Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

The Opposite of Fat

Last week I talked a little bit about my body and how mean I have been to it my whole life. I do nothing to strengthen it and bond with it and yet I expect perfection from it. I look at the photo shopped pictures in magazines and feel bad about it. I shop for clothes only when I absolutely have to and I feel worse about it.

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While the clothing manufacturers have me pegged as “average,” I think I am fat, and the BMI (which was obviously developed by the devil himself) thinks I am morbidly obese. The F word (and I am not talking about the four letter one here) is bandied about in my brain on a daily basis. As someone who believes that the universe will answer us depending on what we send out there, this is not a promising way to work on my self-esteem.

There are growing movements of fat women who are embracing the word. They love identifying themselves as fat and feel strong and empowered by the term. I have nothing at all against them. I wish I could be more like them- embrace myself where I am now and wear my extra pounds proudly. Maybe if I felt strong and powerful I would be able to do that. But I don’t. I feel weak physically, and I know I owe myself and my body more than I am giving it.

So you would think in my new outlook to eat healthy and exercise more that I am aiming for the opposite of fat. As society defines it, that would be skinny, right? But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

See recently someone very close to me has been going through some upheaval in her life. It has been very stressful and has seriously messed with her health. She wound up in ICU with critical electrolyte levels suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition brought on by ulcers. She is on the mend now, thank God. She now has medication to help with the underlying medical issues and is on a weight gain mission. She never starved herself purposely, but was physically incapable of taking in enough food. She is what most people would consider to be the opposite of fat.  She can easily slide into a size 1, something many of us “average” women would dream of. Yet she is tired and cold and has to take medication to “prepare her stomach to take in food.” That is something my stomach has never seemed to have an issue with!

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We went out to dinner together and it was evident that we were on two different pages with regards to our diets and nutritional needs at this time. While she has been focused on the Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy and pudding for dessert (all soft foods that will help her put on the pounds again), (mmmm mashed potatoes and gravy!), I am living in the broiled haddock and steamed veggie kind of mindset. Two different ends of the menu spectrum, both reaching for the same goal. It was eye-opening for me. She is not happier with her current weight than I am.

And through all this, I have come to realize that while skinny was always the end game of any diet I attempted over the years, I don’t want to be skinny any more. I am redefining the opposite of fat. I want to be strong and flexible. I want to be self-assured and confident. I want to choose not to do something because I truly don’t want to do it and not because I am ashamed of how I may look doing it (God forbid, I look fat and uncoordinated when it is bad enough to just look fat, right?)

I want to be healthy. That is the new opposite of fat for me.

I am finally understanding that my body and I are in this together. I cannot make it stronger and healthier for anyone other than myself. I am learning self-care and self compassion along the way. And I am learning to love the journey I am on. I am forgiving myself for not having a magic formula or wand to wave and make my body perfect. It will never be perfect. I have scars and no amount of weight loss will make them disappear. But I will find my balance here somewhere, and I will find my confidence too.

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2 Comments

  1. This post is so good. Every time I hear someone say they need to lose weight I groan internally. It should be about being healthy, not some dumb chart that was built on an average. The BMI chart is a joke and yet everyone still uses it. Probably because it is easy to use. Anyway, thanks for talking about this, great post. 😀

    • Thank you! I’m glad it resonated with you. To be reaching the turning point in my own struggles at the same time someone is having a bigger polar-opposite struggle really opened my eyes. Mass media does a grave disservice to girls and women (and men, too!) with all the photoshopped images and extreme definitions of beauty!

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