I’m fat. If you don’t believe me you should take a look at this:
I’ve always been fat, but I’m fatter now than I’ve ever been. I’ve also always been in denial on the subject. It’s kind of astounding to think, but I look in the mirror and what I see looking back at me is not what everyone else sees when they look at me.
But I don’t see the person in that first picture, either. I’ve always wanted to look like the second picture and in my delusional state I have always said, “One of these days…” But “one of these days” has never come. I think there are a number of reasons for this, but two of them have recently begun to come to light.
One reason that “one of these days” has never come is really quite simple. I don’t know what I’m doing. I do not know proper form and function for exercising. I do not know how to tell if I’m actually getting results or not. And it’s not fast and I’m impatient, so even when I do make an effort to exercise (yes, it has happened.) I get discouraged and I give up. It’s a huge excuse. I know this. It is, however, no less true.
There is a bigger, deeper reason for this. I’ve never been a truly happy person. Yes I’ve struggled with depression and that’s not exactly an issue now, but there is a vast wasteland between happy and depressed and I frequently take up residence in that wasteland. I don’t love and value myself as a person. I don’t feel worthy of having more, being better, being loved. I don’t deserve to be thin and fit and beautiful. I don’t deserve love.
I never specifically told myself those things; I don’t think I needed to. Instead I made excuses and talked about “someday” and told myself that I was just not meant to be thin and fit and beautiful.
The example that was set for me wasn’t any better. My mother has lived her entire life as a fat person. She spent my entire life sighing heavily and talking about, “I need to get this weight off” while cramming crap down her throat.
I remember a time when I was about 12 years old when my mother had been talking about needing to lose weight, needing to start a diet. And then she said she wanted ice cream. I remember asking her if she needed the ice cream, not because I was being unkind or obnoxious, but because she had been talking about weight loss. Her response to me was, “Oh honey. One ice cream cone isn’t going to kill me.”
She was right! One ice cream cone wasn’t going to kill her. The one she’d had the day before wasn’t going to kill her. The one the day before that wasn’t going to kill her. The one she would have the next day wouldn’t kill her either. I’ve thought of this many times as I’ve struggled myself to find something to eat that is both satisfying and nutritionally beneficial before ultimately giving in and selecting the proverbial ice cream cone because “this one time isn’t going to kill me.” Come to think of it, that sounds like something an addict would say. “This one time isn’t going to be a problem.” Interesting.
Anyway, growing up in a conservative Christian family where I was taught from a very young age that homosexuality was a sin and that a homosexual can not be a Christian and go to heaven, all the while struggling with the idea that that was just what I was, I think I developed an unconscious strategy to ensure that I would never have to deal with it. I think that by becoming the embodiment of what I am not attracted to, in my mind, ensured I wouldn’t ever be found attractive and therefore wouldn’t ever have to deal with the potential of a homosexual relationship and what it would mean for me, for my relationship with my family and my spiritual survival. If I’m fat, no one will want me and I’ll never have to worry about accepting the physical advances of another man, certainly not one I would want to be with.
It’s funny how we can talk ourselves into and out of things. I’ve never been happy being fat. I’ve never been happy being out of shape and yet, I’ve never wanted to put in the work to change that. I’ve never felt motivated to change it. My thinking went something like this:
“Nobody is going to want to be with me because I’m fat. Nobody wants me so why bother getting thin. If someone wanted me I might make an effort to lose weight. But since no one wants me, why bother?”
Hmmm… This whole thing was much better thought out before I started writing, but here’s the bottom line:
My whole life, my weight has been a defense mechanism. Being fat has been my excuse for not having acquaintances, friends and lovers. Not having acquaintances, friends and lovers has been my excuse for being fat.
The things I do that make me fat have been comforting for me and protect me from the rejection I always feel certain I will experience in my life. Why put myself in a position to be rejected by people I might like to get to know when I can sit at home and watch TV and drink wine and eat.
While it’s true that I find these emotional roadblocks to exist it is also true that I do not know what to do to undo the damage. I do not know how to exercise. I do not know how to plan properly nutritious meals. Even when I think I am eating healthy I often end up gaining weight. When I try to learn more from magazine articles and on-line resources, I feel confused and as if I’m reading something that was written for someone who already knows. And so, I am contemplating a huge change.
If I can scrounge up the money in time, this June I will begin an on-line training program. And in roughly a year, I will take the test to become an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. I’d like to go on to study nutrition and become a registered dietitian or nutritionist with the end goal of becoming an ACE Certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.
For a long time now, I’ve felt a drive to do something with my life that helps other people. I want a profession that will allow me to make a real difference, have a noticeable effect on people’s lives. I believe this is a way in which I can do that. I believe there are many people out there, just like me who do not know how to make this change in their lives. I believe there are people who would like to be different if they could just figure out how to make it happen. I believe I can be a person who can give them the help they need, while offering understanding and emotional support.
It’s a scary proposition to be sure. This is a complete and utter change in my life and my lifestyle but I feel good about it. It’s the first thing I’ve felt good about in a long time. Wish me luck!
I wrote this post yesterday, but I didn’t publish it because no sooner had I finished it than I felt self-conscious bout making these claims. If I tell you fine people I’m going to make this change and I don’t follow through, I look bad. And if I tell you fine people I’m going to make this change there’s that much more pressure to follow through and if I do follow through and fail, I look bad.
Then I realized this is a part of the “I am not worthy of…” mentality that I’ve had for so long. I’m not worthy of feeling like I’ve accomplished something. I’m not worthy of making a positive change in my life. You know what? I AM worthy. I may have to remind myself every day for a long time to come, but I AM worthy.
I also realized, I may not ultimately be able to do this for a living. It may not work out. But at least I can give it a shot and the absolute worst thing that can happen, is I learn something for myself, that I wanted to know anyway and make my life a little bit better because of it.
Do I want to take these courses and get certified? Yes. Would I like to change career paths and make a living helping other people overcome the things that I, myself, need to over-come? Absolutely!
So instead of worrying and fretting over whether I can do it successfully, I’m going to just focus on the first step of gathering the funds and signing up for the course. I’ll worry about the next step, when the next step has to be taken.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my Wii Fit is calling my name!