Now, before everyone tries to write comments on this post about how I'm not fat and how I'm beautiful, etc, etc ... hear me out.
Yesterday a woman asked me if I was pregnant. And apparently she wasn't the only one to wonder this over the past few weeks. And while I don't think it's really appropriate for anyone to ask a woman if they're pregnant (as there are many other reasons a woman's abdomen could be distended - such as ovarian cancer or a miscarriage, things they probs don't want to discuss with you), I can't fault this woman for asking. While naive, I know she was coming from a good place thinking that perhaps I had something to celebrate and she wanted to wish me well. When I responded back with a smile and a chuckle "No, I'm just fat" I really was amused with only a teeny bit of "bummer man" going through my head (but she obviously was mortified). I mean, I'm not blind. I do have a mirror and I can see what's happened. My tunics are now crop tops and my jeans have been relegated to the back of the closet. On some evenings, after a day of eating decadent foods (or, you know, just regular foods, because I'm now 40 and my body apparently is going to do whatever the F it wants), the fat combined with the bloat can give the appearance of my being 6 months pregnant. It just happens. And so I get it - in the wrong shirt with the right light - I could most definitely look pregnant. But nah, I'm just fat.
And I'm OWNING that. By owning it, I'm taking the stigma away. I'm not going to pretend I'm not - where would that get me? I know I am. I've had the body composition x-rays to know that I am. I'm 37% body fat. That's wayyyyyyyyy too much body fat. That actually puts me into the obese category for women. And while I may appear just a bit chubby to most, I'm obese. I have a small frame and just way too much weight on that frame. My joints hurt. Exercise hurts. I'm feeling sluggish and fatigued often. I'm fat. And not just fat, by all medical standards - I'm obese. And while I know it's important to now change that - I will not be shamed by that. Those that are sweet enough to tell me that I'm not fat and who feigned surprise that anyone could even draw such a conclusion, even though they have two functioning eyes in their head, are unfortunately enabling the issue. I AM FAT. And that's the reality of it. And it's something I accept in order to improve. And those that tell me I'm beautiful - they're right - but I'm still also fat. You can be both! It's OK that people say that they're fat. People can and should own their own weight and any corresponding issues. You're a human with a human body and human body issues, it's cool yo!
(But of course, please note here that it's NEVER ok for someone to comment on someone else's body. It's NEVER ok for someone to tell someone else that they're too fat or too thin. It's never ok to comment on someone's boobs or butt. That's just some bold, ignorant *ss sh*t right there. Oh, and my favorite, when I discussed this matter with a couple of men (because, seriously, I'm so open and honest about all things weird and funny that happen in life), some of them felt it appropriate to tell me "not to get too skinny, because that's not attractive" as though their opinion on what my end results would be mattered. Yeeeeeeeeah, that's also NOT ok. They got a stern gaze, silence, a slowly lowered chin & tilted head and a final, judgmental eyebrow raise. I'm just gonna go ahead and determine what's best for me, thank you very much. But this is a whooooole 'nother topic for a whole 'nother day)
But the point to all of this is that being fat isn't a terminal condition and it's certainly not a defining factor of who I am as a person. What makes me ME runs far deeper than that. It simply is what it is and it's just fat. Extra tissue on my body. That's it! Just as my eyes are blue and my hair is brown. While these details may help others recognize me in a crowded place - they in no way define who I am as a person. They have no effect on the soul of me. Same goes for that bit of extra tissue currently hanging out underneath my skin and I shouldn't feel ashamed to talk about it or admit that it's there. I'll tell you I have blue eyes and I'll tell you that I'm fat.
And while yes, that extra tissue on my body does have negative effects on my overall health, it's not something to be ashamed of. Shame is not a good motivator to get healthy. Shame only perpetuates the negative. Self-love and acceptance IS a good motivator to get healthy. And while (especially in today's society) it may sound "easier said than done" to self-love and accept, I can tell you that it's a journey well worth undergoing. I haven't always felt this way, but the older I get and the more I work on myself and, most importantly, the more I accept the realities within my life (for example, being fat) and not feel shame in them, the easier I find it is to accept myself for exactly who I am - amazing flaws and all. And then the easier I find it is to get the lasting motivation needed to make the changes required to evolve into an even better version of myself (be it in education, fitness, being a good partner, etc). Not one of us on this earth is perfect, and there ain't no need to pretend we are! Own it - and then if you want to - improve upon it! I am, and hope to always be, a work in progress.
I live this life in this society with a lot of stress and demands and even a lot more processed food options that can help you cope (for the short term), and well, I'm not perfect (*gasp*)! These easy foods help you prepare a meal when you're too tired. They help you feel better when you're sad. They help you celebrate when you're happy. And, they also get you addicted to them when you're not looking. And that's what I did and now I'm subject to the consequences. I'm not innocent in getting this way and so I must now own the process in order to reverse the process. But I must not feel shame about it, this is sometimes just how life goes. I made the choices and now I'm seeing those choices in the mirror every day and feeling them when I attempt to complete physical endeavors that were once so easy. Do I wish I was still thin, strong and 17% body fat, like I was 3 years ago? OBVS! But life changed in those three years, and in most part for the better, so I celebrated. A lot. With food. And now I'm fat. And I'm not ashamed to say it and I don't think people should scramble to tell me otherwise. Saying "I'm fat" is not equivalent to me saying I'm worthless, ugly or awful. That's what society says - and that's f*cked up. But that's not what I say when I say "I'm fat". I'm simply stating the facts as related to my current medical condition in relation to my weight and body fat distribution. I'm a human being. This specific body operates optimally with a certain percentage of body fat on it and I simply have exceeded that amount of body fat at this time. Hence and there forth - I'm fat. That's it and that's all that means. Let's remove the stigma from saying "I'm fat". I'm still beautiful, I'm still funny, I'm still awesome. But I'm also fat. My self-worth is not tied up in my size or my weight or where I happen to fall on the body fat scale at any given time. Society seems like it wants it to be that way, but it's not - so F society. I'm a wonderful person at 125lbs or 160lbs, but in terms of living my healthiest life, I'll personally do better at 125lbs and so I must acknowledge the issue in order to address the issue. And I'm owning that fact by stating openly and honestly that I'm currently fat. How can I improve if I don't look in the mirror and openly and honestly admit to myself the reality? I'm fat. I don't look in the mirror and say "I'm fat - therefore I'm horrible and don't deserve love or friendship or kindness" ... I simply just say "I'm fat" - pull on my stretchy pants and baggy sweater and bounce out the door, knowing that, as with any medical condition that can be reversed, I will now make the necessary adjustments in my day to counteract the fatness. And that's my choice. Some people might own being fat and then choose to not do anything about it - and that's THEIR choice and that's ok too! Just live in reality and own it. Self deception is the evil that will keep you from evolving.
In the end, I'm incredibly thankful for this experience, as I believe it's going to lend itself to me being able to be a better personal trainer overall. While health & fitness does rely heavily on diet and exercise choices, learning to cope with the emotional aspect is key in order to achieve long term success. I feel this experience, and all the thought I've put into it, will only help me better connect with my clients and aid them on their own personal fitness journey. Cheers to us all, just trying to make it in this world!