6's & 7'S
and all things crazy
Although I usually blog about funny things, I want to take a minute to talk about something that is a bit more serious. Fat people. No I didn't say 'overweight' or 'obese' or 'big-boned' or 'diameter-challenged', I said fat. You can pick the word you prefer, but in the end, it's the same thing.
I prefer fat, because I earned that word. I was born fat, and when I was growing up, no-one teased me about being a little big boned, no-one called me obesey, no-one told me I should go on a diet because I was too <pick a pretty word>. Nope, I earned the word fat. And even when I'm 'skinny', I'm fat, because what a lot of people don't understand about those of us that were fat kids is that it is more than extra weight; it is a mental state, something a lot deeper than our subcutaneous, something that isn't as easily shed as a few pounds.
I will give you an example of that before I get to the gist of my current argument. When I am a size 8 (which is super skinny for me), men open doors for me quite frequently. Not so much when I'm a size 16. And any of my fellow yo-yo fat girls will agree--we notice this, and we know why. And it's not just opening doors, it's everything. We all know fat shaming and name calling is still happening in our society, and yet it's the subtle things that tend to bother me the most. Maybe that's just me. I doubt it.
But here is my current complaint. While there has recently been a big push toward the general population understanding the bullying that fat people have endured, there has also been an outpouring of fat people proclaiming that they 'love their fatness', 'love their bodies', etc. etc. etc. And while I do like to see the self-acceptance and the idea that things shouldn't always be about the way we look, I think we are doing two things by claiming we are 'okay' with our fatness. Number one, we are denying the fact that fat is a health risk that should be battled, and number two, we are lying.
Disclaimer to avoid 200 negative comments: A lot of us. I can't speak for all.
How often do you hear someone say "I don't care what anyone says, I love my heart disease! I am comfortable with my breast cancer! I am who I am and I like being a diabetic!" You don't hear it very often, in fact, most people who have a health issue do everything they can to cure it, or at least try to control it. What makes being fat different? The health risks associated with it are so great, I can't imagine anyone actually looking in the mirror and thinking, 'Yeah, I like that, because all that extra padding is getting me to a stroke quicker than Skinny Sue.' So why are we not looking at fatness as a health issue instead of a body image problem? Instead of accepting that we are 'big' we need to realize that in doing so, we are also accepting that we are unhealthy. And I personally can't accept that.
I know, I know, here come the comments from people who are fat but are 'healthy'. Trust me, I'm one of them. My doctor told me on my last visit I have the labwork, the blood pressure, the xrays of an 18 year old. He then proceeded to tell me that I wasn't doing myself any favors with the extra weight, because I was stressing all of my joints, and increasing my risks for heart disease, diabetes, and a list of about a zillion other things. So, healthy? No.
And that takes me to number two: we are lying. Oh, yes we are. We are lying and lying and lying. We do not 'love our fat', we battle our fat every single day. We mentally calculate everything we put in our mouths, we weigh ourselves a lot, we wonder how it's possible that we gained a pound by eating one cookie, or how we didn't lose a pound by jogging a marathon! We are experts at calculating calories in our head. We think about it all the time. Don't believe me? Then tell me how the diet industry in the United States is a MULTI-BAZILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY! There are diet aids, diet pills, diet plans, diet clinics, diet clothes (really?)---you name it. And who do you think is buying all of this crap? Skinny people? Not hardly. It's the fatties who are telling you they 'don't really care' or they are 'fine with their bodies just the way they are', and then opening that unmarked package that just arrived with the new magic drops. Maybe this is the one that will finally work?
SO, here is my proposal. Let's take the visual out of this. All of you fat shamers that just don't like the 'look' of fat people, back off. Honestly, I've heard every joke, every name, every catty remark that you can possibly come up with. Your insults just aren't very original any more. Really, if you haven't grown up fat, you have no idea what we have gone through. Sure, all it takes is 'diet and exercise', but what you don't realize is that those of us who have battled this since childhood have felt so pressured to please your ideal of perfect that we have screwed up our metabolisms, we have OD'd on medications that have damaged other organs, we have basically screwed ourselves. But we are still trying. What you CAN do is help us focus on the health aspect of our problem. And if you want to laugh at us for trying every new pill or shot or magic spell that comes on the market because all we really have to do is 'diet and exercise', then I say this to you: Quit buying lottery tickets. There is no quick way to get money. Just work hard.
Yeah, that isn't going to happen.
And my fellow sisters of the fat, can we admit that we need to do this for our health, and not necessarily because we want to achieve a certain look? Of course, we'd all like to love that body in the mirror, but can it be about more than that? Can it be that we want to be around to see our grand kids grow up? Can we openly admit that we don't 'love our fat', that it has haunted us for years and we try, we really try, but we aren't going to stop trying? If we think about it from the health angle, maybe, just maybe, we'll stay at the bottom leg of the yo-yo just a little bit longer this time.
And can we PLEASE stop telling our kids that being a little bigger is okay? Do you think that condemning a child to a life of constant dieting (which they will do someday), the ridicule they will have to endure from the fat shamers (because they will never go away) and the health problems they are bringing on themselves is doing them any favors? Would you hand them a cigarette and tell them it's okay if they like it, because we are all special and different? Come on. Stop making this so easy.
So, with all of that said, I'm starting on another 'diet wonder' next week. Let's see how this one works out. Of course, at the age of fifty, I'll say this is possibly diet number 100-ish for me, and although I'm sure I'll lose with the latest 'diet magic', it's always the 'keeping it off' part that is challenging. But, I'll let you know how this one works.
And maybe next week, I'll go back to being funny.
Follow me on Twitter @KellySGamble
Like me on Facebook at K Stone Gamble
Visit my writing blog