I wanted to talk a little bit about why I created this blog and why I am so passionate about this subject. Just lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is I really believe and where I fit in the whole scheme of things fat acceptance/body image wise. Reading debates/discussions/arguments out there on other blogs has got me asking myself what is important and why I do what I do here.
Brace yourself, this might be a long one!
Just in case you haven’t read my older posts, a little background. I was a normal sized kid, though taller than my peers, until I was 11. However, despite my normal range weight for my height, I was always told I was fat by my family. When puberty hit at about 11 or 12, I totally ballooned in weight. I have been obese ever since.
I am a “superfat”. By the old redundant BMI crap, the term is “morbidly obese”. I’m on the larger end of the spectrum. So I’m not just chubby or curvy or a bit plump. I’m a big old fatty fat fat fat.
I have dieted. Every kind you can imagine. I have starved myself. I have binge exercised. I had an eating disorder for many years (swinging between starvation and purging). I have tried every single prescription treatment that doctors could throw at me. I have been to dietitians galore. I have joined gyms, weight loss programmes and boot camps. I’ve done all the commercial things like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and Lite n’ Easy. I’ve tried substituting with shakes and soups and powders and drinks and crackers.
And after 25+ years of doing all of that, I’m still fat. Doctors and dietitians have called me a liar, saying that I was eating more than I was telling them, and exercising less. The truth is that I did lie to them, but to tell them I was eating ANYTHING and that I was only exercising 4 hours per day (my peak was 8 hours per day). They wouldn’t believe that I was eating and exercising in a normal range, why would they have believed that I was starving myself and exercise bingeing?
I have been told for over 25 years that I “just need willpower”. I’ve got willpower that could rival Jean Grey. If willpower was all was needed, I’d be thin, as well as be able to lift cars, bend metal and make Hugh Jackman in love with me. I’m a natural obsessive. When I get something in my mind that I’m going to do, I’m like a fox terrier with a rat – not gonna let it go. My willpower is so strong that I’ve been able to starve myself, make myself vomit, eat nothing but green vegetables for 4 months, exercise for up to 8 hours per day and follow every single diet I’ve ever been presented. Don’t be talking to me about no willpower.
So I’m well versed in the whole dieting and exercise and trying to lose weight/be thin shit. I’ve been doing it for a lifetime. The only thing I haven’t done is the surgery route, and that’s because I’ve come to my senses BEFORE I went that way. It was bloody close though.
The smallest I ever got as an adult, with all of that dieting and exercise and everything, was 103kg. To keep anything more than about 10kg off my current weight (which is about my biggest), I have to go back into the starvation and exercise bingeing, and the minute I get sick (which is pretty quick, cos my poor body is battered into illness) I go back to the same zone.
There came a point in my life, after 25+ years of trying everything, of hating myself because I can’t do what everyone tells me I should do, and that’s “Not be fat.” It cannot be done. It’s just not possible for this body ever to be anything but fat.
What it is possible for this body to be is healthy. That’s what I want and need from my body, and what my body needs from me. Therefore, I am focusing on my body being healthy, not being “less”. I am moving my body in ways that I enjoy and listening to what it needs by way of nourishment. I have let go of the guilt and emotion around food, and am listening to it. When it tells me it needs green vegetables, I give them to it. When it tells me it needs meat, I comply. When it tells me it needs some chocolate, I also comply. There is no need for me to starve, or purge, or eat weird combinations or quantities of strange things (Ten grapefruit per day diet anyone? My pee burns!!) My body tells me what it needs. If I just stop torturing it and listen.
Which leads me to why I write this blog. I write this blog to help people like me. People who’ve lived most of their lives in pain, depression, self loathing, obsession, anger, guilt, shame, heartbreak. People who put their lives on hold for decades “until I lose weight”. People who are tired of being sold the same old “It’s your fault, you fat, disgusting pig!” line when they have done everything they possibly, humanly can to comply.
This is not a political blog, though sometimes politics ties into it. This is not even a feminist blog, though it has feminist foundations, and sometimes it needs to have a good table thump on feminist issues. This blog is as much for any men who have lived this as it is for my fellow ladies. Of course I have a female perspective, but I’m sure we have a lot of universal truths, we fatties.
I am vehemently anti-diet/weight loss. I’ve poisoned, tortured and battered my poor body for long enough. It’s time I love it, fat and all. It’s time I loved my enormous belly, my back fat, my giant tits, my roly-poly arms, my chubby hands, the hairy bits and pigmented bits and the dimply bits. All those things that I’ve loathed for the past 30+ years. As well as the bits I find beautiful, like my firm arse, my pretty feet, my shapely legs, my full lips, my crazy wild head of hair, my soft hands, my curved upper back, my good skin.
I want to bring other people the peace that I have found with fat acceptance and positive body image. I want other people to not feel the self loathing and pain anymore, just like I no longer feel them (most of the time!) I want people like me to know they are not alone, and people who’ve battered themselves physically and emotionally for their whole lives to find the calm and peace I am finding.
Also, I want to demand the respect I deserve as a human being. Being fat does not make me inhuman, less deserving of respect, kindness, love, consideration. My body should have no bearing on how people treat me. It does, because there is so much hatred and fear for obesity, but I want to be a voice demanding that change. Because I have found the confidence and self esteem and assertiveness to be able to do that. Even if I have to get a bit feral with my language and table thumping to do so.
I want to tell people who’ve never lived this, who think they have the answers, the right to judge, who tell me and other men and women who have fat bodies that we are liars, lazy, disgusting, gluttonous, dirty, shameful to shut the fuck up. I want to tell people who have never experienced what it is like to have an obese body that like to tell me what I am doing wrong that they have no fucking idea, that until they live this, they cannot judge or lecture me and other fat people. That their “concern” is unwelcome and useless. And I want to talk to those good people who have never had to live this, but genuinely want to care and help, and show them how they can, without buying into the bullshit that we have been sold for generations about obesity, diet, body myths and body image. How they can be loving and supportive of the fat people that they care about.
This is also where I have my voice. This is where I process my thoughts, share my feelings and have a good old rant when I feel I need it.
But most of all, I want to see people that matter to me finding the light that I have found. Because I love them and hate seeing them unhappy and hard on themselves. I want them to love themselves as much as I love them.
If it helps ONE other person, one that I don’t know, find that light, it’s even more worth it.