I feel fat!

Hey everyone! I feel fat today! Isn’t that just a terribly pathetic, boring, self-absorbed thing to write? I mean, even more than the stuff I usually write. But anyhow, it’s true. Today, folks, I feel fat.

There’s no point saying it to my partner; he thinks I look fine and besides, he’s still jobless and has proper shit to worry about. No point saying it to my sons; they’re too little to understand and if they were old enough, it’s hardly a message I’d want to share. No point saying it to my friends; they’ll just point out that I’m smaller than them (even if I’m not) and that by saying I feel fat, I’m making them feel fat. So I have to shut up about it, and I will, apart from here. Here I’m fat fat fat fat fat.

It’s not as though I haven’t had genuinely crap things happen to be. With some very selective editing, I could cobble together a properly tragic life story. Hey, if I were more successful in life, I could make it into a real “overcoming the odds” drama-fest. But I’m not. And sad things aside, today I’m more sad about feeling fat.

There may be lots of reasons why I feel fat. I’m stressed at work. I worry about being a good enough mum. I worry about money. I worry about my partner. I worry about my extended family. An experty-type person would say “ah, when you worry about your weight, you’re transferring your worries over into something you can control”. But that’s not even true, or it doesn’t feel true. I feel fat and it’s not a feeling I believe I can control.

To feel at odds with your own body is horrible. It creates a low-level, buzzing anger at yourself that’s with you all day, an anger that flares up every time you pass a mirror or rest your hand on your fat, stupid stomach. Or now, as I write, I pause and rest my hand on my chin and it’s a double chin and it’s wrong and it shouldn’t be on me. I feel infested with a moral weakness that everyone can see. And, quite obviously, this makes me want another bag of crisps. Or possibly a doughnut.

At the moment, I feel like I’m not really me. I’m occupying flesh, too much flesh. What a ridiculous way to think and feel. If I’d been told I had six months to live, would I still feel this way? Or if my children were sick, would I then? Actually, I know the answer to that one. I would still feel this way. I have a picture of me, in hospital with my youngest when he was five weeks old, hooked up on tubes with a then-undiagnosed illness. I was scared that he might die. I was also, albeit to a lesser extent, scared that my arms might look fat in the photo. What a complete and utter tosser!

So now I’m annoyed at myself for being fat, and I’m annoyed at myself for feeling fat. And that of course will mean I need to eat another bag of crisps. Jesus. Call myself a feminist? Is it just me? Do other people get like this? Well, all I can say is, what a stupid way to be.

12 thoughts on “I feel fat!

  1. Yes. Other people definitely get like this. I am about to do the final three exams of my final year of Uni. I am very behind and have so much to do but my worry is all focused on the stone and a half I’ve put on. I should be worrying about work, about finishing the degree I’ve poured my heart and soul into for three years but all I can think about is my big fat belly, wobbly thighs and how I’m going to look in Graduation photos in July.

    And like you said…I get so down about it I shove my face full of chocolate and ice-cream and crisps. It’s stupid.

    People are weird. I think we’re hard wired to be like this. But I don’t think it makes you a bad feminist. You can hate that women are bullied by the media and society to look a certain way, believe that people should be able to look however the hell they want and feel bad about how you look at the same time with no contradiction.

    I think I’m basically trying to say that you shouldn’t feel bad for being unhappy with how you look. It doesn’t make you a rubbish person, it just makes you like pretty much everyone else on the planet x

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment! I was considering deleting this post as it’s such a stupid admission to make, but then that’s part of the point.
      I hope you do well in your final exams. I’m sure you won’t be the only one who has these worries. It’s amazing what women achieve given the constant undertone of self-hatred we’re encouraged to battle with (by rights we ought to, like, stay in bed all day… If I was a celebrity constantly being scrutinized about my body, I think I probably would!)

      1. We could stay in bed forever and be fat, hairy, spotty, sallow skinned, greasy/frizzy haired, unjudged by others and therefore happy. Sounds like an excellent idea x

  2. I have been overweight since I discovered beer at uni – and even more so since I was pregnant with 8yo and lived on galaxy, ice cream and cheese on toast for nearly 2 years (worked equally well as a breastfeeding diet too). But,I don’t want 8yo to hear me say ‘fat’ or bemoan my body though so use lots of pathetic euphemisms instead ‘Mummy wishes she was healthier’ etc etc.
    In a shop the other day she pointed out a dress which I rejected. ‘No honey, I think it would make me look, well the f word’.
    8yo’s eyes grew big and round. ‘Do you mean?’ she breathed. ‘Do you mean F U’
    Me: ‘No! Not that F word!’
    I’ve just downloaded the my fitness app onto my phone to depressingly, tediously log my calorie intake. But with the other f word (the age one) coming up this year maybe it’s time healthy wasn’t a euphemism.

    1. It’s such an annoying waste of headspace. I’ve just finished reading Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a Woman”. Her line on these things is not to give a fuck. But for some of us it’s really hard to blot out all the stupid messages you get about body size. I used to be bigger than I am now and physically it was a pain, but far worse was the way I couldn’t stop devoting time to beating myself up about being fat. I knew how pointless it was then, as I do now, but as long as you can never get out of your own body, it’s hard to escape it.

  3. I second Amy. Sitting in the house all day fretting over a thesis is enlivened by eating (cos I can do it while I try to second guess what my supervisor won’t like). I read your post, thought “Yup, you’ve just summed up my life at the moment” and then I went to get a cookie to eat while I replied. I’ve also thought “Thank God my graduation won’t be until July 2013 so I’ll have time to lose the weight.” Is that really the important thing in relation to something I’ve worked for for 4 (or 8) years? No. Do I hate the fact that I think I see my boyfriend comparing me to the fit, skinny women at his running club? Yes. Do I feel less of a feminist for thinking like this? Yes. This post and the replies are (as usual) muchly appreciated!

    1. I got around graduation body image issues by being 8 months pregnant at the time – no one can call you fat then (it is, I will admit, the extreme solution, and also temporary in its not-looking-fat benefits while having other, very long-term effects).

  4. It’s rubbish that when you feel bad about other stuff, all the body image stuff comes back to bite you in the arse. I feel like I could deal with body image worries when everything else is going well, but when it’s all going less well, that’s when it all comes back. Which I suppose just shows how much it’s all in my head. But you’re right, it doesn’t feel like it. If it’s any consolation, at least we’re all fucked up…

    1. Last year I went through a phase of reading loads of “stop worrying about it!” books (e.g. Fat is a feminist issue, Overcoming binge eating, and, my fave title-wise, Shut up skinny bitches!). I actually couldn’t get on with the Orbach book at all – lots of stuff about us actually wearing fat as “protection” and thinking we want to be thin but not wanting to really, or something. Anyhow, despite my reading, I continue to worry about it. One book I still like is “Eating our hearts out” (ed. Leslea Newman). It might be out of print – 1st published early 90s – but probably available 2nd hand on Amazon. Just lots and lots of women writing about their relationships with food, in very creative, non-boring and non-triggering ways. There’s a writer in there called Linda Weltner who’s particularly good, writing about being in her fifties and STILL not being allowed to stop worrying about it. She must be well into her sixties now – wonder if she’s still worrying?

  5. I just read your post on A Hell Of A Woman, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read about your internal turmoil with body image. I’ve struggled with body image for more than half my life (I’m 36 now) and it seems like such a fricking waste of time and energy. Like you, I worry about my body image daily and even/especially when there are bigger things to worry about. If I’m heavier than I’d like, I feel depressed and wish I looked different. If I’m at a weight I consider acceptable, I panic that it’s just the beginning of a slide back down into fatness. For f*ck’s sake! I’m doing better than I used to (íf you’re interested in reading my story, it’s here: http://theheadspaceblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/defeating-skinny-bitch.html) but I really despair of ever having anything but loathing for my own body. I have to say that I feel a lot better whenever I manage to stick with a program of regular exercise – probably it’s the endorphins improving my headstate – but with two small children at the moment I get neither sleep nor serious exercise particularly consistently. Just wanted to say that you’re definitely not alone.

    1. Just read your post – it’s brilliant. Tried to comment on your blog a couple of times but it kept thinking I was a robot (no good at reading those wibbly word things). So sorry if you get comments there twice! What I put was:
      Wonderful post! It’s so hard to get back to health, however you got there in the first place, given all the diet rubbish that surrounds us. I read this post drinking hot chocolate – will toast your recovery!
      Hmm. It looks a bit odd out of context here. Maybe you could copy and paste it over (except it would look like you’re talking to yourself in a rather vain way…) Anyhow, great post!

      1. Thanks so much! I did get your comment, despite your struggles with that anti-robot thing, which is truly a pain in the proverbial. I just hope the hot chocolate was a full-fat one in a huge mug, with melty gooey marshmallows on top!

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