Like most fat people, I have been on many and varied diets; and like most fat people, I ended up fatter than ever.
I still can’t believe it took me so long to figure out it was the diets that failed, and not me. I mean, it seemed clear that diets worked – after all, I lost the weight didn’t I? So it must be my fault that the weight kept coming back and then some. Life is hard enough without looking for things to blame yourself for? I just had a big disconnect between the dieting and the ultimate result.
Thank the powers that be for NAAFA, where I first heard and read about the failure rate of diets; where I first realized I was not the only one – in fact, it was the people who actually kept the weight off who were in the minority – just a smidge of the people who dieted didn’t end up yo-yoing. My recollection is that I had already stopped dieting by the time I got to NAAFA – I just didn’t have the facts to back up my decision. Having the facts gave me the tools to deal with other people – like healthcare professionals.
Before NAAFA, I had done a lot of reading about affirmations, creative visualization, I had discovered the world of fat-friendly Personals (there are people out there who find fat folks attractive and desirable – I knew I was attractive and desirable, but how lovely to find out there are people who would agree with me!) and magazines (like Dimensions) and BBS (precursors to websites/chatrooms, etc.).
All of which helped me stop and think about what I really wanted for myself, and found that there was no reason I couldn’t achieve what I wanted without dieting. I also discovered that I liked myself. I wasn’t perfect, but who wants to be perfect? Where’s the fun in that?
I embraced myself as a fat girl. Yeah. It was freeing to finally acknowledge that this is who I am and who I would (most likely) continue to be. I no longer made excuses about my weight. I expected people to deal with me “as is”.
And most importantly, for me, I embraced the word FAT.
Yes, I was fat! I now knew I no longer had to be afraid of the word fat and you couldn’t hurt me with it anymore – it was MY word.
When I was offered the chance to tour with Bottom’s Up as the fat girl, I was so there. The gentleman who told me about the job was so embarrassed to tell me that they wanted someone to be the “fat girl”. I laughed at him, and told him I am the fat girl. It was such a great feeling to not dance around the issue of size anymore. And of course, as I’ve mentioned before, the great Breck Wall told me that while I was the fat girl, I needed to be the glamorous beautiful fat girl! Ahhhhhh.
While on the road, my car got broken into, and I had to have police report filled out. I told the cops I weighed 250, and the cop wrote down 215 – I told him, “No, I said 250, 2-5-0”. And he actually said he heard me but he was being “nice”. I didn’t get mad (maybe I should have), but I told him that it was okay to put down the correct number, because my weight was part of my job security. He was so befuddled to meet a woman who was okay with her weight.
One of the things that stopping the diet-go-round did for me, it helped me to stop living with “scarcity-mentality” I no longer feel the “need” to eat the “whole thing” every time. I know that I can eat what I want, and then put it aside because I can have more whenever I want to. I know that I don’t have to eat everything in the house today because tomorrow, I diet. I think my relationship with food is more healthy now.
Here’s my little song I wrote (to the tune of Tomorrow, from Annie with tongue definitely planted in cheek) about dieting, and how I would eat before I started the (next) diet:
My diet will start tomorrow,
Bet my big fat bottom that tomorrow, I’ll begin
Just thinking about tomorrow,
do you think I’ll look like Mia Farrow? I’ll be thin!
But ’til then I’ll eat pie, and cake and pizza,
A choc’late e’clair cuz I don’t care
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll diet tomorrow, it’s only a day away.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re always a day away.