|The one question I kept asking myself:|
How in hell did I get this big?
We all live our lives by labels. Those governed by birth are immovable. Whether you're a baby-boom, Gen-X or millennial, you'll be one for the rest of your life, even if you lie about it. Some birth labels, like nationality, look permanent but can be changed, and some we have even more say on, at least in theory. I've lived with one label too long.
If there is a word in the language I hate, that's the one. Clinically, it means someone whose Body Mass Index is higher than 30; when the extra weight can really starts to compromise someone's health. But to the many non-medical people, obesity is a character flaw, not evidence of a health problem, a weakness in someone else that can be exploited.
|60 lbs. down and|
I'm still OMG obese
And that kind of thinking can be hell to live with when you're obese.
See, part of the pain of being really big is how that kind of treatment undercuts your confidence. Graduate with honors? Yeah, but you're still obese. Complete a 5K? Doesn't matter if you're big as a house. Lose more than a hundred of those extra pounds? Well, that's a really good effort darlin', keep up the good work, but don't think that you've earned my respect. Not unless you're thin.
For the last 30 years or so, I've heard that old song while I rode the roller coaster of weight gain. See, as the scale numbers went up, my sense of self-worth plummeted. Like lots of other overweight people, I tried to compensate for my size by being smarter, funnier and nicer. Instead, I just got more tired, sadder, and fatter. While trying to get thin and earn respect, I learned about the degrees of obesity. I watched myself morph from an obese woman into severely obese one, then morbidly obese, and finally super obese. And I learned all my compensation efforts didn't work. Those who liked me liked me at any weight; everyone else turned away. Eventually, the fat almost became an invisibility cloak. Because many don't like to look at fat ladies huffing and puffing along, so they turn a blind eye. Heck, by that point, I worked hard not to notice myself. Between that and turning a deaf ear to anything that sounded like negative criticism, I didn't realize how bad my health had become until I was in very bad shape.
|Overweight, yes, but,|
Then, a few weeks ago, the scale numbers dropped again, and my Body Mass Index fell below the dreaded 30. If you looked at me, I doubt if you could tell the difference but a burden's been lifted. I'm still too heavy but that label with dread connotations no longer applies to me. After 30 years, it's the sun just rose and it feels like a whole new day.
Being overweight never felt so good.