Weight is such a heavy topic in our culture. We, especially women, are bombarded with messages pushing us to be thinner, or more fit. Weight is equated with health, and if you want to be healthy, you have to be within a certain weight range. And of course, everyone else knows exactly what you need to do to get yourself into that range. You have to eat certain things, not eat certain things, exercise more, and generally make yourself miserable and hate your body. We also aren’t allowed to say that we are fat. We may say that we need to lose weight, but God forbid we call anyone fat. Fat is almost a swear word.
How fat am I?
I have rarely striven to lose weight. Once, when Little A was about 6 months old, I stepped on the scale and it read 203, which is one pound more than my weight when I checked into Labor and Delivery with my oldest 15 years before that. I am 5’7″ and although I haven’t always cared about the number on the scale, I have still been disgusted by my body. And yet, I wasn’t willing to put any work into it. I wasn’t disgusted enough to be spurred into action. My weight ever the last twenty years has fluctuated between 175 and 200 in general, with a short stint around 155 when I learned new cooking skills in my late 20s, but that weight loss was completely accidental (I didn’t know it happened until my pants literally fell down). And remarkably, my clothes have pretty much remained the same size throughout all those weights. I have a flexible wardrobe, apparently.
Today I stepped on the scale and it read 185. According to the new Smart BMI Calculator, my BMI is 29, and my SBMI is 42/70. This apparently means that I am overweight, but no longer obese, and a moderate health risk. That sounds like a great reason to lose some weight, right? So why don’t I?
Why am I fat?
This seems like such an obvious thing. I am fat because I eat too much sugar and don’t get enough exercise, living a rather sedentary lifestyle. But that isn’t really the reason. Those are co-symptoms of the real issues. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately, though I can think of nothing that has specifically triggered it. I have come up with some rather interesting reasons, some of which are really rather ridiculous, but that doesn’t make them any less real. After all, a platypus is ridiculous, but it is real. So here are my platypus reasons for why I am fat:
No, I’m not blaming my grandmother for making me fat. Rather, it is my image of the ideal grandma. I am not a grandma yet, but it is quite possible to happen within the next 5 years. My oldest is 21 next month, and it is not unrealistic. (No pressure, sweetie!) My default mental image of a grandma is a portly woman with a white bun and a well-worn apron holding a tray of freshly baked cookies. Of course, I didn’t have a grandma that looked like that. And I don’t recall my grandma ever baking cookies. If I expect to be a grandma, I guess I should look like one. Ridiculous? Yes. Real? Yeah, I’m afraid so.
For some reason, I am intimidated by women who are thin and very fit. I don’t know why. I guess for this purpose, the why doesn’t really matter. I prefer to be around people who have a bit of give to them. My stereotype of thin people is one of aloofness. I don’t want to be aloof. I want to be approachable. There’s just more of me to love.
I’m sure it isn’t really true, but I have a belief deep down that heavier people have more fun. Just look at this guy. Can anyone really have more fun than he is?
Don’t laugh. I do like to play the bongos on my belly. My belly makes a great drum. And it has a nice satisfying jiggle. I just tuck my shirt up under my boobs and slap out a rhythm. Can thin people do that? I don’t know. Okay, maybe that was too much confession. But surely I’m not the only one.
I have kids. I have a husband. They all like to lay their heads on my belly and use me as a pillow. Or the kids did when they were younger. Who wants a rock for a pillow? Squishy bellies make excellent pillows.
I hate clothes shopping. I haven’t fully explored why, but I do. If I lost 30 pounds, I would have to buy myself new clothes. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. My wardrobe is pretty raggedy right now, but I don’t want to have to. I have a pair of jeans that fits that I love. They have no spandex and aren’t skinny jeans. They don’t show off my butt. They are nice and relaxed and loose, without being too big. And they have respectable pockets. Do you know how hard that is to find?
I have to confess that one little piece of me says F U to the idea that someone else should tell me what I should look like. Are they wearing my body? No. I am. Do they have to look at my body every day? Only my husband and kids do, and they love me just as I am. So who are “they” to tell me what I should weigh? When “they” start taking skeleton frame into account for ideal weight, I *might* start listening. My personal ideal weight will be higher than average because I have a broad frame. My shoulders are a full 4″ wider than my mother’s, and she is only 2″ shorter than I. That extra width is going to carry extra weight. So take your BMI chart and go suck on a lollipop!
Maybe I am delusional, but I don’t want to be skinny because I don’t want to be weak. I am physically a pretty strong woman, and I take pride in that. Rationally, I know that my extra weight is not comprised of muscle, but of fat. And I know that fat does not add strength. But bigger is stronger, right? At least to a point. I have not been able to reconcile skinny with strong yet. I love to play wrestle, and I don’t want anyone to be afraid of breaking me.
My extra weight also affords me some protection from the world at large. It is a literal cushion, shielding me from catcalls, and some of the more obnoxious micro-aggressions that women face. I don’t have to worry about some stranger grabbing my butt, or my boob. I’m big enough to seem confident, and to make one think twice before provoking me to self-defense.
So there are the platypus reasons that I have come up with over the last few days as to why I am fat. It really isn’t about the food or the exercise, as you can see. It certainly is not my intent to disparage anyone who is skinny. Honestly, I don’t really know many skinny people very well. My own daughters tend more towards my physique, except one whom I kept trying to beef up for quite some time. It wasn’t that I was trying to make her self-conscious of her size, but rather because of some of the reasons I listed here. I have since made peace with the fact that she inherited her father’s frame and not mine, and will never have a body that looks like mine. And she is also strong, and confident, and capable.
Do any of my platypus reasons resonate with you? Have you ever explored your relationship with your weight like this? What did you learn?