A friend wrote in a couple of days ago. Sheís recovering from thyroid disease, among other things, has 50 extra pounds on her post-surgical frame, and is disgusted with herself that she hasnít quite taken it off yet.
Thereís that word: Disgust.
Thatís a tough, mean little word. Itís a word that hovers around us when weíve got extra fat weíre trying to use up. We apply it to ourselves, we apply it to other people who also have large stores of fat. Why?
Because fat is disgusting. At least in this culture, at this moment in time, fat is disgusting. Could we change our minds about that? You know, we could. We have the power. We have the means.
Fat is not the enemy. It wasnít very long ago that fat was in, fashionable, perfectly okay. While itís true that too much fat is not good for us, no fat at all is also not good for us. We need fat. We need a healthy amount of fat. Our ability to make and use fat is critical to our survival. Itís part of the miracle of our biochemistry. A necessary part of making our bodies work well.
Carrying around disgust for yourself is mighty big bad juju. Itís a large boulder to push uphill all day long. At the end of the day, it rolls back over you, and one way we try to drown that feeling is by eating. Self-disgust feeds the cycle of despair, discouragement, depression over extra fat stores. If you think youíre disgusting, and the world tells you youíre disgusting, it takes a superhuman ego, courage, determination, guts, stamina to fight those messages, to learn to like yourself enough to take good care of your body.
Itís just fat. Thatís all. Itís inert. Itís potential energy. It is not the enemy.
At different times throughout our history, and even now in various cultures, we have revered the soft curve of belly and hip, the rounded rear, a soft embrace. String, bone, and muscle are not pretty in many cultures. Thin works for fashion, but not necessarily for reproduction, for sexual attraction. We used to announce the depth of our coffers by the circumference of our waistlines. We were proud to be portly, found it pleasant to be plump.
Fashions changed. Ideas changed. Environments changed. And these things will keep on changing. We can enjoy the changes without being stupid about it. Fat is fat. Itís not bad. Itís not good. Itís not disgusting. Itís useful, if anything.
How about you? Are you disgusted by any part of yourself that stores extra energy? Let me propose something preposterous. Uncover that part of your body. Hold it in your two hands. Apologize. Thatís right. Grab a thigh. Give it a kiss. Say youíre sorry. Tell your thigh you know it was only doing what it was designed to do. You may have a hard time kissing some of your parts, so just give them a good pat. Write down your thoughts and feelings as you complete this crazy exercise.
No Iím serious about this. You need to apologize to yourself for going along with a really dumb societal idea. It wasnít your fault that you did. The messages are relentless. The results of our fat prejudice are real. But you donít need to live by them.
And then, if you want to get back to work using up some of your fat stores, go right ahead, but leave that word ďdisgustĒ in the gutter, will you?
If you will, I will.