Someone who loves me very much once gave me a step counter and a scale. She told me she was worried about my weight. She was afraid I was killing myself.
I burst into tears. I told her that I use my fat as a shield to hide behind, because I didn’t want anyone to get close. I told her I eat when I’m angry, and at the time I had quite a bit to be angry about. I told her I was profoundly depressed. I was also lonely, and food was the only comfort I had.
And then she left me with the scale and the step counter. Apparently I was supposed to snap out of it, and that ought to be easy.
The first thing I did was throw away the f***ing scale. Because numbers don’t mean a thing. They’re a measurement of success or failure that’s tipped toward failure. I won’t do it. I won’t beat myself up like that. I measure my weight gain or loss by the fit of my clothing.
But I did improve my diet and I did use the step counter, obsessively, for about 6 months. I was up to 10,000 steps a day. I was walking so much that I actually hurt myself. And I didn’t lose an ounce. Not one ounce.
Which made me feel even worse about myself. All that work, and nothing. What is wrong with me?
Since then, I’ve pretty much stayed the same size. I’ve been nagged by doctors and humiliated by teenagers and shunned on dating sites. I’ve been horrified by my own photographs and I’ve avoided looking in mirrors.
This has become my status quo.
And then I read an article entitled Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong. Now I see this issue in an entirely different light. Now I’m pissed off.
Here are some of the points the article made:
Doctors and researchers have known for 60 years that all diets don’t work. Diets. Don’t. Work.
They have also known that “losing just 3 percent of your body weight results in a 17 percent slowdown of your metabolism—a body-wide starvation response that blasts you with hunger hormones and drops your internal temperature until you rise back to your highest weight. Keeping weight off means fighting your body’s energy-regulation system and battling hunger all day, every day, for the rest of your life.”
According to the American Journal of Public Health, the chances of a woman classified as obese achieving a “normal” weight is 0.008%.
Weight and health are not synonymous. You can be overweight and metabolically healthy, in that you can show no sign of high blood pressure, insulin resistance, or cholesterol issues.
This article goes on to say that doctors are trained to basically try to humiliate people into weight loss, even though it’s been proven time and time again that that doesn’t work. It talks about the many ways society discriminates as well. It discusses how weight issues are not simply about poor lifestyle choices. In other words, telling people to step away from the ho-hos is not productive. Not even a little bit.
I’ve been set up for failure my entire life. And it’s not my fault. It has done nothing but make me feel bad about myself. I’m sick and tired of it. From now on I plan to stop looking at fat and start looking at health.
What I took away from the article is, yes, I need to avoid sugar. I need to exercise. I need to make healthier choices. I need to take care of me. And at the same time, I need to stop obsessing about my body.
The next time a doctor tries to shame me into weight loss, I’m going to suggest that a good start would be for them do their part to figure out ways to get me off prescription meds that have a weight gain side effect, m’kay? Until they do that, they need to shut up.
And the next time someone who has never had a weight issue in her entire life hands me a scale, I’ll tell her that even though she means well, and culturally it seems like this tough love thing is acceptable, she needs to mind her own business. Unless she wants to help me take on the underlying esteem issues, she’s of no use to me on the weight front.
From now on, I’m going to focus on taking good care of me, by eating good, healthy food and staying active, and let my body decide how that will ultimately look, because God knows it’s going to do that anyway. I’m going to work really hard at not listening to the opinions of other people. I’m going to stop measuring myself by other people’s yard sticks. I’ll take my health seriously, but I’ll never voluntarily step on a scale again.
And guess what? I’m never going to be a size three. You know it. I know it. If you’ve got a problem with that, then step away from the fat person. As someone in that article said, “I’m here. I’m a sphere. Get used to it.”
No picture. Not this time. Stop focusing on how things look.