Feeling a Little lost? 😦 Start here: Revisiting #10DaysofBodyTalk
This was soo my ‘Day’ lol and to say it was a hit is an understatement. I started by sharing some content I adopted from my favorite go-to source:
How we feel about ourselves is often related to the reflection in that mirror or the numbers on that scale. Many of us will do almost anything to be thin because we have been told that thin women are more desirable to men…and society in general.
Yet fat is undeniably part of the female form; our breasts and hips are, quite simply, made of fat. Yet the issue has become so serious that even pregnant women struggle to not see themselves as fat.
Our feelings about our weight often get tangled up with how we feel about ourselves. “Do I look fat?” is a mantra uttered by many women; we use ‘fat talk’ to express other feelings. I feel ‘fat’ to mean you feel depressed or your life is out of control.
I did it too, and sometimes I still slip into that way of talking. On bad days when I feel unmotivated, tired and unattractive, I’m tempted to blame ‘fat’ but I know better.
I’m getting so fat has little to do with your body, molded in that mirror, and more to do with the state of your life. A thinner frame could’ve guaranteed a less rocky romantic relationship, steadier friendships, greater success, the steady hum of static happiness. Those last 5, 10, 20 pounds, you’ve been told, are the sole barrier between you and a life well lived.
_Your Fat Friend.
Good has become equal to skinny. We feel guilty and bad for eating ‘fat’ foods and the guilt is just so exhausting. Fat people are considered lazy and lacking self-control. Similarly, larger people are assumed to be unhealthy and unfit. The reality is that some fat people are in excellent health, while some thin people are not.
While we’re at it, who is a ‘fat’ person? As in who should be addressed that way?
“Fat” is relative, too—some women consider themselves fat simply because they are larger than most of their friends, or they have suddenly become larger than they were for most of their life. There’s a great article about this on Medium by Your Fat Friend. She’s simply amazing.
While there are clear health risks to being very overweight or obese, the solution most often proposed—for individuals to diet and lose weight—oversimplifies complex realities. Dieting is notoriously unsuccessful at producing substantial long-term weight loss. There’s an interesting article on this here.
More in Day4.
Body shape is not as changeable as we are led to believe. Society assumes inside every fat person, there is a thin person dying to be set free. Which is not true!
While we’re Obsessing
One of the most overlooked issues regarding body image and eating-disorders is the loss of happiness that it causes. When we become obsessed with our weight and
appearance, not only are we unwell physically; we also settle for less colorful and fulfilling lives… We spend our time blaming weight for all the things going wrong in our lives or fighting our bodies instead of truly living.
When we are counting calories, over-exercising and/or spending so much of our mental energy on self-criticism, we forget what we used to enjoy doing, such as spending time with friends or pursuing our passions.
Some of the above content was adopted from Our bodies, Ourselves
Growing up, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t overweight (BMI and everyone else said so!) Having a name like Fatima did not help matters at all. For a kid who could only be described as ‘fat’, believe me ‘Fatima’ was not the name to have. I can’t count the number of times someone burst into laughter after I introduced myself. If you are Muslim I’m sure you won’t get what the big deal is, Fatima is a pretty popular name. Where I grew up and being Christian to butt, it was very unusual though. In fact, I didn’t know anyone else named Fatima until I got into the University.
So why am I going on about my name? that’s a story for another day. But who I am is so inextricably linked to those two things: my name and size. If ever I wanted to forget how I looked, my name was there to remind me. I felt alien in my body and in the space that I was occupying. Having the best grades in school, stuffing my head with all the books I could lay hands on and trying not to give a damn could only take me so far.
A lot of things have since changed though. I have grown to learn and accept who I am but it still grates at me. The point here is that ‘fat’ should not be a fear inspiring word. I let my beautiful name be turned into a sort of mockery, but no more!
Some people will say, “But you’re not really fat” or “You’re not that fat”. I cannot claim to have experienced all the judgement and challenges that comes from the connotation; I will not get into the politics of it. I call myself ‘fat’ because I have been called fat for as long as I remember. It might be more or less my Identity depending on who’s doing the judging. Above all, for me it is defiance to say it; it doesn’t have thorns for me anymore so I embrace it. I am not the judge of who is truly fat and who is not and every day I work on myself to avoid judging others or excluding them based on these labels. If I don’t always succeed, I’m sorry.
The conversations that we had reminded me that no matter what size you are, everyone has insecurities and sometimes the lengths we go to get what we think we want only leave us broken:-
- Body Image is not a fat people problem!
I have never really been fat at any point in my life so far. In fact I’ve always been very skinny. Some people will probably think, ” Wow! So you must have a relatively blissful life”. Unfortunately that’s not the case because I’ve always been mocked for being to slim, ended up with nicknames like skeleto, toothpick, onebone….
I just came to realize that when it comes to weight, there’s no pleasing humans. No matter what size you are, you love yourself and try to be as healthy as possible because if you’re waiting for approval from anyone, you will be waiting forever. I firmly believe ‘there’s no right size‘ just ‘the size that’s right for you‘
- The dangers of pushing your body too far too fast:
I’m happily bulky and healthy. I used to detest my size and did everything to lose weight. The more I tried, the more nothing was changed…It did reduce my size but then I developed gastric ulcers because of poor eating habits all in the name of wanting to lose weight. My situation was really critical and I had a special diet to help get me out of the painful condition.
I learnt my lesson the hard way. I learnt to accept my God-given body and not tell God how he would have created me to my taste.
Now, I’m losing weight without doing anything extra.
I love the way she puts it:
Do I look fat? Of course….women always think they look fat. Its always the extra bit of flesh here, or what some else said, or that dress you can’t squeeze into, or that TV perfection we can’t get to. It’s hard to be completely satisfied. I guess at the end of the day, since we cannot be satisfied until we become like a pack of bones, it’s easier if we just adopt the ‘I don’t care attitude’.
Ashley goes further to say:
There is nothing wrong with gaining weight. I hope everyone knows this because gaining weight is nothing…nothing at all. You should only be concerned if your gaining weight excessively and uncontrollably over a very short period of time . We shouldn’t call ourselves fat just because we feel like we are « fat ». We are not “fat” that word is overused to bring down people who are self conscious about their bodies. If you are a slim person and someone says your gaining weight, you tell them “yes I am aware thank you very much ” because gaining weight is not a bad thing at all.
” I don’t look fat, I’ll rather say the society has a skinny mentality! ”
The Bottom line
Positive body image should come with good health and viability. As much as there is nothing wrong with being fat, we need to listen to our bodies. If weight affects our Health, then a line should be drawn there.
Its not about denial, but about listening to your body. Be the judge of what is right for you. If you feel heavy, exercise. If you want to get into a certain size, do so, just don’t do it for the wrong reasons.
I would love to really ask though: Who died and made us the judge of what constitutes the ‘happy’ size? Who made us the experts to give out unsolicited weight advice and conclude that fat people must be living miserable lives?
Own who you are and learn acceptance of yourself and others. Change the conversation from weight to the things that truly matter and remember to Live Healthy At Any Size. Peace!
Working on those really hard. You can start by checking out this Excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight HAES_Live Well Pledge by Linda Bacon.