I am fat. Standing at five foot five inches and weighing 250 pounds, my BMI is over 40. Severe Obesity, or Class III Obesity are the current medical terms for anyone my size. I am fat.
I suspect that as you read this, you are feeling uncomfortable. When I am face to face, talking to folks, and I comment on my size, even in the most general and matter of fact way, their discomfort is palpable: wiggling in their seat, looking the other way, blurting out a denial, “No, you’re not.” Well, yes, I am.
I am fat. And I am lots of other things too: creative, sensual, casual, empathetic, logical, almost blonde, standoffish, big boned, mothering, fair-skinned, strong-like-bull, critical, loving, big-hearted, engaging…. The list of what I am does not end with being corporeally well endowed: that list goes on and on.
But I am fat. And I am ok with that. Kinda.
Like many (most? all?) humans, I have had moments (sometimes whole years) of self loathing, often triggered by my size and physical appearance. As I get older (and fatter), those awful moments are shorter, farther apart and generally less powerful and that is a wonderful thing. The hell of self loathing is not a fun place to spend time.
Over the years (decades actually), there have been various exercise plans, diets, even medical consults, all to try to shed pounds. Some plans have been mundane and practical, some have been dramatic. None has worked very well at getting weight to come off and stay off. Most changes that would get my body to lose 20-30 pounds, would also mean that over the next six months, I gained 25-40 pounds.
Once I went to a Nutritional Medical Doctor at Albany Medical Center’s Bariatric Surgery Center. The physician took one look at me and said, “So, you need to exercise.” I told her what my regular exercise routine was and how long I had been doing it. “Oh! Well, you eat too much. We will set you up with a dietitian.” I showed this physician my painstakingly detailed, week-long, diet record. “Hmm… Surgery! You need bariatric surgery.” I mentioned that I was concerned about the 1% mortality rate (the rate has dropped somewhat since that time). This doctor then stated that at AMC, their rate was no where near one percent; in 203 surgeries, they had only had 2 deaths. After staring blankly at her for a minute, I said that 2 out of 203 sounded pretty close to 1% to me. And then she said, “Oh, right. Well that wouldn’t be you, you are healthy.” Indeed. I am healthy. I am fat and I am healthy.
I am fat. I am healthy. And more and more of the time, I am happy.
I rather enjoy having a body; embodiment is the way my soul, my creative being, gets to play. Remember the phrase “your body is a temple”? In years past, hearing that phrase would fill me with guilt, disappointment, self loathing and finally, new diet and exercise plans to change my body, to make me worthy of having this precious gift. Now, when I hear or read “your body is a temple”, I envision placing beautiful flowers on my head and annotating my feet with precious oil. My body is a temple, this is where I worship. This body is where I love, my heart beating in my chest. This body is where I touch and can be touched. While I am on this earth, I am embodied (and what a luscious body I have got!). While here, I am spending my time learning to love, one moment at a time, one breath at a time, with each and every fat, juicy cell of me. Praise be!
May all babies be born into loving hands