Ready or not, I'm going to do this. I've made my caveats, and clearly, as a three hundred pound woman (299, it's the same thing), I was the object of fatism. I get it. It's horrible. But, I have to admit that having been there, maybe some of the stereotypes aren't so far off. The actions are uncalled for, but are some of them physiologically programmed into us? That, I can't answer. However, I do know how I've truly thought about the morbidly obese, subjectively and objectively.
Subjectively, well, here are my true confessions from a fat woman. Fat people are lazy. Yes, I was. I didn't want to walk far, please drop me off at the front door. Standing to do dishes, painful. Vacuuming the entire house, not remotely possible. Doing anything active with my young son (or any of my kids), not really. Fat people smell. While hygeine is extremely important to me, it was physically becoming difficult for me to be able to perform some basic hygeinic functions. Specifically, if I wasn't in a handicapped stall, I couldn't reach to wipe myself. Gross, but true. And as far as personality goes? As a fat person, I was miserable. I avoided people, places, and I know I was not fun to be around for my family. I wasn't mean or anything, but I certainly was depressed, and that was hard on everyone. These basic stereotypes about fat people, all true for me. Completely accurate.
Objectively? I would like to think I am a tolerant person (race, religion, sexual orientation) and that I would never discriminate based on any reason, including weight. And, I don't think I would. But, I would be lying to myself if I didn't acknowledge the true feelings I have about obese people. For example, when my overweight friends always order salads when we go out, I think "who the hell are you kidding"? Except for the rare medical exception, overweight people are fat because they eat too much. The end. No one gets fat from eating skinny salads. If you're fat, OWN IT. Don't pretend like you have no earthly clue how you got fat.
I also don't buy the "I've tried everything, and nothing works" excuse. I've had three rounds of major weight loss. DO SOMETHING. Diets don't work. I get it. But, there are other options. I have been fighting obesity HARD my entire adult life. I would literally pick a job based on insurance coverage, if I had to. I believe in access to medical care for everyone, and I know as our medical system stands it's not possible for everyone to have WLS as an option. But, I would exhaust every avenue. And, that's coming from a lazy woman. Sometimes, I want to go up to overweight women and tell them "you don't have to live this way". Like at the grocery store today, the woman behind me was obviously trying to start a diet. She had all kinds of fat free ice cream, and bags of fruit, weight watchers snacks,etc. ALL carbs. No protein. I had to bite my tongue from telling her "good luck". I'm sure she would have been offended, but in my heart, I just wanted her to make choices that might actually work.
Fatism has waned somewhat, and it is terrific that there are so many clothing style options for overweight women. You can dress cute and be fat. OVERWEIGHT WOMEN DON'T NEED TO LOOK DUMPY. It's difficult to be depressed (and I think alot of overweight women are), and care about how you look. But, if you don't try to love yourself overweight, it will be difficult to lose weight. Yes, you need to be honest with yourself, but that doesn't mean beat yourself up. They are very different. And, change is best brought about by love than any other emotion or motivation. Start taking care of yourself while you are overweight, and weight loss will be a natural extension of that.
Lastly, the world may not change to accomidate overweight people. It might, since obesity is the most quickly increasing epidemic. But, for now it's better to admit that OBESITY IS GOING TO LIMIT THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO. Airline seats? Suck. Not fair. I don't like it when people are in my personal space, either literally because they are too big for the seat, or by smell, or sound, or any other way. I would like to think I'd be tolerant of this, but it bugs me. It also bugged me knowing that if I wanted to progress professionally, I would need to not be morbidly obese. That also sucks, and is no fair. However, it's a proven fact that I had to deal with.
I know I am so fortunate to have had weight loss surgery. It's sad that one of my biggest concerns in life is that I have too much food to eat. But, here I am. Truthfully, I am so much happier when I'm not fat. I'm still overweight, but how I feel between now and 108 lbs heavier, is unbelievable. Being thinner, being able to move and physcially do whatever I choose, being able to wipe my ass, being able to take a flight if I want to, wearing cute clothes and actually like shopping, getting positive reinforcement from society, not feeling bad about what I'm eating to the point where I don't care about what I'm eating... GOD, I don't miss anything about being obese. Not one damn thing. I wish I could help every woman who felt bad about herself, especially the ones who are clinically obese. I know them. I will always be a part of that psyche. But at this point in my battle with obesity and fatism, all I can do is figure out what works for me, be honest about my journey, and make myself available to those who are on the same journey.