Living each day much muchier
I’m coming out as fat. Consider this my declaration.
Like any form of coming out, the response may well be ‘that’s been obvious for a while. Let’s all move on’ but before we come to that place, there’s a barrier in my way. I fear judgement, distancing, and questioning whether I’ve really tried hard enough. Am I sure, because it’s a big call to make?
Don’t give up on yourself, I hear you say, as though this must be a downward spiral instead of a becoming. Don’t give in! Your thin, healthy body is just a matter of eating less, eating right, exercising more. You’ve been there before. Wasn’t it wonderful?
Yes, and no. There was no version of my slender self that didn’t involve an exhausting battle to get there and eventual distress as my body outsmarted me to put it all back on.
It’s worth trying, I hear you say (a fictional you, as this is all in my head). As though trying will be just one more time, done the ‘right’ way, instead of again, and again, and again over years. Each effort, involving eating even less and cutting out swathes of food groups to trick an ever savvier metabolism into thinness.
I wrote a post a few years ago, called ‘I’m breaking up with you’, where I swore I’d never diet again. It was true for a while, until it wasn’t. What I didn’t do was accept what food freedom might do to the shape of my body. I suppose I thought if I just ate whole, nourishing foods and kept dancing and hiking, then eventually my body would return to its natural state, which of course, would be thin.
There is grief in coming out as fat. It feels like losing beauty, losing worth, losing hope. I’m sad that people will assume I live in the cookie jar and never get off the couch. I’m anxious that my choice will seem threatening to other people’s commitment to keep on trying. I’m scared I’ll never get asked to dance again, or go on a date again. There is grief in letting go of those visions of myself as lithe and sexy on the dance floor, as the hiking chick with her muscles and biscuity tan, as a beauty on the beach with her floaty dress and graceful stride.
There is also relief. I won’t have to pretend that I’m in a temporary covid-body and thinness is the state I’ll return to. I can eat without worrying that eating anything is weakness and failure because surely I can live off what I’ve already stored. I can be myself, instead of performing a version of me that can’t be maintained.
I’m not promoting poor health. I believe in movement, strength, nourishment and self-care, and if, doing all that, I am still fat, then so be it.
Consider this my declaration. I’m coming out as fat.