Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Here you....FATSO!

Yeah the post title is a bit bizarre... but hey, bet you're wondering what I'm going to rant about now! Today's rant is brought to you thanks to an article posted on the Facebook page of our gym Revolution Fitness. I did call it 'our' gym, and I think the owner James would be ok with that, cos he's nothing without us former fatties :)

If you're too lazy to read it, the general message is that we should be mean to fat people and make them feel bad for being overweight in order to 'help' them with weight loss. Sure... making someone miserable and destroying their confidence is bound to help.. or not! 

And here's my response to the post: 

Ex fattie view here...Honestly doctors, parents or the media telling you you're a fat disgusting mess as recommended here isn't the way to go. If you're fat, you know you're fat. As much as it's as simple as eat less, move more to lose weight.. it's far more complex than that. I had bitchy comments in school, bullying, negative remarks from strangers... you name it. It didn't make me lose weight. It damaged my confidence, hurt me, made me reclusive and depressed. I ate more. I got bigger and bigger. The bigger I got, the more the comments and disgusted looks from people hurt me. I ate more. And so on... It's a vicious cycle and isn't as simple as stopping eating. I had a problem with food. I used it as a comfort for when things were tough. It was an unhealthy relationship which destroyed my confidence, self worth and my desire to recover from illness for a while...After all, I was just a fat mess, what had I got to offer?? I get what the article is saying but in my opinion, there needs to be a greater understanding of WHY someone is obese, and not make them feel any worse by calling them names cos rest assured they feel pretty low already.

My thoughts on this article remain the same.. I think it's irresponsible of the media to encourage bullying when suicide and depression is a serious problem in this country. The word bullying gets thrown around an awful lot, but it's fully justified in this situation. 

I was grossly overweight. I've told you the story. What I haven't told you is how it affected me, how I felt about it and how weight loss has changed me. 

I didn't wake up one morning at over 24 stone wearing a tent for jeans...When I was a kid, I was bigger than the other kids in my class, and whilst most people would have described it as puppy fat, I was conscious of it. I remember the first time it bothered me... I was probably about 8 and I didn't want to wear shorts to school cos my legs were bigger than the girls in my class. I'm not sure if someone had made a hurtful comment to make me feel like that, but my self esteem was an issue from an early age. 

When I started secondary school my insecurities worsened. I went to boarding school and open showers, changing in dorms and being surrounded by people who were noticeably slimmer than I was didn't help. I was horribly homesick, and food was my comfort I guess. When I'd go home, my mum would cook anything I wanted in a bid to cheer me up... a nice touch, but it didn't help! Another thing that didn't help was the fact that the canteen in our school clearly had no idea on nutrition... corn flakes for breakfast, pasta lunches and pizza/burgers and chips for tea. This type of diet became normal for me, and since I wasn't exactly fit I stopped playing sports and so my body issues continued. I've mentioned before about the college diet of rubbish food and cocktails that added to my misery. 

Nobody forced me to eat this way....but I had horrible habits I didn't know how to fix. I was embarrassed about my body and poor fitness so I'd never have joined a gym. 

I hated everything about myself... I wondered why people wanted to be friends, why a guy would look at me (other than it being to ask me out as a joke), I couldn't wear nice clothes, I assumed if anyone looked at me that they were thinking I was disgusting... I was miserable. I locked myself away, and again food was my comfort.

I've told you the reasons why I lost weight, and whilst I'm not saying that being slim or a certain dress size is the most important thing... for me, it was a huge leap towards building confidence and feeling better about myself. 

Getting to this point wasn't easy. I went through pretty big struggles with nutrition...eating the wrong foods which I thought were healthy, exercising to the point of serious exhaustion (we're talking about 2 gym sessions daily on very low calories), dealing with slow progress on the scales and micromanaging my diet and training. Once I found a way of eating that suited me, started training efficiently and relaxed, things started to fall into place. 

The numbers on the scales don't matter to me any more, it's the little things that thrill me... Here's a few things that most people take for granted that I'm only experiencing now...

  • I bought my first ever pair of River Island jeans recently (nothing would ever fit me in there)... 8 sizes smaller than when I started this journey.
  • A friend treated my to a pair of Carvela knee high boots... proud moment for sure... I couldn't get boots to fit before...
  • I'm finally in a place where I'd be 100% comfortable starting a proper grown up relationship! I was always so body conscious and lacking self confidence that it always damaged previous relationships..
  • I'm actually happy. 

They're major successes for me, and I take incredible pride in them. I haven't shared them to brag or boast... I want people to stop and realise that little things like not being able to shop in certain shops or wear certain clothes or look at yourself in the mirror all come with the territory of being seriously obese. They're the minor things... let's not forget depression, isolation, loneliness and low self esteem... 

That's a horrible place to be, and until a person is ready to make changes to their lifestyle for the right reasons, then they shouldn't be subjected to name calling and ridicule. 

For anyone interested in being proactive in changing your life should absolutely read the excellent tips written by Sarah & James from The Better Life Project 

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