Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do You Know What It's Like to Be a Fat Girl?

A blogger that I follow, A Small Loss, had a post answering questions that a couple of women answered recently in Cosmopolitan.  I thought they were interesting and I am surprised how different the answers can be.  I thought I'd go ahead an answer them as well, and since I'm coming off of what seems like a week long binge, I am feeling very much like a fat girl today.




How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?


This depends entirely on who is complaining and what the situation is.  Often times, it really doesn't bother me, everyone has their "fat days" and complaining just makes things better some times, or at the least, lets others know that you aren't ok with where you are now.  Occasionally, it really irritates me.  If I see someone who is currently in the "normal" range for their BMI or even underweight complain about being fat or needing to lose 5-10 pounds, I wonder what they think about me.  Sometimes, I feel kind of sad for them because I realize that sometimes, no matter how thin you are, it is never enough.  I think everyone is looking to be the perfect size where they can finally feel "happy", and I have realized that this will never happen.  Happiness isn't going to come when the scale reaches a certain point or you can fit into a certain size, it has to be found elsewhere.

How has your body image changed since high school? College? 


Mine has changed pretty substantially since high school and college.  I weigh less now than I did in high school and college.  I was around 240 in high school if I remember correctly and around 260-280 in college and now I'm around 230.  My hips have widened and I have a bigger belly, but I am wearing a smaller size....I don't really understand it, but it is what it is.  I am stronger, faster and healthier than I was then.  Running a mile in high school was complete torture for me, and I willingly ran 2 half marathons last summer, so there is that.

Have you tried dieting? What happened? 





Other than Weight Watchers in 5th grade and the South Beach Diet after college, I wouldn't really say that I've tried dieting.  I lost weight when I did both of those, but I only stayed committed for a few months and the weight always came back on.  I've had the most success this time around by just changing the way I eat entirely  I cut out regular Soda, cut back on portions and try to get more veggies and lean meats. 


Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?  

I think it is partly genetic.  My dad's family is made up of big people.  Not necessarily fat, just big, strong, German folks.

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?

I think my body is physically healthy, but I think healthy means different things to many different people.  If we're looking clearly from a medical perspective, my body is healthy.  My cholesterol, glucose levels and blood pressure are all great.  My heart, which was thoroughly examined in November, is also in great condition.  My resting pulse is 50.  All things point to healthy, until I step on the scale.



Mentally and emotionally, at this point, I would say I am not healthy.  I've been having quite the time with depression and anxiety lately, and I still feel like my relationship with food is not healthy.

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been? 





My dad never really says much, but I never felt like he wasn't supportive.  My mom has always been supportive of me losing weight.


How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people? 

Realize that not all plus-size people are extremely wealthy or enjoy wearing floral/animal prints.  Also, not all plus-size women have gigantic boobs, and most plus size clothing is huge in the boob area.  I despise shopping for clothes because most plus size clothing is shapeless and I may as well put a colored burlap sack on.  Also, please give us options other than skinny jeans.  Some plus size girls might be able to rock them, but this girl just can't make it work.

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?





Yes, but I've never been a plus size man, so I guess I really can't speak to that.  It seems like their clothing choices are a bit more normal and people don't encourage them to lose weight as much as women are encouraged to lose weight.  Also, I feel like women are more prone to date plus sized men than men are to date plus size women. 


Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?





Yes.  I think people assume that we're all sitting on our ass in front of the computer/tv stuffing our faces full of food.  My pediatrician thinks my daughter, who was lucky enough to be blessed with my body type, just sits around watching tv all day long.


I run half marathons.  I exercise 4-5 times a week.  Most days, I do a pretty decent job watching what I put in my mouth, and yet, here I am, a size 16/18 and it is unlikely that I will ever be much smaller. 


Just realize that we aren't all lazy.  Some are, some aren't.  Treat us as individuals.


Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight? 





Only if you know them and love them deeply, and even then, I think it needs to be done very carefully.  All I ever knew was that I wasn't good enough the way I was and that I could be so much better if I just lost some weight.  It is defeating and creates a lot of self-hate.  It is very hard to break through this and change your identity.


What are the worst things people have said to you about your body? 





I think the worst thing that I've heard about my body was when I was 40 weeks 5 days pregnant with my first child and a doctor told me that it was going to be risky to have a baby no matter how they came out....really awesome to hear when delivery is imminent. 


Other people have called me shamu, thunder thighs, a beached whale.  Some people have oinked or called me a pig. 


I've had random things yelled to me as I have been running or walking outside, I have no idea what they said, but making fun of someone who is trying to get healthy is a really big slap in the face.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?





Nothing at all.  I don't like compliments.  It is nice when people I haven't seen for a while recognize that I have lost weight, but it still makes me uncomfortable. 

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?





No.  I've always just hung out with people I got along with.


When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?





Back in high school and college, not a lot of guys were interested in dating a fat girl.  It takes a man comfortable enough with himself to date a girl who he can't flaunt around on his arm for her looks, and they are few and far between.  I compromised my standards and beliefs quite frequently in order to find someone who would be willing to date me.  It was never about dating someone I liked, it was always just about finding someone who was willing to date me.