Not Just Plus Size, But Morbidly Obese
I know I talk about weight loss a lot on the blog lately and maybe that’s okay or maybe that’s going to drive people away. I don’t know. Today, I’m not exactly talking about weight loss as much as I am the view of overweight people, but I’m not just talking about plus size people today. I’m talking about the morbidly obese people like me. I honestly don’t know where I’m going with this, but I’m angry and frustrated and I need to vent so you all (anyone who is reading) get to read my rant or my soapbox or whatever this turns out to be.
Do you ever just find yourself thinking about something and just getting angry and you just don’t know what to do about it? You know it’s irrational to be angry at this particular situation or thought, but you just can’t help but get riled up and squirmy in your seat? For someone like me who detests confrontation, this happens quite often. I think and think, I read about things, and I just get angry and worked up about something that may be none of my business or may be exactly my business, but I rarely do anything about it. Well, today, I’m doing something about it in this post. I’m talking about not just being a plus sized woman, but rather a morbidly obese woman living life and trying to make things better for myself and my family.
I have been “big” or “chubby” most of my life. I was a big baby and I never really outgrew that thickness as I grew older. I don’t remember being teased much as a young child, but I always remember noticing that I was bigger than all of my friends who had fun, fashionable clothes. I was never able to borrow clothes or a jacket from a friend because I was always too big and either my friends didn’t notice or I just don’t have a memory for the bad things that were said. My memory is pretty bad so who knows.
Around about Junior High, I do remember that people noticed my growing body and knew that I was fat. I remember being teased from time to time, but I still had a few good friends (who were also chubby, by the way) and we just didn’t pay attention to the negativity. However, the first time that I can truly remember feeling shame about my body (I always knew I was bigger, but nobody close to me said anything) was 8th grade after Christmas break. I guess I had enjoyed my grandmother’s fudge a little more than usual during this break because when I returned to school, my band director came up to me, hugged me, and told me that I looked like I had put on a few pounds. I don’t know why a teacher, a mentor, would say something like that to a young girl with body issues, but it was said and I was devastated.
Around this time, my mom also decided that my older sister and I needed to diet and eat better. She began cutting back our snacks or replacing them with better options. She portioned our food for us and gave us healthy choices. We didn’t really exercise, but we ate less and ate healthy. We both lost quite a bit of weight and it was pretty encouraging to start wearing trendy clothes to school for the first time. But, like most diets, it didn’t become a lifestyle change and we just slid back into our old ways and the weight just came back.
When I was a senior in high school, I lost a ton of weight just from being active and never eating. I lived off Snickers and Diet Coke and worked two jobs in addition to going to school. I started finally getting attention from boys and even though it was the wrong kind of attention, it was the attention I craved. This all stopped when I went off to college, though, and that’s when the REAL pounds started packing on.
I was a recluse in college and actually flunked out during my first try. I was just a few classes shy of my degree when I was forced to take a three year break and be re-accepted into college. During those years, I worked and ate and slept a lot. I packed on the pounds, but my boyfriends didn’t seem to mind. I always picked “chunky guys with facial hair” so my growing body was still somewhat smaller than theirs.
After I finally graduated from college, I was alone for the first time in my life and that’s when I became obese and then morbidly obese. I no longer had a roommate or a boyfriend and I was left to my own devices. I didn’t have any prospects or reasons to shave my legs and eat healthy. I let myself go as if I was some happy, fat married lady, but I was the furthest thing from it. I was very unhappy and lonely. I was nowhere near a relationship, much less close to marriage, but I was fat and that kept me comfortable.
When I met my husband, I was 320+ pounds. I don’t know my exact weight, but when we got pregnant a month later, I was already 330 pounds so that’s my estimate. He was a big guy, too, but I’m not sure of his weight. He loved my body for what it was so I became comfortable with it as well. I didn’t do anything to change my size or my health and my body just grew even bigger.
In 2010, we dieted hard core and I lost 90 pounds and he lost 160 pounds. But we stopped the “diet” and gained it all back. My highest weight to this day was 369.8 pounds and that was last year. I “dieted” again and lost about 20 pounds this time before he and I decided to make a life-changing experience and we both got weight loss surgery (gastric sleeve) at the end of 2015. My surgery was 12/30/15 and to this day (2/25/16) I have lost 30 pounds. I’m exercising every day and I’m really committed to being successful at the weight loss this time.
Now that you know all this (and sorry for going down that rabbit hole) I’ll tell you what has me riled up today. I’m reading a book about body image and loving the body you’re in. The author is talking about how “fat” she is and how she’s the “token fat girl” and then she mentions that she’s 5’8″ and 250 pounds. Okay…so maybe she’s “plus size” because she wears an 18 or 20 in pants, but what about us FAT girls out there? Where is our role model, our token fat girl in the media. I guess Melissa McCarthy is supposed to be our role model, but she’s just not “out there” enough…or am I just looking in the wrong direction?
I feel somewhat guilty by saying this. I mean, I think it’s great that someone who feels like a fat person is loving their body and trying to teach others to love their bodies as well. I really do! I don’t have the reach or the stamina to become some type of role model or speak in public about my belly rolls or get in a bathing suit. But, even the girls on Biggest Loser this year were not BIG girls. Did we even see one that was over 300 pounds? I can’t remember, honestly, so I apologize if there were.
Ever since I had the gastric sleeve surgery, I’ve been in these support groups on Facebook and I see these 200 pound girls who are getting weight loss surgery. These people needs to lose 50 pounds and they are surgically changing their bodies! Why does this upset me so much that I would choose to write about it? I don’t know. I just want these “plus size” women to know that I would love to be as FAT as they are. I would love to struggle between an 18 and 20 pants size rather than celebrate that my 28’s are finally feeling loose. I would love to have a BMI that’s not in the 50’s. I would love to have the confidence that these women have because they are “plus size” rather than morbidly obese.
Maybe this post has become some form of backwards fat shaming and maybe it’s really none of my business. We all have to focus on where we are in the body we’re in. My body is currently getting smaller and I’m comfortable in my skin. My clothes are fitting looser and better and people are finally noticing my weight loss in my face and on my body. Maybe by the time I get to size 18 or 20, I’ll understand where these women are coming from. Or maybe I’ll always remember what it felt like to live my life at 369.8 pounds and work hard to never go back there again.
It’s such a hard, hard topic.
I can feel your pain in your words. I can well relate to them.
I don’t have any answers, I am still fighting the battle myself. For me, going to the gym and working out with weights and such gives me a sense of strength that I didn’t get from anything else. I have over 100 pounds to lose myself, so I’m not a size 2 or even a 10. I added Plexus products, which for me, meant sleeping well for the first time in years, giving me energy and stamina to do what I need to each day.
Know that you’re not alone. I still hear those words from others in my youth taunting me. I have to tell those voices to “shut up” and replace those words with those of my husband- words of love, acceptance, and encouragement. Or I use those words to power through my workout and be stronger.
I’m rambling now…just know that you’re not alone…..
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I think the thing women have to realize is that we are all unhappy with our bodies and we all feel the same way. I hate when I want to lose 5-10 pounds and a friend who has 15-20 pounds to lose makes me feel like my goals don’t matter because I’m at her goal weight. It’s a little selfish in my opinion to discount the feelings of others because we think we would be happy with what they have. We all have a different idea of what we want our bodies to look like but just because we are different sizes doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve respect. Does that make sense?
Now health wise there is a HUGE difference in being obese, but that’s not really what this post was about. So that’s just my 2 cents on this subject! I’m happy for you and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes you.
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I’m so glad you write this because it frustrates the heck out of me, too! They show “plus size” models in the clothing catalogs marketed for such, but none of them is anywhere near as large as I am. I have never seen anyone who struggles to squeeze into a 28 or 30 modeling. Of course not because most people see me (I can only speak for myself) as repulsive. Little kids stare. I’ve been asked when I’m due – which is extra super since I’m infertile and have had a hysterectomy. People out there – NEVER ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless their is a child falling out of her, or if she’s typically a size 4 and has a basketball growing beneath her clothes. Sorry, my PSA for the day. My absolute ideal … therefore likely unattainable … weight puts me with a BMI in the overweight range. My wedding weight was in the “normal” range but who ever weighs their wedding weight again? Who developed this BMI thing anyway? It has certainly changed over the years, that’s for darn sure! I know it’s an overused analogy, but Marilyn Monroe was a size 14, if memory serves, and she today she’d be between the “Misses” and “Women’s” sections in the store. Gosh, I remember a couple of years ago I lost some weight and for the first time in years was able to buy clothes at an actual store and not a catalog. People don’t understand how demoralizing to go into a store and find that they don’t carry a size large enough for you. Thin people don’t have this problem. Thin people get upset when they have to go from a 6/8 to a 10/12. I’m sorry, I’m all over the place here. With my surgery date not yet scheduled, I’m getting more and more frustrated! I’m just glad I’m not alone in this. Thank you, Janet!
I can relate totally. You should checkout Tess Holliday and Whitney Way Thore. Both are body positive and both very obese. They advocate healthy lifestyles but also body acceptance. Health isn’t just determined by weight but its crucial to love yourself no matter your size which is something I struggle with.
Thanks a great and honest post Janet. Thank you for sharing it. I am 16-18 US size and still classed as morbidly obese by Dr’s. I to was teased at school and the comments have stuck with me. As a senior I was a size 10-12 US.
It is amazing how many have a poor body image whatever their size.
Lisa, thank you for this. I know that BMI and obesity terms are also based on height so I didn’t realize that morbidly obese could still be used for a size 16-18 US size. I know I’m probably out of line with a lot of this post, but I needed to get it out there after reading this book and the support groups I’m in lately. Thank you for reading and appreciating what I had to say.