Sunday, October 5, 2008

The F Word

Being FAT, I'm allowed to say the "F" word. I could call myself that for decades and though it was always done in jest, my self esteem would be beaten down, self-inflicted of course, everytime I would make a fat joke at my own expense.

It started early for me, during middle school. The scale climbed and so did my role as class clown. If I beat my friends to the punchline, perhaps they wouldn't say the things I thought they were thinking. After all, doesn't "fat and jolly" go together almost as well as chocolate and peanut butter?

Now I find, decades later, the "F" word holds far less shock value for not just me, but the general population. Just look around on television and in the films. There is always the fat person that is the butt of all sitcoms, the fat person who is the witty and funny one, cracking jokes at the speed of cookies being dipped in double-whipped chocolate fraps and it is socially acceptable for any stand-up comedian to make fat jokes, even if they aren't fat.

Losing weight and my bad self-esteem has been something I have been trying to do for the last thirty years. I have had successes and failures, all adding up to a miserable feeling that "Sure I could become a heart surgeon if I wanted, yes I could fly to the moon or be president, anything was in my reach if I truly wanted it. Everything and anything that is except really, once and for all, getting this almost 300 pounds of excess FAT off my body." It was the one thing I couldn't convince myself that I could really do. I had beaten myself into FAT submission.

So where do you start when you want to change your outside appearance? Quit worrying about what the scale says and the mirror. Look at numbers like blood pressure, how your clothes fit, how hard you breath when you climb stairs and start thinking healthy.

If we get our heads right, our bodies will follow.

There have been studies done that link depression and mood swings to obesity. This is the internet, do your searches and read them. They confirm what I already knew by my own un-official study where I was the only subject. Eating a whole cheesecake and washing it down with a half a gallon of ice cream is the recipe for severe depression and self-loathing.

Breaking the habit of dropping the "F" bomb is something I have been working on for the last two years. Making fat jokes that try to fend off others from hating me as much as I hate myself had been my only defence and had to be the first thing I lost.

Some days are good and some are bad, this was something that the girls from the Facts of Life taught us way back when. But what if we try to work a bit harder on our own self-esteem on the bad days?

Pulling from many little slogans, sayings and chants we have all heard over the years, my favorite is to recall the voice of my dad saying in his worst Spanish (he really didn't speak the language) "little by little one goes far" - a phrase I would echo over my mind as I spent over six months living on a bicycle trying to ride my way to fit.

If we start with working on our heads, realizing that we BUILT these bodies with food and since we were the ones that grew them, we have to be the ones that now start to really care for them, we can get the scales to go down. The past two years of my life have proved that logging up (or should I say down) an almost 200 pound weight loss.

As you sit and daydream at work, or maybe when you are waiting to fall asleep or at the mirror as you are brushing your teeth, think about the F word. Let it go and start changing the way your mind thinks. Stop hating the person you are, stop saying the bad words that convince our heads we are sub-standard because we would never fit into a Hollywood mould of what is beautiful and take a deep breath.

Stop complaining and start changing. Little by little one really does goes far. Think little changes and get on with them. Replace your old "F" word with positive ones like fitness, fabulous and finally.

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