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Monday, February 13, 2006

Can YOU be fat and happy?
Someone, who shall remain nameless (but may be a family member of mine) told me once that I was fooling myself if I thought I could be fat and happy. Such a thought, this person said, was flawed.

At the time I had this conversation, I had just decided that I was going to stop dieting. I was going to just live in the body I had, which at that time was about 200 pounds. I was going to eat what I wanted, and not beat myself up about my food choices each day. I was going to go out and buy clothes that fit me, instead of squeezing into a smaller size.

And that's what I did for 5 years. It was bliss not judging myself as "good" or "bad" for everything I put in my mouth. It was a relief to feel comfortable in my clothes, not straining the seams. And it was empowering to realize that I could accept myself the way I was, to live happily inside my body, even if it wasn't the body I had always wanted.

This confidence helped me to feel more attractive, and that in turn lead me to dating more than I ever had. A little over a year and a half ago, I met my current boyfriend (and future husband I believe!). I was 233, fat and sexy and happy - or so I thought. One day early in our relationship I got super tired and out of breath when the two of us were travelling to his apartment. It was the subway steps that really did me in. By the time I got to his apartment, I was completely exhausted.

That day lead us to a discussion where he mentioned that he wished I was in better physical shape so that we could do more activities together, like sports or hiking or his favorite hobby, skiing. This was a completely reasonable issue for him to bring up, because here I was barely able to even travel around the city.

But all I heard was this: "fat, fat, fat, fat, fat". He never once said the word fat, but that's all I heard. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt ashamed. I felt FAT. And not sassy and fat or pretty and fat or sexy and fat, but just fat.

Truth be told, I was fat. But it wasn't actually the fat that was the problem. The problem was that I was out of shape. Severely out of shape. "Can't walk 10 blocks without getting tired" out of shape.

The next day, I went to the gym for the first time in a long time. And a year and a half later, I am still going to the gym, 3-4 days a week. I even broke my leg badly last year, wasn't able to walk for 6 weeks and had to go to 3 months of intense physical therapy. And I am STILL going to the gym. Because I realized you can be fat and happy. But you can also be fat and in denial.

I am so thankful that my boyfriend and I had that conversation, because I learned something important that day. I was using my accepting myself as a fat woman to cover up the negative side effects of being fat - namely, that I had allowed myself to get out of shape and out of control.

You can be fat and eat right - like I am doing now, for the first time in a long time. But I used to eat cheeseburgers, nachos, ice cream, pizza, you name it - and in big portions, and all the time. I have lost 30 pounds in the last year and a half - much of it just from being active, but some of it from deciding to change my eating habits. I still eat all the foods I like, but not as often, and in smaller portions.

Now at 201 pounds, the world still considers me fat. But I can walk for miles, weight train, and kick the elliptical machine's ass. I do want to get down to about 175, which I think will still make me about a 14-16. I sometimes feel like a traitor to the fat girls when I talk about losing weight. But I think part of accepting your fattness is deciding whether it is a temporary or permanent state of being for you. I know I will never be thin, will always be chubby, curvy, voluptuous, whatever. I know that in college 175 was my heighest, most horrible weight ever, and one that I was convinced was what was keeping me from having a boyfriend...and now its the weight I'd like to be when I get married to the love of my life. And I think I am going to be a slammin' 175, because I am a pretty hot 201, if I do say so myself!

You CAN be fat and happy. You also can be fat and healthy. But you have to first be fat and honest with yourself. Ask yourself why you are fat, how you are fat, and who you are fat. The answer is up to you, and what you decide to do with it is also up to you.

So I ask you, can YOU be fat and happy? I know I am.

Smooches, Lisa


  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger mebootieful said…

    Yes you sure can be happy being plus size !!! You have to love you no matter your size !! If you don't love you , you sure can't love life ! I love who I am not what others think I should look like it all comes within your self !!

  • At 9:18 AM, Anonymous CeCe said…

    I still find it amazing what people(including myself) consider fat. My little sister who is about a size 14-16 is shaped like an hourglass and has body for days. I would never think to call her fat but yet I am always saying that about myself, Size 10-12. I guess its just all about confidence and loving who you are.
    BTW I love the blog and the hair color.

  • At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Laurel said…

    Lisa, I think you've discovered the secret! Being fit, healthy, beautiful, and happy does NOT necessarily mean being thin. I spent the first quarter century of my life semi-starving myself to try and achieve an acceptable skeletor look. I thought of exercise as punishment for being fat. Finally, in my mid-20s, I woke up and started taking care of myself - eating well, walking, weight-training, doing yoga - NOT to get thin but to show love and care for my own body. Part of that care was learning to love my own natural curves. Now, 15 years later, I'm still working out, a curvy size 14 with a wonderful husband and two great kids - and I'm the one dragging them out for family hikes on the weekends! You are definitely on the right track.
    p.s. Thanks for giving my husband such great gift ideas for Valentine's Day!!!

  • At 9:30 PM, Blogger agent belle said…

    i love this blog!

    i believe that you can be fat and happy, but being happy with yourself is something different. i have been fat since i was a little girl and the world is not kind to fat women, especially through their teen years. even if no one ever publically commented on my size, i felt awful. as i approach my 20s (gasp!) i still sometimes blame my weight as the reason i have yet to have a serious boyfriend--but i know that's untrue. the fact is that fat girls get do get guys! my problem is that i am not always happy with myself though in general, i'm a really happy, silly, and positive person. over time, i have had to realize that if there is something i am not happy with, i have the power to change it. so like you, i have become an elliptical machine master (i LOVE that thing!), and though i will NEVER be thin, i am slowly learning to be happy with myself.

  • At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Deb said…

    You so can be fat and happy!
    And I'm happily taking my fat ass to Maui for scuba diving with some other plus size lovelies with my friend Liz's group Big Adventures.

    We need to love our bodies, no matter what size they are, and that means moving them, getting good sleep and feeding them with good nurishment and love, lots of love!


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