But feeling fat is FAR different from actually living life fat.
Living life fat is a whole different ball of wax. It is an entire lifestyle unto itself.
The other night the Hubs and I were talking about living life fat, and what it has meant for us...what it has meant for me in particular. Here are a few things we mused about:
SWIMSUITS IN PUBLIC. Although neither of us will allow our bodies to prevent us from getting into a swimsuit, hitting a pool or hitting a water park, and enjoying the day with the family, With that said, we certainly feel self conscious about it...and I hate feeling that way. Although I am a large lady, I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished so far in my life. I DESPISE feeling less than because my body looks, well, not so hot in a bathing suit!
RESTAURANTS. Going to restaurants is like an olympic event for us. I have to search the website, make sure they have table seating, not booth seating (booths aren't friendly to large folks) AND make sure that the chairs they have are armless OR large enough to accomodate my very ample rear. It takes so much of the fun out of the experience, but at this point, it has become second nature. I don't want it to be second nature. I like to be spontaneous and free wheeling from time to time. Clearly, living the fat life makes that difficult.
AIR TRAVEL. Air travel really sucks. I am already afraid of flying - I mean, diagnosed Level 4 anxiety disorder where air travel is concerned. Now, add on top of that the anxiety of flying while fat. Seriously, worrying about fitting into the seat, worrying about the person sitting next to you, worrying about how uncomfortable you are going to be...it goes on and on. My favorite 'fat' experiences on an airplane include 1) I I boarded a flight and the attendant proactively approached me and asked me if I wanted a seat belt extender - I travel with my own, so it wasn't necessary...but, you know, I felt really special afterwards AND 2) I had a passenger ask me if I wanted to move to another seat "so everyone could be comfortable". It irritated me so much that it wouldn't have mattered if there was another open seat, I would not have moved. I told him "if you want to move, be my guest." Don't get me wrong, I feel bad when I am flying and I intrude on people's space - I try to avoid it at all costs - but seriously, jack wagon, do you really think I am enjoying the situation!! Try to have a little sympathy - just a little. Anyway, flying sucks. I hate flying fat. And frankly, I won't do it again until I have lost weight...and even then, I may have to be heavily sedated. HEAVILY SEDATED!!
OLD FRIENDS. I hate running into old friends. In my mind the first thing they notice (and it is probably true) is how much weight I have gained since the last time they saw me. It makes me feel so uncomfortable and I avoid it like the plague. LIKE THE PLAGUE! I have a 20 year high school reunion coming up - and guess what, I am not going. Seriously, high school was an odd experience anyway - now add to that the fat thing - just not pleasant. I don't need it.
SKINNY FRIENDS. I love my friends. I really do. Some of my best friends have been my friends for 25 years (boy, my next post is clearly going to be about living life old)...and of course, many of them are thin. REALLY THIN...and health nuts at that! When we go out I always feel so self conscious! They don't drink soda, they always order salads or some unappetizing lean meal - while I am sipping my coke and eating a steak! It just makes me feel BLAH! The worst is when we have 'sleepovers'. They have their cute, tiny pajamas while I am rolling out in yoga pants and the biggest t-shirt I can find. Don't get me wrong, I NEVER regret going out with my friends, and I always love the company, conversation and friendship. However, I initially think of every excuse in the book not to go because I honestly just feel so out of place (also, refer to the section above about choosing a restaurant).
PLUS SIZE SHOPPING. Shopping for plus size women's clothing is tantamount to torture. Seriously, if the US wants to move away from water boarding, they should consider plus size shopping as a viable option! Men's Big and Tall clothes are trendy and well made and easy to find - but women's plus size clothing - whole different story. Plus size designers for the most part are completely out of touch with their clientele. The fabrics, prints, styles and cuts are atrocious - and they charge an arm and a leg for this crap. I suppose they assume we fat women want to look like walking tents. We obviously love hot pink, turquoise (not the pretty kind) or any other bright obnoxious color OR we are trying to look like leopards, cheetahs OR zebras with a few blue stripes thrown in. We also apparently like crop tops and belly shirts - we LOVE showing off our belly flab! Seriously, it is ridiculous. Plus size designers also regularly use non plus size models to market their clothing. COME ON - if you want to sell plus size clothes, use plus size models and mannequins! It is offensive AND I now REFUSE to purchase clothing from plus size shops that do this (Size 6 is not plus size - don't insult my intelligence - and quit sending that kind of message to women!). For the most part, I have been relegated to shopping online - and since I started doing that, I have been happier. I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Sealed With a Kiss Designs - They are the rare jewel in the plus size industry and I love them! Good designs for big bodies, gorgeous plus size models, fabrics that move and breath with a body that needs some flexibility AND no horrific prints. Without them I would not just be living life fat, but naked too.
PARENTING. I constantly worry about how being fat is affecting my kids. I already have a good measure of guilt because I am a working mother. The fat takes that good measure of guilt and turns it into heaping buckets of guilt. I think that the Hubs and I have done a fairly good job where our kids are concerned - and we have tried not to let your physical condition stand in the way (remind me to tell you about the visit to Disneyland and the rocket racers OR the story about me and the waterslide - I sacrifice for my kids) - but the cold hard truth is being fat makes you tired, it limits your mobility (I don't run - I CAN'T RUN), and at the end of the day, there is no way it is not affecting my kids - even if it is just a little.
JOB HUNTING. This was my worst nightmare. On December 31, 2010 I was laid off from my job. I had put in 10 years, was good at what I did, and was well liked by the people I worked with - I thought all of that would net me some job security - boy was I WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. I found myself in a tough economy hunting for a new job and doing it while being fat. Do I think being fat affected my search? Most definitely! In addition to having a lower level of confidence going into interviews, I also had to contend with "the first impression" - which of course in my case is going to include being a very large woman. Now, I know that if I am given a fair shake, my knowledge and personality will quickly outshine my physical condition. I am good at what I do. I have great experience, I am a people person and I bring a lot to the table. Unfortunately, not everyone gives a fair shake - they don't make decision based on job related criteria. I know that I was passed over for a couple of jobs simply because of being fat. Does that irritate me - more than I can say. I hope to NEVER have to go through another job search fat. NEVER!
In a nut shell, being fat changes your whole life. It really does. It is a lifestyle - no question about it.
The above are only a few examples of the things I have had to deal with while trying to navigate the world in a plus size body. I have lived fat for 17 years (various stages of fat, yes, but fat nonetheless). I am so used to it by now that I have no idea what living any other way will be like.
I hope to find out...I really do.
In the meantime, I will continue to live life fat - and I will be happy. I mean, I am happy!! I just want to take down some of these barriers that are holding me back from some of my dreams.
I want to go to Paris!
I want to shop in Paris AND the Rebajas in Spain!!
I want to run on the beach in a swimsuit and feel like
Bo Derek in 10!
Bo Derek in 10!
I don't want being fat to hold me back any more - I've given enough power to it - it's time for me to take it back.
And that is just what I am doing! One pound at a time!
For those of you who are living life fat - what are some of the things that just bug the heck out of you?? And what are some of your dreams you have that you feel can't come true until you are thin?