Is it really all relative?


The strange thing about being a fatty is that whilst you cannot see your reflection in something (mirror, shop window, windscreen or even spoon), you can convince yourself the situation is not that bad. I’m well trained- I no longer even look at the television screen when changing channels as that split second of blackness can send me into a spin of self-hatred. The fact that at that moment I am usually stuffing something into my mouth is neither here nor there; it remains a moment of severe self aversion even when said food is hidden behind the chair.

It’s these moments that I truly believe contribute to the irrational rage experienced when dealing with slim and sexy “weight loss success” candidates. Please stay with me here- I’ve got something to say and could use some help on this one.

Yesterday morning I woke optimistically and ready to get weighed- I felt better and slimmer (having not yet reached anything even closely resembling “slim”, I should really say I felt “less obese”). Now to illustrate the ridiculousness of these public weigh-ins, I share with you a secret- every week I have a double short black half an hour before I flee the nest, which has me running to the…well…I’m sure you can work that one out. Having spent time reading about others’ weight loss struggles, I’ve discovered that this is a very common theme- do anything to reduce that number on the scales. “We” are obsessed with the scales, what they say and most importantly, terrified that we will miss out on the public applause (signifying “in” group membership) that weight loss results in.

I was a little annoyed that I wasn’t permitted to undress before I jumped on the scales- it was deemed inappropriate. Hey, I had on leggings and a singlet and was convinced my cotton dress would contribute heavily to my weight (have you guys caught on yet how ridiculous this whole industry is?).

I lost 500 grams (1.1) pounds- yes a victory! But I was soon deflated and close to tears when the team leader called heavily on a woman to speak about her weight loss experiences as if she was a star achiever. She spoke eloquently and assertively about how she was successful (I’m all ears) and then revealed she had lost six kilos in total (I’m tearing up). I was angry that I had to listen to her story for 20 minutes, eating up my time when she had lost six kilos and was now, to be honest, both very slim and very attractive- case closed. This my friends, is not an inspiration (too honest?). But why the internal rage?

Is it not an achievement to lose six kilos? Should she not be applauded for tackling a problem (who says it’s a problem?…that’s a subject for another day) before it became a health issue? Isn’t being unhappy about your weight the same at 10 stone as it is at 15 stone? Good on her, rise of the sisterhood etc etc.

But actually…no. It’s not the same and I’ll tell you why. When I was smaller, I was actually seen, spoken to and occasionally admired. When you are larger, you are not seen and can be laughed at. Yes, it’s true- men have seen me and laughed collectively at….well, I don’t actually like to think about it but have a star witness who can testify.  Six kilos heavier does not significantly change the reactions of men, women and shop assistants. I’m glad for her, she is happy and I am jealous certainly, but why was she the benchmark of success when I was surrounded by very overweight women who had lost more than her. Perhaps a job half done doesn’t mark success, perhaps the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts (ok, ok, gone too far!).

All I am saying, is that for me (and it may only be me), I want to hear from a fat woman who is losing weight. Why can we not see that here lies the true inspiration? A fat woman who has lost 30 kilos has a lot more to say about the industry than a person who has never had to look ahead of them and know that they have 50 kilos to lose.

And so this week I did what all women, all over the world, would not choose to do. I stripped bare, opened the curtains and looked in the full length mirror…at midday. It was suggested in something I read that I take a good look at myself. I’m sure I heard the mirror groaning – It was horrific! And I cried. Not because there I saw fat, cellulite and stretch marks (what a beauty!) but because I saw no muscle, no tone, and certainly no sexuality. Did I already say it was horrific? I urge you to do it- I promise the mirror won’t shatter.

But fatties (and all ladies alike), I saw (and I tread the line of “cringe-ville” when I say this), my own inspiration. Fat, skinny, slim, beautiful, plain, who cares? I have to rely on me and the only legs going to pull me around are those flabby white ones, so we better get well acquainted! And I better give them a little respect!

I am fatty, standing on fatty legs….hear me roar!

4 responses »

  1. Very true! I think we need to take a good look at ourselves, maybe cry for a bit, but then pick ourselves back up and say “it’s not that bad, and at least now I’m doing something about it”. The scariest thing in the world is apathy. We have done something to solve a problem, and we are on the road towards success! It might take a while, but honey… we’re doing it 😉

  2. Okay, Hauling… since you asked… here is what I think:

    Funny how we can both be thinking about the same topic at the same time but from very different angles. I had already written a draft for my blog about how we form biases about someone based on their appearance. (Still a work in progress.) And how weight prejudice goes both ways.

    I have never put my actual weight in my blog because I strongly feel that women (and maybe men) who share the weight-loss struggle, can share the experiences and feelings and all that, despite having different amounts of weight to lose. And the battle can be very hard for the “skinny” fat woman as it is for the obese woman, for different reasons. Now I admit the skinnier gal should have a shorter journey and may face fewer physical obstacles, but I do think there is more in common than not.

    I know I am a skinnier fatty than many of the amazing women I am following online, and who are hopefully following me. And while you are so right that no one has probably looked at me and thought, “Why is she eating/buying that junk?” – inside my head I am just as fat and as emotionally messed up by my weight as my obese counterpart. My many years of yo-yo weight certainly send up a red flag. Like you – I avoid looking at myself in the mirror… especially naked! I read the words you and others write and see myself and feel the same emotions.

    I started my blog to find personal motivation and accountability but have now found unexpected amazing camaraderie and support. I get that from overweight women of all sizes and hope that I can offer the same back, regardless of how many pounds I have to lose.

    You write with such honesty that I wanted to be honest back. I hope this doesn’t offend you!!!! I think all sizes of fat women should unite in their journeys – strength in numbers means more WOMEN, not more pounds:)

    BTW – I think you are a great writer and enjoy reading your posts even if I don’t agree with what you say:)

    • Waisting Time,

      I completely understand where you are coming from. Whilst I’m mature enough to realise that a lot of my rants are based on irrational emotional baggage, I’m immature enough to express them anyway.

      On my wedding day, 25kg lighter, I felt fat. I look back now and nearly weep to think that I was worried for nothing. Self-consciousness comes in many shapes and sizes; you don’t have to be obese to feel it.

      We should find strength in numbers too- you’re right. And I am not offended. I just wish that the “fat woman” had more social currency- I probably could have expressed that in a better way…

      Thanks for your input- really appreciated!

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