A friend posted this on Facebook about “Fat Talk.” You need to watch it to know what I’m talking about. It’s only about two minutes. I’ll wait.
I seem to be seeing a lot of this lately. We’re not supposed to call ourselves “fat” because we’re degrading ourselves and it’s damaging, or some such. Yeah, I get it. I’m supposed to be happy in the skin I’m in. I’m supposed to love myself for who I am. I’m supposed to get past the body image crap that we girls grow up with thanks to society and the media. Well, guess what! I am. I did. I used this body to produce three of the most beautiful children the world has ever seen (yeah, I said it!). I am forty-two years old and looking like I did in high school is not a priority for me, and I’m okay with that. I do not loath my body. I do not hate myself for the extra 60-75 lbs (depending on the month) that I am carrying around.
But I am fat. I do need to lose that weight. I don’t need to lose it because I don’t love myself when I’m fat. I need to lose it because I love myself and want to be healthy. I don’t need to lose it because I want to like myself when I look in the mirror. I have to lose it because I DO like myself when I look in the mirror and I want to see that face get old! I don’t need to lose it so I can strut in a bikini, that ain’t ever happening again at any weight. I need to lose it so I can breathe better at night, so my knees feel better, so I don’t get so winded running around after my kids. I’m so out of shape, it’s almost as bad as when I was smoking. Almost. I don’t hate myself for being fat. I do get upset with myself for letting it get this bad.
I have a daughter about to turn ten years old. She is already well aware of the whole body image thing. She knows that her mom is overweight. We can say fat. I am fat. We can just call it overweight if that feels more like a medical term and makes everyone comfortable, but it’s semantics. My daughter knows that I am struggling with my own issues that cause me to gain weight and to shirk my responsibility for my health. But let me be clear, any negative body image crap she’s picking up on is not coming from me. She has NEVER heard me say that I hate any part of my body. She has heard me say that I am disappointed in myself for not getting healthy. She has never heard me “wish” to be thin. She has never known a time when her Mommy wasn’t willing to dress up with her and feel pretty. To walk tall and confident. I’m far more proud of that confidence that I’m trying to pass on to her than I am ashamed of my short falls in the fitness area.
And even more importantly, she has never seen her father wane is his attraction to me. She has never, EVER heard him make any disparaging remark about my body, my weight, my size, or my clothes. She has never heard him say anything to me or about me except that I am beautiful. I know this because that’s all I have ever heard from him. Yes, I am a lucky woman. If I could wish anything for my daughter, it’s not that she always stay in shape. So many things can affect how fit a person is at any given stage in life. I wish her health, but fitness is not as important as confidence. My one wish for her would be that she always be confident enough to wait for that man who will love her like her daddy loves me. And for that matter like my father loves my mother. Some extra weight has never been a reason for even the most mild of negative thought or remark.
The media is pounding on my girl every minute about body image. I know. And for lots of girls it’s too much. I pray every day that she will be stronger than that. I think I’m doing the best I can for her on this one, though. Not by going on about how beautiful she is no matter her size, and not by telling her that fat is beautiful. Instead I’m showing her that fat is just another thing. I’m also really bad at keeping up with the laundry. None of us is good at everything. I’m not so good at staying healthy, but I’m working on it. It’s a constant struggle. I think I’m pretty emotionally healthy, if not physically.
All that said, I’ll be jumping back on the wagon after the holidays. We had family pictures taken for the church directory yesterday. That was a bit painful. I swear I don’t look that fat in the mirror. I did not see a healthy woman in that picture. I did see a happy one, though.