Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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The Incredulous Shrinking Woman

April 16, 2012

Over the weekend I culled an entire 4 drawer dresser full of clothes, plus a few things from my closet. Now my wardrobe consists only of things I really love and wear, which is incredibly liberating. The clothes will be donated or given away, except for a pair of dress pants I found; they're an old pair, black side-zip ups from Ricki's, in a 14. For kicks I tried them on before throwing them into the 'toss' pile, and holy shit they fit. Actually, they're too big.

What. the. hell. It appears that, except for my stomach and boobs, I'm still losing weight from all over. It's unnerving and I'm left wondering what kind of body I'll have after Raisin is born. It's hard to imagine. I've been plump, chubby, what-have-you for so long, for almost 10 years, I have no idea what having a smaller body feels like. Well, I mean I'm getting a taste now, but it's balanced out by the big belly and boobs. This isn't something I want or ever wanted; I've worked hard on accepting my bigger body, scars and stretch marks and all, and now it's changing on me in ways that are completely unexpected. Honestly I thought I'd balloon even bigger all over than ever before, but that's not looking to be the case.

What unexpected changes have you been through, and how did you deal with them?

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For me, the changes have come with menopause & aging. I have been part of fat acceptance for about 32 years now, but, like most people, I suppose, my growth as a fat activist has gone in stages & by degrees. I went through a stage of thinking that, yes, fat is genetic & bodies come in a wide variety of sizes, but over a CERTAIN ARBITRARY LIMIT, something must be wrong & people MUST be eating 'too much', I had to deal with resolving that 'fat is okay, but TOO fat is unhealthy' belief which seems to be an early stage for most people when we move beyond, "Only thin is acceptable or healthy &, if it is not easy to be thin, then we must live on a constant diet."

Then I had to deal with, "Other fat people, including very fat people, are beautiful & wonderful as they are, but I am too fat". That kind of coincided with "I cannot under any circumstances allow myself to weigh over 200 pounds", justified in my mind & in the minds of those around me by the fact that I have cerebral palsy, serious balance problems, & increasing mobility issues, so, of course, trying to 'control my weight' was all about 'health.'

Then, as someone who has been active all my life & who wants to keep walking as much as I can for as long as I can (at 62, I believe I have walked close to 65,000 miles, as well as wearing out 2 exercise machines after putting 4000 miles on each, lifting weights fairly seriously for several years, many thousands of stomach crunches, & some years of working out with very obnoxious aerobics instructors on tv {I am looking at YOU, Denise Austin) & spending at least 3 separate periods of my life exercising compulsively about 4 hours daily for a period of 3,5-4 years, I have had to realize & accept that 1) compulsive exercise is a form of dieting 2) all the exercise in the world will never make me thin & 3) my body cannot handle more than 30-60 minutes per day of exercise. I had to finally accept that in my middle 50's, that, instead of helping me remain mobile longer, extreme exercise would break down my joints & ligaments & strain my muscles until I become less mobile sooner. So now I walk, usually 35-45 minutes per day, occasionally an hour or a bit more for special circumstances, & know that is plenty.

I finally finished menopause at age 57 & I have also dealt with big body changes. Not only I am the fattest I have ever been, around 220-225 pounds, I believe, but I am losing a little muscle tone, the texture of my skin is changing some, & my whole body has changed. I used to be an hourglass; now I am definitely an apple, most of my weight is carried in my belly, waist, midriff area. It is something that I work with now, that this is my body & it is okay as it is. I have always, even while spending 8 years in my 50's doing 1500 crunches per day, had a fairly large, rounded belly for my size, but now at least I accept that it is genetic, is also womanly, & it is part of me.

Growing, adjusting, accepting, is part of life, probably for as long as we live.

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Oh, dear, I SO understand your position!

For aeons (all my adult life up to age 57), I weighed between 255 - 260, enjoyed superb health, lots of energy, felt sexy, feminine, at home in my lush & gorgeous body. Also accumulated a really HUGE wardrobe. Then: disaster! Through a sudden change in exercise, eating & sleeping patterns, my weight jumped to 320. After a year or so, it came back to normal. Everything was great until the hysterectomy. Within 9 months, my weight had plummeted to 180, where it has remained for the past 6 1/2 years - no matter what I do, it won't go back up. The lower the weight went, the higher my blood pressure went. Have no idea if I will EVER adjust to this very strange body: I look in the mirror and instead of bountiful fat & lush curves all I see are wrinkles & wizened flesh flapping in the breeze. It's NOT a pretty picture.
Also not comfortable: who knew that thin people feel BONES when they lie down?

Of course, people who hadn't seen me in years were all over me about how "great" I looked because of the weight loss; I just wish they'd shut up about it, because every one of those comments is like a knife through the heart - would absolutely KILL to have that wonderful, healthy fat body that I used to live in.
I really hope that you can make peace with the body you seem to be lumbered with at the moment, because it may well be impossible for you to put things back as they were.

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Carol, I can relate to some parts of your story. I lost a major amount of weight for several reasons, none being diet and/or exercise. There was 1) Metformin (good, because it reversed the uncontrolled weight gain I was experiencing, as well as controlling diabetes and PCOS, 2) giving up Zoloft (not for weight loss purposes, but resulting in some weight loss anyway, and 3) a chronic, deadly lung disease (a very bad kind of weight loss).
At around 180, I also feel like a pile of bones and wrinkles. It doesn't make sense to me to feel bony and still have what is considered an overweight BMI. I've never been well-endowed, but now I have hardly anything left to do a mammogram with (still getting one, though).
I too have a beautiful wardrobe that I cannot wear.
Unlike Carol, I was never energetic at any age or weight.
I don't know what direction my weight is headed in, or if it's going to stay still. So I haven't bought much in the way of new clothing. I'm not even totally sure what sizes i wear.
@Patsy - I've been brought up to think the other way around; i.e., that smaller fat people are eating too much, and larger fat people have some kind of gland problem.
@Jen - Thanks for giving us the opportunity to talk about this in a fat-accepting space. My own experience just reinforces the idea that my weight is out of my control in both directions.

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