“Based on your height and weight, we think the best coaching course for you will be the weight management course. Let me just get you signed up for that one so we can help you reach your weight loss goals.”
Simple words. Likely a script, considering my husband got the same statement when he called our insurance for his wellness coaching.
And enough to hurt, and throw me off for the better part of the day.
I’d been weight shamed.
Because I’m fat. Big. Curvy. Chubby. Heavy set. Bigger girl. Zaftig. Hefty.
All my life, except for a few brief years in high school and college, I’ve been fat. The only reason I was skinny then was because of my anxiety disorder. I literally couldn’t eat. Any time I tried, it all came back up. And I went from 170 pounds in 7th grade to 125 in eighth grade, which, oddly enough, didn’t scare my parents enough to listen to me when I tried to tell them that something was wrong and I needed to see a doctor.
Working for Cascade AIDs Project helped. I learned that I could, in fact, eat, and that I wouldn’t throw it back up. I learned to breath through panic attacks in front of 36 6th graders while holding a dildo in one hand and a fist full of condoms in the other. I met Mr Awesome when I was 17 and he started to teach me the pleasures of eating with people
And the weight came back.
Full breasts, wide thighs, big ass, soft belly.
By the time I got pregnant with our son, I weighed 200 pounds. I held steady for a few years at 245. Currently I weigh 268-ish. It fluctuates.
But here’s the crazy thing. At 268, and facing my 35th birthday, I’m healthier than I ever was at 20, when I weighed 165. I’m far healthier than I was at 25, when I was steady at 245. And let’s not even talk about the skeletal 17 year old me.
If you look at my numbers, the blood sugars and cholesterol and all that other stuff, I’m “impressively healthy despite being morbidly obese”. That last bit is a direct quote from an actual doctor.
But yet, often my health problems will go ignored. My fingers hurt, all the time, yet the doctors will push Weight Watchers pamphlets at me and tell me to cut back on soda (which I rarely drink). Talking about my depression and anxiety issues leads to a discussion about my weight, as if my weight is the sole cause of all my ills. Thankfully, my current doctor isn’t of that school. You see, she looks at my numbers. How much I work out (several times a week, weights and aerobics, plus an active job), how well I eat (Very), and tells me to keep it up, that my weight actually doesn’t matter.
The first time she said that, I cried in her office.
I work in retail. Women’s plus sizes to be specific. And I’m loving it. I love being that strong, sexy girl who looks younger at 35 than she did at 25. I love being able to lift the mannequins all by myself and carry them around like the weigh nothing. I love telling these women who have heard the same sad stories and useless advice all their lives that they are actually beautiful and worthy. I love playing dress up in the new clothes and seeing how the pants hug my big ass and how the shirts taper in at my small-for-my-body waist. I love that weight lifting has given me toned and sexy muscles that move beautifully under my tattoos and allowed me to tone up and still keep my big breasts that I love.
Realizing this year how amazing my body is has been a revelation. I am strong. And beautiful. My body brought two amazing human beings into this world. My body did that! And I have the c-section scars to prove it! I have hundreds of dollars of beautiful art on my skin. I have thick strong legs that propel me up mountains and along city streets… walking like a person who is worthy of being there.
So it shouldn’t have bothered me, that day, that call. But it still did. It still does. Because we still live in a world where my six-year-old daughter is scared of growing up to be fat. Because the shame and embarrassment is still there, in every magazine and on every tv show. Because the only fat entertainers that are allowed credence in our society are male. Because sometimes when I see my tummy, I don’t see the soft pillow that my lovers love to stroke and cuddle. I don’t see the resting place for my babies’ heads from the time they were infants. I don’t see the strong core muscles underneath.
Sometimes, I still just see fat. White and blobby, with little blue veins. Fat that won’t be contained by clothes. Fat that gives people a reason to judge me before I even open my mouth.
This post has been in my brain for a long time… at least since I went back to work last October. I want to change people’s thoughts about fat. I just don’t know how, exactly. Other that how I’m already doing it. One lady at a time. One suit or t-shirt or dress. One conversation in the fitting room about healthy being the most beautiful thing in the world. I welcome comments and ask you to please share this, if it resonates with you. Thank you.