Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Have you ever felt too fat to enjoy life?
Today I read an essay in Self magazine about a woman who refused to participate in certain life events because she felt fat. Among other things, she postponed clothes shopping and turned down a post-engagement vacation in Mexico because she was too focused on her body.
That sounds awfully familiar.
1) I usually refuse to visit my family because I feel too fat, and am afraid of being judged. They live an hour and a half away.
2) I refuse to wear sleeveless shirts and shorts in the gym.
3) I have dresses that would fit me now, but I won't wear them. I have shoes that I won't permit myself to wear yet.
4) I'm a 25-year old young professional living in Manhattan. Yet I spend many weekends at home alone, because I ignore my friends' invites to go out.
But I am not fat. I am not even overweight. I am of normal weight, and yet I am still pretending that I am fat.
A lot of SparkPeople members write blogs or message board postings about feeling too fat to exercise. I've always thought that was silly, even when I joined SparkPeople in September 2009 at 210 pounds. When my weight loss journey officially began on March 15, 2010, I grinned through my workouts, said hi to my fitness instructors, and smiled when taking my before pictures. I knew that I was fat, but more importantly, I knew that it was only temporary.
Three years and sixty pounds lost later, I have lost that mindset. I mostly avoid eye contact at the gym. I look in the mirror and see arms that need toning and stomach fat.
When I was fat, I made things happen. I pushed through tough workouts. I stuck to my calorie range.
Now that I feel fat, I have lost much of my motivation. I stay at the same level of intensity during my workouts. I overeat every single day.
No wonder why I've been trying to lose the last 25 pounds for the last two years. My thoughts of being too fat, too undeserving have finally become a reality.
That's not a good feeling. And I am tired of it. I deserve to enjoy life, whether or not I've reached my goal weight. Whether I am fat or not. Because I've worked hard for it. I made sacrifices to reach a size six. For more than a year, I woke up at 4:35am to reach the gym on time. I still wake up at 5:15am five days a week to exercise.
Sure I can stop now, but I am not the quitting type. I know my body type, bone structure, and ability. I have specific athletic goals. 125 pounds is healthy and attainable for my height. I will never have to starve myself to reach that weight.
I am worthy of sleeveless shirts, of family photos, of wearing boots that I worked long hours to afford. I am not too fat for nightclubs. I am going out on Saturday night. And I am going to dance so hard and so long that I'll forget that I'm burning calories.
Being fat is a fact. Being fat is reflected in BMI levels (for most), cholesterol numbers, insulin measurements, waist circumferences, blood pressure readings. Being fat can be undone, so it is a perfect motivation to lose weight. Being fat is a call to action.
Feeling fat is a lie. It has no tangible meaning. The feelings of being fat are based on stupid, undefined arbitrary factors. Feeling fat is hopeless. Feeling fat ignores all progress and potential. Feeling fat keeps you stuck.
Well, being stuck is for dead people. I am alive. You are alive. Time to enjoy life.