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What is Fat? What is Thin?

April 27, 2013

I’ve been considering writing about this question for quite some time but today I had an interaction that worked like a catalyst, making it impossible for me to not write about this.

I complimented a woman larger than me on her adorable striped maxi dress and asked her where she got it as I have been looking for something similar. She informed me that it was from a plus sized store. I guess I must have looked sad because the next thing she said was “Oh sorry. I guess you’ll just have to be tall and thin instead.” The conversation ended there because we were leaving anyway but I felt like I had been stung. And the sting took me back as far as 6th grade.

Now, I do not know this woman. We both had had a long day at a conference which can make anyone cranky. And I genuinely loved her dress and thought she looked good in it. I could be reading way too much into this passing comment but I’m going to delve anyway.

I am constantly told by girls larger than me that I am “so” skinny. Girls smaller than me compliment my body by saying I am very proportionate or I dress well. Sometimes they completely ignore my width and bemoan how they wish they were tall. This is kind but what I think they know as well as I do that I could be thinner than I am and still be “proportionate.” And being tall can suck just as much as being short, just sayin’. They are simply different.

Now, let me give you some information to help this conversation. In my closet I currently wear pants and dresses that range from size 10-14 and tops anywhere from Medium to Extra Large. I am a 38DD, stand tall at 5’11”, have an hour-glass figure, wear size 11 shoes and weigh in at 192 pounds.

So am I fat?

This is a serious question. I only mention these things because when most people hear my pant size they say “But you’re so thin!” I keep hearing size 14 tossed around as the average woman in America today. And according to that “statistic,” America is fat. Therefore, by that definition, I am fat. I was told by my doctor that I should consider losing some weight because my BMI was too high and that was more than ten pounds ago. My body fat tested at 33% in January which is just above so-called “normal” ranges.

To friends and family reading this, I am not having a personal crisis so don’t buy me chocolates or email me articles from Beauty Redefined. I just want to have a discussion from my personal experiences and my complete frustration with how girls see themselves, including me.

Being as tall and as well-endowed as I am (not to mention my hormone imbalances), I am always going to be a “larger” size. I will never ever fit into a size 0 without a scary surgery, massive photo shopping or going through an intense period of starvation during the zombie apocalypse (you know it’s coming). My boobs will never shrink unless I discontinue the hormones I take to keep my body from causing me crippling pain. I constantly have trouble finding jeans, dresses and shirts that cover me because I am taller than average.

But am I fat?

For me, the answer is yes. And the answer is yes not because of what number or letter is on the tags of my clothing. And my answer is yes even though I get compliments on how gorgeous I am. It is because I know I would be the first to die in the Hunger Games. Seriously, I know you’ve seen this floating around:

Image

Now, there are those whose weight/size is skewed because of various reasons beyond anyone’s control (medication, drug use, hormonal changes, emotional problems, genetics, lifelong habits, a medical condition, etc.). Believe it or not, there are those who struggle to put on weight and keep the weight they have (my brother for example).

Not everyone’s situation is a simple matter of diet and exercise. But I have become very well acquainted with my body in the last 26 years, even more so the last two years and I know that for me, it is that simple. I look better now as a size 12 than I ever did in high school as a size 8 because I dress better (Thanks Stacy and Clinton!).

The fact is, I am perfectly happy with the size I am. I have a fantastic wardrobe and would hate to have to start over again because I got down to whatever size is “normal.” There is no universal normal. There is only normal for you.

I am more concerned with the abilities of my body as far as strength and stamina. I’d even be happy to go up a size or two if it meant I could do a pull up because …

I have never been able to do a pull up in my life. Not a single one. This year (after learning my fat percentage and weight recommendations from my doctor) I decided to take up yoga and body weight training to increase my muscle mass and overall fitness. After four months of work, I can do two pull ups with 100 lbs of my body weight, which is more than half way there. To me, this is incredible. I am that much closer to being able to scramble up that tree like Katniss and save myself from the less able climbers below.

I am on the journey to being Fit, not Fat. I don’t know that there is a specific finish line to cross that boldly separates Fat from Fit. Because really, there isn’t a number that is the opposite of Fat. Fit is the opposite of Fat. And Thin is just a shape, like Amazonian, Curvacious, Pear, Hourglass, etc.

I wrote this post more for me than for you dear reader. I still have days where I see a picture of myself and think I look fat (like last week). I still have anxiety and worries about how the world looks at me for various reasons. This is simply because I am human and I mingle with humans on a daily basis (Time Lords on the weekend only). I’m writing this because I recognize that this behavior is destructive to my happiness.

I leave you with the hope that this discussion will continue in your living room, cubicle and gym between the two of you who read this blog (you probably know each other by now). We are all too hard on ourselves a majority of the time when it comes to our looks. I have gained ten pounds since the beginning of this year but I feel better than I ever have, mentally and physically. Working towards Fit makes me happy, body and soul. If your happiness comes from a number, on the scale or in your pants, I hope you will reconsider just what you think happiness is. I think your abilities in every aspect of life will make you more happy than comparing your “number” to someone else’s. Thank you.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2013 3:52 am

    Reblogged this on Health Fitness Selflove! and commented:
    #funny fitness !

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