I am not my fat

A month or so ago, a friend of mine shared a link on Facebook to an extremely powerful photo project done by Ganesh Photography. It’s called The What I Be Project and is aimed at honestly exposing our insecurities by exclaiming that they do not make up who we are. You should check it out. You should also have tissues handy.

It was that project that inspired me to write this. These words have been on my mind for weeks, waiting for me to have the courage to put them into print. I’m trembling as I write. I’m hoping that I have the guts to hit ‘submit’.

I have mentioned before that I’ve struggled with my weight. I started my incessant yo-yo diet at 12-years-old with Quick Weight Loss Center. In the past 19 years I have lost and gained more times than I can count, but I always, always gained back more than I lost.

I wore a size 12 at my senior prom. I weighed 165 lbs. I remember thinking how absolutely huge I was. I was disgustingly fat and nobody could tell me any different.

I gained some weight in college (much more than the Freshman 15), and then I lost some weight. I gained some more, lost some more, and gained some more.

I remember crying in the bathroom after I saw my wedding pictures for the first time. I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody that.

I was 25 when I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, and I weighed 256 lbs. The doctor told me to just be careful not to gain any more than 25 lbs. I weighed 278 lbs. when my daughter was born. And I was proud that I stayed within my parameters. But I don’t have any cute pregnancy pictures, because that baby bump isn’t cute on a 275 lb. momma to be.

I waitressed throughout my entire pregnancy. I didn’t take it easy. I still worked 40+ hour weeks (I grabbed every second of OT that they allowed me). I still carried 45 lb. trays. I still crawled under the table to sweep out the crumbs. And yes, I did all of this up until the day before I delivered my daughter. In fact, they tried to cut my hours, and I fought them on it. They’d only schedule me for 3 shifts. I’d pick up 4 more. I moved. I moved faster and more efficiently than the non-preggos half my size.

And that right there is the overall reason I believe I’ve allowed myself to get to the size I am today: I have never felt fat. I have never moved as if I were fat.

And then I had my daughter, and the back pain came. I was told in college that I had misaligned hips and that caused pressure on my spine. I had pain at that time, but it was nothing compared to this. I was told afterwards that because I pushed for so long (2 hours and 53 minutes) that it could have thrown my hips further out of whack, hence the unbelievable pain.

When my daughter was 2 years old, I weighed myself at 308 lbs. I was disgusted with myself, and I started a diet. And I lost 80 lbs.

Then my husband and I split up, and I pretty much didn’t care anymore. Slowly the weight came back on. I’d lose some, then gain more back, lose some, then gain more back.

The back pain is sometimes unbearable, and I know the weight makes it worse. I walk a lot. I push through the pain because I have a destination in mind. I cannot bring myself to do it when it’s just working out at home. It’s too easy to just sit down to alleviate the pain.

I’m not saying any of this to make excuses. They are my reasons. I’m not trying to excuse my behavior.

I sit here today hovering somewhere around 300 lbs. My scale is broken. I step on and weigh one thing, step off and back on and weigh 15 lbs. less. And vice versa. So, I don’t have an accurate number, but it is around 300.

In addition to the back pain, I have pains in my knees now. I get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs (this is new in the past several months). The back pain has been so bad on occasion that I have considered buying a cane. For the first time, I feel fat.

And still, I struggle. I struggle with motivation because I’m depressed about it . . . and when I’m depressed, I want to eat. I struggle with motivation because I’m angry about it . . . and when I’m angry, I want to eat. You get the point. Add to all of that, that I gave up my one other major vice 4 months ago (cigarettes), and it is so not helping.

Again, not excuses, just reasons.

I know that I’ll get where I want to be. I also know that I’m going to struggle a lot to get there. In the meantime, it’s the one major thing that I am so abundantly insecure about. I am constantly wondering what people think about me.

I’m embarrassed every time I go to step on the bus and the driver automatically starts lowering the step.

When I walk up the steps to my daughter’s classroom every day, I try to hide the fact that I’m panting and nervously look around to see if anyone sees me sweating. I won’t take the elevator because I don’t want people thinking, “Hey look at the fat chick who can’t walk up one floor.”

If I’m running around all day and grab something to eat in my travels (even if it’s something healthy), are people thinking, “Oh look at the fat ass stuffing her face”?

I feel miserable every time I have to squeeze my way through a crowded bus, and I bump into people. I’m mortified when I struggle through the turnstile at the train station.

I am always, always wondering what someone is thinking about my fat, about my obesity. I still have trouble saying that. I still don’t feel obese. I certainly don’t feel morbidly obese. I walk everywhere. I walk plenty more than the 10,000 step mark. I’m not sedentary. When I think about morbidly obese, I think of the people on TV who can’t get out of their beds. Not me. But I am morbidly obese. And embarrassment doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it.

But I am NOT my fat. It is my biggest insecurity, but it does not encompass who I am.

I am a mom, one who adores her child. I’m on the board for the Home & School Association. I take her to T-ball every Saturday. I arrange play dates on the weekends. I read books to her, play games with her and dance with her on the sidewalk while waiting for a bus. I even let her go when I don’t want to.

I am a friend and a family member, one who will move Heaven and Earth for the ones she loves.

I am a girlfriend, one who loves her boyfriend. I’m a pain in his ass on a constant basis. I yell at him to go to the doctor, to wear his CPAP, to actually sleep in the bed and not his computer chair. I do all of this out of an intense fear of waking up to find him dead.

I am a writer, one who pours her soul into words spread across a page.

I am a supporter of animal rights, ending homelessness, greener living, universal health care, cancer awareness, education, and so much more. I’m passionate, and I don’t just write about my passions, I act on them. I get involved.

I am a woman, one who feels . . . one who wants to change the world.

I am NOT my fat.

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27 responses to this post.

  1. I couldn’t tell you the size of any of the other moms when I drop my kids off at school. But I do notice the moms that are engaged with the children. That’s all that I’ve ever noticed.

    Reply

    • Thank you Shana! I know a lot of it is in my head, and I need to work through those insecurities . . . this was a huge step towards that goal!

      Reply

  2. I feel you on this post….I can completely relate with so much of it. I haven’t had a child yet and I worry that I may never be able to because of my weight. I weigh way too much…..I hate even telling people…it’s way over 300 sadly….:(
    I don’t want to do a huge blog post on here but just want to say that I can relate with what you’re going through and I know how hard it is…

    Reply

    • Thank you so much for commenting Sharon . . . . This was so terrifying for me to post. It’s also the first time that I ever admitted my actual weight.

      Reply

  3. Dayle – you are an incredible woman who is making amazing strides at changing her life.

    You are beautiful.
    You are powerful.
    You are unique.
    You are many more descriptions… and you are not “your fat.”

    And you are changing that, by posting this. You are changing your life for the better. I’ll be in your corner every step of the way.

    Reply

  4. WOW. I mean, WOW. Dayle, you are one of a kind – no doubt. I know this post must’ve been terribly difficult to write but you did it! You hit submit! I hope your heart feels lighter after getting all of that off your mind. I think what’s most admirable about you is that you never give up. You’re a fighter. Hang on to that energy and channel it to do great things. You already are!!!

    Reply

    • Valerie – Thank you so much for your words as well! They really mean soo much to me!

      I did feel a bit of relief after posting this 🙂

      Reply

  5. Posted by Stephanie on May 15, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Dayle… this made me cry. It’s been on my mind A LOT lately. I lost 35 lbs a while back and after a recent break up put almost all of the weight back on. I was so proud of that weight loss… for the first time in my life I was starting to like how I looked. Now I’m just disgusted with myself. I hate looking at myself in the mirror. I can honestly say that I know I have a pretty face and nice boobs, but as for the rest of me… well, yeah. This post can be applied to ANY insecurity… sometimes it’s hard to not define ourselves by the things we perceive as negative about ourselves. I know that I spend a lot time thinking about how my life would be different if I was thinner. But the truth is…
    I AM NOT MY FAT.
    I AM NOT MY SCARS.
    I AM NOT MY BIPOLAR DISORDER.

    I just wish it were easier to feel that way.

    Reply

    • Thank so much Stephanie! . . . And you are BEAUTIFUL! ::Hugs:: And I LOVE YOU!

      Did you check out the photo project? It’s amazing . . . You really should check it out. There’s one that still makes me cry every time I see it (I guarantee you’ll figure out which one if you look through)!

      You know, this was more difficult for me to write than anything I wrote about cutting or my anxiety. (Ok, the cutting blog was terrifying too, but this was way more so.)

      We are most certainly NOT those things . . . We are strong, beautiful, amazing women . . . . . And yes, I wish it were easier to *feel* that way too! . . . . Until then, we just need to keep re-affirming it to ourselves!

      Reply

  6. Posted by amber on May 15, 2011 at 8:49 am

    You’re beautiful. ❤

    Reply

  7. Dayle, I am typing through my tears and wishing I could give you a hug. I’m so happy you wrote this, but I’m even happier that you know that your weight is NOT who you are. You may be sad or feel overwhelmed sometimes, but you get out of bed every day, you take care of your daughter and you LIVE YOUR LIFE. I am proud of you, I applaud you and I hope to one day be the kind of writer you are. Thank you for being an inspiration, even in your struggles. ❤

    Reply

    • ::HUGS:: Jen! Thank you so much!

      You are an amazing writer and a fabulous friend . . . and I am so grateful to have connected with you!

      Reply

  8. Posted by donna on May 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Great article Dayle. You know I feel ya. This has been the struggle of my life. One thing I would add for me is that everything in my life that doesn’t go as I hope, I blame on my fat. I would have a better job…. if I wasn’t fat. I would have better relationships…if I wasn’t fat. Which is not true and I know that but it hovers over like a sword.
    There is a great article that always inspires me when I read it. I have passed it on to non-fat friends and they are creeped out by it. I love it. Be sure to read “A Parable of Fat’s Creation” at the end.
    http://www.spirituality-health.com/NMagazine/articles.php?id=1771

    Reply

  9. Posted by Mary on May 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    It is hard for everyone to look in the mirror and not find fault in their appearance. Those individuals who we try so hard to impress, or at the very least the ones in which we shy away from because we fear their judgment on our looks also find faults in their own. Why else would women (and men in their own way) spend so much to change our appearances. We buy clothes that tuck in our stomachs, or curve our butts more. We spend hundreds on getting our hair done, makeup done, faces (and bikini areas) waxed, injected, and TONS of other things, all for the sake of impressing others who in reality won’t even remember us ten minutes after we leave. And those who we don’t work to impress so much (like our children) love us all the more for WHO WE ARE! Isn’t it amazing. We try so hard to press upon our children that beauty is so much more than what we carry on the outside, yet we spend more time working to fix the those things the most.

    Reply

    • That’s so true, Mary! . . . . I LOVE this . . . . “And those who we don’t work to impress so much (like our children) love us all the more for WHO WE ARE!”

      Reply

  10. Dayle – Wonderful post. I am so encouraged by this post, by your realization of all that you are and contribute to your family and your world through these powerful words. Read a quote today that struck me: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” -Andy Warhol.

    That is what you are doing, and this is not easy work, facing up to things you want to change about yourself. But I also think it’s equally hard for us to admit just how good we really are.

    -Alexandra

    Reply

    • Thank you Alexandra! I love the Andy Warhol quote!

      I definitely think it’s just as hard (if not harder) to admit the good things about ourselves . . . I also think that we can’t really change the bad without realizing the good!

      Reply

  11. […] Barbie Doll Keep the BMI Away from Me and My Child I am not my fat. […]

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  12. On GB I always thought you were this tiny bleached blonde chick, who maybe had a purple streak sometimes if she felt like it. THAT’S who you are to me 🙂 You are your strength and your love and and your passion!
    This is a very powerful post and your pain touched me so much and makes me SO much more in your corner with your diet.
    Most especially so it will ease your physical pain.
    But also because it will help with all this other pain.
    Most of all, though, because it’s the best thing for you health-wise (and for your daughter). GO DAYLE! Hang in there..you are more than worth it!

    Reply

    • Well, I am currently bleached blonde and I do do the pink or purple streak sometimes (but that’s usually because I screw up when I’m trying to die my whole head pink or purple :P).

      Thank you, Anne 🙂

      I’ve always believed that things happen when they are meant to. I tried to quit smoking for years and years and had very little success. This last time I quit was almost effortless. I have had very little cravings and have not had one strong enough to make me want to give in. Not once. January 19th was the right time for me to quick smoking.

      And likewise with this lifestyle change. August 8th was my time. It is meant to be now and I truly, truly feel that 🙂

      Your support means so much to me! Thank you soooo much 🙂

      Reply

  13. […] I’m Most Proud of — “I am not my fat” – that post was incredibly difficult for me to write. I actually took a nap after posting it […]

    Reply

  14. […] writing prompt and brought tears to my eyes. And in one of my favorite posts by her, she shares her vulnerable side in a way that was extremely relatable and […]

    Reply

  15. […] May, I shared a post titled, “I am not my fat.” In that post I described what goes through my mind on a daily basis regarding my fat. I wrote […]

    Reply

  16. […] whether I am 150 lbs. or 300+ lbs., I am a valid human being who is so much more than a number on a scale or someone else’s opinion of my physical […]

    Reply

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