Tag Archives: Health

Pictures, memories

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I have long been a fan of Shonda Rhimes’ fantastic shows. I don’t think I was ever really
curious to know what she looked like but I had the idea that she was fat. I can say that
because I am fat and I know that we now prefer to be called fat, rather than the many
adjectives that try to be politically correct or nice, you know the ones I mean, pleasantly
plump, overweight, a little on the heavy side, curvy. Well, you get my drift. If you’ve
been there you will most likely be inclined to agree with me that fat is fat regardless
of the degree.

Anyway, Shonda Rhimes wrote a blog recently, not sure how I came across it, but she remarked
that after a very big weight loss, she suddenly became visible to people who previously had
ignored her: men, women, it didn’t matter, everyone wanted to celebrate and comment and
congratulate her on the weight loss.

As I have shared in past blogs, I was fat all my childhood and until I was 19. At 19, I heard
a horrible comment made about me which had the effect of instantly reversing my heretofore
unsuccessful attempts to lose weight and keep it off. The remark was made without any thought
about the fact that someone was referring to a real person (me) with the feelings and insecurities
that come with just being alive at 19! If I had the person in front of me right now I would probably
thank her. In just a few months, I lost 35 pounds which I managed to keep off for the next 35 years
or so. And let me just say that although the weight came off because I severely limited by
calories during the 4 months, I learned all about nutrition and kept the weight off because I
was careful and disciplined about what I ate.

A few years ago, I don’t really know what happened but I became very lax about the whole eating thing.
My husband, who loves food as much as I do, became our household’s chef and as a result of his
wonderful, tasty cooking, I began to put on weight. It has taken about 6 years but I have achieved
the horrible success of going from a size M to XXL or even 2X depending on the brand. I am not happy about this “success” but I realized today (after re-reading Ms. Rhimes’ blog) that I have been
expecting someone to comment on my weight gain…forgetting that what people might say to a 19
year old, they would be more careful to say to a +60 year old. I think it was Ms Rhimes who said
that her weight is no one else’s business but her own and I guess it struck me today that that is
exactly true for me as well.

No one in my life makes any comments about my weight. I have not stopped myself from enjoying
life as always; I participate in activities, I am part of my community, I get dressed up, etc.
but I do admit that when I am winded after a couple of flights of stairs, or that when I see
pictures of myself in my current “condition” I am not happy and I often don’t accept that this
body, this shell that holds the same soul at 120 or 180 has never let me down in ways that matter.
Today, I am aware as never before that if I really really want to lose the weight, I am on my
own in this journey, no one can help me and no one can stop me. I have never felt so frightened
and liberated at the same time.

For today, I will accept that I did not get here overnight. I will admit that no matter how
much fat acceptance there is in the world, I would still like to recuperate the me I was 20
years ago. No matter how many manufacturers begin to pay attention to the reality of lost
revenue for their firms for not catering to this (sadly) ever-increasing market, I would
still like to be thinner. For today, this is where I am.

Not just fat, obese!

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Loma_Linda_University_Vegetarian_Food_Pyramid

I weighed over 8 lbs. when I was born. That’s a big baby! All through
my childhood and adolescence I remained overweight much to my mother’s
chagrin. You see, Mom was a social worker and she was well-versed in the
ramifications of obesity. Not only was she embarrassed by my weight, she
carried the unfair burden of supposing it was all caused by her lack of
attention to me because she was a working mother who on top of all that,
went to university at night to continue her studies and obtain her Master’s
degree…in of all things: family practice!

Eventually, at age 19 as a result of some negative remark I heard from a
mean co-worker, I decide to go on a crash diet which left me hungry but I
did manage to lose weight which I kept off for the better part of 25 years.

16 years ago, I was hospitalized for a bacterial infection which required
massive doses of a antibiotic which also required me to eat a very high calorie
diet until I was released from the hospital a few days later. I gained 6 lbs.
and ever since then, have been gaining steadily until I am now not only fat
but obese. I guess seeing that word and applying it to myself is something that
has taken a bit of time to sink in.

In the last year, I have not gained any additional weight. When I look at
pictures of myself, I cannot accept that it is really me. I resemble my much
more obese sister which is hardly any consolation. I look at my body from
all angles, they equally disgust me. Then I read stories about young people
who are born with horrible diseases, or who die tragically and unexpectedly and
I chide myself for being so superficial. I just read earlier today that a
successful and beautiful actress might be suffering from anorexia and I scold
myself yet again that with all my blessings, I make the issue of weight one
that brings me such shame.

I have successfully lost weight in the past…often. I know what to do, I have
more than a passing interest in health and nutrition. Each morning, I wake up
with renewed commitment to eat only when hungry and try to eat healthily because
I actually enjoy having a plan and sticking to it. The last few months have been
horribly painful in terms of all the losses (of people near and dear to me) that I
have had. Although I have never considered myself a binge eater or even an emotional
eater, I feel today that I have grossly misled myself.

Because food is necessary for our survival, it is near impossible for people with
eating issues to successfully and permanently navigate the complex world of weight.
Today, I stood in front of my mirror. I almost cried when I beheld the folds in
my back, the dimples in my thighs and the way my stomach bulges. I felt sadness
and anger in turns. Sadness that I let myself get this big, anger that I let myself
get this big. And then I took a deep breath and remembered the words of a diet guru
who says we should be happy with the body we have now while working toward obtaining
the body we want/deserve/need. So I put aside all blame and anger and came to the
kitchen to eat a tiny bit of healthy food which has served to nourish my body and my
soul. For today, that is enough; tomorrow will be another today and will take care
of itself.

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