It’s true people judge you on your appearance rather than your character, achievements or sense of humour and I know only too well from both sides and all sizes, you see in the last 8 years I have been a variety of sizes between 8 and 24, but I’m always the same person underneath regardless of size.
Well that’s not actually true because some people are more obsessed with the outward appearance than the inner character, but for me I have always been me underneath whatever layers and whether I’m wearing a size 8 or a size 18 it’s me, just me with a different thickness of skin. And bloody hell you really need thick skin when people start throwing your weight around.
You see people are happy to discuss yours and other people’s weight and size with you but sometimes forget there might be an underlying medical condition that alters the physical appearance and if you happen to mention health and weight in the same breath well you can almost guarantee hands on hips and a lecture brewing. I firmly believe that people often home in on something about someone else to make them feel better about themselves and that’s why people talk about other people hoping that if someone mentions someone else’s wonky teeth then you won’t mention his or her gonky nose. It’s a defence mechanism.
I lost 5.5 stone once, in 100 days, that was easy. 3 shakes, black coffee and water. Easiest diet I’d ever done. People were aghast and comments included “you’ve lost it too quick, you’ll never keep it off”, “wow it’s you as a teenager all over again”, “what’s your secret”, “can I buy your old big clothes”, “don’t you look fantastic?”. When it came to eating “normally” after a very low calorie diet and working shifts I put back on 2 stone but lost 3 stone easily through a combination of many things which included running a home and family, exercise, shakes and eating. Yes. Eating. Not particularly careful eating either but I burnt the fat fuel effectively. I was thin and I was fit but I also had body dysmorphia and my previously hidden bulimic traits were coming out. I saw an eating disorders counsellor and went through a period of mental unrest before I actually was able to accept that I was a petite 5′ 2″. It’s bloody hard work to maintain and I know.
Following a ridiculously bad case of the ‘flu when I was off work for 5 months I was prescribed steroids and my weight (I had so carefully lost) found me again. With each tablet (at one stage I was on 8 x Preds) I could feel myself expanding and coupled with chronic post viral fatigue, a complete bag of knackered immune system, stresses, anxieties and depression my body went into shut down and the last thing I could think about weight or clothing sizes. My real friends didn’t mention I’d exploded having spent time with me when I was too weak or wobbly to go out and it was only when returning to work and my then supervisor told me that some of my colleagues didn’t know how to talk to me because I had ballooned that I came to the realisation that people don’t talk about your weight with you oh no, unhelpfully, they talk about your weight with other people.
Some women are obsessed with appearance and are vocal about it, weight isn’t the only issue people have to face but it’s the easiest one for others to be fanatical about. Well hello I’ve not always been fat but I’ve always me! When I was doing my O levels a friend was worried I was too thin and offered to ring my mum, my mum said I had a big bum, when I met Big Welsh I was under 7stone and he joked about my big bum. Fat is different to being overweight, fat is the wrong thing to say to say to someone with an eating disorder and saying fat people sit on their arses all day eating 6500 calories have nothing but excuses is damaging.
I’m carrying too much extra weight but I’ve not got any excuses. I’m overweight because I’m lazy, I eat too much and I don’t make time for exercise. Oh I know I should reduce my calorie intake and increase my exercise but so far I haven’t. Those aren’t excuses they’re statements.
I’m fat but I’m me and I’m here which is a much nicer place than being horribly poorly and taking medicines with big fat side effects.