5 things that didn’t suck about being fatter
#60M2IM Day 3/100
I’m still fat.
I’m just not 368 pounds fat. I’m more like 250 pounds fat.
I’m edge-of-normal fat, instead of super fat.
I’m size 16 fat, instead of size 28 fat.
(That’s almost sizing out of Old Navy fat, instead of almost sizing out of Lane Bryant fat.)
I’m still fat. Just not seat belt extension in my own car fat anymore.
There are a ton of things about not being fatter that I’m grateful for. Like not needing a C-PAP so that I can sleep and breathe at the same time. Like being able to spend hours on my feet without crippling pain. Like being able to fit on Space Mountain without being terrified for my life.
No, for real. Here’s my face when I rode Space Mountain at 368 pounds. I was positive that I was about to die, because I didn’t fit in the seat anywhere close to properly. That’s the genuine face of fear right there.
There are a few things, though, that I truly do miss about being fatter.
Before I lost weight, I belonged to the body acceptance community. If you google my name and body acceptance, you’ll see. This was my place in the world for a long, long time.
While taking drastic action to be able to breathe at night and reverse my slide toward immobility doesn’t mean I no longer believe in body acceptance, having weight loss surgery removed me from the community that was very important to me for a very long time.
No one was mean to me. No one called me out. There was no official shunning. It just wasn’t (isn’t) my place anymore. Even though I’m still fat. Maybe it would have been better if I had been drummed out. For my ego, anyway.
Instead, no one really cared and I struggled with the loss on my own.
When I weighed 368 pounds I was strong. Or at least much stronger than I am now. Losing 120 pounds in six months resulted in a loss of muscle mass that I haven’t recovered in the last 18 months.
I used to be able to bench press a 100 pounds. Last time I went to the gym with my husband, I couldn’t lift the bar alone. I’ll get my strength back, but it’ll take time and work.
Don’t get me wrong: buying size 16 clothes is way, way easier and more fun than buying size 28 clothes. Also cheaper. And more abundant.
But I spent a lot of time and energy putting together a wardrobe that I really loved. Opening my closet made me smile. Now I have plastic bins in my garage full of clothes that are ten sizes too big, and a closet full of clothes that don’t feel like they fit right, aren’t what I really want, and just make me sad.
Sometimes I wish I could take a shrink ray to my old clothes.
I feel like I haven’t been warm all the way through in two years.
Even in Jamaica, I wore a sweater. I’m pretty sure I was the only person on the entire island wearing a sweater.
As I’ve lost weight, I’ve also lost pretty much every scrap of my capacity for dealing with being cold. I’m cold ALL THE TIME. I am seriously on the verge of moving my family to Southern California, just so that I don’t have to ever deal with another snowy winter.
When I was fatter, I was always warm. Always. Even in the snow.
My Hair and Skin (also Boobs)
I used to have great hair. Thick. Curly. Pretty.
And then I lost 120 pounds and one day I took a shower and half of my hair fell out. Just that fast. One day I had great hair. The next day, I was nearly bald.
I also used to have nice skin. Now it’s saggy and dry and just . . . weird.
Over all, it’s very weird to look at yourself in the mirror and not recognize yourself. I look older, thinner. I have less hair (although, finally, it’s starting to grow back.) And a turkey neck.
And my boobs. Don’t even ask. Just know I miss them.
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Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes, is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation, and is the original Ninja Writer.