Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Relative Fatness

Isn't it crazy how "fat" and "skinny" are so relative? I remember not long ago when the thought of weighing 214 pounds made me giddy... how skinny I would be! Yet the thought of weighing even 195 pounds now seems so BIG to me. (Talking about MY body, not anyone else's, which is what makes it so relative I guess). It's all about where you've been. If your highest adult weight was 145 pounds and you find yourself at 165, you feel super fat. I have been there. Those were my numbers when I was 21 and lost a baby. I felt humongous, and having my father-in-law call me names and make fun of my weight just solidified it for me that I was, in reality, FAT. Well, 165 seems like a dream now. I have not been that weight in over a decade.

I had a friend once when I was in my 30's who was my age and also had children. I remember envying her ability to pull off really cute outfits and be the "cool mom" on the playground while I was trying to hide in my black stretch pants and tee shirts. She looked amazing to me. She probably weighed 140 pounds at about 5'7. One day at school she started lamenting how fat she is. I was shocked. Let me tell you, when you are morbidly obese, most people will NOT mention weight or size or the word fat around you. It is the taboo topic, I think, that the skinny people talk about when no really fat people are around. (I came to this conclusion when I lost 100 pounds and all the other moms who never knew me when I was obese talked to me and made comments with me present about weight and fat that I never, ever heard when I myself was obese). I told this friend, "You are not fat. You look great!" but she told me she is the fattest person in her family and her relatives were all making fun and telling her to go on a diet. I mean, this lady looked healthy! She did not even look like she needed to lose 5 pounds in my eyes. But in her eyes and the eyes of those people who mattered to her, she was fat. 140 pounds, 5'7, fat. And her feelings, while perhaps not medically accurate, were valid. We feel what we feel, even if our thoughts are skewed.

Without a number, I feel fat right now. Not in my head, because in my head I am in a good place... a more self-accepting place. I've even been wearing short sleeved tee shirts this week without stress, which is a huge deal to me. But my BODY feels fat. I hate having to stuff my "extra" into my pants that are a little tight. I feel heavier and lumpier than I want to. My body wants to be lighter. I am paying attention. I feel fat even though when I look at where I have been, I am almost thin in comparison. But add the number in there, which is 190 pounds right now, and the head games begin. 189 seems so much lighter when it really isn't. So I try to focus on how I actually feel in my body rather than my head games or scale numbers.

For me, 165 pounds will be thin. If I continue losing weight, 155 pounds will be thin and maybe 165 will seem fat. It's all quite variable. And valid.

That's all for now. I have a busy day ahead of me!


Lori said...

Funny you should mention this topic - I was thinking of blogging about it myself, but my thoughts hadn't quite gelled.

I remember feeling positively skinny at about 185. We were on vacation and I happily posed for pictures. This year I'd yo yo'd some and felt fat. I posed for a few shots, but not many.

When I got home and compared last year's pictures to this year's I was not skinny last year!

It is so much in the mind, isn't it?

timothy said...

when i was 185 (my goal) at 18 i felt soooooo fat now i look at pictures and think i was nuts! lolol 220 right now and yeah that feels lumpy and bloated i was down to 214 and those 6 pounds are haunting me! lol you'll get there darlin to the weight that's right for you. xoxoxoxoxo

LHA said...

This is so true! I have been all different weights in my adult life, ranging from 120 to over 300 and I have probably never felt as "thin" as when I have just dropped down about 20 pounds, regardless of what weight that leaves me at. I find that I take better care of myself and dress better and even have more fun when I am feeling thinner even if no one else can tell that I've lost some weight.

That is one reason I try not to weigh too often. The negative feelings associated with normal weight fluctuations and plateaus are overwhelming and often lead to overeating for me. I try to weigh once a month and hopefully see a loss each month so I can hang on to the happy, thinner feeling for the whole month. Thanks for a great blog!

Anonymous said...

I love LOVE reading your blog. I think you totally rock like there's no tomorrow!

I started my weight loss journey at 219. I'm 5'6". After almost two years of working on this, I currently weight 165.


My goal is 145.

No matter what my weight, I. Feel. Fat.

You're right, no matter if it's skewed, my feelings are my reality. Today.

I keep thinking I'll feel "better" after another 5-10 pounds are gone. But it doesn't happen. I thought when I got to a size 10 I would feel "better". I'm now a size 10 and still don't feel better.

The issues are in my head.

LOVE you and LOVE your blog.

Karin said...

what's also weird is 200 on the way up also feels way different than 200 on the way down. Thanks for the post Lyn, as always you seem to hit the nail right on the head. I appreciate you and your insights.

❦ fitcetera said...

I definitely wish I was as fat as I was in my 20s ... 145-155. :D
Someday soon.

Carrie said...

I think about this all the time, Lyn. Probably because I have been every weight under the sun. I remember the first time I lost a very significant amount of weight. It took me overall about 18 months but I went from about 200 lbs. to about 122 (I'm 5'8.) When I gained back up to 145, my boyfriend (at the time) cheated on me and broke up with me. I just KNEW it was because I had gotten so out of control with my weight and gotten so "fat". You would have thought that coming from 200 that 145 would have felt pretty amazing but it didn't. It felt awful. My goal weight now? 155. And I know I will look great at that weight. I feel very thin now at 214 considering I was 68 lbs. heavier just 5 short months ago.
Isn't it crazy???? I love how you always blog about stuff that is so interesting to us and that all of us think about but probably never verbalize. Hugs! :)

Chrissy/Steelers6 said...

Ohhh, I totally hear you on this one. I could go on. haha.

I have missed being part of the blogging community, don't know what was up with blogger. I could read but not comment.

I hope your washing machine is running again just fine! We need our washing machines constantly!

All my best!

Shala said...

In high school I got down to 140 pounds (I'm 5'8") from my 8th grade high of 214. One summer I gained a bit of weight back and got up to 155. I honestly did not feel that fat and I was still happy with myself, but my Dad's girlfriend at the time browbeat me so much about it. And kept telling me my tummy stuck out further than my boobs. What an idiot! Anyway,my weight has been up and down ever since and I still don't think 155 is fat at all. I wish I weighed that now. Why can't people just mind their own business when it comes to others weights? It is relative and as long as you feel good, that's all that matters.

Debbie said...

So true! I am at my lowest weight in more than 20 years, 175 lbs. But I'm still feeling flabby when I look in the mirror and I'm starting to think that I have way more than 50 lbs of fat to lose. Then I realize that I'm wearing size 16 pants and size 14 tops, down from a high of size 30/32 and 4X, which blows my mind. We need to keep it all in perspective and just continue to make healthy choices.

Diana said...

Boy do I identify with this post! Me too!!!

188 (my current weight) is obese and obese is NOT a good thing. I'm hanging right at 188 and the difference between this and 178 is huge. What a difference 10 pounds makes. Like you said, it's all relative.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post! I've been noticing this a lot lately.I'm only down 5 the last couple of weeks and suddenly I feel lots skinnier seriously 5lbs can't make much difference in the grand scheme of things. Just two weeks ago I feel like a beached whale at 5lbs heavier. So weird!

Anonymous said...

I have a theory on this, which is that what we feel is not fat but water retention and a full, um, gut. Maybe a slight sugar hangover too. Often the "I feel fat" means I ate too much recently and my body wants to eat lightly today, or that my feet are swollen. I know that feeling is more than just clothes not fitting because I can feel fat in really loose, comfortable clothes too.

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Marie said...

I was just thinking about this the other day as I was looking at pictures of myself in college. I used to fluctuate between 200-230 pounds. I felt so huge! Even when I got down to 180 once I still saw all my flaws. Now I am 262, and thinking of myself at 200 seems like a dream come true! However, I know that when I get there I won't see how awesome I look, I'll see how far I still have to go!

I think it's because we have trained ourselves to always see the negative aspects of our bodies rather than the positive. We focus more on what we need to fix than what is right.

Anonymous said...

You are so right! In college I was skinny (too skinny really) and I felt huge. I thought my stomach was enormous. I weighed 98 lbs (I'm 5'3"). I would give almost anything to have that "fat" stomach again. My waist has gone from 23 inches to 40 inches. I am fat now -- but back then, I felt fat, too. So, clearly, my problem is more than weight. I have some problems with perfectionism that make me never happy with myself. Fix one problem and I'll just start obsessing about something else. Part of my journey is figuring that out as much as it is counting calories and exercising.

I have found that I have do actually have fat and thin days at the same weight. One morning, I wake up feeling thinner and feeling good about myself. The next day, I feel like a beached whale. The scale says the same thing. I wish I could figure out what makes me wake up in a thin mood. Life would be so much more enjoyable if I could do that every day ... sigh.