulum has also swung in the other direction where I had “good head days” and embraced my body. I embraced that I’d gone from “curvy” to “chubby” to “fat.” I said, “SCREW SOCIETY AND ALL ITS THIN-MINDED TRAPPINGS” and ranted and railed about the fat hate. I preached the fucking word, man, and told everyone that we’re all beautiful and it’s okay to like food as long as you’re taking care of yourself. And while I wasn’t really LYING — when those words came out of my mouth, I believed every single one of them — there was always this lurking beast of self-loathing just under the surface. My inner skinny chick was writhing. When I’m thin, I look good. Boys (and some girls) REALLY like me. Sure, I may be unhealthy as hell, but goddamn does everyone think I’m one hot little biscuit.

I ignored inner skinny chick and muddled on, trying not to personalize comments on the internet from people who’ve never been fat or dealt with being fat that suggested if I wasn’t such a waste of space and a drain on society, I’d run three miles every day. I’d stop eating and pretend Cheetohs never existed. Eventually, though, all the viscera would wear me down and I’d buy into my TERRIBLENESS and diet again. And the diet would work for a time. And the lifestyle change that came with it would be GREAT for a few months until it wasn’t and I’d fall off the dieting train and hate myself so much that I’d do some awful variation on binge eating. Vicious cycle. One I’m still in sometimes. Funny thing about it? If you think your self-loathing is huge just BEING fat? Try dieting and falling off the diet and going on a stress-eating binge. The self-loathing is thrice as bad then because YOU WERE DOING IT AND YOU JUST COULDN’T RESIST BEING A PIG. Headspace then is oh-so-pleasant.

Anyway, I’m in what I’d call a fat slump, I guess. I’m on a diet again. My doctor put me on a PCOS helper called Metformin that makes me super sick. I’m losing weight but only because I’m nauseous all day and night. Gee, great, but at least it’s working. I’m not AS insulin resistant as I was before! When I’m thin and beautiful (by society’s standards, at least) I’ll look back at the last year of my life and totally not regret feeling sick all the time, right?

Last night was a bad night in my fat girl world. I cried because I wasn’t yet where I wanted and needed to be with self-acceptance, with my weight. So to chill out, I watched episodes of How I Met Your Mother with a friend. The cosmos has a sense of humor, folks. Seriously. We were hanging out and doing our thing. I was feeling better. An episode comes on that shows Ted’s friends Googling Ted’s blind dates so they could text him mid-date to tell him “what’s wrong” with the girls he’s out with. Girl one dressed up cats in costumes. Girl two? Killed four of her husbands. Girl three? USED to be morbidly obese so they sent Ted a before picture. A moment later, they show his now-skinny date rushing out of a store with a huge tub of ice cream in her arms saying, “I’M SO GLAD YOU ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I REALLY AM.” Ted bailed on her.

So let me get this straight. The girl lost weight. She did it, and guys? It’s FUCKING HARD TO LOSE WEIGHT. But because she used to be a fatty, she will forever have fatty stain on her, and clearly, the ice cream indicates that even a fat person who’s lost the weight is just a swine waiting to happen again? Us fatties just can’t help ourselves? And all we do is sit around eating ice cream and thinking of ways to get fatter all the time?

What the ever-living SHIT?

I’m tired, guys. I’m tired and I’m unhappy. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing now (if by supposed to be doing is losing weight), because I’m sick of fighting. I’m sick of having to justify my existence as WORTHY in this world based on a number on the scale. I’m growing jaded because I’m realizing it’s easier to change ME than it is to change other minds. I’m sick of being the girl with the beautiful face but, “it’s just too bad she’s heavy.” Some great people have said some great things about fat acceptance. Go find The Rotund and read up on all the ways you can learn to love yourself and the people around you regardless of size. Read this post. Read and, if you can be a little less exhausted than I am? Believe.

And you know, I will believe again. But not right now. Right now I’m buying into my self-loathing a while. And I’m venturing a guess that every fat girl everywhere that reads this post is going to know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. If they’re not where I’m at now? They were once. And God love ’em if they got their minds around their self worth. I’m still struggling with it.

13 thoughts on “The Fat Thing.

  1. Oh, this is all so familiar. Some of the details are different (I have PCOS but haven’t been put on Metformin ever, I’ve never been able to just…not eat.) but overall? I could have written this. Buying clothes makes me want to stress-eat an entire cake, which is laughably counterproductive. Why do half of the shirts in women’s sizes look like circus tents?! Most days I’ve come to acceptance with my size. But then I go out to eat at a new restaurant and can barely squeeze into the booth and I want to sink into the floor and die. (Granted I’ve never had that problem anywhere else, but it was mortifying). I say a silent prayer of thanks that I don’t need a seatbelt extender on planes, though the seats are uncomfortably small for me these days. It sucks but we’re not alone. Society needs to get down off their judgy soapboxes and let us live our lives.

  2. Even slender people struggle with the same demons, Hillary. It’s just on a different scale. I may have a different problem, but I understand exactly what you’re saying. Right now, I’m feeling like a slug. I keep eating more and more, exercising less and less, and the weight creeps up. Just last night, I was berating myself. Part of me wants to say, “F**k it! I’m nearly 62 years old. I have a right to be heavier at this point in my life. I’m tired of watching every bite I eat, passing up things that I love because I know I’ll regret it in the morning. Who am I trying to look ‘good’ for anyway? It’s not like men are beating down my door.” But the fact of the matter is, I actually do feel better when I weigh less, both physically and mentally. I’ll get over this. It may take a year or so, but I’ll manage.

    What’s the point of my saying all this, especially when my weight issues are really minor and primarily only in my own head in comparison? You need to do what’s right for your mental and physical health. If this med that you’re taking is worthwhile from a physical health standpoint, by all means keep taking it. But if there’s an alternative that may not have such an awful side-effect, find out and ask your doctor about it. The bonus of weight loss at the cost of being miserable and sick-feeling isn’t necessarily worth it. I love you however you are, as long as you’re happy with you. It shows in your attitude, face, carriage (though I’ve never met you in real life, hahahaha), everything. This is a warped world we live in, in so many, many ways. You’re a beautiful person who entertains the hell out of me. I hate to see you knocked down by this.

    Okay, so my inner Pollyanna just exploded all over your blog. Sorry.

  3. Yeah, I feel you. I’m 230 lbs. at 5′ 6 1/2″, and I’ll let you calculate on your own what my doctor has to say about my BMI. I’ve lost 30+ lbs. three times in my life: twice through dieting, once just because my body decided on its own to lose weight. Bliss, right? Except in all three cases, my body decided I was starving myself, and I put on 50-60 lbs. of weight within 3 years of bottoming out. Depression plays a role in this, which is JUST GREAT, because nothing is better for mental health issues than weight gain and body image problems.

    I can’t keep dieting. It gets harder to lose weight every time. And now any weight loss sends me into a panic, because it just seems like an invitation for each and every pound to go out and find a friend to bring back to the party.

    So I’m trying to just maintain weight, here, at my current, solidly-obese state. And I’ve gotten really aggressive about the exercise, because my anti-depressants simply aren’t enough on their own. And do you know, I think it helps? I won’t exercise without the meds; but I won’t genuinely feel better without the exercise.

    And then when my skinny friends(*) complain about their weight, instead of “Friend, I weigh literally twice as much as you,” I think “Friend, I can BENCH you.” Wow. That… is a much better feeling. I could totally bench her.

    And here is a fat acceptance fairy. Because she’s awesome, and so are you.

    (*) The thing is, I’ve come to realize that when thinner women complain about their weight to me, they really are suffering? They are freaking out. It’s maddening, though. I just want to scream: “Lady, really, you had to complain about your weight TO ME? Are your EYES NOT TURNED ON? Your weight is fine; CHECK YOUR VISION.”

  4. I think self image is not really a “fat girl only” problem. I think media has made us buy into the fact that no matter how good we are, it’s never enough. For some reason, though, the people who are anti-fat are INCREDIBLY outspoken about it. They hate it. They HATE fat. It’s actually unsettling how much it offends them and repulses them (if the viscera in their reactions is any indication.) I don’t understand it. I wish I did.

  5. I’ve been thinking a lot about body acceptance and fat hate lately, mostly due to a “friend” who compared me to a starving orphan. I think our society teaches us to police each other, to hate each other, and to hate ourselves. Once upon a time I bought into that policing and I’m really ashamed to think about it now. I wish I could go back in time and say hey you, everyone is alright just the way they are. There is no divide between small people and big people, we are all people and it’s beautiful. I hope that some day I can go shopping with a friend and we can all get clothes together at the same store. I hope some day calling someone really skinny isn’t a compliment.

  6. I take issue with “Fat acceptance” being one of the labels of this post. You are not promoting fat acceptance. People who do believe in it do NOT diet. Also, Metformin – which I had been on years ago – is a Diabetes drug that also has proven somewhat effective in PCOS. Note – you WILL feel crappy the entire time you are on it. Also – Once you stop taking it, your body will pretty much go back to functioning as it had before. That includes how it processes sugars.
    I’ve read and re-read this post, and I take issue with a lot of it. You know me, you know I am fat, and I believe in body postive ideas as well as fat acceptance. I just have to reiterate – love yourself, whatever size. Don’t diet – it does more harm than good in the long run. Accept who you are, and know that who you are is not at all about what size you are or what you weigh. Eat well, move well, live well.

    • I will remove that label then. I was more having issue WITH fat acceptance, but I didn’t know how to relay that in a succinct manner.

    • I take issue with policing how Hillary deals with her own body image issues? Body image is HARD, and our culture is rigged to make you feel bad about yourself no matter what you do. Yes, I now believe that dieting is a trap, a lose-lose proposition, for me and for 96% of people who undertake it. It also took me TWO DECADES of rollercoaster weight gain and loss to come to that conclusion, and it’s not a fun feeling. It’s not fun to realize that ACTUALLY NO, I DON’T have control over my body. It’s not fun to realize everything society is doing to me to make me feel like I need to undertake something impossible in order to feel good about myself. Yes, I’m no longer dieting. Yes, I “accept” my weight: but frankly, I’m using “acceptance” in the sense of “Five Stage of Grief”. I accept that this is something I have very little control over, and I’m moving on. I’m moving on, but society is still beating me up over it, constantly, implacably, everywhere I go.

      Hillary, frankly, has a pretty good hold on all this.

      I was recently on the second of these panels:

      http://sunnymoraine.com/2013/04/09/wiscon-37-schedule-as-of-right-now/

      … and on the panel, we differentiated between the commercialized mandate to “Love Your Body” vs. radical fat acceptance. In the panel, we asserted that “love your body” was, among other things, a gross example of ablism. Plenty of people are never going to love their bodies: because they are in pain, because they are disabled, because the chasm between the cultural standards of beauty and their reality was simply too large. And if the was the case, it was not a “failure” on their part. People are so much more than their bodies. Women are so much more than their bodies–the demand that we spend time and effort trying to achieve contentment with our physical appearance is every bit as pernicious as the demand that we try to achieve an unattainable level of thinness. The panel set radical fat acceptance in opposition to these demands.

      But the demand that Hillary “accept her fat” and not talk about dieting is also not radical. This is Hillary’s body; Hillary’s self-loathing; she needs to have the freedom to navigate these waters according to her own mental health needs. And if talking about both fat acceptance and dieting in the same paragraph are what she feels she needs to do, FINE. GREAT. GO HILLARY.

      You know what is a meaningful measure of fat acceptance? How people react to *other* people’s bodies. That includes, I think, how we react to other people’s struggles with body image. For some of us, accepting our body weight and moving on is simply off the table: we are simply too unhappy, too miserable, too inundated with self-loathing, in too much pain. We do what we have to.

    • My own. This entire post has been about my feelings about MY OWN SELF ESTEEM. I know “the right way to feel” and what I -should- feel but I’m not feeling that way /right now/. Which is why it’s awfully odd for someone to come in and tell me that they take exception to how I feel. They’re, you know, my feelings. And right now my feelings are unfun and cause me pain. That’s the focus of the post. I believe that’s fairly evident.

  7. Pingback: Why is loving ourselves so convoluted and difficult? | Stitchersflock's Ramblings about Life
  8. I really related to this post–I don’t normally read your blog (was linked by a friend) and I have kept coming back to read and re-read. So, it may just be disorganized feelings to you, but it touched a nerve with me. I too am having trouble finding peace with fat acceptance, or with actually dieting myself miserable.

    I too have PCOS and am on Metformin. I too went from curvy to chubby to fat (between the ages of 26 and 33), gaining up to ten pounds a year by eating the same way I always had, until someone realized something was wrong. The nausea from the Metformin has long passed (as I hope it will with you!), but I can’t say it’s been that effective. I’m only gaining five pounds a year instead of ten? My periods were sorta regular for a while but now they aren’t? I dunno. I admit I have a hard time taking it regularly, just because it’s so damn hard to remember to take it with meals–and if I don’t take it with meals, it makes me sick. (Out of idle curiosity, what dosage are you on?)

    So anyway, thank you. And I hope you find that elusive peace, if only for a little while.

    • 1k mg two times a day with food morning and night. and it’s making me not eat, so I may just sort of lose weight on the merits of it makes me sick!

      /sigh

      It’s a long road and an unfun one. I’m making progress but it’s slow and hopefully one of these days I can look at myself no matter my size and be satisfied. Today (and lately in general) is just not that day.

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