January 21

Losing the Fat (in Your Head)

10  comments

“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” -Chinese Proverb

602px-I_Wait,_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron

I have been fat most of my life. I’m not talking about 10-extra-pounds-whiney-ass fat, or I-really-ought-to-lay-off-the-cookies-before-this-gets-out-of-hand fat (…like now). I’m talking a-couple-weeks-of-bad-choices-away-from-needing-to-shop-in-a-special-store fat. (Not to be disrespectful to folks who do. I was damn close, and the value of who I am CANNOT be measured by my pants size, man. But I wasn’t happy with it, and it was not healthy for me. It was an outward manifestation of the fact I did not look after my own needs lovingly.)

It’s not like I wasn’t aware of it. So the morons who made sure I knew I was fat weren’t performing a public service. (Asshats.)

And it’s not like I didn’t try to lose it. From maybe the age of 12 on, I tried off and on–granted, more off than on. Because within a week or two or any of my grand efforts, I got tired of feeling like shit about myself every single time I put something in my mouth.

Like most fat people, I was an expert at losing weight. I knew more about losing weight than any 12 doctors you’d ever meet. Aside: That’s why fat people want to smack the Hell out of you when you start talking about calories and exercise.

Several years ago, I lost most of that weight. I owned a weight-loss community site for a few years during that time, and I observed a lot of people looking to lose weight. And you know, I got a really good feel for who was going to be successful and who was not. You could peg the winners from the wannabe’s, often from pretty much their first posting.

Those people counting the minutes, the ones that went on and on about how disgusting they were, the people who wanted quick tips on losing 10 pounds by the weekend? Well, this group inevitably faded away. Some may come back for a month or so every January–with the same excuses each time–but by and large, they didn’t do much. Not much that lasted, anyway.

But the ones who wanted wanted better health, more comfort, to set a better example for their loved ones, to be around longer to enjoy their families and their lives? There are the people that I would put my money on. They were the people that did well. While they may or may not have lost the weight they wanted to, they tended to get healthier overall and develop some perspective on the whole enterprise. And maybe, just maybe, they’d begin to define “success” by something more meaningful than numbers on a lying little hunk of metal and gears.

The difference eventually became obvious: I’ve never seen anyone making a significant and lasting change in their lives coming from a place of self-hate. The only real transformations I’ve ever witnessed come from a place of self-love. And I’ve seen a LOT of transformations, man.

Maybe you don’t like your own fat (or wounds, or battered self-esteem, or whatever it is on yourself that you consider broken). Fair enough. Maybe being sick and tired of the current state is what gets you STARTED. It did for me–that, and fear of diabetes.

Rather than berate yourself for having the issue, why not accept yourself anyway? The you can process whatever lessons are there for you and see it all as merely part of your experience as opposed to a self-definition. That allows you the possibility of eventually moving past it.

Self-loathing is not sustainable; a worthless person is not worth the work required to grow beyond challenges.

Self-love is sustainable. Self-love feeds you through the hard times, and gives you the strength and courage to move ahead even when it’s hard. Because honestly, sometimes it is. It just becomes possible when you realize in your heart that you’re worth it.

To those who say it was self-hate that got them started, I hear you and respect your perspective. I would argue, however, than wanting better for yourself and being willing reach for it is inherently an act of self love.

But however you see it, I would say at least this one thing is true.  The real fat always starts (and ends) in your head.

What do you think?

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  1. I mostly have to shop in the special stores.

    But!

    I am fat, and happy. I am healthier and more fit than I have ever been.

    The fat in my head? It tied self image to size and not health.

    And sometimes the lesson I think I’m learning turns out not to be the lesson at all.

    1. “And sometimes the lesson I think I’m learning turns out not to be the lesson at all.” This is true very, very often for me.

      Love you, hon. You are one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, virtually or otherwise.

  2. I never shopped in the special stores, but … I DID go to the big and wide sections of various websites. I was a big waddling ball of jiggle!

    I DID hate myself. This is perhaps where I was a bit different. I was sick and tired of hating myself. The only way I could think to love myself was to give myself something to love! I re-prioritized my life and put less effort into work and finances and threw my all into just being healthy … so that I could FEEL good! Slowly (actually not THAT slowly … lost about 100 lbs. in just over 6 months!) … I started to see the changes, but those changes ebbed and flowed through my interactions with people, my ability to walk greater distances and the smile across my face! The weight loss was great, but it was the weight on every other aspect of my life that slowly began to lift that really perpetuated my own continued pursuit. I suppose I DID begin to love myself! Maybe it’s a bit backwards, but … I was in a bad place.

    TODAY is SOOOO MUCH BETTER!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Dixie! I hope you share more. I love the way you write!

  3. See, DJ, I would argue that being sick and tired of hating yourself put you in a position to let it go, and letting it go was necessary to move on. To neglect caring for yourself is an act of self-loathing. To make the healthiest choices you can is an act of self-love, no matter what one’s size or weight.

    1. It’s hitting home/dixiblog/domains/afoolsjourney.com/public_html for me, and you’re right, it’s not (just) about
      weight. Love you! Thanks for this reminder! XOXO

  4. Love this post… sounds eerily familiar. lol
    I’m so glad, while I may not have dropped the pounds, at least I’ve dropped the self loathing.

  5. Loved this post.
    I can’t seem to get there. I can’t get to where I want health over looking and feeling light, thin, and beautiful. Maybe because I’ve never really had health problems. And maybe that’s because I’ve been working out (more on than off) like a crazy person and eating well (more on than off) trying to get and stay thin since I was young. I’ve achieved thin (or at least “not fat”) a few times for a few years in my life but I can’t keep it off. I can’t lose the fat in my head. I really wish I could.
    Anyway, love your take on it.

  6. I used to wear a size 20-22. After Mom died, I fell to pieces. Five years later, I moved from Denver – I’m a big city girl – to a town in the middle of nowhere NW Wisconsin. And I fell further to pieces. I tried to diet. I tried to lose weight. But my broken heart and adjustment issues won every time.

    I hated myself. I manifested the hate into fat.

    I woke up one day and realized that I could live on nothing but carrots and celery sticks, get into a size five….and I would probably get run over by a semi as I crossed the state road we lived on to pick up my mail. I decided I didn’t like that idea at all.

    So I just quit thinking about it.

    I’m now a size 12 – although with the right brands I can wear a 10. That’s bottoms, though. The “girls” haven’t budged, that’s for sure, but I don’t have to buy extra large shirts anymore. Large fits without pulled buttons that need a safety pin.

    But with my new job (hallelujah for my new job!) I wear scrubs. I can wear Medium scrubs top and bottom. And that’s beyond cool. I’m on my feet a straight eight hours, so who knows what will happen now that I’m moving more than I have been the last two years.

    For me, it was about loving and accepting myself. I used to think it was genetic, but you know what? Mom was heavy – and she spent her life feeling abandoned and second best. As I type this, I remember that I used to call myself “The Queen of Second Best”. No more. No more! And never again in this life will I settle for that.

    GREAT post, Dixie!!!!

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