Erin Marie

Limbo limbo limbo limbo.

I feel like I’m at a bit of a stage of limbo in my fat acceptance journey at the moment.

On the one hand, most of the time I am able to look at myself in the mirror, with or without clothes, and think ‘Hot damn woman!  You are one sexy thing!’  I understand and totally agree that no-one has the right to police my body, or judge it, or ask me to change it.  I think I’m almost to the point where I can accept that, for better or for worse, this is my body and I can accept it and love it without shame.

But on the other hand, I still have this lingering, nagging feeling that I should be trying to lose weight.  So that I can easily fit into the seat on the aeroplane.  Or so that I don’t have to worry about my doctor blaming all of my health issues on my weight.  Or so that I am just not freaking judged every day of my damn life.

I was thinking about all of this before I watched this wonderful video by Margitte of Riots not Diets featuring Jessica from Tangled Up in Lace and Keena of Buttah Love.   If you haven’t watched it I highly recommend it, although be warned that it does talk some about dieting and body shaming.

The truth is, we face such a barrage of negativity from the world every day, that it is no wonder that I’m in limbo.  It’s like when you go into rough surf at the beach and you keep trying to make your way forward past the break, but the waves keep pushing you back, so you end up staying in the same place.  That’s where I feel I’m at right now.

In the FA community weight loss is such a taboo subject.  If you talk about wanting to lose weight you are publicly lambasted and shamed.  Whilst I understand the reason for ‘diet’ being a dirty word, the simple fact is that every day we are confronted with messages telling us that are bodies are not good enough and that we need to lose weight.  As Keena points out in the video, people are actively looking at our bodies and judging whether or not we will fit into aeroplane seats.  Every time I go into a restaurant, particularly a fast food place, I feel the judgemental stares of people thinking ‘eat a salad fatty’.

So it’s hard to be in this place right now.  Believing and understanding that it is okay for me to accept and love my body exactly how it is, but feeling this external pressure to fit in.  So I’m drifting in limbo, waiting for the wave that knocks me back, or the surge of energy that will compel me forward.  I’ll let you know where I end up.

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  • Fatwaitress

    I think this is a normal part of being in our own counter culture. You constantly have to remind yourself that you are ok as you are. I happens to me a lot but then I just remind myself where those thoughts came from. It can be exhausting but I would rather be tired from trying.

  • Anonymous

    I find it interesting how much of that “I should diet because…” thought process we all go through is because we want to conform to someone else’s standards.

    Look at yours for example… is it really your body’s fault you can’t fit into a 17″ wide seat? Or is it a problem with the design of the seat, not the design of your ass?

    And the doctor thing… is it really a problem with your body’s shape, or is it a problem with the doctor’s attitude when they fail to perform any actual testing in favor of a kneejerk assumption without any supporting evidence?

    I totally understand where you’re coming from and this isn’t some kind of diatribe against you… it’s not even a diatribe at all really, more of an observation that almost all of the “we should diet because…” thoughts are because we want to meet someone else’s standards, not really improve ourselves.

    Although that is really hard to tell. I mean… some people’s ‘should’ thought might be “I should lose weight to improve my health”. But can we really trust that thought, given that while everyone is preaching low weight = healthy there really isn’t any concrete PROOF of that? So again, that could just be another attempt to meet some outside standard not really an attempt to actually improve ourselves. Since there really isn’t any proof that health actually does improve after weight loss.

    Just throwing out the observation. Obviously, it’s not really possible for us to remove ourselves from that thought process… it’s like changing religions. A lot of people who convert from a childhood religion along the Christian spectrum to something else, regardless of how much they believe in their faith, in times of great stress can still be heard to use Christian based expletives (god damn, christ, hell, etc) or the Christian based expressions of dismay (oh god no, god help me, etc).

    Even if you no longer believe something is 100% true, it can prove nearly impossible to shake off the ingrained thought processes and expressions you formed in childhood. And since our culture right now preaches “fat bad skinny good”, “good foods vs bad foods” and “food, weight, and health have moral values”, when you’re stressed it’s pretty easy to fall back onto those kinds of thought.

  • Erin Marie

    I totally understand and agree with what you say. I don’t think the plane seat or doctor thing is, or should be, my problem. But sometimes it seems like it would be easier to change myself than to try and change the airlines, or the doctors.. or the whole world.

    That’s really what it’s about. It’s a fight between myself and the world. And sometimes I feel like I’m winning, and others I feel like I don’t. Right now I feel like we’re in a tug-of-war, at the point where each side is running out of strength and just holding out against one another.

  • Netta

    Hi, I’m kind of passing by, but I’m not new to the ‘fatosphere’ although mostly (well, entirely) as a lurker. I just wanted to say that maybe it shouldn’t be all or nothing. Maybe you can try to alter your eating and exercising habits (if you feel they could and should be improved) in order not to just be more healthy but also to lose weight (as a goal in itself), as long as you keep in mind that you ARE perfect just as you are, and that if you ‘fail’ (or better yet, if you don’t succeed right away or all the way), you’re still good. I don’t think the message should be acceptance = don’t ever diet, rather – don’t be afraid to live your life (no matter what size or any other criteria). But if you do decide to diet, make sure you’re doing it from a good place of self improvement and not a bad place of self hate (and don’t go to the extreme ever, slow & moderate is best).
    Anyway, that’s kind of the place I, personally, feel most comfortable with, having the cake and eating it too (but, you know, just one piece and not too often…). wish you luck.

  • Kristin Craiglai

    I get where you’re coming from. For me I’m pretty much at peace with how I look. I do like my body and I don’t think too much about what others think anymore until I look at photographs that emphasize my belly fat (so anytime I’m sitting down). But I can’t ignore the way that my size and fat physically get in the way of me enjoying life. I don’t like that it’s work just to stand up or how hard it is for me to play actively with my kid. I don’t like that I can’t move in the same way as others because my flesh just gets in the way. But my solution has been that I don’t focus on weight, I focus on increasing my healthy food rather than decreasing the other stuff. I know that self denial is not the way for me. I also focus on exercise, not for weight loss but so that I can get fit enough to run with my kid regardless of my size. Plus I know that a certain amount of exercise has been shown to effectively treat depression so if I want to some day get off of my meds I need to make that exercise a part of my life.

    When it comes to being affected by all of that external judgment and bullshit, it’s hard to totally shut that out. I guess the trick is to fill your life, your mind and your heart with enough support and evidence that those body police are full of shit. If I can get to a place where I can move and run and jump with my kid and get off of the meds, it doesn’t matter if I’m fat my whole life. Anyone who thinks that it’s their place to judge otherwise can kiss my grits.

  • Kristin Craig Lai

    I had a therapist once who told me that I was “living life as it should be in the world as it is.” I think this perfectly describes this dissonance we all feel. So will you have doubts? Of course, will you let them win, I doubt it. You’ve brought so much honesty, love and passion to this fight that somehow I can’t see you letting the cacophony of fat hate defeat you for more than the occasional moment (or even day or week) of doubt.

  • badu

    That sense of limbo is always there in the background lurking and waiting to come to the fore. A lot of it is what you said about being out of step with the rest of society but also that FA has not developed to the point where it can positively assert from its own standpoint, rather than responding to society in general.

    “In the FA community weight loss is such a taboo subject.”

    It isn’t weight loss that is the problem but the only means of achieving it which is weight loss dieting. I’m sorry, but people are going to have to learn to stop conflating the two, our bodies lose weight all the time, in the course of providing us with a steady supply of energy.

    What is not known generally is how to key into what the body already does and extend it to lose a greater amount of weight.

    If you wish to diet that’s up to you, the problem is and I don’t know why this is so hard to catch, people do not want to hear about dieting which is problematic for some of the reasons you mentioned and many many more. Whether people realise or not, and yes some don’t, it is dieting that causes people to take issue with WL as it is this, not weight loss in itself that causes the problems.

    No one is stopping anyone from doing it if they really want but personally I would not advise anyone I cared about to focus on weight loss dieting as it is a mugs game.

  • Erin Marie

    I think it depends on what you define as ‘dieting’. Does leading a more active and healthy lifestyle constitute dieting? If so, then yes – I am planning to start dieting, because I feel myself getting more and more unhealthy because I don’t exercise enough for my body, and because the foods that I eat make me feel sluggish and uncomfortable. I know from experience that if I make these changes in my lifestyle, without necessarily restricting myself from eating and doing the things I love (chocolate and TV!), I will lose weight as a by-product of that lifestyle change.

    I don’t see that as dieting though, but I am afraid to speak about it in the FA community, because I feel like speaking about weight loss even as a side effect of living a healthy and active lifestyle as a fat is taboo.

  • bec

    I don’t see that as dieting either. For me ‘dieting’ becomes a negative concept when weight loss for the sake of weight loss is the goal. Whether you try to tell yourself it’s about health or not, deep down you know if this is what you are doing.

    But if you feel that your body needs a certain pattern of food and behaviour in order to function at its best, and you’re not aiming specifically to lose weight just because society reckons you should, then go for it. Just because you’re exercising a degree of control over your lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re in conflict with FA principles.

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