Throwing Your Weight Around

Today’s view from my veranda is the garden my husband built me from repurposed lumber and an old door he got at a second-hand store. Over the weekend, I cleaned out the remainder of the garden, which consisted of a variety of tomato plants. They weren’t producing a lot and the tomato worms were having a party with the leaves, so I gathered them up and tossed them in the back part of our acre and let the worms have a field day. Meanwhile, I wait for the artichokes, lettuce, Brussels sprouts and greens to grow.

Recently in the news, late night talk show host James Corden responded to commentary about fat shaming by another talk show host that I choose not to mention. The host will be referred to as he-who-must-not-be-named, like in the Harry Potter books. My blog…my rules.

If you heard about the story, the other guy stated we needed to do more fat shaming in society. There was far more talk on his part but that about sums it up in the kindest way I can write.

Corden shared a rebuttal. I’ve always been a fan of Corden’s amazing musical talent and gift of gab, but he made me a bigger fan, pun intended, because of his eloquence. Pointing out to an adult male that encouraging fat shaming is another form of bullying is spot on.

Growing up, I was actually average weight. When I graduated from high school, I weighed 140 pounds at 5’9.” My parents went through a divorce when I was starting high school, but I still remained at a healthy weight. I played basketball, competed in speech, drama and one-act play competitions, and worked summer jobs as a waitress and then on the farm with family members, both in high school and college. If you look at the weight chart, you’ll see I was well under the healthy weight requirements suggested. I seem to remember the chart reading I should weigh between 128-168 and I think I may have peaked in college at 150. Women all over the south just fainted because I shared my weight range. Oh, I’m 55, for those women who were holding it together so as not to pass out the first time.

I remember when I looked at overweight people as a young teenager and in my early 20’s, I wondered how they got so large and let themselves go. I couldn’t really conceive it. Then life happened.

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire adult life. Wearing a size 8 wedding dress, I got married in my mid-20’s. A few years later at 27, I had a baby. I gained a significant amount of weight when I got pregnant and never really lost it, not because I wasn’t happy as a mother. Instead, I wasn’t happy as a wife, so I found solace in food. The weight literally kept piling on. I hadn’t seen 150 since my wedding.

A few years later, I went through a divorce, a bankruptcy, a foreclosure, and a move out of state and the weight actually came down. I found happiness in a new marriage, but this time I wore a size 14 instead of the size 8 from more than a decade earlier. A number of moves, new jobs, and other family challenges and the numbers began to climb once again.

I’ve had active moments. I’ve completed a half-marathon. I’ve trained with a heavy bag, building my upper body strength while getting rid of some frustrations. I’ve even worked out with the Wii, cursing the virtual assistant as I squatted, ran in place, and did lunges. I’ve owned treadmills, weights, and elastic bands. I currently have an exercise bike and an exercise ball in the spare bedroom.

I’ve yo-yo’d from 150-250. Yes. I have gained an entire young adult in my life, multiple times. And I’ve used self-deprecating humor to ease both my discomfort and that of others. I say I’m “twice the woman I used to be” or talk about the various sizes in my closet from 14-22.

I’ve never related to people who jump up and go for a run when they’re stressed. The last thing I want to do is apply more pain to my already out-of-shape body. Should I? Most definitely, yes. However, my choice tends to be to go in the kitchen and find the closest unhealthy snack I can find or cook something with the south’s favorite ingredients – butter and sugar. I’m a self-identified stress eater. If only my choices were a big salad with no salad dressing. I love salad but it’s not my go-to stress meal and probably never will be.

All this is to say, the struggle really is real for those of us who have been challenged with our weight most of our lives. I have yet to identify something in me that wants to continually maintain a specific diet, even though I truly know it works and that I should. I have moments when I look in the mirror and I’m good with how a look and then other times when I’m incredibly depressed about my body.

I admire those who are comfortable in their skin, whether it’s small or large. I have to admit that secretly I question if they really are comfortable since I can’t relate.

Will I always be overweight? I have no idea. What I do know is fat shaming is really not cool, even if you’re doing it to try and help motivate someone. As James Corden said, it doesn’t work.

I’ve had a lot of failures in my job, my marriage, and my parenting, but I’ve had far more successes in those areas, which is why this isn’t the easiest thing to admit. I know I’ve failed at weight loss/gain and I don’t like it. Will I do something about it? Absolutely. Will I be successful? Maybe. If I am successful, will I maintain it? I hope so. My track record would show otherwise.

So he-who-must-not-be-named will probably continue with the fat shaming and other people shaming that he is known for and it is his right to do so. Weight loss will be a challenge for a significant number of people around the world and not everyone will understand it. Could I “pull away from the trough” instead of eating? Yes. I hope some day to make those decisions easily. Until then, I await my garden of vegetables, yes, I do eat healthy more often than you might think. And as I gnaw on my next carrot or celery stick, I pray I’ll find the inspiration to do better with my body on a regular basis and not because of fat shamers. Here’s to a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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