I am fat.
I’ve spent my entire teen and adult life battling weight gain. I have been to specialists, therapists. I’ve done a thousand tests. Because (and this is where this may sound weird) it doesn’t make sense that I am fat. (And I think that this comes off wrong, I don’t think it has to make sense that you’re fat and I do think that being fat is okay and acceptable and perfectly fine.) But, obesity is not in my immediate family. I exercise often, usually intensely. I run and lift weights. I eat extremely well (except for when I don’t, I guess.) I manage my blood sugar tightly. I do what I am told by doctors.
I have tried prescription weight loss pills. The “sure fire” way that 99.9% of my endocrinologist’s patients lose weight! I followed the directions and worked intensely with a certified dietician. I didn’t lose a pound or an inch. I went through years of psychotherapy with the a top therapist who specializes in diabetes, chronic illness and behavior management. That didn’t work either.
Then my doctor did a test for Cushing Syndrome. I did more tests including an MRI. My blood tests showed moderately high levels of ACTH, and my pituitary had a non-cancerous fleck smaller than is possible to diagnose. It eventually went away after close monitoring. My cortisol levels remain high no matter what, so the endocrinologist called it borderline Cushing Syndrome. She also explained that my body releases cortisol during times of exertion and stress, which helps the body hold on to fat cells. It gets worse: exercise is vital to my blood sugar management, mental health, and overall well being. And… it causes cortisol production. See the problem?
So I finally decided to give up the ghost of weight loss. I don’t think I will ever lose weight, or be a “success story”. I have not given up the idea that I will continue to be the best and healthiest I can be. This does not give me free reign on junk food or the excuse to not exercise. This is simply me taking pressure off myself to fit a certain mold of what a healthy, beautiful body looks like.
It’s torturous being fat in today’s society. There are days when I wish I was given any other body, dealt any other hand of cards. I see women at the gym who can run without ankle pain and contort their bodies in yoga poses that I can only dream of doing due to the size of my body. I often go into clothing stores and thumb through some of the beautiful fabrics, cuts and styles knowing that I am getting side-eyed because the clothes in those stores will never fit me. This may sound like I’m giving up, but it’s actually cathartic. I’m letting go of what won’t be.
I know there are plenty of folks out there who will say it’s crazy and lazy to give up on weight loss. (Probably the same people who see me with my tall, lean, handsome husband and wonder what the hell he’s doing with me.) Do these people feel pity and disgust when they see my body?
These thoughts flutter in my brain. I wish they didn’t. I try not to read the online comments about weight. But when every second post on my Facebook feed is about weight loss – Beachbody, shakes, low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb – it’s nearly impossible to get away from it.
Our society continuously talks about weight and bodies. I don’t want to hear about it anymore.
Tell me about the joy you get from hiking in the woods, or running a marathon. Tell me about the joy you get from reading about different trends in the fitness industry. That’s interesting and I want to hear it. But don’t ever tell me this because you are trying to find a way to encourage me to lose weight.
I don’t need to be told I am beautiful. I truly don’t. (At least not by you. If my husband is reading this: you don’t get a pass. You still need to tell me I am beautiful every day for the rest of our lives!)
But you should respect me. You should know that no amount of fat can insulate a person from the pain of insult. And the size of one’s body is not a reflection of the size of one’s heart.