Can’t Sleep… let’s talk about size

So I have yet to conquer this sleeping thing. It is 04.02 here in the UK and I’m full of energy and still wide awake.

I was thinking of this earlier and want to blog about it in case anyone relates to it but mostly to get these thoughts out of my head.

What goes on with a fat person and self perception?

I really didn’t have a clue what size I was. I had no perception and I’m quite good with spatial awareness.

I knew how much I weighed (most of the time) and I knew what size clothes I wore but I couldn’t picture myself. I avoided photos from school days onward.

I was hideous on my school photos. I think it was because whenever we had photos taken as a family or within the family my mum would always tell me to stand in a particular stance which was supposed to make me look thinner. Couldn’t have the fat kid ruining the shot. As I was one of the youngest I had to be at the front or I’d have not been visible at all. I was told not to show my teeth when I smiled, I don’t know why that was, I’ve always had good teeth and I used to have cute dimples (I still have somewhere under the fat).

I’m not sure where it all went wrong. My mum has more photos of me as a baby and little girl than any of the other kids, because I was so pretty that people were always taking photos of me. Then suddenly they stop and turn into these rare hideous, awkwardly posed things which have only had the purpose of being dragged out for everyone to have a good laugh at over the years. Even since my incident where I stopped contact with my family I saw that my sister had uploaded them onto facebook and I was so horrified that I deleted any mutual family friends we had and sat and cried for two days. It was a hateful thing to do, not even pictures with anyone else in them, just photos of me put there to humiliate me and for no other reason.

Anyway, even if I did have photos taken, if I looked slim in them I thought it was a good camera angle and if I looked fat I thought it was… a good camera angle because in my head I was always fatter than I actually was.

I look back to some photos of a holiday in 2009 to Greece and now I see myself as pretty average build, I look further back to photos of a holiday in the South of France in 1992 and I was positively slender, tall, slim in shorts and vest top. But at the time in my head I was huge. I thought then that I was as big as I am now, I’ve always thought I’m as big as I am now. Ironic that it’s taken me to actually get to this size to be able to see that I wasn’t this big before. Even though I wore small clothes it just didn’t compute. Even when I was slim I would wear elasticated waist and baggy tops and clothes with lycra in them and I thought I was just stretching them over my huge body.

I used to be out with friends and I’d see a fat person and I’d ask if I was that size and my friends would say no and I wouldn’t believe them. Guys would whistle me down the street and I’d think “why they whistling a fat chick?”

This is why I kind of get anorexics (I know that’s a terrible condition and I wouldn’t ever profess to fully understand it or to be in any position to comment on it) but I kind of understand how what we see and feel is just not what is there. They don’t eat to get rid of that imaginary person and we, the obese, eat to console ourselves because we think we are that imaginary person. It’s awful isn’t it? Awful the tricks our minds play on us.

It is self destruction, all of it, the voice in the head fooling us into thinking we’re hungry, the false eyes through which we view ourselves keeping us in a state of confusion. It really is a demon. It’s an illness and yet we are left largely to face it alone. We’re stigmatised, mocked, bullied, discriminated against, dehumanised and ridiculed and all because we’re ill.

People are so cruel and so ignorant.

When I did my before pictures for this new healthy lifestyle I couldn’t look at them for a couple of days as I’ve mentioned in my blog before and when I did look at them there were tears. I saw a monster. I couldn’t believe what I had become and I knew this time what I saw on the photo and what I felt inside matched up. I wanted to avoid taking photos because I just don’t want to look at them but I see the importance now. I don’t have to share them although I have promised that I will at 6 months into this journey but I need to see them to believe them. I need to capture and monitor my loss visually and hopefully that will help me to accept my new self and this time when I get to a health weight I will believe what I look like and be content with that.

I really hope so because if I still feel huge I’m going to have a real problem on my hands. Losing the weight is one of the battles, keeping it off will be the greatest challenge and I need to feel that I can be honest with myself and have some belief in the person I am at that point.

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Can’t Sleep… let’s talk about size”

  1. Yet again I find I’m very simpatico with your thoughts on this subject. Last time I lost a lot of weight I probably drove my best friend mad because, EXACTLY like you, I would point out a large person and say, “Is she the same size as me? Am I bigger?” and my poor friend would reply in bewilderment, “You’re MILES smaller than she is.” And yet I had no clue. As far as I was concerned, despite 45 kilos (100lb) having left my body, my body hadn’t changed. Similarly, I found it hard to get used to my increased fitness level. I had spent so many years employing, as Shauna Reid put it in The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl (link here: http://www.dietgirl.org/archives), the Fat Girl Logistics Department, that the idea that I could just walk somewhere without having to plan to minute detail any trip that involved physical activity so I could actually manage it, that I continually assumed I could not do things I could. Body dysmorphia is a real problem and even though it seems to be acknowledged that thin people can suffer from it (as in anorexia, as you said), I don’t think most would believe fat people do too.

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    1. Whilst I’m not pleased you suffer the same, I’m glad I’m not the only one.

      I remember seeing a documentary years ago about a very overweight lady in the States who had bypass surgery (before it was widely popular) and at the end of it, after she had also had skin removed she found it impossible to get into a ‘slim’ state of mind.

      She had counselling as she couldn’t choose clothes, she was wearing baggy loose unflattering things still and she said she couldn’t even get used to shopping in stores where formerly she would have been laughed at for entering. That brought up a bitterness and resentment of the way she’d been treated as a fat person.

      She too couldn’t get used to doing ‘slim person’ things, like going swimming, taking a flight (previously she didn’t fit in a seat), doing any outdoor activity without still feeling everyone was looking at her.

      In the end she committed suicide. It was very sad and nobody saw it coming, everyone thought she’d be happy now but she said “As a fat person I knew who I was, this person is alien to me, I don’t know her and I like her less than I liked myself before”. She had lost something like 200 pounds, because she would die if she didn’t and she died anyway.

      I think we have a way to go before ‘professionals’ actually listen to what obese people are saying and stop demonizing us. It’s crazy over her in the UK now, we are the scourge of the earth, people set up facebook groups where they post photos they’ve taken out and about of fat people and then the comments that line up are disgusting.

      If that was anyone else, a disabled person, a person of different race or belief, an old person, if it was sexist in nature those people could be prosecuted but because it’s just fat people it’s OK.

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  2. You’re welcome. I actually have Shauna’s book ‘The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl’ and have followed her on Facebook since. A very inspiring woman because she’s done what I need to do i.e. lose half her bodyweight to reach a goal. (PS she posted the other day that she is having a health scare so I hope she will be OK 😦 )

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    1. I have ordered her book after having a look at the link you posted to her archive and then the link she had to her new website. I noticed that too, yes let’s hope it’s nothing serious. Whenever arms are involved I always get a pang of fear.

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  3. I completely agree with you. It’s a mental illness of sorts. Its taken years of abuse from the insensitive comments of others, but the damage is incontrovertible. I find it hard to take a compliment when someone says something positive about my weight loss. I always have something self deprecating ready for my response. It’s so deep rooted, that I wonder if it’s the main reason for sustained weight loss.

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    1. I think it is. Remember my priestess comment? It’s her against the world but more importantly it’s bringing her out to beat the fat, sad, self hating, self harming lump in the other down into submission.

      My inner priestess will reign supreme! I need to put that picture on my blog I keep forgetting.

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  4. I know how you feel. I am the picture taker of the family so I can avoid being in pictures. I have always seen myself as the fat girl, even when I truly wasn’t. The first time I lost so much weight I never thought I wasn’t fat. It was only years later after I had gained the weight back that I saw pictures of myself and realized I truly had been skinnier.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I think our families do a lot to instill that early self perception. I don’t think they all do it maliciously or purposefully, often they are trying to help.

      I guess nowadays for young people it isn’t just the family, but the media images they have to put up with and society bashing of fat people too. All it is going to achieve is more fat people.

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