Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cons and pros of being fat

I put cons first because I'm pretty sure they will greatly outnumber the pros. But it seems reflecting on this subject may be useful in helping me understand this lengthy plateau I have crafted. With each breath, in each moment, every single morning, every day...I sincerely, earnestly, truly want to lose weight. I want to achieve my next goal of 190 lbs. I want to continue to feel more free from the bondage of food obsession and compulsive eating. I want to feel my body tighter, sleeker, more agile. I want the outlines of my collar bones to continue to evidence themselves, along with other relevant parts of my skeletal system. I want to move smoothly and without pain. I want to touch my toes without having to lurch over my several rolls of abdominal fat. I want to be able to wear nice clothes that aren't from the Plus-size rack. I want to not constantly have my thoughts revert to what can I eat, when can I eat it, and how much can I eat? I want to make peace with food.

And then, it seems, I don't want those things. If I did, why would I continue to sabotage real progress with evening binges? There is something at the core of my resistance to sit through hungriness, to sit through an episode of food obsessing without capitulating. A beacon of pop psychobabble (with emphasis on the "psycho), Dr. Phil, might ask me, "How's that workin' for you?" Good question, doc, and reflecting on the pros and cons might shed some light on the subject. Before I begin, I want to credit Jodie of The Overweight Life for planting the seed for this inventory with her September 10th post "10 Things I Hate About the Overweight Life".

Cons of me being fat

1. Limited clothes options.

2. Sudden sightings of my reflection in a storefront or unexpected mirror, where I wasn't thinking about my fatness until it was all up in my face.

3. Dimples - not the cute kind.

4. Tight bra bands and resultant sausage-like rolls above and below.

5. Never putting on a bathing suit = never going in water. I love water. This represents ridiculous pride on my part, but I just can't bring myself to wear a swimsuit if anyone could catch a glimpse of me in it. I don't judge how others look, but I sure judge myself. Need to work on that.

6. Sleeveless and short sleeved tops do not flatter my fat arms, so I wear 3/4 length sleeves even when it's 98 degrees. And I'm always hot, even in winter.

7. Compromised health. I've had to take blood pressure meds for years, and 2 years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I've just had a normal blood test related to the Type 2, but once you have it, you're at risk for it to return or to eventually become insulin dependent.

8. My mother-in-law referred to me as "one of the family fatties" several years back to one of her daughters with whom I'm very close. Why this sis-in-law told me this I'll never know, except that she is also in the "FF" club.

9. Feeling ashamed of my body. Not how it works for me, which it does amazingly well. Not for my overall good health. But for how it looks naked. Ugh. It's really hard to write that.

Those are the main negative things that come to mind about my experience being fat. I have no delusions that losing all the weight I'd like to lose will change all of my disordered thinking and opinions of my body. Much of that is an inside job...inside my head - not my body. I've been working on that for years and have made tons of progress. I've come to feel pretty good about myself in most ways. I always say that weight, eating and body image are "the last bastion" for me. But I expect that if I come to peace with them, another bastion will appear!

Pros of me being fat

1. ?????????????

I've pondered this for awhile, and either denial has set in, or I honestly can't come up with a benefit of being fat. But what has come to mind is that in every single arena of my life now (other than my weight), I feel better and more content with who I am than I ever have before, and my life continues to get better. I have a wonderful family and great relationships with my kids. I love my in-laws and they love me (despite that family fatty crack by mom-in-law). I have more friends than I could have thought possible. I love my job. I have a lot of cool interests and activities I enjoy. I know myself pretty well after years of not having a clue. I have an amazing fellowship (AA) that is the anchor of my life and brought me to God.

I've reflected a million times that if my life is so good and real now, how much better could it be if the weight thing was resolved? It really couldn't be better, but I don't think it would get worse if I found peace with the beast, either. Good lord, I'm really contemplating my navel here, aren't I?

It's occurring to me that recognizing just how blessed I am helps me see that I do have a choice about how I treat my body and how I use (or abuse) food. I've faced my various demons over the years when they showed up or I wouldn't be who and where I am today. So contemplating sitting in the wanting of food, the hungriness that food doesn't satisfy, doesn't sound all that daunting. I think I can continue on with my journey to health and fitness and slimmer-ness without fear or trepidation. We'll see how it goes when the wanting returns. Because it will. And I know that I have enough "on board" already to see me through.


  1. Wow - I really love your writing style - glad I found your blog. With regards to hunger in the evening, when I feel it, I've decided that's when I'm losing weight and so I resolve not to eat again until breakfast. I'm getting more comfortable with hunger. If I have calories left for the day, I eat. Otherwise, I sit with the hunger (only in the evening) and let it ride.

  2. I'm so sorry about the family fatties comment from your MIL. Some people just don't get what comments like this do to people. My brother once told me a dress I wore made me look like a flowered couch. And then another time someone said they could make a tent out of a dress I wore. Both these comments were 20 years ago and I remember them like yesterday. Sad. I'm glad that all your other things are going very well. You can beat this! Thanks for mentioning me in your blog, I feel honored! :)

  3. Hi Leslie. I think it's so great to think about all the positive things in your life and to come to the conclusion that life couldn't get much better; with or without an eating problem your life feels great anyway. This is so important because it actually takes all the pressure off that single issue which seems to dominate your thoughts so much of the time. It's so easy to let those thoughts around bingeing take over your head at times. Much better to take the emphasis off that issue and concentrate on how happy you are in life - and you are truly blessed with so much happiness - and just make it about wanting to be healthier so that you are around and able to enjoy all those people and all those activities that mean so much to you.

    This is positive stuff!

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  4. The only pro about being fat is that fat doesn't wrinkle so people with a few extra pounds tend to look younger. Other than that, I got nothin'.

    Contemplating your navel is a good way to learn and grow. Try to keep remembering the positive reasons why you want to lose weight and keep the faith you can do it.