Friday, June 8, 2012

Fatty Thoughts

I wrote a post a while ago in which I said that I was being judgemental regarding someone who was overweight. I received mixed responses to what I wrote. I think that some took it as me being one of those people who just judge someone fat without thinking of their situation. Others understood, and one pointed out that maybe I was seeing myself in the woman I wrote about (thank you!).

I decided that I would post a little more on that topic.

Here's the thing...I don't always judge fat people. Do I think judgemental things sometimes? Of course. Don't you? Maybe not about being fat, but we all judge. The example I used in the previous post wasn't the greatest in showing my judgement because there may have been an unseen reason for what may also have been laziness... I owned up to the fact that I didn't know the story of this woman. I did consider other reasons for her being young and using an electric shopping cart. I did not disregard the fact that she may have had something going on that I couldn't see.

I think that where I live is part of why I made that judgement. I know a lot of people in this small area who are just plain lazy. Some of them are quite dramatic and sometimes make things worse for themselves. You know, that whole thing about thinking something so much you will start to believe it and convince others of it..?  I think that some of this comes from the field I work in. I run across people often who honestly believe they have it much worse than they really do. Whatever the reason, I see things happen a lot. I have an educational background and a pretty good "sixth sense" about people. I guess my "BS" meter is quite strong. I can sniff out a manipulator a mile away. It's a gift.  Or a curse.

I'm not saying that this woman was like that! I didn't get that sense from her. I didn't think "suck it up and quit asking for the drama."  I simply thought that she MIGHT have a laziness problem and that she probably is not teaching her children the best eating habits, based on the junk in her cart. 

I realize it's cheaper to eat unhealthy foods and a lot of people have to live on budgets.  They buy cheap things to make their groceries last. However, eating those unhealthy foods will actually cost more in the end...In terms of finances and health. 

I don't think there's enough education regarding that kind of stuff.  With the economy as it is, healthy programs like that are probably not in the budget of my state, maybe not yours, and maybe not within the federal budget.  I don't always see the logic in this. Why not spend a little more to appropriately teach, and help, people about healthy eating? It might cut down on costs later. Of course, this would depend no people actually taking that advice and following through.  We can't forget that the lure of a processed, cheese covered tortilla chip or a shiny package of cookies with bright candy bits in them will most likely defeat the appeal of a gorgeous green head of lettuce. The box of cereal with the cartoon character on the front and the fabulous prize in the box is going to win every time. What kid wants to eat some kind of bran cereal?

I couldn't work in advertising. I absolutely detest the idea of trying to get someone to buy a product by making it all pretty and fun. I could never, in good conscience, promote a new junk food product knowing what's lurking inside the box. I could make a whole lot of money as an ad-exec but I couldn't work for Company A. that will promote just anything to make a profit. I'm also not a salesperson and don't have a high tolerance for salespeople. I find them highly obnoxious. Let me shop in peace; I'll let you know if I need something.  Sometimes I want to tell them it's a waste of time to go over the fabulous features of a product. I can read. 

Maybe this is why I like shopping for clothing so much.... Usually those salespeople are a little less pushy.  Sometimes I'll encounter one who will say "oh we have x, y, and z that go great with that top to make the perfect look."  My style might not be the same as yours. Also, I have exposure to the latest trends, which I may not want to follow. Or maybe I want to mix something trendy with something casual. Ten trends at once is overkill. If I see something I like, I'll think of what I can wear it with. Sometimes I'll buy a couple new pieces to re-create a look I've seen somewhere. Also, I do not have a job where I can run around in cute little outfits like the ones most salesgirls wear to work. I have to dress more professional (yet a bit casual), which means cleavage, an exposed midriff, and open-toed stilettos are out.

Oops. I got a bit off-track. Surprise, surprise!!

Back to my fatty thoughts...

Sometimes I judge others because I DO see myself in them (thank you, Amanda for your comment!). Sometimes I see them and I get sad.  I remember being 23 and fat. I remember how I felt. Maybe the girl I'm seeing doesn't feel that may. Maybe she's happy as she is; and that's great. She's not me....I just HOPE that she REALLY is that happy.  I used to put on a happy face. I acted like I loved who I was, fat or not. Inside though? I didn't. I think that as a woman, I will always have insecurities about my body. I could be a model and still have insecurities. Images of  "perfect" women are thrown in our faces all the time. I'm happy like I am now. I am thrilled that I lost weight. There are still moments though when I look at my thighs and thing "ugh...they'll always be ugly."  And? They probably will!! A month after lipo and I can see small differences in the size/shape but not like I'd like to see. I'm still healing but I don't expect to see huge changes....Which is why I'm contemplating a thigh lift next year.

I used to pretend I didn't care what other people thought of how I looked. Lie. I did. I'd act like I didn't and that I was happy, but I cared. Why else would I spend time doing my hair and make-up and trying to find the most flattering outfit possible?  It was to look my best. If I didn't care what others thought, I wouldn't care as much about my appearance. Some of it is how I see myself too though. I like to look good, not all raggedy.

I still care what people think. I might care more now than I did in the past.  Now I have more pressure to look good because people keep telling me how good I look. I also love, love, love clothes. I love mixing things together. I love fabrics. I love fun outfits.  I really should be working in the fashion industry...Not as a designer (blah; not my thing) but as a stylist. However, to be a personal stylist and have a highly successful career, one needs to be able to work with celebs, on TV or movie sets....I certainly cannot make a career of being a personal stylist where I live now.  Anyway....

Hmmm...anyway what? I'm all kinds of off-track today! Lots of thoughts, lots of distractions among those thoughts.  One thought inspires another; one topic easily transitions into another...

I'll just go back to my fatty thoughts.  One time when I know I judge and generally do not think of any other possibilities is when I see someone who is obese stuffing their face with fast food.  I don't like fast food now. I did when I was obese. It was fast, easy, fairly cheap, and it tasted good. I swear there's some secret addictive additive that's put in unhealthy foods.  I didn't care about what the food might do to my body.  I just cared about the taste and feeling full.  I look at people now and thing "ohhhh do you even know what's in that? Do you care?"  Probably not. I know I didn't. It honestly pains me a little to watch people (even thin people who scarf down the fast food; this is a healthy thing not a fat thing!) put so many horrible things into their bodies.

Go watch "Super Size Me."  It made an impact on me when I first watched it. I was totally grossed out.  Eventually it was forgotten and I went back to fast food. I think if I watched it now, I'd have a different perspective. I'd still be grossed out but I'd understand the health component more.  Just thinking about it makes me wonder why someone would knowingly put their body through that stress just to prove a point. Money maybe?

My problem was never really overeating. I didn't go to the buffet and eat six plates of food.  If I went to a buffet (yuck, by the way....all those hands touching spoons; hands that you don't know where they've been!) I'd eat a plate of salads...Usually a lettuce salad and maybe some other pasta or broccoli salad.  Then I'd get a plate of the hot stuff... Chicken, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, tacos...whatever it was that looked good, maybe three items; what would fit on my plate. Sometimes I'd go for the ice cream dessert (with caramel and sprinkles, of course) but other times I was too full.  Now, that does sound like a lot of food  and it is. However, if I took a lot, I took small amounts...Maybe half a spoon of something; it really just depended on what I'd find on the buffet. My plate wasn't heaping. I'm kind of weird about my food and don't like it to touch, so there's generally a little space on my plate.  In terms of calories this was too much; definitely over-eating. However, if this plate was filled with fruits and veggies, it wouldn't be as bad.

I think that my problem with food was the quality. I've been one to fall victim to the junk...Mostly the salty stuff. I'm not a huge sweets eater, but I could eat salty snacks like crazy.  Chips and popcorn were definitely my favorites. Most fast food (most restaurant food in general!) is packed with sodium. Too much sodium and not enough water is sure to keep you puffy.  Combine that with too many calories and you have a recipe for fat.  You can make it even worse by not exercising (guilty!). Oh! And don't forget alcohol....More empty calories, more bloating. I'm starting to pictures a big round ball of a person bouncing down the street (she has my former face...well, it's still my face but it's filled with the fat that I no longer have).

There were times that I would over-eat. I think many of us do. I still do.  My over-eating just isn't what it once was.  My over-eating is a much smaller quantity of better quality foods than it was in the past. I would never sit and eat an entire box of crackers or a bag of chips (a bag of popcorn, with melted margarine and salt, yes!). I'd just eat it too frequently.  I ate poor quality, unhealthy foods all the time.  I even ate foods tagged as "healthy" too much. What I didn't realize is that even those healthy microwave meals were processed beyond belief and full of sodium.

Every now and then I still eat something unhealthy. I do not do it on a regular, or even an occasional basis though. Now it's rare. But it happens.  I still cannot purchase certain food items or I will eat them. I will likely over-eat them (more than before) because I don't buy them often.  A bag of chips could disappear within three or four days.  I avoid them.  I will always have to avoid them because they're the unhealthy foods that I like.  I prefer healthy now, which is why I don't buy the junk. But if the junk is there, I will still eat it. Now I have the ability to control it. I can have ONE serving of chips and be fine...Sometimes half a serving or even two or three chips will satisfy me. 

Genetics. I'm sure genetics play a role in weight.  I'm just not sure how much.  I think that it's easy to blame genetics when we see a family of people who are obese. How much is genetics though, and how much is bad habits that are being passed on. Children learn from their parents.

My parents never really instilled awful habits in me. My Dad was pretty thin til he got a little older and then gained some weight, and has since lost that weight. The same was true of my Mom...Of course she's pretty short so she doesn't have to weigh a lot to look...chubby-ish.  She's also been losing weight. Yay for healthy families!  They allowed me to eat snacks; typical snack foods that all of my friends were eating. But I was chubby.  I don't remember them doing or saying anything that made me feel shamed, but I still would "sneak" things sometimes. I think a lot of kids do that...Just like they might sneak a inappropriate music; or sneak out of the house! I'm not sure how much is genetic. I was adopted and don't have a lot of info. From what I remember neither of my biological parents were huge. I think my Mother was 5'6" and in the 140s; my Father 6'0 or just over and maybe in the 220s (not small but not huge). I do remember something about diabetes in my history....Not sure which type, but an unhealthy diet and weight could have contributed.

I also think about the psychological component and how it's possible that I was "stuck" for a very long time (maybe due to being adopted and feeling "rejected," or because I missed out on the bonding for the first couple months of my life). It's possible that I developed an oral fixation and I met my needs with food.  As I aged, it turned into an addiction. Some say you can't be addicted to food, but I say you can. Food has chemicals in it, especially processed foods. People often fall into addictive behaviors because of a way to cope; or based on personality (genetics too). I was an emotional eater. I binged when I was sad. I ate to celebrate.  I completely believe I was addicted to eating unhealthy foods.  Addictions can be treated; people can change...Your lifestyle can be changed; life-long habits broken. It's hard.  Ask anyone with any addiction that they're trying to overcome....It's not easy. I think we're all effected by something psychological in some way. I'm not saying we all have major personality disorders or we're all suicidal. I'm saying that there are things in our psychological functioning that make us do the things we do; make us who we are. People don't just wake up and say "I think I'll start beating my wife today."  They don't say "I don't even want these kids. I think I'll lock them in a closet and quit feeding them." I believe that these things come from somewhere within combined with their own life situations....And there's my education and professional background coming out!

The good news? If you're strong enough to acknowledge your issues, and work through them then you can change. This really isn't as easy as it sounds. It took me years of yo-yo dieting, different methods of weight loss, and a complete change of mind to make me change.  You have to be determined to do it and to make it last. No one else can change your life for you. You need to accept responsibility for why you are the way you are. Maybe some childhood trauma is impacting you. Figure it out. Get therapy (honestly there is no shame in this...I wish people would see that it is a GOOD thing because you're helping yourself!). Do what you need to in order to figure out how to change your life for the better.  It honestly depends on you.

I'm not sure this post took the exact direction it was meant to...I think I was going to hit on points about obesity in general but I got wrapped up in the personal stuff.  Oh well....I suppose that's another post for another time!!

Have a fabulous weekend!! Stay healthy!


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