On a recent 3-hour drive home from Galveston to San Antonio, I listened to an episode of “This American Life” hosted by Ira Glass in which he looks at a topic from lots of different angles and talks to people who are connected to the subject in various ways. The episode was entitled “Tell Me I’m Fat”.
Hmmm. The title intrigued me.
Being fat in America
The episode explores being a fat woman in America from 4 different perspectives. Their experiences were different, but they shared some common themes – judgment, discrimination, and shame. Each of the women told how they were subjected to negative comments, rude stares, judgmental conclusions that they had no self-control, got passed over for a job promotion, date, or group activity, and even one woman who, in the 80’s, attended a University with health standards and was not allowed to re-enroll for her fall semester because she missed her summer weight-loss goal by 4 pounds.
Each of these women also talked about the choices they made in dealing with the weight discrimination. The choices are to do nothing, to change themselves, or to change the minds of others.
The story got me thinking about what I believe about the subject of weight, weight loss, discrimination, and what motivates people to change or not.
For me, it used to be about being thin. I thought that if I could just lose weight all my problems would be solved. I tried lots of different diets and really wasn’t clear on what I wanted or why I wanted it.
Not anymore. Now, what I want is to be healthy, happy, and strong, especially as I get older. It’s no longer about being thin or fat and that’s why maintaining a healthy weight is important and worth the effort, not just for me but for my family. I want to do my best to stay well, active and mobile for as long as I live.
While I know what to do to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight, it’s still a struggle. Many times, but specially during holidays and vacations, I tend to choose food that I know isn’t the best for me. What’s the problem? I know what to do and I know what I want. The problem is between my ears. My mindset.
Mindset is the biggest factor when it comes to this issue “weight”. It doesn’t matter how much you know what you should be doing or what great tech devices you have to help you along the way, you have to have a mindset to make it a lifestyle. No more lose weight then gain it all back. Get mentally prepared.
Here are 3 things to do when you’re ready to make a change:
There’s more than being fat or being thin. A woman recently told me she wanted to get to a certain weight and I asked her why that number. She said she felt best years ago when she was at that weight – healthy, strong, and happy and carrying the extra 20 pounds she’s gained in the past few years makes that hard for her. So really, what she wants is to feel that way again. This type of reflection is the beginning of discovering your “why” – getting to the essence of why you want to make this long-lasting change.
Decide to be happy, no matter how much you weigh.
What most people want is to be happy and we pursuit happiness, as if it’s out there somewhere. I used to think, “If I could only be thin then I’ll be happy.” In the radio story, one woman decides to love herself as she is and doesn’t care what people think. She’s happy. Another woman decides to lose weight with a doctor’s help and she loses more than 100 pounds in less than a year and even though she’s thin and a lot of good things have come her way, she’s not happy.
Being thin doesn’t guarantee happiness and health, just like being fat doesn’t guarantee unhappiness and sickness. Choose happiness.
Love is the absence of judgement. Dalai Lama XIV
Show yourself some love.
Be kind to yourself and never beat yourself up about your weight and instead show yourself some love by being grateful for your body and all it does for you every day. It took me a while to get to this point. I think about my younger self and I wish I’d have shown myself more love back then. If I felt fat or some one else called me fat, I wasn’t strong enough to not be ashamed. Shame is personal and lingers. It’s a by-product of judgment and rejection. That only motivated me to find comfort in food.
You can transform yourself and your life when you shift your mindset toward away from shame, unhappiness, and finding comfort in food. Don’t let how much you weight keep you from living your best life. You can do it.
Is there more to it than being thin or fat? I’d love to hear what you think about the subject.