A view from a fat woman…

OK, I weigh too much. That’s no shocker. No big surprise. And in the view of most of America, I’m what would politely be termed “pleasingly plump” or if you’re into being more poetic, “Rubenesque”.

I spent most of my younger life very, very thin – yes, I admit it, I was a tiny thing who regularly wore a 6 or below, shuddered to even imagine wearing anything larger than a 22″ belt, and obsessed about the imagined cellulite on my then svelte thighs. Scarlet O’Hara had nothing on me, baby!

Yes, that’s me at the end of high school – I’d already gained weight and at that time, I thought I was “fat” and needed to lose a good 10 pounds. Yes, you read that right. I thought I needed to lose TEN pounds, or more.

Do I ever want to be that thin again? Realistically, no. I prefer to reach a realistic, healthy weight – one that feels comfortable and looks comfortable and one that doesn’t require Herculean efforts to achieve or maintain.

Let’s be honest here, I like food and I hate “structured” exercise. I love to dance, I love to swim, hike and other “active” pursuits, but I can’t bring myself to live solely off rabbit food or liquid “shakes” for the rest of my life.

No thanks.

After gaining considerable weight post car accident (hey, I lost all my baby weight after the kids, dammit!) I developed a pretty bad image of myself… I looked in the mirror and saw fat, dumpy and unattractive… Which led to behaving like a fat, dumpy, unattractive woman. I didn’t care what I looked like anymore. I accepted being “matronly” (ugh) and then embraced “plump” and all the other “nice” terms for “fat.”

On a good day, my image of self was something like this:

Not horrendously overweight, but by no means the svelte creature I had been. (and by the way – no that’s not my backside – and though it does bear distinct resemblance… Even at my fattest, my butt is shapelier than that.)

These days, I see myself a little differently, I’ve learned to look through different eyes, and though I still am not thrilled with what I see, I do see something worthy.

I also see much more realistically, and much more kindly.

I think most women have a very skewed body image. Blame it on marketing, blame it on clothing manufacturers, TV shows, ridiculously thin models, etc. But the fact is, we’ve been taught that “skinny” = “sexy”. How wrong is that?

Before you disagree, tell me, how many would expect to see this woman modeling at a French fashion show?

Shocking? She did. That is at the Gaultier show back in 2006. She is 5’8″ tall and weighs about 290 pounds. Which means she’s at least three of the typical waif-like models. Is she sexy? Or grotesque?

First off, I’m surprised a designer even made clothing for anything above a positively zaftig (in fashionista eyes) size 12 (which seems to be the magic number above which no one wants to even think).

However, I digress.

Back to my reasons for this entry. It is my inspiration, my shout out to myself and the world that I will not continue to accept this state that I am in. The last few years have seen my weight bounce up and down like a yo-yo toy, but it’s time to stop all that insanity.

It’s time to take a realistic look at where I am, and at where I want to be.

You see, I don’t like where I’m at, but I like me, and I’m worth doing something to fix that “where I’m at” problem.

Oh, where am I at? Well… Right about… here…

It’s not a place I’m particularly fond of… But it’s not so bad, either…

And if I look at it with my new eyes, I see a lot to like. I also see a lot to not like so much, but I realize I can do something about those things.

I am not powerless.

I am not weak.

I have a realistic view of self, a realistic goal to achieve and I believe a realistic way to achieve it.

This, then, is my inspiration and my motivation – that thing that drives me on, that helps me to remember to walk more, eat less, drink more water, etc.

Can I do it? Yes, in baby steps.

My first goal? This isn’t a diet, this isn’t a crash course, this is a lifestyle change of going back to the way I was when younger…

That younger self automatically made the right choices, automatically ate according to hunger and fullness, and according to how active she was. That younger self knew something this older self has forgotten, but is slowly relearning:

I am important to me. I matter to me. I count for something.

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