I am embarking on a new layer or spiral as part of my healing journey. It is probably the hardest piece of my life I have yet to face. It is dealing with shame and guilt and the result of that which has manifested in being overweight. And I hate that term, overweight. I am going to use large. Every day, we are bombarded with messages that say horribly things that only help carry the message of guilt and shame for people about their size; some who are not carrying an ounce of non-required weight. It has created an epidemic of anorexia and other eating disorders. In an attempt to be helpful, I am sure, the medical field has continued to propagate methods for quick weight loss that also create permanent health issues including death. Our society is so wrapped up tight on the perfect image that people in droves are allowing themselves to carved open and subjected to radical procedures such as stapling and banding their stomachs. The results often are newly induced problems like blood clots, the inability to process nutrients and food which then cause severe iron deficiencies, hair loss, diarrhea and more. And often, in time, the person ends up putting the weight back on. And why?
The issue is not in the fat cells. The issue is not the person’s consumption. If this was true, why is it possible for many people to eat the food they do and not gain weight? And do NOT tell me it is because they exercise. Yes that helps, but I know many people who eat whatever and whenever and do not work out and remain thin. My whole family was thin. I am the only one who is large and I ate the same foods they did growing up. I was not allowed to sit and watch TV and it was a rare day I could even sit and read. I rode my bike for miles, swam like a fish, worked in gardens and on friends farms, and when home; chores and yard work. I was not idle. At a certain point in my early teen years, my food was regulated by my mother as she harped on my size constantly. There was no running off to a fast food place to stuff something down. Everyone knew you when you lived in a small town.
And before anyone jumps on their high and mighty, yes of course, there ARE people who eat too much. But that is their choice. We radically are quick to judge a large person. People feel absolutely righteous in proclaiming their opinion on a person’s size. I cannot get with a group of women that without fail and within a short period time, the topic of weight will come up. Often, some zealous person will tell me about their success with weight loss, and leave the conversation with the question unspoken yet there, “what is wrong with you that you can’t….have you ever tried….?”
This does need an answer. But first, I want to address the feeling this produces so that other who walk this walk know they are not alone. And I am making a vow that I am going to reply from now on with, “What makes you think I haven’t tried? I have spent my whole life trying.” And that is the truth. I measure with strong self judgment everything I put into my mouth. I was just about to go into a litany of what I do to as if I need to justify myself. That is stopping also. It is no one’s business what I eat, when I eat and what I do with my body. But I am going to give some examples of how living large has affected me when it comes to the general public.
I stopped ever ordering milkshakes. When fast-food joints started offering them, I tried them and of course loved them. What 15 year old would not? I stopped when someone in line said, “should you really order that honey?” I have never had a milkshake since. I love peanut M and M’s. It was my favorite treat once a month when chocolate is the primary medicinal resolve for discomfort. I remember purchasing a bag and as I turned away from the counter some total stranger had the balls to come up and pat my stomach. I did not eat candy much because I had issues with the lack of strong enamel on my teeth and my hatred of the dentist. Even now writing this, I feel the shame this produced and continues even today when I go out. I am better about it, but not much. I apologize when I order desserts. I used to explain my purchases when I was at the grocery store. Who does that? I would feel the need to explain chips or a dessert and such to the checkout person even if was for a party. Really, who does that? Only someone who has felt the guilt and shame produced from being of size. I have never heard anyone say “oh I am purchasing this 24 pack of beer because I am having a party”, even if they are a raging alcoholic and this purchase was truly going to be consumed that night alone.
And do not tell me that this is self-inflicted. No sir, it is not. Next time you check out of a grocery store, look at the magazines staring at you as you wait. “Lose ten pounds by farting…. You CAN be thin, if you sew your mouth shut…” Ok, I am exaggerating the article titles but not by much. The media pumps this information everywhere. The diet industry is one of the biggest in the nation. I think it is great that there are things out there that do help people, don’t get me wrong. Changing your eating habits to eating healthy is critical. And the older you get, the more important that is. But trust me; people think automatically that if you are large, you do not eat healthy. That is such a lie.
Again, the general public is predisposed to speak their minds about what large people eat. I am not saying all large people eat great, but there are many of us who do. We also are experts on diets because we have probably tried everyone out there. I eat at my desk at work and we do not have doors on our offices. I do not like to take my lunch break because I like to stay focused and keep working. When I do take a break it is to go for a walk… ( ha, shocked huh?) I have done this for as long as I can remember. But it seems my coworkers have no problem to comment on my food. I used to eat salad every day with low fat dressings I make. It was rare day when I ate something different for probably fifteen years. I cannot eat salad that much anymore, so now it is a piece of chicken and egg or a piece of cheese and some prepared veggie or cukes. Without fail, it does not waver much. It is not important to me what I eat as long as it is easy, but it seems many people comment on it. “Oh, you eat so healthy”, they will proclaim in shock. I have had people stand in my doorway and go on and on about their diet and eating habits, like I give a shit. I have one woman who works near me who periodically stops in to see what I am having as if it is a test.
I must also comment on the diet industry, especially Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem. First WW: I have tried WW at least four times. Two were face to face meetings. The last time, I did lose some weight, but I was so put off from the experience I said I would never go back. The woman would weigh everyone in then make a big deal with stickers and hoopla about anyone who had lost five or more pounds. I can remember watching a fellow dieter fight tears and then leave the room because she was so humiliated and frustrated. The WW woman would then spend the rest of her time either talking about her children or selling the WW foods she brought. I have done the on-line twice, with little success. They last time I tried this was when WW decided to not count fruits and vegetables in the points systems. You could eat as much as you wanted “free.” I gained weight. I do not eat meat. I am not a big bean eater either. I took my diet to three nutritionists, who could not figure out why the pounds were not melting off. I spent six months on the strict consumption only to gain three pounds. Screw that! Other diets such as the ones that provide the food for you will make you lose weight, but they do not teach you to eat for life. Chances are you will put it all back on then some only in hopes you will buy their products again and again.
This post is long enough for now. I will continue with a series of posts about this topic as I travel through a new portal. I will explain this all later on.
For those of you who may completely get where I am coming from and may have your own personal history of weight issues, I encourage you to refocus. We are NEVER going to change the world’s opinion on this topic. But you can surely change your own opinion about yourself.
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. The failure is the judgment and lack of compassion of others. Hear me.
I am putting a link here to some very serious medical studies and I will be talking about this in the near future. But, take a look. Take the small assessment. For some, it may open a new door to healing.
I am with you all on this journey.