Recently I was reading a blog and the writer posed the question, “when did fat become a feeling?” I can’t recall the blog unfortunately because I read it and thought it was a good question but kept going on my way reading through other blogs. (I have a short attention span) Later that day I was reading Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size and she stated in her book that fat is NOT a feeling.
I had not really given this much thought before now, but I certainly know that I have said aloud, “I feel fat today!” And I have heard other women say the same thing. But as Linda suggests, there are feelings behind that statement that should be explored. And this really got me thinking about ‘fat feelings’ and where they come from.
I went out for dinner to a restaurant with a group of women. I was the oldest in the group and at the end of the night I felt like the most fat and unattractive in the group. None of the other women did ANYTHING directly to make me feel uncomfortable; everyone was very nice and friendly. However, the conversations that occurred really stood out for me. First, one of the women just finished a low-carb diet to lose some weight for an upcoming event. Several women commented on how amazing she looked. Personally, I didn’t see the reason for the weight loss, because I thought she was already stunning. This conversation of weight loss went on for a while, with a few making comments about wanting to lose weight or how to lose a few pounds, and it made me uncomfortable because I was visibly larger than each of these women. I could not help thinking that if these women thought they needed to lose weight, what do they think of me? At one point, the manager of the restaurant that knew two of the women came over to our table and he chatted with them. Then he looked at and addressed each of the other women at the table but deliberately ignored me. WTF? And it was not my imagination, I watched his gaze scan past me from the woman to the left of me to the one on my right. He didn’t speak to me at all.
At that end of that evening I thought I felt ‘fat’. But looking back on that event I know now what I felt was invisible and unimportant. Really, I couldn’t care less what that manager thought of me because he was just rude. And the other women were really wonderful and fun to hang out with. It was my own damaging thoughts that ruined the evening for me. It was the same thoughts I had as a kid. Although it has taken me years to get here, my attitude is changing and I know what to do when I start having those ‘fat’ thoughts. I change that dialog in my head, and recognize those thoughts as unproductive. It really is bullshit the stories we tell ourselves. Also, if I’m with a group of women and they start talking about dieting, I will try to change the topic. The diet talk is exhausting to me, and pointless. For me, a big part of learning to eat intuitively has been more about emotions and how I feel than the actual food itself. Also, it is about how I treat myself on a day to day basis. Wow, who knew?? It really isn’t about counting points, calories, and numbers on the scale!