I am a fat chick. There is no getting around this. I'm 5'4" tall and currently weigh 183lbs (just hopped on the scale to see what damage my PAX/reception/flu stint had done to my progress). I accept this because, well, denial is a river in Egypt and I currently live in Tucson.
A few nights ago, during the worst of my late night coughing fits, I was chatting with one of my online girlfriends who we will call C, who also happens to be a self-styled fat chick, about people's relationship with the word fat. And boy, is it skewed and unhealthy to a major degree.
I cannot say in chat that I am fat without people jumping in with "Oh, you're not fat" like my poor little ego can't accept a perfectly valid descriptor of my body type. I have had people say that they genuinely believe that I am not fat, have said that I carry my weight well and have even been called shallow for trying so very very hard to lose weight. However, as soon as I bust out some honest numbers they all get quiet, because you just can't argue that I am carrying too much weight for my frame. I think C summed it up best when she said "It's like there's a fat cutoff point in most people's minds, and all their friends fall below it". However, many of those same people who try to convince me that my size 16 butt isn't big have no issue with being ugly about OTHER people who are fat and that's where I get angry.
Fat people are just that, fat. As a whole, they are not stupid, lazy, disgusting, ugly or (dare I say it) out of shape any more than anyone else. Those other fat people who aren't your friends, the ones who are "really fat"? They aren't any different from me. Some fat people overeat, some actually eat very little. Some skinny people work their butts off and some couldn't keep up with me during my warm up, much less my runs. My husband weighs in at 163, eats more calories than me and I have to FORCE him to work out half as much as I do. You know what he has that I don't? It's not willpower. It's not value. It's two skinny parents, where I was lucky enough to be born to a father who has fought his weight his entire life.
Now, I am not some sort of fat apologist. Carrying a lot of extra weight is hard on your body. I have been working my butt off and am down 20 lbs from when I got married in April(and yes, I weighed 200lbs when I got married and MY WORLD DIDN'T END) and eventually would like to get down to around 140. I'm doing this because where I am isn't healthy. Eventually my husband and I would like to have kids and maternal obesity can lead to all sorts of health risks for your offspring. Also, I don't want to be dealing with diabetes when it can totally be prevented.
What I am saying is that we really need to reevaluate our relationship with the word fat. It's a descriptor, nothing more. Fat does not mean all of the horrible things that have gotten caught up in our idea of what it means when someone is overweight. I think coming to grips with fat will help people feel better about themselves. Yes, I am fat. I am also cute, smart, fun, in good shape and look FANTASTIC in a corset. And you know what? Feeling like that, compared to crying every time I looked in the mirror because I associated "fat" with "failure", has made it so much easier to commit to losing my extra weight.
So, you know what? Next time I say I'm fat I'm not going to get all upset if you agree with me as long as we're using it as a descriptor and not a value statement.
As a bonus I found this fantastic rant on YouTube by Joy Nash, a beautiful and funny woman who is also tired of the tragedy of fat.