Friday, 15 February 2013

Here Comes the Pride

It's time to address a weighty problem.

Recently, I've been trimming the fat off the meats I eat, grilling foods and counting calories, all in the name of...well, what really??

When I started this Blog, I also started a weight-loss regime, and I detailed my exploits under posts named "The Wide Bride". And last week, I complained that a lot of people have been mentioning my weight and how it will affect the way I look on my wedding day.

If I'm trimming the superfluous stuff off of the things I eat, maybe I should stop trimming down the things I say to make them more digestible.

Right now, I am very overweight - according to both my Doctor, and the bathroom scales, who we will call 'mutual observers'. I have always been on the bigger side of slim: the smallest I have ever been was during my College years, where I ate less, practised Karate and went to the Gym three times a week. I wasn't always happy during that period - what 16 year old is? - but I had a pretty good time, good friends and a mostly positive attitude.

I'm going to be honest - I am about four stone heavier now than I was at College. I still have a positive attitude, I'm more adjusted, I have excellent friends, a healthy social calendar, a loving family and I'm very comfortably in love. 

If you plotted the last seven years on a graph, the only line going downwards would be my weight. See?

Not pictured: Level of Romantic Conquests (plummeted after age 17; didn't recover until Present Day)

My point is: why is this a problem? The short answer is "it's not" - being overweight hasn't stopped me scoring a great job, a gorgeous husband-to-be, and made me a possibly better daughter, sister and friend.

All of the "watch your weight" comments have come from people who don't know me: clients at work, people from church, random strangers. They don't know that I'm happier now than I was when I was slimmer. They see a fat person, and then they assume that I follow all of the common tropes of a fat person: that I eat because I'm unhappy, that my home life must be difficult, that my parents must be overweight too.

I admit, there are things I would like to change about myself: I don't like certain parts of myself, but I'm aware that losing weight won't remedy that: I need to change my attitude. When I was 16, I never liked my figure. When I look back at photographs, I realise that there wasn't really anything to dislike. 

If you're reading this, and you agree with me, there might have been times where you decided to lose weight. Was it for the right reasons? 

  • My friends make fat jokes and I don't want to be the butt of them
  • I feel uncomfortable in my own skin
  • I can't wear the clothes I like
  • Everyday activities cause me discomfort
  • I want to be able to keep up with my kids
  • I cause my family embarrassment
  • My partner will find me unattractive
These are all reasons I have used to justify weight loss in the past. Clearly, not all of them are healthy.

Healthy is a good word - if you're healthy in body and mind, that's universally a good thing. I know overweight people who are happy, successful, dress gorgeously and don't spout negative body talk, and I know slim people that are exactly the same. Jealousy and negativity don't come in sizes.

I acknowledge that I have a choice - I know that eating well and exercising make me feel good, but going a day without sit-ups or having the odd burger doesn't make me feel bad.

I'm going to make a promise to you all - I promise that all of the negative talk, all the "Wide Bride" jokes stop here, because I can't complain about being judged if I'm judging myself. In turn, my dear readers, please promise me that you won't judge anyone with the harsh terms I have used. While it's easy to remember not to make a racist or sexist joke, for some reason, overweight people are acceptable targets, and that isn't fair. Please think and think again the next time you consider making a fat joke.

I look forward to you seeing me in my dress! It's going to be awesome - whatever shape I am underneath. 

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