Tuesday, June 8, 2010

10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Former Fat Self

As I get closer my goal weight (or as I bring my goal weight closer to where I am now, as the case may end up being), I find that I've been thinking a lot about how far I've come - but I also have all this weird anger, like why didn't I just do this sooner? Why did I waste wait so many years?

In that spirit, I bring you:


10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Former Fat Self

1. You are not as bad off as you think.

You live in a world of earthquakes, oil spills, poverty, AIDS, and women who wear regular bras with halter tops. The size of your ass is not a tragedy. Get over yourself.

2. You are worse off than you think.

I know it's hard, because you've always been fat, so there are things that feel normal to you -- but they're not normal. The way your back feels is not normal. The GI issues are not normal. The constant low-level anxiety and fatigue are not normal. And guess what? You can fix ALL OF THEM.

3. You can have more than this.

You are capable of so much more than you realize. You think so little of yourself -- that all you deserve or can have in life is a box of frozen eclairs. There is an entire world out there and it is honestly, truly, within your grasp. Just make the decision. And hurry up.

4. Buy pants that fit.

Woman, please. Why are all your pants too saggy or too tight? Neither look good. Buy pants that fit. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to everyone who has to walk behind you.

5. Joy doesn't come in a potato chip bag.

I know chips are delicious. Believe me. I KNOW. But whatever joy they give you in those five minutes you're stuffing them in your gob -- that's not it. That's not even the BEGINNING of joy. The real joy -- your real LIFE -- is a little further out of reach, but if you just put down the chip bag for a minute, you'll find that it's closer than you think.

6. Cooking is fun, if you give it a chance.

I swear! The only reason you don't like it is because you think you're not good at it. Follow a few recipes and follow them exactly. Think about why they worked and what you liked about them. Then you can start improvising and creating, and guess what? That's pretty satisfying.

7. You are not alone.

This might be hard to believe, because none of your friends seem to struggle with food and weight the way that you do, but there is actually a world of people out there who feel exactly as you do, who will understand everything you say, who will hold your hand and kick your ass and know every fear and hope you have, because they have them too. And guess what else? Once you start talking about this stuff, you may even find out that your friends who seemed so normal are actually chock-a-block with their own issues. Be brave. Speak up.

8. They are not talking about you. They are not even paying attention to you.

Yeah, all those times you walk down the street and you hear people laughing behind you and you become convinced they are laughing AT you and you go home and eat an entire box of mac and cheese to console yourself? Yeah, they are probably not laughing at you. Probably you aren't even on their radar. Pretty much the only person who cares about your fat ass is you.

9. It's an eating disorder.

You know this idea you struggle with, that as a good feminist you should be happy at whatever weight and that you should use your position as a plus-sized woman to champion for women's rights and fight the media or whatever? Yeah, those are all really noble and not necessarily untrue, but guess what: You have an eating disorder. The weight is a symptom, not a natural state of being. And there is nothing noble about ignoring that.

10. It is absolutely going to be worth the struggle.

Life -- YOUR life -- can and will be amazing. You will know joy and light and love. You will find a kind of inner peace that you've probably never even imagined. You will feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and damn but you will rock the pencil skirts. And do you know how many times you will regret passing up cookies or cakes or pastries? Yeah. None.


How about you? What would you tell your formerly fat self? And if you’re still struggling, what would you want to hear from a future version of yourself?