Current Happenings

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Utter Fear of Fat

"I'm so afraid of getting fat!"

"I don't eat on Thursdays and Fridays, so I can eat regular foods during the week and not get fat."

"My legs are awful! The are just so big. Does that mean that I am doing to get fat?!"

I see and hear all sorts crazy comments from young women about their fear of getting fat. I've heard the panic in their voices. As a rather fatty gal myself, I wonder why the idea of 'getting fat' sets so many women into a fit of hysteria.

Life isn't so bad as a chubby gal. I just thought that I should say that right off the top. A little squish on the parts doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me. I know that there are lots of women who feel differently though. One friend and I are practically the same size, and while I'm grinning about how I can jog and play games, she is crying over the number on her jeans. I know that she isn't alone in her upset over the size of her posterior, but sometimes I certainly feel rather alone in my utter lack of fear.

There are some things that I might not like very much, though I don't know that I could say that I feel 'fear' about them. I don't like the idea of missing out on zoo trips because I might not be able to walk all that way, because of weight. I don't like the idea of wearing ugly clothing, just because bigger clothes all look more appropriate on my grandma than me. I don't like the idea of having a less exciting marriage bed because I might not be physically up to doing and experiencing things that are the most pleasurable. I don't like the idea of developing illnesses because extra weight is a strain on my body.

With all of that said, a little extra padding on my body isn't going to stop me from having any of the good things that I love! I don't think that fat is the big killer of all things good that some women seem to think. Sure, having a large excess of fat on one's body will steal much freedom and health from a person. Does that mean that all girls and women should live in fear though? I guess I can't change the way that other people feel, but I won't live like that!

Believe me when I say that 'fear of fat' is a recurring theme in my adult life. I've lost weight before, just to allow my bad coping skills to steal that freedom from me. I feel so happy for Tony, that he feels a deep conviction that this is it for him- he'll never relapse into bad habits. I wish that I had that sense of conviction, but mine doesn't burn quite as brightly as his. That is not to say that I expect to fail and put on a bunch of weight, just that I know that if I live the rest of my life with some extra cush to my tush, it's not the end of the world.

This is something that I deal with all of the time, because people expect me to fail. Sadly, sometimes I wonder if there aren't a few people who might be happy if I did. Still, I am so happy to have this increase in freedom and health that comes with being fit. Please notice that I didn't say "thin" or "skinny". For me, I don't worry about gaining weight because I know how much I enjoy being able to kick around a soccer ball, or even just window-shop at the mall. The added weight that I carried was putting so much stress on my knee that there were some days when walking back and forth to the bathroom was as much exercise as I got. I would take Motrin and spend a couple days laying in bed, in tears. I'm not afraid of fat, but I sure do love being able to walk. I think that maybe all of these weird body image issues stem from the condition of our hearts, and what we want from life.

I enjoy taking care of my body, because it does great things for me. It has nothing to do with the number on my jeans, nor whether other people find me attractive or not. Is it important to have a tiny butt? Or is it important to be fit enough to play games with children, strong enough to carry groceries home from the corner store, or physically able to giggle like a school girl while ice skating hand-in-hand with a handsome man? Give me horseback riding, white water rafting, camping, hiking, or even just strolling along the river at sunset. I'll take all of those as motivations long before I ever let some fear rule my life. I wish that more young women (and older women!) would strangle their own fear, and find the absolute joy in doing as much as they can with this life. Our bodies are the vehicle that we have, and if we want to go far, we should take care of it. Maybe my body is more like an old Ford pickup than a mini Cooper. I'm alright with that. *grins* I'm all about taking control of this journey and wringing every bit of goodness out of it.


Linda said...

I've always been overweight. The fat has always been there so I can't say that I have a fear of it either. It's there and I live my life the best I can. Like you I may not like some things but I don't think I fear it.

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

I have been overweight my whole life almost( my weight problem began when I was 18 months old), and being overweight has always been part of my identity. I have 3 sisters who are thin and have always had strange body issue things which has amused me often.In my strange and demented sort of way of looking at life I have enjoyed destroying strange assumptions that people have because of my weight. It has been a lot of fun I admit, but now the time has come to do and be something different it seems

Kari said...

Amazing post!