If Fat Is Not a Feeling, Why Do I Feel Fat?

Yesterday I stepped on the scale. I told myself I wouldn’t. I’m tired of defining myself by that number. But I’d been getting outside more because the weather was better and I was feeling good. And I associate that feeling with being thinner. If I feel good physically, I must’ve lost some weight, right? So instead of just enjoying feeling good, I seem to need to find a reason to justify it.

I’m ashamed to write about what’s been going on in my head lately. As much as I’d like to say this doesn’t bother me and I’ve worked past all this; that would be a lie. The truth is I’m having a hard time accepting my body as it is right now. I’ve gained some weight. And while I know 10 or 20 or 30 pounds or more doesn’t change the person I am inside, I don’t always feel comfortable in my own skin.

Recently, I was having a really good day. The sun was shining, I had the day off from work, I was getting a lot accomplished and that felt great! So I decided to stop at the mall and try on some jeans. I’ve needed new jeans for a while now and was excited to find a cute pair I could wear with heels. I picked out four pairs and headed for the dressing room. But when I tried them on, none of them fit. They were not cute at all. At least not on me. And in that moment of trying on jeans that didn’t fit, my formerly fantastic day went right in the toilet.

So I find myself waiting on doing a number of things until I lose weight. Shop for clothes, go out with friends, take a vacation, even get my passport photo taken. The truth is I don’t feel very good about myself right now and that pisses me off! I’ve spent the last 30 or so years dieting…always trying to lose weight. After all this time I still have some underlying belief I’ll feel better when I’m thinner. And that’s the part that makes me mad! Because in my heart I know there is no difference in the kind of person I am whether I’m 120 pounds or 170 pounds.

And I know the problem isn’t entirely the weight. Because I’ve been heavier than this and I still got dressed up and went out with my friends and thought I looked hot! And there have been times when I’ve been thinner than this and I’ve felt lousy. So if I have the expectation that losing weight is going to make me feel better about myself, no amount of weight will do the trick. I proved that to myself last time I lost weight. I told myself I’d be thrilled if I could just wear a size 8. When I got to a size 4 and was contemplating what it would take to get to a 2 or even a 0, I knew the weight wasn’t the issue. No amount would be enough.

Not that I feel the need to place blame, but I do feel some of this is societal conditioning. Out of curiosity I looked up my Body Mass Index based on my height and weight. At 5’2” and 160 pounds it says I’m borderline obese. Seriously? Not just overweight, but nearly obese! It also says I would still be considered healthy at 104 pounds. A weight I haven’t seen since high school. But I’m still buying into the notion I need to be thinner. That somehow thinner is better.

I want to not care how I look. I want to feel confident and sexy and amazing no matter what my weight. I want these extra pounds to not bother me. But they do. And I don’t know how to get past that. I don’t know how to accept myself at this weight. Right here. Right now. Because the truth is, I feel better when I look better. And that makes me feel shallow and superficial.

When it comes down to it what I’m really looking for is feeling good about myself at any weight. Frankly I’m just too old to still care about this. Isn’t that one of the benefits of getting older? You get to care less and less about things that don’t really matter. And for the most part in my life, that’s true. But this seems to be one of those areas I haven’t been able to care less about…yet.

So, even though I’m frustrated with this and I’m tired of it being an issue for me, there’s really nothing to do except be with these feelings. Ride them out and see where they take me. This is a post I can’t wrap up neatly at the end with a bow. This is ongoing, like the sequel of a movie. So there will likely be a follow up post at some point when I’ve had some brilliant flash of insight. At least I’m hoping that’s what will happen. But for now, this is where I’m at. I don’t know why I feel this way and I don’t know what to do about it. And maybe there isn’t anything to do, but just be here…as uncomfortable as it is.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tina
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 18:41:09

    I couldn’t have said it better! I am 5’2″ as well and weigh 150 pounds. No matter what I do, I can’t lose the pounds… I’ve been working out faithfully and eating healthy but my weight does not change (except to go up). The fitness teachers try to comfort me by saying it is muscle but it doesn’t change my perception of what I “should” look like, having barely weighed 100 pounds throughout high school and being the daughter of a 5’3″ 100 pound woman. I know there are far worse things in life and that I could be even bigger than I am but it doesn’t stop me from obsessing over my current condition. I am looking forward to your “brilliant flash of insight.” Maybe it will help me too.


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