A little story about how it’s not fun to be fat in a thin world
It is often said that most people would rather jump off a cliff than speak in public. I challenge that statistic, for women in particular. I think that most women would rather jump off a cliff than get on a scale at the doctor’s office. Even when I was a normal size and weight I hated to stand on the scale. I would avert my head in a feeble attempt to not see the truth portrayed on the scale. But inevitably I would look. My image of myself as a successful person would be shaken as I faced up to the fact that I had either not lost any weight since my last stand on the scale, or I had gained weight. Like many of us, I often thought life would be better if I would just lose a few pounds.
I think I didn’t like the scale because I was embarrassed at my condition. It was easy for me to deny how big I really was, but the scale always brought me back to reality. As I have journeyed through the ups and downs of being overweight and have had the experiences only the overweight person endures, I’ve come to realize that a big part of being ready to lose weight is being willing to acknowledge what you weigh and be willing to honestly assess your level of fitness.
Denial was easy for me. Of course, I had to shop in plus-size departments and stores that were dedicated to the plus-size woman, but I rationalized that maybe manufacturer’s were making clothing sizes a little bit differently than they used to. Surely I was still about a size 16 or so. I finally accepted my size when I had to resort to sewing my own clothes because the clothes in the plus-size department didn’t fit me anymore. I remember one occasion when my husband John and I were invited to a friend’s wedding. I only had big, oversized jumpers in my closet, none of which was appropriate. We went shopping for a dress in Lane Bryant. I was embarrassed to be there, even though I shouldn’t have been. I tried on many dresses and finally found a black dress that buttoned up the front and fit me well. It fit me well until I sat down in the church pew. Then the buttons had a mind of their own and pulled away from their holes and threatened to expose much more than should have been exposed. I remember frantically grabbing for a pew bible and a hymnal, and crossing my legs in an attempt to cover up the exposure and make myself smaller. It was just one step in the process I had to go through before I was ready to begin losing weight.
Another time we had a party for my daughter’s fifth birthday. We invited a few friends and family. The children were all having fun and the parents were talking with each other. A friend’s husband was sitting in our dining room watching his daughter try to “pin the slipper on Cinderella” when I decided to join him. I sat in one of our dining room armchairs and heard a loud crack. I looked around, unsure where the sound had come from. My friend’s husband looked at me with a straight face and said, “I think the chair broke.” We then both looked at the broken arm piece lying on the floor. I was horrified but managed to laugh about it being a “cheap chair.” I kept the arm of that chair for a long time as a memory of where I had been.
The road to being able to see myself as I really was came to me slowly. I was at a point nine years ago where I was ready to accept who I had become, although I wasn’t really happy about where I was physically, spiritually, or emotionally. The pivotal moment for me occurred when I was standing on the doctor’s scale after the birth of my third child. I was frightened of where I was and was worried about where it would stop. If I could weigh 300 pounds, why not 400 pounds, or more? It was after that visit to the doctor that I began to lose weight.
I can look back now and see that each embarrassing situation led me to the point where I was finally ready to be committed to losing weight. Accepting where I was and truly desiring a healthier me, helped me to have the self-discipline I would need to change my eating habits and start exercising.
Standing on the scale still isn’t fun, but it is part of my daily routine – a reminder to myself that although it’s just a number, it’s a number that gives me part of the picture of my level of fitness and health. I encourage you to look at your scale honestly and rather you choose to weigh every day as I do, or just check-in with your scale occasionally don’t be in denial. Face where you are and decide where you’d like to be.