One Thousand Words on Fat

I’ve heard that obese people who lose a great deal of weight usually still think of themselves as fat. When they look in the mirror, they are surprised to see a skinny person looking back at them.

I have been overweight practically all my life, since kindergarten at least. But I’m sometimes surprised when I look in the mirror too. Who is that fat person?

I guess I suffer from the reverse problem, I don’t think of myself as fat. At least it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when I think “Heather.”

I’m not stupid. Intellectually, I know that I’m overweight, obese even, but I don’t picture myself that way. And more importantly, I don’t define myself that way.

Once in a while the fact hits me in the face. Today for instance, I watched a television interview that I taped last week.

I was a little shocked to see that I looked fat. I was well spoken, had a nice speaking voice and had interesting information to share but I looked very overweight.

And my nose looks awful in profile too.

In some ways, I think I’m better off with my little delusion. I don’t usually torture myself with self-hatred, or if I do it’s directed at my hair.

Sure, I know I should lose weight, but I don’t beat myself up when I don’t.

And I certainly don’t do that unhealthy, yo-yo weight thing, where you lose and gain and lose and gain.

I’m approximately the same size I was in high school, or a wee bit smaller. Not many of my high school classmates can say the same, I bet.

But, of course, that same size is big.

Even though if someone asked me to describe myself I would probably list smart, hard-working, introverted, a reader and a whole host of other adjectives and activities before I got around to overweight, I wonder if other people would use the same order. Or would fat top the list?

I hope not. I’d like to think that my good qualities outshine my heft.

Unlike a lot of people, I’ve never felt that I have been prejudiced against because of my weight. But maybe that’s because I wasn’t looking for it. Or because I take responsibility for my failures, instead of blaming other people.

I’m not the type of person to say, “I didn’t get that job because I’m overweight.” I assume that there was a better candidate, that I wasn’t right for the job, didn’t have enough experience or didn’t interview well.

Am I just being naïve? Over the years, have there have been circumstances that would have turned out differently if I had been thin. Would I have gotten the “best of” award for my thesis if I weighed seventy pounds less? Would I have gotten into that one college that rejected me? Or…

I can’t think of anything else. Would I have a man? Maybe, but honestly who needs one of those? And I see plenty of overweight married women, so I think my lack of interest in a dating life is a bigger factor than my weight.

Would I have a better job? Perhaps, but I think mine is pretty good and what’s to say I couldn’t get a better one the way I am now? It’s not like I’ve been looking.

Ok, so I’m fat. I don’t like looking at myself on television. A lot of people don’t like to see themselves on screen or in photos, fat or thin.

And, this is key, I’m healthy. Healthier than a lot of my thin friends. Could I be healthier? Yes. But so could most people.

I’m not defending my fat. It’s not attractive and probably will cause me health issues down the road. But I’m never going to define myself as overweight either. Or let my weight limit what I accomplish.

Just like I’m able to be an intelligent, accomplished woman and still be an introvert, I can be an intelligent, accomplished woman and still be fat.

My weight doesn’t make me less smart, less interesting or less industrious. It just makes me fat.


So my blog tonight is less than one thousand words and I’m not inclined to do anything about it.

Below is some filler, feel free to read it or not. I’d be happier if I could have ended with “it just makes me fat” but I’ve got this silly one thousand word goal.

I find that the further I move along in this project, the more constrained I feel by this self-imposed word count.

Sometimes I write something that I’m very proud of, at least first draft proud, but it’s only seven hundred words, or six hundred, or eight hundred. Then I have go back and bulk up it, the opposite of editing, purposefully make it more bloated and cluttered, sticking in more adjectives, adverbs and extraneous bits to get to one thousand words.

The trouble with this is that I’m not improving the piece, I’m making it worse.

It starts clean and well written and ends up with a lot of “in fact”, “on the other hand”, “by the way” and other “word packages,” to steal a phrase from my writing workshop leader.

I’m going to stick with it though. This is my 328th post, which means I only have 37 left. I can bloat and clutter for another month, right?

During this process, my writing voice has emerged and, not surprisingly, it’s much more spare than these blog posts suggest. Just like I don’t use superfluous words when I speak, I don’t like them when I write either.

I do think I’ve grown in my writing, become more able to spit words onto a page. And sometimes it’s a good thing to be able to puff things up.

But I look forward to the end of the project. I’m going to keep writing but I’ll explore my own style rather than worrying about how many words I’ve written.


2 thoughts on “One Thousand Words on Fat

  1. I have similar thoughts and feelings, Heather. I’ll be rocking along, feeling great about myself and everything I’m doing, and then I’ll get a look in the mirror and I’ll go “huh? Who is that? I could have sworn I looked skinnier than that.”

    Unlike you, I obsess over it. Thanks for the words of affirmation. It’s good to be reminded that we are more than how we look.

  2. Pingback: One Thousand Words on One Thousand Words, A Year Later | One Thousand Words Project

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