Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

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.

Review of history professor Peter Sternsí ďFat HistoryĒ

Body images through time

3 thoughts on “Disgusting?

  1. Anne says:

    Through a recent family tragedy, my perception of fat has shifted dramatically. All my life I have been disgusted by my fat, judged myself harshly, despised my own lack of willpower and devalued myself because of it. Somehow I was not as worthy (of what? living?) as others because I was/am overweight.

    Recently I found out that someone I love is a methamphetamine addict. Meth addicts lose lots of weight, become rail thin. They don’t have to worry about hating themselves for being fat. But meth is an evil, destructive drug and controls its users in unimaginable ways. Suffice to say, meth addiction is horrific, causing untold pain to users and their families.

    Suddenly, my attitudes towards excess poundage has shifted. Granted, my thinking is a little skewed right now, but now I look at overweight people and say “well, she’s probably not a meth addict” and I find myself wondering about thin, gaunt people. No longer do I envy every thin person I see.

    Again, my thoughts are a little warped right now, but it has made me realize how ludicrous my previous thinking was. Being overweight is not the crime against nature I once thought it was — it is NOT the worst thing in the world. There is so much more to life and living.

    I AM losing weight right now on Weight Watchers and I walk almost every day. But my focus now is on my physical, emotional and mental health, and I lack much of the disdain and disgust I once carried, along with the extra pounds.

    Thanks JuJu for all your encouragement!

  2. Jean says:

    Hello-

    Fat, disgusting? It’s all perspective. I remember seeing a comedian once do a routine. “Imagine a big mound of fat. Just sitting there jiggling. YECH, says much of the population. But, just put a nipple on top of it, and suddenly half the population of the world wants to stroke it, touch it, squeeze it…” It was pretty funny.

  3. Rhonda says:

    This website is wonderful. I have read many of the comments and it has given me new insight.
    I used to talk to my mom about 4 times a week. Now I talk to her about twice a month out of obligation. I have had weight issues that have overcome my happiness and personality forever. She has always been thin and tiny. My sister and I are big boned and “heavy”. We have spent years and years trying to gain mom’s approval. And we have heard so many unkind comments over these years. Example (said to my mom in front of us): “How on earth could you give birth to these 2 big girls?” As if we weighed this much when we were born.
    I could just absolutely break down right now thinking about all of this. It is upsetting.
    I woke up one day and realized that every time I talked to my mom she spoke negatively about overweight people and had to mention to me about how people I don’t even know looked terrible in certain outfits because they are overweight, etc. Many of these people are quite a bit smaller than me. I had to give myself permission to not talk to her as much so I could get a grip on feeling better.
    I haven’t figured out a way yet to confront her, which I know I should, but she doesn’t take criticism well.
    Just thought I’d share, had to get this off my chest.
    Thanks for listening.

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