My son gets sad when he sees me talking about my former self as, “Fat.” He says that he never saw me that way, and that he always just saw his dad. I appreciate that, and my son has a huge heart. However, when I see old pictures of myself when I was fat, I get sad.
I didn’t see myself as fat when I was at my largest. I knew I was overweight, but I would take photos of myself and look at them and think, “See? That’s not so bad!” Looking at them now, I’m horrified. I was huge and unhealthy. I’m lucky I escaped my largest phase without any serious health issues. What scares me the most, however, is how easy it was for me to see myself as normal when I was anything but.
It’s easy for us to make peace with our overweight selves. It’s easy for us to say, “People need to accept me for who I am regardless of my weight” and that’s all well and good. I don’t think we should shame anyone for being overweight. That’s not right. Placing judgment or shame on anyone for their health, weight, or any other reason is wrong. But gently trying to advise people to get healthy is a tricky and delicate subject. Especially to those who don’t see the need.
I am sad when I see people posting on Facebook about how people “Just need to accept me for who I am.” They are right, but I wonder: do they think they are healthy at their heavy weight? The myth of the healthy fat person has been debunked. There is no such thing as a fit fat person. Yes, I’ve seen the videos of the overweight people doing yoga, running, etc. The fact of the matter is that they are not yet healthy, but they are on their way. Our bodies are not meant to operate for long with excess fat.
I eat right now. My body has found its natural equilibrium in regards to calories in/calories out. That’s why I run now: I want to spend more calories to push that equilibrium point down further to a lighter end weight for myself. I didn’t have to do crazy amounts of exercise (or any at all for the first 100 lbs!). I just had to eat right.
Does that make me hate my former self? Not at all. It makes me sad for my former self. Sad that I thought I was okay. Sad that I didn’t take my health seriously. Sad that I sat on a couch or in a chair for so many years and didn’t have the energy to be the person I wished I could have been for my kids and my wife. I did the best I could with what I had, but I could have been better.
You can do better. You have all the discipline inside you that I have. It’s in you. You just have to listen to yourself. Trust in yourself. Don’t give in to temptation. You know that voice that says, “Oh wow, I really shouldn’t eat that…” THAT’S your DISCIPLINE talking to you. Let its voice be heard. Let that voice grow into a roar. You can do it!