So here’s the thing: I’m fat. Seriously, actually fat. If you look at me, you will see this. If you ask my doctor, she will say my BMI is in the “Obese” category. Before my accident, I was less fat. Now I’m more fat. It’s just a fact about me.
Coming to terms with this simple fact about me is anything but simple though. I have struggled so much as I’ve gained weight over the past six months, watching my arms get bigger, my tummy get rounder, new stretch marks appear on my hips and thighs. I’ve hated scouring my closet for things that might still stretch to fit me, and finally tossed almost all my clothes in a donation pile and then cried because I couldn’t wear them anymore. I’ve broken down in dressing rooms, much to my wife’s distress. I’ve pinched my stomach and felt under my chin, feeling the softness and feeling shame.
But the truth is, these feelings are not new. My weight now is 30 pounds more than it used to be, but my thoughts are the same as they have been my whole life: I need to lose weight, it’s embarrassing to be the size I am, I hate this or that soft part of me. Before my accident and this rather sudden weight gain, I was already planning to lose weight. I was trying to exercise more and telling myself to eat less.
It seems like no matter what, I’ve always been on or thinking about being on some kind of diet.
This is the most important thing I have realized recently. It doesn’t matter what size I am, I have been programmed to want to be less. The world around us tells us (especially women) that we need to control ourselves. That we need to spend time and effort and money on shrinking ourselves. That we need to take up less space. That people are bothered by our too big presence. That there is a right size to be and you must fit into it or be striving to fit into it or you are not worthy of respect. These ideas have been so ingrained in me that from the age of 8 through my current age of 28, I have thought about dieting, exercise and weight as a constant, necessary companion. TWENTY YEARS OF THIS AND I AM MAD AS HELL! There is no point in continuing this cycle of society-approved self-abuse.
Now I’m working to counter these thoughts. I’m working to see my weight as merely a fact about my body, like the fact that I’m short or have blond hair. So here’s the truth: I’m fat. That’s it.