Friday, January 22, 2010

Fatism & Me: A Retrospective

I've had several go-rounds with major weight loss. My first weight loss began in 1995, after my first husband walked out on me and our two children. I had gone from 120 lbs to 280 lbs in the course of our six year marriage. That weight was purely emotional weight, and once my husband left, and I regained MY life (and self worth), the weight simply melted off with a cleaned up diet (no more wine) and exercise (running). Health was really my goal, I didn't even weigh myself until after I had lost 130 of the ultimate 160 lbs that I lost. I'm very certain that one of the major reasons my first husband left is because of how I looked being obese. We didn't fight, or anything. He met someone thin, and off he went. After I had lost my weight, and was looking really good at 120 lbs (again), it would piss me off to no end, how different I was treated. There was no pleasure in the fact that I was now much thinner than my ex's new wife. And the response I got from men? Well, in some ways it's nice to have them falling all over themselves, but it was searing to me to know that these same men would have sneered at me a year previously. This fact left a permanent impact on my life.

My second major weight loss occured in 2003, I had gained weight back up to 230 lbs, mostly for the same reasons most people gain weight- work, kids, not taking the time to watch what I ate, or exercise regularly. I honestly didn't experience much fatism at this weight. I think there is a threshold of what becomes socially unacceptable for being overweight. There are studies that show what weights (and shapes) women and men become attractive to the other sex. Are there any studies that show when we become unattractive? I'm not sure I've seen those, and it would be interesting. Two hundred and thirty pounds is not the point where I personally experienced direct social consequences for being overweight. And trust me, after a major weight loss, I was alert to any hint of it. That weight I lost by counting calories, and interval training like mad.

The third major weight gain happened after the birth of my last child in 2004. My thyroid shut down and Fibromyalgia kicked in. This weight gain was, in my opinion, for truly physical reasons. My body was already set up for weight gain, and the physical problems I was dealing with just made it overwhelmingly difficult for me to control my weight. But, not impossible. My weight ballooned up to my all time highest of 299 lbs. By far, the most miserable I've ever been. And, fatism? EVERYWHERE. At this time in my life, I was fairly established professionally, and there is a real difference in how you are treated as a morbidly obese woman verses even just being overweight. I look good now, I know I do. But, I'm still overweight at 191 lbs. But, I'm accepted by all the "thin" people now. And, once again, men make eye contact with me, run to hold doors, pick things up for me, you get the picture. I knew the reverse fat-ism that would occur, and was actually expecting and looking forward to it. Now, it's sort of a perverse revenge. But in all honesty, it is helping all aspects of my life, whether right or wrong, fair or unjust, to be thinner.

One last thing on fatism. It wouldn't be a post if I didn't talk about Mr. Wonderful. Let me explain why, at the deepest level, he has earned his title. When I met him, we actually met on line. At that point I was 150 lbs, size 10, and looking pretty good (it was after my second wgt loss). I purposefully did NOT put my picture on that site because I wanted to know whoever was interested in me was interested in me as a human, and not as an attractive woman. Looks come and go, as I was well aware. Mr. W and I became friends, and we fell in love, and I knew his interest in me was genuine, and not dependent on my being hot or not. Good thing, because after our son was born, well you know what happened. He loved me at 150 lbs, 299 lbs, 191 lbs, and whatever weight I may end up at. Don't get me wrong, I'm much more fun (huh huh huh, again) when I'm thin, but I know he is definitely not a fatist. And, there are lots of people out there who aren't. But, there are also plenty of people who are, and I wonder why. Sometimes I even wonder, if after all I've been through, if I'm not also a fatist in some ways. Yes, ME. But, that's another time, another blog.

Happy Friday my friends!

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing this love from our men who really think we are beautiful at whatever size. I have not experienced being thin, so I do not have anything to compare with...but maybe someday :) I know that fatism exists in the workplace. And while sometimes it is how we let fat change the way we act, I know that is not my case. Studies will back it up, but being tiny, cute, and looking good in a pencil skirt will land you some pretty nice jobs. But hey, sex sells!

    Great post!