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I’m Fat. Fat Fat Fat.

July 23, 2007

For the longest time, I hated my body like I’m supposed to. I’m a size 12/14 and yes, that is actually me in the appended photo (I’m the one in the black swimsuit). I’m fat. I should be apologetic and I should strive to combat the (totally justified) assumption that I’m lazy, greedy and stupid by making sure that I work out (without exposing the world to my fat ass in tight gym clothes) and eat only fruit and cottage cheese in public. Last year I lost 50lbs (my goal was 80lbs, so of course I felt like a failure, as I well should) on a crash diet which I had researched before I embarked on it. Sure, the daily calorie count was so low that there was a chance that my hair would fall out, but better thinning hair than being fat right? Of course. I have since gained back 20lbs, and unless I’m part of the 5% of dieters who can keep off 10% of the weight they lost for more than 5 years, there’s a 95% chance that I’m gaining it all back.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that a report came out today that reveals that more women over 20 are succumbing to eating disorders. Doesn’t really come as news to me seeing as how my mother had bulimia when *I* was 16 (making her 40) and bragged about it years later (it came up because she was taunting me about the fact that I don’t have enough willpower to be anorexic).

I have a feeling that if women could be judged on their character, intelligence, achievements and not their looks, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. Of course, in this day and age, we’ve come a long way baby. The glass ceiling is higher than it has ever been and we have women CEOs fer cryin’ out loud. Quick, name a fat woman in power. Yeaaah, didn’t think you could.

J.K. Rowling observed that “fat” is the worst thing you can call a girl. Many very sick people recount stories of others telling them just how great they look “now that they’ve lost the weight”. Negative attitudes toward fat people are so pervasive now that the fat cannot even count on getting good medical care due to their doctor’s prejudices.

But, but, but, BEING FAT IS UNHEALTHY! Sure, and if you ask anyone who is currently embroiled in a quest to lose weight will tell you, they’re doing it for their health. It has nothing to do with wanting to look absolutely smoking, or fitting into a dress from 10 years previous. Maybe those are reasons for trying to lose weight, but they are lodged firmly below wanting to be healthy and to live long.

WRONG. NEGATIVE.

Being fat isn’t necessarily unhealthy. In fact, repeated dieting is more highly correlated with all those things we think obesity is a risk for. Of course, you will have to go on repeated diets to lose weight. Once every five years or so, as I mentioned earlier. I would compile a list about this, but Kate Harding has already done an excellent job, so I’ll refer you to her (you should also read her amazing blog, which helped me realise that I’m not hateful because I’m still fat after all this time).

Fat acceptance isn’t going to happen overnight, mainly because everywhere we turn we get told how bad fat is (I think I’m just getting over the “it’s okay for other people to be fat, but I’d rather not be, and am going to spend thousands of dollars at a weight loss centre to lose hair weight”). It has to start somewhere though. I hear a great place to start is Gina Kolata’s Rethinking Thin. It’s on my reading list (now that I’ve finished reading Harry Potter, of course).

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3 comments

  1. Fat acceptance isn’t going to happen overnight, mainly because everywhere we turn we get told how bad fat is

    It takes a long time — there’s a LOT of conditioning to overcome. But you’re obviously on the way, and that’s awesome.

    Gina Kolata’s book would indeed be a great book to start with. Paul Campos’s The Obesity Myth was the one that really started me on the path to accepting my body. (But Rethinking Thin didn’t exist then.)

    Also, you look adorable in your bathing suit!


  2. OMG it’s Kate Harding. I would love to provide an insightful response to this comment, but all I can think of is OMG it’s *Kate Harding*.


  3. […] in being a competent professional who is also trying to be reasonably attractive (don’t forget, I am fat) I am perpetuating the stereotype that people who don’t (or can’t afford to, or are making the […]



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