F is for Fat

When I decided to enter a body-building competition in my forties, there was something the trainers and seasoned competitors forgot to tell me. They forgot to warn me that once you’ve experienced being so thin that your tailbone digs into the chair, any weight higher than that will feel fat.

So from my point of view, I spend every day of my life aware of the fat on my body — the softness of my belly, the padding around my hips, the layer of flesh that covers my ribs.

Because I’ve spent a great deal of my life controlling my weight, I know that given a few months of focused calorie control and vigorous exercise I could easily reduce my fat levels. But it’s after the thrill of watching the scales go down that the pain sets in. Maintaining a small body, one far smaller than my natural size, becomes a life sentence. The price is too high, the effort too exhausting.

So I remain fatter than I once was, and yet thinner than what society might call obese. I no longer trust what my mind tells me about my body, because my thoughts still carry scars from the past.

Instead I listen to my body. It tells me when I’m hungry and lets me know when I’m full. It thrives on ballet, yoga and lifting weights, yet screams obscenities at me when I try to run. It responds to the touch of my lover’s hand and relaxes under the caress of a hot shower.

My body is a beautiful temple, with a heart that beats, lungs that breathe, blood that pumps, and muscles that contract without me having to do a thing. I am healthy, vibrant and alive. My body and I are no longer enemies. We’re quite fond of each other.

So today I am going to erase the word ‘fat’ from my vocabulary. It’s a label that serves no useful purpose. I am an imperfect being, inhabiting a body that has beauty, value and importance — not because my body resembles that of a runway model, but because it is fully, naturally and completely me.


This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge

 

About Katie Paul

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing • Join the hottest group on FB → Sassy Ageless Women

38 thoughts on “F is for Fat

  1. I am just becoming a fan of your writing. The word ‘fat’ and me have a long lasting relationship and more so because i honestly genuinely enjoy my food and i have no hope of erasing fat from my life !! But slowly i have learned to love my body and very tough yes but to be happy with who i am.

  2. Fantastic post! My boyfriend works out 4-5 days a week. I work out 2 days at the gym and another 2-3 days I spend playing with or walking the dogs. I’m a slender and curvy woman and feel that any moment now I will be fat. This is because there was a time when I worked out 5-6 days a week, had 18% body fat, and weighed 120 pounds. I still compare myself to the person I was 10+ years ago.

    Great post. I thought I was the only one. Do you still compete?

  3. Lovely post, however I would change this “I am an imperfect being, inhabiting a body that has beauty, value and importance” to “I am a perfect being, inhabiting a body that is perfectly me” (smile).

  4. Nicely written, and a beautiful sentiment for the day. I’ll be checking back to read more of your posts!

  5. This is all so true. Currently trying not to make comparisons between comp body and post baby body. That train of thought totally fucks with your mind! I have a great appreciation for my body and what it can do and am learning to be kind to her and let her heal and gain strength again x

  6. I was half expecting an anguished woe is me I’m fat post. You have a wonderful perspective on your body. I have also been working on loving my body for what it is. I succeed most days. It’s been tough work, but I much prefer a healthy approach.
    I’m all for erasing the word fat from our vocabularies, at least when it comes to describing bodies.
    I’m so glad I discovered your blog.

  7. I have like a 35lb weight swing which I know is unhealthy.I also know I have to stop my self loathing before I will manage to look good.
    I have learned a lot about health, weight, exercise and how women kill themselves over bad training methods. All the knowledge in the world doesn’t help though, not until I deal with other stuff and this is what society fail to see.
    I love how women are realizing lifting weights is good for them and I can squat 40kg, so may be fat but I’m fit hehe..

    1. I agree that there is so much more to holding on to extra weight than just food and exercise. Our hearts and minds play a significant role.
      We’re all works in progress, fighting our own battles. Thank you for taking the time to share your insight x

  8. J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge – where I am part of the A to Z Ambassador Team! (I’m a minion/volunteer under Arlee.)
    Great post. I’m looking forward to more. Let me know if I can help you in any blogging way this month. I’ve followed you on your listed social media sites.
    @JLenniDorner

    It’s a wonderful idea to get rid of that word.

  9. Often posts about ‘Fat’ tend to become preachy and talk down the reader. Whereas you make the reader happy and optimistic about herself which in turn will motivate in whatever fat loss program is being followed! An absolutely encouraging post. Happy AtoZ 🙂

  10. Entering a body-building competition in your 40s is amazing enough but your wonderful new attitude is the real star. We should all take a page out of your book and rejoice in all the wonders of our amazing bodies and the joy they give us, instead of stressing about our size. Lovely post, thank you.

  11. I love your attitude of accepting your body. I am under the obese level, but I long to have a shapely body as in the past. I do two doggy walks a day and an hour’s work-out at gym twice a week. I also have a small appetitite, but that weight won’t shift. Maybe I must just accept it and learn to love it!

  12. Fat is too often used as a negative, as something to be ashamed. You know as well as I do how prevalant fat shaming is these days. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know when being fat was something anyone should feel shame about.

    So I have extra padding. Big deal! Do I like it? No, not really because sometimes it causes me pain. But getting rid of it is no easy task so I have learned to accept it. I am doing what I can to shed pounds without feeling guilty because of what the scale says or how I look in the mirror.

    I had another witty, intelligent thought about how awesome you were but I lost it. Sorry. Need caffeine. Just know that I think you’re amazing and I love your positive attitude.

  13. Bravo! Being thinner is hard work. I was much thinner in the midst of my divorce but I was also incredibly stressed and unhealthy. I won’t make that trade!

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