Posts Tagged ‘Weight’

Ragen Chastain on her blog Dances with Fat recently had a post about coming out as fat.

I don’t feel the need to come out as fat or fat and happy personally. But I thought of this when thinking about the way I talk about being classified as “morbidly obese”. I talk about this and make sure to use this terminology not in the same way I do “fat”, I don’t want to reclaim it, but to put a face to the term.

I’m 5ft and last time I stepped on a scale somewhere around 225lbs giving me a BMI close to 44, with BMIs over 40 being classified as “morbidly obese”.

photo of myself for visual reference to what my weight looks like on me, for those who don't already know.

photo of myself for visual reference to what my weight looks like on me, for those who don’t already know.

One of my very early posts on this blog was actually about what my weight is (and yeah, I weigh even more now than when I posted that). I am publicly telling you all how much I weight because I don’t think it is something I should be ashamed of.

I’ve had a lot of people express shock at my weight and even more that I would be considered “morbidly obese”. So often we treat these numbers and classifications as so secretive and shameful and the result is most people don’t have a good mental image of what it does, or more accurately, can, look like. So people can obviously look at me and see that I’m fat, that is no shocker. But when we treat weight as something so secretive and something to even be lied about, people don’t end up with good visuals of what weights look like. I think this is even worse with bmi classifications. Especially when it comes to such negative terms like “morbidly obese”, it makes sense this isn’t something those who are technically classified as are quick to identify with, and a lot of people never bother to look at what all these classifications are to know if it fits them or not. So when people use these terms, they don’t always have a good idea of who it is they are talking about.

I talk about being classified as “morbidly obese” because this is a category most people treat as so extreme that of course people that fat deserve negative treatment. “It’s ok to be a little overweight, as long as you aren’t morbidly obese”, (in response to fatshaming) “it’s not like she’s morbidly obese!”- the overall implication is that “morbidly obese” people do deserve to be treated terribly. It’s important to me to “out” myself as THAT fat because of this. Because the next time someone who knows me wants to talk about how these things are only not ok when a person isn’t “mobidly obese”, they are saying that these things are acceptable when applied to people like me.

This isn’t to say it would be ok if the definition of “morbidly obese” was something I didn’t fall under. The point isn’t that the definition isn’t high enough up there. The point is no one deserves to be treated disrespectfully or bullied and that fat people, and even us “morbidly obese” folks are people like anyone else.

It’s about putting a face to the term, which can help to humanize the group. If you don’t know anyone personally who falls into x group, it’s easy to justify their poor treatment. Sure, there are a lot of people who will feel the same regardless of if they know someone in x group or not, but there are others for whom realizing that these people are some faceless other, but people they know and even care about, does make a difference.

Still I use “morbidly obese” in quotes because while I think it important that people understand when they use this term, they are using a term that is applied to me, it’s not one I accept or agree with. The term suggest that I weigh so much that my body weight is literally killing me (and I specifically say weight rather than fat here, since this is defined by BMI which is based on weight regardless of composition. Although I am fat and have plenty of fat on my body, BMI makes no statement as to my, or anyone else’s, body fat vs lean body mass.) According to many places I’ve found online being morbidly obese means that one’s obesity interferes with basic physical functions like breathing and walking! Which my obesity does not interfere with my basic physical functions. I do not have any of the so called “obesity related” illnesses that are mentioned with “morbid obesity” and it does not significantly impair my quality of life.

Particularly as a person with disabilities, I find all of this ridiculous. I know very much what it is like to have an illness that impairs my quality of life and ability to function, and it is nothing at all like being fat. (And there is absolutely no reason to think any of my illness are caused by being fat, since I’m sure there are plenty of folks who would claim that. I love how people are always so quick to say I must be ill because I’m fat without even knowing me or what my illnesses are.)

This is one of those things that is said all the time in fitness forums, articles, and books, and it usually makes me want to scream.

Usually it comes in the form of reassuring women that weight lifting will not make them “bulky”. But it can take other forms as well, and regardless of the reasoning it still annoys the hell out of me.

A lot of women who lift and want to build noticeable muscle do find this to be true. But not all women are the same.

The reasoning behind this is that women don’t have enough testosterone so building any muscle for us, all of us, takes a long more work and takes a lot longer. But fun fact, “hormone levels” aren’t actually exactly equal among all women. In fact, they can vary quite a lot from woman to woman. We are not actually all clones.

Sometimes I wish that I could see muscle growth more quickly, but overall I don’t usually feel like I have a very hard time building muscle. And never have. It’s always seemed like I could see more muscle growth more quickly than this well known fitness fact seems to imply I should.

I mentioned recently some changes I’ve seen with my body from weight lifting. Which is also what got me thinking about this topic today. Because according to many folks, what I notice is just not possible because I’m a woman.

Besides being fairly intimately familiar with what my body looks like and feels like, I take measurements semi-regularly, and noticed first awhile back that my arms (measured around my bicep) were getting surprisingly bigger (especially surprising given I don’t specifically train biceps) meanwhile my arms look and feel more ‘toned’, more recently my thighs have increased in size at the same time I can notice that my hamstrings look and feel much larger.

Which I’ve actually been told by random dudes (actually all men- which makes sense because clearly they are the experts on women)  even though they don’t know me, that this is just not possible. As a woman, I have not been lifting long enough to build enough muscle for me to have that significant muscle growth. Clearly I’m just getting fatter and lying to myself about it.

I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it because unlike them I know my body.

And to be clear, it’s not that I need to prove to anyone that I’m not getting fatter or that it would be any of their business if I were. That’s not what this is about. What this is about is that it’s really annoying to get excited about building muscle (because I get excited about that!) and being told that I obviously just don’t know my own body and can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle because women just can’t build muscle like that (source: everyone just knows that).

This whole idea that all women’s bodies work exactly the same such that we can make this universal claim that women don’t build muscle easily just needs to die already.

I have stated previously here that I am not interested in advice on how to lose weight, or comments on how I should lose weight. It’s my body, what I should do regarding it is for me to say. If I want someone else’s opinion or advice on my body, I am capable of asking.

For some reason this is very hard for some folks though. Some folks cannot get past the idea that fat need to be told they are fat and need to lose weight by complete strangers.

So I thought I would take a moment to talk about why unsolicited weight loss advice is rude.

And I’m going to use a conversation I had online as an example here,and walk through the problems with this. Remember I mentioned in my last post how I commented online that despite gaining weight, my clothing is fitting loser and I want to get new clothing, when I can come up with funds for it, that is smaller and thus fits me better

Well, as I mentioned someone replied this with:

“You’re trying to lose weight correct? Then why are you gaining weight?”

I replied to him:

“I’m not trying to lose weight.”

Like I said yesterday, this should have been the end of any discussion of weight loss. You mistakenly thought I was trying to lose weight (well that wasn’t actually the case here, as we will see), and I clarified I’m not. The end.

But that of course was not the end.

He replied again with:

“Why not?”

Ok, so we have already started to cross into problematic territory here. Someone just told you they are not trying to lose weight. Why would you feel this stranger owes you an explanation about that? Fat people do not need to offer explanations to strangers for why we are not trying to lose weight (for those of us who aren’t). Women do not owe every stranger they encounter an explanation for why their body looks any particular way.

I respond with:

“because I’m not interested in trying to lose weight. why do my goals matter [to] you?” (typing on my phone, I accidentally a word)

Ok, great. End of that, right? … right? We have established that I am not trying to lose weight, that I am not interested in trying to lose weight. But of course, I think we all know that was not the end of it.

He responds:

“They don’t. But you are 5’0 and I believe according to your blog you are over 200lbs. So you are already quite a bit overweight, I’m just wondering why you would want to continue gaining weight. And if you are gaining weight, why would you buy tighter clothing? You may eventually fit into the clothes you currently have.”

I’m “overweight”? WHAT!?! WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME THIS BEFORE!?! I mean, it surely makes total sense to think that I, as someone who has a blog with “fat” right up there in the title, who wrote a blog post on my weight, which included pointing out that my weight and height puts my BMI quite squarely in what is considered “morbidly obese”, need a total stranger on the internet to inform me that I am “quite a bit overweight”. Obviously I had simply never noticed I was fat, and no one else in the world had ever thought to let me in on that secret. Clearly.

And then the question of why I would want to buy smaller clothing if the clothing I currently have it too big on me. Why would I want to own and wear clothing that actually fits my body.

But if a number on a scale went up some, then obviously I need bigger clothes even if my clothing is too big on me, right? Why let something like my body size/shape determine what size clothing I wear instead of a number on a scale.

I want clothes that fit my body as it is because I like my body, and I want to wear clothing that makes me look and feel good. I love my curves- now that my sweaters and other clothes are too big, they hang wide around my curves making me look more boxy. I don’t like that. I want clothing that shows off one of my favorite attributes of myself. Having clothing that shows my curves makes me feel better and more confident. So duh, I want clothing that actually fits me. And weirdly enough, what fits is better judged by my body and how clothes fall on it, than what number pops up on my scale.

Ok, so what I said was:

“I didn’t say I want to gain weight, but I’m not horribly bothered by it either. Since one of my primary goals is getting stronger, gaining muscle (which has weight) is not really a bad thing to me.

I want to buy smaller clothing because it would fit me better, and as a result look better on me. (And if you’d read, you’d notice that while I gained weight, I did not go up in inches or clothing sizes- my clothes are not getting any tighter, if anything they feel looser even if my tape measure says that shouldn’t be.) Why should I wear clothing that is too big for me based on a number on a scale, rather than what actually fits my body?

Also if you read my blog I’m pretty clear in there about my feelings regarding trying to lose weight, so I’m not sure why you would even be asking that. In fact from the post you are talking about: ‘if I lose weight as I continue working out that’s good with me, and if I don’t I’m ok with that too’ I’m fine if I lose weight, fine if I don’t, and even fine with gaining so long as my clothing isn’t getting tighter, and it’s not. The only problem I have with my weight is it means I have more weight to lift on body weight exercises- but that just means I need to be stronger!”

So to be clear, initially when he asked about me wanting to lose weight, he wasn’t actually misinformed thinking I wanted to lose weight- he’s already read posts here on this blog where I very clearly stated that I am not trying to lose weight. I also clearly stated in those posts that I was not interested in weight loss advice. I also in the the thread with him stated I was not interested in losing weight.

And yet:

“You are somewhat of a beginner to weight training right? Gaining strength while losing weight should not be an issue. In my first year I was able to lose 100lbs while going from deadlifting 185lbs to 500lbs. As for your muscle gain, if you told me you have gained 1lb or maybe even up to 2lbs (much more likely for men then women to gain 2lbs of muscle) over the course of a month, then perhaps you can call it muscle, but nothing more. As for measurements, If you went from 200 – 205 there is a very good chance you wouldn’t be able to measure the difference, I can fluctuate 10lbs or more and not notice a thing.

I have read a few of your posts, and I have read some of your comments, you seem to champion the thought of acceptance no matter what, and if that’s what you want to do, then fine. I remember thinking how happy and confident I was when I was overweight. But I look back at it and remember how my back would get sore if I had to stand for any length of time, or how my feet would ache because of the excess weight. Now that I have lost the weight I don’t have those issues, I can run without pain, walk around or stand for hours with no issues. I see you have some of these issues, have you thought perhaps your weight is the cause? To me it doesn’t really matter whether you gain weight or lose weight, gain strength or lose strength. It doesn’t affect me at all. I only inquire out of curiosity.”

Weight loss advice! Look, I just told you I am not trying to lose weight and I don’t want to try to lose weight. I did not say I want to lose weight but think it conflicts with my other goals. I said I don’t want to try to lose weight. So I do not need to be told that I could still try to lose weight while also trying to gain muscle.

This is rude. I have stated already multiple times prior to this I am not interested in weight loss advice, giving it after that is rude. It’s like me stating repeatedly that I’m not interested in converting to your religion and you continue to tell me about converting.

And of course we also have the condescending “you may think you are happy, but you really aren’t, you just don’t know you are unhappy because you would have to be thing to know better”. And what a convenient argument! Set it up so that I cannot possibly claim to know myself better than this stranger because we’ve established that only the opinions of thin people count. Even when the opinion is on the fat persons own body, their opinion still doesn’t count.

And we also have the assumptions that my weight is causing me pain and severely limiting my activities despite the fact that there is no reason for this stranger to think that I have back pain when standing, or that I have difficulty standing or walking long periods.

I have, on the site this conversation took place on spoken about having foot pain when running, which I believe is plantar fasciitis.

My response to him:

“You’ve read my blog post about my weight which means you already read this:

‘I am not interested in any weight loss advice . . .[I am] not interested in unsolicited weight lose advice so if you were thinking of giving some just move along.’

I also just told you in this thread that I am not interested in trying to lose weight. So why are you giving me unsolicited advice on how I can lose weight?

You’re experiences are your own, they are not mine. Don’t assume that just because you felt one way at a particular weight I must feel that way at my weight. I can stand just fine, I do not get back pain from standing, I can easily stand and/or walk for long periods without those things causing pain.

My feet have started to hurt when running, and maybe my weight is a factor- I’m still not interested in trying to lose weight. I do also know that already stretching has made a huge difference and alleviated a lot of the pain.

I’ve explained many reasons why I’m not trying to lose weight in my blog, if you’ve read it already you know them, if not feel free to go back and read through it. Though really, I don’t owe you an explanation for why I don’t want to try to lose weight. My body, my decision.

I’d also like to note that I didn’t say anything about how much weight I’ve gained or over what kind of time period, so I’m not sure how you feel at all qualified to determine what amount of that weight gain was muscle, water weight, or fat”

Even if my weight is a factor in the plantar fasciitis- still my body, still my choice, and my choice alone, on if I want to try to lose weight.

I have my reasons for not wanting to try to lose weight. I’ve talked about them here. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to lose weight- not trying to lose weight is a much newer thing for me. Newer than weight lifting even. And since I stopped actively trying to lose weight, I am happier. I am finding it easier to stick with my fitness goals because a number going up on the scale doesn’t mean “I am doing all this hard work and seeing no results!” Actually, no- I’m seeing lots of results, just not weight loss. I’m doing all this work and as a result I am seeing the weight I lift continuously increasing, I am seeing my body in a more positive way, I am feeling stronger a result, and in terms of changes to my body I am seeing more muscle on my legs and arms. Not defining my success by the number on a scale has been hugely beneficial to me. I also am not interested in trying to lose weight because as a person whose struggled with an eating disorder, though in recovery I find things like counting calories to still be a little triggering. I also have found that since I gave up dieting, I eat better! I eat better when I focus on eating nutrient dense foods, and eating what makes me feel good, and trying to think of food of fuel for my activities.

Also, fun fact- I’ve discovered I eat “junk food” less when it’s not off limits! I love Ben & Jerry’s icecream! And I always hear people joke about how ridiculous it is that a pint is 4 serving, when everyone knows a pint is 1 serving. The funny thing is, when it’s not off limits to me, and I feel free to eat Ben & Jerry’s icecream everyday if I want to, I don’t sit down an eat a pint of it. When I eat icecream I eat 1 serving based on the serving size, or less. Usually less. Most of the time I eat a few bites, maybe a half a serving, and I feel satisfied with that and put it away. And a big part of that is not feeling like I broke my diet. Because when I felt like I broke my diet by eating ice cream it was more likely to trigger the idea that I might as well eat the whole thing then because I already ruined my diet that day anyways. And I would get back on track tomorrow. And then tomorrow icecream would be off limits. So I need to eat it now while I can! But when I stopped trying to lose weight, stopped counting calories, and stopped making any food “off limits” in my head, I stopped thinking and eating like that. Because now, if I eat a few bites of icecream, and tomorrow I want more icecream- I eat more icecream! And while foods are never off limits to me, focusing on how they make me feel, leads me to not wanting to eat certain foods. Actually just the other day I decided it had been ages since I ate some captain crunch and I really wanted some. So I bought captain crunch cereal and ate some. … And I felt so sick after! And I’m not craving captain crunch anymore. It’s not off limits because I’m on a diet. I don’t not eat it because I’m not “supposed” to eat it. I don’t eat it because I don’t want to because it doesn’t make me feel well.

This is working for me! It may not be working at causing me to lose weight, but that’s ok, because I don’t care if I lose weight anymore. It is working for me though in all other respects, which I find more valuable than weight loss. I’ve also successfully lost bits of weight before too, btw. And I’ve lost weight before by starving myself, by not eating well, by not eating to fuel my activities, and I’ve lost weight will feeling miserable and hating myself. I see much more success in eating well and feeling good, and being happy with myself, than I do in a making a number on the scale shrink.

So those are a few of the reasons I don’t want to try to lose weight. A few of the reasons that I didn’t actually owe anyone. Because it’s still my body and I don’t owe strangers and explanation for what I do with it.

So back to this dude, because we aren’t at the end yet:

“I should have known better than to talk about anything somewhat related to fitness on this site. You said you are gaining weight, you assume it is muscle because you have not gained inches anywhere. I just told you if it’s more than 2lbs a month it’s most likely not muscle. I gave you a hypothetical number of 200-205, key word is hypothetical, and it was only regarding the fact that you probably wouldn’t see much of a difference with a measuring tape. You said you have a goal of gaining strength, I told you that you can gain strength while losing weight, and I gave some personal experiences. I did not say that they are 100% transferable to you. In your running comments it is clear your weight is causing you issues. You just refuse to accept it. And your “do not give unsolicited advice” tells everybody that you do not care about anybodies thoughts if they do not agree with yours, but yet you pretend to be open minded. If you want to stay overweight then go ahead, continue pretending you are happy, continue pretending that it does not affect your life or health in any way. I wish you the best of luck in whatever your goals may be.”

Yeah- he should have known better than to talk to me about weight loss (not fitness- weight loss. The conversation was not about fitness). And actually, he did know. He knew prior to any of these comments that I did not want weight loss advice. He still asked me about losing weight. I then told him again, I wasn’t interested. Despite this he continued with advice he knew was unwanted. So let’s be clear about that- he knew it was unwanted from his very first comment. And now he’s mad it wasn’t well received. He’s mad someone would not be appreciative of his comments about what they should do with their body after being told repeatedly they did not want his comments on what they should do with their body?

And as for me not being open to his opinion- let’s also be very clear here in remembering this was not a discussion of opinions on a particular general topic- it was opinions on my body. MY body. And when it comes to my body, no one gets a say in it except me. I am trying to be very clear that I do not care about anybody’s thoughts on what I should do with my body except my own. And despite me being very clear about that, he insists on telling me what he thinks I should do with my body, despite me repeatedly stating such commentary was unwanted.

There is lots of information available on weight loss, if I wanted to try to lose weight I could seek it out. And as someone who has spent most of my life trying to lose weight (something he would also already, too,  know reading my blog), I know a lot of it, and I certainly know how to go about seeking it out if I wanted to. In fact, on the site this conversation happened on, there are groups specifically on the topic of weight loss! And yet,my comment was not posted in a weight loss group. Similarly, had I wanted this guys advice specifically, since he seems to think he possesses special knowledge of weight loss no one else has, I could have and would have asked him for that advice if I wanted it.

And let’s keep that in mind too, in terms of his actions. He is on a site with weight loss groups where he could have spent this time offering his advice, he is on a site where there are a lot of people who are trying to lose weight, and he could have spent the time he did commenting to me, offering his advice to any of those people. But no. Instead, on a site with weight loss groups, and lots of people trying to lose weight, he specifically choose to target someone who had been clear about not wanting to try to lose weight, and ignore all of her comments stating weight loss advice to her was not wanted, and decided that was that person he should focus his energies on giving weight loss advice and commentary on her body to.

I don’t know about you- but none of that sounds well meaning to me. What he actually doing is actively disregarding my wishes. But it’s all done as well-meaning advice, to seem nice. But there is nothing well meaning or nice this. There is nothing well meaning or nice about actively regarding people’s express wishes and requests on this matter.

This applies not only to his comments there, but any suggestions of weight loss here or on other FA blogs. With so many places online dedicated to talking about weight loss, and so many people out there asking for advice on how to lose weight- consider what it actually says about someone that they would skip over all those places and head somewhere with a specific focus on fat acceptance, and choose that as the place to offer advice on weight loss.

So what are my goals?

I was thinking about this tonight, after a conversation online.

I posted that although I’ve gained weight, my clothing seems to be baggier, and I don’t like how I look in it and hopefully manage to afford smaller sized clothing that fits better soon-ish

The resulted in someone asking why I am gaining weight if I’m trying to lose weight.

I clarified that I am not trying to lose weight.  Which I feel like that should have ended there- you assumed my goal was weight loss, I clarified that it’s not. The end.

He continued asking “why not?” and a bunch of unsolicited weight loss advice.

But anyways, this got me thinking about what my goals are. We know weight loss is not a goal. Weight isn’t part of my goals in any way- I’m not trying to lose weight, I’m not trying to maintain my weight, I’m not trying to gain weight. My goals are simply not weight related.

 

My Fitness Goals

  • Get stronger/lift heavier weights
  • Run further and faster
  • Increase my flexibility
  • Try new physical activities
  • Utilize fitness for stress relief and overall mental health wellbeing

My Nutrition Goals

  • Eat nutrient dense foods
  • Eat enough protein to support my getting stronger goal
  • Eat foods that make me feel healthier

Of course these aren’t all my goals, because there is more to my life than fitness and nutrition, so on we go:

General Health Goals

  • Meditate more often
  • Get as much sleep as possible
  • Be aware of changes in my mental health and take action when needed
  • Take my medications, follow up with doctors, get necessary tests done, and whatever else is needed to manage my health
  • Have fun and do things for me to stay mentally well, including getting out of my house and doing things with other people

School Goals

  • Read more
  • Get As in all my classes
  • Do more research
  • Get Published
  • Present at conferences
  • Write in my research blog
  • Survive this next year (that’s not hyperbolic btw. I literally mean survive as in not die as a result of the stress this program puts on my health.)
  • Oh, and pass the rest of my quals.

That the shortened, basic version of it all. Also clean and paint my house.

I’d also say in a general sense that one of my goals is to NOT live my life around my weight. I want to just just live my life and be as healthy as possible without everything coming back to what I weigh/trying to lose weight. With the above lists, I have enough going on in my life, I don’t need to be obsessing about my weight all the time.

Several months back I found myself in a situation that shocked me a bit.

I was at my house with 3 guy friends talking and the topic turned to creating a fight club- something I’d been advocating doing. It was suggested we could use my basement for our fight club which I agreed to. At some point it was stated by them that we would need a gender division in fight club, which I opposed and stated they could not use my basement if they would only fight men. My main opposition, of course, was that at that time the only woman who was going to be involved in the fight club was me. I was the one who first suggested a fight club, we were talking about using my home for it- I was not ok with a set up that would basically result in me being excluded from participation. We argued about this for a bit and they brought up as an argument that in professional fighting there are weight classes to keep things fair (now, there is certainly an argument to made here that the same rules that apply to professional fighters may not make as much sense when talking about a fight club with a bunch of people who are not professionally trained fighters, but that’s off topic at the moment). I responded that I was ok with having separate weight classes but not a gender division. They all were of the opinion that a weight separation would be a de facto gender separation, which of course is not true. So I asked what they would propose for weight classes. They suggested a simple under 200lbs group and 200+ lbs group. Sounds good to me. “And you don’t think any women weigh over 200lbs?” I asked them. And I should have known what was coming next. Out comes “do you realize how big a woman would have to be…” I cut him off- “I weigh over 200lbs”. Not interested in sitting there listening to the stereotypes people have in their head of how disgustingly monstrous someone my size would be. (I remember once online seeing someone describe how someone my height who weighed 200lbs would have to just be this blob of fat- so incredibly fat they no longer even had identifiable limbs- their arms and legs would just be sucked in to the fat!)

Rainbow Dash Outfit

I don’t know about you but I can’t make out any limbs in the massive blob of fat…

 

First shocker (to me) here was me actually admitting to these guys that I weigh over 200lbs. We really are beat over the head our whole lives that women do not ever tell people how much they weigh. And if you are forced to say how much you weigh, women always subtract from their real weight. Whether actively encouraged, or more often just used as a joke, the message is still the same- women never admit their real weight. And it’s hard to get away from that mentality and not feel like that number on the scale is a big secret you aren’t supposed to tell anyone.

So, what was the reaction to me breaking this cultural norm and disclosing how much I weigh? Disbelief. Literal disbelief actually- I was accused of lying. There was no way I weigh that much. And suddenly I found myself in a heated argument where I was trying to convince these 3 men that I really do weigh more than 200lbs. For some reason they seemed to think it was highly likely that I would be lying about my weight to say I’m even fatter than I am. That for some reason I really want people to think I weigh more than I do- because what fat woman in the US doesn’t hope people think she weighs way more than she really does, amiright?

While having this argument I’m also in complete disbelief with myself- am I really sitting here trying to get people to believe I’m as fat as I am? When I’ve been taught my whole life I should want people to think I weigh less than I do?

I can ‘t remember who suggested it, me or them, but somehow we were now discussing proving that I weigh that much- getting on a scale. I agree to get on my scale in my bathroom and one of them can come see what it says- this is not good enough, they want me to take the scale out of the bathroom, into the hallway and get on it in front of all 3 of them so they can all see how much I weigh.

If one believes popular media, this is a nightmare scenario for most women, right? Get on a scale in front of 3 guy friends and let them see the real number that comes up on there? Horrifying!

But I went into my bathroom, pulled out my bathroom scale and stepped on it while they gathered around. I think I weighed 209 that day. And I was relieved it was only showing 9lbs over 200 that day. Not only did I admit to being over 200lbs, I also stepped up on scale and let them see just how far over 200lbs that number really was. Even as I was doing all this I couldn’t believe it.

They actually still did not believe me. Each of them took turns weighing themselves, convinced I had tampered with the scale to make it read higher. Because, again, what fat woman doesn’t want to go to elaborate lengths to trick people into thinking she weighs more than she does! ?

And despite getting weights for themselves that were what seemed accurate to them, they still suggested I tampered with the scale and didn’t really weigh that much. I have no idea if they still, to this day, think it was a lie.

 

I actually tend to bounce back and forth on how I feel about sharing my weight. It’s hard not to feel like it’s some shameful secret I shouldn’t ever admit. But other times, I actively make an effort to be open about it and talk about it matter of factly. Because it is a fact. Lying about your weight or keeping it a secret doesn’t change what it is and it doesn’t change how you look.  Someone looking at me can see how fat I am and a number doesn’t actually change that. Though at times it’s hard not to think that it will influence how people see me, especially when people have such a negative mental image of what my weight would look like. But then of course on the other hand that is a great reason to be open about such things- because people have such inaccurate ideas of what fat people look like.

I’ve been told many times when people hear how much I weigh that I don’t look it. Which is meant as a compliment usually, to make me feel better about weighing so much “oh, but you don’t look it!” Well, actually I do! I’ve actually gained some weight since my story above and weigh about 220lbs right now. My highest weight ever was around 235lbs, I lost weight and got down to about 200lbs for awhile before I gained weight and am back to 220lbs now. And here’s the thing, by definition, I look like someone who weighs 220lbs! Because this is what someone who weighs 220lbs looks like (and above photo was taken at 220lbs). It’s not what everyone who is 5ft and weighs 220lbs will look like, the same height and weight combination can look very different on different people based on a variety of factors including fat percentage, muscle mass, bone structure, and of course where one carries fat/muscle. But there is no one right way to look a particular weight and height combo.

In my experience though, people tend to overestimate what certain sizes look like. I hear it a lot too when people talk about people who are “morbidly obese”. That is many people’s go to qualifier when they suggest that it might be ok to be overweight. “Well yeah, it can be ok to be overweight, as long as you aren’t morbidly obese”. I’ve even gotten: “well, you might be a little overweight but it’s not like you are morbidly obese or something”- but here is the thing, I actually am. Morbid obesity being defined as a BMI over 40, I’m pretty solidly in that camp at my height and weight. But most people don’t think that “morbid obesity” looks like me.

 

I’ve actually found it interesting that when it comes to fat I seem to somehow span both sides of the fat spectrum. I wear a size 16ish (sometimes a 14, sometimes an 18) putting me at the low end of plus sizing with some folks not even considering that actually plus size. It’s also the size range where I’m right in between non-plus and plus sizes a lot of places- I can shop at some non-plus specific stores that go up to 16 or 18 or at plus size stores like Lane Bryant. At places like Old Navy I can shop in either their non-plus section or plus section. So in this measurement I fall at the smaller side of the fat people spectrum. Yet being classified as morbidly obese would suggest I actually fall into the higher end of the fat spectrum.

 

Well, since I’m blogging about body topics and have “fat” in my title I figured I should  do a blog post on this and just put it all out there. Think what you will of that, but this is who I am. I am not interested in advice on changing that- if you haven’t been paying attention to the blog, I already work out and work to eat healthy, which I do because I like it and for general health benefits. I am not interested in any weight loss advice, if I lose weight as I continue working out that’s good with me, and if I don’t I’m ok with that too, either way not interested in unsolicited weight lose advice so if you were thinking of giving some just move along.