Have you ever been called fat before? No? Lucky you.
I’ve been called a lot of things but the only word that has a sting behind it has to be the word fat…especially when someone calls you that word not knowing that for years you struggled to get to a place where you could stand in front of the mirror without pinching and picking yourself apart.
I’ve shared how I had low self-esteem in the past but I didn’t dig deep and open up about how my weight and appearance was really the center of it. So to continue our annual observance of health in all areas of life, I’m going to discuss the life of a “fat” girl.
I was a dancer for almost 13 years. Of all the dance disciplines I studied, I enjoyed ballet the most. Ballet was really my escape from the world but as I got older and my body started to develop I quickly became one of the larger girls in the class. At the time I was no where even close to being fat but I felt like I was, and that’s where my mental weight struggle began.
I wish I had photos from those days so I can include them in this post, but they’re in my storage unit so I can’t share them at this time; but just know that I wasn’t fat at all – I was really fine. LOL…ask anyone that went to high school with me. The photo above was of me when I was in 10th grade I believe and yeah…I thought I was fat. *rolls eyes*
When I went to college, I gained weight for several reasons. I quit dancing my sophomore year in college and I wasn’t eating very healthy and sometimes I didn’t eat at all. In my mind, I was already fat and having that attitude didn’t help me. It was very self-destructive. I honestly didn’t realize how many pounds I’d packed on until I graduated and was headed to grad school. The photo at the very top of this post was right after I’d started my masters program in 2010 along with the ones below.
By this time, my weight wasn’t just affecting me mentally. It had begun to affect me socially. I didn’t want to go anywhere and I hated shopping because I didn’t like the way I looked. Anytime I went out, I’d compare myself to the other girls and either wish I had their waist or their arms or their thighs and so on. I didn’t feel pretty, I didn’t believe I was pretty and I was so insecure.
The relationship I was in at the time wasn’t the best either. I was so miserable and I’d try to lose weight but I didn’t have any support and that made it even harder. I knew that it was my responsibility but I needed someone to help me in a constructive way. My then-boyfriend didn’t want to go to the gym with me, my mom picked me apart every time I saw her and one of the girls my then-boyfriend had cheated on me with called me fat and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I slipped into a dark and gloomy place and I hated everything about my life but most of all, I hated the way I looked. I spent many days and nights crying. People even came to this blog and left comments about me saying that I was “pretty but too fat.” It made me so angry and sensitive and I wasn’t the Jessica you would meet today…not even close.
Needless to say, I ended the relationship and I started going to therapy and I essentially started over with my life.
Weight loss is so much more than exercising your body. You have to exercise your mind and get to the actual root of your weight issues. Even now, I still struggle with my weight but it doesn’t make me sad and depressed like it used to. Instead I use my energy to tap into what makes me gain weight. I’ve learned that when I don’t feel good about my life or a certain aspect of it, I gain weight. When I feel good and I’m positive and uplifting myself, I lose weight. I exercise about the same as I always have but because my self-esteem is at a healthy level, I’m able to look better on the outside.
The above picture is a month’s progress…I haven’t taken any lately but I can tell that I’m still slimming down. I’m not where I want to be…I would love to shed at least 10-15 more pounds but I don’t pinch and pick myself apart in front of the mirror anymore. I can look at my body and smile and feel good and sexy and all the good stuff in between. I can work out and not feel defeated. I feel empowered and encouraged instead.
I can finally love myself again and when someone calls me fat (because they still do…happened twice not too long ago) I laugh and know that only people who are hurting themselves would use words to hurt someone else. And if you use the word fat to refer to someone, please check yourself. You have no clue how that can make them feel or where it takes them mentally and emotionally. If you’re genuinely concerned about their health, there are better words to use.
I’m thankful that I’m in a better place and I don’t look at myself as the “fat girl” anymore. I feel good and it’s showing. :)