Every person, whether thin, fat, or somewhere in between, has an inner dialogue with themselves about the way they look. Over the past several years I’ve managed to be both the heaviest I’ve every been (even heavier than during any of my three pregnancies), and the fittest I’ve ever been. When I had fought my way toward fitness, there was so much pride in what I had achieved. Crossing my arms across my chest and feeling the muscle tone in my upper arms, running up a flight of stairs without getting winded, having to toss aside a pair of slacks because they were too baggy– all reflections of those few short months that I felt like I had “gotten it.”
While I’m working to get back to that fitter version of myself, there are little life lessons that I want to make sure I remember about this not-so-fit season of my life. If you’ve never been a not-so-fit guy or gal, there are some things about us chunky folk that we’d like you to know:
1) I know I’m overweight. If I say something negative about my weight, please don’t say, “Oh! You’re NOT fat!” We both know you’re lying. Bless their little hearts, my kids are constantly telling me I’m not fat. I love them for it, and I hope that they are learning to judge people by their character rather than their waistline. But Ann Taylor and Eddie Bauer don’t carry my size, and I can see that two of you could easily fit into a pair of my blue jeans.
2) I’m constantly comparing myself to people. Everywhere I go, I size up the people around me, and assume that they’re disgusted by the way I look. Even though I know that they couldn’t care less who I am or what I look like, it’s the dialogue I have in my head. It’s not just the weight, either. I have all kinds of envy– pretty hair, perfect skin, stunning make-up, cute clothes. I constantly compare myself and find myself lacking. The tiniest compliment makes a huge impact on me!
3) There are clothes in my closet that still have the tags on them, because I was sure that buying cute clothes two sizes too small would motivate me to lose weight. The skinny girl in me has some fabulous outfits to wear once she reveals herself! However, t]it doesn’t make me feel good when you offer to give me your fat clothes after you’ve lost weight. Knowing that you’re not trying to be malicious, I’ll probably take them, and I might even wear them. But every time I look at them I’m going to be reminded of the fact that you succeeded where I have yet to succeed.
4)Unless it’s obvious that I’ve lost weight, please don’t ask me if I’ve lost weight. It seems like a nice thing to do, encouraging even. “You look great– have you lost weight?” is the opposite of encouraging.What if I’ve actually gained a few pounds since you saw me last? I’ll have to admit it. How ’bout just, “You look great!”? Can we just leave it there?
5) Please don’t assume that just because I’m overweight, that I eat like a pig. I do have some self control. If I ask for just a small piece of cake, I’m not just trying to look good in a crowd. I actually eat salads and vegetables (on purpose), I prepare health meals and keep in the fridge, ready to eat.
It’s possible that a lot of these thinks apply to thin people as well. Because really, aren’t we all just a thinner person stuck in a larger body?
Cheering for YOU!