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Author Topic: Having Self- Esteem While Fat  (Read 9194 times)

Catherine

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Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« on: December 31, 2011, 11:21:22 am »
Hi everyone,
I wanted to bring this topic over from the old board because it was a good discussion and contains some great links. Thanks to Sunflower for starting it.

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=15389.0

Some of you might remember a while back I posted about going on weight watchers and my endocrinologist putting me on a weight loss drug. Well, I've stopped both of those things. Sure, they worked for a while, but weight watchers was a huge pain in the ass, it forced me to absolutely obsess about food! What I was eating and when, making sure that I ate several times a day, blah, blah, blah.

The drug was an appetite suppressant that actually clashed with the WW program because I just wasn't hungry and ended up forcing myself to eat when I really didn't want to.

It was a really bad combination and I told my endo that I won't be doing either of those things again. Period. After hearing what it was like for me, she agreed. Which is good because I certainly don't need her, or anyone else, on my ass about my weight.

So, I'm right back where I was before all of that bullshit. What I'm trying to do now is, get a grip on the fact that this is the weight my body wants to be. Unless I'm obsessing over food and working out so much that I don't have the energy for anything else, my body naturally goes right back to this weight. Then stops.

I've decided that I'm not going to struggle every day with this shit. I'm going to accept my body the way it is. But, as many of you know, that's easier said than done, sometimes.

Anyway, I just wanted to revive this topic because I thought it might be useful here.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 11:21:56 am by Catherine »

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2011, 02:07:58 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;37035
Hi everyone,
I wanted to bring this topic over from the old board because it was a good discussion and contains some great links. Thanks to Sunflower for starting it.

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=15389.0

Some of you might remember a while back I posted about going on weight watchers and my endocrinologist putting me on a weight loss drug. Well, I've stopped both of those things. Sure, they worked for a while, but weight watchers was a huge pain in the ass, it forced me to absolutely obsess about food! What I was eating and when, making sure that I ate several times a day, blah, blah, blah.

The drug was an appetite suppressant that actually clashed with the WW program because I just wasn't hungry and ended up forcing myself to eat when I really didn't want to.

It was a really bad combination and I told my endo that I won't be doing either of those things again. Period. After hearing what it was like for me, she agreed. Which is good because I certainly don't need her, or anyone else, on my ass about my weight.

So, I'm right back where I was before all of that bullshit. What I'm trying to do now is, get a grip on the fact that this is the weight my body wants to be. Unless I'm obsessing over food and working out so much that I don't have the energy for anything else, my body naturally goes right back to this weight. Then stops.

I've decided that I'm not going to struggle every day with this shit. I'm going to accept my body the way it is. But, as many of you know, that's easier said than done, sometimes.

Anyway, I just wanted to revive this topic because I thought it might be useful here.

 

I think it's important for you to provide what your weight is and what you're supposed to be at when you make statements like that. If you're within 20-40 pounds of your target weight, then sure I'd agree with you. But, speaking as a person who's morbidly obese, you shouldn't tell someone who is seriously overweight that it's okay to be that way.

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2011, 03:31:30 pm »
Quote from: celestialwolf;37044
I think it's important for you to provide what your weight is and what you're supposed to be at when you make statements like that. If you're within 20-40 pounds of your target weight, then sure I'd agree with you. But, speaking as a person who's morbidly obese, you shouldn't tell someone who is seriously overweight that it's okay to be that way.

 
Because the added stress of beating yourself up for your weight is so much better for one's health?

I am in the morbidly obsese category by the scale (250ish, 5' and a half inch.) My blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health factors are just fine - I do have chronic medical issues, but none of them are weight-related (though several do complicate the kinds of exercise that work for me, or what I can eat that's good for my body. For the record: asthma with added complications from residual lung scarring, allergies, thyroid issues (which do a number on the metabolism) and vitamin d deficiency)

I'd much rather focus on what is good for my body, and what I can *do* with my body, than the number on the scale. There's an increasing amount of evidence that suppports this (the Health At Every Size) model, and not a lot of evidence that a focus on weight loss provides any kind of long term benefits (past a year or three) and may in fact cause long-term problems.

Sunflower had lots of great links in the previous discussion of this, of some of the issue, that I encourage anyone interested to read. I certainly can vouch that my life is much better - and my overall health in *all* areas is much better - since I stopped worrying about the scale, and focused on what I actually feel like and what my body's telling me.

(I'd dig up more links myself, but am on the iPad, and travelling)
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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2011, 04:41:38 pm »
Quote from: celestialwolf;37044
But, speaking as a person who's morbidly obese, you shouldn't tell someone who is seriously overweight that it's okay to be that way.


See and that is exactly one of the statements I have a huuuuuge problem with.
Because it implicates that there is not only a mysterious 'the right weight' for everybody (not taking into consideration the different body types, lifestyle types and other medical conditions or maybe inherited stuff), but everybody all around is entitled to judge by but one look, if I have this 'right weight (TM)' and, if I don't - damn me and shame on me, that I am healthy and happy.

No sorry.
If a person has got medical problems due to their weight, yes, then it's maybe a good idea to do something against the too much. Same as in: health problems from smoking, drinking, excessive sports - you should maybe consider to stop those things in that case.

I am strongly against the blanket statement overweight/fat/chubby (whatever) = sick. Because it is not true. You could go around quite as well and affront everyone you consider too thin, that the heck they need to eat more. Because it's not good to starve to death.

Cat - I absolutely agree, almost all forms of diet (as in diet = struggle malnutrion to lose weight) is forcing the person to obsess with food. And therefore set to fail for most of us normal, weak willed people (yes there was sarcasm in that.)

I stopped every idea about dieting. We changed the way we cook to more vegetarian, we banned the sweets mostly and I took up sports because I want to feel stronger, not necessarily to lose weight. I don't mind it as a side effect, but it is not the main goal. And this is good.

And Jenett is right, beating oneself up about weight, focuses again on food, scales and all those stupid things that don't help a bit.
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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2011, 05:58:24 pm »
Quote from: celestialwolf;37044
I think it's important for you to provide what your weight is and what you're supposed to be at when you make statements like that.

 
I think it's important not to ask invasive and inappropriate personal questions, myself.  It's amazing how people differ, isn't it?
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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2011, 07:47:49 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;37035
So, I'm right back where I was before all of that bullshit. What I'm trying to do now is, get a grip on the fact that this is the weight my body wants to be. Unless I'm obsessing over food and working out so much that I don't have the energy for anything else, my body naturally goes right back to this weight. Then stops.

I've decided that I'm not going to struggle every day with this shit. I'm going to accept my body the way it is. But, as many of you know, that's easier said than done, sometimes.

Anyway, I just wanted to revive this topic because I thought it might be useful here.

 
I was doing that with a program I have on my phone. I had to program in what I was eating and I had to eat about five meals a day. So, smaller and more often is supposed to be better or some such, right? On top of that, I was obsessed with having to walk off 500 calories a day while also making sure that I had cut out the same amount of calories per day because I wanted to lose two pounds a week?

I was healthier, sure. Was I happy? Eh. I don't think so.

I think it's the fact that when you're dieting, you have to be obsessed with everything you eat that really makes it so awful for me. No one has the time to stop what they're doing to measure their food, blog about it, and then give yourself a demerit because you had too much chocolate or other fattening foods later on. I understand that dieting is necessary because a lot of us are fat or overweight but I don't like the mindset it forces us into.

I, for one, Catherine, am proud of you for saying, "I'm going to accept my body the way it is." I think that's a good thing for you, but also reinforces a good, positive image for the rest of us.
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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2011, 07:48:41 pm »
I never said that beating yourself up is okay. Nor did I say that being over your target weight = sick. If you're 20-40 overweight, that's still healthy for some people. But I'm sorry, I can never agree that being Obese and Morbidly Obese is healthy/okay. Not thinking about the scales, what you eat, etc. does make life easier. But there are some of us who got that way from that very behavior.


Quote from: Darkhawk;37066
I think it's important not to ask invasive and inappropriate personal questions, myself.  It's amazing how people differ, isn't it?

 
You're right Darkhawk. How silly of me. It won't happen again.

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 02:16:56 am »
Quote from: celestialwolf;37077
I never said that beating yourself up is okay. Nor did I say that being over your target weight = sick. If you're 20-40 overweight, that's still healthy for some people. But I'm sorry, I can never agree that being Obese and Morbidly Obese is healthy/okay. Not thinking about the scales, what you eat, etc. does make life easier. But there are some of us who got that way from that very behavior.


Have you actually read the research cited in some of the earlier discussions? A lot of it is surprising to many people, especially the ideas that when you isolate for obesity per se (removing other health markers like blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. ) there's a much smaller difference in mortality than almost any media statement about 'the obesity epidemic' gets right.

Also the part about how sustained weight lost of any meaningful amount has a failure rate that's truly absurd (upwards of 90%, and that's being very generous. )

For me, my weight is due to a combination of genetics (I come from a long generation of peasants who were good at surviving famines), a malfunctioning endocrine system, health factors that limit the kinds of exercise I can do at a sustained level (not related to weight: exercise does not work well when your lungs fail...) and a couple of meds with metabolism funkiness as a side effect.

I can have a surprisingly healthy body given four chronic conditions (seriously, my last three health professiionals have all gone 'except for the chronic things, you're in great health, and you're treating those perfectly well..') and pay attention to what I eat, and get exercise in ways that help my body, not hurt it.

But I don't expect those things to result in a change in the number on the scale. And I see absolutely no reason I should beat myself up for things that are largely not under my control (genetics, a body with quirks in the endocrine function, the fluke of getting bacterial pneumonia in my early teens and residual lung scarring, etc. )

I'd much rather get on with living life, living a life where I am as thoughtful about food as I am about my home, my job, my relationships, my hobbies , and my reading material (which is to say, I think carefully about my choices, but I do not allow them to rule my every waking moment). And then do what I can to support a body that's had a couple of really hard years (brought on, incidentally, by trying to live up to other people's unreasonable expectations.)

 Stress, overwork, and broken systems took my health out for the better part of two years. Gentleness, attention without obsession, and listening to what my body really needs have gotten me a huge chunk of recovery. And again, none of that has to do with weight.



 
You're right Darkhawk. How silly of me. It won't happen again.[/QUOTE]
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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 08:34:43 am »
Quote from: celestialwolf;37077
I never said that beating yourself up is okay. Nor did I say that being over your target weight = sick. If you're 20-40 overweight, that's still healthy for some people. But I'm sorry, I can never agree that being Obese and Morbidly Obese is healthy/okay. Not thinking about the scales, what you eat, etc. does make life easier. But there are some of us who got that way from that very behavior.



 
You're right Darkhawk. How silly of me. It won't happen again.

 
I'd like to point out something - "morbidly obese" in and of itself screams "bad fat!  bad fat!".  It SOUNDS nasty.  Morbid.  ugh.

There's also a difference between "eat like crap fat" and "eat fine and just big fat".  If you eat like crap, THAT is a problem.  If you never move at all, THAT is a problem.  The number on the scale at that point is a SYMPTOM.  The number isn't the problem, though - the behavior is.

The point is that the goal should be HEALTH.  Not anti-fat - HEALTH.  If you're healthier by losing weight, by all means, try to lose some weight.  But if you're healthy where you are, fretting about a number on a scale is just going to make you miserable.

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2012, 09:32:24 am »
Quote from: HeartShadow;37109
If you never move at all, THAT is a problem.  The number on the scale at that point is a SYMPTOM.  The number isn't the problem, though - the behavior is.


And even the behavior itself can be a symptom of yet another underlying cause, so in those cases it might still be needed to accept those behaviors as part of here and now.

Quote
The point is that the goal should be HEALTH.  Not anti-fat - HEALTH.  If you're healthier by losing weight, by all means, try to lose some weight.  But if you're healthy where you are, fretting about a number on a scale is just going to make you miserable.

 
And health in all sorts of ways - physical and emotional, in a life that works. Being fundamentalist about your physical health at the cost of emotional well-being (for example by denying yourself all sorts of pleasures because they may in some respect be unhealthy, also thinking of orthorexia here) still isn't the final goal.

(That said - I won't judge others. The choices you make are your own, and I won't judge wether it's wrong. Everybody has the right to decide for themselves, which includes the right to do things differently than I would, and to make mistakes or do unhealthy or dangerous things - as long as it doesn't put non-consenting others into danger or hurts them.)

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 10:50:03 am »
Quote from: Inca;37110
That said - I won't judge others. The choices you make are your own, and I won't judge wether it's wrong. Everybody has the right to decide for themselves, which includes the right to do things differently than I would, and to make mistakes or do unhealthy or dangerous things - as long as it doesn't put non-consenting others into danger or hurts them.)


Clearly it was mistake for me to post on this thread. I'm sorry for anyone that I might have offended. I'll just agree with what Inca said above and add that everyone's journey is their own. For whatever that may be, good luck and best wishes.

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 11:36:18 am »
Quote from: celestialwolf;37044
I think it's important for you to provide what your weight is and what you're supposed to be at when you make statements like that. If you're within 20-40 pounds of your target weight, then sure I'd agree with you. But, speaking as a person who's morbidly obese, you shouldn't tell someone who is seriously overweight that it's okay to be that way.


Okay, first of all I'm not telling anyone to do or not to do anything. I'm talking about my own choices. About how I've decided to feel about my body.

You want context, here you go.

Up until my thyroid went wonky, I was a size 8. I weighed between 125 and 135 consistently. Then I got thyroid cancer and in a very sort period of time my weight went up to 175. I'm 5 feet 3 inches tall.

After two surgeries and playing around with meds for a while, I just expected that the weight would start to come off. That's what everyone was telling me, anyway. When it didn't, I felt really horrible about myself. I totally blamed myself. I thought that I just wasn't trying hard enough, not getting enough exercise, eating too much (though I wasn't eating any more than I used too), that I was using being hypothyroid as an excuse to be lazy, etc.

I don't know if you know anything about thyroid disorders, but if you're hypothyroid, just doing the laundry can be an adventure.

So, I gave the diet pills, daily workouts and weight watchers a try. I did this for three months and I got down to 152, but it was a serious struggle. As soon as I stopped taking the pills, the weight started coming right back. Weight watchers itself really didn't do much for me because I didn't eat badly to begin with. The loss was primarily from the pills. Pills that you shouldn't take for an extended period of time because they can cause all sorts of problems.

So for me, it's pretty obvious that this is the weight my body is naturally going to be. Unless I want to take pills, starve myself and work out to the point of exhaustion. I'm choosing to live differently and to accept myself the way I am.  

I'm not saying, don't eat well. I'm not saying, don't exercise. I'm not saying, don't be concerned about your health. I'm saying 1) being fat doesn't automatically mean that you're unhealthy, and 2) there's nothing wrong with accepting yourself for who you are. It's a hell of a lot better than the alternative!

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 03:54:43 pm »
Quote from: Catherine;37117

So for me, it's pretty obvious that this is the weight my body is naturally going to be. Unless I want to take pills, starve myself and work out to the point of exhaustion. I'm choosing to live differently and to accept myself the way I am.

 
Yes. This.

(And yeah, thyroid stuff is an adventure. The other side is that when I was working on the diagnosis, I had a brief stint of going hyper and lost *thirty-five pounds* in under 2 months, and got nothing but compliments for it. (While I was going "Erm. Hi. Something really wrong here?" It all came back on when I got treatment and my metabolism stopped panicking again.)

I was lucky that I've been reading size-acceptance work and related supportive communities and blogs and so on for over 15 years: my self-worth is not about my body. (I want to treat my body well, because I'd like it to continue to be around for me. But that's different.)

You also draw out something that I think is really important to point out: it is entirely *okay* to decide that you are going to do decent things for your body, but not center your life around it. Any kind of limited food intake (whether that's type of food, or careful measuring, or whatever) takes time and energy to deal with. Exercise takes time and energy to deal with.

It is totally okay to say "I'm going to do some of that, but I'm not going to devote my every waking moment outside of work to those things" and decide to do other things with your time and energy. Just like it's okay that some people decide they like to run marathons, and some people like to cook 5 course dinners, and some people like to sit down and write novels (and some people like intensive ritual experiences that take hours to work through, and some people like to spend a lot of time in meditation or prayer or music or art...) - we can't do it all, and that's okay.

But for a lot of people - the vast vast majority - reasonable attention to food and moderate exercise (the 30 minutes 4-5 times a week, for example) have lots of benefits for the body in general health terms, but won't result in a noticeable change in weight. And yet, that's what's sustainable for most adults for long periods of their life, through various ups and downs and other important commitments and obligations.

There is also for me - and a lot of people with chronic conditions - that up and down thing. I've been saying I optimise for brain: stairs take a lot out of me (lung issues, far more than weight - walking on the flat is fine, or even moderate hills - so I take the elevator, because there are days when I get 15 more minutes of useful concentration out of my body when I do. I make food choices that optimise for my brain, some of which are less optimal for other systems in my body. And so on.)
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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2012, 11:04:18 am »
Quote from: Jenett;37143

You also draw out something that I think is really important to point out: it is entirely *okay* to decide that you are going to do decent things for your body, but not center your life around it. Any kind of limited food intake (whether that's type of food, or careful measuring, or whatever) takes time and energy to deal with. Exercise takes time and energy to deal with.

It is totally okay to say "I'm going to do some of that, but I'm not going to devote my every waking moment outside of work to those things" and decide to do other things with your time and energy. Just like it's okay that some people decide they like to run marathons, and some people like to cook 5 course dinners, and some people like to sit down and write novels (and some people like intensive ritual experiences that take hours to work through, and some people like to spend a lot of time in meditation or prayer or music or art...) - we can't do it all, and that's okay.

But for a lot of people - the vast vast majority - reasonable attention to food and moderate exercise (the 30 minutes 4-5 times a week, for example) have lots of benefits for the body in general health terms, but won't result in a noticeable change in weight. And yet, that's what's sustainable for most adults for long periods of their life, through various ups and downs and other important commitments and obligations.


Exactly.

I'm refusing to obsess over it anymore and I won't let other people make me feel like I should.

Which is one of the reasons I wanted to resurrect this thread. I thought it might be a good place to vent our frustrations about the kind of pressure there is to lose weight. Especial post holidays when you see so many more diet adds and such, it can be really hard to feel good about yourself. I also wanted people who may not have been on the old board to have access to the links in the old thread. There's a lot of really good information there. I know it's helped me quite a bit.

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Re: Having Self- Esteem While Fat
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2012, 11:20:31 am »
Quote from: Catherine;37217
Exactly.

I'm refusing to obsess over it anymore and I won't let other people make me feel like I should.

Which is one of the reasons I wanted to resurrect this thread. I thought it might be a good place to vent our frustrations about the kind of pressure there is to lose weight. Especial post holidays when you see so many more diet adds and such, it can be really hard to feel good about yourself. I also wanted people who may not have been on the old board to have access to the links in the old thread. There's a lot of really good information there. I know it's helped me quite a bit.

 
What really kills me is the constant attitude that ANY body-squish is bad.

I'm not fat by any reasonable standard - not even the dreaded BMI thing.  And yet - I routinely have to work with NOT seeing myself as a fat person.  Because I'm not a stick figure.  Because I eat when I'm hungry and I tend to snack on chocolate as well as cheese.  Because my body will NEVER be the same post-kid as it was pre-kid without very expensive surgery.

I have a hard time even taking care of my body because of the messages that I get from the outside world - it's very tempting to go "I'm just fat, go away" when it comes to things like exercise.  Which is REALLY unhealthy.

Fatophobia obviously hurts bigger people more, but the unhealthy self-image thing hurts EVERYONE.

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